The Siberian American: 2017

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

One Year Since Our Move Home from Chicago: Reflections and Confessions

This time of year always makes me a little nostalgic. The beginning of the Medical New Year is July 1, so over the last few years we have gone through a lot of changes around this time. Last year, we moved back to Texas from Chicago around this time. It was a strange move. I felt like I was in limbo, dealing with serious pain and just waiting for our insurance to start, so I could schedule a doctor’s visit and a surgery date. It’s crazy to me how much has happened in the last year since our move home: I had surgery, spent a few hard months recovering, and then got pregnant! Today, I just wanted to spend a little time reflecting on the past year and our time in Chicago now that we’re a year removed from the experience.

I honestly thought I would miss Chicago more. I definitely miss the city and our friends, but not in an I hate it here and want to move back to Chicago way. One of the sayings mentioned a lot in our doctors’ wives community is grow where you’re planted, and we’ve really been able to take that to heart in this move. It helps that Chris works with a great group of residents, and we love getting together with them and their significant others. It’s also been wonderful to be able to be a part of family events again and to spend time with old friends. That said, I really wouldn’t mind moving away for fellowship or for his attending job. One thing living in Chicago has taught me is there are a lot of places in the United States left to explore, and I am willing to be flexible.

Summer does make me Chicago a little bit more, though. We’re just at the beginning of our months of intense heat here in Texas, and I definitely wouldn’t mind a walk to Lake Michigan right about now! I also miss summer nights on the patio (I promise I’ll get my Chicago restaurant guide finished soon!), boat rides, and being in driving distance to a lot of great hikes.

I’ve been asked a lot lately if I could see us moving back to Chicago for fellowship or when Chris is done with training. Like I mentioned above, I am open to a lot of possibilities. Still, I think our time in Chicago was so special because of where we were in our lives at that time. Intern year was crazy, but I worked from home and was able to adjust my schedule to fit the time off Chris did get. That’s not really the case anymore, especially with a little one on the way! If we were to move back, I think we would more likely move to the suburbs or even to Wisconsin or Michigan, depending on the job opportunity, but for now we will enjoy our next three years in Texas!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Let’s Have a Coffee Date: Vacation Plans, Pregnancy, and Residency (Vol. 7)

Hello, friends! I have several little things I want to share with y’all, so I thought we’re due for another coffee date. I’ve mentioned before that May and June have been super busy for us this year (in a good way), so I’m excited to have the chance to sit down and write about life.

I would start off and share the news that we found out we’re having a baby boy! Other than the reveal on this blog, I haven’t really shared on social media since I figured it would spread through word of mouth. Plus, it’s been more fun to tell people in person! I’d also probably joke around and ask if you had any name ideas. Funny enough, when I say “we” can’t decide on a boy name or “we” can’t come up with anything, what I really mean is Chris. I have a list of about ten boys names I love, but he hasn’t liked any of them. I also went through a list of 600 names with him a few days ago, and he wasn’t impressed. He hasn’t told me any names he actually does like, though, so I’m going to just give him some time before I start pressuring him for an actual opinion.

Speaking of Chris, he was finally able to feel the baby move on Monday, and he was so excited! Our little one has been super active lately, so I knew it was a matter of time before I could time it correctly. I finally did, and I was so glad Chris was able to join in on the fun!

Also, now that we know we are having a boy, we went to Babies R’ Us for the first time, and I must say it was both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. I had done quite a bit of research before we went, but the magnitude of the options available is just crazy to see. We’ve asked several friends for their opinions as well, but everyone has a different opinion on everything, and who knows what will actually work for baby once you’re in the thick of things! I’m glad we went, though, because the sales people are super knowledgeable and were able to answer questions we didn’t know we had until we looked!

