Family Interviews with MM and BB

This afternoon I interviewed MM with prompts inspired by this post at Blissfully Domestic. I did this last year and it was interesting to see how his interests and comprehensions have changed. For fun, I had him give answers for his sister, too.

Here are his answers from last year:

just one year ago...

And here are his answers this year:

an intimate interview with MM age three

And here are his answers for BB:

an intimate interview with MM about BB age five months

20 Reflection Questions for 2009

Tsh @ Simple Mom has a post up at (in)courage today with questions designed to help you reflect on the previous year. I thought I’d write down my responses here and of encourage all of you to do the same.

  1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year? That would have to be the birth of my little girl
  2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened? I’m not sure what’s been harder… my husband losing his job and our move halfway across the country for a new job … or life with a three year old. Seriously.
  3. What was an unexpected joy this past year? our little surprise “vacation” in Illinois. Unplanned, impractical, but lovely just the same.
  4. What was an unexpected obstacle? Dan losing his job and our relocation were very much unexpected – and huge to be sure.
  5. Pick three words to describe 2009. big BIG changes
  6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2009 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you). sweet new baby
  7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2009 (again, without asking). great new job
  8. What were the best books you read this year? The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Host by Stephenie Meyer
  9. With whom were your most valuable relationships? my husband, my children, my parents and grandparents
  10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year? Managing to maintain my weight throughout my pregnancy and then lose 40 pounds after BB was born.
  11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally? experiencing the love I felt for my second child and the love I still felt for my first, learning to love them both at the same time (or really learning how easy that was to do).
  12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually? We discovered Unitarian Universalism together this year and although we are not attending a church here in WI, the time we did spend was wonderful and more importantly, discussing what we believe and don’t believe (with my husband) has been really great.
  13. In what way(s) did you grow physically? Exercise became very important to us this year. I can now walk much, much farther than I could a year ago and I’ve even toyed with learning to run. I’d love to walk in a marathon of some kind in the future.
  14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others? My marriage has really blossomed this year which is surprising – how you can fall more in love overtime, when you don’t think it can be possible, but our relationship is like a great wine, it seems to get better with time.
  15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home? Menu planning for each month has been pretty great – it’s one of the few “chores” that I always enjoy.
  16. What was your most challenging area of home management? Finances have been tough on me this year. Being pregnant and then sleep deprived have made it hard to keep the numbers together, I’ve mostly handed the financial reigns over to my husband but I think I’d like to get more involved in it again because not being involved makes me less comfortable in some ways – like I don’t have the assurance that we’re doing okay when I’m not personally looking at the numbers.
  17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year? It was probably games on Facebook since I get very little out of the “applications” i.e. time wasters on FB (as opposed to the positive things I get out of blogging and interacting with my online relationships). I now only play a very, very small number of games. I’ve been purging my FB experience a lot lately.
  18. What was the best way you used your time this past year? Any time spent just enjoying my family has been invaluable.
  19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year? That everything I think I know about myself in an “ultimatum” kind of way, is always subject to change. I am a work in progress and my likes and dislikes change so saying, “I dislike american made cars” or “I don’t like water” or “wheat bread” or other healthy foods has been largely proven false this year.
  20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2009 for you. Everything changes, for better or worse. Life moves on with or without you.

Books Read in 2009

With only fifteen minutes left in 2009, I think I can now safely announce the final tally of books read this year. I am about 1/3 of the way through Splendor by Anna Godbersen and with big plans of Indian food and watching movies (Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince if it shows up in the mail tonight as planned) with my husband tonight, I don’t think I’ll be finishing it “this year” although the book is really good so I’m likely to finish it very early into 2010.

I read 28 books and abandoned three this year. To be fair, I’ve also temporarily abandoned Julie and Julia by Julie Powell but I will read it eventually, I swear. I’ve spent most of 2009 wishing I’d read more but now, looking back, 28 seems like a pretty impressive number given the obstacles life has dealt us this year (lay off, moving to a new state, new baby). So I am happy with my number – but I’d love to read more in 2010. I don’t really care how many more, just more. I want to end 2010 feeling as though I read just as much as I wanted to.

Booking Through Thursday asks today what our favorite books from 2009 were. I read a lot of great books this year so here are my Top 10 in order of date:

  1. Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews
  2. Envy: A Luxe Novel by Anna Godbersen
  3. Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde
  4. Revenge of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
  5. The Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart
  6. Waiting For Birdy by Catherine Newman
  7. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
  8. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  9. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  10. Odd Mom Out by Jane Porter

My favorite books for 2009 (like absolute) are a toss up between The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Host by Stephenie Meyer but I highly recommend all ten books listed above and several of the other 18 books read this year.

