Anticipating July

Happy 4th of July!  The end of the month crept up on me.  I know I say this all the time, but I didn’t even realize that July happens so soon!  Where does the time go?  First, a look back on the month of June.

The blog is back.  I have been slowly writing each week during Sam’s nap times, which end unpredictably so I’m giving myself grace if I don’t get a blog completed (and celebrate when I manage to write two or three in a row!).  I’m trying to get into a rhythm as well, especially with what posts go up on what days.  I haven’t completely settled on it yet, but it’s coming together nicely.

Other things that happened this month include my birthday and a baby shower for Sam.  I really cannot state enough the gratitude I have for my family and my community.  Sam is so, so loved, and I am so honored and humbled to get to be his mom.

He has had some milestones as well.  He now makes eye contact regularly.  And, the best part, he has started smiling, laughing, and cooing.  He loves to play on his activity mat and stare out windows or at windows (he loves the light!).  Breastfeeding is so much easier now and he sleeps pretty well, at least 3 hours at a time at night and a few naps during the day.  He still has his fussy days, but he’s a pretty chill baby most of the time.

And I did manage to go through some of my clothes this past month.  I cleaned out my drawers of very old and worn out clothes, and I have started a pile in the closet of clothes to donate.  Clothes that I haven’t worn in a couple years or that really just don’t fit or flatter me.

My body has changed after Sam, and while I do exercise every day (we take our stroller walks and I do a brief yoga practice while he plays on his activity mat), I’m embracing the body I am in.  It’s not the slim body I had in college.  It’s been on a rollercoaster these last five years, and honestly, it shows.  But that’s okay.  My focus is on getting strong and healthy, not losing weight.  It helps that so many of you have told me that I am looking great (you really encourage this mama!).  But also, I need to find the clothes that are for me, that fit well and that I enjoy wearing.  So, this purge was a letting go of the old and the past and I will be slowly adding pieces that are an embrace of the present me.

So now, a look into July.
anticipation

  • Visiting with Family.  This month, we are going to have our first road trip with the little one.  Michael’s dad, who has Alzheimer’s disease, isn’t able to travel anymore.  We waited until this month so Sam could be a bit older, and I was completely recovered before we made the trek.  We are excited for him to meet his grandson!
  • Celebrating milestones.  We also have a lot of family birthdays this month (including my husband).  But also, Sam continues to grow.  I can’t believe he will be 2 months this month, working towards his 3rd!  It is true that the time flies, but I’m soaking up every minute of it.
  • Blogging and Organizing.  I’m going to continue working on my blog this month.  I really want to organize the posts to make it easier to navigate.  I realize that I write about a couple very different topics, so I want to make it easier to find things without wading through a hodgepodge.  This may be a two-month project (or longer) but I’m hoping to begin really working on it this month.

So we survived June and racing full speed into July.  Again, just like last month, if nothing else gets done but that we get through our days (and nights) relatively unscathed, I will be happy!

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June Favorites

The end of June kinda got away from me, so this is going up a little late.  So here are my June Favorites.

Book of the Month

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This was a tough decision.  Because I really loved Scythe as well, but this one takes the top place this month because of the pregnancy loss subject matter and how well it broaches that subject.  I talked more about that here.

Baby

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Breastfeeding has been such a journey for me.  All my friends were right, that about six weeks it got much better, especially with this product.  The Lansinoh Lanolin Cream.  I don’t use it all the time, usually just after a feeding or when I get out of the shower.  It is a lifesaver!

Beauty and Fashion

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One thing I’ve been loving at night after a long day of being on my feet (cause that baby loves to be carried and walked around…it has worked better than the Fitbit ever did!), is this foot cream, Earth Therapeutics Tea Tree Oil Foot Repair Balm, I picked up at Ulta.  I actually got it much earlier in the year, but it has been such a nice pampering indulgence lately.  And it keeps my feet so soft!

