June 2019: Recap + On My Shelves

Oct 28, 2019

Hi friends! I recently shared where I've been the past four months, and I know that I could just skip ahead to an October recap. But I love these monthly updates, so forgive me as I do a little catching up for the next few days.

1. A Bookish Adventure – Early in the month, we were itching for a little shopping trip. We decided to visit our favorite children's bookstore, The Story Shop, and spent quite a while exploring all of its nooks and crannies. I bought two picture books for my boy and one middle grade for myself. Such a fun morning!

2. Broken Arm for My Boy – Is a broken arm a rite of passage? My sweet boy fell off the playground one Saturday and broke his wrist. Thankfully, it was a common break that heals quickly, so he only had his cast for two weeks. And he's such a great patient! It didn't slow him down one bit, and he was so brave about it all.

3. Reason #789 Why We Love Nick – Nick was traveling a lot in June, and oh how we missed him! My son says Nick is his "best player," and he's right. Whether it's running around outside or building towers or playing farm, Nick is all in. And only Nick takes our son into the dollar store, leaves with foam swords, and immediately battles outside.  

4. Pool Days – We love the pool in our new neighborhood, and we visited it a few times in June.  Thank goodness for a waterproof cast! But the best is when I'm able to go solo. When Nick is working from home, sometimes I'll sneak away to the pool during my son's nap. It's heavenly to be able to read my book and soak up the sun!

Read 20 Books | Favorites:
The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
None Like Him by Jen Wilkin

“I begged time to slow so I could live in this moment a little longer.
Gather all of this up and press these moments between pages like flowers.”
Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

“Most of us can hide our greatest hurts and longings. It’s how we survive each day.
We pretend the pain isn’t there, that we are made of scars instead of wounds.”
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

“It was good, and nothing good is truly lost. It stays part of a person, becomes part of their character.
So part of you goes everywhere with me. And part of me is yours, forever.”
The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

“You can’t change one thing without changing everything. We all exist on this planet, each of us, because of an extraordinary, improbable, random series of coincidences that can’t be repeated.
And everything you do affects everything that happens after.”
The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White

“When terrible things have happened to you,
sometimes the promise of something good can be just as frightening.”
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

“If I am fully known and not rejected by God, how much more
ought I to extend grace to my neighbor, whom I know only in part?”
None Like Him by Jen Wilkin

As always, I started off with the May 2019 recap. Then, I loved The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez so much that I decided to write a full-length review for it. My favorite – and most overdue! – blog posts were the recaps of my trip to England with Kelly. I chatted about the books I read abroad, what I did with my bestie on our trip, and what I've been up to back at home. I'm so glad I was finally motivated to get them done! And my last post of the month is one of my personal favorites every year: pairing vacation destinations with books on my summer TBR.

In addition to a long blogging break, I also took one from bookstagram. And while I've missed my little corner of the Internet, I haven't felt the same about Instagram. I don't think I'll be quitting it completely, but I certainly think my priorities have changed. Now, that being said, here's one of the last "What I Bookstagrammed" updates you'll see for the next few monthly recaps. I shared this post in relation to my UK 2019 Recap! • @soobsessedblog

  Favorite Album: Happiness Begins by The Jonas Brothers
I didn't really listen to much in June, but I did turn this on a few times.
I didn't care about them at the height of their popularity, but I'm a fan now.

Sex and the City, Season 6, starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, and Kim Cattrall –  I was so excited to finally finish watching this series! I started it because Kelly basically forced me, and she basically quotes it all the time. And now I'm done! While it's not something I'd watch again, it was a fun experience overall. 

Younger, Season 5, starring Sutton Foster, Hilary Duff, and Miriam Shor – As I've probably said before, you have to suspend a lot of disbelief regarding the premise and the depiction of the publishing industry. But it's still really fun! Except I might be rooting for the wrong guy? We'll see how it plays out. Time to watch season 6...

Poldark, Season 4, starring Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson – I weirdly hate this show if I try to watch it week-to-week but somehow can't get enough if I wait to binge all the episodes once they're done. Who knows! This was a good season, though I'm more invested in Caroline and Dwight than Demelza and Ross at this point.

Little Women (2018) starring Emily Watson, Maya Hawke, Kathryn Newton, Willa Fitzgerald, and Annes Elwy – Nick got me this mini-series for Christmas, and I'd been meaning to watch it ever since. While it doesn't hold a candle to the 1994 movie, I did like it. But I'm way more excited for this upcoming version!

Outlander, Season One / Part One, starring Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan – This was a re-watch because I was intending to finally get caught up on the show... and that still hasn't happened. In fact, I still haven't watched any more Outlander since June. Oops! While it's a little slow, I do love seeing this story come to life on screen.

