things that make me :)

30 September 2015

30 September 2015
thing #1: this girl
Kate got this really cute Vatican flag from her grandparents' trip to see the Pope in Philly this past week. I tried to get some photos of her and the flag together because she was parading around the house with it - but instead she just got super interested in looking at the photos of herself on the screen and making these faces, and then was moving so fast with the flag that all those shots are blurry. This face kills me every time. (I obviously need to work on my photography skills to keep up with my rambunctious and fast 16 month old.)

Poor David is sick with a cold, so last night instead of watching anything "stressful" or engaging, we kept on our rewatch of the Office. And man, the few episodes with Will Ferrell as manager are just hilarious. Even the 6th or 9th or 20th time watching it, I'm still amazed at the hilarity that is his imaginary juggling routine. It's just so genius and so uncomfortable.

There's a great chill in the air around these parts and it's making it hard for me to concentrate on work things. (Or anything that involves a brain, really - I just tried to spell "air" as "are.") All I want to do is sit outside, smell the fresh air, go on long walks, drink pumpkin-flavored things (even if they are iced...), bake fun desserts, and cuddle up under a blanket. I definitely don't want to be inside stuck coding ebooks but, them's the breaks I guess.

Did you see Katrina is hosting the most generous giveaway ever? Check out her Instagram for her hand lettering Etsy, Hatch Prints, and enter! (I'm so so excited for mine, truly.)

Rosie's post about fall clothing reminds me of some holes missing in my wardrobe for the cooler weather. I spent last year getting by on as few pieces as I could muster, because I thought I'd keep changing sizes (darn thyroid!). I loved my cheapo pair of black jeans from Old Navy, but they did wear out relatively quickly so I just ordered these Gap jeans to replace them. And with all of Gap's promotions they were just as much as a pair from Old Navy so I thought it was worth it.

I'm also in need of a good medium-weight jacket for the few weeks of the year it's in-between temperatures in Nebraska. I'm thinking something like this one from H&M - who doesn't love the classic olive army jacket? (Plus an H&M just opened in Lincoln so I can actually go try stuff on before buying! tis amazing!) I also love this quilted vest - much more in line with my budget than those gorgeous JCrew ones.

I should probably stop there and get my work done for today. One more picture just because? I mean, just look at that face!

It's the best. :)

Weekend recap #1258392

28 September 2015

28 September 2015
Just kidding, I haven't been blogging for quite that long.

We had an awesomely relaxing and simultaneously somewhat productive weekend. It seems like the first weekend in about 3 years that we haven't had an actual event to go to or an obligation of any kind, which was a great!

Friday night we went to dinner with my parents, and Kate had a really fun time getting entertained by her grandparents & her aunt while David and I tried to keep her happy until our food came (after her official bedtime, whoops!).

I had all these high hopes of sleeping in on Saturday and although Kate slept til about 8:05, I wouldn't necessarily qualify that as "sleeping in." We ran some errands, watch the Huskers win a football game, I sweated my butt off doing Insanity Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs, and I stared at that blank wall above our couch trying to design a gallery wall for what seemed like hours. Nope, still haven't made any real progress.

We spent time cleaning the house, organizing the freezers, doing laundry & dishes, mowing the lawn (okay most of these are what David did but I helped! I promise!), and had some good quality playing time with Kate. She got a Nativity set from her great-grandma that I was planning on keeping for a Christmas toy but...she got obsessed with it and I feared for my sanity if I took it away. So she's been toting around the 3 Wise Men and it's adorable.

Sunday night I even made pizza from scratch, dough & everything! (This was a bigger deal than it should have been, because I really don't love cooking and my usual cooking involves making David grill something I've marinated.) And then I made brownies. I was on a roll! Until two hours after I took the brownies out of the oven and realized the pan was like, still really hot? Turns out the burner on top of the stove was still on. Oooooops. So the bottom of the brownies are, umm, well done now.

There's a reason I don't cook a lot. (Although I'd probably get better if I did it more often.)

We've got a full calendar ahead of us in October with birthdays and friend visits and baptisms to attend so it's nice to take these weekends relaxing at home while we can.

