Monday, July 31, 2023

2023 Summer Lake Vacation

We had a really nice time at my parents last week! We headed out Monday morning after I was on a call for work (which went well overall but is something I of course played over and over in my head, wondering if I talked too much!). We usually go to my parents in August but moved the trip up to July this year since I go to Banff in August (!!!). My brother and his 2 kids were there as well and my older sister brought 2 of her kids for the day on Friday so my kids got lots of cousin time! Here’s how we filled the time! 

There was lots of water/sand play, of course! It was HOT most of the days we were there so being in/near water was essential! 

There was lots of family time! 

Hanging with papa! 

Candy land with cousin Anna

Will slept in a room off the kitchen so hung out with my mom, who is an early riser, every morning. She treasured the time and we treasured the extra sleep (although I was up by 6:30 every day but one). 

Ice cream outing with cousin Anna!

It is possible to pout while eating ice cream. 

Getting pushed on the swing by cousin Kolin!

More ice cream with cousins Evelyn and Charlie!

And there was a little bit of fishing! 

Phil did his annual swim across the lake on Wednesday - I kayak ahead of him and then he gets in for the kayak ride back. It’s a long swim - it’s a 25 minute kayak ride back with 2 adults paddling! I think it must be close to 2 miles across! 

Not pictured is all the delicious food that my mom and brother made! We made dinner one night (seared ahi tuna with rice and corn on the cob) but I mostly contributed by helping with dishes. 

I checked emails quite a bit but never had to take my laptop out so all in all it wasn’t too bad. I work this week and then leave for Banff on Sunday morning! It’s not ideal to have 2 vacations so close together but it’s the way it worked out for a variety of reasons that I won’t bore you with! 

Do you have any annual traditions/vacations? We’ve done this annual lake trip since 2019 I think! We are lucky that my parents live on a lake and love hosting us!

Monday, July 24, 2023

Weekend recap + vacation bound

My week-long vacation starts today! Woo hoo! But first - I am presenting on the national sales call this morning. When you get asked to present, you kind of don’t say no since it doesn’t happen all that often. There are over 200 people on the call, maybe even 300 so it’s kind of a big deal. But I will be dancing a little jig when I sign off… although I fear I will end up working a bit this week because my other coworker starts a 2 week vacation on Wednesday and there is a lot of stuff only her and I know how to do… can’t wait for my new hire to start! 

Here’s how we filled the weekend! 

- On Friday night, we went on a family walk to the creek - which is in a very sad state since we are in a nasty drought again. Womp womp. To be honest, this walk wasn’t great… there was much cajoling required to get someone to scoot back home… but we did see some adolescent ducks on the way home which provided some levity.

- I woke on my own at 6:15 on Saturday which rarely happens! Both boys were still sleeping! Paul woke shortly after and Taco slept until 6:40. It was the calmest morning we’ve had in as long as I can remember. Once Phil was up, I went for a 4 mile run and then the boys and I went to the library and gymnastics while Phil made a Spanish Tortilla for lunch. 

Looking cool in mom’s shades

- Taco did not nap that afternoon (or Sunday). I think he is dropping his nap. Sob. We left him in his crib for an hour as we all needed a break! Then I got him up and we headed to a local wading pool/park to give Phil a break after all his solo parenting last week (he went to the driving range). Taco enjoys water way more this summer! Last year you had to really talk him into going in the water. We had to cut this visit short because it looked like a storm was moving in - and of course, like usual, it missed us. 

He’s happier than he looks. This is my picture-hating kiddo.

Paul enjoyed this ‘treadmill’.

- Sunday was a full day. I ran 4 miles again on Sunday and then the boys and I went to a park bday party while Phil did swim club. Then that afternoon we went to Phil’s HS best friend’s house. They live on a lake and are the best hosts! Plus their little boy is close in age to Taco. When we got home, I had to fold laundry and pack so we can hit the road shortly after my call ends in the morning. 

