Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Books We Read in May

May was a pretty prolific reading month for me - I read 8 books. It helped that I had no evening commitments during my work trip to Denver so I did lots of reading in the evening during that trip. 

My reads:

These were my favorites! Dinners with Ruth is a memoir about the friendship between NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg and RBG. They were both trailblazers in their respective fields so it was an inspiring read. I've already told you about A Heart That Works - it was a heart-breaking, cry-inducing read. Their son was Will's age when he died so it really hit home for me. Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club is J. Ryan Stradal's latest book. He writes books set in Minnesota as he grew up here. They have a kitschy vibe to them but I like them! Trigger warning for infertility. There are other triggers but it would be a spoiler to share, so if you are a sensitive reader, do some research. If We're Being Honest has been on several summer reading lists. It's a debut novel about a family gathering for the patriarch's funeral. It's a character driven novel about family secrets. Symphony of Secrets is the sophomore novel by Slocumb who is now known for writing "musical thrillers." I don't know that thriller is the right term to use, though, but it is suspenseful. This novel is about scores of music that were stolen from a black composer. I didn't like this as much as his debut but still enjoyed it. Lastly, Romantic Comedy is an excellent romance that will make my best books of the year. It's mostly set on an SNL-type of show. Much of it takes place during the pandemic but I thought that aspect was handled really well. 

These were less successful reads for me. Vita Nostra is a book I never would have read if it wasn't chosen for book club. I struggled through this book and ultimately did not give it a rating on goodreads because I am not the intended audience for this book. I'm looking forward to our book club discussion tonight, though, as some in our group loved it. Happy Place is Emily Henry's latest romance and probably my least favorite of her 4. As an enneagram 1, I found the plot of the book completely unrealistic/unbelievable. I can not imagine breaking off my engagement AND NOT TELLING MY BEST FRIENDS. There were other plot lines that didn't work for me either. I had a great exchange with Stephany, who is an enneagram 9. She liked this much more than me as she could relate to the protagonist.

The boys' reads:

Paul's reads stand out the most this month (Will reads the same books over and over so nothing new/novel there). First off, this was our favorite picture book. It has some Spanish mixed in. We read this so many times and Paul has asked for a copy for Christmas. It's about a handsome cat that is walking around with 9 kittens (gatitos in Spanish). There is some counting in the book and lots of humor. I could read this one over and over again. The cat has such swagger!

Now for the less successful read. We've been slowing working our way through Stuart Little. We both enjoyed it until the final 3rd of the book. This is a spoiler, but the book was published in 1945 and it seems like there should be a statute of limitations on spoilers for books? Skip ahead if you don't want the ending spoiled. In the book, Stuart is looking for his bird friend, Margalo. I assumed, since this was written for children, that she would be found. But she wasn't! It ended so abruptly and was so very dissatisfying. Also the book did not age well as there were references to smoking/cigarettes. Here's Paul's review which he dictated for my goodreads review: "That's it? All that and he doesn't find Margalo? You've got to be kidding me. Fiddlesticks." 

What chapter books have your kids enjoyed? The classics we've read haven't been super successful (Socks, Stuart Little, Mr. Poppers Penguins). What was the best book you read this month?

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Weekend highlights

We had a fun, full weekend! The weather was picture perfect. Here are some highlights! 

- I ran 4 miles by myself on Saturday and Monday mornings. The water of the lake I run around was like glass both days and I saw some baby geese on Monday! Both runs were those ‘pinch me, I can’t believe I live here!’ kind of moments!


- On Saturday morning we walked/scooted to the grocery store/ Starbucks - the boys shared a donut and I had a latte (Phil was grocery shopping). Then we walked 2 blocks to the library, spent some time there, and walked home. Mornings like the one I had on Saturday are why we love living in Minneapolis proper. I love that we can walk to all of these places and I can run on walking/running paths (there is a bike path, too). 

Some of our library haul!

