2/29/16

February Wrap-up!

I swear, I blinked and February was over.  Granted, it's the shortest month out of the year, but still -- it's over already?  I'm grateful that we have an extra day this year, and here's what I got up to over the past four weeks!

The Books

Books Read: 4 (Winter, Everywhere, Everywhere, Six of Crows and Maybe in Another Life)
I read most of Winter last month, but the other three were this month.  I also read most of A Feast for Crows, but it'll be counted as next month's read.

Books Acquired: 4 (Stars Above, Maybe in Another Life, Mistborn and Of Metal and Wishes)
After experiencing Winter, how could I not indulge in just one more book in the Lunar Chronicles world?!?  The other three were gifts, from my amazing TBTB Secret Santa and my equally fabulous OTSP Secret Sister!

The Challenges

Prequel & Sequel Challenge: +12 (Winter)
TBR Challenge: +3 (Winter, Everywhere, Everywhere and Six of Crows)
Around the Year in 52 Books: 4 challenges completed: the next book in a series you are reading (Winter), a book that everyone's talking about (Everywhere, Everywhere), a book that you meant to read in 2015 (Six of Crows) and a book by an author you discovered last year (Maybe in Another Life).

The Blog

I started the month off with posting my February TBR.  Although I didn't quite finish A Feast for Crows, I still consider this a success!  After a bizarre sequence of events, my TBTB Secret Santa Round 2 gift arrived in the mail (Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit is amazing you guys, and you should follow her on all of the social media things!)  I'm also participating in the OTSP Secret Sister project for the very first time, and my secret sister is a-ma-zing!  I'm so excited to go shopping and send out another package of goodies next month!  I shared a book haul, including both the secret packages that arrived in the mail this month.

In previous years, I've always heard about the Love-a-Thon while it's going on, but this year I was proactive and signed up in advance, so I was able to write and schedule a few posts (the introductory post, the mix-and-match challenge and the bingo challenge!)  Although I didn't participate as much as I had hoped (mainly due to our upcoming move, and the fact that I packed all the books that I could have used to photograph and participate in the challenges), I definitely felt the love around the blogosphere and enjoyed discovering some new book bloggers, bookstagrammers and booktubers, all of whom I've continued to follow.  It was tons of fun, and I will definitely sign-up again next year!

I also shared some On My Nightstand posts, a few Thursday Tracks, and the rest of my posts related to real-life occurrences, which I'll recap for you below.

The Other Stuff

As I shared in a bookish-related post, we've decided to put our condo on the market and see what happens.  It's crazy and exciting and terrifying all at the same time.  We've been packing like crazy (mainly books and even my old journals) and we've rented a storage locker for early March.  We'll then paint our place and hopefully be ready to list in early April.  Keep your fingers crossed that the market stays hot enough to sell quickly, but not so hot that we can't find a bigger place to buy!

Marko celebrated his third birthday, which was wonderful and perfect.  We had a whole week of birthday fun with my mom and sister here for Family Day weekend (a statutory holiday here in Canada), followed by his actual birthday on Tuesday, then his party with his friends the following weekend and my father-in-law visiting!  The only downside (or upside?) to extending his birthday is that we had cake day after day after day.  In March, I'm looking forward to getting back to healthier eating and regular yoga!

How about you?  What was the highlight of February for you?  Have you read anything sensational so far this year?  Let me know in the comments below, and thank you so much for stopping by =)

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2/26/16

Book Haul [23] -- Secret Packages in the Mail!

It feels like a while since I last shared a haul, but I think it was only a month or so since my Christmas haul!  I suppose it's because I've only bought one book so far this year -- I'm pretty proud of myself for that fact.  Of course, I signed up to participate in the OTSP Secret Sister project, so there will be bookish goodness and cheer aplenty over the next six months if my first parcel was any indication of how truly awesome my secret sister is!  But I'm getting ahead of myself ... let's start at the beginning.

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
After savouring the final words of Winter, I knew that I had to enjoy just a little more of this epic world.  I love how even the novellas match the rest of the series, and the entire collection looks SO BEAUTIFUL on my shelves.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I'm part excited and part terrified to try one of Brandon Sanderson's books.  He's so beloved by so many bloggers, and I'm scared that I'll be the only person who doesn't love his books.  BUT there's a challenge for a book by an author you feel you should have read by now, and also one for a title that starts with the first letter of my name, both of which apply to this book, so I think I'll be brave and give it a shot.  Also, I'm reading Maybe in Another Life right now and TJR can WRITE.

Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
My OTSP Secret Sister sent me a copy of this book because she read another of Sarah's books, and wanted to read this one with me.  I remember seeing a lot of buzz about this book when it first came out because it's a diverse read, so I'm super excited to read it!

I've also bought quite a few e-books over the past few months, which haven't been featured in my hauls.  I'll plan an e-book haul for next week, so stay tuned for that!

Have you read any of these books?  Anything that I should bump up my TBR?  Is Brandon Sanderson as intimidating as I think he is?  Let me know in the comments, and thank you so much for stopping by =)

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2/25/16

Thursday Tracks - City of Blinding Lights by U2


Thursday Tracks is hosted over at Gone with the Words and gives me the opportunity to share another passion of mine -- MUSIC!

As I shared last week, we're currently packing up our house in preparation for putting our condo on the market.  My husband and I were newly dating when we made the decision to move to Vancouver together, and we'd been together a mere six months when we merged our book collections into one.  Looking back, it was a big leap of faith that we took, but it all worked out in the end as we are the happiest and most in love couple you'll ever meet.

But back to the music.  We were starting out our life together when U2 released a new album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, and we loved listening to the song "City of Blinding Lights."  It seemed to represent everything about us moving away together into the big city, the city of blinding lights.  A year later, when we moved from our rental house into a basement suite, this album was the soundtrack to our packing, while we dreamed about what the future would hold.  A year and a half later, we were packing again and preparing to move into the condo that we'd just bought.  Again, U2 crooned in the background about the city of blinding lights as we packed our books back into boxes.  This condo has now been home to both our marriage and the birth of our little boy.  Again, this past week, we've had How to Dismantle an Atom Bomb on repeat.  This song just represents our journey together and makes me excited about the next steps of our journey that await.



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2/24/16

On My Nightstand - February 24

Recently shelved as read:


I savoured this one over a two week-ish span and loved every minute of it!  I binge read the Grisha trilogy during the first part of 2015 and loved it, but I loved Six of Crows even more.  The story, the characters, the twists and turns and the epic storytelling ... and the WRITING.  Gosh, Leigh can write.  If you haven't experienced this one yet, please please please give it a try.  It's absolutely magical and perfect.

On my nightstand:

 

Yup, still working on A Feast for Crows -- ha ha!  I have listened to 21 hours of the audio, and still have 14 hours left.  It's a beast of a book, that's for sure!  I feel like nothing is happening in this book, compared to some of the previous ones.  It feels like a filler book, and we don't even know what's happening with a handful of the key characters, because they just haven't been included in the story at all.  I'm hoping that the fifth book is better, because this one is definitely disappointing so far.


My amazing TBTB Secret Santa sent me Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid.  She included a note that she couldn't wait to hear my thoughts on the book when I finished.  I loved that she not only sent me a book that she had read and loved, but also wanted to hear what I thought about the story after I'm done reading it.  She's so thoughtful and kind (so much so that I wrote a whole blog post about her awesomeness!)

Calling my name from the shelf:


I'm definitely still eyeing The Light Between Oceans because of how much Brie @ A Slice of Brie loved it (and it's on my 16 books to read in 2016 list).  But my OTSP Secret Sister sent me an amazing package earlier this week (haul post to come) and said that we could buddy read this one together, but secretly, since I don't know who she is -- how cool is that?!?  SO, I think I'll definitely pick this one up soon, but I'm just not 100% sure that I'm in the mood to read it right now.   Maybe after I finish my current read(s) I'll feel differently?  Who knows =P

How about you?  What are you reading this week!  Let's chat in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

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2/22/16

On Writing

I recently read a beautiful post entitled Is My Writing Meaningless, over at one of my newly bookmarked blogs, Astronomical Books (this blog is BEAUTIFUL, friends, please go check it out!)

