Coffee Talk | Currently Loving…Maine, Worklife Balance, A $12 Romper & An Upcoming Photography Workshop

currently loving...

Checking-in:

Hello!! Who else cannot believe it is the last day of July?! It always happens but after the 4th of July summer just speeds right on by. I am excited for August because we have some of our very favorite annual traditions during the next few weeks, including a visit to the Addison County Fair & Field Days…and a family trip to Maine! Here are some photos from our visit last year…

Work-Life vs. Blog Life

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Someone asked me how summer was going with work and the kids yesterday…and I think I was like “ummmmmmmmmm”.  My editing work is going fairly well because I have had some consistent childcare which is essential.

And everything else, well you can just look laptop screen and figure that one out…ha! I think it is easy to envision working “part-time” as an ideal setup (well I did anyway!!) but I often just feel pulled in all different direction and kind of feel like I am not doing anything very well.

I try to be as organized as I can but and my schedule has so many pluses but the reality is, it can feel really tricky, especially this time of the year. There are so many wonderful parts of this stage of parenting but it’s when work and family life overlap that things feel challenging and that happens more than I would like during the summer…

We have had many conversations about how to make things work the best for our family and it is really all hands on deck this time of year. While we do have a small amount of paid childcare, Lucas also takes the kids one afternoon a week which is something we figured out after reflecting on what worked and didn’t work last year. We also are lucky in the sense that my busy work season is the opposite of his, which helps everything feel more manageable.

I also have been saying NO to work lately which is really hard for me but I don’t want to say yes and not be able to give my all to someone or something. It is helpful to remind myself that just because I can’t do something right now, does not mean that chance or opportunity goes away forever…and sometimes the timing might be even better at another time. 

I am planning two articles for the newspaper after taking a little month summer hiatus, a new Mom Book Club at the library(with some amazing guest speakers!) in the fall and a lot of other ideas are stirring around in my head. It is hard not to get ahead of myself.

I get so excited about so many things but I also need to be realistic about the amount of time I actually have to work with. School and “regular life” will be here before we know it and so I am trying to really enjoy these last few weeks of summer without thinking about all the things I could be doing “better” or more.

Currently Listening To…

I have been listening to a lot of audiobooks this summer as I tend to do during my heavier computer editing seasons. I tend to listen to one Audible book a month and listen to the rest on Libby. I am planning on sharing some of my favorite audiobooks soon! I tend to listen to non-fiction for the most part but I will listen to fiction as long as it isn’t too complicated.

Our daily commute is about an hour total during the summer so podcasts have been a lifesaver! During our car rides we tend to listen to either But Why, Brains On or Smash Boom Best which are all kid-focused podcasts that I enjoy too.

When we have listened to all of those the kids also enjoy some of my podcast favorites…even though they aren’t for kids, a lot of them are totally kid-friendly and Sarah’s Book Shelves Live is one of them. It has also created some great book conversations between the three of us which I love.

Romper Weather…

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I am not someone who embraces new fashion trends quickly…or sometimes at all…BUT I had to run to Walmart last weekend to get some oil for our boat. It isn’t somewhere I tend to go a lot (and I do understand people have strong feelings about it so it’s totally cool if it isn’t your thing) but it was the only place that was open already. I ended up getting totally sidetracked by the rack of rompers and ended up leaving with two of them…and no boat oil because they were sold out, ha.

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I have already worn them a bunch of times and they are amazingly comfortable, breathable and great for this muggy weather we are experiencing. I am 5’4″ and a size 10 and I chose a size large…I think a medium would have been fine because they are stretchy but I am happy with it!

I convinced a few of my friends to try them and they love them as well…even my tall buddies who have had trouble with the length of this style in the past. I have zero affiliation with this but I thought I would share the link HERE if you are interested in checking it out.

Keeping Cool & Beach Reading

Last weekend was hot and humid and we spent all of Saturday out on the lake. It was wonderful and so refreshing. We started out at the Bouquet River and then headed over to Split Rock where the water is always extra chilly.

Are you a beach reader? It is one of my favorite things…I like to position my chair really close to the water so that the waves come up over my toes. I like to sit in the shade and our Sport-Brella is so easy to set up and provides awesome sun protection.