7QT #41: intros, sassy toddler, & Pope Francis love

25 September 2015

25 September 2015
Joining with Kelly as she's the queen of multitasking (going to WMF and hosting quick takes? miraculous)!!

For all my new followers from Facebook, I thought I'd do a quick re-introduction of myself. First of all hi and I'm so glad you're here! I'm Hannah, married to David for 2 years, and we have a rambunctious and ambitious 1.5 year old named Kateri.

This is us, from some recent family photos:

Yes, that's a bit of a fruit snack on Kate's lip because she was NOT happy about family photos. Not. At. All.

A little more about us...we live in Lincoln, Nebraska, where I've lived my whole life. I'm a cradle Catholic but had a great reversion in college thanks to involvement in the Newman Center at UNL. I work from home while taking care of Kate which can be crazy sometimes but is also awesome. I love iced coffee even in the dead of winter, trying new crafts and doing home improvement projects on our house, Jimmy John's sandwiches, reading good books (I was an English and French double major in college), writing snail mail, working out (at least, sometimes I like it...), and I have loved all the friends I've made in the short time I've been blogging.

If you're new around these parts you should introduce yourself in the comments! I'm always looking for new blogs to add to my Bloglovin' feed so make sure you mention your blog. :)

Whew. That was one long take so let's pretend it melded into take #2 and just kinda skip this one.

How about some music recommendations? I haven't done that for awhile so why not?

This song for when you're feeling all chill/bluegrassy/fall weather and front porch sitting.
This one for when you want to be in a really really good mood. It's just super catchy.
For a soul-searching song, definitely this hipster folk one.

If you ever want to you're welcome to follow me on Spotify. I listen to music almost 24/7 so I spent a lot of time working on what I'm listening to and I like to think I have good taste in music...but it's pretty eclectic so you've been warned.

One day this week, I was working at my desk and Kate was standing beside it in the corner of our bedroom. I wasn't paying much attention to her because I thought she was happily playing. I turned to look at her though and was greeted with this:

 photo IMG_2585_zpsoqfd7xf2.jpg

Let me be even more clear: there was nothing I had done to warrant this face, and I casually interrupted her standing like this on a whim. This is just Kate in a nutshell. Aren't you jealous she's not your sassy little 16 month old?

Thank you Caitlin for introducing me to my new all time favorite GIF -- of Pope Francis!

I don't even need to know the context because it just speaks for itself.

Also, isn't he just like the happiest guy you've ever seen? Look at this smile!!!

I'm fangirling pretty hard over here at my desk.

Some good reads from around the internet this week:

Blythe's perfect response to the haters. Keep on keepin' on, all you wonderful bloggers. Don't let people bring you down!!!

Kendra's review of Merlin, which I've put back on my list to watch because I pretty much trust her opinion on TV things 100%.

Calah's refreshingly honest piece (okay, not from this week technically but I kept meaning to link to it) about how being a mom is really, truly hard and that's okay.

What else did I miss this week?

What should we be for Halloween this year? It's David's (second) favorite holiday because his birthday is at the beginning of the month, and last year we went as Bert, Mary Poppins, and a penguin (and it was really adorable). I'm trying to come up with something equally as fun and budget friendly but I'm drawing a blank so far. Got any ideas for us that you're not using for yourself? :)

Have a happy weekend, all! Head to Kelly's to see more quick takes from this week!

happy fall!

23 September 2015

23 September 2015
Happy first day of fall/autumn/the best season of the year! Around these here parts we've had some lovely thunderstorms and a little bit cooler weather to welcome the new season. Forecast for later today is rain, rain, and more rain which I am 100% in favor of, because rain is the best thing ever. It may not be very "fall" like but I'm okay with that.

In other news, Pope Francis is in the U.S.! I cried like a little baby out fear? excitement? when I watched the clip of him descending off the plane at Andrews AF base yesterday morning. I've been hungrily reading all the snippets I can on Twitter and Facebook of my lucky friends/family who are seeing him in person because I'm pretty jealous that I'm not there. Maybe I'll have to take a trip to Rome to see him sometime since we missed him here...

