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At the start of January, I thought that this would be my last full month “sans children.” I anticipated that the next four weeks would be spent enduring pregnancy aches and pains, finishing up the nursery, mentally preparing for labor, and enjoying some final moments of rest and relaxation before I entered into the world of motherhood. I had no idea that January would be the month I would become a mom! These past couple of weeks have been an emotional and physical roller coaster, but they have also brought the happiest moments of my life. Bringing a child into this world—and now, being his mother—has been challenging, but far more rewarding than I could ever have imagined.

Lately January 2015

Overnight, my life has been transformed. . . and I wouldn’t want it any other way! Some things haven’t changed, though, like the fact that books and shows are still making a prominent appearance in my days. Here’s a glimpse at what my life looks like right now.

What I’m Reading. . .

Reading January 2015

A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works: Luke and I chose this book as our daily devotional for the year and we’re enjoying the bite-sized essays from our favorite theologian. I appreciate Lewis’s unique and satirical approach to discussing faith, which always prompts thoughtful reflection. My Rating (so far): 4.5 stars.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Marc Weissbluth: Dr. Weissbluth explains the science and mechanics of sleep and makes a persuasive case for the importance of healthy sleep for the growing child. The book provides thorough instructions for how to implement healthy sleep habits at every stage, and incorporates anecdotes from parents who have seen the effectiveness of these strategies. This book could definitely be more reader-friendly, but the principles seem sound and I’m hoping they will prove useful as we navigate Charlie’s sleep patterns and habits. My Rating (so far): 4 stars.

The Baby Book, by William Sears and Martha Sears: Though I’m not reading this book cover-to-cover, it is already proving be a valuable reference for us as new parents, quickly becoming our go-to source for any questions we have regarding Charlie. So far Dr. Sears has guided us through giving Charlie his first bath, treating a blocked tear duct, and more. I am definitely glad we have this book in our parenting arsenal. My Rating: 4.5 stars.

What I’ve Been Listening To. . .

Listening January 2015

The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt: This much-talked-about novel is narrated by Theo Decker, a 13-year-old who survives a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Theo’s mother is killed in the attack, but he escapes the museum with a priceless painting. Over the next fifteen years, Theo bounces from one home to the next, ultimately finding himself in the underworld of art.

Tartt is undeniably a talented author with an uncanny ability to paint hauntingly memorable characters and weave rich storytelling with intense philosophizing. The book’s one drawback is that it is entirely too long. The listening time was 32 hours, and on several occasions I was tempted to abandon the book. For my persistence, I was rewarded with an insightful and provocative conclusion, and in the end I was glad that I stuck it out. However, as one reviewer noted, a brutal editor could have taken this book from a piece of brilliant writing to a complete masterpiece. My Rating: 4 stars.

Mary Poppins, by P.L. Travers: I first read this book with my mom when I was a child, but remembered little of it. I enjoyed stepping into the world of the Banks children, though I don’t know how much I would have appreciated the book if it weren’t for the movie. Parts of the two were identical, whereas there are a number of places where the movie strays pretty far from the original story. The Disney version is definitely more magical, and I believe the filmmakers made some wise decisions regarding the characters and scenes to include and those to leave out. Still, the book has a charm all of its own. My Rating: 3.5 stars.

The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers, by Meg Meeker: In this book about motherhood, pediatrician Meg Meeker uses personal illustrations and stories from the women in her life to identify and illustrate ten positive habits of happy mothers. These habits cover all areas of a woman’s life, from friendship and finances to finding solitude and practicing faith. Meeker’s advice is useful, and her stories add a personal element to her suggestions. Though geared towards mothers, I feel like this book would be applicable for all women. My Rating: 4 stars.