Currently Watching…

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Lucas and I just watched the Who Killed Garrett Phillips? documentary on HBO. It examines the 2011 murder of 12-year-old Garrett Phillips and the subsequent trial of Clarkson University soccer coach Oral “Nick” Hillary.  This case shares a grievous miscarriage of justice and sadly, this family still doesn’t have closure over the loss of their son. If you are looking for a conversation starter, this is it. I found it especially interesting as it all takes place just over the lake in New York so a lot of parts of it, especially the small-town politics, were all too relatable.

Currently Looking Foward To…

It doesn’t seem possible but fall will be here before we know it…This past week Kristy and I  have been going over our teaching plans for the rest of 2019 and the start of 2020! Teaching is one of my very favorite parts of my work and you can learn more about it HERE if you are interested…

Your Life Your Camera Workshop

Vermont introduction to photography workshopDo you have a DSLR camera you’d love to learn how to use better? Would you like to take your photos to the next level? The next run of our “Your Life Your Camera” workshop is scheduled for Saturday, November 9th from 12-4 in South Burlington. The cost is $150 and seating is limited. This workshop sells out every time- email kristy@kristydooleyphotography.com to reserve your seat today!

I hope you have a wonderful rest of your Wednesday. <3

 

Coffee Talk | Currently Loving…Summer Fruit, Pool Life, Shellac Nails, Library Book Sales & Turning Nine!

Book Blog

Checking-in:

Hello and happy Thursday. How is your week going? As many wonderful things that have happened during the last few weeks, it has also had its fair share of challenges and sadness. I often struggle with how to balance sharing a lot of my life on a public platform while also bearing in mind that we all have harder realities of everyday life that are more private.

It is a hectic time in general with work and family life and I am thankful to have so many great support systems in place that really make such a big difference with the harder parts of life. Alright, I think that was important to say, as I tend to share some of our “highlight reel” in photos on these Currently Loving posts.

So here is a little of what we have been up to…

Swimming Life

Our family wrapped up the swim meet season last week and our practices will be winding down soon too. It has been such a wonderful part of our summer. Having something that is daily works really well for us because it gets us out of the house by a certain time each day and gives us some structure that can be really hard to find this time of year.

Our boys made so much progress this summer. The swim team has been a great reminder and conversation starter about doing our best and being kind and supportive to both our teammates, competitors and ourselves. I will miss our swimming community so much but there is always next year!

Daily swimming means we are at the pool all the time. It isn’t a bad place to be and with great wifi, it makes it a great place to catch up on work. The boys practice at the same time now which if you have ever had kids on different team schedules you know what is a gift this is!

Berries galore

We are lucky to live near so many wonderful family farms and that means this time of year we are picking all the berries. We were excited to drive down the road to opening day at Adam’s Berry Farm and the berries were incredible! We didn’t last too long because it was during our brief summer heatwave so we will be back!

Library Book Sale

After berry picking, we headed to the annual town library book sale! I love supporting the library(and it’s upcoming renovation!) stocking up on past favorites and also grabbing some to share with friends! 💓

Between the kids and me we brought three totes bags and it wasn’t enough! Next year we need a duffle bag. 🤣 ⁣
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We arrived early and waited in line for about 10 minutes and it was worth sweating through our clothes. We picked up so many picture books including a bunch of golden books. Flynn also added some super informative books to our collection…first words in Italian and a guide to venomous animals, ha!

Lake Life on a Hot Summer Day…

We headed out on the boat and it was the best way to cool down. Although with the intense heat it also means there can be fast approaching summer storms. This one snuck in and surprised us and while it was very interesting to see from the boat, we were eager to get back to dry land.

Shellac Nails Home Removal

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You know I love to discuss the random and obscure and I thought it was a great time to share about my shellac nails experience. I almost never paint my nails but I do always have shellac on my toenails. I get a shellac pedicure every 4-5 weeks and it is a great and long-lasting way to keep them looking nice when I am quite rough on regular nail polish.

