Some Favorite Articles and Blogs as of Late

I loved this blog about all the good things they should have warned me about motherhood.

Dads are NOT babysitters. And l love that this dad was proud to be a bedsharing family in The Truth about Dads and Attachment Parenting.

Really interesting NY Times article about the power of audio and the resurgence of this somewhat lost medium.

The most entitled generation isn’t millennials. As our generation tends to get bashed, I appreciated this article.

A Parenthood writer says goodbye to Parenthood. I cannot believe this show is over! 😦

NPR article “What’s right about a 6-year-old breastfeeding.”  Our country is SO behind when it comes to breastfeeding and it’s benefits.  Good for NPR for bringing the worldwide perspective to light.

It doesn’t get easier, but it does get better. 

And i’m sure there are SO many other great things that I read – between feedly and all of the people and pages I follow on social media, some really excellent things always cross my path. I’d like to say I’ll get better at cobbling them together on a weekly basis, but that’s probably too lofty of a goal.  For now, whenever I get a chance, I’ll share some of my favorite finds!

Happy reading and happy weekend!

My Favorite iPhone Apps

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Today I wanted to share with you my top 8 favorite iPhone Apps. I know I love hearing about new apps that are really useful, so I hope you do too. I picked ones that you may or may not have heard of before. Because of course there are several apps I use ALL the time that you probably already know about (goodreads, kindle, podcast, Etsy, Amazon, Cartwheel, Gmail, and the usual social media culprits)

Coach.Me (Previously Lift) – I LOVE this app for tracking daily goals. I think I heard about it originally 3 or 4 years ago when it was Lift. I read about it in the Mindful magazine and it is awesome. It recently just changed to “Coach.Me” in January and the creators are now allowing you to hire “coaches” to help you motivate in your goals. But the cool thing about it is you pick goals and pick how often you want to achieve these goals. It tracks them for you and you can look back on your stats. There is a social component too where you can get props from other users with the same goals and ask questions. There are motivational quotes and even virtual high fives. I highly recommend it!

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Any.Do – I have recently shifted to more paper planning and to do lists, and thanks to a recommendation my friend Jessica and a birthday gift card from my in-laws I have a brand new awesome planner headed my way soon. But for virtual to do lists I really enjoy any.do because it separates lists into today, tomorrow, upcoming and someday. These categories work well for me to parse out my to do list.

Feedly – If you read blogs then you have to have this app. I used to try and keep track of the blogs I read in a whole bunch of different places. I would ALWAYS miss posts and forget which blogs I even liked. Feedly is awesome because it shows when blogs post new posts and it’s super convenient to read on the go (or while nursing a sleeping baby!)

Mindful – One of the better meditation apps I’ve found. I do wish there were more options of different tracks to listen to, because with trying to meditate every day, the same tracks do get boring or harder to follow. If anyone has suggestions for other meditation apps they enjoy, please share! (Of course for some reason I couldn’t find the link for this one.  I don’t know if that means you can’t download it anymore?)

Headspace – Another great beginner meditation app. I enjoy this guy’s voice. It’s not grating or annoying or patronizing and it makes meditation more accessible to people who may be skeptical.

Couch-to-5K – I actually really love this app. I’m only into the second week of couch to 5K but I love how this app runs over the top of your music and tells you when to switch from warm up to running to walking to cool down. It also tells you when you’re halfway done and tracks your miles and pace. Great for beginning runners like me.

Overdrive – I think my mom originally told me about this one. You hook it up to your library account and can check out audiobooks and ebooks directly to your phone. If you are a reader, it’s great!

Thred Up – Oh Thred Up, I love you. Thred up is an online consignment shop. You buy like-new clothing at much cheaper than retail. I’ve bought several items off of here and always have been happy. You can also sell them your old clothes and get a credit. They do have an option to by free shipping for the whole year for $10. I definitely plan on doing that this year. If you want to check it out, use this link to get $10 off your first order, plus then I’ll get a credit! Win-win. Oh, did I mention they have BABY clothes now. It’s like a jbf sale without the crazy lines. Love!

Our Favorite Baby Items 6-9 Months

A bit late again, considering Clare is almost 11 months (What?!) but here’s a recap of our favorite baby items 6-9 months. In case you missed it, here were our favs 0-3 months and 3-6 months.

Baby Gate/Play YardMy sweet friend Kristin gave this to us and it’s been a LIFEsaver. Chris rigged it up so that she can go all around our wrap around couch and all around the gate. It is lovingly referred to as her cage. She loves cruising around.

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Graco Bumper Jumper. Alas, as of writing this she’s too heavy for the jumper, but it was a good transition from the bouncy chair of “place that Clare goes while mommy showers.”

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Zafu Meditation Cushion. This a must have for sitting and playing on the floor when you have a bony butt like me. Plus considering one of my goals for 2015 is to meditate, it will serve a double purpose.

