Wrap Up

Dancing Out of the Year -Looking Back on 2016

 Now that we have gotten to 2017 I thought it would be a good moment to look back on this year. From being pregnant to becoming a mom. But also to talk briefly about some of the goals I had and how some things have changed.

Personal

2016 Was a weird year for me personally. You all will know by now that for the most part of the year I was pregnant. And while we wanted a baby we hadn’t exactly calculated on having one now. But that was our own fault really. Our baby was very wanted regardless.

But pregnancy messes with you in ways that I never realized. And I am not talking about having cravings in the middle of the night that I personally didn’t have or the morning sickness that isn’t in the morning. Though I had a sudden taste for coke that has yet to dissapear. It messed up my reading a lot in the first trimester. But I also drooled and snored. Nobody tells you how ill you can feel when laying on your back. Or how dizzy you can feel if you stand still for a bit after the 20 weeks mark. Or having bloated ankles and feet. You should have seen mine AFTER the c-section. They were HUGE for a week.

FFCCE726-8A96-418D-BBF2-3F51DE07F46A_zpszp4a1owc They don’t tell you about the unwanted attention either. I don’t even know how many people commented on the state of my bump if I needed to take a breather during a walk. Which gets worse after delivery and you walk around with a baby carriage. It was also very weird because I finally had a job again in 2015. It was flexible work but that was okay. But as soon as I was pregnant it wasn’t the easiest job to do and I had to consider what I would do after the baby was here. Being called at 11 in the morning to have to go to work right away doesn’t work with a baby. So mutually we decided not to prolong my contract way back in March. But being without a job again is difficult. I did get fulfillment of working with the clients and while I didn’t miss it a lot during the remainder of my pregnancy I do miss it now at times. While my pregnancy went well for the most part, the ending of it was a bit different than I had anticipated. Instead of a natural home birth around 40 weeks I had to be admitted to the hospital at 42 weeks and I gave birth through a c-section. Our expectations and wishes completely went out the door because it would not start naturally. Suprisingly I don’t feel inadequate because I didn’t give birth naturally. My mom also gave birth to me through a c-section as did a friend so it wasn’t something weird for me. It just happens. B1C370FA-8728-4108-A345-456DFA89B434_zpsvnkwak4v

So on Augst 26th our baby boy was finally born. Merijn Thomas. He clearly was the best thing that happened throughout 2016. As I stay at home for as long as financially possible I take care of him every day.

Being at home with him every day suprisingly teaches me more about myself than I thought I would. How I desperately need structure in a day. When he messes up his rhythm I’m more out of whack than he is. Or how fragile I still am regarding my thin hair that is getting thinner now that the pregnancy hormones are leaving my body. Or how I have a tendency to still grab back to my bad habits when I’m stressed even though I’ve learned so many coping mechanisms.Or how I need to stop being so hard on myself.

Or how much I love my husband. Well I knew that but unlike what they say, I think our relationship has strengtened even more this year, and after Merijn was born. He is still my rock that grounds me.

The post partum depression isn’t the best way to end this year. But it is okay to admit that you aren’t okay. That taking care of a baby really isn’t the most amazing thing in the world. Because it is not. Don’t get me wrong, I love Merijn and I choose to stay at home with him, but I find the baby stage such a struggle. I kind of need him to evolve to toddler stage now so I can worry a little less about every little thing. You’re not suppose to say that because society seems to heavily frown on this. But I know I’m not the only mom out there who feels like this. And it is okay to admit that you aren’t happy.

One thing I AM happy about is how I have reached out to others in real life. You might have gathered from time to time that I am somewhat awkward and have had problems with my voice. This often stops me from meeting people. But I got to meet someone who lives in the same city that I will hopefully get to see more often. And I have gone to bookish events like YA Almere or the book club in book store Westerhof (which reminds me I need to do a book store post about them this year). I met other bookish people near me through that and with some I have contact and see on occasion.  Which makes my world just a tad bit bigger than just Maarten and Merijn. And that is a good thing.

There are people that I would like to talk to more in the blogging community but something stops me (because hello, awkward shy person in the room). Even though I have their phone number and can easily send them a message. I hope I can make improvements with things like that.

What is the best thing that happened to you in 2016? And what have you learned about yourself this year?

Reading and Goals

Reading can be stressfull!

Now don’t jump at me. I mean stressfull when you can’t get to it. Through work, family or pregnancy hormones like was the case with me at the start of the year. I never thought that a pregnancy could induce a type of reading slump. But it could. Another one of those things they don’t tell you.

Obviously the pregnancy hormones weren’t the only thing that has affected my reading this year. With Merijn I can’t read the whole day. Actually I can only read during his naps. It has caused a slight shift in my reading habits.

Before I would hardly read on my e reader. Just sporadically. I don’t have that many ebooks on my e reader to start with. I still don’t. But now the e reader is on my nightstand. I still struggle a little with reading physical books in bed. I’m just so tired that I have a hard time holding them, haha. But an e reader is easier. So before I go to sleep there is the option to read. This doesn’t happen every night because often I am just super tired. But it has caused me to get to a few more ebooks than I would have done before. I read phsyical books downstairs during Merijn’s naps. Let’s just say that I am glad I am a relatively fast reader.