For the wedding a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to get my nails done and so I ended up getting a shellac manicure two days before the wedding. It lasted a good 10 days or so before they started to look a little rough and I needed to get it off ASAP. They were also starting to get longer which I don’t like the feeling of…I do a lot of computer work and it was driving me crazy! Anyway, I knew I could go in and have it removed but it really wasn’t something I could easily fit into our schedule.

So off I went to the pharmacy… I grabbed a container of full-on acetone and some cotton balls.  At first, I tried the wrapping method with soaked cotton balls and tin foil, similar to the way they remove it at the nail salon. Then I changed tactics and did the soaking method on my other hand…as suggested by the Pioneer Woman of all people…

I found that the soaking method worked better and because I don’t have a lot of nail tools, I used the end of a measuring spoon to have push off the remaining polish which was quite effective…I am nothing if not resourceful, ha!

So I am not saying this is the most non-toxic method, but I think if you are going the shellac route you know that isn’t either…I was very pleased with how easy it was and I am super happy to have short and naked nails once again! I didn’t find that it damaged them in any way and I would definitely do shellac again for a special event, I just don’t have the patience to keep up with something like that in my everyday life.

Creemees & AC

It’s totally normal to take a photo to send to your kids when you have a creemee without them right?! Don’t worry, they were off having a special dinner and having ice cream after but we couldn’t resist. Buzz spent a lot of time indoors during the heatwave because it is just so hard to keep dogs cool. We are thankful to have AC and lots of ceiling fans.

Turning Nine!

Someone in our family turned NINE! For some reason, this number is hitting me hard. Maybe it is because it is halfway to 18 or maybe it is just because I can remember when I was nine so vividly…I know he is still so young but he really is growing up so quickly.

The past nine years have been filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Parenting is such a gift and it is also the hardest thing I have ever done. I am so grateful to have a child that is kind, understanding and helps us learn and grow every day. 

And when you turn nine you have cinnamon rolls for breakfast and sushi and hibachi for dinner…seems pretty perfect to me!

Alright, that is all for now. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week. <3

To Have and To Hold by Molly Millwood, Ph.D. | HarperCollins | Book Review

To Have and To Hold

To Have and To Hold by Molly Millwood, Ph.D.

Book Summary:

A clinical therapist’s exploration of the complexities of early motherhood, including its impact on a marriage, in a book that offers comfort, camaraderie, and practical guidance to new mothers.

When Molly Millwood became a mother, she was fully prepared for all that she would gain: an adorable baby boy, hard-won mothering skills, and a messy, chaotic, love-filled home. But she didn’t anticipate what she would lose: an identity, a baseline level of happiness, a general sense of wellbeing. And just when she was feeling her most vulnerable, her happy marriage-long a bedrock of stability and comfort-seemed to shift in unexpected ways too, tinged by anger and resentment.

As a clinical psychologist, Molly knew her experience was a normal response to a life-changing event-she was not broken, and neither was her marriage. But without the benefit of such a perspective, many of women she saw in treatment grappled with shame, self-doubt, and fear-all the while struggling to confide in, trust, or seek comfort in their partners.

In To Have and To Hold, Molly illuminates the ways in which motherhood impacts a woman emotionally, psychologically, physically, and professionally-as well as how it impacts the stability and harmony of her relationship. Along with the arrival of a bundle of joy comes thorny issues such as identity, control, autonomy, and dependency. And these issues are, most often, experienced within the context of an intimate relationship, adding another layer of complication, conflict, and confusion to an already challenging time.

As Molly examines the inextricable link between women’s wellbeing as new mothers and the wellbeing of their relationships, she offers information and guidance to help readers reclaim their identities and repair their relationships. A blend of personal narrative, rigorous research, and stories from Molly’s clinical practice, To Have and To Hold provides a lifeline to new mothers everywhere.”

Publication Date:

March 26th, 2019

Genre:

Motherhood/Parenting

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

To Have and To Hold by Molly Millwood

Motherhood is the hardest AND most wonderful thing I have ever done. While I am lucky to have had many conversations with the people in my personal life, never have I read something that explains the complexities of motherhood and marriage in such a profound manner until I read this book. The highs and lows of parenthood, the immense love and also the intense quest to reclaim ourselves as women and partners when our lives will never be the same are so real and valid.

