If You Could Read My Mind

Friday, December 28, 2012

One of my 2012 goals/resolutions was to read more.  I specifically was trying to target at least one book per month.  I actually met that quota (woo hoo!) although that's largely due to the fact that apparently, I enjoy reading books written for a demographic that is 10-20 years younger than me.  I'm so cool and smart.  My list of what I've read this year is below.  Except it might be missing a few entries because it seems like I've read a few more than this, but if I did, I didn't record them in my Goodreads.  Oh well.  You'll get the gist of it.

I started the year off with books 2 and 3 the Hunger Games trilogy, and I actually read the first two twice after I finished the series the first time. 

The Night Circus was recommended by my bff.  I wanted to like it so much (the cover art alone is just so great!), but it didn't satisfy me.  I liked the idea of the book, but the actual execution and plot line just fell flat for me.  I get why it's written the way it is and why you don't know what's going on the whole time (it's like you're in the duel with Celia and Marco!  You're just as in the dark as they are!), but overall, not my fave. 

Then came Shanghai Girls.  I have no idea what prompted me to buy this, but I did.  If you like historical fiction, this was pretty good, but not one I'd say anyone has GOT to run out and read. 

Devil in the White City... I mean, what a GREAT book.  I knew basically nothing about the Chicago World's Fair prior to reading this, nor did I know anything at all about the serial killing spree that occurred during the same period.  This is so well-written and researched.  I can't imagine how many years the author spent pulling data together to create such a well-crafted book.  Looking forward to reading his book about Nazi Germany (which is a sentence I never thought I'd write).


Then came the Luxe series!  These were really light, easy reads (like, even easier than The Hunger Games books - these are definitely for the YA set).  Truth be told, I could have stopped reading after the first one, but I didn't have anything else in my reading queue yet and I had a mild curiosity about how the stories would end.  Because of the cover art, these are exceedingly embarrassing to take to the gym or to leave out on the coffee table when you have guests.  They totally look like period romance novels.  However, if you want to plow through a series in less than a month so you can feel good about yourself, this would be an ideal choice.

I read this book based on the recommendation of two friends.  It's cute and heartwarming, but if you're a skeptic and/or not a devout Christian, there are some easy plot holes to identify that will probably bother you. 

This is probably my favorite book from 2012.  Also recommended by my bff (she totally redeemed herself from The Night Circus rec), I couldn't put this down once I started. I knew a plot twist had to be coming based on how the story was playing out and the number of pages left in it, but I did NOT foresee the twist that it took.  LOVED it.  I went back and re-read the first part once I finished just to make sure I didn't miss anything.  If there's one book on this list you should read, it's this one!

And now, for my "currently reading but not yet finished" list:

Yeah, the puppy book isn't exactly compelling reading for the general public, but if you're parenting a new pup, this seems really good so far!  L and I have big plans to implement some of the exercises this weekend.  I'll finish this book and Mindy Kaling's before 2013 arrive.  Hornet's Nest will continue to be put on the back burner.

Atomic Dog

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Meet our new pal, Heisman!  Heisman is 4 months old, weighing in at 6 pounds and measuring 11 inches high (floor to top of head) and 23 inches long (tip of the nose to the tip of his tail).  This was our initial meeting yesterday at the adoption meet and greet event:

Obviously, we had to have him once we met him.  So we made it official, bought him a little collar and a chew toy, and headed home.  Apparently car rides home from Maryland are pretty exhausting.

We did a big run to Petsmart when we got home.  Heisman isn't leash trained yet and riding in the basket was scary for him, so I did most of the shopping while L held him and walked around the store making friends.  Apparently that was also exhausting for the young Heisman, because he was fast asleep after about 20 minutes of being in the store.  Napping is becoming a common theme for our young pup.