We finally decided on a destination for our birthday/anniversary/babymoon trip! I know I’ve said a few times we were having trouble making a decision, and I think it’s because I was feeling a lot of pressure because it’s our last trip before baby! (We obviously canceled our Yellowstone trip because we were worried about me being far from a hospital at 35 weeks pregnant!). Chris also had a really short window of when he could take vacation time, so we were a bit limited on flights and destinations. We finally decided on flying into Boston and taking a road trip to Maine! We loved our short time in Maine on our fall color cruise a few years ago, so I am excited to see more of such a gorgeous state. We’re thinking of stopping in a few places in Massachusetts and New Hampshire before exploring a bunch of small towns in Maine. I haven’t nailed down an itinerary because there are so many places I want to see in the area. All I know is there will be plenty of lobster (a return to the Clam Shack is a must!) and fresh blueberries.

Speaking of road trips, Blogging for Books sent me a copy of Road Food (10th Edition) by Jane and Michael Stern, and I am pretty much obsessed with it. One of our favorite parts of a vacation is deciding where to eat, so you better believe I quickly flipped over to the Maine section to see if any of the spots were on the way for us. I was excited to see that Clam Shack was on their list because it’s just so good! I love that the reviews are short and to the point, and the book showcases a great variety of food. We will definitely be using it for our latest road trip and others in the future.

On Friday, Chris and I are headed to a residency graduation dinner. It’s obviously not for him, but it’s crazy to me that this year has flown by so quickly. In just a few days, it will be a year since we moved from Chicago. I’m a little bummed this year is almost over because Chris’s call is going to be insane next year, but it’s also exciting to be closer to the end! I know these next three years are just going to fly by, and soon we will be going to his graduation dinner!

I promise I wouldn’t just talk about myself if we met for coffee, so tell me about you! What has been going on in your life lately?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Gender Reveal: It's a...

What a happy, full weekend! The day of our gender ultrasound was slightly dampened by one borderline measurement, but after doing our research and talking to others, we aren't worried about it. I just wish it was explained a little more at the clinic, so we didn't have to calm ourselves down with our own research. Still, it was so fun to see our little one and get such an amazing, detailed look at everything! Baby was moving a ton, and it was hard for the tech to figure out the gender at first because it didn't like the probe and kept showing its butt to the camera! Haha. I felt the strongest kicks I've had so far after that ultrasound, so Baby wasn't too happy about it! I'll share some more details later, but today is all about the gender. We had our reveal on Saturday and had so much fun sharing the news. We decided to go with a Nothing Bundt Cakes bundt cake when I realized they had a gender reveal option because I could seriously eat it every day.


Like I mentioned on Friday, I didn't have much mother's intuition about it, but I have been thinking it's a boy forever since we had a girl name figured out and had no idea about a boy name. We are so thrilled about welcoming a baby boy into our family in October. I can't wait to go on adventures with our little man and see the world through his eyes. God is so good!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Gender Prediction Fun + 20 Week Update

Where did the time go? Sometimes it’s absolutely crazy to me that I’m halfway there. Other times I feel like I have been pregnant forever, and I’m surprised I’m only 20 weeks! I really thought I would do a better job of documenting all things baby on the blog, but I also didn’t expect to feel quite as bad as I did. I have written a letter to the baby every day since we found out, though, so I’m hoping to share some of the details of the last few months with y’all soon. Today, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve experienced lately before I share some gender predictions.

I am feeling much better now. I am almost hesitant to write that because every time I do, I get a major migraine and get super sick for a day, but I also have great days, so overall I’m feeling quite a bit better.

I am really feeling the baby move now! I started feeling flutters at about the 18-week mark, but now he/she is moving all the time, and I’m feeling more pronounced kicks. Most of the time, I can place my hand on my belly and feel the movement from the outside too, but the baby always stops when I try to get Chris to do it! He is always a little sad when he hears me laugh from the movement, so I’m hoping he gets to experience it soon too. It’s one of the coolest feelings ever and makes it that much more real.

I’m definitely wanting to nest all the time these days, so I’m eager to find out what we’re having so I can really start planning the nursery. I have a vague idea of what I want it to look like, but certain things will definitely change depending on whether it’s a boy or a girl.

I’m so excited for our big ultrasound today! We are having a gender reveal party on Saturday, so I will hopefully have a post ready for y’all on Monday! I wanted to go through some of the old wives’ tales before we find out, though, and give y’all an idea of what we think, too!