Birthday cupcakes at the party!

Our friends had this amazing water toy! 

How was your weekend? When you take time off work, can you fully unplug? I almost always check emails so I don’t miss anything super crucial/know what I’m coming back to. And I will definitely need to do that for this vacation since my other coworker is out too. Hopefully I won’t get too sucked into work. 

Friday, July 21, 2023

5 on Friday

Whew, what a week! I had a great and productive time in the Bay Area but I am worn out! Here is a 5 things Friday post mostly about my time away this week. 

1. I did manage to see Kyria on Tuesday evening! We did not take a picture together, though. We met for an early dinner at a yummy Mediterranean place. I briefly FaceTimed with the boys as it was the only night I was done early enough to talk to them before they went to bed. But they mostly wanted to see Kyria! Mom - who’s she? Show me Kyria! They got to know her when she visited us in February and love her! 

2. I had extremely full days during this trip. We did 4 meetings on Tuesday, 7 (!!) on Wednesday and 4 more on Thursday before my 4PST/6CST flight back home. I usually don’t do THIS many meetings during a trip but everyone wants to talk about the sector I cover (taxable fixed income). It’s certainly going to help with my meeting count for the year which is already well over 200! 

3. Day 2 was the hardest day as we started at 9 and our 7th meeting was a HH that started at 5 and ended at 7. All the conversations were good but I was so tired that I started to yawn and had to try to disguise that. I kind of tried to stay on central time since I have a busy morning with meetings starting at 8 today so I didn’t want to acclimate to PST… so 7PST felt sort of like 9CST. Yawn. I didn’t quite stay on CST - probably slipped into MST. 

4. After a string of on-time flights, 3 out of my last 4 flights have been delayed, including my return flight back last night. So instead of landing at 9:30, we landed at 10:15. Le sigh. 

5. In non-travel related news, my candidate accepted his offer this week - he will start in early September! I’m really excited about the candidate and hope he will be a great fit. So here’s the funny thing. My colleague/mentor who retired in March is named Paul. (To be clear my son was named after my dad and my husband’s late brother - not my coworker.) Well the person I am hiring is named Will! So I guess I like to work with people who share a name with my children! Hopefully he doesn’t go by Taco, too. ;)

How was your week? 

Monday, July 17, 2023

Weekend + Alone In My House!!

Another weekend is in the books. It started off with dangerous air quality from Canadian wild fires which seems to sadly be the theme of summer. So we laid low on Friday after school. We had our usual ‘closing out the day routine’ of wheel of fortune before bedtime. 

Sassy pose with his new glasses! It’s been a battle to get him to wear them - the doctor said he could ease into wearing them over the summer as his vision isn’t that terrible (Rx is -1.25). We might need to update to the more expensive but likely more comfortable/better fitting pair. We are going to give it a few more weeks before deciding.

I did a short 3 mile run on Saturday since the air quality wasn’t great. Then it was the library + gymnastics. After quiet time, the air quality was better so I took the boys to the local wading pool while Phil vacuumed before my parents arrival! 

My parents came in the late afternoon. The boys were so excited. We spent most of the evening on our back deck. We made grilled asparagus, seared ahi tuna, corn on the cob and an Asian-style rice. After the boys were in bed we played a few hands of rummy. My parents had a 7am flight so we called it a night around 9 which is ideal for me!
Reading a Richard Scary library book about cars!

On Sunday morning I went for a 4 mile run and saw a big turkey! 

Then the boys and I went to see the new house of our former neighbors while Phil did swim club at the local lake. 

And now for the best part! Phil wanted to give me a break/time alone in the house so he took both boys out to his mom’s after quiet time on Sunday afternoon!! Is there anything better than being ALONE IN YOUR OWN HOUSE? Yes, all caps!! How did I spend it? I watched a few episodes of The Bear, I read my book (Good for a Girl), packed for my SFO trip, and I folded laundry (much more enjoyable without kids grabbing folded laundry!). 

