Monthly roundup

Monthly roundup: April 2020

So March started and then went on and on and on and on, until we were all sure that we were experiencing some sort of bizarre time wizardry and the month actually had 243877234983289 days. And then April started and ended pretty much immediately, leaving us all blinking in deep confusion and wondering what happened. Jeremy Bearimy, anyone???

It’s been another month of weirdness, and we’ve got at least one more to go (and with good reason, because we’re in no shape ready to reopen anything). It’s frustrating and sad difficult to have life be so different, but it’s so, so necessary. The stories I hear from my healthcare worker friends are devastating. Stay home and stay safe, friends.

It’s been an interesting month for reading as well. I’m still only able to read mostly at night, so my reading has slowed so, so much. THAT’S definitely frustrating. I’m doing my best, though, and that’s all I can do right now.

Let’s get this recap started!

Books I Read in April 2020

  1. The Other Americans by Laila Lalami

2. The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

3. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

4. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

5. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis (no review; read out loud to my daughter. A re-read for me)

6. Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle

7. Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom

9. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

9. Wiving: A Memoir of Loving, then Leaving the Patriarchy by Caitlin Myer (review to come closer to release date)

10. Concealed by Esther Amini

11. Love Starts Here (A Morgan’s Grove Novel #1) by Traci Borum

12. Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis (review to come)

Ehhh, not a great month in terms of numbers, but again, cutting myself all the slack here. I’m also homeschooling and dealing with my now 6 year-old’s big emotions regarding the loss of school, the ability to see her friends/play with other kids/go anywhere other than walks around the neighborhood, cooking, cleaning, helping my son learn to cook, gardening, reading for my class…life is busier than ever around here! We’re all doing the best we can.

Reading Challenge Updates

Not too bad here this month! The stack of books I had checked out from the library were all off of my lists, so I was able to tackle quite a few of the prompts on the 2020 PopSugar Reading Challenge, and I even added one to the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2020 Reading Challenge, and two to the Book Riot 2020 Read Harder Challenge. Now that I’m through with my library books, though, I’ll have to see what my library offers via ebook that fits into my challenge prompts. I’m up to the challenge!

Here’s what my reading challenges look like right now.

(No change to the second page, so I won’t add that.)

Although I didn’t get that much reading done this month, it almost all went to a challenge, so I’m happy with that!

State of the Goodreads TBR

So, when all of this is over, I’m basically just going to pack my stuff up and move in to the library. It’s the only way I’m going to tackle this TBR, folks.

Last month found me holding steady at 109 books, but thanks to some really great-looking books and a few really inconsiderate ‘awesome things to read when you’re stuck at home!!!1!!!!1’ lists, my Goodreads TBR has ballooned up to a hefty 124 books! (Remember once upon a time when it was down to 78? *weeps gently*) S’alright, though, it just means that someday in the future, I’ll be reading some seriously amazing things. πŸ™‚

Books I Acquired in April 2020

None, with the exception of some Magic Tree House books we picked up from one of the Little Free Libraries during our neighborhood walks. πŸ™‚ My daughter and I will start this series soon; right now, we’re working our way through some old copies of Patricia Reilly Giff’s Polk Street School Kids series, which are fun but occasionally dated, and the kids can be really mean to/about each other. They spark a lot of good conversation about proper behavior and how to treat our friends and neighbors, though!

Bookish Things I Did in April 2020

Uh…I read? At home?

That’s about it.

Current Podcast Love

So, I finished all the back episodes of Unorthodox! I’m trying to keep current on the latest episodes during my solo walks around the neighborhood; the neighbors get to see me laughing like a maniac and nodding along to the wisdom and wit of the hosts. I’ll definitely be keeping up with this show’s new Thursday episodes.

I’m not currently latched on to anything new in particular. Life has been so exhausting lately that instead of listening to a new podcast for ten to fifteen minutes before falling asleep, I begin listening and am out within a minute or two, and even when I wake up during the night, I’m back out within a minute. I’ve got friends who aren’t sleeping well at all, but I’ve been sleeping like the dead, it’s SO weird for me. We’ll see what I’m able to come up with next month, podcast-wise, if anything.

Stephanie’s Read Harder Challenge

Currently on hold.

