books lately.

img_5469The day to day life with a newborn at home is a funny thing. It’s filled with the great disparity of frantic activity (Eat! Shower! Dishwasher! Make dinner! Laundry! Quick!) while the baby is sleeping in the bassinet and then long periods of quiet restful time on the couch or in the rocker. During these restful times, I’ve been gobbling up e-books on my phone with Libby – If you’ve ever used Overdrive, it’s an update of that e-book interface. It’s an app much like Kindle, but used with your local public library to give access to nearly every book you want to read, depending on what your library offers. I don’t trust myself to get to the library to return books right now, so while I prefer reading hardcover, an e-book is so much easier. I can also hold my phone with one hand while holding a baby in the other. A book is harder!

Charlie goes to daycare every morning with Mike and I pick him up later in the afternoon so I’ve had some time on my hands to do some binge reading. (And watching. I just finished This Is Us on NBC and started in on The OA on Netflix yesterday) Here’s a few books I’ve torn my way through lately:

Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan…I just started this and it’s sooo good. I can’t wait to watch the movie when I finish. Highly recommend if you’re looking for an easy summer read.

How To Stop Time, by Matt Haig…This was good. It’s about a man who doesn’t age normally. He’s 400, but looks only 40ish. All about his life through different times and his search for his daughter. I kind of skipped through the introspection parts of it. There was a lot of internal dialogue that slowed it down for me.

The Flight Attendant, by Chris Bohjalian…A quick read about an American flight attendance who wakes up in Dubai next to her dead date from the night before. Russians, FBI, undercover operatives, and lots of booze are involved.

Wedding Night, by Sophie Kinsella…Another good beach read. The entire time I was reading this I kind of felt like I had read it before. I’m still not sure if I had already read it. Hehe. A good chick-flick romance.

Winter in Paradise, by Elin Hilderbrand…I have this in hardcover thanks to my mom passing it along, and it’s next on my list after I finish Crazy Rich Asians. It’s an appropriate title though, no?

You do have to wait sometimes if someone is reading the book that you’d like, so I have a little digital pile of books sitting on my holds list. Here’s a few I’m waiting on impatiently:

My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite…I keep hearing such good things!

Circe, by Madeline Miller…On the shortlist for the National Book Award. The app says I have 5 weeks to wait on this one! Ack!

P.S. I Still Love You, by Jenny Han…The sequel to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. A cute teen romance book. The first was so fun and left on a cliffhanger.

How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen, by Joanna Faber…I ordered this one on Amazon because CHARLIE. Ha! He’s SO much fun right now, but the tantrums are beginning. The excerpt on Amazon made me laugh because it describes him to a T – “What do you do with a little kid who…won’t brush her teeth…screams in his car seat…pinches the baby…refuses to eat vegetables…throws books in the library…runs rampant in the supermarket? Organized according to common challenges and conflicts, this book is an essential emergency first-aid manual of communication strategies.” I think it’s going to help us immensely.

the show i’ve been waiting a year for.

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I read about pbs’s new show in July of last year, and I’ve been ticking off days on my calendar! The Great American Read finally debuted Tuesday night on pbs, and it was everything I had hoping for and more. Okay, okay. I did fall asleep about halfway through. It was two hours long! It’s hard for a tired schoolgirl mama to stay up that long! The list of 100 will be talked about in episodes over the next months, and voting will determine the number one Great American Read. I think it’s so fun! I love book hype.

I printed the list off in checklist form the other day so I could track what I had and hadn’t read. I’m embarrassed to say that I’d read not even half of the books. Some of the books included surprised me! The Notebook!Gone Girl! FIFTY SHADES OF GREY!!? THE best?? I just don’t know. Harry Potter though – my number one as of right now. What do you think? You can vote for as many books as often as you want, and I’ve already gone in to vote for five or six. I haven’t even read them all, so it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around which one is going to be the best! I need to get reading this summer. 🙂 I may just have to do a few re-readings too! I’m trying to talk Mike into a couple’s book club with me, but I might have more luck convincing my mom of a mother-daughter club. Right, mom?

If you missed it – you can watch for free online here!

our favorite baby books at 6 months.

We’ve been reading to Charlie since nearly day 1. But with a 6 month old, it’s still more about what we like to read to Charlie rather than what Charlie’s really into. It’s not like he can specifically ask for one book over another yet. He definitely loves books already though, so I think it’s good to start young! We try to choose books that he seems interested in with fun, repetitive text and big bold illustrations. These are 8 books that we love to read to Charlie. He’s to the page ripping stage, so we mostly stick to board books although we do love regular picture books and just keep a little tighter hold on the book.

Funny enough, Mike usually does the reading. I read to kids all day (librarian life!), so I love having him do it. I think it’s good dada-Charlie bonding time. It’s their thing. We don’t have a strict routine yet. We’re not quite to the point of bedtime stories every night, but we usually get a couple in each night at some point and lots on the weekend.