Totally not related but Artifact Uprising is having a 25-free-prints deal going on right now! Click here ( and you should be directed to enter your email, and then they'll email you a code for the promo and you just have to pay shipping! I've never used them before but a company is doing the right thing by enticing me with free gorgeous square prints. I'm already hooked.

Kate's been getting some pretty funny mannerisms lately. She'll do the arm thing above when she's just playing around and when she's concentrating on something very seriously - twisting her body and reaching the opposite direction around things just for the heck of it. It's so fun to watch her little personality develop more and more every day. 

Last night while David and I were getting ready for bed, we heard some rustling around in her crib. There were then some incoherent babbles, which she does occasionally - we can't tell if it's talking in her sleep, or she wakes up and talks and then falls right back asleep. Last night though was the cutest thing yet. She babbled for a bit, then said very clearly, "Lola?" (which is her best friend bunny she takes and sleeps with and cuddles with everywhere) and then we could hear her grab the bunny, turn over, and then go completely silently back to sleep. It was so cute! 

How do you like our new trippy rug? I spent hours and hours searching on over many weeks and finally found this one. It's a flatweave so we did have to buy a rug pad for underneath it but I love it! That and the new wall color in our living room (I will take real photos of it sometime) makes it allllmost done. I just need a gallery wall on one side and then I think I'll be happy for awhile. (David sure hopes so, that is...)

Nothing much else to report around here. Enjoy a PSL if that's your thing for celebrating the arrival of fall (I'll stick with my iced coffee, thank you).

Farmhouse dreaming

21 September 2015

21 September 2015

Last night we got to spend some time visiting my uncle, who's the pastor in a small town parish in Mead, NE. It's a super cute little small town about an hour from our house, and although he's been there since June we hadn't made it out to visit him yet.

It was great to catch up but mostly just reminded me how much I'd love to live in the country someday. I know we probably won't ever move to a small town too far from Lincoln, because David's job requires him to be somewhat close, but I keep dreaming of finding an acreage somewhere near and fixing up a farmhouse and letting our kid(s) run crazy outside without fear of cars or small fenced yards or neighbors besides grass & cornfields.

It's one of those stereotypical desires that I think everybody gets at some point in their life, but only the lucky few get to actually achieve and live it. I'm gunning for it either way because a girl can dream, right? And what are long Sunday evening drives watching the sunset for besides planning your dream acreage & farm?

I mean, just imagine watching a summer thunderstorm roll in from a view like that! Incredible.
There's something so idyllic and so, well, quintessentially Midwestern about the whole idea of living on a farm. I don't think we'd ever be adventurous enough to start farming or homesteading ourselves (I mean, I can't predict the future so never say never, right?) but I can definitely imagine having a big garden, a nice wraparound porch, and maybe some chickens or a cow.

Kate's already got a bunch of animal noises down; she's hindranced slightly by the fact that every animal she sees (including my uncle's two very cute yet unfriendly cats) is 100% a "puppy" but we could always work on that. Especially if we were around them more!

Something like the above (house tour located here, try not to drool) is what I'm dreaming of right now. And speaking of those I'm sure lovely bedrooms up on the second floor, David and I had this conversation discussion last night: why doesn't anyone who builds a house include a second story anymore? My parents' house was built in 1910 and has 3 stories plus a basement (so yes, 4 in total) and I loved that as a kid and still love it now. David's family home has two stories and it's somewhat new-ish, but every time we drive through a new development in Lincoln or anywhere near here, it's one giant first floor and nothing else (if anything, maybe one gable in an attic if that).

It makes me so sad! If we're ever able to build our own home, a second story for bedrooms is a deal-breaker for me. Our one conclusion was maybe that family sizes are smaller so why bother building a whole second story just for bedrooms if you've only got a few kids? But even so there's something so majestic about a bedroom on the second floor (or third floor!!).

I mean, come on! So beautiful! must. stop. drooling. (source)
Anyways. Thanks for sticking through this long and pointless post as I try not to think about the looming work week ahead of me and the fact that I have about 3 weeks of laundry piled up in the basement just waiting for me to wash, dry, fold, & put away...

