05 October 2020

Trixie is Five!

Trixie turned five at the end of August. 

At five years old, she loves to play outside, play with friends, play with her siblings, and play with her parents. She is still snuggly, especially when trying to avoid going to bed or after a volatile outburst. 

She basically taught herself to ride a bike, and she loves going on bike rides with anyone who will take her. If no big kids or adults will accompany her around the black trail (a trail by our house), she will ride up and down the sidewalk of our street for long stretches of time. On the Monday after her birthday (Labor Day) she rode eight miles!

Trixie is smart and asks a lot of good questions. Last week her pre-school teacher told me she is ready to start reading and sent Trixie home with some resources to work with. (And yes, that technically happened after her birthday, but with a post nearly six weeks late, I'm talking about it anyway.)

Technically Trixie could have started kindergarten this year, but I had decided quite a while back to hold her back a year so she'd be one of the oldest in her class rather than one of the youngest. I had a lot of reasons for that, and with 2020 being like it's been, I'm confident I made the right choice. Trixie's getting an extra year with her beloved pre-school teacher, and she's doing an online program that is going fine.

Trixie loves animals, especially horses. We still go to Thanksgiving Point to let her ride ponies. I mentioned that when she turns 8 maybe we can some riding lessons, and she has remembered this and brought it up several times. Earlier this year she and Ike pretended to be missionaries for a Family Night activity. As we asked them questions people might ask missionaries, she told us that you can get baptized when you turn 8, and you can also take horse riding lessons.

She got 11 stitches in her chin earlier this year. It went about as well as you would expect. Once the shots numbed everything up, she did okay. But eventually that numbing agent wore off. At the age of 4, she learned to swallow pills because she detested the taste of the liquid pain medicine.

My two girls are absolutely, positively, the very best of friends (when they are not fighting). They have great imaginations and can play together for extended periods of time.

Trixie also loves to play with her brothers. Felix can often be found setting up train tracks for her, and Ike can always be relied upon to rile her up. At Bear Lake this summer, he toted her all around in this borrowed kayak for long periods of time.

Trixie played QuickBall (like tee-ball, but faster-paced and more focused on essential skills), and she did fine. She finally got a hit on her last game, which was thrilling. I was one of her coaches, which was special for us. She agreed to play, in large part, because of the treats she expected after each game, but Covid put the kabosh on that, which was really disappointing. She also excelled in swim lessons this year and thinks she can swim now. (She can't.)

Trixie is brave and always willing to be a daredevil. She told me she wanted to jump off this bridge on a camping trip. Once we were actually up there, it felt quite high, and she really struggled. She finally did it, though! (After the actual experience, she thought she'd try again, but she just stood on the bridge being scared for a long time before I finally went to get her. Ike did that too on the first day he jumped.)

Like a true middle child, Trixie likes to point out the ways in which she is special, generally talking about her "broken" heart or her defective ears and how she's had surgery more than anyone in her family. At one point I'm pretty sure she told somebody she was born without a heart at all.

She actually has a great, big heart, and we are so happy she is ours.




24 August 2020

Felicia is Three!

Felicia turned three in early July. She is a fun little girl right now. At age three she is:

  • Obsessed with her father.
  • Needing a nap about every fourth day but never getting one.
  • In love with Peppa Pig.
  • Verbose.
  • Potty-trained, but has recently relapsed into having chronic accidents because she can't be bothered to go to the bathroom.
  • Irate about having to get her hair done.
  • Too skinny for a lot of her pants to stay up.
  • Interested in wearing as many patterns as possible at one time.
  • Crazy about getting her fingernails and toenails painted.
  • Capable of finding any porta-potty at any construction site while we are out for drives. (She has a bizarre fascination with them.)

The other day she wandered into our room at night and slept on the floor. When she woke up for good, she popped straight up, with no lolling about on the floor. She looked at me and said, "Mom, wake up. It's cock-a-doodle-doo."

A few weeks ago she fell asleep while leaning on a dining room chair. This episode (pictured above) followed a long string of crying about everything you could imagine, and probably some things you couldn't imagine.

She loves to sing and dance, especially if nobody is watching. She also plays elaborate make believe games by herself.