TV and Movies

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I got into a bit of a rom-com binge on Netflix, and I would highly recommend Set It Up.  It’s so cute, even if a bit predictable.  In fact, a little predictability was just what I needed.  Sometimes it’s just nice to have a non-stressful show to enjoy during breastfeeding sessions.

What are some favorites you have been enjoying this month?

All disclaimers have now moved to my About Me page.

The Book of Dust: A Review

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The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

To be fair, I didn’t read the Darkest Materials series, but I was familiar with the storyline and the controversy around that series being a bit preachy and pro-atheism. But this book was recommended to me and it had great reviews on Goodreads, so I decided to go for it. It is part of a second series that is running parallel to his original series, and this book takes place before the first series started. So it’s kind of a prequel.
It follows a boy named Malcolm who lives on the river in an inn owned by his parents. Across the river is a priory of nuns and he visits and helps them frequently. When the nuns take in a baby that gets the attention of both the religious circles and a spy network, Malcolm finds himself in the middle of it all. After a natural catastrophe, Malcolm, along with a girl who works at the inn, Alice, have to go on an adventure in an effort to protect this baby.
Maybe it’s because I didn’t read the first series, but I found this book to be a little convoluted. The first half of the book read like a spy novel, and I was really intrigued. But then, it abruptly turns into a completely different book after a natural disaster takes place. It became more like a fantasy folklore story.
Also, even though Alice is in the synopsis in the back of the book, she only makes a few appearances throughout the first half of the novel. Granted, she does play a more pivotal role as the story progresses, but I was confused during the first half of the story just why she was included in the story’s summary. Malcolm’s character does have some transforming experiences throughout the book, but it takes quite a dark turn towards the end.

I don’t remember a whole lot of profanity, but there were some mentions of urination in public to describe the unsettled evil of the story. As far as sexual content, there is a sex scene that is used to show how manipulative one of the bad characters was. And there are some implications for Alice being alone with a man. For violent content, there is a good bit. The natural disaster was a flood, and there are mentions of dead people and animals floating in the water. Plus, there is a lot of fighting, shooting, and killing among the characters.

Overall, the book wasn’t bad. It might just not be my kind of book. I didn’t, however, feel like it was anti-religion or pro-atheism. There were good and bad people on all sides. Maybe if I read the original series first I might have a different perspective. So, if you have read the original series, this might be a good book for you to pick up!

Continuing the Conversation

One of the things that I am most passionate about is the conversation about pregnancy loss and infertility.  It’s why I share my own experiences.

But I want to go beyond my own experiences.  So, I am going to share links to posts and articles that I have found that are keeping this conversation going.  I encourage you to read these articles, but I will also give brief thoughts or synopsis to each of the links.

How to talk to a friend who is experiencing infertility – An interview with Andrea Syrtash, who launched an infertility online magazine called Pregnantish.  The points in the article are accurate for both pregnancy loss and infertility.  Heavy emphasis on listening and transparency.  Also, I briefly perused the magazine.  It has some basic articles but also highlights families and their journeys through infertility.

Loss of sex drive women: I cried through sex with husband – This is a beautiful, raw, touching piece written by a woman who is struggling with infertility.  It has some language in it and it is adult in nature, but it is very open and vulnerable.  An excellent window into the struggle for a lot of women.

The Importance of Acknowledging Pregnancy Loss – This is a broad article the covers most of the basics about pregnancy loss.  I was surprised to see that abortions made the list for this writer, but I don’t doubt that there are some women who grieve those losses as well.  I just know that it can be a touchy subject and that the pregnancy loss world and the pro-choice world have collided at times.  Still, it is a pretty good article to share with those that have never experienced or know anyone (which they probably do and don’t know it) that has had a pregnancy loss.

Those are a couple of articles to get started.  I share these to get the conversation started, but also to show that this is a common conversation.  That if you have experienced or are experiencing infertility or pregnancy loss that you aren’t alone.

