One Month

I can’t believe this little guy has already been in our lives for a whole month (why couldn’t the months I was pregnant have gone this quickly?). 

Kai is a ridiculously calm baby. The kid barely cries. He can move his head from one side to the other during tummy time and track objects. He smiled for the first time on Tuesday. He regularly sleeps for 3-hour stretches at night (last night I got 4.5 + 3.5!). He eats ALL. THE. TIME. and I am learning that true nursing on demand is so much easier than trying to watch the clock. 

At this point with E, I was in tears every day. It all seemed so hard. But now I know that babies are actually pretty easy. They just eat and sleep and poop. It’s the threenagers you’ve gotta watch out for. (It might also help that breastfeeding was much less painful this time.) 

Evan has easily adjusted to being a big brother just like he easily adjusts to everything. Ben and I are both home this summer so he is getting a lot of time with daddy. 

I think we’ll keep Kai. 

Fairest [Audiobook Review]

Title: Fairest
Author: Marissa Meyer
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Pages: 272 pages
Audio: 6.7 hours
Year: 2015
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Source: Public Library
Book Rating: 4/5
Audio Rating: 5/5


Fairest tells Levana’s story: how she becomes a wife, a stepmother, and, eventually, a queen. It takes place on Luna and prior to the events of the other books.

My Thoughts:

I usually hate these half-step series installments. This is one of my favorite series and I haven’t read any of the short stories that go along with it. But Fairest seemed a little more legit and a reputable friend recommended it.

Queen Levana is an interesting character to develop. She seems so cold and calculating in the other novels, but this one definitely gives her a little more complexity. I found myself slipping into pysch major mode and trying to diagnose her with various personality disorders. Her story is often sad, but at the same time, she makes terrible decisions that prevent readers from feeling too much empathy. This book was much more a character study than the others, which are much more fast-paced and plot-driven.

I’m now anxiously awaiting Winter’s release in November.

Audiobook Thoughts:

Rebecca Soler continues to do a fantastic job. I recommend this series a lot and I always recommend it in audio.

Welcome, Kai.

I’ve got someone to introduce you all to! Say hello to Kai.

The Stats: Kai William. 6-24-15. 9:31am. 8 lbs 5 oz. 21 in. 39+2 weeks.

The Short Birth Story: I woke up to strong contractions at midnight. I got to the birth center at 3am. My water broke at 9:15am and Kai was born in the water at 9:31am.

The Takeaway: I loved the birth center experience and would highly recommend both it and the water birth to future moms-to-be. Turns out you don’t have to give birth on your back while people scream “push!” at you if you don’t want to.

The Disclaimer: I love birth stories. I seek them out. I devourer them. I love them. I know many people have the opposite approach, so this is your warning to stop reading now.

The (VERY) Long Birth Story: I began having regular, consistent braxton hicks contractions at 37 weeks. All day, every day. I kept waiting for them to turn in to the real thing. And waiting and waiting. On Sunday, after nearly two weeks of this, I started feeling them get stronger and felt some cramping. This got stronger on Monday and stronger again on Tuesday. My mom was scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, so I was hoping they’d hold off. She arrived at 4pm, we went out to dinner, and by the time I went to bed at 10:30, I knew I was going to be having a baby the following day. (Seriously, I’m going to start marketing my mom has an induction method. Forget castor oil, just buy this woman a plane ticket).

Sure enough, at midnight (early Wednesday morning), I woke up to REAL contractions. I tried to sleep through them but couldn’t. They were 8-10 minutes apart so I knew I had time, but with Evan, I never hit that 4 minute stride they want you to hit. I also knew I needed to get to the birth center 4 hours before delivering if I wanted the antibiotics (I was GBS+). At 2:30, when I was sure the weren’t going away, I called my midwife. She told me to start heading her way. We packed our bags, let my mom know she needed to watch Evan, and headed in.