If there is a mess left in the house, Felicia probably made it. She is, hands down, my most "into stuff" child. She constantly gets into food without permission. She eats raw oatmeal from the container, takes single bites out of cucumbers and apples, and makes her own cinnamon toast, with literally tablespoons of cinnamon heaped on. She has put an entire box of bandaids on her body like stickers. She took a bite from an EOS lip balm. (Who knew that was even possible?) She has gotten into and eaten entire packages of gum from the van's glove box. It is not unusual to find a sink full of sudsy water and all the wash cloths from that bathroom in the basin.

Her speech is generally understandable, but she struggles with words that start with s followed by a consonant. "Smoothie" sounds like "movie." "Stuck" sounds like "duck." Last week she rode a pony called Penelope, and she pronounced the name, "Pennareppy."

As difficult as she can be at this age, she can also be very sweet. She is quite perceptive of other people's feelings and tried to comfort people when they are sad. She quotes her older brothers quoting their favorite lines from movies and shows.

We love our Felicia!

13 April 2020

Felicia: 2.5

Felicia turned two and a half on New Year's Day. She is such a fun little girl.

In the last six-ish months, Felicia has developed strong opinions about fashion. She is very opinionated about what she wears, often choosing very inventive combinations. If there is something with a pattern, she'll wear it. She also loves to wear anything with a picture or logo on it. She loves accessories, especially necklaces and purses. She enjoys choosing her own bows when I do her hair.







Her favorite colors are blue and orange. If she can wear something or play with something or use something with those colors as an option, she will. Until a few weeks ago, she preferred to use a bottle, if possible. (But I finally threw the bottles and sippy cups away because I am sick of finding gross containers with days-old milk in them around the house. Tantrums and general sadness ensued when Felicia realized they were "lost.")

Felicia loves her daddy. If I try to get her out of bed in the morning, she usually tells me to go away. If daddy is gone by the time she wakes up, she is very sad and often takes a while to be convinced that I am capable of getting her out of bed and getting her oatmeal. (But with quarantine happening now, Daddy is home all the time, and Felicia is one happy girl!)

Whenever we go on pre-school field trips with Trixie, Felicia lines right up and acts like she is part of the preschool class. I am considering enrolling her in a 3-year-old pre-school for next year, but I may not because she has a summer birthday. Then I think about how well she does on these field trips, and maybe I'll find one for her after all.



She loves to play with her siblings and can also be really tyrannical with them. She has loved being able to spend so much time with her siblings during this "Stay safe, stay home" time period. Usually her brothers get home from school and try to go play with friends as soon as they can. With everyone being forced to be together, Felicia is in heaven. She is also starting to play so much better with Trixie, and it is so sweet to see them play happily together.



Felicia inherited my need to be right and correct people all the time, so that's fun for everyone. Most of the time when I call her "baby," (which is a lot) she responds, "I nogga baby. Ina girl."

We potty-trained Felicia this week, and she did awesome. She wasn't our youngest to potty train, but overall, she was definitely the easiest.

Right now she can be very loving and affectionate, often saying, "I just love you." She also loves to say, "I'm happy today," followed by listing everyone else in the family who is happy at that moment and pointing out any who might be sad. She loves babies and pretends that everything is her baby. This is her with her baby cousin, who weighs almost as much as she does:



Felicia loves to dance and to sing her own made up songs, which usually involve one line repeated ad nauseam. (Example: It's a beautiful day! It's a beautiful day! It's a beautiful day!)

We sure do love our little girl (who insists she is not little).

14 January 2020

Ike is Nine!

Ike turned nine last month. His birthday itself was a bit of a dud with him coming home from school and then testing positive for influenza B. He then spent the entire next week home from school. We gave him a book of Harry Potter sheet music as well as a Calvin and Hobbes book, both of which he has enjoyed.

Right after turning 8, Ike got baptized. Then he got to go to General Conference a few months later.




This has been a year with a lot of growth for Ike. He played and loved basketball. I was his assistant coach, and we had a fun time together at the Jazz game.




He also spent about a week with his uncle in Jackson Hole, and is a great hiker. He and I hiked Mt. Timpanogos together, and he did amazing. He can't wait to do it again next year, and try to summit this time.





Ike is mostly a good and helpful big brother. He also is the person that rile his siblings up like nobody else. When our ward was starting at 11:40 sometimes I made Eric take Ike with him to his earlier meetings just so I could have Ike out of the house. And other times I just told him he had to walk to church so I had a few extra minutes without him distracting his siblings from their jobs of getting ready for church. He walks home from church with friends almost every Sunday.

He had a rough patch with piano at the start of this school year, but then he did amazing at his recital in December. He is learning that hard things are worth doing.