Another thing that changed in my habits this year I already mentioned in my post about being an international reader. I read more books in Dutch than I did before. I didn’t count it but it has grown considerably.

A reading year also brings back favorites. Cinda Williams Chima started a spin-off series of Seven Realms and while it wasn’t as good, I still really enjoyed it. There is also of course the continuation of Lockwood & Co. You all know how much I like Jonathan Stroud. And Crooked Kingdom has elevated Leigh Bardugo to a favorite author status. But I don’t think I’m alone in this.

And next to authors there are the characters. Can I tell you how much I am currently shipping Meg and Simon from The Others serie by Anne Bishop? Because I am. And you all know I don’t easily go for the romance. But I’m obsessed with these two.

I do have to say that I have more easily forgotten about characters I liked/loved this year. I can’t for the life of you tell you who I genuinely have heartsy feelings for beside the current couple above. I think this might lay in how pre occupied I am with other things. I can dive into a book, but as soon as I am out of it I leave it all behind in the book. I genuinely miss thinking about characters, worlds and their relationships outside of my reading and review writing moments.

The Reading Challenge – Read 90 books – Completed
100/90

As you might remember this goal was a 120 at the start of the year but when I got slumpy during the first trimester of my pregnancy I knocked that down to 90. I’m glad I was able to still read that much and complete the challenge in November already.

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The TBR Challenge Unread books Start: 145 Unread books End: 177

 

Initially I had a goal this year where I wanted to buy more ebooks and less physical books. That obviously didn’t happen and I decided to change this early one to a challenge where I would keep track of what I read and how many unread books I would still have on my shelves. There was no strict goal as to what I would go for though I initially thought it would be good to get it under a 100. Oh how delusional I was. It went down in April but after that it only went up and up and up. Here is to hoping I will do better with book buying in 2017 because it is not fair to all these unread backlisted books.

16 Books or Series That I Need to Read in 2016

I shall not even list the books. I already mentioned once how many I read of this.

One book!

And that was only a part one of one series on this list namely the second Shannara trilogy book. I am never making one of these lists again. Well, never say never. The backlist challenge will help me out with reading backlist books more than a list like this will I hope. It just leaves things more open.

Blog

The start of the year I was not able to be present as much as I wanted to due to working. That obviously changed when I stopped working. I really commited myself to the blog. I needed the distraction from sitting home alone. And it showed in my stats and interactions. Since August my stats have been going down. Part of me is sad about that, because I worked so hard in those months prior and all of it seems to be slipping away now. But there really isn’t that much I can do about it. I do not have as much time as I used to have to interact with other blogs. I quite frankly am pleased I am still able to visit other blogs at all, let alone still post some days. And regardless I’m still happy with those that frequent my blog. I still need to read over my posts more often to pick out mistakes. I try to do this in the app but it is hard to keep up with. Various things have changed over the course of the year. I changed my headers on the front page a little. I went from doing Sunday Post once a week to biweekly to combining it with my monthly reading wrap up. I started doing new releases posts but have since let that go. It just made me want to buy even more books, haha. But the blog also turned one year old. And I’m still here. Do I have goals for the blog? Possibly. But mostly I still just want to have fun here in my little corner of the world wide web. So here is to a good blogging year in 2017. 366555A6-7728-4F83-BE6D-741788C017A3_zpszwmb6dvr

Commenting 365 Challenge

At the start of the year I had wanted to complete Nori’s Commenting 365 challenge. However after giving birth there was just no way I would be able to keep up the commenting. Which is a shame because I was on a roll before August.

My Favorite posts

Dutch or English? International Reader // My Harry Potter Life Tag // (Bookish) People I Am Thankful For // Unboxing Urban Books The Others Swag Goodiebag //All Time Favorite Second Book in Series // TV Shows to Watch If You Like Sci-Fi // Five Things That Would Make Me Happy as a Reading Mommy // Why Do I Review Books by Dutch Authors in English? // Bookshelf Tour 2016 – Part 1 // Bookshelf Tour 2016 – Intro Main Bookshelves //Why I Don’t Use My E-Reader As Much // Why Do I Love to Watch Detectives, But Not Read Them?

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19 thoughts on “Dancing Out of the Year -Looking Back on 2016

  1. oh Annemieke… you post almost brought me to tears this morning when I read it first in my inbox. I could relate to each and every single word you say here. My two pregnancies didn’t go as planned either, I went into preterm labor with my son and he was born at 32 weeks and spend almost a month in the hospital. Then, because of that, they put me in bed rest for two months with my daughter. With my son I’m sure had post partum depression but he had so many health issues I never got around to get a diagnosis. So I never got help. I I know EXACTLY what you mean. I also worried about every little thing! It got better for me so I sincerely hope it does for you. Keep reaching out to people. It helps! Message me as well if you want!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you dear. ❤ Also thank you for sharing your experiences. It is always good to know you aren't alone in those feelings. I'm sorry to hear that both your pregnancies didn't go as planned. That is so hard. I can't even imagine what it is like to have your child remain in the hospital for another month. I'm glad to see both well in your pictures on the blog.