And then I took myself out to dinner at my fave neighborhood spot - Colita! I had an N/A drink as I can’t drink alcohol on the day I take a heavy weekly dose of one of my RA drugs (Methotrexate). But I had a really yummy drinks from their ‘zero proof’ menu that reminded me of the rhubarb slush my mom made when we were growing up. 

Then I had a yellow tail dish… 

And something called a Tlayuda which has a homemade blue corn tortilla chip kind of thing, beans, corn, and cheese. It’s indulgent and so good! 

And then I finished up with the churros. I can’t not have churros when I go to Colita!

Yes this was a totally indulgent meal - I probably overindulged ! But everything on the menu is gluten free so it’s the most amazing experience to order ANYTHING. I prefer to come here with others so I can order a bunch of things to share but dining alone was also nice (I sat at the bar). 

The boys got home close to 7 and then it was baths and bedtime for them. 

Today I fly out to San Francisco for a work trip. I’m traveling with a sales rep and he has 15 meetings scheduled during the 2.5 days I will be there. I get back late on Thursday night. It’s a longer trip than usual but it’s such a long flight that I need to spend 3 nights to make it worth my while. I’m hoping to see Kyria on Tuesday night - fingers crossed that works!

How was your weekend? If you took yourself out to dinner, where would you go?

Friday, July 14, 2023


It has been months since I did a TGIF post. This week ended up being a little nutty as I found out on Monday morning that I needed to go to St. Louis on Thursday to cover a meeting for my boss. It was such a short trip that I got prompted to check into my return flight before boarding my flight to STL on Wednesday afternoon! In general, it feels like there is a lot going on in my life right now. Here's how the week shaped up.

The book I read this week was The Book of Lost Friends which was set in the post-antebellum South; it was about former slaves trying to reunite with their families. It was heartbreaking to read and was based upon a column that sought to reunite separated families. Now I am reading "The Rachel Incident" which is a new release coming of age story that I've heard great things about! I’m about half through and am liking it!

The high of my week was hmmmm... some weeks don't have highs, right? This one didn't. It was a stressful one as I did a lunch event on Tuesday, but a week before the event the sales person who set up the event resigned! So another guy took it over and we did a planning call with the other 2 presenters at 8 am - on the day of the event! It was fine but I am a planner and don't like things feeling last minute. And then there was this last minute trip to St. Louis. And then some things have been happening at daycare related to turnover and senior leadership that is leading us to think we need to change programs for Will. Gah. And I am in the process of making an offer to a candidate which has been stressful and it’s just a lot. So no highs for the week. I’m kind of ‘in the weeds’ right now. Is that a regional phrase or commonly used? 

The low of my week was dealing with insurance to get the copay on my very expensive RA meds ($3,300/syringe!) covered. It took 6 different phone calls and 1.5 hours of my time on Monday. Long story sort of shortened, I ended up talking to the drug-company-associated co-pay assistance team, my insurance, the insurance that coves prescription meds, twice I talked to the specialty pharmacy that fills my prescription and the final call was with a billing department of one of the entities - the specialty pharmacy? The insurance-related co-pay assistance company? The woman was nice but basically said the co-pay assistance wouldn't kick in until I had reached my deductible - which I have. And isn't it odd that this is all happening in the middle of the freaking year? I fill this rx monthly and had no issues for the last several months, although in March I went through a similar process although it did not require so many phone calls and I didn't pay anything out of pocket to get it resolved. You guys, I was LIVID when I got off the phone. Not at the people I talked to, but at the process! I eventually called uncle, forked over my HSA credit card info and just paid the remaining $250 they claimed I needed to pay to meet my $3,200 deductible because I need this prescription to get filled. And then they called again 2 days later, saying I needed to pay my remaining deductible so I gave them my my HSA credit card info - again. And then - THEY CALLED AGAIN the next freaking day saying the same thing as the day before. It was really really hard to stay calm when talking to the person because at this point I had spent over 2 hours trying to get this stupid medication delivered. This person was super nice and said she'd make sure the payment went through so I wouldn't have to go through this again. My doctor has been switching my meds around to try to find a combo that works because the next option is in-clinic infusions which take 4-6 hours and cost $10k. I can't imagine what the insurance process would be like to get that approved so hopefully it doesn't come to that.

