December Recap

December Recap

The Month in Stats
  • Books Read Last Month: 33 (8 Nonfiction, 5 Fiction, 20 Children’s)
  • Books Read For The Year: 159
Best Things I Read
Most Popular Posts
Things That Happened
  • My brother died from leukemia. Cancer sucks.
  • Attempted to attend my brother’s funeral, but thanks to a blizzard that came out of the Rockies and onto the Kansas plains, we were unable to make it to Colorado. Drove 800 miles with no problem, but then got stuck 300 miles away and had to turn around. That was fairly devastating.
  • We had our 10th anniversary. TEN YEARS. Crazy. So at least the entire month wasn’t a big cry-fest. And what did we do on our 10th anniversary? Nothing really. We hadn’t made any big plans because arranging a babysitter is such a challenge because of the date of our anniversary. Then, we were supposed to be spending the day returning from the funeral (see above). Since we had to turn around early, we were home for it, but neither of us were in much of a mood to do any sort of big celebration.
Best Things I Did
  • At the last minute I found out that my dad was {unexpectedly} about 140 miles away at a meeting, instead of his usual 1000+ miles. A tiny bit of dithering if I was crazy for even considering it, and I piled the kids into the van and took off to see him. It was about 4 1/2 hours of driving round trip, for about 3 1/2 hours of visiting time, but it was so worth it. And so what if it completely messed with my girl’s nap and led to a disrupted night’s sleep. Still worth it.
  • Second-best thing? I went to my bookclub, two days after my brother died. I really debated if I was going to go or not, but my husband strongly encouraged me to go. And he was right – it was such a boost to my spirits to just go and spend time with friends.
Best Thing I Saw

Well I’d hoped to be able to say my family, even if it was going to be at a funeral. But since we never made it, I’ll go with my dad, and also our home and kids after our return. It was a terrible drive back because the roads were so bad, and it was such a relief to pull into our driveway and know we made it safely.

What’s Cooking
  • Coooookies.
  • Soup. I am so happy it’s soup season. I’ve been somewhat obsessed with making potato soup lately.
  • Vegetable pot pies. So delicious. And because they’re stuffed full of veggies I can pretend that they’re super healthy.
What Iโ€™m Anticipating Next Month
Around the Internet
  • Her birthday has past, but I still enjoyed reading these ten quotes by Jane Austen.
  • My bookclub is reading Dickens’ The Old Curiosity Shop for next month’s meeting, and one of the members sent out a link to chapter summaries for it. Yes, it does feel like cheating a bit, but as I finish a chapter or two I’m reading the summary to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I find that really helpful as most of my reading is done with lots of interruptions thanks to the two small people in my life. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Christmas may be over, but I still can’t help but share this list of literary gifts. So much fun.
  • I won’t be participating in it, but I will admit to being super tempted by the Around the World in 12 Books challenge at Giraffe Days. If she didn’t exclude genre fiction I probably would have given it a shot!
  • And finally, also in the too-late-for-this-year file, but I so wish I’d been thinking ahead to design my own planner for 2013. Katie at Cardigan Way designed a planner based on her Lovely Lines series, and even had it set up so I could have ordered one of my own. And then Adrienne at A Suburban Menagerie shared how she made her own planner using free Pinterest printables. I bought a planner, and while it seems like a lovely planner, and has my most essential features, it’s nowhere near as fun or personalized as the ones by Katie and Adrienne.

A hat tip to the Perpetual Page Turner, Hopeful Leigh, and Giraffe Days for the inspiration for this post. I’ve taken some ideas from their monthly recaps and added some of my own to make it my own version.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


  1. Sheila, I’m so very sorry that you weren’t able to make it to your brother’s funeral. That visit with your Dad sounds like it was worth the trip, though!
    I’m really interested in reading Gretchen Rubin (both of her recent books) so I’ll look forward to reading your review!

    • Thanks Adrienne.

      I really like Rubin’s books (I’ve read some of her earlier books as well). If/when you do read them I’d like to know your thoughts! And I’m sure I’ll be sharing a review eventually. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. What a difficult month. I hope that 2013 brings you peace and joy.

  3. I’m still aching for you that the snows kept you from the funeral. Praying healing and peace and comfort as this new year begins. As for the other stuff…. I’m a fan of veggie pot pies too. Yum. I’ve got Rubin’s Happiness books on my list. And I, too, am leaning heavily on the chapter summaries. I’m fascinated by Dickens’ characters and intricate story lines and his way of communicating them, but it can at times feel like reading in a whole different language!

    • Thanks Darcy. I appreciate your continued prayers.

      I’m having some trouble with Dickens, and feel like if I could have a chunk of time to really dive into the book and get engrossed in it then I could more easily finish reading it in the fragmented segments I’ve usually got available. That hasn’t happened, and I don’t feel at all engaged by the story. Not sure how much of it is the book itself (writing style/plot) and how much is my mental state and reading method. I was hoping that since the book was initially written as a serial, that reading it in that way would work well for me. Not so much…

  4. Thanks so much for opening up a window into your private life. I appreciate the reviews, but it is always a blessing to catch a more intimate glimpse of the blogger behind the reviews. I’m so sorry for your losses and for the disappointment you faced in not attending your brother’s funeral. I will keep you in my prayers in the coming day as you enter this season of grief.

    I was, in the past, a huge Dickens fan. My book club read A Tale of Two Cities this past year and I was amazed at how difficult it was to read and reminded of how I love his wide array of characters and his social commentary. Worth slogging away, I think. I think I’d like to revisit Little Dorrit this year.

    • Thank you Wendy – I appreciate your feedback. I hesitated a bit wondering if the audience here (at least, those who don’t already know me) would be disinterested in anything beyond reviews and other reading posts.

      I also appreciate your prayers – it’s been a hard month.

      Dickens was never assigned to me in school, and most of the classics like that I only read if they were assigned. So this is my very first experience with his writing. Like I told Darcy in the above comment, it’s still hard going for me, but I’m not sure how much of that is Dickens’ fault, and how much can be explained by a distracted reader. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Oh, what a year, Sheila. I also hope it’s a good 2013. And continue to think about you all.

    There were so many things for me to respond to that I almost missed the link love…thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚ First, I have “Unbroken” on my list! Loved the Austen quotes and the book gifts {have you seen the Pride and Prejudice phone charger on Etsy?} and finally, I completely get your Dickens summaries! I just read “Hard Times” for my class and also needed to make sure I hadn’t missed anything after each chapter. Great minds, indeed. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I have not seen the Pride & Prejudice phone charger. I am continually amazed at the wide variety of Austen-inspired items that are available.

      I am also amazed that I only just now caught that I misspelled her name in the post. Whoops. I’m going to blame my years in Texas. Apparently my fingers automatically type that word with the “in” ending. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I’m so sorry to hear about your brother and all of the difficulty you faced. I hope 2013 IS a better year for you.
    I enjoyed recapping your year with you as well as the book highlights for the year in your other post!


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