You Can’t F*ck Up Your Kids by Lindsay Powers | Atria Books {Book Review}

Lindsay Powers

You Can’t F*ck Up Your Kids by Lindsay Powers

Book Summary:

Cribsheet meets The Sh!t No One Tells You in this no-holds-barred, judgment-free parenting guide that sets the record straight on every hot-button parenting topic by longtime journalist and founder of the viral #NoShameParenting movement.

What if you could do more for your kids, by doing a whole lot less?

Parenting today has become a competitive sport, and it seems that everyone is losing. From the very moment that little line turns blue, parents-to-be find themselves in a brave new world where every decision they make is fraught, every action they take is judged, and everything they do seems to be the wrong thing.

Formula feed? Breast is best.
Breastfeed in public? That’s indecent.
Cry it out? You’re causing permanent harm to your child.
Don’t sleep train? Your child will never learn to sleep on his or her own.
Stay home? You’re setting a bad example for your kids.
Go back to work? Don’t you love your kids more than your job?

Lindsay Powers—former editor-in-chief of Yahoo! Parenting, creator of the #NoShameParenting movement, and mom of two—is here to help parents everywhere breathe a collective sigh of relief. This laugh-out-loud funny, accessible, and reassuring book sets the record straight on all of the insane conflicts that parents face—from having a glass of wine while pregnant to sleep training, childcare, feeding, and even sex after baby.

Drawing on the latest research and delivered in a relatable, comforting voice, You Can’t F*ck Up Your Kids demonstrates that it is possible to take the stress out of parenting and sit back and enjoy the ride.

Publication Day:

March 31st, 2020

Genre:

Parenting Nonfiction

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

My Review:

Lindsay Powers

You Can’t F*ck Up Your Kids (affiliate link)

Motherhood Book Club

I help run and facilitate a Motherhood book club at our local library for moms in our community so I am always on the lookout for books to add to our reading list. Our book club focuses primarily on nonfiction books related to parenthood so when I saw this book available as a galley, I couldn’t wait to check it out.

One of the most common things that come up in our discussions is the many ways we feel like we aren’t measuring up. Whether our kids are big or small, whether we work full time, part-time or stay home, everyone feels infiltrated with how we think we “should” be doing things and all the ways we feel like we are lacking.

With technology and social media, we are bombarded with more information than ever before and while there are many benefits to this, there are also just as many reasons we are having total information overload.

More about You Can’t F*ck Up Your Kids…

In You Can’t F*ck Up Your Kids, author Lindsay Powers takes on some common and often highly sensitive parenting topics such as breastfeeding vs. formula feeding, daycare vs. staying home, screentime, and the idea that any parent has it “all figured out'”.

Her writing is relatable and I enjoyed how she interweaved research with a conversational style of writing in her chapters. There is a great balance of information from her own experiences as well as other parents which helped give a wider perspective on these topics.

Her overall message is that the majority of parents are really just doing the best they can and that most of these choices are not going to make it or break it for our children. She talked through each of these topics and why either way, your kids are going to be just fine. Enter her #noshameparentingmovement.

I appreciated the end of her book and how she shared how her own childhood trauma affected her not only as a parent but also as a writer. There are, of course, choices that can significantly impact children negatively, but they are (mostly likely) not because someone didn’t breastfeed or allowed their child to fall asleep on their own in their crib.

I appreciated this relatable and informative approach to discussing the many issues parents (and primarily mothers) are up against these days and highly recommend it.

Thank you to Atria Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 


Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!

Coffee Talk | Currently Loving…Online Photography Workshops, All Things Winter Break, Parenting Life & Our First Book Club of 2020 {Gen The Bookworm}

Currently Loving

Welcome to the First Coffee Talk of 2020!

It’s been a WHILE since I have shared a Currently Loving post. December always feels like a blur and then January is a transition into a new year and into all our regular routines again.  This last week was the boy’s first full week back at school which meant it was my first full week back at work.

Your Life Your Camera Photography Workshop

Vermont photography workshop

This past weekend Kristy and I taught our first 2020 workshop of the year, our Your Life Your Camera Intermediate photography class.

Vermont photographers

We loved being reunited with participants from our past beginner workshops and it is amazing to see how much they have grown!

This week we are teaching Your Life Your Memories, our photo organization class and next week we are welcoming a whole new group of photographers into our Your Life Your Camera Beginner workshop!

I recapped what our workshops looked like in this blog post HERE and how we make a more seasonal job like portrait photography in Vermont work for us!

Learn With Kristy Dooley Photography!

Learn with Kristy Dooley Photography

Speaking of learning, we have also been busy working on something NEW! Kristy and I taught our very first photography workshops in 2014 and we have loved not only growing the workshops we offer but also being a part of building a local photography community.