A show we are watching is the documentary about the American Gladiators. It wasn't great - they probably had content for 2-3 episodes, not 5. But it made us nostalgic for our youth when my husband and I both watched American Gladiators. On my own, I'm watching season 2 of The Bear and it's SO GOOD! I tried to watch it with Phil last year when season 1 came out but it was too intense/stressful for him. There is a lot of chaos and yelling but if you've worked in a restaurant, like I have, the vibe is familiar. 

For workouts I ran on Sunday morning, did a Caroline Givan workout (finally! I've been meaning to check her out for a long time) on Monday, ran on Wednesday morning since I WFH before going to the airport in the afternoon, did a lower body workout in the hotel yesterday, and tomorrow I will run again. I got more workouts in than usual since I was only in the office 1 day this week. I like that I fit in 2 strength training workouts! My workouts are heavy on running lately but if the boys are home, I can't do a strength training workout because they will not leave me alone! So running is easiest since I leave the house for that.

The best money spent was on tickets for a live Wild Kratts show in November! I'm taking Paul who is OBSESSED with the show. Fun fact: my former/now-retired coworker went to college with Chris Kratt! I haven't told Paul yet but he is going to be out-of-his-mind excited. Wild Kratts is SUCH an amazing show!

My plans this weekend include our usual library and gymnastics routine tomorrow morning. My parents are coming to stay with us on Saturday night as they fly down to AZ on Sunday morning to visit my sister/meet their newest granddaughter. On Sunday we'll come up with something - maybe a splash pad and a park or the zoo? We'll see what we feel like doing. I fly out for San Francisco on Monday so will probably try to give Phil a break since he will solo parent Monday-Thursday. 

Bonus photos:

A robin mama made a nest in our of my hanging pots. The boys have loved watching them go from eggs to very little birdies to bigger birdies. The boys have been great about being VERY QUIET around them and not touching them. 

I took the boys to a church with a small park on Thursday while Phil did swim club. And yes Taco is wearing socks with sandals. The sandals hurt his feet so he wears socks to avoid owies (too late in the season to buy new sandals). 

Do you use the phrase ‘in the weeds’? Did your week have a high? I’m so glad we have a week vacation at the lake at the end of the month. I am feeling very burned out and overwhelmed. So a quiet week by the water with super helpful grandparents to help out is just what I need. 

Monday, July 10, 2023

Weekend Happenings

We had a fun, full weekend. Here’s how we spent it! 

- On Saturday morning I went for a short run in new shoes which felt like running on clouds!! Phil’s cousin who is a handyman came over to help Phil pressure wash the deck. My boys are obsessed with cousin Brian so we got out of the house before he arrived as it would have been tough to get out the door to gymnastics otherwise. The boys got donuts from the grocery store and I got a latte. Then we headed to the library and then to gymnastics. 

The boys enjoyed their donuts, although Taco basically ate the sprinkle/frosting part and left the rest. 

- When we got home, daddy and Brian were hard at work on the deck and other projects so I couldn’t get Will to eat lunch (he was probably still full from donuts + the cup of cheerios) and then he wouldn’t nap even though the guys left to get stuff for the deck around his naptime. Turns out he won’t nap if there is anything remotely exciting going on - must have major FOMO. Phil got him out of his crib when he got back and took him on a long walk and to the park and eventually got him to eat something. 