- After quiet time, Will insisted we go to the ‘geese house’ to play with the toys. He chose this over the park! So I hung out at the geese house and Paul and Phil went to the park. I forgot to mention that when I met the geese house people recently, I asked about the costumes - it turns out there is a catalog (!!) that they order costumes from and some are made by the mom of the geese mom. 

A bee and a graduate

- On Sunday we hit up the children’s museum before spending the rest of the day with my MIL. The museum was fun but seems to always involve me carrying a flailing, screaming toddler out at the end. We had a nice day at my MIL’s although our plans to get ice cream at the local spot were foiled by a super long line. :( So we went to DQ instead which was still great. 

The car wash area is his favorite!

- I cleaned most of our fridge on Monday. This is an odd high but it was so satisfying. I still need to clean the fruit and veggie drawer and the door compartments. But it looks 100 times better. 

- We ended our weekend with a delicious (mostly) grilled dinner (I made the corn in the instant pot). The skewers are one of our fave summer meals - shrimp and pineapple skewers (we skip the lime juice and scallions). 

There were some lows, but more highs than lows!

How was your weekend? What were some highlights? 

Friday, May 26, 2023

5 Things Friday

Happy Friday! It's a long weekend for us here in the states since Monday is Memorial Day. Here are 5 things on my mind today. 

1. I don't always love long weekends but I'm welcoming this one with open arms because the weather forecast is EXCELLENT. Parenting is far more enjoyable (for us) if we can be outside with our kids. I envision lots of park time. We'll also be celebrating my MIL's 80th birthday which will feature a stop at a local ice cream place in the city where she lives (White Bear Lake). 

Will was very proud of himself for being able to hang from a bar on the playground last weekend.

2. I'm happy to report that work has finally quieted down! I still have 3-5 client meetings most days but that is nothing compared to the last 2.5 months. On Wednesday, I met my retired colleague for coffee in the morning and then met another former colleague for an early happy hour in the afternoon. There is NO WAY I could have done either and certainly not both in the same day during the last couple of months. 

3. Paul and I have read the most recent Ranger Rick Jr. magazine 4 times this week. He is so obsessed with animals thanks to Wild Kratts (my favorite PBS kids show by far!) so he loves Ranger Rick Jr! The comic in this month's magazine was about the game Simon Says so we taught him how to play that game. Phil, being the genius he is, used it as a strategy to get him to do some tidying. Simon says put the shoes on the mat, simon says put a toy in the toy basket, etc. Paul has since caught onto this and really protests if he has to do any chore type of action as part of the game. But it was nice while it lasted! (Our kids do tidy up but our house is rarely perfectly tidy so there is always some cleaning up to do).  

4. Yesterday we had an open house for kindergarteners at the public school in our neighborhood that Paul will attend this fall. A lot of people have asked me if I am sad about him starting kindergarten and the answer is - no. He is very ready for kindergarten and I know he'll love school and thrive there. I have yet to get sad when my children celebrate another birthday. Perhaps that makes me sound like a monster to some, but I am an ISTJ. This personality type tends to be very practical and pragmatic. I'm sure a day will come when I will feel sad that he is leaving certain stages behind, but I am very glad to have the baby and toddler stage behind him as I think I am best-suited to parent school-aged children! So bring on kindergarten - and declining childcare expenses (Paul will go the school's before/after care but it's much cheaper than full time daycare). 

Enjoying some ice cream at the open house!

5. I'm reading a very sad book right now. It's the memoir, "A Heart That Works" by Rob Delaney - star of the show Catastrophe. We didn't care for that show but I felt drawn to reading his memoir after hearing such good things about the book. It's a memoir about the loss of their 2 year old son to brain cancer. Why do I read such sad books? Am I a glutton for punishment? 

How will you spend your holiday weekend? Do you feel drawn to sad, heart-wrenching books? 

Monday, May 22, 2023

100th Celebration + More About My Grandma

We had a great time celebrating my grandma’s 100th birthday! We got to my parents around lunchtime on Friday. It was a cool, windy day so not a good lake day (my parents live on a lake). By the end of the day it had warmed up enough that it was nice out back. Phil and I have an ongoing disagreement about what is considered the front and back of my parents lake home. For me and my family, the ‘front’ of the house is the part that faces the lake; the ‘back’ faces the road. 