Read in 2009:

  1. Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews – Finished January 9, 2009 – This memoir was incredible – with a little bit of everything – I learned so much about Julie Andrews that I had never expected and a lot of other fun things, too – you get all sorts of info and tid bits about music, voice training, history, and even housework. Like any great story there are moments to laugh, moments to cry, romance, heart break – and yet this story is real – I loved it. – Full Review
  2. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – Finished January 12, 2009 – I seemed to plow through this book rather quickly and while I enjoyed it, I can’t say I enjoyed it as much as The Magician’s Nephew – or even as much as the movie adaptations that have been made – but I think that is because, unlike most book to movie adaptations – these books are short enough that the movie has the opportunity to give more detail – basically to deliver more of a very good thing. I also can rarely finish a book when I’ve already seen the movie, but I finished this one so that does say something. I didn’t not like it – I just didn’t love it as much as I’d been hoping – but I’m still enjoying the series and plan to continue reading it. – Full Review
  3. Wicked: Witch and Curse by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguié – Finished January 23, 2009 – I really enjoyed this book about an ancient blood feud between two incredibly powerful families – the Cahors witches and the Deveraux warlocks. I love how the mythical elements of magic combine with a modern twist and a love story.- Full Review
  4. The Horse & His Boy by C.S. Lewis – Finished January 29, 2009 – I really liked this book and enjoyed hearing some of the things that came in between The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe and Prince Caspian (having only seen the movies up until recently). It was a moderately quick read with memorable characters and all of C.S. Lewis’s typically wonderful writing. – Full Review
  5. Envy: A Luxe Novel by Anna Godbersen – Finished February 3, 2009 – This book was so deliciously addicting, I couldn’t put it down. The Luxe series seems to get better with each book, as this one is currently my favorite in the series – I really liked the time spent with all the main characters, even the ones you love to hate. And I am of course on the edge of my seat in anticipation of the next book in this series, Splendor. – Full Review
  6. Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde – Finished February 16, 2009 – Jasper Fforde continues to amaze me – probably the best of Thursday Next so far. It had a little of (no that’s a lie, a lot of) everything and I’m very much looking forward to book five. This is probably one of my all time favorite series. – Full Review
  7. Revenge of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz – Finished February 23, 2009 – I think it’s safe to say I completely utterly adored it. All I can say is it’s awesome. Terrific writing, intriguing plots, lovable characters. There is one small completely unsatisfying kiss in this book (if you follow the series, you will know who I’m talking about) that actually brought tears to my eyes and that’s all I will say about that. Loved it. – Full Review
  8. The Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart – Finished March 4, 2009 – I think the second book in this new series might have even been better than the first. I loved the whole thing for much the same reasons I loved the first. I think it’s such a smart, well written book and even better for kids expanding their vocabularies and showing all the different ways you can solve problems, make a difference and be smart. A truly inspiring work. – Full Review
  9. God’s Debris: A Thought Experiment by Scott Adams – Finished March 10, 2009 – Parts of this book kind of annoyed me with a lot of scientific mumbo jumbo that went completely over my head (like sitting in a room with two people talking about something you know nothing about). But other parts I LOVED – Adams has some great ideas about religion, gender, learning, communication and much, much more. – Full Review
  10. Waiting For Birdy by Catherine Newman – Finished March 18, 2009 – This memoir is about a mother’s experience in a second pregnancy – the author also had a 3 year old son at the time of her pregnancy – and so there are comments on pregnancy as well as hopes and fears of raising a second child and securing the relationship she has with her first child. There are a lot of memoirs and books out there on first time pregnancy but not so many on additional children – and this one was excellent to boot. It was the perfect book for me to read right now. – Full Review
  11. Here’s the Story by Maureen McCormick – Finished April 2, 2009 – This memoir was so much more than I thought it would be. She recalls not only her life as the actress portraying Marcia Brady, but her fight with depression, drug abuse, an eating disorder, falling in love, getting married, having children, and trying to attain a better relationship with her parents and siblings against pretty straining odds. I really loved this memoir. – Full Review
  12. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink – Finished April 11, 2009 – This was not an easy read for me – very difficult to relate to, from start to finish, but fascinating. The Nazi Germany history was interesting but what really kept me reading was the unfolding story of the main female character’s secret of illiteracy and how keeping that secret affected her life. I would not say that I loved this book, but I liked it and I’m glad I’ve read it. – Full Review
  13. Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich – Finished April 24, 2009 I always love a good Janet Evanovich book. The between the numbers books are good light fluff, even more so compared to the rest of the series. This one was hilarious and a very quick read. Leprechauns, Atlantic City, hot guys. Good stuff.
  14. The Host by Stephenie Meyer – Finished May 1, 2009 – It took me so long to pick this book up, but boy am I glad I did. I’ll admit it was hard to get into in the beginning, just trying to wrap my mind around the whole body snatching / love triangle thing, but once I got into it I couldnotputitdown. I highly recommend this one to anyone who loves sci fi, love stories or all things Stephenie Meyer – this is a good one! – Full Review