Recently we have felt a pull toward wanting to reach a wider audience and while we have had people travel to our classes, (hello our favorite New Hampshire ladies!) we would love to also offer a way to learn from the time and place that works best for YOU!

Online Photography Workshops

We are working away on a new series of online workshops and we can’t wait to share more about them soon! We have put ourselves on a tight deadline for the first class (which has called for a lot of learning on our side as we make our way through templates, Keynote and Powerpoint, hence the Williston Coffee Shop chocolate chip cookies…) and we will be announcing the release in just a few weeks. Stay tuned! 

All Things Holiday Break

Gen The Bookworm

While we are definitely getting back in the swing of things, I thought it would be fun to recap a little bit of what we were up to our holiday break. Over the holiday break, there were many moments of frustration and together time AND a lot of fun were mixed in too.

Parenting is a rollercoaster of emotions and just when you think you have it figured out, it changes! Our boys are at a great age for doing so many things and they are also in a stage of a lot of sibling rivalry. I know this is a totally normal thing kids go through and it is definitely keeping Lucas and me on our toes.

We have found that doing things OUTSIDE of our house helps a lot with this so we like to be out and about as much as we can. Whether it is doing errands together, playing outside or going the movies, keeping busy is key.

(*I bought this stemless wine glass for our younger son’s teacher as one of her holiday gifts, isn’t it great?!)

Book Club Holiday Edition

book socksIt also helps getting out of the house with your friend and our holiday book club was amazing! We exchanged some bookish gifts, caught up and recapped our reading highs and lows of 2019! And how amazing are these socks?! My friend Emily found them on Etsy HERE (*I am not affiliated with this shop, I just love them!)

Hoverboards, Playdates & Setting Up Mousetrap

Gen The BookwormThank goodness for our friends who helped make the holiday break feel a little less long. My friend Kari and I did a bit of switching kids on and off so we could get some work things done or just breathe for a second.

She also is the master of setting up anything tricky or icing your child’s birthday cake…ha! I had the game Mousetrap as a kid but I don’t think I ever actually played it because setting it up was the true challenge.

coffee at home

And what’s better than a playdate for your kids? Catching up with your parent friends over coffee. I am doing a no coffee after breakfast challenge for the month of January (tea only after my morning coffee allotment from home!) but back in December, it was anything goes!

Backyard Adventures

Vermont

While we didn’t have a white Christmas as we had hoped for, we did have weather that allowed us to get outside quite a bit. Two years ago our holiday break was filled with record-setting low temperatures which made for a busy couple of weeks for Lucas at work and a lot of cabin fever setting in for the rest of us!

Backyard Skiing…

We did finally get some snow before the New  Year and we were excited to break out the new sleds that Santa brought at Christmas and also get out for some backyard skiing. While this looks picturesque, let me tell you, it was anything but peaceful!

Parker has been skiing for a few years now but I have been trying to teach Flynn and as someone who isn’t’ very good at it herself, I am probably not the best teacher! I am going to bring the boys to a local x-country skiing place soon and I am thinking this will probably be better for everyone! 😉

Bowling & Arcade Games

Vermont

Towards the end of the break, we were ready to mix it up so we were thrilled to join some friends for a couple of games of bowling. Of course, that means we also had to visit the arcade game room which is one of my least favorite parts of parenting for sure. Olivia was a much better sport about it than me!

Parenting Life

family life

If I could summarize our parenting life right now, I would say there’s a big emphasis on getting together with friends, sports (both participating and watching), playing ALL the games, still lots of LEGOs, bickering with each other and Buzz is the happiest to be photographed now…hence all the dog photos! We will have a middle schooler next year which is kind of hard to believe!

Evenings at Home & Kindle Pillow Stand

kindle book

I am a homebody for sure and while it isn’t always calm and peaceful here these days, sometimes the stars align and our evenings are filled with reading in our lounge clothes. We tend to head upstairs about an hour before the kid’s bedtime (also ours, ha) and everyone is supposed to do more quiet(ish) activities.

This doesn’t always happen but we are working on it! It has been great for us being able to have some downtime now that they stay up almost as late as we do and it is has been great for encouraging independent reading time for the boys.

Buzz is a big cuddler and he is the best reading buddy. A lot of you asked me what I thought of my Kindle pillow stand (pictured above) when I shared about it on my Bookworm Favorite Things blog post. I use it every night and it makes it so you can read pretty much hands-free (just turning the pages…) It feels kind of like a big bean bag so you can prop up your kindle all different ways and It is also a multipurpose pillow so you can use pretty much any tablet-sized item on it.

