Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Our Tucson, AZ Getaway

Our Tucson getaway is in the books! Leading up to the trip, it felt like there was a 50/50 chance of the trip happening since we kept hearing about covid cases at daycare. But luckily everyone stayed healthy and w we were able to go!

We opted to fly into Phoenix, AZ so we could take a direct flight. That meant we had about a 2 hour drive from the airport to Tucson, but we figured 2 hours in the car was better than connections which are a total and complete pain and introduce the chance of further delays/stress. All in all, the travel went as smoothly as travel with 2 young kids can go. Here is a day-by-day breakdown of our trip!


Wednesday was a travel day for us. Our flight was at 9:45 so we got up at our usual time. 

Paul did great on the flight. I bought internet for him so he could use ABC Mouse and the PBS Kids ap  on his iPad. They ate allll of the snacks I brought and Paul ate the border of the Delta cookie and then decided he didn't like it. Will napped for about an hour of the flight. I wasn't sure if he would nap in my arms since he hasn't done that for ages besides when he is sick. So I was pleasantly surprised when he napped! Paul did a great job of wearing a mask when he wasn't eating and drinking. I commented to Phil that his mask compliance was better than some of the adults we saw!

After landing and getting our rental care, we grabbed Chick Fil A on the way and arrived in Tucson around 4pm. Will screamed for about the last 40 minutes so we were all very happy to get out of the car! We stayed at my parent's Airbnb. They rented a 3 bedroom place so they would have plenty of room for us. My sister came over for the evening with my niece Maddy. Paul loved holding her! He can't really hold Will anymore since Will is pretty big!

It was really nice to spend so much time with family! Paul had fun being the big cousin/brother and played really well with the babies.

Reading bedtime books with Nana

Our first night of sleep was pretty awful. We shared a room with Will and he was up several times during the night and then up for the day at 5. Gaining an hour was really hard for him and he was up at 5 every day of the trip. After that first night, we shared a room with Paul for the remaining nights. Phil and I took turns getting up with Will. It helped to split the early mornings.

Working on a sticker book with Nana 

Since Maddy is just a few months younger than Will, she is on the same 2 nap/day schedule. It was nice to visit someone on the same schedule. On days when we ate out, we ate out at noon and would have dinner at the rental or my sister's. The babies napped in the afternoon and Paul got iPad time then. 

On Thursday, we went to a local Mexican restaurant. This was my first meal INSIDE a restaurant in nearly 2 years so that means it was Will's first restaurant meal ever. He did really well. Him and Maddy shared a quesadilla which came with fries. Will loved the fries which isn't surprising since he's all about carbs. 

After lunch we headed over to a place call Aguas Caliente which is a cool oasis in the dessert. There were lots of ducks and turtles to watch. It felt good to walk off our big lunch!

After the afternoon naps/quiet time, we hit up a park close to Abby's house. Will LOVED swinging!

Maddy turned 1 earlier that week so we checked out one of her gifts - a little scooter. We have the same little scooter at home so need to pull it out for Will when the weather warms up.


On Friday, we had a quiet morning at home. Then Phil met up with his boss for a round of golf. His boss winters in Tucson so Phil decided to golf a round with him. While Phil golfed, the rest of us went to the Tucson zoo. It had been over 2 years since I took Paul to a zoo so he was VERY excited. He had THE BEST TIME! I only took this one picture since I was busy keeping track of him and pushing Will in the stroller. I received a membership to the Mn Zoo from my MIL for my birthday and seeing how much Paul loved this zoo makes me even more excited to take him to the zoo back home. I just need the weather to warm up!

That evening we ordered pizza at the rental. Will would not take an afternoon nap so needed an early bedtime so it was nice of my sister and her family to come to us.

Reading with auntie Abby

On Saturday morning, Phil and I got away for a walk/hike at Saguaro National Park. We headed out when Will went down for his morning nap and were gone for about 2 hours. It was really nice to get away for a bit and enjoy some time together. It was a gorgeous morning!