Ike remains an incredibly social and playful child. He loves to play with friends, and his favorite parts about school are recess, riding the bus, and playing with friends before school starts. He does well academically and especially loves math. He loves Harry Potter, Star Wars, and sports.

03 January 2020

2019 - In Review

Highlights:

  • So much running! I ran two 10Ks and two half marathons. I ran about 300 miles. (I didn't keep track of my non-GPS runs, and I deleted some of my wacky GPS runs where my app gave me more mileage than was accurate, so I'm not exactly sure on the total.) I am in better shape than I've ever been in my life.
  • Felicia's talking really took off in the last two months.
  • Trixie started preschool and loves it.
  • Ike and I hiked Mt. Timpanogos (but didn't quite summit due to wind).
  • Ike is learning that working hard to accomplish something difficult feels awesome, even if the process itself can be really disheartening sometimes. (Thanks, piano!)
  • Ike and I went to the BYU vs USC game, which BYU won in overtime. It was Ike's first BYU football game, and my first time back since 2007.
  • Felix's reading has really improved, and he is starting to enjoy reading on his own a bit more.
  • I went to my stake's Young Women's camp, and it was awesome.
  • Eric's student loan forgiveness came through, after initially being denied. (It was a huge relief.)
  • Doing "Come Follow Me," our church's scripture-study program, through the year was fairly consistent and gave us lots of opportunities to talk about spiritual things with our children.
  • We had several opportunities to help build our children's faith this year. It started when Eric's loan forgiveness was denied (despite him having taught at a low income school for five years). As we discussed what to do about it, both of us felt prompted to be open with our children about the situation and ask them to pray for their dad's loan to be forgiven. (Trixie once prayed instead "for dad to be alone.") When the loan forgiveness came through, our children could see it as a direct correlation to their prayers. We also had a lot of family prayers for Eric's shoulder to heal so he wouldn't need surgery. (It did; he didn't.) And for Felicia to learn to talk. (She did!)
  • I'm like a decade late to the trend, but I started drinking green smoothies, and it's so much better than skipping breakfast or eating whatever desserts we have lying around. (Who knew?)
  • I did some things to wrangle my mental health, and I am doing so much better!
  • We took lots of friends canoeing on the Jordan River (even more than last year).
  • We have a group of friends for fairly regular date night outings.
  • New flooring in my entire main floor! Before that we also painted the living room white, bought new curtains for the living room and dining room, and bought a new sectional! The old couches went to the basement, and the TV is down there too. Re-doing the living room was a big deal this year!
Places in 2019:
  • Three trips to Jackson Hole - Once for the Fourth of July (my brother had taken my boys to spend a few days with their family, so we had to go pick them up); once for a missionary farewell, and once for a missionary homecoming.
  • Moab for a canoeing thing with lots of friends.
  • Capitol Reef National Park - Possibly my new favorite.
  • Bear Lake, with friends - We started this trip on our own but then found out a bunch of friends would be there at the same time. It was a great little trip.
  • Ginormous family reunion in Heber - Eric's grandma's last time to host one with all of her six children, her 26 grandchildren, and 54 (or 52?) great grandchildren. (I could name them all for you, and figure out the exact count, but I've got other stuff to do right now.)
  • Great Basin National Park
Birthdays/Traditions:
Nothing new to report here. Birthday ice cream at Cold Stone on the Monday after a birthday. We did two shepherds' meals this year, one with friends, and one with family. Fondue on the last day of school. One new tradition is Hawaiian haystacks for dinner on the first day of school.

2019 Goals (copy and pasted from last year's post, with the results bolded):
  • Redecorate my living room. DONE!
  • Run a 10K? DONE!
  • Read more books on paper and Kindle. Not really.
  • Read more books with my kids, especially chapter books with the boys. Probably comparable to the year before. We did read scriptures more, though.
  • Maybe get around to finishing up those 2018 goals. (And with commitment like that, clearly I'm on the right track.) Well, we all saw where that was going, didn't we?
2020 Goals:
I'm still working on these. Right now I've got:
  • Run a sub-30 5K. I don't know exactly how fast I can run a 5K right now, but the last time I tried (end of November) I ran it in just under 33 minutes. I'm pretty sure I can shave off those three minutes.
  • Log 400 miles of running (outdoors and treadmill). (I have a new Garmin, so it is easier to log my treadmill activities to the same location as my GPS activities.)
  • Catch up on all the books I have downloaded to my Kindle. There are so many.
  • Read the Book of Mormon as a family. We can do it!
  • Start a social media hashtag called #forrealfriday where people take pictures and post about real-life stuff, not just the beautiful stuff. Be on the lookout.
  • Crochet 20 beanies for a service project run by a family in our ward.
  • Crochet 15 new snowflakes for my Christmas tree.
I'm excited about this new year, and the new decade.