Playing with nana’s new bubble toys!

The 6 of us went out for an anniversary dinner at one of our favorite spots in the town my parents live near - Battle Lake. The boys did well all in all. 

Saturday was all about celebrating my grandma! I went to the church where her party was in the morning to help get the space set up/help with food prep. I was glad I could get a photo with my grandma before people arrived! 

My beautiful grandma and me

My grandma and her 3 living children. My dad Paul (my son’s namesake), the eldest, is on the left. She had 4 children but my aunt Betty died from cancer nearly 10 years ago. 

Phil stayed back at the house with the boys and brought them after Will’s nap. They were confused by the ‘party’. Most of the birthdays they’ve attended have been at parks. Luckily there was a ‘wiggle room’ at this church with lots of toys so they hung out there. I am glad I had an hour at the party to mingle before they arrived. 

They did enjoy the birthday desserts - cake and cupcakes!

After the party, my grandma headed back to her home at an assisted living center (she was exhausted!) and we had a little after party at a restaurant. It was nice to get some extra time with extended family. 

We left Sunday morning so we could get home for Will’s nap and to tackle laundry, groceries, etc. It was a very short trip - less than 48 hours - but it was worth it to be there for my grandma’s celebration. 

In my last post, some of you asked some questions about my grandma, so here are the answers, plus a couple I added! 

Have I observed anything that explains her longevity?

I think it mostly comes down to genetics. Although I will say she has always been careful about sun exposure which I think is a large part of why she looks so amazing! It was not ‘in fashion’ to be tan when she was growing up like it was for my generation. She also did a lot of walking for exercise. She would walk every day with a friend. Lastly, she loved puzzles and was an avid scrabble player so she kept her mind active. I’ve only beat her at scrabble once in my life!!

Does she live independently?

She lived independently with my grandfather until he passed away in 2009. The next year she moved into an apartment but was incredibly lonely so she moved into assisted living after a year in that apartment and has been there for the last 10+ years. Initially she said she was not interested in the social events but she quickly became the social butterfly of the community. Her favorite activity is Wii bowling. 

Is she in good health?

Overall I would say she is in good health, all things considered. She has never had a joint replacement and has only started to complain about joint pain in the last several years which is impressive! She has had high cholesterol and blood pressure for most of her life but it’s controlled by medications. 

Her mind is incredibly sharp. Last summer when we visited her, she asked Phil about the recent increase in interest rates and how it was impacting our work. Phil could not believe she still pays attention to things like interest rates! What is most impressive to me is how she has adapted to today’s technology. She’s active on Facebook and I introduced her to wordle last year - she plays every day. She also emails which is the primary way I keep in touch with her. 

Her biggest issue is that she has horrible macular degeneration. She’s nearly blind as a result and can no longer do many of her favorite things like read, crochet or work on crossword puzzles. Even watching tv is hard but that doesn’t prevent her from watching college and professional football. She is a HUGE Vikings fan and follows the team very closely. We kept hoping the Vikings would make it to the superbowl again in her lifetime but it seems unlikely. 

How does she feel about turning 100?

When we saw her around her birthday last year, she told us she did not aspire to turn 100. I think she would be happy to peacefully pass away at this point. My grandpa died 14 years ago and while she has endured that loss with such grace, I know she misses him dearly. They had this magical marriage. I never saw them exchange a cross word and I spent A LOT of time with them. They traveled around the country in their motorhome and would memorize poetry together; then they would recite poems for the family. She said that every time she made a meal for my grandpa he would say, ‘Janet, that was so good!’ He’d say it even if she had prepared something simple and he genuinely meant it. 

Aside from losing her husband, she’s lost all of her and my grandpa’s siblings, lots of extended family and nearly all of her friends have died. She also lost my aunt to cancer 10 years ago. I don’t think any parent would want to outlive their children. I certainly don’t. 