When I got there, the midwife and student midwife immediately got me my first dose of IV antibiotics. They asked if I wanted a cervical check but, having arrived at the hospital at 9cm with Evan, and aware I wasn’t that far along now, I was afraid of being disappointed so I said I’d let them know later. So Ben and I relaxed in the birthing suite, watched some Mindy Project, and I think the midwives went to take a nap.

I have been told (with both kids) that I am unusually calm during labor. I mostly just want to lie back and let the contractions do the work. I know most women want to walk around and bounce on the exercise ball and change position, but I just want to sit back. I even managed to doze off, two minutes at a time, between contractions.

At 6am, my curiosity got the better of me and I asked for a cervical check. I was 5-6 cm, which is further along than they assumed based on my behavior. Things picked up quickly then. I got my second dose of antibiotics at 7:30 and by 8am, I was a “stretchy” 8-9cm.

I wanted a water birth so I got in the birthing tub then. The water was nice because I could move around easily. When I started feeling the urge to push, my midwives said to go with it and bear down if I felt the urge. They told me that they expected him to be born very shortly after my water broke. As things got very intense, I said, “I’d like my water to break now.” On the next contraction, it did. (I then asked for a million dollars, just in case I had a superpower). Three pushes later, at 9:31am, Kai was out!

They immediately put him skin to skin, letting him get all of the gunk out of his airway on his own (it’s pretty awesome to watch babies do things without intervention). I wanted to get out of the tub so Ben cut the cord and took Kai (also skin to skin). I moved to the bed and delivered the placenta. They checked my vitals and Kai’s vitals while he was still on my chest and then they mostly left us alone to bond. Kai started rooting around within that first hour so I nursed him. It was all so natural.

My now, my mom and Evan had arrived, but I didn’t want to be nursing Kai when Evan came in. Evan came in when Kai was probably two hours old. That’s when they took the baby and finally (I’m sure that’s the word the grandmothers would use) weighed and measured him. 8 lbs, 5 oz. 21 inches. I thought for sure he was going to be a 7-something pound baby since he seemed so much smaller than Evan (who was 8 lbs 11 oz).

Ben went and got us lunch (Moe’s burrito bowl) while I got stitched up (very small tear, probably just because of my birth history with Evan). Once Kai and I met all of the discharge requirements, we went home. We were home about 6 hours after Kai was born.

I had a good birth expereince with Evan, but I had a great birth experience with Kai. My birthing team was amazing. The midwives were totally hands-off, letting me labor how I chose. This works great for me, since I mostly prefer to be left alone to quietly labor (I guess I should have been a little more vocal because Kai’s head was out before anyone was even aware his birth was that imminent). I was completely involved in every decision that was made and couldn’t imagine going back to a hospital birth after this experience.

I am thrilled Kai is here to complete our family.

Organizing All the Toys

I saw Trish’s Inspiration on Monday link-up and, like many of the fun things that Trish posts about, I decided that was something I should try and it fits in well with my latest past time. I have been in the midst of a pretty hardcore decluttering of the house lately (despite being forever on the waiting list for The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up). I’ve donated bags and boxes of clothes and games and household goods. I’ve recycled nostalgia. I’ve tossed broken things I’m never going to fix.

But one area that I have not yet decluttered is kids toys and books. 8.5 months pregnant means I’m not in the right state of mind to get rid of kids’ stuff. Instead, I’ve just re-organized it.

I find that making sure everything has a home is the key to keeping the mess under control. Lots of baskets and bins and dedicated shelves. I like having toys and books accessible around the house instead of confined to one room (I think my room, the kitchen, and the bathrooms are the only toy-free areas). My house in the middle of a Saturday afternoon looks like a colorful war zone. But by Saturday night, we’ve generally picked it all up. And it doesn’t even take that long.

So, here is what my toy organization looks like.


My greatest creation:



EVAN’S ROOM (I actually like keeping this pretty toy-free)


And, just in case you felt bad that everything was actually picked up, this was the state of my back porch the morning I took photos.