02 January 2020

2019 Books

This year I read 70 books, with 44 on audio, 11 on paper, and 15 on Kindle. I really fell apart in December, when I got the flu and stopped running. (Yes, we all had our flu shots.) (I listen to a lot of audiobooks while running, so if I'm not running, and I'm too sick to commute to my office, there is not much listening going on for me.) My biggest months were January and March, with nine books each. I'm not sure how I got so much reading in those months. They certainly did not coincide with the months where I ran the most.

And with no further ado, my top 10% of books for 2019:

  1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. (#46 on this list)
  2. Becoming by Michelle Obama (#15 on this list).
  3. Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance (#25 on this list)
  4. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (#18 on this list)
  5. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (#36 on this list)
  6. Station Eleven by Elizabeth St. John Mandel (#40 on this list)
  7. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (#43 on this list)
And obviously if any of you want to talk to me in real life about any of these books, I'd always welcome that. Two of these books were for my book group, and if you want to join it, hit me up. (But also a couple of the worst books I read this year were for book group, so you win some and you lose some.)


January:
1. Winter by Marissa Meyer* - An overall satisfying conclusion to the Lunar Chronicles. I was worried at first that I would hate the character of Winter, but she grew on me. I was also excited to learn there were a couple of additional books that are sort of part of the series, and I downloaded them immediately.

2. Fairest by Marissa Meyer* - I loved this back story for Queen Levana. I didn't read this one in order; technically it should have been before Winter, but it didn't affect the narrative at all.

3. The Twits by Roald Dahl - I had a lot of fun reading this with the boys.

4. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult - Very engaging. At first I thought the characters were a bit stereotypical, but they really grew on me. I appreciated the various discussions of race throughout.

5. How Children Succeed by Paul Tough - I thought this would be more about things I can do as a parent for my kids. There's a bit of that in there, but mostly it's about helping low-income kids succeed. Interesting read, just not what I expected.

6. Heartless by Marissa Meyer* - I didn't really like this one, which was disappointing after my great affection for her Lunar Chronicles.

7. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg* - This was a fun audiobook with the kids.

8. Rapid Falls by Amber Cowie - It was fine. This was a free book through Amazon's system where I get a free book for my Kindle each month. The selection is always very limited, and I never know what to pick. It's always a gamble, and so far I haven't ready anything mindblowing.

9. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin* - It was fine. I may enjoy listening to it again with my family on a road trip.

February
10. The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie* - Beginning is a bit tedious, but she has great ideas for reading more with your family.

11. 168 Hours: You Have More Time than You Think by Laura Vanderkam* - Has some great principles for planning and using time well. I am going to try to implement more of them.

12. The Radium Girls by Kate Moore - Great story, very mediocre writing. Way too long and had too many chapter-ending cliffhangers.

13. Rock Needs River: A Memoir About a Very Open Adoption by Vanessa McGrady - Misleading title. Most of the book is about her failed relationships. The section about the actual adoption (less than half the book, probably) hardly even focuses on the things I expected considering its title. Great writing, just not an accurate title. (Another Amazon FirstReads book.)

14. I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella - A perfectly good beach read. If only'd I'd been on a beach whilst reading it.

15. Becoming by Michelle Obama* - I was really impressed by this book. The writing, the author herself, just all of it. (Also, I miss our old president.)

16. Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years by David Litt* - Well, now I'm really nostalgic for President Obama. This one is a lot funnier than #15, but still had some really meaningful and thoughtful moments.

March
17. The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband by David Finch* - There is so much goodness in this book as far as improving your marriage and evaluating yourself. I loved that it came from a perspective of somebody with Asperger's, but it has so much broader applicability. A lot of swearing though.

18. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman - I just really enjoyed this book. Eleanor's character is delightfully quirky. I loved the unfolding of her history and found the pacing really good. I laughed out loud several times and thought there were so many good examples of kindness and friendship throughout the book.

19. Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl - I should probably stick to his fictional works when I select books to read aloud to my kids. This one was good, but a little over their heads (especially the six-year-old's), and needed some off-the-cuff editing on my part.