5 TV shows to binge on Netflix

16 September 2015

16 September 2015
I'm not a partner with Netflix or anything fancy like that. But one of my biggest (and fault-iest) hobbies is binge-watching shows on Netflix. David claims that I do it too much, but I say I should do it while we have time and not waste our VERY PRECIOUS TV watching years. Plus, who knows how many more years things like Netflix could exist? Or how long great TV shows like the ones below will still be being made?? The world is an uncertain place and I'm not taking any chances.

Don't get me wrong, there's definitely a line between having other hobbies and a social life and then also getting to watch TV as much as you could want. I'm no expert - that's up to each individual person. But if you're in need of a TV show to watch, I've got you covered. Don't blame me if you get sucked in!

Without further ado, I present you with my top Netflix picks for you to binge watch t-t-t-today, junior.

1. The West Wing

Before this past year, if someone asked me what my favorite TV show was, I would have replied with my #2 recommendation in this list. And then I watched The West Wing and my life (and reply) was changed. (also, are you supposed to italicize TV shows? I never know the protocol there.)

The West Wing was one of those shows my parents religiously taped on their VCR every week to watch after we were in bed, so when my beautiful friend Katherine was watching it and recommended it to me in college, I was skeptical. My parents have OK taste in media but were never very vocal about it, and we didn't watch much TV growing up. But holy heck were they right about The West Wing. It's everything you want in a political drama - intrigue, double crossing, political scandal, relationships, honesty, and a good hard inside look at the American political system and the way it works.

I was so depressed when I finished it that I debated watching it over again immediately, but then decided that I'm going to make David watch it with me when we're done with our current shows.

Rating: A+++. My all time favorite TV show.

2. Doctor Who

There are lots of people on the internet advocating to watch Doctor Who. Heck, I've even posted about it before. But it definitely bears mentioning again because it used to be my #1 favorite show and just baaarely got ousted down to #2.

I admit, the concept sounds crazy and a little ridiculous. A time-and-space traveling, reincarnating alien who takes humans on adventures and helps people of all kind? Yeah, a little kitschy. But the content, guys, the content. There is no other show out there that tackles so many hard issues and gets them right almost every single time. Respect for life, appreciation for other cultures, the importance of goodness and kindness, life balance, character development - it's all there in one super-long running TV show.

An insider's advice: if you can muster through, start with the episodes from 2005 (called Season 1 on Netflix). It was the reboot of the old DW, and although the special effects are hazy at best, and the plots are a little crazy, the Ninth Doctor's storyline is critical to understanding the rest of the show. 10/10 Whovians would agree with me there.

Rating: A+++. So good on so many levels.

3. The Office

I know, everybody says it: The Office is a modern classic. But they say it because it's true. Whenever David or I are in a rut when it comes to TV, we put The Office back on and we are instantly laughing and reminiscing. That's my favorite part about The Office - no matter how many times you've seen the same episode, it just never ever gets old.

And okay, the awkwardness can be rough sometimes. (Even now when we're rewatching it, I can't sit through the "Scott's Tots" episode. Just can't do it.) But that's half of what makes it so brilliant - it's just like real life, only funnier and more ridiculous. But so relatable. David and I even dressed up as Jim and Pam for Halloween one year:

If you've never watched it, now's the time to buckle down and commit to the funniest 9 seasons you'll ever see. Or heck, maybe it's time for a rewatch?? I won't say what number rewatch we are on now, for fear of embarrassing myself and David. But it's a lot.

Rating: A+++. Best comedy ever.

4. Broadchurch

Okay, here's where I deviate from the popular shows with a hard right turn. My next recommendation for you to watch is a BBC drama called Broadchurch. It's quite different from the other shows I've mentioned because there's only one season on Netflix right now and the whole season is just one storyline spread out through the whole season.

It stars two famous British actors, David Tennant (also in Doctor Who!) and Olivia Colman as two detectives investigating a crime in a small Welsh town. It is so great. It's full of twists and turns and things you wouldn't expect and kick-ass accents and it's just really great. It's not for the faint of heart but it is totally worth it!

