Six in Six

JoAnn at Lakeside Musing recently posted this meme (she got it from The Book Jotter) and I thought it would be a fun way to talk about the books I’ve been reading this year, especially since I’m not maintaining a list of books read in 2015 on my blog. I am keeping track on Goodreads, though – can’t completely give up obsessively tracking my reading stats. :) Let me know if you play along.

Six new-to-me authors:
Jessica Knoll
Michelle Hodkin
Graeme Simsion
Matthew Quick
Ayn Rand
Daniel Keys Moran

Six tried-and-true authors:
M.C. Beaton
Stephen King
Mira Grant
Gayle Forman
Maggie Stiefvater
C.S. Lewis

Six newer novels:
Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Six books that took me by the hand and led me into the past:
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

Six books I was disappointed with:
Her by Harriet Lane
Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier
Acceptance by Jeff Vandermeer
The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Six books that I plan to read during the second half of 2015:
The Mask by Taylor Stevens
Panic by Lauren Oliver
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
Faith by Jennifer Haigh
The Gods of Gotham by Lindsay Faye
Forever by Pete Hamill

Let me know if you play along!

Posted in memes | 5 Comments

Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?

I know, I know, I said I was done with this whole blogging thing. But now that I’ve settled into my new job and camp is over and graduation is over, etc – I’m finding myself with a little more time. And I miss it! I miss all of you (any of you who are still out there!) and telling you what’s going on with my life. I still read your blogs, but it’s just not quite the same. I thought that if I was going to switch my blog to just an occasional personal post once in a while, then I needed a new blog name, and a new layout, and…… But why? If I want to just pop in here once in a while and tell you about the fantastic books I’ve been reading, or something exciting that’s happening to one of the kids, I can do that, right? Who’s going to tell me I can’t?

So, here’s a bullet-point list of what’s been going on in our family’s lives lately:

~ Me: I LOVE my new job. I mean, I love it. I knew that it was a job I would be good at (I was an administrative assistant before I became a stay-at-home mom), but I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy being back in the work force. It’s really nice to have something away from the house, even if it’s only twelve hours a week.

Camp was last week, and it was super-fantastic. We had the most kids ever – 26 foster kids. The weather was nice and sunny for the first time in five years. We didn’t have any major catastrophes – everything ran smoothly. Dad and I are already talking about some things to do next year to make it even better. There is something so completely satisfying about working with other people to do something good. We had thirteen churches involved, all different denominations. It seems that often we only see the divisions between us, but all it takes is doing something out of no other motivation than love to strip those things away. It is the best kind of high.

I am still dealing with a few health issues. Finally got my thyroid meds up to the right dose, I think, but I was still having some issues. So doc ordered a pulse oximeter for me to wear overnight. Turns down I stop breathing a lot while I sleep, and my oxygen saturation goes way, way down quite often. Down to 65% at one point. So I’m on night-time oxygen right now until we can get a full sleep study to see if I need a CPAP. Ugh.

~ Kevin: He had a Crohn’s flare-up after 19 years in remission. Sigh. Not fun. Waiting on an appointment for a colonoscopy to find out if the meds are taking care of it or if he possibly needs surgery to fix the scar tissue around the old resection from 26 years ago. This would not be unexpected, but the missed work time will about kill us, as he has no paid sick time at his job. Trying not to freak out about it.

~ Kids: Natalie graduated! Woo hoo! My baby girl now has her high school diploma and a two-year AS degree in Business. She will start her Pharmacy Tech program fall quarter, and will graduate with her AS in that by December of 2016. Oh, and she might be getting married next year. Gah!

Boys are doing well. Noah’s working his butt off and has a thousand dollars saved toward his car. All of the boys are loving summer break, especially now that camp is over and they can actually relax. On the 11th, I meet my sister in George, Washington (yes, that’s a place) to pick up my nephew, Peter, who is Josiah’s best friend. He’ll be spending two weeks with us, and Josiah is so excited he’s beside himself.