To Have and to Hold spoke to me on so many levels. Millwood’s ability to write with both her voice as a professional and her voice as a mother was a perfect balance. It is relatable and real and I can’t stop thinking about it which is the sign of a 5-star book for me. ⁣If you haven’t already checked this one out I highly recommend and she was absolutely wonderful on audio.

 

How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids by Carla Naumburg PhD | Book Discussion & Review

How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids

by Carla Naumburg, PhD

How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids

Book Summary:

“Ever lose it with your kid? If so, you’re definitely not alone. Parenting is stressful, children are insane, and you’re only human. Carla Naumburg, PhD, a clinical social worker, was so at a loss with her daughters that she found herself Googling “how to stop yelling at my kids” during a particularly grueling evening. That moment led to this book—a short, empathic, insight-packed, and tip-filled program for how to manage your triggers, stop the meltdowns, and become a calmer, happier parent with calmer, happier kids.

How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids not only explains why we explode at our children but also teaches us everything we need to know to decrease stress and increase patience, even in the most challenging family moments.

Based on recent research and evidence-based practices, and written in the warm, funny, instantly relatable tone of a parent who’s been there, the book guides even the most harried parents toward a new way of engaging with their children. Readers will come away feeling less ashamed and more empowered to get their sh*t together, instead of losing it.”

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

My Review:

I remember so clearly the kind of parent I was going to be before I had kids…and then I became a parent. Our kids are kind, funny, curious, loving and they can totally make me lose my sh*t. We have two boys who are two years apart in age and parenting can feel like a total rollercoaster ride. No matter how hard you try, you are not going to be a perfect parent.

“When it comes to parenting, being awesome and screwing up are not mutually exclusive.” -Carla Naumburg

My Own Experience:

I can recall with such vivid memories how completely overwhelmed I was when our first son was a baby because the physically demanding aspects of parenting an infant who cried a lot and slept, umm, not a lot were 24/7. I was exhausted. As the years went by and we added a second child, not only did parenting feel physically hard but it became emotionally hard. This is also when we entered the stage of “losing our sh*t”.

You think it won’t happen to you, but then it does. Have you ever tried strapping a screeching toddler into a car seat while they are whacking you in the face while also making their entire body as straight and stiff as a board? Have you ever wanted to take a 3-minute shower without referring two children who are fighting over a toy neither one has previously played with in years? Have you ever been on a last minute work phone call and had to say “I am going to have to call you back” because you can’t hear anyone over the screeching of your children in the background of the car, who you previously explained to that you needed to make this important phone call? There are thousands of more examples, but this is just an example of how you may get to the “losing your sh*t” zone of parenting.

What This Book is About:

How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids is a relatable and approachable discussion and action guide relating to the stresses of modern-day parenting. Naumburg starts with defining why parents can sometimes lose it, and then goes into the different steps of how you work towards losing it less.

The Most Important Steps:

TRIGGERS: Understand your triggers…we all have them even though they may be very different.

AWARENESS. Know what pushes your buttons and own it.

REFLECT. Having some insight into the WHY can help you have a plan.

REDUCE TRIGGERS: Work on reducing triggers. This makes you feel less out of control and enables you to be more proactive when you get into moments of frustration.

COMPASSION. Have compassion both with yourself and with your children…and really, the world around you. When you can look at something from a more empathetic viewpoint, it is easier to own the situation and then move forward. You always have another chance to have a more positive interaction.

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS. In a fast-paced world, parents are juggling more things than ever before. Finding ways to take care of yourself actually makes YOU a better parent. Find your village and support system and choose wisely when saying YES…the fewer overcommitments the fewer triggers you might have. Unitask when you are able…multitasking usually causes nothing to get done well and often results in massive frustration levels for all.

Approachable, Proactive & Real:

I found this book to be approachable and real, yet also great at calling out what our issues might be so we can be more proactive about them in the future. There was a great balance of reflection and action no matter what your situation or triggers. Naumburg strives for progress, not perfection which feels attainable when you are in the thick of it.