Currently Loving Winter Accessories & Mabels Labels

name tags

Winter is hard in Vermont because it is long and you want(and really need) cold-weather accessories that are durable (which often means they are a bit pricier), but that also means it is extra scary to send them off to school because things get misplaced all the time. I don’t think I have ever walked by the school’s lost and found table without seeing at least three things from our family on it.

We do our best to label EVERYTHING because of this and I was super excited when I saw that their loves from Burton have a super-easy way to personalize them! We have had the best luck with gloves from Burton and Head (the ones they sell in the fall at Costco!) and the worst luck with LlBean gloves(I love everything from LLbean but the gloves fall apart so quickly).

We have been using Mabel’s Labels (*not affiliated just love them) since our older son started preschool way back in 2012. I have tried a few other brands over the years but have always gone right back to these because they are the best!

Using Your Last Name…

Also, if you have a less common last name, try simplifying and instead of getting a bunch of individual stickers for all your family members and just one with the last name that you can use for everyone.

First Better Together Book Club of 2020!

Better Together Book Club

Last week we had our first Better Together book club of 2020 and we discussed The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey. Not only did we have an animated discussion but author Jessica Lahey joined us! It was amazing to hear the backyard of her own work and also how her book came to be. If you haven’t read The Gift of Failure yet, it is a must! Whether you are a parent yourself or work with kids, you will get so much out of it.

Coming Up on Gen The Bookworm

guest posts

I have a lot of fun things in store for Gen The Bookworm in 2020. I am especially excited about welcoming some new guest posters who will be sharing on topics related to reading.

In a couple of weeks, my friend Kelly who is a reading specialist will be sharing about How to Raise A Lifelong Reader. My reading friend Michelle will be sharing the first What’s On Your Nightstand post of 2020 this week and I have own Reading Highs & Lows of 2019 recap coming along with the 2020 books I am most excited about!

Thank you for stopping by being a part of this reading community, I appreciate each and everyone one of you! <3


Disclosure: Some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!

December 2019 Book Recap & Ratings {Gen The Bookworm Monthly Reading Wrap-Up}

Gen The Bookworm reading wrap-up

Hello January!

Who else is feeling so good to be getting back into the swing of things? I love structure and routines and the fresh start to a new year. This is our first full week back at school and work and I am here for it!

One of the hardest parts of juggling parenthood and work-life is when your schedule is all thrown off because it ends up feeling like you aren’t doing any of it well…which is pretty much how the last three weeks have felt for me…

I am happy to be getting back into the swing of things and we have lots of exciting work events coming up in the next couple of months.

Photography Workshop & Book Club Update

This week we are teaching our first photographer workshop of 2020 (you can read more about what that looks like in my photography life blog post HERE)  and we also have our first Better Together book club of 2020 where we will be discussing The Gift of Failure with THE AUTHOR Jessica Lahey! If you live in the area, we would love to have you join us!

December Reading

I am slowly but surely getting caught up with the last month of blogging and I am excited to be sharing about December 2019 book wrap-up today.

I like to try and do some “catch-up” reading during the month of December and read highly recommended titles of the year that I hadn’t gotten around to yet which included The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna and The Dutch House.

I also had quite a few nonfiction ARCs with the end of December publication dates that I was looked forward to reading. This past month my reading was either really great or disappointing…there wasn’t a lot of in-between!

December Highs

5-star books

The Power of Showing Up, Long Bright River, The Gift of Failure and The Dutch House were my very favorite books I read in December.

December Lows

do not recommend

Meg & Jo and Saint X were both books I highly anticipated and were disappointing reads for me.

December 2019 Reading Wrap-Up

Dear Edward book summary

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫⁣

Dear Edward was a surprisingly touching read and the perfect book to end to 2019 for me. While this book centered on loss and tragedy, it is also a book full of hope. We neet 12-year-old Edward, who is the lone survivor of a plane crash that killed one-hundred-plus passengers including his own immediate family members, his mom, dad, and brother.

We follow Edward on his path through grief which includes flashbacks to the passengers who were also on board the flight that day. While this book sounds like it would be quite depressing to read, I really found it to be quite inspiring in so many ways.

You can read my full review of Dear Edward HERE.

Iona Grey

The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫⁣

This past fall I was invited to participate in the St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne Books Blog Tour for the upcoming December release, The Glittering Hour. One of the wonderful things about reading advanced copies of books is that a lot of times I get to read books before they have been super hyped up, which means I go into it without a lot of expectations either way!

I went into this book not really knowing anything about the plotline or author’s previous writing (Letters to The Lost in 2015). I was immediately entranced by the vividly detailed characters and storyline and loved being immersed in the mid-1920s and 1930s.