Old Wives' Tales

Heart Rate Above 140 (Girl) or Below (Boy): At our first ultrasound at 10 weeks, the heart rate was 173. At our next appointment at 16 weeks, the heart rate was 156. That’s a GIRL prediction.

Beauty Glowing (Boy) or Stolen (Girl): I have never really had acne, but all of a sudden, I do! It was actually one of the first things that made me think I was pregnant. That’s another GIRL prediction.

Craving Sour & Salty (Boy) or Sweet (Girl): Give me all the berries! I also finally got to eat a peach, and it was just as wonderful as I imagined it to be! Ha! My strangest craving so far has been eating bread on its own (I’m not much of a bread eater), but that doesn’t really fit in either category. My biggest craving has definitely been fruits, so that’s one for GIRL.

Morning Sickness (Girl) or Feeling Great (Boy): Morning sickness is an understatement. Until recently, I was best buds with the toilet. Definitely one for GIRL.

Chinese Gender Prediction: I’m not super sure how this one works, but I plugged in my birthday and the baby’s due date on a website, and it predicted GIRL.

Sleep Position Left (Boy) or Right (Girl): I’ve always slept on my left side, so that’s a prediction for BOY.

Headaches (Boy) or No Headaches (Girl): I’ve had a ton of migraines, so that’s another one for BOY.

Mood Swings (Girl) or Calm (Boy): I’ve mentioned before that I have been way more emotional than usual, so that’s one for GIRL.

As far as old wives’ tales go, that’s six for GIRL and two for BOY. Here are a few other notes:

Mother’s Intuition: I haven’t really felt strongly in one way or the other. The only reason I think it could be a boy is Chris and I are really set on a girl name and can’t think of anything for a boy. Funny enough, there is an old wives’ tale that says if you can only think of names for one gender, it’s that gender, but it seems to me it would be the opposite. Obviously, it doesn’t mean anything, but it’s fun to consider!

My Side of the Family: My mom and my brother both think it’s a boy. My brother actually had a dream that it’s a boy. My mom is way more intuitive than I am, though she didn’t find out what I was until she had me and was super convinced I would be a boy! Haha.

Chris’s Side of the Family: Most of his side of the family thinks it’s a girl! One of his cousins “requested” for us to have a girl because he and his wife are having a girl at the end of June.

It’s been fun to guess over these last few months, but Chris and I are both ready to know! I can’t wait to share what we’re having with y’all soon!

Anyone want to throw out a guess? Do you think we’re having a boy or a girl?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A Gorgeous Day at the Dallas Arboretum

I can’t even begin to tell y’all how much I’ve missed doing travel posts on my blog. Between a crazy May (and June isn’t looking any slower. What’s with this summer?) and taking it easy during the first half of pregnancy, I haven’t been able to put together a travel post since early April! I have about a million ideas and thoughts I want to share, though, so I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things! We also just finally booked our trip for the end of July (details on that next week), so there is a lot of content coming up, and I’m so excited to get started!

I’ve shared a lot about all of our adventures throughout the years, but I rarely mention what we do here in Dallas. I absolutely love visiting the Dallas Arboretum, especially in the spring. This year I really wanted to make it to the Dallas Blooms event to see the tulips. Unfortunately, a few days before we went, there was a huge hailstorm in Dallas that killed all the tulips. The arboretum was really quick about replanting those spots, though, so we didn’t see any empty flower beds.

The day we picked to go to the arboretum was the very best day. Chris took the day off to go to my first OB appointment with me, and we were both over the moon after seeing our little one on an ultrasound for the first time. We also got to share the news with both of our brothers, so it was a day full of joy.

So much joy!

One of the best parts of the Dallas Arboretum is it’s right by White Rock Lake, so the scenery is so beautiful. It was one of the hotter days we had so far this year, but being by the water made it tolerable. I really loved seeing all the beautiful, colorful spring flowers and enjoying a fun date with my love.

Have you been to the arboretum in your city?