Helia's post really got me thinking about the meaning behind all of my written words, packed away inside two big boxes on my closet's floor.  I've been keeping a journal since the age of 8, and have amassed TWO boxes of filled notebooks ever since then.  I don't journal much these days, although at times I do miss it, especially when I feel guilty over all of the Marko moments that I've failed to document.  But I digress.

Today, I hauled those boxes out of my closet to add them to the ever-growing stack of boxes that we're going to put in storage while we put our place on the market.  As I sealed up both boxes, I reflected again on what I'm doing with all these words.  Part of me thinks, "Oh, I'm preserving my history for Marko," but another part of me says, "Oh, hell no, there's no way he's looking into the mind of his mama as a 14-year-old!"

On one hand, I wish I could just have a big bonfire in the backyard, and say farewell, especially now that I'm going to take these boxes on their fourth big move; however, these boxes, these words scrawled on dozens of notebooks pages, represents something about ME.  Even though I don't journal that much on paper anymore, even the words on this blog have represented something about me.  My thoughts on parenting, a review of a book or the compilation of a top ten post.  Looking back at some of my older posts on the blog is a reminder of how much I've grown as a writer during the 4+ years that I've been doing this.  As embarrassing as some of my earlier posts may seem, I feel the same way about my childish journals, documenting early crushes or friendship follies.  But each of those words, whether on paper or on screen, is part of my journey, my growth from the shy, gawky teenagers to (hopefully) a mature and confident adult.

Do you journal?  If so, do you keep your journals or am I the only one with boxes full of adolescent embarrassment?  Let me know in the comments below, and thank you so much for stopping by =)

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2/20/16

Love-A-Thon BINGO!


I've always aspired to do the year long bingo challenges (like Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat's -- check it out!) so I was super pumped to jump aboard the Love-A-Thon bingo challenge!  I'll keep updating this as I go, but I'm excited to see how many I can complete!

VISIT FIVE NEW BLOGS
I spent an hour bouncing around new blogs on Saturday afternoon, but didn't write down the names!  I subscribed to quite a few new ones, and I'm excited for some fresh new faces in my Bloglovin' feed!

JOIN ONE OF THE TWITTER CHATS
I joined in for about 5 minutes on Saturday afternoon!

PARTICIPATE IN ONE OTHER CHALLENGE

FIND THREE NEW INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS AND FOLLOW
I followed a bunch more earlier in the weekend, but here are three more that I added after I started the bingo card:
@twirlingpages (one of the hosts -- can't believe I wasn't following Alexandra's beautiful pics earlier!)
@forbooksake (that photo of Scarlet and the roses = LOVE)
@bzzyybee (ANNE OF GREEN GABLES -- YESSSSSS!)

LEAVE A COMMENT ON SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE BLOGS
I stopped by Lauren @ Lose Time Reading's blog, as well as Trisha Jenn Reads (except I can't remember my Wordpress password, which got lost in my computer repair) and my computer ate it =(  BUT I will return and leave a longer comment, I promise!

TWEET THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS
I tweeted five!

WATCH THREE VIDEOS FROM NEW (TO YOU) BOOKTUBERS AND FOLLOW

DEDICATE A BLOG POST TO TALKING ABOUT YOUR FAVORITES


COLOR HUNT: FIND A BLOG WITH A PINK, PURPLE AND BLUE DESIGN
I found a lot of blogs with pink, purple OR blue designs, but nothing with all three =(

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Mini-Challenge #1: Mix 'n' Match

I've already shared on the blog about my love for yoga, which I've been slowly getting back into over the past few weeks.  My house is full of boxes stacked everywhere (we're preparing to move), so I couldn't find any spare inches for a yoga-inspired photograph.  Instead, I found some fun bookish links to share:
  • Book Riot shared five yoga poses for reading (I heart pigeon pose, and will definitely try reading in this one soon!)
  • Do You Yoga threw another seven poses into the mix (I love the twist and will definitely try this soon too!)
  • The Toronto Sun explains that yoga is good for the brain ... which is why my co-workers and I always take stretching breaks during our work day.
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Love-a-Thon - Introductory Post


I'm so so excited to be participating in the Love-a-Thon this year!  I always seem to hear about it once it's already going on and completely miss the sign-ups.  This year, I resolved to be more active in the blogging community, and what better way than to participate in a love filled event that's all about meeting new bloggers and getting reacquainted with old friends!