Told in a dual storyline, we meet the main characters Selina, and her daughter Alice. I love getting the backstory to themes and storylines and so this back and forth really worked for me.  I so enjoyed following along on this treasure hunt of secrets alongside Alice. This book was not only beautifully written but totally engaging from the very beginning.

You can read my full review of The Glittering Hour HERE

Kate Murphy nonfiction

You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫⁣

“When all we crave is to understand and be understood, You’re Not Listening shows us how.”⁣

In You’re Not Listening, author Kate Murphy explains what listening truly is and isn’t, and how important it is to our connection with ourselves and one another. Not only is this book super fascinating but it is always making me rethink so many things!

In our technology-filled world, there are so many new ways for us to interact, yet we are all longing for connection more than ever before. Many of us long for the days of simplicity and meaningful face to face conversations. When we do interact, it is often rushed and interrupted by the distractions of the fast-paced world around us.

I loved the balance of informative research and relatable text that made You’re Not Listening both engaging and thought-provoking. I also appreciated that Murphy emphasizes that listening skills are learned through implementation and practice and that it is something we can always learn, no matter how old we are.

You can read my full book review of You’re Not Listening HERE

Little Women retelling

Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra

⭐️⭐️⭐️

I think expectations tend to be rather high when taking on a retelling, especially one like Little Women. For many people, Little Women is a book that was foundational for their love of reading. When I saw that Meg & Jo was a contemporary retelling of this classic novel, I was intrigued but also a little worried about my own expectations of it.\

I ended up enjoying the modern tale of family, work, love, and siblinghood but I  struggled when comparing it to Little Women itself. For me, this story was entertaining as a stand-alone contemporary fiction novel, but it just didn’t work with its goal of retelling of Little Women.

You can read my full review of Meg & Jo HERE.

Liz Moore book of the month club

Long Bright River by Liz Moore

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

Long Bright River alternates between past and present and shares the lives of Mickey and Kacey, two sisters who each are involved in the opioid crisis in very different ways. When Kacey goes missing, Mickey starts unraveling the clues of her disappearance while also bringing us back in time to share how each of them got to the places they are in.

This book was thought-provoking and sometimes was uncomfortable to read, which is a good thing in my opinion! It is part mystery and part family drama, which I think is why it worked for me so well…because we really get to know these women and their stories. I had a hard time putting this one down and can’t stop thinking about it now.

You can read my full review of Long Bright River HERE

genthebookworm-7.jpg

The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

Our first 2020 Better Together Book Club selection is The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey! This book has been on my TBR list FOREVER and I was so excited to finally get around to reading it, and it did not disappoint!

Jessica will be joining us for a Q&A and book discussion of her book which we are super excited about and I am excited to share my full review soon!

Alexis Schaitkin

Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

⭐️⭐️⭐️

I had a lot of anticipation about Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin and it was just one of the 2020 books I was the most excited about. Unfortunately, after a really great start, it ended up being a reading letdown for me.

I think my lack of connection with this book has to do a lot with what my expectations were when I read the book summary compared to my actual reading experience. I was just expecting something very different!

You can read my full review of Saint X HERE

Sarah Knight

F*ck No! by Sarah Knight

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫⁣

I enjoy Sarah Knight’s books so much. Her blunt wisdom and practical techniques are approachable and relatable. I am working on being less of a “yes” person and one of the biggest things I have learned(and am still working on!) is that saying “NO” can actually help you say “YES” to the things that really matter to you.

In F*ck No, Knight offers practical ideas that can help you say “no” in a variety of circumstances while also being realistic about it which I really appreciated. Saying “yes” all the time sounds like a good thing, but then you just feel spread too thin and aren’t really there for the people and things that you really want to be prioritizing.

You can read my full review of F*ck No HERE

parenting book

The Power of Showing Up by Daniel Siegel M.D. & Tina Payne Bryson Ph.D.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

When I saw that authors Siegel and Bryson were releasing a new parenting book, I couldn’t request The Power of Showing Up fast enough! Their past writing has been such a formative part of my own parenting.

Siegel and Bryson always share their knowledge, research, and experiences in an accessible and compassionate way. While they have decades of work in this area they make brain development and psychology approachable and easy to understand have the ability to write in a way that makes you feel heard while also empowering you with new tools and ideas.

The Power of Showing Up is another wonderful addition to their collection of books that speak to you whether you are a parent, caregiver, teacher, etc. They take on attachment theory and share the powerful reminder that the most important thing we can do for our children and to be there for them.

