Bucket List Item #23: Read 30 Books

As maker of the list, I am reserving the right to call “Mulligan” and swap out one item on the list for a new one.

When I originally put “Jump in a pool with all my clothes on”, I was basing it off of a very specific wedding venue my friends were getting married at in August. The reception area has a full pool with a water slide and little cove area where the DJ would set up. I’d seen photos from other weddings where the entire wedding party ended the night by jumping into the pool and I thought it looked like so much fun! I thought we’d take advantage of the water feature and take a plunge in our heels our dresses.

However I learned later that because there were kids in attendance, a lifeguard was required to be on site if anyone was to use the pool. Otherwise the bride and groom risked their security deposit. I totally understand, but I struggled to find a plan b for this particular bucket list item. There was a rooftop pool at our Arizona hotel, but it ended up being only 3 feet deep and pretty crowded with people so I nixxed that option as well.

Now that it’s winter in Idaho, when most people here don’t have pools anyways, I’m beginning to see this task as a set-up for failure so I’m swapping it out with another feat I accomplished this year.

I read THIRTY books in 2022, the year before I turn thirty!

Here they are, in order that I read them. I’ll also give them my own rating:

  • The Hunting Wives, by May Cobb (6.5 out of 10)
  • The Book Charmer, by Karen Hawkins (7 out of 10)
  • The Art of Making Memories, by Meik Wiking (7.5 out of 10)
  • It Ends With Us, by Colleen Hoover (8 out of 10)
  • Love Lists, and Fancy Ships by Sarah Grunder Ruiz (10 out of 10)
  • The Vaccine Book, Robert Sears (non-fiction, no rating)
  • Love Your Life, by Sophie Kinsella (I honestly cannot remember one thing from this book. ? out of 10)
  • Becoming Babywise, by Robert Bucknam (so vague. 3 out of 10)
  • The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern (6 out of 10)
  • Pasta Wars, by Elisa Lorello (9 out of 10)
  • Moms on Call Newborn to 6 Months (10 out of 10)
  • The Golden Couple, by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen (8 out of 10)
  • The Last Time I Lied, by Riley Sager (8 out of 10)
  • The Therapist, by B.A. Paris (10 out of 10)
  • Book Lovers, by Emily Henry (8.5 out of 10)
  • Moms on Call 6 months to 18 months (10 out of 10)
  • The It Girl, by Ruth Ware (10 out of 10)
  • It Happened One Summer, by Tessa Bailey (7 out of 10)
  • The Perfect Marriage, by Jeneva Rose (Did NOT expect the ending twist.10 out of 10)
  • What Matters Most, by Chanel Reynolds (non-fiction, no rating)
  • Reminders of Him, by Colleen Hoover (10 out of 10)
  • Verity, by Colleen Hoover (disturbing. But still a 10 out of 10)
  • Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman (SO ANNOYING. Could barely finish. 2 out of 10)
  • It Starts With Us, by Colleen Hoover (The sequel that did not need to exist. 3 out of 10)
  • Back in the Burbs, by Avery Flynn (7 out of 10)
  • Love Story, by Erich Segal (8 out of 10)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (10 out of 10)
  • Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes (10 out of 10)
  • In Five Years, by Rebecca Serle (The only book I finished in 1 day. 10 out of 10)
  • When Stars Collide, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (4 out of 10)

I’m really proud of this reading list for this year! I found out how much less free time I had with baby, and I was able to still maintain my book club with local friends and try out new genres that are typically outside of my comfort zone! This was more time consuming than jumping into a swimming pool with formalwear on, but also less chilly ;)

Speaking of chilly, I just dropped off a batch of books at my local “Little Free Library.” Do you have one of these where you live? We have THREE of them in our neighborhood, all within a half mile radius of our house. I love it! I have scored some good books and then replaced them with some of my own in return.

Since my 29th year started with Sarah Grunder Ruiz’s book Love, Lists and Fancy Ships, I’ve decided that I will start my 30th year with her most recent release – Luck & Last Resorts – and I’m really excited to start it after my birthday!

Bucket List Item #11 (Part 3 of 3): Visit 3 States. OREGON

We are in the home stretch of crossing the remaining items off of the bucket list and I’m pretty much using any available free time to accomplish a remaining task at this point. Yes, it is seeming daunting and yes, I have lied awake for hours many nights wondering how I’m going to finish everything.

To be honest, I confided in Zeb this weekend that it probably wasn’t a great idea to give myself this many things to hold myself accountable for during the first year of becoming a mother. Many of which are not baby-friendly and require arranging a sitter (AKA my parents) to watch Brynnley. In hindsight, I probably would not have committed to this many things during the year that I became a mom. But I did, and here we are – I’m not giving up on something I publicly agreed to!

This bucket list item was a three-parter. Even though I visited Washington in September and Arizona in November, I haven’t been able to officially cross this item off of the list until this morning as we drove home from Oregon.