That evening we went over to my sister's house to celebrate Maddy's birthday. Will was not in the best mood that night. He took a short nap and was constipated for basically the whole trip so he was not as happy as he usually is. 

The birthday girl!

Sunday was another full day of travel. The drive back to Phoenix went better than the drive to Tucson but when we arrived at the airport, we found out our flight had been delayed by about 80 minutes. That meant we landed at 6:30 instead of 5:10. Womp womp. Paul did great on the flight and Will napped for over 90 minutes. I soaked up the snuggles!

We got home around 7:15 I think, ate a quick dinner, got the boys to bed, and were in bed shortly thereafter. 

Final thoughts:

All in all, it was a great trip and so wonderful to feel the sun and be outside without a bunch of layers on. It was pretty tiring, though, but that is travel with young kids. I told Phil that it will only getting easier as they age. I hope. We had Monday off since it was Presidents' Day but daycare was open so we thoroughly enjoyed a day at home without kids. I napped for over 2 hours! That is not common for me so goes to show how tired I was from the early mornings and frequent wake-ups. 

Phil and I had a conversation yesterday morning about whether the getaway was worth the stress of travel... I think that it was still worth getting away but not by a huge margin. We did have a great time when we were in Tucson but gosh the travel aspect and time change is tough with little kids. But I still am glad we went, I just look forward to a time when it's a little more relaxing/enjoyable to travel with our kids? The good news is that Phil and I are hoping to go on a couples trip next December as my parents are willing to watch the boys! Hurray!!

Now it's back to reality, which means I'm back at work and we are in the midst of a snowstorm. I was hoping we'd come back to mild winter temps but it's going to be really cold later this week. But hopefully March will bring warmer temps? I'd be thrilled with temps in the 20-30s so I'm not asking for much!

Do you have any trips planned? This was our first post-pandemic trip. Aside from everyone wearing masks, the airport/plane felt "normal" in terms of the volume of people. But overall we felt very safe traveling. 

Monday, February 14, 2022

Another Cold Weekend + A Stroke of Luck

We had another bitterly cold weekend here. It was too cold to be outside with the boys - our highs were around 5F both days, but with the windchill it was well below zero. So basically time stood still this weekend! I had picked up another haul of library books (Gladys the Magic Chicken by the author of Dragons Love Tacos and Little Witch Hazel were Paul's favorites!) so it helped to have some new books to check out. 

Paul played with playdough for a good hour+ on Saturday morning while Will napped and Phil grocery shopped.

We built a train track and tried to prevent Will from destroying it. He eventually did but Paul was over playing with it by then so it wasn't a big deal. 

Yes, we've hit the awkward smile stage of photo-taking!

I got Will to pay attention to a lift-the-flaps book that included a mirror at the end! He kissed his reflection in the mirror! He also kissed the phone when we FaceTimed with my parents and sister in AZ when he saw his cousin Maddy!

Phil took Will out to his mom's on Saturday afternoon and I stayed home with Will. It was nice to just focus on Will and he took a 1.5 hour nap - and I napped for an hour! Paul came home with a Paw Patrol stationary set which entertained him for about 15 minutes on Sunday.

And Will entertained himself by taking lots of books off the shelf. 

We also let Paul watch The Lion King on Sunday morning while Will napped. I knew many of the songs by heart since I loved that show. It was a bit intense at times for him, but he just hid under a blanket when he got scared. I also played 3 board games with Paul on Sunday afternoon - Hi-Ho Cherry-O, The Hungry Caterpillar Game, and Chutes and Ladders. I lost all 3! My bag of tricks was fully depleted by Sunday evening so I was very much ready for bedtime to roll around...

While it felt like the clock stood still at times, it was a pretty good weekend all in all. We ended it by watching the Superbowl together. Will went to bed during the first quarter and Paul went to bed at half time. We were cheering for the Bengals and were disappointed they lost. BUT all was not lost because I WON $1,500 in a work squares pool! I bought 3 squares for a total of $60 and luckily the halftime and final game scores ended in 3 for the Rams and 0 for the Bengals! I am thinking I will use some of my winnings and treat myself to an afternoon spa day this spring. I could use some TLC and pampering!