You can read my full review of The Power of Showing Up HERE

Juliet Grames

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

From Calabria to Connecticut: a sweeping family saga about sisterhood, secrets, Italian immigration, the American dream, and one woman’s tenacious fight against her own fate.

Stella Fortuna came highly recommended by some of my book reviewing friends and I thought it would be a great way to round out my 2019 audiobook reads.

*My full review of Stella Fortuna is coming soon. 

The Dutch House book review

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

From the New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth and State of Wonder, comes Ann Patchett’s most powerful novel to date: a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go. The Dutch House is the story of a paradise lost, a tour de force that digs deeply into questions of inheritance, love, and forgiveness, of how we want to see ourselves and of who we really are.

After raving reviews from some of my Book Reviewing Buddies, I listening to The Dutch House by Ann Patchett on audio. I love a family saga that spans decades so The Dutch House was right up my alley.

Even better, it was narrated by Tom Hanks, who was just perfect! This book is a slow burn but completely enthralling and Patchett’s detailed writing portrayed these multifaceted characters was spot on.

*My full review of The Dutch House is coming soon but I highly recommend this book especially on audio

Dr. Kathleen Smith

Everything Isn’t Terrible by Dr. Kathleen Smith

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫⁣

I am a big fan of self-help books in general but I am especially drawn to the idea of confronting our own anxieties. In Everything Isn’t Terrible, author Kathleen Smith presents an approachable explanation of the Bowen theory of therapy which involves not only looking at ourselves as individuals but also at our relationship systems…

“Because when we feel anxious, we often try to make other people change. We try to calm everyone else down so we can finally relax. But if you can work on managing yourself in these relationships, it’s likely that your family, your workplace, and even the greater world will calm down a little too.”

Smith uses this approach in the work she does with her therapy clients and shares valuable examples in her writing regarding this methodology then gives us questions and ways to put these ideas into practice.

You can read my full review of Everything Isn’t Terrible HERE

Colleen Oakley

You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

You Were There Too is a unique take on the regular contemporary romance novel and I was very excited when Berkley asked me to be a part of the Blog Tour this past fall.

It was one of those books that when I saw that it included elements of dreams I wasn’t sure exactly where it was going to go. Anything that takes on a more fantastical side can sometimes lose me quickly as a reader. I am so glad I hung on though!

This book was so much more emotional and the characters had a depth that made this book one of those ones I felt super connected to. The dream elements added so much to the storyline, I think because there were so many “real life” issues and situations that pulled it into reality for me.

You can read my full review of You Were There Too and learn more about my BOOK GIVEAWAY HERE


Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!

Kindle Book Deals! |$2.99 & Under! {Book Deals & Recommendations}

Kindle Books

Holiday Reading

Who is ready for some holiday reading? I know I am! I love stocking up on kindle deals for this kind of occasion. While I read a lot from the Libby app, there is something about grabbing a kindle deal that has no timeframe for when you read it! Kindle deals are a great and low-pressure way to read things you might not normally select.

Dysfunctional Family Dramas

family dramaI grabbed A Nearly Normal Family which has been on my TBR list and I can’t wait to dive in. I had been on the fence about it for a while but when Sarah’s Book Shelves recommended it to me, I knew it was worth a shot because we enjoy so many of the same books. If you are into dysfunctional family dramas like I am, I would also suggest All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg! 

Inspiring & Powerful Reads

Etaf Rum A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum is on my list of top powerful reads of 2019 and The Moment of Lift is inspiring and would be a great book to start off 2020.

Easy & Engaging Readsholiday reading

I have heard great things about American Royals(* FYI this one is now $4.99) by Katharine McGee and You’ve Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman is hilarious and relatable if you have ever had the experience of having school-aged children! You can read my full review HERE.

CoHo, A Classic & Our January 2020 Book Club Selection

book deals

After reading Regretting You, I am fulling on the Colleen Hoover bandwagon! It Ends With Us is on my list and I am working up the courage to read Verity!

The Giver is one of those classics that I am excited to introduce to our older son. He has been way into some of the books I read at his age like Hatchet and it makes me so happy.

Finally, The Gift of Failure is AMAZING and is also our January 2020 Better Together Book Club Selection! You can read more about our book club and our upcoming book discussion with author Jessica Lahey HERE.


Are any of these books on your reading list? I would love to hear!

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!

The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey | Better Together Book Club | January 2020 Selection {A Motherhood Book Club}

The Gift of Failure

Better Together Book Club!

Last week we had our final Better Together book club of 2019. Although our book club has only been going for a few months now, I am feeling so excited about the bonds and connections we have already formed, the amazing discussions we have had and the exciting things that are to come!

Our First Three Book Selections

Motherhood Book ClubOur first three books were all impactful in very different ways and each of them resulted in such fascinating conversations.