We live in the Boise area, which is only about 50 miles from the state border between Idaho and Oregon. We decided to make it easy on ourselves and get in the third state with the easiest option available to us – Oregon – and stay in the “quaint” historical town of Baker City. My own standards require us to spend the night in order to count it as a true “visit” so I found an adorable hotel for our family of three right on Main Street. It’s called the Geiser Grand Hotel and I think if you ever visit Baker City, Oregon then it’s the best place to stay!

We timed the 1 hour 45-minute drive to coincide with Brynnley’s nap time, leaving around 3pm on Friday after logging off of work. She wasn’t as cooperative with my carefully timed plan though, and only napped for about 20 minutes. She usually naps for 90 minutes in the afternoons, so I worried this would cause an extra cranky baby. We also gained an hour crossing the state border, so her bedtime which was usually 8:30pm would mean she would be starting to meltdown closer to 7:30pm local time. I was quickly seeing how tricky it is to travel with a baby/almost toddler and I did somewhat yearn for how easy long weekends and little road trips were before last year.

Our little one was very happy when we checked in to the beautiful historic hotel and took her out of her car seat though :)

Baker City, Oregon is part of the Oregon trail with so much preserved history. The railroad came to Baker City in 1884, and the Geiser Grand Hotel was originally built in 1889 during a gold mining boom. It had the reputation as the finest hotel between Salt Lake City and Seattle. The Geiser family spared no expenses during the time it served timber and cattle barons, politicians, and even Teddy Roosevelt. It boasts the third ever elevator West of the Mississippi River. It’s architecture and style have been preserved in the three-story hotel with a full bar and restaurant, a stain glass ceiling, and four poster beds. Our suite had a living room with a fireplace.

We unpacked, set up Brynnley’s pack n’ play, and toured the building. We sat in the lobby bar and I ordered a glass of prosecco while Zeb enjoyed an old fashioned. Brynnley was a total ham, babbling up a storm and practicing her new trick…blowing kisses. We wanted her to get in a bit more of a nap before our dinner reservations, but after an hour of trying (including her pack n’ play with a blackout cover, a walk in her covered stroller, and another car ride) she resisted all of our attempts and was wide awake as ever. We knew we’d have to keep her entertained during dinner before she became overtired.

Dinner was delicious! I ordered the crab cakes with green beans and smashed potatoes. Zeb enjoyed a 12 oz boneless ribeye with a loaded baked potato that he attempted to share with Brynnley. The service was amazing and we really enjoyed the atmosphere. Brynnley say between us in her high chair and enjoyed her own puree and rice crackers.

We just retreated to our suite for the rest of the night because Brynnley was definitely ready for bed. She didn’t love the change in atmosphere and protested quite a bit, and I wondered if we made the wrong decision taking this weekend trip. It can be hard to travel with an infant, and as someone who loves traveling and exploring new places…that’s a hard new reality to transition to. I know it’s just a phase of life and I hope she will be a happy traveler with us before long.

In the morning, we decided to avoid struggling to get Brynnley to nap in the strange new place again and just hit the road earlier than planned. We packed up and found a cute local coffee shop on Main Street for some oatmilk lattes. We sipped them while walking around downtown and enjoying the cute artistic touches on each of the corners. We were on the road back to Idaho before 10am, and Brynnley did finally cooperate and nap for about an hour on the drive home.

I’m happy to have accomplished this bucket list with a baby, though none of these states were new to me. I hope to get to explore new unfamiliar places in the next year :)

Bucket List Item #22: Finish the Harry Potter Movie Series

So far this item has taken the longest to complete, start to finish time! We just watched the 8th and last movie in the series last Friday night. We had started the first one……in May!

This is my second time watching the series; the first time was when I first moved to Idaho during a brutal winter (known locally as “snowmageddon”) in 2016. However I have the memory retention of a goldfish when it comes to movies sometimes, so it was almost like watching some of the movies for the first time again haha.

I have read the entire book series before as well, years ago. But despite that, I still had no clue what was going to happen from the Goblet of Fire on.

The first two – Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets – are so cute and innocent. They are so dramatically different from the characters and plot in Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows. It’s almost unbelievable that they are part of the same series! Once Cedric dies in the fourth movie, it’s like the whole mood shifts and then entire story darkens, and the death never stops coming.

Spoiler alert ahead!

I absolutely could not believe that Dumbledore really died. I thought “he has to be coming back! He has to have lived!” That was shocking to me. I also was stunned when Snape also really died. Then in the final battle, finding out that Lupin and one of the Weasley twins dies – it was so sad! Little did we know during the cute scenes of movies 1 &2 what a dark ending we were in for. I could not have predicted that’s where it would turn from the beginning.

I did enjoy the fact that it concluded with the “19 years later” look at Harry, Ron and Hermione with their own small children.

We liked watching the movies on dreary cloudy days and making big bowls of popcorn or kettle corn.

The Harry Potter series is a classic and I plan on reading through the books with my own kids when they are old enough. Although now rewatching it myself, I’m not sure exactly what age that is.

There are a couple other cult-classic series that I’ve never seen before, like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings but I just don’t have any desire to right now. Maybe I’ll add them to a future milestone bucket list…

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