Naumburg discusses with great detail how to catch yourself when you are in or about to enter a “losing it” moment and has reachable suggestions such as “notice, pause and do literally anything else”. I loved the section on compassion, both with ourselves and with our children. When we lose it, which will still happen sometimes, no matter how many things we put in place to stop it, the most important thing we can do is own it.

Reconnecting with ourselves can help guide us to why we might have reacted that way and provide us an opportunity to think about practical things we can put in place to help it from happening again…such as scheduling self-care, reaching out to our support system, etc.

Another step in compassion is reconnecting with our children. Getting calm and apologizing is one of the most powerful parts we can do, not only to repair and respect our relationships with our kids but also to help them see how powerful talking through moments can be for both parties.

Final Thoughts:

I found so many parts of this book helpful and highly recommend it to any parent who is looking for proactive and attainable advice. Thank you to NetGalley and Workman Publishing Company for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Coffee Talk | Currently Loving…Documentaries & Poke Bowls

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Coffee Talk WEDNESDAY!

Hello! Do you notice anything different around here?! I feel like I have been trying to fit a square peg into a round hole with having Coffee Talk Tuesday. Absolutely NO ONE cares what day I post this, but I work best by external motivators so having a day I do things keeps me accountable.

Do you have a day of the week that always feels more frantic than the others? Tuesday is that for me. It is a shorter school day which means everything else is crammed into fewer hours and this blog, as much as I love, doesn’t always end up being my top priority. And I love sharing what I am currently loving, so I am devoting an entirely new day to it!

I often end up starting these posts (or any posts on here) and needing to come back to finish it later. I have this fantasy of writing pre-scheduled posts but I don’t know… I could do that with reviews and but I really like the journaling in real time aspect of blogging like this. Maybe it is because I was a “blogger” 10 years ago too and that is how it was done! I miss those days, times were so simple. 😉

Do you still read a lot of blogs? I still follow a ton on “Bloglovin” which I don’t think is entirely user-friendly but I like that it lets me know when blogs I follow are updated. I miss Google Reader and I was so sad when they shut it down because I haven’t found anything that compares…it was the best!

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Alright, enough of that…on to what I am currently up to this week…


Currently Loving…

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First, I need to give a shout out to the 24/7 chat support at WordPress! As I have been working on making this blog more user-friendly, content heavy and sometimes just more pleasing to the eye, I have had A LOT of questions. They are so helpful! It’s so nice to have immediate help even at 5 in the morning…So if you have a WordPress blog and have no idea what you are doing too…check out the help section!

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I am also loving all the sunshine this week, it truly makes such a big difference. We have had winter weather here since November and although it doesn’t look like spring quite yet, just having the longer days and some sunny days is so good for your soul and your mental health!

Currently Watching…

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We have been watching the HBO documentary about Adnan Syed and it is totally making me want to listen to Serial again! It has been so long that is hard for me to remember all the details. Like a lot of people, it was the first podcast I ever listened to and it opened my eyes to a whole new world of content!

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We also watched The Inventor: Out For Blood in Silicon Valley and now I really wanted to read Bad Blood. Have you read it? I have heard such great things!

Currently eating…

Well, I am not currently eating this but we have been on a poke bowl kick from The Scale lately and oh my gosh, it is just the best lunch ever! I have mine with salmon or tuna and Kristy likes chicken. We don’t get them a lot but is a fun lunch treat and is always so filling.

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Today I had a mozzarella burrata ball, carrot sticks, and 4 thin mints, so you can’t win them all…but it was delicious!

Currently listening to…

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I love listening to non-fiction on Audible and I am so excited to start this new book that was recommended by a reading friend. After being very disappointed by Girl, Stop Apologizing (review to come soon!),I am so excited to be moving on to something I think I will connect a lot more with.

Molly Millwood is a local psychologist and I am so looking forward to her conversation in To Have and to Hold regarding motherhood and marriage…As someone who struggled immensely during the transition to parenthood, I can so relate to how the addition of a small baby can rock your world in such a life-changing way.