So, without further ado, here's my introductory post...
What’s your name?  Melissa
Where in the world are you blogging from?  I live just outside Vancouver, in British Columbia on the west coast of Canada.
How did you get into blogging in the first place?  I took a library course that was all about social media and the Internet.  As one of our assignments, we had to set up a blog.  After discovering other book blogs through another assignment in the same course, I just knew that I wanted to be a part of this online community.
How did you come up with your blog name?  As part of my Women's Studies degree, I took a course on popular culture.  We learned about the riot grrrl movement and I loved the growl of the "grrrl."  Girly, but edgy at the same time.  I've always considered myself both a writer and a reader, so Writer Grrl Reads was born.
What genre do you read and review the most on your blog?  Honestly, these days I don't review much at all, but lately it's been mostly contemporary.  I'm a pretty even split between contemporary and fantasy/sci-fi.
What other types of posts do you do on your blog, apart from reviews?  I share On My Nightstand posts, which is a weekly-ish update on what I've recently finished, what I'm currently reading and what is calling my name from the shelves.  On a monthly basis, I share Marko Mondays, which includes a picture book review and a monthly update on my little man.  I've recently started participating in Thursday Tracks, and I'm a sporadic participant in Top Ten Tuesdays.  Other than that, I try to post discussion posts and things that are non-bookish (although I'm still a bit shy on the non-bookish stuff!)
Best blogging experience so far?  Last year's Broke & Bookish Secret Santa, hands down.  Although I have a feeling that OTSP Secret Sister is going to be equally amazing!
Favorite thing about the blogging community? Honestly, the connections that I've made over the years!  Of particular note is the friendship with Lauren @ Lose Time Reading.  She was my Secret Santa three (?) years ago, and we've been friends ever since.
Name the 5 books you’re most excited for this 2016!  Throne of Glass #5, A Court of Mist and Fury, Stars Above and new Morgan Matson and Emery Lord.
Name the 5 books you want to read this 2016 that you didn’t get to in previous years!  I have 16 on this list, but if I had to pick only five, they would be Six of Crows (currently reading!), Clockwork Prince, Burn, The Light Between Oceans and Finnikin of the Rock.
What’s an underrated book or series that you think everyone should read?  The Pure trilogy by Julianna Baggott or Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
Which book boy or girl would be your book BFF?  The girls from Emery Lord's The Start of Me and You -- best friendship story EVER.
Which book boy or girl would be your book boyfriend/girlfriend?  I'm not really a book boyfriend kind of girl ... crazy, I know!
Who would you recruit for your apocalypse squad?  Celeana from Throne of Glass, Katniss from Hunger Games, Scarlet from the Lunar Chronicles, Daenarys from Game of Thrones and Pressia from Pure.
Apart from reading, what are your other hobbies or interests?  Yoga, drinking tea, chocolate (especially with peppermint) and spending time with my husband and my little boy.
Apart from book shopping, what else do you like shopping for?  I like trying new teas!  I wish that I could buy all the bookish goodness that I've seen on Society 6, but I have to wait until I have a house and space for all of the wonderful bookish things like pillows and prints.
At a party, the DJ suddenly changes the song – and it’s your song. What song would be playing?  Truly Madly Deeply by Savage Garden.  I've loved this song since I was 15!
Pick out either a book you want turned into a film/TV show, or a film/TV show you want turned into a book.  I barely ever watch TV or movies these days, so it's hard for me to pick something for this question!  I'm halfway through Dance Academy though, and I feel like it would be a good book too, but only if Sarah Dessen and Emory Lord co-write it.  With Morgan Matson and Katie Cotugno in the mix as well.  Omigosh, that would be the best author collaboration OF ALL TIME.

What would your dream library look like?  Like every other bookish girl's dream library?


Author you want to meet and sit down to tea with?  Oh gosh, so many!  If I had to pick just one, I think I'll go with Sarah J. Maas.

Thanks for stopping by my post, and I can't wait to spend some time this weekend visiting all of yours!