I personally can't wait for Season 2 to get to US Netflix.

Rating: A+, fantastic crime drama.

5. Arrow

Okay, this is a CW show - which initially turned me off when my sister recommended it to me. Because lots of times CW shows sound great and then end up ultimately disappointing you. But this one is hands-down fantastically amazing. It tells the comic book-based storyline of a bow & arrow wielding vigilante in a fictional city.

There's an intense backstory which they flash back and forth to, a bunch of really really ridiculously good looking people in it (get my reference?), and d-r-a-m-a like you couldn't believe. It's awesome and the star, Stephen Amell, is awesome, and even if you don't normally like comic book stories I really think you'll like this one.

There are only 2 season on Netflix so far but the 4th season is about to premiere so I'm hoping season 3 will be soon added. I'll let you know!

Rating: A++, so good. (I know, my rating scale is skewed. I just love them all!)

Honorable mentions go to: Parks & Recreation, Agents of SHIELD, Scrubs, Grey's Anatomy, and The Blacklist. But if I talk forever about TV no one will read this blog anymore. :)


So, there you have it - my personal recs for what to watch on Netflix right now. What's something unique I should add to my queue? Not that I don't already have enough to watch (and rewatch)...

sleeping baby monday

14 September 2015

14 September 2015

This post of sleeping baby pictures courtesy of a weekend filled with too-short and too-interrupted naps.

When Kate was just a wee babe, I swore I'd never wake her up - no matter how long she'd slept, I figured if she was still asleep, she needed it. But now that she's a toddler I've lightened up a bit because she's sleeping a solid 12 hours per night and is less angry if we have to wake her up to go somewhere.

This weekend was nap after nap of having to wake her up - her finally falling asleep right before we needed to go out of town, a social commitment we couldn't be late for, and a nap where I was holding her and couldn't feel my left arm for the life of me after a solid 45 minutes in my arms.

Is there anything better than sleeping baby pictures? I could just stare at these for hours and hours - so I thought I'd share them with the world.
Happy Monday, everyone!

7QT #40: baby fever, 9/11, & the Blacklist

11 September 2015

11 September 2015
Joining in for another round of quick takes - hooray, it's Friday!

This week, although starting with Labor Day, has seemed sort of like an eternity. Kate's been teething and really clingy all week, so I've been trying to limit the cursing going on inside my head and just tell myself that she goes through these phases, but it hasn't been helping my attitude a whole heck of a lot. Suffice it to say that we are all pretty excited it's the weekend around the Gokie house.

Although, looking through our family photos whenever she was especially fussy helped a bit. She pointed at herself and said "baba?" about a hundred times. Pretty adorable. Also we're visiting the in-laws this weekend so we'll get a bit of a parenting break - yay!

Just one year ago today was this picture! Oh man, I can't believe how different she looks today in comparison to this squeeeezable little chunk.

Oh man, looking at that picture is giving me all kinds of baby fever. She was just so squishy!!!

In more somber news, today's the 14th anniversary of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Centers. Every year when the anniversary comes back around, I can't believe it's been x many years since it happened. I was only in 5th grade (wow!) then, but it feels like yesterday.

If you've never read it, every year on the anniversary Ari Fleischer, who was the White House press secretary at the time, tweets a pseudo-live timeline of what he remembers from that day. It's really worth checking out if you've got the time - I started following him a few years ago for this very thing, and each year it's amazing to see it from his perspective.

In more exciting news - it's finally jeans & a tee weather around here! Even though I could probably get away with shorts today, I broke out the jeans just to celebrate the 50° temps this morning.

I put Kate in leggings for the second time in the last 3 months this morning, and she keeps grabbing at her ankles confusedly, wondering why there's a bunch of fabric down there when usually her legs are free and bare of any hindrances. It's hilarious.

I decided to start Insanity this (coming) week! Sunday is my first day so wish me luck. I'm excited to push myself to do something that I think, at least, will be harder than P90x3. The workouts are longer and there are like, zero breaks, so I'm curious to see how I'll fare.