- Phil had a guys night pool party at a friend’s house that started around 5. I was pretty burned out on solo parenting but luckily my friend was up for a low key hang at her house. It’s great to have friends you can text and say - can we get together because I’m worn out from solo parenting. (To be clear, I know single parenting is far harder than solo parenting! I’m just in a stage where solo parenting exhausted me so very much.) 

The boys enjoyed the sprinkler for about 5 minutes. I feel like I spent a lot of time running through the sprinkler as a kid. My kids are not nearly as entertained as I was!

- I had a great, fast (for me) run on Sunday morning. I don’t know if it’s the new shoes, lower humidity or what! 

My new Hoka Mach 5s. I wore Mizunos for 15+ years but switched to Hokas last summer when the new model of Mizunos hurt my feet. I had to wear orthotics in the Mizunos but don’t have to in my Hokas!!

- Phil and his cousin sealed the deck while the boys and I went to a park to stay out of their way.

- We ended the weekend by going to an outdoor Minneapolis Pops symphony concert at the Bandshell of the lake by us! I’ve been wanting to do this for years and my kids are finally ok ages for it. I think I enjoyed it the most by far out of my family. We met up with several other families and had a nice little spread of food! There was a park close by to entertain the kids. 

At the start of the picnic. I love the quilts we brought to sit on - they were made by a good friend’s mom who has since passed. I always think of her when we use them.

On the way home from the concert, I was listing out all the things we did - donuts, library, gymnastics, play date, a park, and a concert. We sure are giving our kids a full life! We do so much more in a weekend than I did as a kid. But I was 1 of 5 kids and we lived in a rural area so there were far fewer options available to us and my parents were so spread thin. I had a good childhood, of course. It just looked so very different! 

How was your weekend?

Thursday, July 6, 2023

2023 Goals: Mid-way Check-in

The year is half over so it's time to check in on goals! After not setting goals for several years, I set a some this year. Here is how they are going so far!

1. Work: I set an (arbitrary) goal to travel about once/month but said I'd consider 9 trips a success. Well, I had 6 work trips in the first half of the year (Chicago twice, LA area, Denver, NYC) and I have 3 trips books for July (San Francisco), September (New Jersey), and October (southern Kentucky for a client visit). So I guess I am going to meet this goal. I'll likely go to Chicago 2 more times, if not more (I seem to be there every other month). 

2. Reading: I'm reading "Bleak House" by Charles Dickens through the "From The Front Porch" patreon group. Honestly, reading this book is a chore but I get a lot of out of the monthly discussions so it's worth it to continue. 

3. Relationships: I set a goal to go on a date with my husband once/quarter. We scheduled two dates and both got cancelled due to a conflict with the babysitter. But at least we tried? I'd like to do 2 date nights in the 2nd half of the year. It might be best to take time off and do a "day date" versus hiring a babysitter, though. Will is very, um, sensitive and while I am sure he would eventually calm down when we leave for a date, I think it might kill the date vibes to leave a screaming toddler behind. I really liked The Mom Hour's recent podcast episode about taking a break and how fraught it can be to take a break and how unhelpful it is when people say "just hire a babysitter" or "just" do xyz... It's not always that easy. 

4. Travel: I've took Paul with me to Arizona to visit my sister and everything is booked for my rendezvous with a friend in the Banff region of Canada! So I'm on track with this goal!

5. Fitness: I set a goal to run a couple of 10ks this year, but I have yet to register for one. I think I will likely just run one in the fall. I'm struggling to find the right race that doesn't involve complicated parking for example. But I'm sure I'll eventually find a race!

6. Outdoors: I'm doing the 23 minutes outside in 2023 challenge and would give myself a B-/C+. January and June were my best months and yet the weather could not have been more different - I only missed 1 day each of those months. I'm kind of giving myself a pass for the months of March and April because work was absolutely insane and it was impossible to take a 30 minute break those days because of the volume of meetings on my calendar. I don't know what happened in February when I only achieved the goal 17/28 days - cold weather? May was better with 24/31. Overall, I've spent more time outside than I would have otherwise so I guess I can consider this pursuit successful? 