Monday, June 5, 2017

Six Books I Read in May

Hi, friends! I took an unintentional break from blogging last week, but it was so necessary. Now that I’m further into the second trimester and my migraines aren’t daily, I’m hoping to get back into my normal Monday, Wednesday, and Friday blogging schedule! I decided to do my book post a week before the linkup this week because I’m hoping to have a gender reveal post next Monday! Fingers crossed our little one cooperates. Towards the middle of the month, I was worried I would only have one or two books before the linkup, but thankfully, now that I’m feeling a little better, I have been able to get into reading again! I’ve read some really good books this month, so I’m super excited to share them with y’all.

I'll Eat When I'm Dead by Barbara Bourland
(c/o NetGalley)
I have mixed feelings about this book. The description made me think it was a mystery or a thriller, but it's really not. It's more a drama about life at a competitive magazine in New York. It was a bit slow in parts, but I did still like it overall. I would have liked it more if I knew what it was going in, though.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan
(c/o NetGalley)
I didn't expect this book to be so dark, but it also had a quirky side that made it interesting. The author did a fantastic job of tying all the character's together as Lydia tried to figure out the reason behind Joey's suicide. If you like thrillers, this is a good read.

Perennials: A Novel by Mandy Berman
(c/o NetGalley)
This book had so much potential. I really liked the camp, but I feel like there were way too many characters, and the book really lost its focus on Rachel and Fiona. It claimed it was about their relationship, but a lot of the narrations barely focused on them. Plus, the tragic event mentioned doesn't occur until nearly 90 percent into the book, and there just wasn't enough time to show how it changed Rachel and Fiona.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
(c/o NetGalley)
Taylor Jenkins Reid has done it again. Honestly, after reading this description, I didn't think this book would be as good as others she has written, but she really made Evelyn Hugo come alive. This is a beautiful, heartbreaking story that's different from anything else I have read. If you love women's fiction, read it ASAP!

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
(c/o Blogging for Books)
I was surprised by how much I liked this book! Honestly, the plot sounded cheesy-a teenage boy suddenly wins millions in the lottery, and his whole life changes. Jennifer E. Smith is an amazing writer, though, and the emotions in this are so raw and real. I found myself wanting to keep reading to see how it ends. If you like YA, this book is definitely worth a read!

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber
(c/o NetGalley)
This was a good thriller. It was an interesting plot and kept me interested. The characters really made this a good story. I wasn't in love with the ending, but I also didn't hate it. Overall, if you like thrillers, this one should be on your list!

Favorite reads in May: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn HugoWindfall, and Are You Sleeping

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

I love book suggestions. What have you read lately?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Confessions: Pregnancy So Far

One of the things I have really forced myself to do since I got pregnant is to slow down when I need to. I love blogging and hate when I have to miss days, but right now I have to focus more on my health, and there are days where I simply can’t write. I’m also super behind on answering comments (I’ll get to all of them, I promise!), but know I appreciate all of your congratulations and sweet words. Chris and I are so excited to share this new journey with y’all, and hopefully I will get to a place where I can write whenever I want soon!

Today I did want to share a few pregnancy confessions with y’all. You hear so many different things about pregnancy from friends and family before you’re pregnant, but there’s nothing like going through it yourself! Of course, every pregnancy is different, so these are just a few things I want to share about mine.

I confess I didn’t think “pregnancy brain” was a real thing until I got pregnant. I usually have a good memory, so it’s weird to me when I forget dates and other random things. I was so paranoid about forgetting my in-laws’ birthdays last week that I made sure to write it down in a million places.

I confess that hearing our baby’s heartbeat for the first time was one of the most amazing moments of my life. It’s just incredible that a Doppler can be placed on my belly, and we can hear the heartbeat of our beautiful miracle.

I confess I really miss reading. I have been so exhausted that whenever I get into bed, I just crash. I’ve read two books since my last book post, and I think I’ll be lucky if I have four books to share for the next link-up.

I confess I know no one's pregnancy is the same, but it drives me crazy when I read posts from bloggers that say morning sickness is nothing, and they can’t believe people whine about how hard it is. I am truly happy for them that they didn’t experience what I did, but that doesn’t mean that when I do share how difficult it was, I’m whining. I think it’s interesting to read everyone’s experience with pregnancy, but there is no reason to put down those who had a harder time.