      Like

  2. Wat een mooie openhartige terugblik op 2016. Ik heb hem echt graag gelezen Annemieke. De ene keer wilde ik je liefst een dikke knuffel geven, de andere keer werd ik helemaal blij (nog iemand die Simon en Meg super vindt!) en nog wat later zat ik dan weer te knikken van herkenning (het komt er nooit van om mijn blogposts na te lezen op fouten én soms zie ik die dan weken later plots staan). Er kwam zelfs wat gegniffel aan te pas. Ik wilde vorig jaar mijn tbr laten zaken. Eigenlijk was ik zelfs superblij dat ik onder de 100 was geraakt. Ondertussen zijn het er 130 ipv 99. Blijkbaar hebben we in 2016 net niet evenveel boeken toegevoegd aan onze collectie. Jij wint met ééntje meer. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dankjewel. ❤ Soms is het goed om even openhartig te zijn.

      Simon and Meg! (Aan de ene kant kijk ik erg uit naar Etched in Bone maar aan de andere kant ook niet want het is het laatste boek 😦 )

      Haha, yeay ik win. 😀 Kijken of we het dit jaar beter doen. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I can only imagine how stressful and life changing it must be but you seem to have a good outlook on it. I’ve heard post partum depression can be very tough. Best wishes for 2017 and also for your blog goals! And the challenges too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The pregnancy does sound tough, and I’m sorry the birth didn’t go how you planned, but I’m glad that Merijn is here and healthy 🙂 And it’s definitely ok to not be ok sometimes. Just keep doing what you have to do in order to try and feel better.

    Most people probably don’t read enough to know that pregnancy can induce reading slumps lol. But maybe you just haven’t found the right books to make you keep thinking of them in 2016. I’ve kinda felt the same way, I didn’t seem to fall in love with many characters the way I did with the books I read in 2015. So you’re not alone with that problem 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I try and do what is needed and things seem to be a bit better at the moment.

      Haha, true. I think in my case it is a mix of both, really. I just can’t digest books the same way that I was used to because of Merijn demanding my attention.

      Like

  5. Ik heb ontzettend veel respect voor je dat je zo eerlijk bent. Daar is veel moed voor nodig 🙂
    Ik heb je blog dit jaar ontdekt en ik lees met veel plezier je blogs. Op een mooi 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. First of all, congrats on the arrival of the gorgeous Merijn Thomas in your family! I loved being pregnant, but hated how strangers would come over to me to touch my belly, or (funnily, they thought) ask me how many babies were in there :O I had the bloated ankles and felt huge, but I still absolutely loved it! (Which just may be why I have four children now)…
    When my first one was little, everything was fine, I felt energetic, and had a great time with a baby in the house. My second, though… he slept very little and cried very much, and even now, looking at pictures from that time, I can’t really remember things we did because I was so darned tired all the time.
    I’m sending you lots and lots of hugs – the post partum depression will end, and Merjin Thomas will grow and start talking so it’s easier to interact with him 🙂
    You’ve still had a pretty good blogging year, so congrats on that, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, some people honestly ask the strangest questions. You obviously had 5 in there. 😉
      That is so hard when they sleep so little and cry a lot. 😦
      Thank you. ❤ Hugs back.

      Like

  7. I got confused with there being two “Dancing Out Of…” posts (and have I told you how mch I love that as your wrap-up post title), and I didn’t get to this one. Senior fog, I think, ha ha. It has been a chaotic year for you and the fact that you are still blogging regularly is a testimate to your bookish fortitude! I actually thought you had been blogging longer. Your blog has a maturity to it that usually takes two or three years to achieve. I cringe when I think about my first year of blogging. Ha! I am happy to know that I came across your blog pretty early on and didn’t miss a lot. I hope you are occupying your little corner of the blogosphere for years and years to come. 💜

    Ooph.. I had the hair falling out thing, too. I also had more fall out after giving birth! I feel your dismay. After about a year it was back to normal. Don’t fret too much. 👸

    My parenting advice has always been to be the parent you would want. The baby schedule pressure does lessen a lot, so just keep thinking about that. Ha ha. I was always getting flack because Baz really didn’t have a schedule, heh heh, and was told he was going to grow up insecure because of it, but that didn’t happen. I ddn’t really get into a set schedule with him until he started kindergarten. 😝

    You are doing great in my opinion. Both here on the blog and as a mom. I salute you, my dear. Things will get easier. I promise. 💟

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, it was confusing. (And I was quite happy with myself for thinking of this title, haha). I hope I have made it perminent here. 😀

      People always have to say that everything makes kids insecure. Really, it doesn’t. I think I need more of a schedule than Merijn though, haha. It makes me insecure, not having one. 😉 But we seem to have regained one a bit. Now watch it go away as I have said it out loud now. 😛

      Thank you! ❤ ❤ ❤ For your support and everything.

      Liked by 1 person

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