To wish for her to continue to live would be selfish on my part. So my wish for her is that she peacefully passes. I will be sad, of course, but feel incredibly lucky that she got to meet Phil and saw me become a mom/met my boys. I think she’s squeezed everything she could out of life and had a meaningful impact on mine. She knows how much I adore her and how I treasure the memories we made so there’s nothing left unsaid - which is such a gift. 

Wow, what a heavy end to a post - but as I get older, I’m working on increasing my comfort level with the end of life, especially when it’s not untimely. 

Thursday, May 18, 2023

TGI Almost-Friday

Happy almost-Friday! Today is my "Friday" as we took tomorrow off so we could go up to my parents lake home for the weekend for a big celebration - see details below. Here's how our week shaped up!

The book I finished was Symphony of Secrets by Brendan Slocumb. This was his sophomore novel (his debut was The Violin Conspiracy, which I really enjoyed). His books are classified as musical mysteries/thrillers. I'd say they are heavier on the mystery aspect although this recent release had more of a thriller aspect to it - which I think was a little bit overdone/overdramatized. But I still really enjoyed the book. You don't have to love/understand music to appreciate these books, though, but it will add to the experience if you have knowledge of music.

The high of my week was the beautiful weather we've had! Spring/summer/early fall nights are far superior to the cold months of the year because we can be outside after dinner. If it was up to Will, he'd live outside. He wakes up crying to go outside and asks to go outside as I'm giving him his final kiss goodnight in his crib at the end of the day. So the more we are able to be outside, the happier everyone is.

Will watering my Mother's Day petunias

The low of my week was nothing in particular. It's nice to have a week where there wasn't a glaringly obvious low point! If I had pick something, I'd say challenging toddler behavior (often related to wanting to be outside instead of, say, taking a bath or eating breakfast). 

A show I watched was the finale of the show, A Million Little Things. The finale gutted me and made me cry and that says a lot because I do not cry very easily. I'd recommend this for fans of This Is Us. Phil would describe it as "emotionally manipulative" (ha!) which is how he described This Is Us, but I loved the show. Besides that, I've been watching Top Chef. I'm loving this international season! They've been in London so far but will go to Paris for the finale which thrills this Francophile!!

For workouts I ran on Monday and that's it unless I can count chasing my kids around as exercise! I'm hoping to get a couple of runs in this weekend but I also want to enjoy the limited time we'll have with my parents (we'll get there around lunch on Friday and leave Sunday morning). 

The best money spent was on greeting cards for the MANY May birthdays we'll celebrate - my nephew, MIL, sister and grandma all have birthdays in the span of a week! And holy moly, greeting cards have gotten EXPENSIVE!

My plans this weekend include CELEBRATING MY GRANDMA'S 100TH BIRTHDAY! Yes, all caps is warranted! She turns 100 today and we are having an open house celebration for her on Saturday. I grew up about 1/2 mile from my grandparents and spent TONS of time with them as a child. I didn't realize how lucky I was at the time, but as I've gotten older, I can appreciate the charmed childhood I had. My grandpa had a shop next to our house where he'd renovate antique engines with his brothers. So I would mosey over there during the day and talk their ears off. And then I'd bike down to my grandparents house and talk my grandma's ear off while enjoying cookies, fruit roll-ups, and the occasional ultimate treat - my very own can of Coke!! We did not have soda in our house much so getting to have my very own can of coke was quite the thrill! 2 of my 4 siblings will be at the celebration this weekend and I'll get to see a lot of extended family, too. I know Paul will be thrilled to play with some of his older cousins. Oh, and Phil and I also will celebrate our 6th anniversary tomorrow but we won't do anything special as we'll be soaking up time with family. I'm hoping we can finally go on a date to belatedly celebrate it this summer. My retired co-worker's daughter would like to babysit our boys so we are hoping to schedule something once school is out as she's busy with track and end of year activities. 

Do you have any living grandparents? Did you grow up close to your grandparents? My mom's parents lived about an hour away. We saw them pretty frequently but there's nothing like having your grandparents a short bike ride down the road! 