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2/16/16

This is What Giving is All About

I've participated in The Broke and Bookish's Secret Santa for four years, and have met some super cool bloggers through this event!  It's one of my favourite parts of the Christmas season and this year it reinvigorated my enthusiasm for reading and blogging, after one of the most epic reading slumps of my life.  Although I usually share my new books as part of a book haul, this year's Secret Santa deserves a very special blog post shout-out.

On December 15th, I came home from work to find a delivery slip from Canada Post.  Since I live in an apartment building, the mail carrier leaves a slip if I'm not home, and I have to go to the post office to pick up my delivery.  We don't have a parcel drop area in my building and my mail box barely fits the flyers that clog it up most days.  It was a busy week work-wise, and I didn't get the chance to swing by the post office until Saturday afternoon.  When I arrived at the post office, they all of the parcels that were out for delivery on December 15th hadn't made it back to the post office.  One of the mail trucks had been robbed, and 65 parcels, including my Secret Santa gift, were stolen.

I informed Jaime @ The Broke and Bookish of this sad fact, and she put me in touch with my Secret Santa, Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit.  Through a burst of tweets, we exchanged shock and indignation over the experience, and I concluded by hoping that the thief really needed those bookish treats.  April @ Good Books & Good Wine hoped that the thief would learn compassion through the books that he read.  I just shrugged it off as an experience, and relished in the joy of my Secret Santa receiving her gift, and later reading and loving both of the books that I had sent her.  I'm so glad that Trisha @ Trisha Jenn Reads and I have met, and that we've bonded over our shared love of Throne of Glass and the Lunar Chronicles.

BUT THEN I received a message from Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit telling me that she was sending me a replacement package.  I was blown away.  Absolutely blown away.  I never expected her to send another package, and was so touched that she still wanted to send me a parcel!  First, a Christmas card arrived with super cute magnetic bookmarks.  I've never owned or used these kinds of bookmarks before, but I'm excited to give them a shot!


And then, her parcel arrived.  And you guys, this girl is just incredible.  Absolutely incredible.  From the moment I opened the box, I couldn't stop grinning as I unwrapped each of the items inside.

 

Chocolate -- so much chocolate!  And TEA!  Two books that I absolutely cannot wait to get to, especially Taylor Jenkins Reid's Maybe in Another Life.  I absolutely LOVED Forever, Interrupted and After I Do when I read them both last year.  Plus, Tiff said she had THOUGHTS about the ending, and I need to let her know when I finish the book.  I absolutely loved that thoughtful touch.  Not only is she sharing a book with me that she read and loved, but she also wants to chat about it after I'm done reading it.  To top off this amazing package, she even included a little Hot Wheels car for Marko (which I forgot to photograph!).  Her thoughtfulness and caring personality did not go unnoticed.  Seriously, Tiff is one of a kind and a truly kind soul.

With all these warm fuzzies in my heart, I eagerly mailed off my first OTSP Secret Sister parcel and I am SO excited to stalk the blogsphere and wait to see what my secret sister thinks of the package that I put together.  This feeling is what giving is all about, and I absolutely love the joy and heartful happiness that I'm seeing and feeling around the blogosphere this week, which is making me even MORE excited about the Love-a-thon this coming weekend!  Stay tuned for more mushiness in the coming days -- there's love in the air guys!

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2/15/16

On Tough Choices

Hubby and I made a pretty big decision last week.  After much debate, we've decided to put our condo on the market this spring and see what happens.  We're hoping that we can make the jump to a single family home or, at the very least, a townhouse.  Our two bedroom, one bathroom, 900 square foot condo just isn't big enough for the three of us, including all Marko's toys and our books.

Before we list our place, we're packing up most of the contents and putting them in storage.  This will make our place look bigger, since a lot of square footage is used up with 13 bookshelves, not to mention the other stuff.  I started packing the books on the weekend, and was then faced with a tough choice.

If I'm putting my books in storage until our condo sells, and we find a new place to move into (which, let's face it, could be MONTHS), which books do I want to read in that time?  Seriously though, choose the handful of books that you'll want to read in the next six months or so, and then PACK THE REST.  ALL OF THEM.  NOT TO BE SEEN AGAIN FOR ANOTHER SIX-ISH MONTHS OR SO.