The other more important stroke of luck was both boys testing negative for covid. We did at home tests this weekend to make sure we could safely travel to Arizona. I was SO RELIEVED when the tests were negative. I NEED to get out of the cold. I need to be able to leave the house without clothing my children in multiple layers. I need to feel the sun on my skin and actually feel warm! We've had some sunny days, but sunny and 5F is different than sunny and 60F. Of course the weather in Tucson is cooling off while we are there, but it's still 50+ degrees warmer than our weekend temps were so I'll take it!! We'll be visiting my sister and her family in Tucson and will stay with my parents in their Airbnb, so we'll have an extra set of hands to help out with the boys. My parents have said they'd love to watch the boys so we can get away for a hike so I am very much looking forward to that! 

In other news, it's Valentine's Day! Paul will hand out Paw Patrol Valentines that include a sheet of stickers so he was pretty excited about that. That's the extent of our celebrations, though. I thought about getting a heart-shaped pizza for dinner but we won't be around to eat the leftovers so it felt wasteful to do that. So it will be just an ordinary night in our house. I like the idea of doing something a little special for my Valentines but this was not the year to do it!

How was your weekend? Is it terribly cold where you are? Are you as over winter as I am? It's been colder than usual here and I am just SO OVER IT. But this, too, shall pass and we are lucky to have a warm weather getaway this week! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

My 2022 Word: Connection

Oh hey, it's the 2nd week of February and here I am posting about my word for 2022! I knew this was my word early on in January but it's taken awhile for me to organize my thoughts about this word/how I want to live it out in 2022.

I've been thinking about connection for the last couple of months. This line of thinking was sparked by my decision to go off social media in early December. I've taken several breaks in the past. I gave up social media for Lent for the last several years and took November 2020 off because even seeing posts from those with similar political views were stressing me out! But I've always come back after those sabbaticals. This time around, my break is indefinite and possibly permanent. Time will tell. 

So what prompted this change? I started to think about how engaging on social media truly made me feel. Prior to giving it up, I limited myself to 20 minutes/day between Facebook and Instagram. 20 minutes/day doesn't seem like that much time in the grand scheme of things - but that adds up to about 10 hours over the course of the month. So I asked myself if those ~10 hours were fulfilling and net positive for my mental health. The answer was - not really. I love seeing pictures of friends and family but I was glancing at/liking those photos and occasionally commenting but I wasn't engaging with friends in a meaningful way most of the time. I would have had to allow myself more time on social media/day to comment/respond to comments but that can quickly get out of hand.

Additionally, I have become increasingly disappointed in the actions of Facebook/Instagram, especially as it relates to the spread of disinformation. But in particular, the impact of social media on young people is particularly concerning. We watched the documentary, Social Dilemma, which looks at how problematic social media is but especially focuses on the impact on the mental health of children/young adults. I am so so glad that I did not have social media as a tween/teen/young adult. Figuring out how to handle it for our children is going to be very challenging. Luckily we have time to figure this out, though, since our kids are young. But I didn't feel great using a platform that I am disappointed in, so that was another reason to take a break. 

So back to my word of the year - connection. I knew that being off social media would require me to be more intentional about connecting with family and friends. I can no longer quickly glance at a profile to see what is happening in others' lives. So each month, one of the boxes in my monthly overview focuses on connections and who I intend to connect with that month. February connections are with far-away friends - who I all met through blogging, by the way - so they are all via zoom/FaceTime. I've also planned an in-person coffee date for tomorrow with a blog reader that lives in my neighborhood (hi, Anne!). As the weather warms here, more connections will hopefully shift to in-person walks/coffees/etc.

Planned January connections are in the lower right box - I've added to this list since taking the photo, though.