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Punkin Butt Teething Oil. We have done EVERYTHING for teething. I have every home remedy there is and some nights we just have to do motrin because nothing works. But I do like this oil for the cooling effect it gives her. Sometimes it’s just the ticket for her to finally calm down and go to sleep.

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Kinderpack. We went ahead and got the standard kinderpack, with plus size straps, so that we would have a carrier that worked for both Chris and I. It is miles better above the ergo. I don’t know why everyone says get the ergo. These people obviously haven’t tried a Kinderpack or Tula. (The big draw for us for the kinder vs tula for us was the extra long straps)

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Jelly Strands. These seriously save my neck….and face…and anything else she tries to scratch out while nursing or while in the carrier. She loves them. And I was very upset when I thought I’d lost them so I bought a second pair. I can’t wear regular small chain jewelry at all anymore. Except perhaps when I go out without her….which is pretty rare!

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And that’s all folks. Only 6 this time around.   Check back soon for our favs 9-12 months!

 

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a book based on my recommendation Clare’s diaper fund gets a teeny bit of money. 🙂

The Postpartum Podcast Launch and my 10 favorite podcasts of 2014

With the explosion of the Serial podcast this year, podcasts really seem to be coming to the forefront of many people’s minds. Chris rolls his eyes because he’s been listening to podcasts for years, and I always gave him a hard time.

I did love Serial, but my “gateway” podcast was really One Bad Mother.  Those ladies are hilarious, and I pretty much listened to their whole archive in the first few months of Clare’s life.  Which got me thinking…there must be so many other new moms out there who take comfort in shows like One Bad Mother. I started looking for anything else that might pertain to the postpartum period specifically, but there isn’t really a lot out there. And with the childbirth educator certification I’m working on, I decided I wanted to help fill that niche.  Thus, the Postpartum Podcast was born.  It will be a podcast that covers not only postpartum, but pregnancy and childbirth as well. I plan to have a range of guests, from birth professionals to just regular moms. Our first episode is up and features Lesley Miller of Barefooton45th. I hope that you check it out!

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You can find the podcast in iTunes HERE.

And now for my top 10 favorite podcasts of 2014:

1) One Bad Mother – as mentioned above, these ladies are SO funny.  Teresa and Biz approach motherhood with such honesty and humor, I literally look forward to their podcast every Friday.  They share listeners’ genius and fail moments and meltdowns and interview super interesting and also funny guests.

2) Serial – If you haven’t heard of Serial, you’ve probably been living under a rock…but, just in case, it’s a spin off from This American Life, investigating a 1999 Baltimore murder. It’s engrossing and fascinating. I’m looking forward to their second season.

3) The Lively Show – Jess Lively hosts this show about living an intentional life.  Her guests vary, but are always super interesting, inspiring and uplifting.  She also does mini episodes usually where she is answering a listener’s question about how to add intention to their lives.

4) The Sarah R. Bagley Podcast – Sarah is a self-proclaimed ‘recovering perfectionist in pursuit of living a B+ life’ – and she interviews guests about how they have pushed past perfectionist tendencies. As a perfectionist myself, this show always resonates with me.

5) Totally Married – I think I originally heard about this one and Totally Mommy (see below) on One Bad Mother when they interviewed Elizabeth.  Elizabeth and Andy talk about marriage and answer listener questions giving their “unqualified advice” on a range of topics.  They are super funny and have a baby right around Clare’s age, so I find myself relating a lot.

6) Totally Mommy – Elizabeth from Totally Married co-hosts this show with her different Mom friends each week.  Again because her daughter is around the same age as Clare I find myself relating a lot, and I also enjoy the questions section where they give advice (similar to totally married).

7) The Girls Next Door Podcast – I heard about these ladies again on One Bad Mother.  They are two neighbors in Arizona who just talk about different happenings in their lives, neighborhoods, etc over a cocktail.  They are super funny, and I find myself wishing we were neighbors every time I listen.

8) Elise Gets Crafty – Elise’s podcast always sparks my creativity and motivation. I love how much she loves goal-setting and her drive to be creative everyday.

9) The One You Feed – This podcast deals with the parable about the two wolves which goes as follows:

An old grandfather told his grandson: “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, and resentment. The other is good. It is joy, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and bravery.”

The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

They host different guests who talk about how they are feeding their good wolves.  Very motivating and inspiring.

10) And finally the Highly Sensitive Person Podcast – After reading The Highly Sensitive Person book and discovering I am definitely an HSP, I have found this short weekly podcast encouraging to know that I am not alone for feeling the way I do about certain things.

What about you? Are there any podcasts you loved this last year? Please share!