I confess it’s weird for me that I am so much more emotional these days. What I just wrote in my last confession? I usually wouldn’t care. I’m also not used to crying at commercials or stories. Forget it if it’s anything about babies. It’s not nearly as bad as it was in my first trimester, but it’s still entertaining to me.

I confess it really makes me laugh when people say but you don’t look pregnant to me. If you spent a lot of time with me before I got pregnant, it’s pretty obvious (or at least obvious that I’ve gained weight). Chris and I can really tell, of course, and I know it won’t be much longer before people can tell. For now, I am enjoying being able to still wear my regular clothes!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

All About Baby

Thank you so much for all of your sweet messages of congratulations on here and Instagram. Chris and I are so incredibly excited, and I am grateful it’s out in the open now, and I can finally talk about my pregnancy. Plus, it’s nice to be able to give y’all a real explanation as to why I’ve been posting less over the last few months! Haha. Today, I wanted to share some of the details about our little one!

Our Baby Story:
I have always wanted to be a mama. If you asked me in first grade what I wanted to be when I grow up, I would tell you I wanted to be a writer and a mama. I put that dream on hold while we were relying on my income to get through medical school. Our original “plan” was to get pregnant a little before we moved home from Chicago, so the baby would be born during Christopher’s easiest year of residency. Instead, I got diagnosed with a massive endometrioma and spent months worrying about whether I would ever be able to have a baby.

Thankfully, I ended up with the best-case scenario, and after a visit to my obstetrician in October, I was told Chris and I could start trying in January. Y’all, this last holiday season was tough. I remember sitting there at Christmas Eve candlelight service, my body filled with hormones, silently crying as I watched families celebrate the holiday together. I had so hoped we would be one of those families that year. I can’t say I know what going through infertility is like (and I am truly grateful for that), but I have a special place in my heart for those struggling with it. If you are reading this and struggle with infertility, know that I am praying and hoping for you.

I started out January with a lot of hope. I even made it my word of the year. I didn’t say it at the time, but that was mostly because of our hope to have a baby. When it came time, Chris and I gave it all to God, praying Lord, if it is your will, please give us a child. We went into it with low expectations, thinking it would be a long road ahead. Because of my situation, my OB had only given us three months of trying naturally before she wanted us to come in and discuss options. Friends, it didn’t even take a full cycle. I kept seeing what I thought were signs of pregnancy, but I didn’t let myself believe it, because how is it possible I could get pregnant on our first time of ever trying? On February 17, I finally took a test, and that second line showed up within seconds. It’s hard to describe that feeling of overwhelming joy I felt. I sat down on the floor and cried and prayed for an hour. God is so good. So, so good.

I share this because it has become a big part of Christopher’s and my testimony. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

The day we found out I was pregnant. So much joy! 
PS-I’ll share later about how I told Chris and our parents. It’s been an amazing few months!

How far along are you? When are you due?
I’m 16 weeks! I’ll be 17 weeks on Friday. I’m due on October 27. October is my favorite month of the year (and Chris’s too!), so it’s really special to me that it’s when I’m due. My dad actually turns 50 on November 3, though, so he’s hoping I hold out one more week! Haha.

Are you finding out the gender? Do you have a guess?
We are! We decided not to do an elective ultrasound, so we are finding out at our 20-week ultrasound on June 9. We might do a small gender reveal with friends and family, but there is a lot going on during that time, so we haven’t decided yet. I don’t really care what we’re having as long as it’s healthy, but I currently think we are having a boy because Chris and I are 100 percent sure on a girl name and are having trouble with a boy name. Haha!

Are you showing?
I have always been pretty small, but I lost even more weight after surgery. Right before I got pregnant, I was just under 100 pounds. I only say this because I don’t really expect to be showing for a while. At my latest appointment, I was told I probably won’t be obviously pregnant until I’m about 26 weeks. I can definitely tell a difference, though!