Monday, May 15, 2023

Weekend Highs and Lows

I hope everyone had a nice Mother’s Day weekend! We had a pretty good weekend, all in all. 


- Phil got me some hanging baskets for our front porch for Mother’s Day. I neglected to get any last summer and felt like our house looked kind of sad so I am glad we will have baskets this year. He got pink petunias. We get a TON of sun so need something that can tolerate the heat and apparently petunias can! 

- The boys got haircuts on Saturday. Their hair grows crazy fast so I told them to cut it very short this time so we could go longer between haircuts. Phil thinks they look like they are going into the military but oh well! At least we can wait quite awhile before they need another trim! 

- We had a nice morning at the zoo although my boys seem to think it’s a race to see who can get through the zoo the fastest. 

Paul has the wingspan of a peregrine falcon


- One thing I took over for my retired coworker was pulling data for our fixed income weekly update. I’ve been doing it for 6 weeks and the website I use for part of the data pull has been down 2 different weekends! There is an alternate way to calc this data but it would be quite a project to figure it out and I have not had time for a project like this lately (it has to do with calculating excess returns, not that that means anything to any of you!). It doesn’t take a lot of time to pull this data, usually 30-45 minutes if nothing goes wrong, so it’s not the worst thing to have to do. But when it goes wrong, it hangs over me until it’s resolved. 

- The weather wasn’t great. It rained most of the day on Saturday and then again Sunday morning. I wish it would rain during the week instead!

- It was sad to see our awesome neighbors home be packed up. I hope a really cool family moves in but no one could be as wonderful as the people who lived there. I credit my friend for getting me back to running after Will was born. I’ll miss having her just across the street but at least she’s only 20 minutes away. 

What were the highs and lows of your weekend? 

Friday, May 12, 2023

5 Things Friday

 Happy Friday! Here are 5 things on my mind today!

1. My trip to Denver went well. I had a light meeting calendar yesterday so was able to move my flight up and make it home for dinner/bedtime. So I only missed 2 mornings and 2 bedtimes. It was raining for most of my time in Denver and I made the rookie mistake of not packing an umbrella - but at least I wore a raincoat. 

2. I had my evenings free so could get dinner on my own. When I checked in, I asked for local recommendations that were walking distance away. This seemed to throw the front desk person off which is odd to me. Maybe she was new? I worked at a front desk at a resort in college and had a schpeel down for restaurant recommendations. The front desk person did offer some up, but one of her recommendations was Maggiano's - which is a chain. Perhaps this makes me snobby but I would rather not go to a restaurant chain for dinner while traveling. I do eat at a lot of chains for lunches, though, especially Chipotle.

3. Ultimately I found some good spots with good gluten free options thanks to Yelp! But the place I went to on Tuesday night had you scan a QR code for the menu. I HATE THIS TREND. I get that it made sense during the pandemic, but I am a tactile person and would prefer to page through a menu versus looking on my phone. For example, I generally do not like using my phone for recipes - I print them out and file the winners in a recipe binder. (I know this is not green but we do recycle). The resort we went to in Mexico last December also exclusively used QR code-based menus. It just takes away from the dining experience for me a bit. Yes, I am showing that I am an elder millennial by saying I dislike this use of technology. 

4. This weekend is Mother's Day. I do not have strong feelings/expectations when it comes to this holiday. When I was a kid, I remember my mom saying all she wanted for Mother's Day was for no one to fight for the entire day. She would also enjoy a free sundae from the Tastee Freeze, which was our local DQ type of spot. Now that I'm a mom, I can see how this is a great gift - no fighting and free ice cream! If I could wish for anything, it would be a day without whining, but I know that's not going to happen! So instead I'll wish for weather nice enough that we can be outside a lot because that is the recipe for a good day in our family. I don't want/need any sort of gift, though. But gifts are dead last on my list of love languages. I think my MIL is going to come over for the day and we'll get take out. 

Speaking of being outdoors, Paul finally got to use the stomp rocket toy he got from us for his birthday. This toy was a hit as both boys enjoy it! Ignore our sad yard... the last 2 summers we've had a drought and now we have slugs or something. We will not be winning yard of the week.