A year in review: 2014 Books

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It’s been a good year for books: 8 on audiobooks, 13 on kindle, 10 actual physical books, 24 nonfiction, 4 memoirs and 3 novels. I didn’t really make a lot of goals last year except to survive the year with a new baby. But I did make a reading goal of 25 books, which I surpassed and hit 31! Woo hoo! I owe that mainly to the many hours of nursing sessions and the audiobooks driving in the car to my students’ lessons. I think it’s safe to say that this is the first year that I have read that many books, none of which were required school reading. I hope to keep up the momentum in 2015, with again a goal of 25 since I won’t have the two months of binge reading childbirth books that I had last year. 🙂

In case you are curious, here are the books I read in 2014 with some short reviews, followed by a few books I plan to read in 2015.

Do you have any recommendations? Chris gave me a hard time for only reading a few novels this year, so any recommendations for amazing fiction books are particularly welcomed!

2014 Books: A Year in Review

To see some short reviews on the Pregnancy and Childbirth books I read, check out my previous post here.

Those included:

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Birthing From Within

Natural Hospital Birth: The Best of Both Worlds

Your Best Birth

& some more from 2013. 🙂

Sleeping with Your Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Cosleeping – I am SO glad our pediatrician recommended this book. The research Dr. James Mckenna has done about cosleeping in infant mother pairs is fascinating and wonderful. This book outlines safe cosleeping practices and talks about the cultural differences between our society and other non-western societies. There are immense benefits and it just makes sense. Book is super short and I highly recommend to new parents.

The Happiest Baby on the Block – This is one of those that everyone tells you to read and they are right. We also watched the DVD. In the early days during the witching hour, my mom and I would be scanning through the book for extra tips to calm Clare. And to this day, the 5 S’s are still our best friends when it comes to calming her.

Something Blue – This is one of my favorites of Emily Giffin’s. The sequel to Something Borrowed is in movie talks currently, and I just really like the transformation that Darcy’s character makes throughout. A re-read, but I loved it again.

Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting – This was a quick library book read. I wasn’t a huge fan. Some of the principals, specifically around food, I definitely agree with, but others didn’t jive with me.

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto – Excellent book. I listened to the audiobook on this one. Michael Pollan’s research is thorough and engaging and so spot on. His simple rules for eating: Eat Real Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants. The french paradox stuff was really interesting, and I found myself saying ‘yes, yes, yes’ to most of what he said. I wish more people realized how screwed up our food industry is and that it really is worth it to spend more (time and money) on quality food. A side note – I also just watched the Fed Up documentary and highly recommend.

And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives – I really liked a lot of the principals in this book for sustaining marriage after a baby arrives. Though it was excercize heavy and I can’t say we actually did the practices, but the concepts were good to keep in mind.

Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife – I LOVED this book. Chronicling Peggy Vincent’s career as a midwife in the bay area, it gave such a wonderful picture of the normalcy and natural process of childbirth. The birth stories were wonderful. I read it after Clare was born, but I would also recommend it to pregnant mommas.

Year of No Sugar: A Memoir – This book was eye opening to the harmful effects of sugar in our diets. I can’t say that it made me stop eating sugar, but it definitely made me consider it’s prevalence a lot more.

The Sweet Poison Quit Plan – As with above, this one gave a lot of good evidence for the removal of sugar from our diets and different substitutes we can have. Avocado toast is now a favorite breakfast and snack around here.

The One & Only: A Novel
– Emily Giffin’s newest novel. I listened to the audiobook. I can’t say it was my favorite of hers…but I did enjoy the break in listening to a novel.

The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook: 130 Recipes That Will Help Your Baby Learn to Eat Solid Foods – and That the Whole Family Will Enjoy – This book explained the concept of BLW well and gave examples of what foods to introduce as you go and different recipes to get you started.

MOMFRIENDS – This was one of our mama first book club books and I enjoyed it. The author, I believe must have self published and could have used some more editing, but the story was relateable to those of us that are new moms and navigating friendships as we go.

Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind – This one read more like a bunch of blog posts than like a book, but I was okay with that. Helpful tidbits from all kinds of authors about how to make the most of your day. Some of it didn’t apply to me so much as a mom, but others definitely did! I recognized many of the authors contributing and found some helpful advice. I liked the idea of putting your to do list on a post-it note and that if its more than that, it’s not feasible in one day. The usual adages of writing every day and frequency sparking creativity were in there too but worded in a new way. A lot about resetting and mindfulness and “windows of non-stimulation” that all resonated with me too.

Mindful Parenting: Simple and Powerful Solutions for Raising Creative, Engaged, Happy Kids in Today’s Hectic World – Great parenting book with a lot of tips for the adults as well. I found myself very taken aback thinking about the kind of technology driven and overstimulating world my kids will grow up in. Give a lot of insight on how to weave mindfulness into everyday and help kids manage energy and stress.