“A clinical therapist’s exploration of the complexities of early motherhood, including its impact on a marriage, in a book that offers comfort, camaraderie, and practical guidance to new mothers.

When Molly Millwood became a mother, she was fully prepared for all that she would gain: an adorable baby boy, hard-won mothering skills, and a messy, chaotic, love-filled home. But she didn’t anticipate what she would lose: an identity, a baseline level of happiness, a general sense of wellbeing. And just when she was feeling her most vulnerable, her happy marriage-long a bedrock of stability and comfort-seemed to shift in unexpected ways too, tinged by anger and resentment.

As a clinical psychologist, Molly knew her experience was a normal response to a life-changing event-she was not broken, and neither was her marriage. But without the benefit of such a perspective, many of women she saw in treatment grappled with shame, self-doubt, and fear-all the while struggling to confide in, trust, or seek comfort in their partners.

In To Have and To Hold, Molly illuminates the ways in which motherhood impacts a woman emotionally, psychologically, physically, and professionally as well as how it impacts the stability and harmony of her relationship. Along with the arrival of a bundle of joy comes thorny issues such as identity, control, autonomy, and dependency. And these issues are, most often, experienced within the context of an intimate relationship, adding another layer of complication, conflict, and confusion to an already challenging time.

As Molly examines the inextricable link between women’s wellbeing as new mothers and the wellbeing of their relationships, she offers information and guidance to help readers reclaim their identities and repair their relationships. A blend of personal narrative, rigorous research, and stories from Molly’s clinical practice, To Have and To Hold provides a lifeline to new mothers everywhere.”


That’s all for today! I hope you have a great rest of your Wednesday. <3

We Rise by Lifting Others | Inspiring Friends

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(image from brit.co)

This quote speaks to me so much. Without a doubt, the most important things in my life are in the people that are in it. This last year has been one of the hardest in my adult life and it has also reminded me so much of the absolutely amazing and inspiring friendships I am so lucky to have. True friendships support you and challenge you and push you to be your very best self.

Today I wanted to talk about some of my entrepreneur friends. I am not only grateful for these women but I am so inspired by them in their professional ventures…

Kristy at Kristy Dooley Photography:

My friend and co-worker Kristy not only rocks family and newborn sessions but in the last year she started regularly shooting high school senior portrait sessions and is amazing at it! Like I asked her if she could re-take mine just because she is so amazing at capturing the senior’s genuine smiles, style, and personalities. I think mine would not look quite the same though, LOL. But really, she is one of those people who comes up with an idea and totally goes for it and I have learned so much from her.

She runs a successful business partly because of her amazing business brain that helps her work smarter not harder. I am someone who tends to be very disorganized with paperwork and accounting and her systems have taught me so much.

There is nothing Kristy can’t figure out and we spend a lot of time learning how to do something tricky on our computers by watching YouTube videos. Kristy is always expanding her knowledge and skills by taking workshops and classes that allow her to learn about something new while also building upon her talent as an amazing photographer. She is also a wonderful example of someone who juggles a lot but always has “time” to take a walk in the sun or catch up over a cup of tea…a true “Juliet“. <3

Kari of Happy Go Lucky Travel:

My friend Kari who is a programmer by day and vegan baker extraordinaire by night has recently decided to start a new venture sharing about her love and expertise with travel planning. When Kari decides she is doing something she does it 100% and as someone who likes to do a lot of things but not always very well, I am so in awe of this!

Not only does she have a family and a full-time job doing things on a computer that look like a completely foreign language, but she also loves painting, drawing and teaching herself how to play the banjo while watching Avett Brothers videos.  She is one of the most self-motivated people I have ever met. Last year she made a commitment to walk up Mt. Philo every day on her lunch break and you better believe she has done it. In addition to doing all these things, she is an amazingly supportive friend who helps me talk through lots of things even if she totally hates talking on the phone a million times a day.

Elisa at Corduroy & Pine Interiors:

My friend Elisa juggles a young family of three and a local interior design business. Anytime I call Elisa she is like “hold on a sec, I just need to set down my paintbrush”. She has amazing style and I love that she is able to factor in aesthetically pleasing designs that are also family friendly.