5. I'll close with something more fun. I finished "Romantic Comedy" by Curtis Sittenfeld early this week and thought it was DELIGHTFUL. Much of the book is set during the pandemic so if that's tough for you to read about, this would be one to skip. I love Sittenfeld and have read most of her books. This was the perfect pick-me-up page turner. I imagine it will land on lots of summer reading lists. 

How was your week? Do you hate QR code-based menus as much as me? How will you celebrate Mother's Day?

Monday, May 8, 2023

A better weekend + Denver bound

I’m happy to report that last weekend was much better than the last several. Better weather makes a huge difference. Will in particular LOVES to be outside. He literally wakes up and goes to bed asking to go outside! 

Will still primarily communicates by whining but hopefully this stage ends soon. I’ve tried saying I can’t understand him when he whines (excellent tip, Suzanne!) but I think he’s too young to quite grasp that. But I am definitely using that for Paul who IS old enough to grasp that and I will keep trying with Will until he understands. 

The weather wasn’t great on Saturday as we had a lot of rain but the morning was decent so I ran with my neighbor (which was probably our last run before she moves - sob!). Paul woke up with a rash which we think is an allergic reaction to something so we skipped the library and gymnastics that morning as the optics of bringing a rashy kid didn’t feel right. 

Sad rashy kiddo

So instead we went to a local park while Phil went grocery shopping. It was wet but another mom at the park had a towel with and wiped lots of stuff off. 

Paul looked better that afternoon after taking some Claritin so we went to the library after quiet time. They had swapped out the toys for space-themed toys and there was a planet search and find. Paul is very into space so he was THRILLED!!

We spent sooo much time outside on Sunday. It was a gorgeous, sunny day. Finally!! We had Paul’s party at a park in the morning. I took no pictures as we were busy corralling Will and talking to parents. It was a really fun morning! We brought donuts and juice boxes - not healthy, but it is a birthday party so we figured some sugar was fine. 

Phil went to his mom’s with Paul after quiet time on Sunday so I was on Will duty for the rest of the day. Right when he woke from his nap, we headed out for a walk. And on that walk, we finally met the couple that lives in the house with the costumed geese, which longer term readers will know all about! They switch out the costumes probably every 2 months or so. The wife was delighted to hear how much joy her geese bring us. They also have lots of toys out along their sidewalks for kids to play with. I’m usually on a mission to get a fast walk in so we usually don’t stop to play but this time we did. We were there for 40 minutes and it took a lot of cajoling to get Will back into the stroller! 

A fisherman and a shark!


We were basically outside until dinner time which made the day more enjoyable than recent weekends when we were cooped up inside. 

Tomorrow I head to Denver. I’ll be there through Thursday doing meetings with 2 different sales reps and will also spend a half day in our Denver sales office. The week is going to fly by! Hopefully the market volatility calms down so I don’t have too much work to do when I get back to the hotel each day. 

How was your weekend? 

Friday, May 5, 2023


Happy Friday! We made it through another week and the weather has improved finally!

The book I read this week was Vita Nostra which is my May book club book. It's fantasy with some time looping aspects so it is very out of my wheelhouse. But so far it's pretty good albeit a little longer than I think it needs to be. It was written by a Ukranian author so it a translated work of fiction. It was positioned as being Harry Potter'esq. 

The high of my week was a fun going away party for our neighbors on Wednesday. I'm very sad that my very good friend/running partner is moving. She's staying local so I'll still see her, plus she’s in my book club now - but there's nothing like having your running partner across the street! But 3 families got together to send them off and it was such a fun night!

The low of my week was work. Stress in the banking sector continues and it's starting to feel endless. The last 2 months have been the hardest of my career. I'm sure the fact that my colleague/mentor retired during all of this is not helping.