SO.  I'm standing at my bookshelf, gazing adoringly at the contents.  So many unread treasures, yet to be savoured and discovered.  I never realized how much I am used to having the option of choosing from all my unread books.  If my counting is correct, there's about 136 of them.  It's not a ridiculously huge number, compared to some others in the blogosphere, but to me it still feels like a lot of books.  I love putting together my seasonal, and now monthly, TBR posts, where I contemplate what I'll try to read over the next few months.  As history has shown, I rarely ever stick to those TBR lists, and usually venture off to something else that I'm in the mood for at the time.

BUT NOW I HAVE TO CHOOSE.  My husband originally said to keep five books out of the boxes because he's only keeping one book out.  FIVE BOOKS?  FOR SIX MONTHS?  I laughed at him and told him 20 was a better number.  He (reluctantly) agreed and I set about trying to choose.  And it was SO HARD.  I currently have 25 books out, and I already feel like it's not enough.  I picked some of the books from my 16 books to read in 2016 list, but also some that I can use towards the Around the Year in 52 Books challenge.

My question for you is this: have you been faced with packing all of your lovely books, and if so, how did you cope?  Please let me know in the comments below -- I need all the help that I can get!
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2/11/16

Thursday Tracks - Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve


Thursday Tracks is hosted over at Gone with the Words and gives me the opportunity to share another passion of mine -- MUSIC!

Our front desk crew takes turns providing the soundtrack for our work day, and one of my co-workers has been killing it with an awesome throwback mix.  Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve has made an appearance a few times, and there's just something about this song that makes me smile and feel nostalgic.


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2/10/16

On My Nightstand - February 10

Recently shelved as read:


It took me over three weeks to finish, but I'm so glad that I took the time to savour this incredible book. Even in its slower moments, I was still enraptured in the story and I have absolutely loved getting lost in the Lunar Chronicles world.  I still have Stars Above to look forward to, and I'll be super sad when this epic series draws to a close.  Although I heard about the Iko graphic novels, which I'm super pumped about, because Iko's character is one of my absolute favourites!

After such an epic series conclusion, I knew that I needed a little contemporary to mix things up a little.  Everything, Everything was such a unique book, but I have a full review coming up soon, so I won't spoil my thoughts here!

On my nightstand:

 

I'm making progress with A Feast for Crows and am barely on track to make it through the book this month.  It's nice to not have the pressure of a library deadline with this read, and I'll still be happy if it takes me until early March to finish this beast of a book.

I honestly didn't intend to make February the month of "crows" books, but I've been wanting to pick up Six of Crows for a while, but wanted to wait until after my reading slump had passed.  I'm so excited to be back in the Grisha world!

Calling my name from the shelf:


Brie @ A Slice of Brie read and loved this one earlier this year, and I've been eyeing it on my shelf ever since.  I haven't read a good adult book in a while either, so I think it's time to jump into one that I'm sure that I'll love.  Plus, it's another of the books off my 16 books to read in 2016 list.

How about you?  What are you reading this week!  Let's chat in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

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2/9/16

Happy 3rd Birthday Marko!

It's hard to believe that three years have passed since Marko's birth, but here we are, celebrating his third birthday.  I wish that I had taken the time to share a post on his birthday each year, but there's no time like the present to play catch-up!

When you were born…
I looked at this little newborn baby and felt awed by the responsibility of being your mother.  Although I won't say that every day was easy, we surpassed each new challenge one at a time, learning about each other along the way.  From rolling over to crawling and from teething to eating solid foods, each new stage brought new discoveries and made you into more of a little boy and less of a baby.  Looking back on old photos, I still see glimpses of the little man that you'd become, coupled with now seeing glimpses of the little baby that you were.

When you turned one…
You were toddling around the house, bopping up and down whenever the music was turned on.  We laughed and called it "twerking" because you'd grab hold of whatever was nearby and just bounce your bum up and down.  You babbled like crazy, keeping up a steady stream of chatter but no real words just yet.  Except "mama," but you called everything and everyone "mama."  You started daycare which resulted in you bursting into tears the first two days when I dropped you off, and me to tears on the third day when I dropped you off and you didn't cry.  Although I missed our constant togetherness, I was excited to watch you make friends and learn some independence.