Another thing I want to be mindful of is ensuring there is a 2-way street when it comes to connecting. I really thought about that when I came across this quote in The Comfort Book:

"It's okay to let people find you. You don't have to spread yourself so thin you become invisible. You don't have to always be the person reaching out. You can sometimes allow yourself to be reached. As the great writer Anne Lamott puts it: Lighthouses don't go running all over an island for boats to save; they just stand there shining."

I don't want this to come off as me methodically tracking who reaches out to me or who initiates contact. But I don't want to always be the one reaching out/trying to make plans. I'm naturally good at this so it can be easy to just take that on. I recognize that people go through seasons of life where they are less likely/able to reach out - and I felt that way for much of last year. But I just want to make sure I'm investing time in relationships where I feel the effort reciprocated. 

I'm sure I will report back on how my focus on connection is playing out! I'm also making sure I apply this focus to my relationships with Phil and the boys. With Phil, I want to try to bring back our old habit of playing games together which fell off after we got married/started a family. And I'd like to do some afternoon "dates" with Paul, too. Will gets plenty of focus from me already since he requires so much attention and care (and nurses)! I'm excited to see how I feel at the end of the year and whether I feel pulled back to social media. But I've been off for 2 months now and the longer I am away, the less I miss it.

Did you pick a word of the year? 

Monday, February 7, 2022

This is 41

Yesterday, I celebrated my 41st trip around the sun! It was a very low-key day and not all that different from any other Sunday. But we are playing things extra safe right now in the hopes we will stay healthy and covid-free so we can go to Arizona to visit my sister as planned in 9 days! I NEED to get out of Minnesota and the cold, to feel the sun, and to be able to get out of the house without putting my kids in multiple layers - especially Will. Getting him into winter clothing is like dressing a cat at times... 

This is how Will feels about winter clothing. And winter in general. He's not super thrilled with sledding yet.

Last year's milestone birthday was also low key since we had a 2-month old, were still in the middle of a pandemic, and none of us were vaccine-eligible yet. Maybe/hopefully by the time I turn 42, things will be more normalish? But really, it's not like I rip it up for a birthday in non-covid times. The last time I celebrated a birthday with friends, I had girlfriends over in the afternoon for wine and macarons and we worked on a puzzle! But I hope to do something similar in March. I treated myself to this puzzle for my birthday and bought it on a day when it happened to be on sale on amazon! Score!

If I can't visit Paris (my favorite city in the world), at least I can work on a Paris puzzle with friends.

Overall, I feel very nonplussed about adding another year to my age. 40 did not freak me out either. I had a harder time turning 30 since I entered that decade single and without children - which made me an outlier among my local friends who had all gotten married and started families. I was also exiting a decade where I floundered around to find the right career. I started a new job a month before turning 30 and that ended up being the perfect career for me, but it was too soon to know that at 30. 

I've been in my current industry for over a decade now and couldn't imagine a better fit. I've got a great boss who treats me like an adult which means he doesn't micromanage me and lets me do my thing. And I've got great coworkers who have been extremely understanding as I've navigated health challenges and all the kid illnesses that mean I often need to take a day off with no notice. I'm married to a fabulous person, and I have 2 beautiful healthy children. So really, could I be any luckier than I am?

That said, I am glad the last 2 years are behind me and won't need to be repeated. Covid aside, the last 2 years were particularly hard between pregnancy, which is always very hard for me with all my complications, and the first year of Will's life. I find the first year of a child's life to be particularly challenging, especially for the mom. It feels good to know that I will never be pregnant or have another infant. I know that parenting doesn't magically become easier once your kids are older, but at least I will be dealing with those challenges on a full night of sleep! (I hope?)

So how did I celebrate this quiet birthday? Phil tried to get me some macarons from the downtown Minneapolis bakery that catered our dessert table at our wedding but they have weird hours right now due to covid/low foot traffic. So instead I treated myself to some delicious treats from a local GF bakery, Sift, including this delicious cinnamon roll. I also got my free birthday latte from Starbucks. 