To Have and To Hold by Molly Millwood was the perfect book to start off with as it discusses the transition to motherhood.  While we are all in very different stages of parenthood (from babies and toddlers to college-aged children), we could all relate back to the adjustment of new motherhood. And not only did we get to discuss the book with each other but we also had the most wonderful guest, author Molly Millwood herself!

Small Animals by Kim Brooks was one of my very favorite books from 2018 and I couldn’t’ wait to see what our group thought of it. Our conversation really helped us all realize how much we think about judgment from one another in modern parenting and really inspired a lot of connection with one another.

Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza inspired a lot of great discussion because people either loved it or strongly disliked it!! I was (and am) a huge fan, but it was fascinating to talk about the reasons why it didn’t work for some readers.

January 2020 Book Selection

motherhood book club

Our first 2020 Better Together Book Club selection is The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey! Jessica will be joining us for a Q&A and book discussion of her book which we are super excited about!

If you are local (Chittenden County Vermont) and would like to join our group, please contact Susannah at the Charlotte Library at (802)425-3864 or email me at genthebookworm@gmail.com

You can also follow along on our brand new Instagram feed @bettertogetherbookclub


Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!

What’s On Your Nightstand? Reading List & Book Recommendations {Caroline}

book friends

Hello from the Depths of December!

Hi everyone! How is your week going? I can’t believe we are so close to the kid’s holiday school break, considering it feels like Thanksgiving break was just yesterday! We have been busy at work getting all our 2019 things tied up before we have almost two weeks off from school and this time of the year always feels like a race to the finish line.

We try to keep it low key with the holiday festivities but even so, it always feels like a lot. As much fun as this season is, the kids are always wired, the noise decibel is high, there is so much sugar EVERYWHERE and there are just so many things to remember(or a lot of times, to forget, in my case…ha)

I often struggle to try to find the right balance between being real and straight up whining and I think it can especially be hard online. Family life is great AND it can feel like so much. As the kids have grown older, some things feel much easier and some things feel SO much harder.

I have been feeling like I am treading water lately and while I know I am not alone it can sometimes feel that way. I am always grateful for friends, both in “real life” and online that remind you that NO ONE has it all figured out.

Today I am excited to introduce you to one of those people, my #bookstagram friend Caroline!

Meet Caroline!

Caroline and I connected over DMs on Instagram. Caroline is part of the amazing #bookstagram duo @texacalibooksFriends Caroline and Nina share about all things reading and for this post, I asked Caroline to share how @texacalibooks came to be…

Nina and I went to law school together and have been besties ever since. Nina had the account for about a year called “One Awesome Book” and about 50 followers. She kept telling me to start one too since we constantly gave each other book recs.

We decided it would be more fun to do it together since we don’t live in the same city. So we changed the name, got me added, my obsessive personality kicked in and here we are !!

#Bookstagram Buddies

We may live on opposite sides of the country, but we always end up having so many things in common. Her kids are a bit older than mine so I always appreciate her great perspective and advice.

We love chatting books, work/life balance, and COFFEE and she is just one of the sweetest most genuine people and her writing always makes me smile. I am excited for you to learn more about Caroline today!

Nightstand Series Introduction:

#Bookstagram Buddies

My name is Caroline and I live in Los Angeles with my husband, who I met in law school, and our two kids – Alexa is 14 years old and Beckett is 11 years old.  I grew up in Tucson, Arizona and went to the University of Arizona for undergrad and The Ohio State University for law school (go Bucks!).  I am a partner at a law firm in Century City specializing in real estate finance and have been at the same firm for almost 18 years.  Ack, I am old!

Simply put, I am a working mom constantly trying to find that elusive work-life balance and failing miserably.  I work very long hours and every weekend so between that and having two very active kids who play club sports, there is not much time for hobbies.

My daughter plays soccer and is also on her high school lacrosse team and my son plays soccer, basketball, and baseball.  Life in sunny California means club teams are year-round and I am that soccer mom who has a sweatshirt, tee-shirt, and hat for my kids’ soccer club that I wear while I pace on the side of the field.

I basically spend my time not working acting as their Uber driver to and from practices and cheering them on in games that are all over Southern California – as far south as San Diego and as far north as Santa Barbara.  We had one weekend a few months ago where the kids had 9 games between them, all out of town and about 25 miles apart from each other.

But I do carve out a little time for myself every day by running about 3 miles very early in the morning (and in the dark!) before my kids are awake and I always make sure that I read before bed every night regardless of what time I am finally going to bed.  I also have an intense love for coffee, Target, extra soft sweatshirts, sneakers, Hallmark movies, and Bravo shows.