How have you been feeling?
I’m not going to sugarcoat it. My first trimester was extremely rough. I basically spent most of my time from six weeks to 15 weeks being a hermit because I was so sick. (Remember that time I launched a new Instagram hashtag all about going outside and seeking adventure (#seekadventuredaily) and then could barely walk my dog? Life is funny). I was really worried because I wasn’t keeping any food in my body, but she told me it was fine as long as I stayed hydrated. My big bummer was that I was hoping I would get some relief at my 10-week appointment, but my doctor said there have been some studies that show the possibility of negative effects from Zofran on the baby, so she didn’t want to prescribe it to me. She prescribed me another medication, but my mother-in-law (who is a pharmacist) wasn’t keen on me taking it, so I basically tried to push through.

Remember how I was super stressed about moving? The biggest reason was because I was 14 weeks pregnant and still feeling super awful. I could barely function, so when I said my in-laws were rock stars during our move, I really meant it. I wasn’t much help, so they worked super hard to help our move go smoothly.

After the nausea and vomiting calmed down, I ended up having constant migraines for days at a time (apparently a common symptom during this stage in pregnancy)…which also caused nausea and vomiting. Saturday was my last really bad day though, so I’m hoping things are getting better.

I did find out a few days ago that pregnancy has caused me to have hypothyroidism. Thankfully, it’s not too bad, and I’m on medication for it and will be seeing an endocrinologist to monitor it, so hopefully everything will be OK.

Honestly, even though it’s been rough, I’ve been so thankful for this baby that it hasn’t bothered me all that much. Last year I had a lot of difficult symptoms for a completely different reason, so it feels like such an incredible blessing to have symptoms for a good reason this year!

Five weeks pregnant in Colorado! 
Have you had any cravings?
I’ve mentioned it a few times on the blog without saying why, but I am so obsessed with eating fresh berries right now. I also have been desperately wanting peaches, but they aren’t in season yet. So far, I’ve been satisfying this craving with Simply Peach juice, but I seriously can’t wait to eat a fresh peach.

Will you be doing weekly updates?
As much as I like reading other’s bump dates, showing weekly updates of my belly and sharing about my weight is just not my style. Instead, I’m planning on stealing my friend Chelsea’s idea and sharing things I want to remember each week. Pregnancy is such a special time, and I don’t want to forget the little moments!

You post a lot about travel. Will your blog change?
Yes and no. I still have about a million travel posts to write (I need to finish our California Road Trip, Lake Michigan Circle Tour, a bunch of Chicago posts, our Smoky Mountains road trip, and our Colorado road trip, just to name a few). That said, my blog has always been about my life, so obviously, there will be pregnancy posts and posts about our little one once he/she is born. We also hope to travel with the baby a bit, but Chris has such a crazy schedule next year that I don’t think we would have traveled much even if we didn’t have a baby.

Phew! This might be the longest post I’ve ever written, so I’m going to stop here for now. Thank you so much for sharing in our joy, friends, and I am so excited to share the rest of this journey with y’all!

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Best News Ever

Christopher and I are so excited to share our joy with y'all! I will be back on Wednesday with all the details. Feel free to leave questions in the comments, and I will answer them in Wednesday's post. We are beyond thankful for this blessing! 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Life Update: We Moved (Again)!

I must admit it kinda cracks me up that I have had this blog for almost three years, and in that time we have moved three times. As I mentioned a few months ago, I really didn’t want to move again. I liked our apartment (even though it was on the smaller side), and I especially loved our location. The plan was to stay if our rent didn’t go up by too much. I was so excited when we found out they weren’t going to raise our rent at all…until we got an offer we couldn’t refuse on a larger unit in the same complex.

That’s how we ended up moving less than a year from our move back to Texas from Chicago. I was super stressed because we couldn’t see our unit or a model in advance, so the only thing I had to go on was the floor plan. There were some things that were different that I didn’t really expect. Our wood floors are light and our kitchen cabinets are dark, which is the opposite of our old apartment. Also, both bathrooms have really ugly red countertops, which was really surprising. Obviously neither one of those things is a huge deal, though, especially when it comes to how much more space we have in this unit.