Late Night (2019) starring Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson – I was determined to see this in theaters because I love Mindy Kaling, so I took myself on a solo movie date. I ended up thinking it was just okay and just didn't find myself laughing nearly as much as I'd expected. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. What a bummer!

Bought: Mythology by Edith Hamilton, The Southern Side of Paradise by Kristy Woodson Harvey and The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall (not pictured)

Book of the Month: Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand

Gifted: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (thank Mom!) and Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (thanks Kristen!)

Kindle: Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh, The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty, Descendant of the Crane by Joan He, Devil's Daughter by Lisa Kleypas, and Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers

NetGalley: Someone to Honor by Mary Balogh and Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

'For this child I prayed...'

Oct 25, 2019

Where have I been the last four months? Growing a baby! My second boy will be making his arrival in February. We’re all so excited for this sweet answer to prayer! I can’t believe I’m already more than halfway through this pregnancy and know the next few months will fly by. I've been savoring these days with a little boy who can’t wait to become a big brother, cherishing the memories we're making and praying over what's to come.

Back in June, I felt like I needed a break from Instagram. I figured that after a week or two, I’d be back to posting regularly. But then… I didn’t miss it like I thought I would. Since the timing happened to coincide with some major first trimester exhaustion, my short break away turned into one month, then two, and now here we are! I decided to take a step back from blogging, too, as evidenced by silence on here lately. I’ve still been reading, but it’s been so nice to stop thinking about writing reviews, posting photos, or accidentally obsessing over likes, comments, and followers. It’s just been all about the books... and getting ready for this baby!

My future on Instagram is looking a little different than I’d once imagined. I’m planning on posting there again, just more sporadically. But I've missed this little corner of the Internet so much more – maybe because I still personally prefer reading blog posts over social media? I know creating and consuming this content can take more time, but it brings me more satisfaction. So, I'm hoping to post more regularly on here for the next few months (until I likely take another break in those early newborn days). But we shall see what happens!

Regardless, I've been itching to open up a draft and write. I rarely get super personal on here, but I want to for a moment – even if only to look back on for myself. When I was growing up, I thought I wanted to have four kids. I'm the oldest of four and always loved having a big family, so I figured I'd have the same one day. Nick wasn't convinced we needed four kids (ha!), but we both couldn't wait to become parents. When it took me longer than I'd expected to get pregnant that first time, I realized that my dreams might have to change. 

My sweet boy was the answer to our prayers, and he was born during a year that was really hard for my family. We'd call him our "bright spot," and he truly brought us so much joy in a season we needed it most. In all the time I spent waiting for him, I never imagined that I'd look back one day and know that he wasn't born one minute too soon or too late. God's timing was perfect, even when I couldn't see it in the years I spent praying to get pregnant. I now read Hannah's statement in 1 Samuel 1:27 and feel it in my soul, "For this child I prayed..."  (emphasis mine). 

With my firstborn, God was teaching me to have a heart of gratitude. I've blogged a little before about how I try to parent from a place of thankfulness. I don't always get it right, but I look back at these past three and a half years with such overwhelming joy. I've certainly seen my own selfishness and sin – have lost my temper, been impatient, lamented how I didn't have time to do what I wanted to do – but I've also felt a deep sense of peace about being right where God wants me. I'm thankful for this parenting journey, in all of its highs and lows.

When my sweet boy turned one in 2017, my husband and I started talking about having a second. Once again, a year passed... then two... and I still wasn't pregnant. And I kept asking God to give me contentment, to let me celebrate the gift I'd already been given, and to mean it when I said, "If one is all we have, it's enough." I didn't want all my energy and emotions to be wrapped up in whether we could have another child. As I now rejoice over another boy joining our family, I'm also grateful for the peace I've had the past few years. It might seem like that's easy for me to say now that I'm five months pregnant, but I think the people in my life would vouch for it, too. This time hasn't been defined by trying, waiting, disappointment – the things I remember about the years before my first. We have been trying, and we did wait, but I've felt content and know that came from God.

I don't know if we'll one day have those four kids that I thought I wanted. I can't see that far down the path in front of me. But I do know who walks beside me, and I am learning to trust Him – even when I'm "prone to wander," as my favorite hymn says. And here's one more thing I love about Hannah in the Bible – she knew that the son she prayed for, Samuel, didn't really belong to her. He was God's first. As much as I love my sons, the one I know and the one I have yet to meet, God loves them more. Parenting calls me to both sacrifice and surrender, two things that don't come easily. But God is faithful, even when I'm not, and I'm thankful that He has entrusted these two boys to our care. It is a privilege that Nick and I don't take lightly. 
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