Elisa is one of the kindest people I know and she is always up for an adventure even if it is just to the grocery store. She was my nightstand of the week guest poster last week if you would like to learn more about her and see her book recommendations and her freshly painted bedroom wall. 😉


Who is inspiring you this week? I would love to hear! <3

Bodies of Water by T. Greenwood | Book Review

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“In 1960, Billie Valentine is a young housewife living in a sleepy Massachusetts suburb, treading water in a dull marriage and caring for two adopted daughters. Summers spent with the girls at their lakeside camp in Vermont are her one escape–from her husband’s demands, from days consumed by household drudgery, and from the nagging suspicion that life was supposed to hold something different.

Then a new family moves in across the street. Ted and Eva Wilson have three children and a fourth on the way, and their arrival reignites long-buried feelings in Billie. The affair that follows offers a solace Billie has never known, until her secret is revealed and both families are wrenched apart in the tragic aftermath.

Fifty years later, Ted and Eva’s son, Johnny, contacts an elderly but still spry Billie, entreating her to return east to meet with him. Once there, Billie finally learns the surprising truth about what was lost, and what still remains, of those joyful, momentous summers.

In this deeply tender novel, T. Greenwood weaves deftly between the past and present to create a poignant and wonderfully moving story of friendship, the resonance of memories, and the love that keeps us afloat.”


What an amazing book. I have been completely engrossed by T. Greenwood’s writing the last few weeks, this being her third novel I have read in a row. Her detailed characters and ability to draw you into her scenes make her books so powerful.

Bodies of Water was such a moving story about love during a time when if it didn’t fit inside a certain box, it was forbidden. This was the love story of two women, Billie, and Eva, that started in the 1960s. This book is narrated by Billie and alternates by her in the present (when she was in her 80s) and going back in time. It was raw and heartbreaking and also just breathtakingly beautiful. The story was depicted so accurately for the times and showed both the personal and financial circumstances that altered the path of their story in such a powerful way. It covered so many issues including domestic violence, loss, friendship, alcoholism, infertility, marriage, and motherhood. I didn’t want this one to end and it is a book that will stick with me for a long time.

 

Wednesday Randomness |The Balancing Act

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Have you ever been in a stage where you felt like you had to “do it all?”.  I have definitely been there, and although there certainly are life stages where this has been more challenging, I have found more recently that sometimes, less really is more.

One of the biggest things that has helped change this for me is being okay with “good enough”. And to do this, for some things, I have just lowered my standards. This may sound simplistic but it really has helped so much. In order to give 100 percent to the things that really matter to me and our family, other things are sometimes dropped.

There was a time when I tried to juggle too many things, and what happened is nothing really got done well at all. A few months ago I read Stretched Too Thin by Jessica Turner. While not all of the chapters were totally applicable to our situation, I found some of it to be so helpful and affirming to this idea.

“The best advice I was ever given was to imagine that my life was a juggling act. Only some of my balls are glass and some rubber. I can drop the rubber balls and pick them up later and they aren’t any different. However, if I drop a glass ball, they are broken forever—no matter how hard you try to fix it. The key then is to determine which balls are your glass balls.” -Jessica Turner 

Prioritizing the things that really matter to me and our family and not worrying so much about the other things has helped so much. And what is important to me, might not be something that is important to someone else, and that’s the great thing about it. This has been a game changer for me, and also something that has helped clear my mind of clutter which often resulted in extra worries and pressures that I was really just putting on myself.

Determining what my glass balls were was the first step. Like many people, the physical and mental health of myself and our family is a top priority, although how we get there might be different. This past year was my first time being back to work “full time” and I had a lot of apprehension about how I would manage those demands while also meeting the needs of our family and my own self. I could look at it like I had “less time” or I could see it as just needing to “manage my time” differently. I chose the latter and it made all the difference.

I am an early riser so during the seasons where my work is full time I would work for a couple of hours in the early morning so I could still prioritize taking a break during the work/school day to exercise or go to a therapy appointment. These things are important to me, so I made them a priority in my schedule. I also do a lot of my editing on the weekends so I am able to work around the kid’s schedules. I combined seeing a friend while also completing an errand so it was getting two important things “done” at the same time.  Have you ever gone grocery shopping with a friend?! It’s really an amazingly fun thing to do and you will feel like the best multi-tasker ever.

