Monday, March 4, 2024

2024 Updates

Hello and welcome back to my blog.

Sorry for the super long delay. First, my husband needed to use my computer for over a month back in September/October. Then we didn't have internet for about another month or more. By then we were approaching the end of the year and the holidays. I was in the third trimester of pregnancy which brought back some of my nausea and left me generally exhausted. Work continued to kick my butt. We were trying to prepare for the baby. We took in a stray kitten in August and adopted two new rats in October (I was supposed to wait until after the baby, but they needed a home! I couldn't say no). It was just a crazy time.

Our son was due on January 17th 2024, but decided to come early. My water broke a little before 9am on December 24th, 2023 and Gabriel was born at 10:17am. And then we had this little baby to care for which was new and scary.

Being a parent is probably the hardest thing I have ever done. I think I have started to get the hang of some of it, but it is exhausting and challenging. It is impossible to keep up with everything, but I am trying my best. And there are wonderful things about having this little one. And I love that he is a baby and mom is still able to fix everything and make him feel better. He's starting to smile and make intentional noises, which is adorable and makes me immensely happy.

My anxiety has been way up high. I want to make sure that Gabriel is getting cared for and that chores are getting done. I am also not getting much sleep, which always spikes my anxiety. And I am not back at work yet, but there have been changes made there that are very much against me and against my advancement. That has been discouraging, frustrating, and has also increased my anxiety. If I wasn't on anxiety medication, I would be having panic attacks about going back. I figure that isn't a great way to feel about my place of employment, which has been discouraging. I have been missing my work friends, though, and I am looking forward to seeing them and getting back in the lab.

I am trying to enjoy the rest of my time off. Obviously it is heavily spent on caring for Gabriel and doing the never ending dishes and laundry that come with that. Luckily for me, Kevin helps where he can and has kept up with many of the household chores so I don't have to worry so much about those.

I have been going to counseling for a while now, mostly to deal with work anxiety, but we have been covering a lot of things surrounding parenthood now, of course.

I fell off of the journaling bandwagon last year and decided I wanted to get back at it this year. I needed a way to simplify it to make it easier for me to keep up with. But I also wanted it to be more fun and interactive so it felt less like a chore. That has been really nice so far. And I have started including different things that I never did before, like vision boards, inspirations and aspirations, and other notes that come in handy. I am trying to keep track of things that are important and trying to help myself since I have all of these big things going on. It has been really nice so far and I may make a little blog post about what I am doing and why.

I have still been reading, but these days it is easier to get through audiobooks than physical ones. And because of my anxiety it has mostly been re-reading. But I did join a group read through the Owlcrate Nest app for the January book. That has helped me stay on track, even though I haven't participated in the discussions (I do still read through the questions and some of the things other people post). Between that and my journal, I have had something else to focus time and energy on in the times I get a break.

I haven't decided what this blog will look like moving forward. I'd like to still post about the books I read each month, but it can be very time-consuming. I will likely need to simplify what I have been doing. Maybe post two months at a time and stop reviewing re-reads. Which probably means it would be a good idea to go through my blog and update tags to include book titles in case anyone (or I) want to go back to those book reviews. That will be a bit of a long term project, but I will see if I can do that.

I have a couple other posts started, one is a disease post and one is sort of about Gabriel. I have made it a goal to pick back up on my blog, but it might take a little time for me to figure out what it will look like. I hope you will bear with me.

Meanwhile, here are the books I read in January and February this year:

The Lost Hero by 
Rick Riordan
4 stars out of 5 stars

Red White and Royal Blue
by Casey McQuiston
4 stars out of 5 stars
 The Fablehaven Series
by Brandon Mull
5 stars out of 5 stars

Charmed Life and the Lives of Christopher Chant
by Diana Wynne Jones
4 stars out of 5 stars
The Foxhole Court and the Raven King
by Nora Sakavic
4 stars out of 5 stars

The Jungle Book
by Rudyard Kipling
Synopsis/Thoughts: This is the traditional Jungle Book that most people are familiar with. This version is a full cast podcast read of the Jungle Book stories. I had never read them before, so it was a fun, quick read. I won't lie though, I spent much of the time trying to figure out how all of the characters and stories were represented in the Graveyard Book.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5 stars
A Fragile Enchantment
by Allison Saft
Synopsis/Thoughts: This is a fairy tale of a girl, Niamh, brought to a palace as a royal tailor for the younger prince's upcoming wedding. And in normal fairy tale fashion, the two fall in love despite the prince's engagement and Niamh's common-born status. This was an enjoyable read. I liked a lot of the characters (and I liked Sinclair, but I don't feel that other people liked him as much) and I liked the magic (especially Niamh's). This was an Owlcrate book and I sort of participated in a read-a-long through the Owlcrate Nest app.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

I have read 13 books towards my goal of 75.