  1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear : An Eric Carle favorite. I read this book with my Kindergarten classes at school and know it by heart! I love the bouncy rhythm of the words and the repetition is so fun for the kids to catch on to. The illustrations are big and bold and really catch the baby’s attention.
  2. No Matter What : This book was a sweet little shower gift that I hadn’t read before. It is Mike’s absolute favorite. He’ll choose it over any other. All about loving your little person no matter what. I love that “large”can be either mama or dada. So many books focus on the mom, so it’s nice to have one that could be dad too.
  3. Pete the Cat: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star : If you haven’t read any of the Pete the Cat books, go now and read one! They’re such cute stories. I especially love that we can sing this book to Charlie.
  4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar : Another Eric Carle favorite. A hungry caterpillar eats his way through life, spins a cocoon and comes out a beautiful butterfly.  It’s a sweet way to teach the days of the week and different foods.
  5. One Fish, Two Fish : One of Mike’s other favorites to read and a Dr. Seuss classic. I actually wouldn’t normally recommend it as a baby book because it is long, but Charlie is so into it. I think it’s because the words are so silly and fun to listen to.
  6. Night Night, Florida : A sweet little rhyming bedtime story with favorite Florida spots. We like reading this one before bed with it’s quiet tone and dark illustrations.
  7. Bunny Roo, I Love You : This one is one of my favorites. The illustrations are so sweet and I love it’s reassuring message to my little guy.
  8. Mighty, Mighty Construction Site : Another one that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend for babies because of the length, but the illustrations are just so big and beautiful. I love reading it and Charlie is just captivated by it.

What are your favorite baby books? There are so many good ones!

simple joys: reading in bed

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In the spirit of celebrating life’s simple joys, you’ll find a new series here every now and then. Every day, we are left with the vast responsibility of our feelings – both good and bad, positive and negative. I’m hoping this series will help bring focus to the small, simple things that bring joy and happiness to my everyday life, and maybe yours too! I hope they might inspire you {and me} to look at your little life in the big world with a fresh perspective, realizing how nice it is to be positive, and perhaps to appreciate the ritual of making your morning oatmeal, or that ray of sun coming through your window just so, even the beauty of your empty *empty!!* laundry basket. Maybe – over time – we’ll see that there’s a certain kind of satisfaction in noticing that the daisy sitting on your coffee table really is beautiful, and you really are so lucky to have it hanging out in your house. And even if you do inadvertently walk through a spider web with your face while taking the dog out, your coffee really does taste amazing this morning…


I had nearly forgotten that I used to religiously read in bed each night. Then, this weekend, Mike came in with the mail and handed me a rumpled manila envelope with my name on it. Tucked inside the package was a book. A pass along from my mom who knew I had badly been wanting to read Little Fires Everywhere. Joy of all joys! How does one forget that they used to do something religiously for 29 years of their life? It was as natural to me as breathing. I simply could not happily fall asleep unless I read a chapter before bed. Physically I could, that is. But I was happier and would go to sleep with ease if I read a chapter of my book while settling in for the night.

Well, the valid explanation is that Mike and I welcomed a baby into our life who upended everything about our nights. And so my chapter a night habit took an almost six month hiatus because of the baby slumbering next to our bed each night. I loved having Charlie in our room, tucked in his little bassinet. Or even better, tucked in between us in bed. I loved hearing him breathe in and out, even as a metronome, and being right there next to him to nurse him through the night when he stirred. It was time to move him over to his crib though. He sleeps so much better with room to roll over and sleep on his belly or side if he wants to. He stirs and settles himself. But it still gives me little jolt of sadness to think about him in the room down the hall when he used to live right with us night after night. But just a little jolt. Maybe it’s a jolt of nostalgia rather than sadness. If I’m honest, we’re all sleeping better with him in his crib. It was time.

Reflecting on it now, the first couple weeks of crib sleep were a little tense for me. I was torn over wanting him to continue waking up through the night to show that he still needed me, and wanting him to sleep well so that he could get the sleep he needed. The whole wanting your baby to stay a baby, I guess. He’s to the point of sleeping through the night every now and then (two nights in a row this week!) which is a good thing. I’m coming to terms with the end of night wakings. I may be the minority, but I’ve always known that I would miss them when they ended. The snuggling of a sweet baby when the rest of world is asleep just can’t be beat. But our nights are starting to feel a little more like they did before we had Charlie. We have a routine down. Mostly. There are, of course, some nights that are exceptions. But it feels like now, nights (after 7:30pm) are steering back to being about Mike and spending time together, rather than the stress of if Charlie would or wouldn’t wake up. They’re also steering back toward going to bed a few minutes early so I can read my chapter in bed.

I forgot what a peaceful end to the day it is. Just a few pages to settle me down, to quiet my mind and move on from the day. Having a light on in the bedroom at night seems like such a luxury! Finding my pajamas when I’m going to bed instead of at 7pm when I’m starting to get Charlie ready. Flinging the covers off the bed, cracking open my book, turning a page as loud as I’d like, setting my glass of water down on the side table after taking a noisy drink, saying ‘night and I love you’s aloud to my husband. Ah! Luxury! Simple joys here. Its a simple joy to have – getting to read in bed. A thing I have loved all my life, and am remembering to love again.