Reading Goals, 2011

Like every year, I have some reading goals for 2011.

1) I’d like to read more than this year, which topped out at 64. Not my best reading year but not my worst either (both worst years coming in at the year after each boy was born).

2) Keep my Goodreads account updated. No. Really. I say it every year. Maybe I’ll do it this year! Basically I get to mid-year/mid-summer, find myself without Internet access while camping and forget that Goodreads exists until about October. I’m awesome. But, feel free to add me and help me stay accountable.

3) Participate in a few actual challenges. Those being:

  • The 2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge. I read more YA last year than the year before and decided that I really liked where YA authors nowadays are going with things. So this challenge is a natural extension of my reading. I’m only going for the 20 book challenge as I’m participating in other challenges as well. I think 20 YA books would make me happy. If you have any must-read suggestions in this category, let me know!
  • The Memorable Memoirs Challenge. Mmm, I love memoirs, so it’s likely a cheat to join this challenge, but the number of memoirs I read in 2010 dropped. I want the number to go up this year, hence the challenge. What’s your favorite memoir?
  • And, of course, the Adoption Reading Challenge. I’m hosting that over at Chronicles. I’m going for the 20 level, which means I’m reading 10 non-fiction and 10 fiction books that revolve around adoption. I’m most excited to read Jessica Lost: A Story of Birth, Adoption & The Meaning of Motherhood by Bunny Crumpacker and Jil Picariello, but it doesn’t come out until May 3. I’m pre-ordering though!

4) Be smarter about requesting books from the library. Like sassymonkey said, it’s not that I want to avoid requesting books, but sometimes I get request happy and everything comes in at once and I PANIC! Sometimes it’s not my fault: It can takes weeks or months for books to come in if they’re overly popular. But sometimes it’s just my happy-request-finger.

5) Read the books that I bought in 2010 and didn’t read. Whoops.


6) I have other interests that I want to make sure make their way into my reading (adoption, firefighting, photography, writing, bloggers’ books — especially bloggers’ books and why isn’t there a bloggers’ book challenge?, and so on). This is not a specific “challenge” but more of a mental note to keep my own personal interests above the interests of, say, best seller lists and, you know, Oprah.

7) I’ll also be participating in the BlogHer book club which will give me a book a month to read and think about and generally enjoy with other book-loving people. Hooray!

8 ) As per usual, I want to add to the boys’ ever-growing library. BigBrother has made a decisive trend toward science related books this year, so I hope to get him some great children’s non-fiction as well as some fiction that talks about science. Have you learned about the Dr. Seuss Learning Library yet? I’m in love, as is BigBrother. LittleBrother is still in a big fire truck phase, so we’ll be adding more of those as well. Of course.

9) Try to read some more books written by… uh… men. It’s never been a conscious thing. I’ve never purposefully engaged in penis embargo readership. But as I gravitate toward books about women, pregnancy, adoption, fertility and the like, I don’t always catch male writers. I’ll make a better effort this year.

10) And lastly, enjoy reading. Sometimes I get bogged down with reading because of the pressure I place on myself to read, read, read. That’s ridiculous. I’m tossing that aside this year.

What are your reading goals for 2011? Are you joining any reading challenges? If you’d like to join my Adoption Reading Challenge, that would be swell!


Cyber Monday

Christmas Magic, 2010


If you were a reader in 2008, you might know what I’m about to blog about. If not, let me explain briefly.

In the early 90’s, my parents gave my brother a magical Christmas gift. Actually, Santa gave him the gift. He went to sleep in his bed and woke up in an amazing new bunk bed (on the bottom bunk as no one wanted him to fall out and break a bone). I helped pull that off as I’m eight years older and was already aware of Santa’s non-existence. FireDad and I decided to carry that over to our children. We did so with BigBrother in 2008; he went to bed in his toddler bed and woke up in a twin bed featuring a Very Hungry Caterpillar bed set. And this Christmas, LittleBrother got his magic.

After my initial panic that FireDad would be at work and I’d have to do it all myself, I began to panic that maybe it wouldn’t work with LittleBrother. They’re both great sleepers, but of the two, LittleBrother wakes more frequently and sleeps lighter than his older brother. The boys went to bed around 8:30, and I waited until 10:00pm to call FireDad home from the fire department to help. I wanted to make sure he was asleep when we transferred him to our room and built the bed in his room.

He stayed asleep during transfer. And slept through banging on walls. And me stepping on the bed frame in bare feet and muffling a yelp. And the repeated sounds of feet up and down the stairs. And our voices — quiet, but voices all the same. And the sounds of packaging being torn off of box springs and mattresses and mattress covers and so on. And he didn’t hear my camera snapping, snapping, snapping across the hall.

[Ignore the lack of bed skirt. Someone, ahem, forgot!]

And he slept through the transfer back to his — new! — bed.

And he slept all night.

And he slept and slept and slept.