Real Life Stuff

Not entirely how I pictured my daughter’s 6th birthday, but we celebrated anyway! She was thrilled with her new pajamas, new unicorn shirt, and kids’ Kindle Fire (on which she is playing as I type this; that’s about the only way I can get any kind of work done! Although not always, as she narrates every. last. thing. she does on there…) She had a moment during the day where she wasn’t okay and cried on me for about two hours, poor kiddo, but I’m doing my best to keep things as normal as possible and fun for her, including starting a nature journal. She’s super into that and is really enjoying drawing pictures of the things she sees on our walks (aided by the PlantNet app, which helps us identify the wildflowers that have been popping up in neighborhood yards).

I had a rough day on what was supposed to be my son’s final choir concert. That really stank. Right now, he’s planning on going into choral music instruction in college, with the hopes of becoming a choir director, so if that works out, there will be more of his concerts to attend in the future. But what a bummer of a way to end high school. His school is planning on a virtual graduation, followed by a potential ceremony if it’s safe in July. We’ll go pick up (trunk pick up!) his cap and gown the first week of May. Speaking of which…

My son hadn’t had a haircut since NOVEMBER. He has wildly curly hair and has been in that teenage phase of wanting to see what happens when he lets his hair go. As I told him it would, his hair never got long, it just continued to get bushier and grow OUT and not down. He finally gave up on the last Saturday of April and said, “I’ve had enough. You can cut it.” I had no clippers, only scissors, but guys, he looks SO MUCH BETTER! You can actually see his handsome face again. No pictures, I’m respecting his privacy, but he just looks so nice right now. πŸ™‚

My (Re)Introduction to Judaism class continues via Zoom! We only have three sessions left, which makes me so sad, this class is such a meaningful spot in my week. And along those lines… Right before Yom HaShoah, while searching for some schoolbooks in our basement, I found my husband’s copy of The Holocaust Chronicle by John K. Roth et al. It’s an enormous book, the subject is difficult, and my reading time has been reduced to smithereens, but I’m going to be tackling this little by little as part of my learning, because it’s so, so necessary.

The baby owls from the owl cam that I’ve been obsessing over all hatched, and they are RIDICULOUS, OMG. Who knew baby owls were this cute??? I can hardly stand their little floofy feathers and their goofy little faces. Check them out, and keep checking back if Mama is in the box covering them up. She leaves for longer periods of time now and it’s adorable to watch them bob and stumble around the nesting box on their own. I’m going to miss them so much when they’re big enough to fly off on their own!

The calendar is empty again for May, with the exception of a doctor check-up for my daughter. They still want the kids to come in for those, so she and I will be wearing the cloth masks my friend Meghan made for our family (THANK YOU, MEGHAN!!!!!) to attend that, and scrubbing our hands half to death afterwards. Otherwise, we’ll be here at home, learning, reading, walking the neighborhood, gardening, and generally hanging out. As people in lockdown do, in order to keep their friends, family, and neighbors safe and healthy. πŸ™‚

Stay well, friends. Stay safe, stay healthy, take care of yourself and others. Be the kind of person you want others to be to you. Spread love and kindness, put yourself in others’ shoes, be mindful of how your actions affect those around you. It was kindness and love that got Bill Murray out of his Groundhog Day, and it’s the only way we’ll get through ours. Sending you all love from our lockdown hidey-hole!

How was your April???


11 thoughts on “Monthly roundup: April 2020

  1. Great post ❀️ Hang in there, it’s difficult to deal with the world right now and I can’t imagine how difficult it must be with children ❀️ Nevertheless, I have a question: HOW CAN YOU ONLY HAVE 124 BOOKS ON YOUR TBR???? Hooooooooooooow 🀣 I envy you πŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not easy with kids, but we’re managing! My 17 year old son has taken over a lot of the dinner cooking for me, which is SO helpful and takes off a lot of the stress. πŸ™‚ Plus he’s learning to cook, so excellent life skills for him.