Phil made a Spanish Tortilla for lunch. I do most of the cooking in our house, but his mom taught him how to make this on Christmas Day so this is now his signature dish. He studied abroad in Spain during college and then I visited southern Spain in 2016 so we both were introduced to this in Spain. It's made from eggs, potatoes, and ham and it's delicious!

We went sledding after lunch to get some fresh air and then spent lots of time playing in the basement. Paul made me lots of 'presents' from magnatiles, including this creation which is a "miniturizer." He is super into the show Wild Kratts so that is where he got the idea to make this. I think it's a pretty clever creation.

For dinner, we ordered Indian take-out which was delicious. Our standard order is Malai Kofta and Chicken Vindaloo. I enjoyed some moose track ice cream with m&ms on top for dessert. We closed out the weekend by watching some of the Olympics coverage and then I headed up to bed and started Ann Patchett's new Essay collection - These Precious Days. So far, it's excellent. 

And that was my birthday! I also FaceTimed with my parents and got lots of texts and email birthday messages. So all in all, it was a wonderful day.

As a birthday treat, I've love it if you would comment and say hi! Tell me how long you've been reading my blog and how you like to celebrate your birthday!

Friday, February 4, 2022

Finance Friday: A Deeper Dive Into Food Spending

When I posted my 2021 spending summary, I got a couple of questions related to our spending on food/meals/etc. So I thought I'd do a bit of a deeper dive this week to talk about our spending! Like nearly every category of spending, the amount of spending on food can really vary from person to person but I suspect we are on the lower end of the spending range.

Level setting: I doubt I have many newer readers but in case I do, our little family consists of me, my husband Phil, and 2 little kids, ages almost-4 and 1. I would say that Phil eats less than the average male, probably because he is very lean. We weigh about the same, so eat about the same amount of food which I think is probably not typical for a husband/wife pair. Will is a pretty open-minded eater, Paul is very selective, and their appetites vary from day to day and week to week. 

Dining out:

We likely spend less on eating out than the average couple. I was thinking this was more so related to Covid. We haven't eaten inside a restaurant since the start of the pandemic - we have only eaten outdoors since the pandemic started since I am immune compromised. And in Minnesota, the outdoor eating season is super short - probably about 3-4 months. 

I also thought our lower level of spending was related to having young kids with early bedtimes. But after having an exchange with Kae about dining habits, it made me realize that even pre-kids and pre-covid, we didn't eat out all that often. When we were dating, we probably ate out 1-2 times/month? We definitely chose dining out over take-out back in those days since most food tastes better straight out of the kitchen. We mostly frequented local, non-chain places that were reasonably priced - like the Eastern European deli where we'd split a $16 combination plate that included a sausage, cabbage roll, pierogi, and sauerkraut (I could not eat the pierogies since they have gluten but we'd split everything else) or a Taqueria where a 3-taco combo plate was about $9. Pre-covid, book club was hosted in a restaurant once/month and, for the most part, I did not consider the cost of what I ordered and would often get a glass of wine and split dessert. We ate at nicer restaurants so this would probably run me about $50-60ish/meal but since we ate out so infrequently, especially after having kids, it was a worthwhile expense. Post-kids, I made a goal in 2019 to go on a date once/quarter and those tended to be nicer meals. I think quarterly "nicer" meals out are about the right cadence for us so hopefully in the 2nd half of 2022 we can get back to doing that. 

One area of spending that has increased since having kids is take-out, but I still think it's likely lower than the average family. We probably get take-and-bake pizzas about 1-2 times/month but that costs us $27- the boys split a large pizza and I get my own 12" GF pizza, which lasts me 3 meals. Then about every other month, we get Indian take-out which the boys don't eat. I think Will would like it, but we just make something for the kids to eat. If Paul could get on board with Indian food, I'd be more apt to order more things and make it a family meal, but he's not open-minded enough to eat Indian food... yet. Indian take-out usually costs us about $40 with the tip. Additionally, I get a latte about once/week. 