We are family who loves to ski so we go to Utah every winter for a family ski trip and we also spend a week doing nothing but laying by the pool in Hawaii every spring break.  In the summer our crazy lives come to a grinding halt because my kids each go to sleepaway camps in Wisconsin.

My husband is from Chicago so my son attends the same camp that my husband went to as a kid and my daughter attends the sister camp that is owned by a camp friend of my husband.  So after a very hectic school and sports year, my husband and I have an empty house which is always weird.  However, the time is filled quickly with work, scouring the camp websites for pictures of the kids and making sure that we are not messing up our son’s many fantasy baseball teams while he is away.

What Kind of Reader Are You?

I have been a reader my entire life.  I was the dorky kid who brought a book everywhere with me. I remember being the only kid at sleepaway camp who actually read in the cabin during rest hour.  The only time I had a lull in my reading was in law school because between all of the studying and working, there just was not time to read.

When I graduated law school, the chick-lit genre was just starting and authors like Sophie Kinsella, Jane Green, Jennifer Weiner, and Helen Fielding sucked me in immediately and kickstarted my love for reading.

What Time of Day do you do Most of Your Reading?

I read in the mornings when I am getting ready for work.  I put the book on the bathroom counter, propped open with hairbrushes while I brush my teeth, blowdry my hair, etc.

My son also reads before bed so if I can take a breather from reviewing documents for work, I snuggle up to him with my book.  Also, I always read a little before I go to sleep.  And I suffer from insomnia so I often read my books in the middle of the night with my little itty bitty book light.

The ultimate is when one of my kids has an out of town game and there is not a conflict between the schedules so my husband drives and I can read in the car.  Freeway reading is the best.

Favorite Book Genres

I am all over the board right now in terms of genres. I still love chick lit the best but I am also very into thrillers, young adult, historical fiction and contemporary fiction.

What Books Are You Currently Reading?

Gen The Bookworm

I recently finished American Royals and The Swallows and loved them both so much.   The last book that really shook me and stayed with me long after I finished it was A Woman is No Man and I had a major book hangover after The Flatshare.

What’s Coming Up Next?

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

I am desperately waiting for the Hunger Games prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and American Dirt!

Any Books You Didn’t Love?

Goldfinch

My one real book confession is that I didn’t love The Goldfinch.  It dragged on too long for me and I was impatient and bored.

What Are You Listening To?

I only listen to music in the car. My kids insist on it and I am usually at my office before I realize that I am still listening to whatever they put on.  They went through a major Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen phase but now it is more pop music.

What Else is on Your Nightstand?

I always keep a glass of water on my nightstand because I wake up thirsty in the middle of the night.  Other necessities are my glasses because all of my reading at work has made me absolutely blind and lotion (I have a whole routine at night where I put lotion on my feet and then sleep in socks and my feet are nice and soft when I wake up.)

I have an alarm clock, my phone, the remote control that I have to keep on my side or my husband will find it and put on sports, a picture of my kids hugging each other so I can remind them that they actually do love each other, candles because this is LA and we have earthquakes, a flashlight because this is LA and we have earthquakes (see candles), my Casper light which is my most favorite thing ever and a little ceramic keepsake that my mom gave me when I was a little girl.

book stack

On the shelf under my nightstand is my stack of library books. I am a big library supporter which I love because I never spend money on books and I don’t have to worry about clutter when I am done reading them.  The downside is that it also means that I am always a little behind on the hot new books and I am beholden to the library due dates.  The struggle is real!


Thank you so much for sharing with us today! I hope you enjoyed learning more about Caroline. <3

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!

 

Nonfiction November Book Recommendations {Nonfiction Book Favorites from 2019}

nonfiction November

Nonfiction November

Are you a nonfiction reader? I love a good nonfiction book, especially related to mental health and parenting. It’s no surprise that out of all the non-fiction books I read this year, those genres ended up being my favorites. If you are participating in #nonfictionnovember and are needing a few more recommendations to finish your month off strong, I have some great recommendations!

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Fair Play by Eve Rodsky

I first read Fair Play this past September when I received a copy from Putnam Books to review. You can read my full review of Fair Play HERE.

I was immediately enthralled with the concept of Fair Play and was talking all about all over social media. I was so excited when a few weeks later Reese picked it for her Hello Sunshine book club selection.

Fair Play was the perfect follow up book to All The Rage, which I am discussing below. As someone who has been parenting for 9+ years, we have fallen into many societal norms and expectations that we didn’t see coming when we found out we were going to be parents 10 years ago. This book helps you feel less alone and then gives you a proactive answer on how to alleviate it!