He didn’t even wake up when my alarm went off three times because I kept pressing snooze as I went to bed at 1:00 and the Spanish Buzz alarm on my phone started going off at 5:30am. Yawn. He didn’t wake up when I showered and dropped the shampoo in the shower. Or when I dried my hair — which woke up BigBrother. He didn’t wake up when I set BigBrother in our bedroom in front of the TV with very firm directions not to walk down the hall to the living room. He didn’t wake up when FireDad pulled in the driveway, home from his 24 hour shift at the fire department.

In fact, we had to wake the child up. On Christmas morning. What a silly kid.

Sleepy Booey

He stretched. And sat up. And climbed out of bed. And kind of stood there, facing away from the bed, blinking as if he was thinking, “Wait, did I just climb out of bed?” And he turned around.

Climbing Back In

He was definitely pleased. As was BigBrother — both that his little brother got a Big Boy Bed and that Santa is so entirely awesome that he can magic a bed under you while you’re asleep. They exchanged Santa bed stories while FireDad and I stood by and smiled the smile of parents who pulled it off.

Elf Brothers

We eventually made our way to the living room and opened presents and went about our day. But let me tell you, LittleBrother is pleased with his Big Boy Bed. And I’m so pleased that we passed a family tradition on to both of our sons. I will treasure the memories of their smiles, their awe and wonder, their joy for the rest of my days. Someday, when they learn that Santa isn’t real and put two-and-two together that their Mom and Dad managed to pull off the magic without the help of the bearded white guy, I will put those faces of confusion, awe and amazement in my mental photograph box as well.

I hope your Christmas was just as magical. Though I do have to ask: Why are the boys’ beds more comfortable than ours?

Christmas Day Photo Challenge 2010 #xmas12

Yesterday — Christmas — I participated in @MissFish‘s Christmas Day Photo Challenge, hashtagged #xmas12 on twitter. It was a fun little experiment, though I ended much earlier in the day than we were done with our day as I was still up at might and woke so early. Maybe next year I’ll make sure to do more than 12.

Here’s a glimpse at our day. Via the @instagram app. Don’t have it? You should. I think I like it more than Hipstamatic because it makes interaction with my friends and other users much easier. Anyway, back to #xmas12.

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Midnight, I finished up. Which, not really. I realized after I took the photo that I forgot four little cars! Oops! Also, in this photo, Santa had not yet taped candy canes to the presents he brought. Santa was a little tired, but he got the job done and was in bed by 1:00.

At 7:00, I was just finishing getting dressed for the day. Technically, I was “awake” at 5:30, but I hit snooze until 6:05, so no photo from the 6:00 hour. You wouldn’t have wanted to see me then anyway. Also, dress by ModCloth.

I missed an 8:00 photo because the boys were opening all of this:

Then we got in the car to head to The Farm at 9:00! The weather actually cooperated. Obligatory husband in the car shot!

10:00, still driving.

We arrived at 11:00 — about 20 minutes slower than usual — having made slower time due to bad roads for in West Virginia and slick conditions on 18 and 168. But we made it! Plus, The Farm got a fresh layer of snow early Christmas morning, so it looked freaking gorgeous when we got there! HOORAY!

By noon, the boys needed to just veg out with a movie, having opened gifts from Papau and YiaYia and Big Mamaw.


At 2:00 — my lunch picture from 1pm is AWOL — we were playing with one of the boys new toys, the Dinosaur Train! YAY!

At 3:00, I went for a walk by myself in the snow. I usually need to do this once per big family holiday celebration, because I get a bad case of sensory overload. It was lovely. As I said yesterday, I’ll be sharing real pictures from the walk later this week. They’re beautiful as there’s nothing quite like The Farm in the snow. Note: My new ski jacket is warm, warm, warm!

At 4:00, I was in my old bedroom in my old bed reading Melissa Ford’s book, Life From Scratch. I seem to have thrown my back out and was told to go rest. So I did!

I accidentally skipped two hours because we were busy getting the meal on the table and eating. I didn’t remember until Dee called so I could wish the Munchkin a Merry Christmas. Sometime after 7:00, BigBrother was playing Toy Story 3 on the Wii (with my permission as they were crazy good yesterday).

Around 8pm, my Dad (l), uncle (m) and husband (r) were talking to Ben, my uncle’s dog who is my Indiana’s brother (my parent’s Golden Retriever).

–__ — __ —

After that, there was just driving, putting kids into beds, posting yesterday’s official photo and sleep.

I’m doing another set of photos from today as we’re Christmas-ing with FireDad’s family this afternoon. This morning is just a bit of vegging, playing with toys and general relaxing. This afternoon should be more crazy holiday fun! I won’t be tweeting each photo, so be sure to follow me on the Instagram app if you want to follow my #xmas12round2 photos!

In fact, I really kind of like this idea for any big holiday/family day. I’d love to do it with my real camera, but using the iPhone is much easier and more practical. I’m sure I have pictures from most of the hours yesterday, but evolving technology makes it easier to capture a quick picture and go about my business. So, you may see more of this in the future!

Anyway, Merry #xmas12round2! We’re off for another #toybomb (term coined by Crissy).