A show we are watching is the documentary about the Boston marathon bombing in 2013. The details of that time are kind of fuzzy for me because I had JUST moved to Charlotte (through what was basically a forced relocation) for my job... But I do vividly remember the actual bombing as we saw news coverage on the trading floor and I was devastated to learn that a marathon was the target of terrorist activity. But I forgot all the details around how the culprits were captured, etc. It’s a 3-part series that is really well done. It’s a truth is stranger than fiction kind of story. If this was the plot of a book I would think - stop, this is too much/not realistic. 

For workouts <insert crickets> I haven’t done anything besides take a couple of walks or play outside with the kids. I got a bad head cold late last week thar sidelined me from running over the weekend. In normal times, I can run on Monday and Friday mornings before logging into work and I had high hopes of leaving a bit early or lifting some weights during lunch time once/week but I’m too busy to do that. Hopefully things calm down soon. 

The best money spent was $11 on some dress pants at the consignment store by our house. I needed a new pair of black pants and was happy to not pay much for them!

My plans this weekend include nothing tonight, going to the library and gymnastics on Saturday morning and Paul’s park birthday party on Sunday. Hopefully the weather works out so we can have it! 

How was your week? Are you friends with anyone on your block? There are a couple of families with similar aged kids that we’ve gotten to know well. Beyond that there are several families we loosely know. Overall I love the vibe of our block!

Monday, May 1, 2023

What we read in May

It’s a new month! Yay! I am not sad to see April go because that means we are closer to summer and warmer weather! April was a solid reading month for me since I had flights to LA, Tucson, and Chicago. On work trips, I tend to read on flights (Delta’s free WI-FI has been awful so working isn’t an option) and a lot in the evening if I don’t have dinners at night. So I managed to read 8 books! 


These were my favorites! Hello Beautiful will for sure make my top 10 books of 2023 - and how gorgeous is the cover!! It was sooo good. It’s a character driven novel about 4 sisters that live in Chicago. We watch their lives unfold over several decades. I think it will especially resonate with those with bigger families. This would be an excellent bookclub book. Jacqueline in Paris is a historical fiction novel about Jackie Kennedy’s junior year in post-war Paris. I’m a huge fan of Jackie and this was well-researched and particularly focused on the fear of communism in the wake of WWII. Lastly I Have Some Questions For You has Serial season one vibes as it’s about a podcaster that returns to her high school boarding school to look into a murder that happened during her senior year in 1995. I loved this author’s previous book, The Great Believers; this book was very different but still excellent. I heard an interview of the author and she doesn’t love being compared to Serial but it’s hard to not draw that comparison.


The last 5 were all great! Bully Market is a memoir about a woman’s experience working on the trading floor at Goldman Sachs in the early aughts. I probably wouldn’t recommend it unless you work in finance or are curious about the horrid treatment of women in finance (which has luckily significantly improved but still has a ways to go, especially on the ‘sell side’ of the industry). Small Things Like These is a slim, quiet Irish novel about a home for unwed mothers that has gotten a lot of buzz lately. I liked it but didn’t love it - I think I would have preferred a longer book with more exposition about what was happening but it was still great. More Than You’ll Ever Know is similar to I Have Some Questions in that it’s about a journalist researching a crime that happened many years ago. It’s about a woman who was living a double life - she has a husband in TX and another in Mexico. When one finds out about the other, he allegedly kills the other husband. Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing is about Matthew Perry’s struggle with alcohol and drug addiction. I think he said he spent $7 million on rehab programs! It was a sad memoir that made me wonder how anyone kicks addiction given that an incredibly wealthy, privileged person barely kicked it. I read Girls They Write Songs About after reading about it on Nicole’s blog (hi Nicole!). It’s an excellent look at a complicated lifelong female friendship and I especially loved that it was set in NYC as that is one of my favorite cities. 

Boys’ reads:

Laying on the ground, reading a book. This makes my heart so happy!

We haven’t checked out anything noteworthy lately so I guess we are in a bit of a picture book reading lull. But Will’s interest in books continues to grow and he will happily read book after book after book! Paul is still learning to read. It’s not something we are pushing as I know he’ll learn to read in school but it is very cool to see him learn to read!! 

Did you read anything great in April?