Do you have any posts or articles that have touched you or compelled you to share?

Birthday

So, this month, I turned another year older.

Of course, this birthday was super special because I had a precious little boy to snuggle all day (although to be completely transparent, the boy was quite a grump on my birthday, but I still managed a snuggle or two).

Michael also fed my insatiable book habit with six new books.  Two of them aren’t showing in the picture below because they are preorders that will come out in September and October (The new Deborah Harkness book and the new Ransom Riggs book).

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And then, Michael came home early on my birthday, and I went out alone to get my nails done.  I didn’t take any pictures because I was seriously just enjoying the moment.  I got a package deal that included an amazing neck massage with the manicure.  Simply divine.

And then last weekend, Michael’s coworker watched Sam while we went to dinner.  It was the first babysitting experience outside of family and, honestly, it was wonderful.  Michael and I ate steak and had dessert.  And we ordered things on Amazon for Sam from our phones.  Ok, so we were still thinking about him and our conversation was all about him, but baby steps, right?

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Overall, I would say this was a pretty amazing birthday.  I’m so grateful for this last year, and I look forward to the adventures this next year will bring!

What Alice Forgot: A Review

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What Alice Forgot
by Liane Moriarty

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an adult contemporary set in the year 2008 in Sydney, Austrailia. The protagonist, Alice, wakes up on the floor of a gym after a nasty fall, having lost her memories for the last ten years. She thinks it’s 1998 and that she is 14 weeks pregnant with her first child, newly married to her husband, Nick. When in reality, she has three children and is estranged from said husband. The story continues as a mystery that slowly reveals the last ten years, through flashes and pictures, strong feelings, and the anecdotes of her friends and family.
What I did not know going into this book was how much of it was also about pregnancy loss and infertility. Alice’s big sister, Elizabeth, is almost a second main protagonist, who is the first person that really shows up after Alice is brought to the hospital after the fall at the gym. She helps Alice navigate through some of those first memories, but finds it hard because it means that she also has to relive a lot of those memories as well. And her story is pregnancy loss and infertility. And it is so accurate from my own story. I related so much to her experiences and her thoughts. I mention this without really spoiling anything as a trigger warning, but I found this part of the story also therapeutic. This is what made the book a five out of five for me.
The writing jumps from three different perspectives. Alice is told in the third person, though we are privy to her thoughts and feelings, they weren’t always dependable and accurate. When trying to piece together the last ten years, she goes down a couple of dead ends. Elizabeth’s perspective is told in first person journal entries to her therapist. Of course, this is also limited by only what Elizabeth actually knows about Alice’s life as well. The third perspective is from their surrogate grandmother, Frannie, who gives a little more insight, but not much. It’s in first person correspondence as well, as her point of view is in the form of letters to an old flame, recounting her experiences in her retirement community as well as what is happening to Alice.
For the most part, the plot moves pretty quickly. The clues and glimpses kept me continuing with the story, wondering not only what exactly happened in the past, but how the future would turn out as well. And there is a lot of character transformation, especially with Alice and Elizabeth. As Alice looks into her present life from her younger self, the fresh perspective helps her evolve, and it also helps Elizabeth evolve as well.

There is profanity in the book, but not much, and I felt like the profanity was there to show how much had changed in Alice’s life – almost for a shock value, but a necessary one.
As far as sexual content, there is mention of sex and there are a few kissing scenes, but nothing really graphic or detailed. Since pregnancy was one of the main themes, I think it was also something necessary to mention and discuss.
And as far as violence, there are a couple of deaths mentioned, but nothing, again, in graphic detail. It focused more on the grief from death or loss.

I would recommend this book with the caveat of the fact that a good portion of it deals with navigating life with infertility and pregnancy loss. But I think it handles that subject really well. I didn’t really know that I would like this book as much as I did when I picked it up, but I’m really glad I did!