      And haha! πŸ˜€ A few years ago, my TBR was up to 321 books and it was starting to make me feel panicky just looking at that, so I decided I was going to get it down to a more manageable number. With the help of my local library, other libraries where I’m allowed to check out books, and heavy use of interlibrary loan, I read that list down to about 100 books and then cleaned up a few that I was no longer interested in reading. I read fairly exclusively from my TBR, so that keeps the number low. πŸ™‚ It’s creeping up lately, though!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. oooh, you are doing the Popsugar challenge too πŸ˜€ it’s the first time for me, here is my progress if interested πŸ˜€ I need to compare, because I still have a couple spots open or not entirely sure yet about my choices.
    My Popsugar Challenge

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay, I LOVE that you have a single post with not only your choices but your progress! That’s brilliant. You have so many good choices there (and I totally bookmarked it because I may need to change some of my choices, with the library being physically closed right now. I currently have mine scrawled out on several pieces of paper that I keep in my reading binder). Columbine is an excellent choice- Dave Cullen is an amazing author. Years ago when the book first came out, I blogged about it (on an old blog) and he was kind enough to show up in my comments and thank me, which thrilled me! Heavy to read about but definitely necessary. Stephen King’s 11/22/63 is so, so good, I loved that book so much. I’ve read all your choices for Banned Books Week and they’re all great! You’ve got some fabulous reading ahead of you!

      This is my first year for this challenge. I did Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge and the Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge last year, but figured why not add this one this year! It’s a bit much, I’ll probably stick to just one next year, but I’m enjoying it. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m so embarrassed that I haven’t read as many banned books, besides Harry Potter. And like you said, I feel like Columbine is a MUST read, especially with events like that happening almost yearly now. I’m a bit hesitant about 11/22/63, that book is SO LONG, and I actually started it years ago, but my library book expired, so I’ll be re-starting it and oh boy – lol. Why does it have to be so damn long πŸ™ˆ.

        I’m such a fan of LISTS – so making a list for book challenges is right up my alley. I’ll be checking out the challenges you mentioned and I also want to do the Goodreads summer challenge this year. Last year I saw it too late and felt like I didn’t have time to properly prepare for it, like pick books etc.

        If it all gets too overwhelming I’ll stick to just one as well. A nice long one like Popsugar, which is pretty flexible since it can be done over 12 month.


  3. This is such a great post! Well done for reading so many books in April despite everything that is going on and all the new challenges just now!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you and yours are doing well, overall. I think right now we’re all just coping with everything the best we can. It is what it is. I’m not going to guilt myself over anything I am or am not doing! I have been able to read and sleep just fine. I’ve also been cross-stitching more than I have in years. It’s relaxing. I have not been very motivated to clean or cook, but it all gets done eventually!

    My 11yo daughter has the occasional outbursts that your daughter seems to be experiencing as well. Mostly she’s fun, but every so often she’ll burst into tears because she misses her friends. It’s so sad 😦

    My 15yo son is growing out his quarantine hair – on his head and his face. He looks like Mose from The Office right now. LOL. Thankfully, my daughter has super long hair, so hers looked fine for her senior pictures. Her school is doing a virtual graduation ceremony as well. She doesn’t seem to care much, but I’m a little sad that she won’t have the closure and memories that graduation brings. Oh well. She’s been over high school for a long time now and can’t wait to move on to college.

    How cool that your son wants to be a choir director! I love watching the directors during concerts – they’re sometimes more fun to watch than the other performers πŸ™‚ The director of this choir is my absolute favorite: I’ve seen the choir perform a couple of times and the director is a riot!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohhhhhh, I love cross-stitching! I’m working on finishing up a piece that my grandmother had started (well, slowly working on it. It’s definitely a work in progress!). I’m glad you’re finding some peace and relaxation doing that. I *have* to keep the area around me at least somewhat tidy. I start feeling panicked and claustrophobic when things get messy. Our house isn’t huge, and all the toys my daughter drags out makes it feel cluttered *VERY* fast, which drives me bananas.

      I think my son is about where your daughter is, just totally over it. We’re trying to figure out what to do with him in the fall. He’s going to go to the local community college to start, but we’re not sure if they’re going to open or go entirely online until all of this is over, or what. It’s difficult to even begin to think what our next move should be here…

      We’ll have to check out your link, my son LOVES watching other choirs. It’s so wild, the variety of music he listens to- he’ll have a British choir, followed by gospel music, followed by something techno, followed by pop from the 70’s, then an African ensemble… Makes me happy that he’s found something he enjoys so much. And he’s really gotten me to appreciate how hard choir members work! πŸ™‚


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