So in summary, I'm doing great with 3 goals (work, reading, travel), doing so so with 1 goal (outdoors), outside factors impacted 1 goal (relationships), and I've made no progress on 1 goal (fitness). Time to go look for a fun 10k! 

Did you set goals for 2023? If so, how are they going? 

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

4th of July Highlights

I’m back from our 4th of July adventure! We went to my parents Saturday through Tuesday. Phil couldn’t come with us as the first 4 business days of the month are his busiest days at work and the days following a quarter end are extra busy. So he basically cannot ever enjoy the 4th of July holiday. My dad’s family has a big gathering which we haven’t attended since 2019. But when I saw the boys didn’t have school on Monday and Tuesday, I knew we had to get out of town. 

- We had a great time at the big family party on Saturday! I made it to the semi-final round of the huge bean bag tourney we have every year and I was only able to play bags because of the help of my parents, SIL and niece who entertained the boys! 

With his favorite person, Papa. He asked for him when he was up in the middle of the night. 

My cheering section!!

- Paul went tubing with his cousins on Sunday morning. He has always been a tentative child but has really come out of his shell the last year or so! I went tubing with him on Monday, too! 

- Will is at a stage where he is so happy to play in the sand! 

- The family time in general was so great. 

Feeding the fish with aunt Julie!

Eating m&m’s with Nana

Watching fireworks with cousin Evelyn. Yes he’s wearing his iPad headphones. He would push them against his ears to dampen the noise from fireworks.

- Paul’s glasses arrived while we were gone so now we can work on getting him used to wearing them over the summer! I went with inexpensive ones from Zenni and will likely upgrade to more indestructible/more expensive ones when he’s on my insurance next year. And we will likely order some back up pairs of the inexpensive Zenni ones. 

Of course it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Sleep was a bit brutal as I shared a room with both boys. The first night was the worst but things improved from there. 

So. Many. Wake-ups. Time in bed is high since I went up around 8:30 to read. 

I was very glad to come home to Phil yesterday. Solo parenting is so very challenging!! I’d much rather have him by my side but the change in scenery and time around family was very good for all of us! 

How was your weekend? 

Monday, July 3, 2023

What We Read in June

June was a pretty good reading month. I read 8 books and liked many of them - I just didn't like the favorites as much as months past. This is a wordy book post, so settle in... We are at the half-way mark for the year and I've read 46 books. It seems unlikely that I'll read 100+ books as I have the last 2 years but that is totally fine. I don't set a numeric goal for reading because I don't want to read books for the sake of hitting a numeric goal.


My favorites for the month were mostly lighter types of reads. Mika in Real Life is about a woman who gave her daughter up for adoption when she was a teen, but now her daughter has tracked her down. Life hasn't turned out like Mika expected so she tries to reinvent herself to impress her daughter. It was a heart warming kind of read, if a bit predictable. I'd classify this as "romance plus" as there's more to the story than the romance storyline. Georgie All Along was highly recommended by NGS so I was excited to check it out as I've liked the author's other books. Georgie moves back to her hometown after her boss retires from her Hollywood role and she's a bit adrift about what to do. Then she meets the reformed former "bad boy" and brother to her high school crush. I liked that the author mentions that Georgie's mom has Rheumatoid Arthritis and suffers from flares - it's kind of nice to normalize the autoimmune disorder I have (which, in my experience, many are unfamiliar with). Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands is a graphic memoir about a woman's experience working in the Oil Sands in Canada (mostly in Alberta, I think). This was recommended in the BookPage magazine that I pick up each month at the library and it gave me some insight into what it's like to work in the oil industry, especially within a work camp type of set up. I was vaguely familiar with the concept as there are work camps in my home state of North Dakota. I thought she did an excellent job of illustrating what life was like. She moved there for 2 years to make enough money to pay off her college loans so she could pursue her true passion, which is illustrating/drawing. Lastly, I read The Celebrants by Stephen Rowley. I adored his novel, The Guncle - it was one of my favorite books the year I read it. His latest novel isn't as good as The Guncle was, but I still really enjoyed it. It's about a group of college friends that loses a friend shortly before college graduation so they make a pact to have sort of "living funerals" so they can hear all the ways they've impacted each others' lives while they are still alive.