In January, our total spending on take-out, Phil's lunches on week days, and coffees was $155. 

Grocery shopping:

Last week, we spent $42 at Aldi and $58 at Cub, which is our local big box grocer. I do not pay close attention to our grocery spending so I asked Phil if this was a typical week. He said it's about what we spend on groceries each week. Our total grocery spending for January was $500, so his thought that last week was a typical week bears out since we bought groceries 5 times in January.

Last Saturday, besides our staple items that we buy each week, Phil was buying ingredients for lentil enchiladas, Spanish rice and turkey wild rice soup. We had the majority of shelf-stable ingredients for the enchiladas and rice in our pantry, and the turkey for the soup from a turkey breast I made last week so he didn't have to buy much for the meals I planned. We also had planned to get take-and-bake pizzas one night. Usually I plan 3 meals/week but this week I only planned 2 since we got pizza. Our staple items include eggs, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, fruit, a rotisserie chicken, a container of mixed salad, veggies for my salads, and popcorn. 

Phil does all of our grocery shopping and he will tell you that the biggest way we've saved money over the last several years is by going to Aldi. I really don't know how they charge so little for their products! From my days of working in finance at Target, I know there are "loss leaders" that companies willingly lose money on to get people into the store, but so much of what we purchase at Aldi seems so cheap. Phil stops there first and buys as much as he can from the list we make (we use a shared iPhone note so we can both add items to it). Most of our produce and meat comes from Aldi as well as a bunch of other pantry staples like popcorn, tortilla chips, granola, cereal/granola bars, etc. That means that a majority of the produce/meat we purchase is not organic (some is, like my mixed salad, but much isn't). Phil is naturally very skeptical of things and that includes the importance of buying organic groceries. Insisting we buy only organic produce and meat is not a hill I am willing to die on, so I let him make these decisions. We used to split a local meat share with a friend but it was increasingly more difficult to get to the farmer's market to pick it up when juggling kids and such, and I didn't like that the meat share kind of dictated what we were eating. When we are in a different stage of life where shopping at a farmer's market is easier (nap times have made farmer's market shopping challenging in this stage of life), I'd like to purchase some meat and produce from the farmer's market during the summer months. Maybe this summer will be the year to do that. 

Back to the thrilling topic of shopping! Whatever he can't find at Aldi (which is a number of things - Aldi is not a one-stop place for us), he gets at Cub and/or Target. We go to Target about monthly so most of our other purchases come from Cub.

So with only 3 planned meals, what do we eat at other meals? 

Breakfast: I eat oatmeal with a cut up banana every single day, Paul has a bowl of cheerios and milk every day, Will nurses so I just give him some cheerios or slices of bananas on weekdays. On weekends he eats peanut butter toast, yogurt and fruit. The boys also eat breakfast at school M-F but since we leave for school at 7 and breakfast is at 8:30, they get 2 breakfasts. Phil eats peanut butter toast or a granola bar and sometimes a bowl of cereal on the weekend or when he WFH.  

Lunch: The boys eat at school M-F - and thank God they do! We joke that we wish we were on that meal plan as they eat SO WELL. On weekdays, I eat a salad with rotisserie chicken and various chopped and sometimes roasted veggies nearly daily. Phil buys lunch at work the days he's in the office, which is 4-5 days/week. He spent about $5-8 on lunch so it's pretty inexpensive. He would never pack a lunch because he feels he could not spend less making his own lunch. Pre-covid, I brought my lunch 4 days/week and enjoyed a lunch out once/week, usually a fancy salad that was $12 and worth every penny. On the weekends, Phil often makes eggs so we'll give some to the boys, or we'll have leftovers or easy meals like a can of soup. 