So, what is your toy/book strategy? Do you corral them all into one room, close the door, and stay away? Do you allow the toys to take over the house? Do you take the minimalist approach and limit the amount of kids stuff that comes in the house?

Happy Birthday, E [Wordless Wednesday]

Evan is three!

And we are almost four!

This photo confirms two things: (1) I am HUGE and (2) Evan is physically incapable of standing still for more than .8 seconds at a time.

For Evan’s first and second birthday I hired a photographer to come to the house, do a family shoot, and then stick around and photograph the birthday party. It seems extravagant, but I love photos and I was afraid that if I were responsible for them, I wouldn’t enjoy the party. Plus, it was a good halfway point in the year to update the family photos. But this year, given our tighter budget, I forwent the photographer. And the results are pretty disappointing. I have very few photos and most of the ones I have are terrible. It makes me sad. I am glad that I enjoyed the party, but I wish I had a few more photos to share with you all and with our family who couldn’t be there.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Into Movies

I’m jumping into Top Ten Tuesday today. Because why not.

These are the top ten books/series that I would like to see developed into movies. Now, I live under a rock (with many other working parents of small children) and it is very possible that some (or all) of these are already movies in the making (or were released last weekend).

Newsflesh Trilogy

Hands down the best zombie story I know. And yes, I am including The Walking Dead.

Lunar Chronicles

I am pretty sure I lose people at the words “lunar people and cyborgs,” but words cannot express my love of this series.

Maisie Dobbs series

Perhaps this would make a better series. PBS, probably. There isn’t nearly enough sex and violence for HBO.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone series

Again, I lose people when I start talking about epic chimera and angel wars. But I’m pretty sure that could make some pretty rad movie scenes.

Across the Universe series

This is the end of human civilization movie the current human civilization is missing.

The Selection series

If The Bachelor can still be on the air (is The Bachelor still on the air?) then this could surely succeed at the box office.

Night Film

This would make such a great movie. It even has the word film in the title.

The Illusion of Separateness

I feel like this one would make an excellent Focus Features film.

Shade series

I adore this series. And I want to see all the kissing on the big screen.

Beautiful Ruins

Beautiful scenery + beautiful people + beautiful story = beautiful movie.

The Sunday Salon [5.31.15] – The Home Stretch

Tomorrow marks the beginning of June and 36 weeks of pregnancy for me.

Someone just told me it seems like I’ve been pregnant forever. And, while I can’t imagine what would possess someone to say that to me, I have to agree. This pregnancy has felt long. It has been mostly unpleasant and I’m done. I really am thankful that I am still pregnant (unlike a lot of other people I know who recently had their babies early) and I need to make it 37 weeks to deliver at my birth center. But this baby can come anytime he wants after next Monday.

Thank you to everyone who left book recommendations on my last post. I still have no desire to read but I’m hoping that changes once the baby is here. I miss reading.

Life has remained busy. Evan just turned three and we threw him a superhero party to celebrate.

He also finished up his first year of preschool and is looking forward to summer camp (although we’ll both be home, we are sending him part time all summer). Ben is wrapping up his school year and I’m wrapping up my work before my maternity leave begins. My mom will be here in just a few weeks (she’s trying to make it for the birth but, as mentioned above, I not-so-secretly won’t mind if he comes before that).

June is sure to be an exciting month around here.

Unless this baby waits until July to make his debut.

*cries at the thought*

The Sunday

Tell Me What to Read

What was your favorite book this year? Last year? What book did you have a hard time putting down? What book kept you up into the wee hours of the night? What book are you recommending to everyone?

I want to know what you want me to read.

It has become very clear to me that I live under a rock. I am the most out-of-the-loop I’ve been in a decade when it comes to the must read books. (I don’t do so well with the rest of pop culture either I recently shocked Ben by having no clue that a new Avengers movie had come out. I don’t know why he was shocked.) I have no idea what the “it” book is or was or will be.

