Mid-Year Check-In

It’s hard to believe that we are already halfway through 2022 – but here we are! So far this year, I had a baby, returned to work full-time, and I am getting excited to put my master’s to good use and write for academic journals!

But let’s talk about books first. We love books here. I thought it would be fun to share what I’ve read so far in 2022. I’ll add a quick sentence review underneath each title and link to any longer blog posts if available!

2022 Books: January to June

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

One of Backman’s novellas. 3.5 stars. Not my favorite of his, but now I’ve read all of Backman’s works!

The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang

Absolutely fantastic. A super dense fantasy series with complicated characters. See my full series review here.

Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon

A refreshing contemporary romance that introduced me to one of my new favorite authors! Full book review here.

The Burning God by R.F. Kuang

A jarring, fantastic ending to an intense, action-packed historical fantasy.

The Drowning Faith by R.F. Kuang

A nice collection of stories from another character’s point of view. Glad I read it.

The Wicked King by Holly Black

Eh. Not my favorite series and I already forgot all about it.

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

Yawn. Walk, don’t run to read these. I will definitely be writing about these. More to come.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Angry it took me this long to read this book but that’s OK. Glad I did. One of my favorite books now.

The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality by Kimberly Ann Johnson

Less helpful than I thought it would be. If anything it affirmed that it’s important to support birth parents postpartum.

House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas

I thought Crescent City was going to be my favorite SJM series, but after this one, I was mistaken.

How Long ’til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin

N.K. Jemisin is just an amazing writer. This short story collection was insightful, inclusive, and so important.

The Huntress by Kate Quinn

Not my favorite of her books. Super predictable and kind of boring. I also tried to give The Diamond Eye a go and snoozed.

What the Fireflies Knew by Kai Harris

I had such high hopes for this one but it turned out to be flat. Contact me for trigger warnings.

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Loved this one more than Weather Girl. One of my favorite books of 2022.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Glad I gave Schwab another chance and picked up this series. So. Good. (P.S. Ask me how much I hated Addie LaRue).

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

God, I loved this one. Laugh out loud funny, romantic, fast-paced, emotional. Everything I needed. Another favorite. Who knew this fantasy girl loved contemporary fiction?!

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Beyond excited to read the third book this year! I love Lila.

The Montessori Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Nurturing Your Baby with Love, Respect, and Understanding by Simone Davies and Junnifa Uzodike

Some parts were helpful. Other parts were a little too woo-woo-ey for me!

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

I liked this one! I thought it was a little top heavy with the backstory and wanted more of her being on television, but it was a timely, important read about women and autonomy. Contact me for trigger warnings.

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

Can Casey McQuiston write a bad book? Asking for a friend. The friend is me. Loved this one!

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

A convoluted, confusing book. Loved the premise, diversity, and ending, but it was a chore to get through.

2022 TV Shows

I watched a lot of television while nursing during maternity leave. Here’s what I watched (and re-watched)

  • Seinfeld (Netflix)
  • Love is Blind S2 (Netflix)
  • Emily in Paris (Netflix)
  • Inventing Anna (Netflix)
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime)
  • The Office (Peacock)
  • Parks and Recreation (Peacock)
  • Ted Lasso (Apple TV)
  • The Ultimatum (Netflix)
  • Workin’ Moms (Netflix)
  • Selling Sunset (Netflix)

Let’s Talk Postpartum Bodies

Let’s talk #postpartumbodies 👏🏻👇🏻

For nine months, my body created life. As I watched my body grow, I remember feeling proud. I would go to the doctor and not care about the number on the scale because I knew it was all to build and maintain a safe home for my baby.

Once I hit the 40+ pound mark, I asked my doctor if I should be concerned. I wasn’t overeating. I was trying to stay as active as possible. He reassured me that this was normal, and to just let my body do its thing. When I asked some mama friends, they reassured me that “the weight would fall right off” once I started breastfeeding. (That didn’t happen to me.)

Right before I gave birth to Nora, I had gained 50+ pounds. I put it out of my mind because … well … I was giving birth to Nora! I was a little busy. But as the months have gone by, I’ve battled with “bounce back culture”. I’ve had to buy all new clothes. I’ve spent hours on my phone comparing myself to other postpartum moms, wondering why I can’t fit into my “old, normal” jeans. I would look at myself in the mirror and cry and hate what I saw. I struggled with the fact that I would never return to my “regular” body.

One day (very recently), I decided that enough was enough. I looked at my daughter and thought, “what would I say to her if she talked about her body the way I do?” I would be so sad. It would be heartbreaking to hear her say she hated herself. That she was ugly. That she was afraid to go out in public. So I just said, f* it. F* what it says on that scale. I started exercising and practicing mindfulness. I stopped weighing myself every morning and night.

I weighed myself recently and saw that I’m down 15 pounds, but I’m not even paying attention to that anymore. Now, I’m focusing on strength. On control. I’m slowly starting to look at my body as a marvel rather than a hinderance. This body created life. This body continues to sustain life while sustaining my own. That is pretty fricken amazing.

I see you, postpartum parents. And you are beautiful.

June Hopefuls

Because it’s JUUUNEEE!

June June June…

I know — I made the same Carousel joke last June, but it didn’t get any laughs. Maybe it will this year?

June is an exciting/interesting month because it is also when I will be returning to work full-time. We have set up our girl with a pretty great part-time nanny as my husband and I juggle parenting with our full-time, remote/hybrid work schedules. BUT! This isn’t about work; it’s about books! Beautiful books!

Here are the books I am hoping to read in June.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn

What is on your list for June?

May Wrap-Up

May was a slow month for books, but I read two books that I really enjoyed, so that’s something! As my body heals and recovers from my c-section, I also got back into the groove of exercising. We bought a treadmill, and I switch between my Peloton and tread to get some workouts in.

It was a great month (and last month of my maternity leave!). Here’s what I read in May:

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab (Shades of Magic #2)

I am really enjoying this new series! While I liked the first book, the second book brought all of the characters and story world to new heights. I cannot wait to read the last one in June!

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

I absolutely LOVED. LOVED. LOVED. this book. Please make it into a rom com because I will watch it every day! I am officially a fan of Emily Henry’s books!

The Montessori Baby by Simone Davies and Junnifa Uzodike

This was a very interesting book to read and learn about the Montessori method. I absolutely took some tips and resources from this one and will be trying it with our baby at home!

What did you read in May?