Dinner: All 3 planned meals (enchiladas, soup, pizza) yield several days of leftovers. The lentil enchiladas yielded 4 servings of leftovers, the pizza will yield about 2-3 days of leftovers, and the soup will yield probably 5 additional servings. Will will eat the vegetables from the soup but not much else. Selective Paul won't eat any of the soup. But at least he gobbles up lentil enchiladas (but not the rice - he oddly will not eat rice!). So on the nights when we aren't eating a meal I made, the adults mostly get by with leftovers. The boys sometimes eat leftovers, but also eat simple meals like banana pancakes topped with peanut butter (banana pancakes are made with overly ripe bananas, 2 eggs/banana, and a dash of cinnamon and vanilla), mac and cheese, cauliflower tots, and dino chicken. Clearly our kids eat processed foods. This is another hill I am not willing to die on at this stage of life. I hope they become better eaters with time so we are all eating the same thing every day of the week because the meals I make for Phil and me are not processed foods. We are not there yet, though. 

I am lucky that a) we are happy to eat leftovers and b) I don't mind eating the same thing every weekday for breakfast/lunch! It makes things far simpler to not have to plan 5+ dinners, different lunches/breakfasts, etc. Most weeks, us adults eat 3 meals that are usually pretty healthy (pizza isn't but you can't always eat healthily). I would like the kids to eat more vegetables but that is an uphill battle right now. I hope this changes as they become older and more rational. So far, Will is a pretty open-minded eater but I know that can change because children are fickle! 


Wow, that was a lot of detail about how we eat.  Are you bored out of your mind? I think inside looks at these quotidian aspects of life are fascinating, but I may be in the minority.

Please enlighten me and tell me how you/your family eats? How many meals do you plan/prepare each week? Do you eat the same things over and over like me or do you need variety in your diet? Do you think you spend more or less on dining out and groceries?

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

What We Read in January

 My reading got off to a strong start in January. I gave 2 books 5 stars and my first read of February is going to be a 5-star book, too! I am typically kind of stingy with 5-star ratings but I am working on changing that because it's the best way to communicate "you should read this book." I read 9 books - 5 non-fiction and 4 fiction. That is an atypical fiction/non-fiction split. But my reading is dictated by what eBooks become available at the library! I don't know what my split was for 2021 because I didn't track my reading outside of Goodreads.com. But in 2022, I'm tracking it in a spreadsheet provided by a book podcaster so I have more insight into what I read. And I'll still track on goodreads since I like the social aspect of that site, meaning I like seeing what others read and how they rated it. 

Fiction reads:

All of these were great, but I gave 5 stars to Pony (YA novel that has Western vibes - I'm glad I was motivated to pick this up by Meredith of the Currently Reading podcast. R.J. Palacio is an auto-read author for me now!) and When the Stars Go Dark (excellent literary mystery - trigger warnings for sexual assault, kidnapping, childhood trauma. McLain was in the foster care system and a survival of sexual assault so she handled the topic with such authority and care). 

These were all solid reads, except Welcome to the GD Ice Cube, which is my February book club book. The author writes about time spent in Norway and Alaska during her 20s. I think I am too old for this book as I had a hard time with some of the decisions she made/situations she put herself in. I wish I had read The Sum of Us more slowly - like over the course of 3 weeks instead of in 5 days. The book talks about the false idea that equality is a zero sum game, or put more simply, a pie - meaning improving equality for some takes things away from others. The Comfort Book is a fast read with quotes and passages about taking care of yourself and your mental health. I highlighted several quotes and might write a post about them in the next month or so as there were some really good nuggets of wisdom.

The boys' reading:

I failed to take any photos of the boys' reads last month! We checked out some great books from the library, though. Paul's favorites were the Pete the Cat books I checked out on a whim. He has asked for more. He enjoys the show on Amazon Prime, too, which is very cute! 

Will enjoys books at naptime/bedtime, but otherwise it's pretty hit or miss and I have the most luck getting him to sit still if there is something to touch or flaps. Dear Zoo is still his favorite! Phil changes the ending of that book to the zoo sending them a kitty instead of a dog when he reads it! Ha. We are solidly team cat in this house!

What did you read in January? Anything you'd recommend? Are you stingy with 5 star reviews?