Love Life – I love Rob Lowe. I loved his first book “Stories I only tell my friends” and I loved this one as well. This time I listened to the audiobook which I highly recommend, because he is the one reading it and his inflection really makes the book extra excellent. This one was a great blend of glimpses into hollywood and the tv/movie business and his family life. And as a parent myself now, hearing him talk about his boys leaving for college definitely made me tear up. I really like what he says at the end when he’s talking about life in general and how unpredictable it is (while sharing an anecdote about him and madonna) – he says “intention is what gives the action value.” It’s not about just what you do, it’s about how and why you do it. Definitely recommend.

Glitter and Glue: A Memoir – I found Kelly Corrigan because she spoke at the Care Begins With Me event I was invited to here in Sacramento. I’m so glad I did, because she is a wonderful writer! (And speaker!) I listened to the audiobook on this one, and like Rob Lowe, she was the one reading it. There’s something about memoirs that are read by the author that just make them all the better. This is her newest book about the relationship with her and her mom and her adventure nannying in Austrailia. Loved it.

The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood to Fit Reality – Another book club pick, this anthology was wonderful. I didn’t realize it was a Seal Press book while reading it, but it totally makes sense with their focus on Women. (I interned there once upon a blue moon ago) Anyway – I recommend this to any mom and particularly if you are feeling like you are never enough.

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson – Another re-read, but this time on audiobook. Listening to Mitch Albom read about his beloved professor made this sweet and poignant book all the sweeter. 🙂 Everyone should read it.

The Highly Sensitive Person – Loved this book, and I am 100% without a doubt, an HSP. There are so many things I highlighted thinking yes yes yes! I wish I could list them all here but favorites were “If you are a typical HSP, you can be a worry-prone perfectionist” “Your self-worth may have been entirely contingent upon your achievements” “Always plan a way to bail out” pertaining to social engagements. “when we have no control over stimulation, it is even more upsetting” The research on links between HSPs and serotonin were also really interesting.

Lift – A very sweet little “love letter” book Kelly wrote to her daughters. Some of the reviews lament it’s skipping around and non-cohesiveness. But I think that’s what makes it lovely, because that is how we think as parents, in fragments about things we should say or tell them or stories to remember. Again, she’s a fantastic writer.

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids – I loved the principles in this book. And that it wasn’t just about simplifying clutter and toys, but also food, schedules, and so much more. It all makes so much sense and hope that we can give Clare some of it’s frameworks as she grows up. I liked the idea of having certain food nights of the week “Spaghetti”, “Fish” etc and how that predictability can help. It has some Waldorf education principles as well which totally jive with my parenting style.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead – Great book. The power of vulnerability and being authentic. I really enjoyed the self and parent sections, moreso that work, since the kind of work I do is very different than corporate culture now (Thank god!) Highly recommend.

Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time
– Heard about this on on my favorite One Bad Mother Podcast and it was not what I expected it would be. But it was very interesting. Thoroughly researched – the work section made me want to move to Denmark, and hate our childcare system in the United States. The play section really reminded me of how much I need to incorporate it into my life. I listened to the audiobook on this one as well. I wasn’t a huge fan of the voice though.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – The older I get, and the more I read the more I believe I am actually an introvert. One who has been very good at pretending to be an extrovert over the years. It really resonated with me when she said a lot of times if introverts act out of their true nature for too long they get sick and burnt out. I used to do this ALL of the time and it makes sense now why I was always getting sick. When she mentioned feeling like she was working in a foreign country when she was in the wrong kind of job situation – I’ve definitely been there. I also resonated with the idea that introverts like to host parties more than they like to attend other people’s parties. And take note of what you wanted to be when you grew up as a child as well as what you’re envious of, because these are your true nature. So many great points and interesting research. This was an audiobook for me as well.

The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life – I was given this book through Blogging for Books. I had heard Chris on several of the podcasts I listen to, and I also have his $100 Startup book that I still haven’t yet read. Really enjoyed this book and reading about all of the quests people participated in. I like that he also left room for more introvert homebody type quests. It wasn’t all about travel. I also really liked the section on yearly goal setting because I always have enjoyed goal setting and checking off lists.

Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood – And Finally, Momma Zen, our December book club pick. Each vignette about motherhood was wonderful, always struck a chord and was beautifully written. I love the ties to Buddhism and the views based on zen meditation teachings.

Books I hope to read in 2015:

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life – my “read” gift from Chris this year.

The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life – Currently reading.

Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children
(I started this one but then it had to return to the library, sad.)

Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters! – A gift from my mom LAST year.

Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween
a Christmas gift from my sweet friend Sarah!

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PS – if we aren’t friends on goodreads, add me!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a book based on my recommendation Clare’s diaper fund gets a teeny bit of money. 🙂