May the peace of Christ fill your hearts this holiday season. 2016 has been a rough year in many ways. Only God can see us through. May He bless you and your family as we celebrate His Son's birth and look ahead to the future!
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Even if you're not in the U.S. and not celebrating Thanksgiving, you still have much in your life to be thankful for - the roof over your head, the family and friends surrounding you, and all of the love and laughter in your life. I hope you have a blessed, thankful day!
I am typically a fairly voracious reader. I read at least 100 books a year, and I always take great pleasure in setting my Goodreads goal to challenge myself. But this past January, I only set my Goodreads goal for 50. You see, I was having a baby in April. And I didn't know exactly how that would change my reading, but I knew it would.
But since my little boy has arrived, I've had to increase my Goodreads goal to 75. And then 100. As of right now, I'm actually 25 books ahead of schedule. It turns out that having a baby can actually increase your reading time.
How did that happen? Well, I'm still not entirely sure how I'm getting through the amount of books that I am. But here's what I think is working:
I know I'm far from the only book blogger out there with kids. What are your tips for reading with little ones around?
Back in September, I posted a list of 31 things I wanted to accomplish before my next birthday. At the beginning of December, I posted my first progress report. Since it's been another three months or so, I thought I would check in again with what progress I've been making.
#1: Read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
I have been working on this little by little since the beginning of January. I am now 69% complete!
#4: Finish our upstairs remodel and finally move into our new master bedroom.
Remodeling our upstairs has been a project we've been working on for three years. I am happy to report that (besides a few minor things) we're done! We moved into the upstairs bedroom at the end of January, and I'm enjoying it very much. (I'm also getting a lot more exercise going up and down those stairs all the time.)
#6: Read 50 books from my own shelves.
In my December update, I said that I had read 10 books from my own shelves. That number is now up to 25!
#22: Try 20 new recipes.
Okay, I haven't done stellar with this one yet. I've tried two new recipes - pumpkin muffins (two ingredients - so easy!) and Ranch Chicken Roll Ups. I really need to be better about this goal.
#24: Instead of just making fun of 10 grammatical errors, actually tell someone who can fix them.
I've done this once. A digital sign for a dentist in our town had a typo - "Can we think sring yet?". I called and told them so they could fix it. Instead, they just took that screen out of the line-up. I suppose that counts as a success.
#25: Visit the Creation Museum.
I was really excited that we were able to make this happen while visiting some friends over Christmas break. I'm looking forward to going back someday when they have the Noah's Ark section open.
So there's my progress, halfway through the year. Once again, it's not as much as I thought it was. There are some goals I haven't even touched. And now with a baby arriving in April, I have feeling I may need an extension. . . But hey, anything I get done on this list is more than I would have done without it, right?
I love the beginning of a new year because it means new reading challenges and new goals. I've typically over-committed to reading challenges, yet somehow managed to complete them (which is often more stressful than it should be). I always participate in the Goodreads challenge, sometimes setting my goal as high as 125 books.
This year, I'm reining myself. My Goodreads goal is set at 50 books. I'm severely limiting myself in the number of reading challenges I'm signing up for (a total of 3, as of right now). And the reason for these self-imposed limits?
We're expecting a little bookworm in April!
We're very excited and very nervous, and I'm sure reading will take a backseat to the little one for awhile. Smiling Shelves will definitely continue, although I'm figuring I'll be on hiatus for a little bit in April.
I'm determined this baby will grow up to be a reader. He already gets a bedtime story every night!
Back in September, I posted a list of 31 things I hoped to accomplish in my 31st year of life. Since it's been approximately three months since then, I thought I would provide an update of those things I have completed or that I've made progress on.
#3: Visit ten more Michigan lighthouses.
My husband and I took a weekend away over Labor Day and saw 5 lighthouses. Somewhere on our camera we even have pictures of them all. . . We saw:
- Fort Gratiot Light (Port Huron)
- Lightship Huron (Port Huron)
- Peche Island Rear Range Light (Marine City)
- William Livingstone Memorial Light Station (Belle Isle)
- Windmill Point Light Station (Detroit)
- Bonus - Detroit Lighthouse Supply Depot (not technically a lighthouse, but still a cool thing to see)
#6: Read 50 books from my own shelves.
I won't post a list here, but since my birthday, I have read 10 books that I own. Working on numbers 11 & 12 right now!
#11: Write a short story.
I've started a short story - while my students are working on their Creative Writing projects, I do too!
#12: Get my piano tuned.
Done in October!
#15: Visit Greenfield Village.
This was the other part of our weekend away in September. We spent Labor Day exploring Greenfield Village. Such a cool place!
#21: Create (and use) a Twitter account for Smiling Shelves.
Done! I created one for Dewey's 24-hour readathon in October. Haven't done much tweeting since then, but I enjoy reading everyone else's. You can follow me if you like - @SmilingShelves.
Those are the major ones that I've completed or made progress on. It's not quite as much as I thought it was, so these update posts are good idea to keep myself on track. I hope I can keep checking things off through the winter!
My name is Julie, and I own a lot of books. As in, they are stacked on the floor because I've run out of room on the shelves. And those shelves? There are so many books on them that they smile -- not sag; smile. This blog will cover book reviews and all manner of other bookish things.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.