Middle of the road:

These books were more along the lines of "just ok." We Should Not Be Friends is Will Schwalbe's memoir about a friendship he develops in college with a person that couldn't be more different than him. I read this right after I read the RBG friendship memoir so I think it suffered from comparison to that gem of a book. The Half Moon is Mary Beth Keane's latest novel. Her last book, "Ask Again, Yes," was one of my favorite reads the year I read it. This book was good, but not as good as her last novel. I did appreciate the examination of the impact of infertility on a couple, though. That's another topic that has become more normalized in recent years, I think. 

Lastly, Invisible Kingdom was a book that I had high hopes for as it's about the author's journey to getting her autoimmune disorder diagnosed/treated. I have a bit more to say about this book so it deserves its own paragraph. As someone who has dealt with having RA for almost 10 years, I was excited to check this one out, but her story was so different from mine since her diagnosis was not at all clear cut, nor was her treatment path, so it didn't resonate like I thought it might. I was also a bit put off by her comments about the use of antibiotics causing/leading to her having an autoimmune disorder. I was a pretty sickly child and was on a lot of antibiotics. For example, in 6th grade I was so ill with a sinus infection that I was hospitalized as I really needed stronger IV meds to fight the infection. I don't view my antibiotic usage as optional. Nor do I think there is evidence that antibiotic use leads to autoimmune disorders. Could be it be a factor? Sure. Are antibiotics overprescribed? Probably. Also my kids have been on antibiotics quite a bit for non-stop infections - have I made them susceptible to an autoimmune disease because I followed their doctor's recommendation to prescribe antibiotics? I hope not, but we are always making the best decisions with the information that is available to us. Clearly, autoimmune diseases are a sensitive topic for me and I'd prefer to avoid of a line of thinking that even suggests the ill person might have brought their disease upon themselves. I did appreciate this quote from one of the people she interviewed, though: "With other diseases it's this kind of external thing you're fighting against. If you have cancer, you can fight your cancer. But if you have an autoimmune disease, what are you fighting against? Do you fight against your own immune system? Are 'you' your immune system? Are you the organ under attack? Who are you?" And overall, I appreciated that the author brought more attention to autoimmune disorders.

The book I didn't like:

Well for the second month in a row, my least favorite book was "Girlhood" by Melissa Febos. It was an examination of what it means to be a girl and how we are treated as a gender. It seemed like it would be great, but the execution didn't work for me as I got bogged down by her research or inclusion of things like Greek Mythology (something I have zero interest in, to be quite honest). If would have DNF'd this if we weren't reading it for book club (I try to finish every book club). Interesting, it has a 4.26 rating on goodreads and the other person I know who read it gave it 5 stars. It was not loved by most in my book club either. It read more academic than we were expecting. 

Abandoned Books:

I abandoned The Sun Walks Down by Fiona McFarlane around the 30% mark. It's historical fiction set in the late 1800s. I had heard about it on a "From the Front Porch" podcast episode last summer but did not realize it was set that far back - that's an era I don't feel especially drawn to so I'm not too surprised it wasn't a fit.

What Paul read:

Paul has been asking a lot of questions about Kindergarten so we have checked out A LOT of Kindergarten books! I think we've checked out about 20 picture books about kindergarten. We've probably reached our limit on this genre but I figure the best way to help with his concern/anxiety about this change is to read about it! Other than that, the only book read on repeat in June was "The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read" which was a sweet story. 

Did you read anything great in June?