  15. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown – Finished June 8, 2009 – Dan Brown seems to be amazingly good at leading his readers astray. I’m surprised I didn’t guess some of the many twists, after having read The Da Vinci Code, but I was honestly surprised every step of the way. Very enjoyable and thought provoking. – Full Review
  16. Sweet Potato Queens First Big Ass Novel by Jill Conner Browne – Finished July 1, 2009 – I’ve had a copy of this book for awhile and I honestly don’t know why I waited so long to read it – I loved the Sweet Potato Queens’ Book Of Love – this book is, I’m pretty sure, the only fictional SPQ book but it’s just as fabulous. The story is everything that good “chick lit” should be and it’s got everything and lots of it. So funny, so relatable – I highly recommend it! – Full Review
  17. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen – Finished July 8, 2009 – This book was highly addictive. The plot was reminiscent of the movie Practical Magic but still held it’s own – after a couple chapters I had a really hard time putting it down. Delectable. – Full Review
  18. The Funny Thing Is by Ellen Degeneres – Finished July 16, 2009 – I really enjoyed reading this collection of comedic essays – Ellen is probably one of my favorite comedians on the planet. My only complaint with this book is that I would occasionally read a passage that I *know* I’ve heard her perform live. Not that big of a deal, just kind of kills the punch line. Still, I laughed my way through most of the book – it’s a great light read to be sure!
  19. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris – Finished August 5, 2009 – I made the possible mistake of reading this book after having watched Season One of True Blood on HBO. So for the first half of the book, I couldn’t help but compare the two and for awhile, I preferred the tv show, but either the writing got better halfway through, or I just finally got into it. Either way, I ended up really liking it. The book and tv show have a lot of major differences, although some major things like “Whodunnit” are the same. This is probably what made it really hard to enjoy initially – knowing who the killer was. Oh well. I did end up liking it and at some point I plan to read book 2. – Full Review –
  20. 10-10-10: A Life-Transforming Idea by Suzy Welch  – Finished August 25, 2009 – I thought this book was incredibly interesting – I loved the idea of looking at your decisions in the immediate future as well as long term and even longer term and seeing how your values would guide your choices. Welch’s writing style makes this an interesting read so that the entire book felt worth reading even after the simple concept of 10-10-10 was quickly grasped. I’d definitely recommend it. – Full Review
  21. The Baby Fat Diet by Monica Bearden, Shara Aaron – Finished September 14, 2009 – While much of this book contained information I already know, I think it would be supremely helpful for a lot of mothers (old and new) out there who are still trying to lose the dreaded baby weight. Most of the information is practical and relatively easy to implement, depending on your commitment level. While, at times, I thought some of their advice was a bit extreme, I have to remind myself that I am a nursing mother with a lot more calories to spare than the average woman of my size and build. I definitely bookmarked a lot of useful information, which I plan to highlight in my review. – Full Review
  22. Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce – Finished September 24, 2009 – It seems like all of Tamora Pierce’s books are difficult for me to settle into initially and then impossible to put down. So glad I finally got around to finishing the last book in this great quartet. – full review
  23. Queste by Angie Sage – Finished October 23, 2009 – I always enjoy the Septimus Heap series and this one was definitely no different. I love how the story is progressing and it’s always fun to read about magyk and physik especially how the two fields cannot get along at all. I thought the whole “place where all times do meet” thing was very cool and of course now I’m really looking forward to reading Book 5, Syren.
  24. Close Encounters of a Third Grade Kind by Phillip Done – Finished November 8, 2009 – I really enjoyed this book. While I am neither a teacher nor do I have plans of becoming one, I found Done’s musings from 25 years of teaching in Elementary to be something a lot of people can relate to. It brought back memories of my own childhood and had me looking forward to the future with my own children. – full review
  25. Finger Lickin’ Fifteeen by Janet Evanovich – Finished November 20, 2009 – This series has had some ups and downs, not all books as good as the others but Evanovich has definitely still got it. I really enjoyed the fifteenth installment of the Stephanie Plum series. There was a lot of good food, a lot of romance and a lot of cars totaled. All the things I love in a good Plum book basically.
  26. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – Finished December 5, 2009 – This is the new “it book” going around the reading blogs. Post apocalyptic of sorts, it chronicles a very disutopian society and their annual hunger games which are sort of like the Olympics except it’s a fight to the death. I really, really enjoyed this book – it definitely lived up to it’s hype. – full review
  27. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins – Finished December 15, 2009 – I devoured this second installment in the new Hunger Games series. I don’t want to say too much for fear of giving anything away, but Book 2 is very fast paced and what you think you know, is rarely true. Collins has written a very intricately deceptive book where the rules seem to constantly change and nothing is all that it seems. I am, like all fans of Katniss and the Games, now anxiously awaiting Book Three.
  28. Odd Mom Out by Jane Porter – Finished December 26, 2009 – This was my first Jane Porter novel and I loved it – whether you consider yourself an ‘odd mom out’ or not, I think there are some universal struggles in this book that any mom or woman can relate to – I highly recommend it.

Didn’t Finish

Books Read in 2008