Pea in the Podcast: I discovered this podcast late in my pregnancy, but still enjoyed a few weeks of listening to the informative episodes on what to expect during each week of pregnancy. Since Charlie was born, I’ve been listening to the episodes geared toward life with a baby. Though these podcasts feel overproduced, they contain valuable information from trustworthy sources. With all the reading I’ve been doing about parenting, it’s nice to do some listening about the subject.

What I’ve Been Watching (Movies). . .

Watching January 2015 Movies

Left Behind: We stayed in on New Year’s Eve this year, and this was our movie of choice for the evening. It’s been a while since I’ve read the Left Behind books—and I actually never finished the series—but I was excited to see this movie. From what I remember, this film version barely followed the books, but I was definitely more invested in the story because of the book connection. The movie was well cast, and the acting seemed a bit stilted at the beginning but picked up as the movie progressed. The Christian aspect of the plot was totally downplayed, but the film carried out the general themes of the books fairly well, and I appreciated that the movie was very clean. There was quite a bit of action, which I generally don’t care for, but overall it was surprisingly enjoyable. My Rating: 3.5 stars.

The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD: I read Dr. Karp’s book and loved it, and told Luke he needed to read it too. Then our birth instructor mentioned this DVD, which she said was even better than the book, and I was excited to find a copy at our library. In the DVD, Dr. Karp visually demonstrates how to implement the 5-S technique to calm your baby. It was amazing to see him soothe babies almost instantaneously using his techniques! The DVD was incredibly helpful, giving me a better visual of how to use his strategies. I think the DVD makes a good companion to the book, as it doesn’t go into the reasoning behind the strategies (which are detailed in the book), but the film medium was easier to follow than the book’s illustrations. The production wasn’t very high quality, but Luke and I are both glad we watched this. So far, the techniques have been amazingly useful for soothing Charlie! My Rating: 4 stars.

Planes Fire and Rescue: Luke has been dying to watch this movie, and he convinced me to rent it last Friday in honor of Charlie’s one-week birthday. I’m pretty picky when it comes to animated movies, but thought this one was pretty cute. There was a good balance of kid and adult humor, and some of the scenes were really gorgeous. It was no Pixar movie, but I liked it more than the first Planes. I have a feeling we’ll be watching this one a lot when Charlie gets older! My Rating: 3.5 stars.

What I’ve Been Watching (TV Shows). . .

Netflix January 2015

Since we’ve mostly just been home with Charlie these last several days, we’ve been plowing through our Netflix shows! Here’s what we’ve been catching up on.

How I Met Your Mother, Season 9:{{Warning: Spoilers Ahead!}} I’ve mentioned my love for this show in the past, but had yet to see the final season. (We decided to rewatch the series from the beginning, and it took us a while to get through it!). I enjoyed seasons 1-8 just as much on the rewatch as I did the first time through, but season 9 was a big disappointment. There were some nice moments, but I felt like the writers were trying way too hard to be clever and sacrificed a good story for the sake of having an artistically creative season. The short time frame covered by this season made it feel drawn out, and I didn’t care for the flash-forwards. One aspect of the season I did enjoy was getting to meet Tracy: I fell in love with her character and felt she was perfect for Ted (even though they had terrible on-screen chemistry), so I was devastated that her character was killed off so quickly. I also hated to see Robin and Barney divorce because I felt they were great together. I appreciated the ending because it brought the series full-circle, but I think I would have preferred if Ted had had a happily-ever-after with The Mother, and Robin and Barney had worked out. Series Rating: 4.5 stars. Season 9 Rating: 3 stars.

Melissa and Joey, Season 3: I really liked the first season of Melissa and Joey, and though I still enjoy the characters, I’ve liked each subsequent season a bit less. The writing isn’t very original, and I’m disappointed that the show so blatantly endorses teen sex. I’m happy that Mel and Joey are together, but their continued bickering (despite being a couple) got to be annoying at times. My Rating: 3.5 stars.