Don't worry, next week I'm sure I'll come and post about how sore I am and how much I regret doing it. Always exciting stuff around here.

Kind of related, but does anyone else use MyPlate on their phone to track calories? I've started doing that in the last few weeks and I really love it! You can even scan the labels of food you're eating and it automatically inputs them into your day. Technology, man. (You can do it online too, but since I put it right next to all my favorite apps on my phone it's hard to ignore that way.)

On to a VERY IMPORTANT topic: TV shows. I just found out that Parenthood's 6th (and final) season is finally finally finally coming to Netflix -- on September 25th! I've been waiting and waiting forever, it seems like, for it to get to Netflix. When it was on TV last year I tried watching the episodes late on Hulu, but our internet connection was so bad and the commercials were so dang often that I just gave up and said I'd wait til it came on Netflix to finish it out.

Man, was my patience ever tested saying that. I didn't expect it to be this long! But now, after forever, it's finally coming. I set an alert in my phone already.

I also started watching The Blacklist on Netflix a couple days ago, and then promptly stopped and re-started re-watching it with David last night because holy heck it is so good!

I've seen ads/people proclaiming how good it is over the internet  and didn't believe them -- but man, it's awesome. So far I only got through like, episode 12 or something, so don't spoil it and tell me it gets way worse from there, but it's great so far.

Like I mentioned earlier, we're headed to Columbus to spend time with David's family this weekend. Should be a fun weekend - with hopefully a Husker win to make this one a litttttle bit better than last. (Don't even get David started, okay?) Hopefully your weekend is filled with fall temperatures and relaxing!

Head over to Kelly's to read more quick takes and have a lovely weekend!

family photos! [2015]

09 September 2015

09 September 2015

Last week we had my old friend from high school, Elizabeth, take our first (first!) family photos. She did an awesome job and I keep flipping through them, in awe of how beautiful a job she did! She took the photos at our house and even though it was super hot out we survived and thrived and like I said before, I loveeeee them.

Her website is here if you want to check her out (she's awesome!!!).  (Also, not a promo post I just really loved her work and thought everyone should know about her!)

Don't worry, I'm sure there will plenty of family photos to come in the future -- from this set or down the road -- so you'll be able to see more and more of them, even though David thinks they're kind of a waste of time he's eternally going to lose that argument. :)

P90x3 update

08 September 2015

08 September 2015
So, some of you may remember me talking about starting P90X3 way back in June. (Wow, has it really been that long ago?) I've got an update for you...

I only have 4 days left!

[Oops, just noticed I didn't put the dates on those last two weeks. My OCD is killing me right now!]

The other news that accompanies this announcement is...
I got diagnosed with hypothyroidism on Friday.
Sorrrrrryyy, not a pregnancy announcement. Did I fool you? ;) ;) ;)

Yeah, so anyway, I've been having random groups of symptoms on and off for the last few months, and combined with an inability to lose weight even while doing something as strenuous as P90X3 and eating better, I decided to go to the doctor to see if there was something actually wrong with me. With David's prompting, of course.

To be fair, during these last 3 months I've definitely been getting more in shape - more muscle definition, about 100x more stamina in my workouts, higher energy/longevity in workouts, etc. But the scale did. not. move. Like, even a pound. So I was concerned. We talked with David's cousin, who's a nutritionist in Dallas, and she was giving me pointers, and still nothing was changing.

So to the doctor we went. And then remember how I said I got poked a gazillion times, and then had to go BACK to get re-poked? Yep, those were the test days.

Voila, got my test results back and I am definitely hypothyroid-istic. (That's not a word. But I can't put it another way.) So it's a good thing and a bad thing - good, because it could have been something way worse or hard to fix (diabetes, etc.), and bad-ish because it means I'm on a pill for the rest of my life.