I am having a baby sometime in the next two months, which means lots and lots and lots of time spent sitting and nursing. When E was a newborn, I had my best reading month ever thanks to all of that nursing time. I realize things will be different this time with a toddler running around, but I still think I’ll have quite a bit of time to myself nursing this baby (particularly in the middle of the night).

So while I go stock up on lanolin and mother’s milk tea (ick), I need all of you to tell me what books I should also be stocking up on as well.  I want anything that was compelling and page-turning and all of those words we book bloggers aren’t supposed to use. I want books that will keep me going at 3am when I haven’t had a stretch of sleep longer than 3 hours in over a month. If it came out in the last year, assume I haven’t read it (and probably haven’t heard of it). Bonus points if my library has it in electronic format or if you recommend an excellently narrated audiobook (holding real books one handed is hard). Extra bonus points to anyone that sends me a B&N gift card…just kidding…ish.


The Sunday Salon [5.10.15]

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you out there. Those of you currently nursing a baby, those of you busy chauffeuring your kids to soccer practice and ballet, those of you waiting for your grown children to call you, those of you anxiously awaiting the arrival of your little one, and those of you who still hope to be mothers one day. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you.

My boys have spoiled me this weekend by giving me some time to myself, so I am actually able to sit down and write this blog post.

This pregnancy has not been terribly comfortable for me, so I haven’t felt like reading or blogging or doing much else than watching Netflix or wasting time on BabyCenter. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have about 7 weeks or so until our little guy arrives. I haven’t done much prepping (poor second child), other than setting up the crib and changing table in my bedroom. I should probably wash some baby clothes one of these days. And figure our what we’re going to name him.

Evan will be 3 later this week. While this is hard for me to believe, I am having fun planning his superhero party. I am trying to go a little less crazy this year, but I just love birthdays and party planning so much. Damn, Pinterest.

Other than that, I am just working and parenting and going about life as normal as possible, just 30 pounds heavier and with a few more aches and pains.

I’ll try to be back with some bookish talk one of these days.

The Sunday

On Immunity: An Inoculation [Audiobook Review]

Title: On Immunity: An Inoculation
Author: Eula Biss
Narrator: Tamara Marston
Genre: Nonfiction
Pages: 216
Audio: 6.4 hours
Year: 2014
Publisher: Highbridge
Source: Public Library
Book Rating: 3.5/5
Audio Rating: 4/5

Summary (from the publisher):

Upon becoming a new mother, Eula Biss addresses a chronic condition of fear—fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what is in your child’s air, food, mattress, medicine, and vaccines. She finds that you cannot immunize your child, or yourself, from the world.

In this bold, fascinating book, Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding our conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. As she hears more and more fears about vaccines, Biss researches what they mean for her own child, her immediate community, America, and the world, both historically and in the present moment. She extends a conversation with other mothers to meditations on Voltaire’s Candide, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Susan Sontag’s AIDS and Its Metaphors, and beyond. On Immunity is a moving account of how we are all interconnected—our bodies and our fates.

My Thoughts:

I went into this one a very strong vaccine supporter, so I didn’t need convincing, but I found the history of the vaccines and the science behind it an interesting study.

I didn’t necessarily love her storytelling style, though. She approached this in a personal way, as a mother making her own decision to vaccinate or not to vaccinate. She then tries to relate to all mothers and very clearly has the universal mother in mind as her audience. I wanted something a little more…objective.

I also didn’t quite get what all of the Dracula references added. Perhaps that’s me being dense. Or tired.

This is a quick read and definitely a worthwhile one.

I don’t think this book is going to change anyone’s mind. The people I know who really believe that vaccination is a personal choice that doesn’t affect anyone else or that the CDC and “Big Pharma” are conspiring against us are not going to be persuaded by this book. It seems our society, or at least a not-insignificant faction of it, will continue to deny science, whether it be vaccines or climate change or a myriad of other things, despite insurmountable evidence backing it. This book isn’t going to stop that. But I applaud the effort.

Audiobook Thoughts:

Nothing much to say here. Tamara Marston does a fine job with this, which is all you really want in nonfiction.