When you turned two…
Toddling is far behind you now, as you walk and run with confidence!  Your vocabulary in both English and Serbian expands each day and I love being able to have conversations with you during our commutes, even if it means less audiobooks that we used to listen to.  You were adamant about your likes and dislikes, especially about food, but we were confident that we weren't embarking on the "terrible twos" because you were just such a happy, well-adjusted little boy.

And now you're three…
We definitely didn't have a terrible two-year old, and the three year-old that you've become is just phenomenal.  You are definitely headstrong and like things just so, but you're also so funny and a great imitator, especially when you imitate your dad's antics!  Your vocabulary is still growing exponentially each day, and I still love our conversations.  You love being outside, especially at the "kitty park" (on our way to the park, there's a garden with a kitty boot scraper that you love to stop and talk to).  You still love reading books, often the same one over and over and over again, and excitedly ask to find books on specific topics when we visit the library.  You're always on the move, jumping, climbing, running, playing, which makes me value our snuggles and story time that much more, even when you sometimes ask for Tata to read your bedtime story, instead of me.  But you soften the blow with, "Next time, Mama, okay?" and a kiss, and I love the relationship that my boys have, so I happily sit on the floor and listen to Tata read a story.

Phew, I'm getting just as emotional as I was when I wrote my "Welcome to the World, Marko" post three years ago!  I am so blessed to be your Mama, and so awed by how much you've grown up in three short years.  It feels like just yesterday that we brought you home from the hospital, but also like you've always been a part of our lives.  If the past three years are any indication of how awesome life is now that you're a part of it, I can scarcely wait to find out what the next three years will hold.  Happy 3rd birthday, Marko, my beautiful baby boy.  I love you more than words can say.

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2/4/16

Thursday Tracks - Adore by Savages


Thursday Tracks is hosted over at Gone with the Words and gives me the opportunity to share another passion of mine -- MUSIC!

A former co-worker sent me an e-mail today that immediately intrigued me.  We've always swapped musical recommendations, but I knew he'd stumbled across something special when he sent me a message that said, "Forget every recommendation that I've ever given you, and go listen to this.  It's game changing."  I did just that, and immediately had goosebumps.  Just listen, and let me know what you think.



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2/3/16

On My Nightstand - February 3

Recently shelved as read:


Phew, what an intense book.  It had its slow moments for sure, but for most of the book I found myself cringing at all of the horrific things that Amanda experienced during her captivity.  I listened to it on audio, which led a sense of credibility to the story, but I found that it really bothered me that she co-wrote the book, since I felt that I was listening to her tell her own story, but using someone else's words to do so.  On the whole, a moving read, but the style of the story didn't quite work for me.  

On my nightstand:


I'm savouring the last hundred or so pages of Winter, and loving every minute of it.  I'm planning to read 27 pages per day of A Feast for Crows, with the goal of completing it by the end of February.  I'm only 50 pages in so far, but it already seems quite different from the last season of the show!

Calling my name from the shelf:



I've already decided that Six of Crows is going to happen this month, but I've also been eyeing Everything, Everything and have kind of been craving a contemporary?

How about you?  What are you reading this week!  Let's chat in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

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2/1/16

February TBR

I love putting together my seasonal TBR posts, and took that a step further with my list of 16 books to read in 2016.  Although I'm definitely a mood reader and rarely stick to my planned TBR lists, I do enjoy putting them together.  I adore watching TBR videos on BookTube so I thought I'd start putting together my own TBR posts!

I'm not going to make these overly enthusiastic, but figure that I'll pick two books to read during the month and just see what happens from there.  These may be books off my book list, books to count towards challenges or simply books that I'm just in the mood to read.


A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
I signed up for a free Audible trial at the beginning of the year, when I feared that my reading slump would never end.  I picked A Feast for Crows as my free audiobook, but then fell into the Lunar Chronicles and forgot to pick this up!  I'd like to make a reading plan (inspired by Snuggly Oranges), which is what I did for the first two books.  February is a short month, but I'll need to read 27 pages per day in order to make it through the book in a month.  With audio and print on the go, I know that I can do it.



Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
This one has been calling my name from the shelf for a while now.  I bought my copy at the same time as Winter, but put off reading both of them due to my reading slump.  I think I'm ready, and game to knock one of the books off my 2016 TBR list!

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