This is a better pic of him from the front:

Things Heisman LOVES:
Playing fetch with his stuffed animal turtle
His special teething puppy Nylabone
Following me and L all over the house

Things Heisman HATES:
His collar
Jumping off the sofas
Walking outside onto the balcony

To be fair, the last two items aren't so much things he hates as they are things he's afraid of.  He built up courage to jump off the sofas last night, but by this morning, he had lost it.  There was a good two minutes this morning where he just ran back and forth on the love seat in a frustrated mess because he was too afraid to jump off.  I'm sure we'll build back up to leaping soon.

Heisman isn't officially crate trained, but I'm so proud of him because aside from a little whimpering last night when we first put him in his crate for bedtime, he did so well!  At first we had the crate in the living room, but I think he must have been scared by himself, so we moved it into the bedroom.  He did better in there; minimal crying and barking.  I woke up at 6:30 this morning and heard him playing quietly (with his hind feet and tail, obviously - those are the clearly the MOST fun), so Heisman and I got up for a bathroom break.  After that, we spent the next 3 hours snoozing on the couch since neither of us was really ready to wake up for the day.

We're currently working on reinforcing the paper-training he came with.  He was GREAT yesterday, although today we had the first accident (and of course it was on the Christmas tree skirt - thank goodness for Nature's Miracle).  But he's rectified himself since then.

We had a full morning of playing fetch with his little stuffed turtle and chewing on bones and exploring, so the little guy was sacked out next to me on the couch as I started writing this.  However, it's now hours later and since then, we took our first walk ever on a leash (we had to practice in the hall first... still a ways to go before on this) and we went to the park.  Kind of overwhelming for a little guy - it's a whole new world for him today - new family, no mom, no foster family, new house - so we didn't do a whole lot.  Mostly just practicing trailing the leash through grass and some light sniffing.  We attempted to meet some friends at Petsmart to take a picture with Santa, but sadly for us, Santa was gone for the day.  Heisman did get to meet his first official dog friend, Teddy, though, and overall, it went well.  He's still very shy and overwhelmed by crowds of people, so he likes to be held in situations like that.

Hooray for our new little Heisman trophy pup!  He's a hit with us so far.  :)

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy merry early Christmas!  It seems like it took forever, but we did get the new digs decorated for Christmas.  We've had everything up (for the most part) for at least a week and a half, but somehow it feels like we were late in the game getting it all finished.  Maybe that's just what happens when Thanksgiving is early?  Who knows.  Anyway, here's our tree:

You can kind of see in the background that we have garlands hanging from the windows.  Also, there isn't a second tree back there; that's just the reflection of the lights from the tree in the windows.

Sadly, we don't have a fireplace in the condo.  My family has always had fireplaces by which to hang stockings.  What does one do with stockings if you don't have a fireplace???

Obviously the answer is to hang them from the top of the hutch. I don't love what we have going on on top of the hutch, but whatevs.  For now, it works.  Also,  I didn't realize til this moment how ugly the random kitchen chair is just hanging out in the pic.  Oh well.  Just use your imagination and pretend it isn't there.

So that's it for now.  I don't think this is 100% finalized, as I would love to remedy the decor on the top of the hutch and spruce up the garlands a bit more, but it's a work in progress and it's fine for now.  I will say that posting these has made me realize that I'm missing a couple of items and I am 100% clueless as to where they might be.  One is a fabulous Christmas tree-scented candle and one is a super cute Christmas platter that I usually display on a stand.  I'm also realizing I have neglected to pull out our nativity set.  At least I know where that one is!!!  I'll work on locating the others and finding spots to put everything.  And once I do that, I will do my best to post more pics.

At least my Christmas shopping is 99% done!  Just gotta iron out the details of my mom's gift and then I am DONE.  And I've even mailed all the items that needed to be mailed!  If you get a gift from me in the mail, open it when you receive it.  Just a friendly little tip.  L's gift is super random this year but I'm excited about it.  Fingers are crossed that he likes it!  (I think he will.)

The best part about this week is that we have less than two weeks til we are back in Texas to celebrate Christmas with the families. :)  I'm super excited!  Hope everyone else has great things planned for the coming weeks!
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