The move itself went so much better than I expected. Of course, the movers were over three hours late, but it actually worked out OK because we were able to move lots of clothes and boxes using luggage racks provided by the apartment complex. I’m so thankful for Chris’s parents, who helped us out so much. The move would have been a million times harder without them. I questioned Chris’s Match Day results quite a few times when we first got them, but I must say God has truly answered my questions over and over. I never imagined how much we would need to be home over the last year, and I am so grateful for the help and support of our families. (My parents would have been happy to help us move as well, but since this was a last-minute move, they happened to be on a three-week trip to Europe).

I’m glad I am writing this post a little removed from the actual move because I would have still sounded frantic and overwhelmed this time last week. I just hate living in a sea of boxes. Thankfully, Chris and I have been able to get so much done, so I am feeling much better. At this point, our focus is more on organizing than unpacking because we don’t have very many boxes left.

I’m hopeful we can stay in our new place for over a year, but we will have to see. On July 1, we will have three years left in this area (Chris might do fellowship here, but a lot of the fellowships he is looking at go through the Match, so we will have to see). I either want to stay or find a house rental that will let us sign a two-year contract. I’m trying not to get too ahead of myself, though, and enjoy the time we do have here!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Eight Books I Read in April

Happy book day, friends! I always look forward to sharing my books every month, and I love seeing what everyone else is reading. I started out this month strong, but moving got the best of me at the end of the month, and I was just way too tired to read before bed. Still, I ended up reading eight books so no complaints there! I also ended up with quite a variety of books this month. I could never decide what I wanted to read, so it was a super random month!

To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin
(c/o NetGalley)
This was a historical fiction romance centered around the building of the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, I didn't love it. It was so slow (which is even stranger for a 300 page book), and the romance didn't even start until over 50 percent into the book. Also, I felt like the building of the Eiffel Tower was really a minor part in this story. It was a decent read, but not one I will go out of my way to recommend.

The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell
(c/o NetGalley)
After I read and enjoyed I Found You last month, I knew I wanted to read another Lisa Jewell book. I would call this book more of a drama than a thriller. You find out the big event right away, and then the story starts from the beginning to explain what caused it. The story kept me interested, and I liked it overall. I did like I Found You better, but this was still a good read.

Sting by Sandra Brown
(c/o NetGalley)
This book is a thriller with some romance on the side, and I was surprised by how much I liked it! The plot was interesting, and I was eager to see how it ended. I thought the ending was great, too.

Spring at Blueberry Bay by Holly Martin
(c/o NetGalley)
Whenever I am in the mood for a feel-good romance, I know Holly Martin will deliver. There are always some issues with the dialogue and the writing, and the repetition drove me crazy a few times, but the story was sweet. I also love how Holly Martin's books center around a season. It was fun to read this in the spring. I was looking for a light read, and this was perfect!

Unsub by Meg Gardiner
(c/o Penguin First to Read)
I basically read this book in one sitting. It really kept me on my toes with its creepiness. It's the first time in a long time I literally felt scared while reading (though I must admit some parts felt a little unrealistic). I was a little disappointed that the ending was set up for a sequel when I thought this was a stand-alone novel (and GoodReads doesn't show anything about a sequel). Still, I would definitely read a sequel if there is one!

Close Enough to Touch: A Novel by Colleen Oakley
(c/o NetGalley)
I was honestly a little worried to read Close Enough to Touch because I thought the plot sounded similar to Everything, Everything, and I loved that book and didn't think anything would compare. Thankfully, the books turned out to be really different. This book was a lot more grown up (not in a good or bad way) and made me really think about Jubilee's circumstances. The love story was also done well and didn't feel forced. I would definitely recommend this book!

The 4th Man by Lisa Gardner
(c/o NetGalley)
This book was a great little short story about a cold case, but I don't think it's a great place to start if you aren't familiar with the characters. Although it's a stand-alone short story, I don't think it gives justice to how great these characters are. I read Find Her last year and loved it, so this story was a nice read.

The Invitation by Lucy Foley
(c/o NetGalley)
I have mixed feelings about this book. It's basically a story of how people changed after WWII with the Italian coast as the backdrop. It was incredibly slow at times, but I did enjoy the unraveling of the character's stories. I was pretty disappointed in the ending.

Favorite reads in April: Sting, Unsub, and Close Enough to Touch

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

I love book suggestions. What have you read lately?