Let’s see, what else can I tell you? How about the best books I’ve read so far this year? It feels weird not to be writing reviews, but I have absolutely LOVED having more reading time. Here are my faves from the first half of 2015:

Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier – a reread via audio
Love Anthony by Lisa Genova
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom – also a reread via audio
Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better by Brant Hansen
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – audio
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith – audio
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – audio
I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater – audio
An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine
The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – reread via audio
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – a reread – I read it aloud to Josiah

We’ve also watched some great movies so far this year. Some of my favorites are MacFarland, USA, The Imitation Game, This Is Where I Leave You, Interstellar, Jurassic World, and Big Hero 6.

So, there you have it – the first half of our 2015 in a nutshell. I hope all of you are having a wonderful summer so far. I may pop in again soon – or it may be a while. Who knows? If you’re still reading, thank you. :) If you have time, leave a comment and let me know what’s going on with you, and tell me about any books I need to add to my to-read list.

Posted in miscellaneous | 16 Comments

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (…in other words, I’ll be seeing you…)

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has seen Michele’s post and Sandy’s post about moving on from blogging. Saying goodbye. Making changes. I love both of those women, and am so glad that I will be able to stay in touch with them through Facebook. Coincidentally, their posts came at a time when I was trying to figure out what to do with my own little place in the book blogging world. My life has undergone so many changes in the past two years, and the biggest is coming on April 1st.

After 18 years as a stay-at-home, and sometimes work-at-home, mom, I am re-entering the work force. This is a huge big deal, in spite of the fact that this is a job I am completely comfortable with and that is only twelve hours a week away from the house. But to me, this signals an enormous sea change in our family’s home life. I have absolutely loved being a stay-at-home mom. Don’t get me wrong – there were days when I wanted to duct tape the kids to the wall, or shuttle them off to school so I could sit on the couch and read. No matter what choice you make for your family, even if you are certain it is the best choice for you personally, there are times of doubt and questioning. But there have also been sweet, sweet days: watching that spark of amazement in each child’s eyes as they sounded out their first words; cuddling up on the couch with piles of picture books; exploring science in the most messy ways possible; my one-year-old playing with math manipulatives while I teach his older sister about numbers. As the kids have gotten older, the scenes have changed. The picture books have become novels (hours and hours of reading aloud – my favorite memory of all!); the science experiments have gotten more sophisticated; the math has gotten harder (argh – algebra and geometry!); the conversations have become deeper and more meaningful. I wouldn’t trade a single minute of it for the extra money that would have been available had I worked outside the home.

But huge changes are on our horizon. Natalie will graduate in June – with both her high school diploma and an AAS Degree in General Business! She will be starting a Pharmacy Technician program the following spring. Noah will be entering Running Start in the fall, God willing. I will be down to only two boys to school; and can easily work our schedule around a twelve-hour work week. I am blessed that the perfect job was dropped right into my lap. Our church secretary is retiring after twenty years. Twenty years! I have been filling in for her occasionally since last summer, and began training in earnest the past month or two. I could not mention this in public however, until the church board approved me as secretary – and more importantly, as treasurer. I will work Tuesday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Our new pastor is firmly established now, and I know that he will be easy and fun to work with. And so our homeschool schedule will be turned topsy-turvy, with the kids doing their independent work in the morning, and us doing our joint work in the afternoons. The boys will also be learning more housework skills – a fact that they are thoroughly thrilled about, I can assure you. 😉

As I am looking forward to this new season, I am realizing that I need to let go of some things in order to keep myself from being overwhelmed. I know that many of you work full time and are involved parents, and so are probably rolling your eyes a bit at the idea of me being anxious about working twelve hours a week – but I know myself, and change has never been my strong suit. :) As I have looked at the things I spend my time doing, I have discovered the things that I am unwilling to let go of – and also the things that I can say goodbye to. Blogging is one of the latter. I have been toying with changing things up anyway: I stopped accepting review copies; came up with a new title; had Kevin start working on a design. But as time goes on, I have found that I’m not excited about it. It really is time to just let go.

I started blogging here at Books and Movies six years ago, in April of 2009. I have so loved my time in the book blogging community, and the friendships I have gained. Thank you to all of you who have enhanced my life in so many ways: the reading recommendations, the encouragement through health issues, the prayers and concern for Natalie during her Crohn’s summer. I am blessed to have shared this part of my life with you. I pray that you will all be blessed in the coming years. See you on Facebook! (If we are not already friends, feel free to friend me: Carrie Shannon Kitzmiller.)

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