And to be fair, it's not a huge surprise because my mom has it, and it's a really highly hereditary disease. Also funnily enough - David got diagnosed in the last year with the opposite disease, hyperthyroidism, so yet another way we are polar opposites in every single way. No one who knows us is surprised.

greek yogurt + chia seed snack. yum yum yum
So, now that I know this, I'm not feeling so bad about finishing P90x3 and not getting huge results. Actually, I'm feeling even more like a bad a$$ for sticking through a 90 day program while being actually sick! And still making progress. (I only skipped one day working out the whole time because of illness...huge for me!)

Since I've only got a few days left of P90x3, and now I might have a chance to actually get some results, I'm thinking of doing Insanity next. Am I crazy? Probably. But I still have my online Beachbody subscription so I should do it now if ever, right?? right???

Anyways, this has been an update. I'll let you know how my next workout venture goes! Heck, now I'm practically addicted to working out every day so I'm sure I'll continue to try some crazy stuff in the future. Why not, right?

What I've been reading

02 September 2015

02 September 2015
My last post about what I'd been reading seems like a long time ago (even though it was like, 2 months ago) so I figured it was time for another one.

I've also officially finished my 2015 reading goals -- 25 books -- 4 months ahead of schedule! So next year I'm going to have to step up my game a little bit, maybe go for 50 books total and really book it? pun very much intended? ;)

Kristin Lavransdatter, I. The Wreath
by Sigrid Undset

Guys. Why did it take me SO LONG to finally get around to reading these? I've heard review after review of how amazing they are, and kind of always just thought maybe they were exaggerating. I WAS SO WRONG. This series (starting with this one) is just incredible. Detailed. Historical. Dramatic. Gripping. Horrifying. Soul-searching. Anything and everything you've ever wanted in a historical drama novel, I promise you.

Quick summary: it's about Kristin, a girl growing up in 14th century Norway, and the political/social/personal drama surrounding her and her family. It sounds so...simple put like that, but trust me it is far from simple.

Five stars, if a book every deserved it.

Kristin Lavransdatter, II. The Wife
by Sigrid Undset

Okay guys, I know I just raved about part I, but I have to include part 2 also, because it is just as good. If not better. As soon as I finished part I, I got bleary-eyed and had to immediately request the next one from my library - and drove to pick it up as soon as it was available. It's so goooood. I just finished part 2 the other night, and now am desperately waiting for part 3 to be available.

Also, because I was raving so much about part 1, my mom started reading it and she ALSO loves it - and if you knew my mom, you'd realize she hasn't read a real full-length novel in years (literally, probably decades) and she was so enthralled that she finished it in less than a week. And then was as desperate as I was to get to part 2.

What Alice Forgot
by Liane Moriarty

I finally got to rent this ebook from my library (after being in like, 50th place, or something) and promptly read it in less than 24 hours. I couldn't put it down! It's very similar to Moriarty's other novel I've read, The Husband's Secret, as in it's kind of a mystery/thriller but not the normal kind - more like just a dramatic story with the reader going along and trying to figure out what's going to happen (rather than based on a murder or crime).

The protagonist is honest and refreshingly real, and the plot of this one just draws you in - I won't spoil it for you but just trust me, it's great. Also it's apparently going to be a movie now? So I'm stoked for that!

Notes from a Blue Bike
by Tsh Oxenreider

For something of a change, I picked this one up from the library on a whim and started it yesterday. So far I'm a fan although I'm not very far in (just a couple chapters). This is one of the books lots of bloggers were talking about a few months ago (including Kenzie, one of my favorites - who's from Lincoln, even!) and so I thought, heck, why not? It's been awhile since my last non-fiction read so I was due.

Like I said, so far I'm liking it but I'm not done yet, so I have to reserve my full judgement for later. I'll keep you posted!

Other books on my horizon, after I finish Kristin of course:

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (recommended by Caitlin, who has never steered me wrong before!)
Landline by Rainbow Rowell (what can I say, I loved Attachments!)
The Royal We by Heather Cocks (Christy says it wins so I'm all for princessy real-life chick lit)
The Book of Strange New Things by Michael Faber (looks delightfully creepy & otherworldly)
The Martian by Andy Weir (hey, I like space things, what can I say?)
What else should be on my Goodreads shelf? Hit me up.

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