Things like laundry took more of a back-burner. We wash a load of clothes every night and that is a priority, but actually putting it away isn’t. We each have a basket that we separate the clean and folded clothes into and there are certain times of the year that we mostly just live out of these baskets. It works for us. During the busier times of the year, we have a pretty small rotation of things we have for dinner and it simplifies not only the planning and shopping but also our evening routine. Our kids have school lunch, every day. Not only does it make our lives so much easier but they are exposed to lots of new things that they might not be as eager to try at home.

I certainly don’t have all the answers but seeing how much control I really did have was such a freeing thing for me. It has also helped me when I see someone doing something and I start to go down the path of “how do they do everything they do and THAT?!” Everyone has priorities and everyone’s priorities are different. This not only makes me feel better about what I do but it also just helps me be happier for what my friends are doing and not having it just highlight my own insecurities. <3

Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear | Book Conversation

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Quoted from Goodreads.com:

“One morning, Kim Brooks made a split-second decision to leave her four-year old son in the car while she ran into a store. What happened would consume the next several years of her life and spur her to investigate the broader role America’s culture of fear plays in parenthood. In Small Animals, Brooks asks, Of all the emotions inherent in parenting, is there any more universal or profound than fear? Why have our notions of what it means to be a good parent changed so radically? In what ways do these changes impact the lives of parents, children, and the structure of society at large? And what, in the end, does the rise of fearful parenting tell us about ourselves?”

This week I started listening to Small Animals on Audible and I am now about halfway through. This book came highly recommended from many of my peers and it has not disappointed.  Brooks is a talented writer who not only shares a memoir type style story of her own journey as a mother but also presents a well researched look at modern parenting in America. She shares about the challenges we face today as mothers ourselves and also how this affects the  relationships with have with our children and with one another.

I have found this book to be very relatable and find myself nodding frequently as I listen along. Parenting no longer feels like something we just do in the privacy of our own homes and this idea that the world is watching as we parent can sometimes feel completely debilitating. Between the worries, fears, pressures, expectations, and frequent judgments (from one another and also sometimes from ourselves) it sometimes feels like you can’t win. Brooks is a wonderful narrator and not only is this book really resonating with me but it has also given me a lot to think about in my experience as parent in today’s society.  I look forward to discussing this more when I finish.

Have you read this book? I would love to know your thoughts!

-Genevieve

 

Starting again…

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Almost 9 years ago, I started a blog. It was a completely different time on the internet, the days of which blogs were more like online journals and less like people trying to influence what you buy.

I was newly pregnant at the time and it was a way to document our daily life and my excitement about impending motherhood. Over time, it became one of the most helpful ways for to me connect with other moms when new parenthood looked a lot different than what I had initially expected.

To say the transition was challenging, would be an understatement.  I struggled immensely with the lack of sleep and the challenges of nursing all combined with significant anxiety. I often felt isolated being home with a baby who was upset a lot of the days (and nights).

I found my online connection with other moms going through this, a life saver.  It normalized my feelings, but also encouraged me to reach out for help. I am forever grateful for that community of people who supported me so significantly during a hard stage of life.

As time went on and our children grew older, it didn’t feel so much like it was my story to share online anymore, so I made the decision to stop blogging. Our stories were more personal and less about me and more about them as individuals.

Social media wasn’t anything like it is now. Recently I have struggled, just like many others with the comparison trap. The bright and cheerful photos when much of life doesn’t look like that. But I have also found that it can be a wonderful way to connect with others. I hope that by sharing again, both the highlights and the struggles, that it can be a way of connection once again.

I am excited to start blogging again.  My life looks so different than it did nine years ago and I also have learned so much. I am a reader, a photographer, an educator, a mental health advocate and someone who loves connecting with the people and world around me.  I hope to share a mix of these topics on this space and I am so happy you are following along. <3
Continue reading “Starting again…”