20. Lose 200 Lbs. This Weekend by Don Aslett - As with a lot of self-help or how-to books, the front matter is the "why" you should be doing this, which I think most readers who've selected such a book have already bought into the why and do not need. The areas of focus at the end are more helpful. There are some good guiding principles for decluttering.

21. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper* - I had a hard time with this one, mostly because of the depiction of incompetent special ed teachers. Overall, the book was fine, but not amazing.

22. Tribe by Sebastian Junger* - Plowed through this one in a couple of days. So fascinating. I think the lifestyles of Native American tribes are rather idealized, but the idea that Western culture is too isolated rang true for me.

23. Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult - I was engaged in this book the whole time and raced through it. With that said, I saw the "surprise" ending a mile away, and frankly, I think it cheapens the ethical dilemma that the mother faces.

24. Go by Kazuki Kaneshiro - I read half of this and just couldn't make myself care about the characters. (Another Amazon FirstReads pick.)

25. Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance* - I cannot stop talking to all the people about this book. So much of it rang true for my own upbringing (not so much the family life, but the community environment). I want to talk to everybody about it.

April
26. Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer* - This was a fun book. I immediately downloaded the sequel.

27. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis - Read this one with the boys. Ike understood it really well. Felix was a little bored.

28. Stray: Memoir of a Runaway by Tanya Marquardt - It's interesting to read about somebody whose life is so totally different than mine, but this book was really depressing. (Another Amazon FirstReads choice.) Also, the title is misleading. Her parents knew where she was the whole time she was gone, which was about six months.

29. Off the Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer* - I liked this one even better than the first. I thought the plot and characters were far more developed, and I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen sometimes.

30. The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli* - It was fine. I'd be happy to listen to it with my kids in a few years. The language in it is old enough I'd want to listen again and not be the one reading aloud.

31. The Forgotten Hours by Katrin Schumann - Finally an Amazon FirstReads book I actually liked. Wouldn't recommend it to everyone, but I found it very compelling and thought-provoking. With the #MeToo movement the last few years, I've discussed with several people the issue of, "GASP! He would NEVER!" And then the resulting, "Well, actually he DID," conversations that we are having. I felt like this book handled that back and forth discovery masterfully.

32. Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary* - I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I just love the Ramona books! I'm sad they weren't part of my childhood. I'm happy I'm getting to discover them with my children.

33. Hallelujah by J. Scott Featherstone - I wanted to like this, but it was terrible. It was self-published, and that man needed an editor. The book is about 300 pages too long.

May
34. A Lucky Life Interrupted by Tom Brokaw* - He's a great writer. This book was fine. It's about his cancer diagnosis and initial round of treatment, with reflections on various portions of his life. It wasn't read by him, though, which is disappointing.

35. Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes* - I liked it, but I didn't love it. I actually thought some of the content was too mature for the target age group.

36. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton* - Started a little slow, but once I was into it, I really liked it. Everyone in my book group liked it, which is a rare treat. While I "called" some of the ending, I definitely didn't see it all coming.

37. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty* - I just love her. This one had lots of laugh out loud moments and some really amusing characters.

38. The Tenth Island by Diana Marcum* - I've read a few memoirs this year, and this is the first one where I didn't hate the author, so kudos to you, Ms. Marcum. And obviously I need to visit the Azores now. I looked at flights, and it may be a while until we make it there.

June
39. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull - Such a fun one to read with the boys. We started on audio, but the narrator was horrible, so we got the paper copy, and I finished it off. Seth is obnoxious.

40. Station Eleven by Elizabeth St. John Mandel* - I loved this one from the start. The story is so engaging, and I loved the narrator. I kind of wanted to re-listen as soon as it was over.

41. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen* - Loved this one and listened to it every chance I got while I was at YW camp.

42. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling* - Audio'ed this one with the boys in preparation for "finally" showing them the movie. We had listened to this one before, but I thought the movie was too scary at the time. Even Trixie (age 3) watched the movie with us and didn't find it too scary. Go figure.

43. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight* - I was surprised by how much I liked this one. I listened to it mostly while running, which amused me. I definitely am grateful we have so much good technology in running shoes these days. Thanks, Phil Knight, and friends!

July
44. The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen* - Not as much love for this one as the first one, but still very entertaining.

45. Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini - Ugh, what a slog this one was. It read more like a very bad historical narrative than a historical fiction. It needed more fiction to make the characters more interesting.

46. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens* - I loved this book so much that I almost started listening to it again as soon as I finished it.

47. The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen* - This series sure did fizzle. So much eye-rolling for me in this one.

48. Front Desk by Kelly Yang* - Many of the parts I found least believable actually were based on reality, according to her epilogue at the end. I'd like to read more about Chinese immigration now. There was a lot in here that I felt could ring true for impoverished kids, regardless of ethnicity or nationality.

49. Pandora's Lab by Paul Offit* - An interesting one to listen to with Eric on a road trip. It certainly shows the challenges scientists have in following the scientific method thoroughly before making sweeping claims. Of course, the problem isn't always with the scientists, but with non-scientists who get carried away with data and studies they do not understand.

50. Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation by Gabriele Oettingen* - Kind of annoying to listen to, but overall a good read if you are interested about why and how thinking can change your behavior. It's not as simple as "think positive thoughts," but it's not all that much more complicated either.

51. The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less by Terry Ryan - I suggested this one for our book group, and I'm so glad I liked it on this (my second) read. It is such a delightful book about a pretty amazing lady.

August
52. The Road Beyond Ruin by Gemma Liviero - Another Kindle FirstReads. It took me months and months to get through this one. It was fine.

53. Delancey by Molly Wizenberg* - A fun one to listen to. I will never start a restaurant. I wanted pizza while listening. I skipped over most of the recipes.

54. The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery - I laughed out loud reading this one. It's like a more grown-up Anne of Green Gables. If you are an Anne fan, definitely read this one.

55. MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche* - This one was a bit long, but I loved this woman's journey of finding new friends. I thought a lot during while listening, "Yes, and this is why I always tell Eric that book group is sacred!" It is important to have good friends. It is hard (but possible!) to find good friends.

September
56. The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman* - Definitely an interesting read, though it was a bit long.

57. Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro* - So beautifully written, and such an interesting story. With the availability of DNA testing for genealogy so available, many people have stories similar to hers (learning a parent is not actually biological). I thought Dani captured the experience really well.

58. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen - I had totally forgotten that I'd read this ten years earlier. I only gave it two stars on GoodReads then, but I gave it three this time.

October
59. This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick* - I was surprised how much I liked this book. And I was a little chuffed with myself as I thought of all the things I have done in my city that help me feel more attached to it. (And doubly chuffed with myself that I listened to the book while running the historic Pony Express Trail that runs through my city. I was just ticking off boxes left and right.)

60. Rise of the Evening Star (Fablehaven #2) by Brandon Mull* - Started on paper, but it was taking us so long to get through it, that we moved to the CDs, even though the reader is absolutely horrible. I'd be fine if the boys just finish this series on their own when they are older.

61. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie* - I had a bit of a hard time keeping track of the characters, and I had to go back over sections a few times because I had gotten bored and stopped listening. Overall, it was fine, but I'm not itching to read it again.

62. Know My Name by Chanel Miller* - This is a really powerful book about sexual assault. It definitely has mature subject matter, but it's such an important topic.

63. Rising Strong by Brene Brown* - There were so many valuable things in this book. I talked about it to a lot of people after finishing it. I should read more by her and watch her TED Talks.

November
64. She Has Her Mother's Laugh by Carl Zimmer* - I started this book in like, April or May, and it was so interesting! But then it expired, and it took forever to get it off hold again. I loved the history of the study of genetics (of course), but I got a little lost in the weeds of the super-scientific stuff.

65. Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall - This was another one that took me a while. It's a great story and really worth reading. It just took me a while to get into it.

66. Renegades by Marissa Meyer* - A bit confusing at first, but I really got into it and couldn't wait to read the next two. I actually think there is a surprising amount of depth in this one considering it's about a bunch of superheroes.

67. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall* - Such an interesting book. I mostly listened to it while running, which made it particularly fun. I don't think I buy into the idea of barefoot running (especially since it's been ten years since this was published, and the running world is no longer gungho about it). But I loved the writing and the race narrative a lot.

68. Archenemies by Marissa Meyer* - A very good sequel to the first. Again, the plot is a little cheesy, but it has a surprising amount of depth. I'm on hold for the third book, and it's taking too long for my turn to come up.

69. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate - I was surprised by how much I liked this book. I would really like to read it with my boys one day.

December
70. Natural Causes by Barbara Ehrenreich* - I've read one other by her, and had I realized it was the same author earlier, I wouldn't have bothered with this one.

*Signifies audiobooks.