Psych, Season 8: This quirky yet comical detective series continues to be one of my favorite shows, and I was pleased with the way the series wrapped up. The story lines and character development remained strong throughout the series, and though I’m sad to see the show end, I believe it went out on a high note. My Rating: 4.5 stars.

New Girl, Season 3: I love the characters on this show, and Zooey Deschanel could not be more adorable. Unfortunately, the plot lines seem to revolve around sex, and though they are sometimes funny, they are generally too over-the-top for my taste. My Rating: 2.5 stars.

What I’m Enjoying. . .

Cuddling with my little man. I simply cannot get enough of this little love bug. He LOVES to be held, which is fine by me! (It makes night time a bit complicated, though!)

Charlie in a Ducky Hat

Having Daddy home with us. Luke has been saving his vacation time for years so that he could take plenty of time off of work when we had our first baby. Now we’re reaping the rewards of his self-discipline: Luke’s home with us for the next three weeks, and we’re savoring this family bonding time.

Luke's Paternity Leave

Sharing Charlie’s birth story. The act of writing out our birth story was such a positive experience for me, allowing me to process the day’s events as I relived my labor and delivery through my writing. I’m thankful that I was able to share this story with others, and have been touched by the positive feedback I received. Several other young moms shared that reading my story led them to revisit their own children’s birth stories, and many expressed that reading about my experience helped them to come to terms with their personal labor disappointments. It has been encouraging for me to see that even though Charlie’s birth didn’t go according to plan, God is redeeming the experience and using it to touch others.

Meeting Charlie

Having an appetite again! For much of my pregnancy I was plagued by nausea, which subsided just as Charlie was beginning to take up more space in my stomach, causing me to feel full ALL the time. I am so relieved that giving birth, combined with breastfeeding, has resulted in a voracious appetite! I am also excited that I can finally eat smoked salmon (a food that I rarely ate before I was pregnant, but that served as my only true craving throughout pregnancy). The day after returning home from the hospital, I splurged on a large package of smoked salmon from Costco, and it was gone in two days!

Smoked Salmon Plate
This was just part of one day’s dinner: smoked salmon, two hardboiled eggs, and string cheese, with mustard for dipping. (Not pictured: a bowl of chicken curry and half a cantaloupe filled with yogurt.)

Coconut Water. At one of our birth classes, the instructor recommended coconut water as the perfect beverage for labor: it has more calories than straight water, but isn’t as overpoweringly sweet as other juices. Coconut water did indeed prove to be a great drink option when I was in labor, and since then I’ve been hooked! The flavored varieties are good, but I’ve actually found I prefer the 100% pure coconut water. It’s definitely on the pricy side, so I was happy to see that it’s sold at Costco.

Coconut WaterCharlie’s First Photo Shoot. My friend Laurinda of Me+Three Photography came over last weekend to take Charlie’s infant photos. It was fascinating to see her interact with Charlie, patiently soothing and cajoling him so that she could get just the right shots. I am super excited to see how they turned out!

Photo Shoot

My new Timex Weekender watch. I got Luke a similar watch for Christmas, and liked it so much that I was contemplating buying one for myself. Luke beat me to it, purchasing the watch for me as a “push present.” We’ve mostly been home since Charlie was born, so I haven’t gotten much opportunity to wear it, but this will be the perfect everyday watch: stylish, but casual enough to go with my new-mom uniform (aka yoga pants and a t-shirt). 

TImex Weekender

Charlie’s Nursery. We finished up Charlie’s nursery just days before he decided to make his debut; talk about cutting it close! When we brought Charlie home from the hospital, I walked him straight into his room and his eyes immediately opened up as he began taking in his surroundings. It continues to be his favorite room in the house, the one place where he is both calm and alert. I plan to do a full nursery tour on the blog next week, complete with lots of pictures, but for now, here is a sneak peek of the artwork I created for the entryway to his room.


What have you been up to so far in 2015? I’d love to hear about it! And head on over to Leigh Kramer’s site to read what other bloggers are into this January.

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