I ended up communicating with Eve Rodsky over direct messages on Instagram (which was also one of my highlights of 2019!) and we discussed how to make this plan work by not only our initial conversation about it but also ongoing. Eve had some amazing advice, namely, they don’t stop talking about it and they have a time each week when she and her husband sit down and reflect, manage and plan. While this may sound a little… unromantic, I will tell you, it is a lot more enticing than the worst R-word in parenthood…RESENTMENT.

All The Rage by Darcy Lockman

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I listened to All The Rage on Audible and wow, what a powerful read! You can read my full review HERE.

In All The Rage, Darcy Lockman shares a well researched and relatable look at social expectations, male privilege, and sexism when it comes to parenting in the 21st century. Lockman uses studies, research, interviews with parents, and her own personal experiences which results in a well balanced and deeply impactful look at the gender inequity that working mothers still face today and the mental load women face as mothers.

Whether you are a parent or thinking about becoming one someday, this book is so insightful and thought-provoking. I appreciated Lockman’s personal experiences as they related to many issues we faced in our own experiences as partners and parents. While many people think “this won’t happen to me” a large percentage of family’s fall into the expectations that have become ingrained in our society.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

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Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is a book everyone should read. You can read my full review HERE.

Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who shares her insights not only about her professional experience but her own journey through therapy. This book helps normalize therapy for everyone, and her ability to share the profound growth both she and her patients experienced was so honest and refreshing.

While Gottlieb includes many important psychological concepts, her writing is clear and conversational and easy for anyone to engage with. I found that there was a perfect balance with the personal stories that will also help her readers become more aware of their own obstacles and moments of growth as they move through this book.

To Have and To Hold by Molly Millwood

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 To Have and To Hold.

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

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 still can’t stop thinking about it. I loved it so much we chose it for our first Better Together Motherhood Book Club selection this fall AND Molly was our guest speaker!!

Burnout by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski

Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski

I learned about Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle on the 10 Things To Tell You Podcast episode about anxiety. I listened to this book on audio and while I think their intentions were good, I think listeners are either going to love their narration style, or not….for me, I was somewhere in the middle.

I did think the information they shared was fabulous and the explanation of completing the actual stress cycle was brilliant. Honestly, I had never thought about it in that way before and it makes SO much sense. That section alone made this book super helpful to me and I have been recommending it to so many friends.

They also included some great practical advice about choices we CAN make when we can’t always control outside stress in our lives. While it may not have been earth-shattering information, it was a great reminder of the things that we have control over in our own lives.

Suggestions like prioritizing sleep, connecting with others, and showing yourself compassion are such powerful and attainable things we can do right away to help our own responses to external stressors. So while this wasn’t my favorite audiobook, this WAS an amazingly helpful book and I added a hardcopy to my collection right away!


I hope one of these recommendations makes your nonfiction TBR list. <3

Disclosure: Some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!

 

The Kids Are in Bed by Rachel Bertsche | Dutton Books {Book Review}

Parenting Book

The Kids Are in Bed by Rachel Bertsche

Book Summary:

Journalist, bestselling author of MWF Seeking BFF, and mother of two Rachel Bertsche tries to find calm among the chaos and reclaim a personal life while raising her young kids and offers solutions for how all parents can do the same, once The Kids Are in Bed.

Picture it—it’s 8:30 p.m. You close the door to your child’s room just as you hear your partner closing the dishwasher. Your home is clean (enough). You’ve dealt with all the last-minute work emails. And now it’s time for an hour or two of glorious freedom. What do you do? Read the book you’ve been waiting to crack open all day? Chat on the phone with a friend, glass of wine in hand, or go out and meet old friends and share a whole bottle? Or, like many modern parents, do you get caught up in chores, busywork, and social media black holes?

Recent time-use studies show that even working parents have as many as 30 hours of leisure time a week, yet very few people know how to actually use that time to do something— anything!—pleasurable and fulfilling. In an original survey conducted for this book, 71 percent of parents said their free time didn’t feel free at all, because they were still thinking about all the things they should be doing for their kids, their jobs, and their households.

Rachel Bertsche constantly found herself in exactly that bind. Using a combination of memoir, interviews with scientists and parenting experts, and input from moms and dads all over the country, Rachel figured out how to transform her own patterns and reconnect to her pre-kids life. In The Kids Are in Bed, other parents can learn how to do the same, and truly enjoy the time after lights out.

Publication Date:

January 7th, 2020

Genre:

Parenting/Time Management

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

My Review:

parenting time management

The Kids Are in Bed was my first book by Rachel Bertsche. In a society where people (and especially parents) are feeling more burnt out than ever before, I love the idea of rethinking the time that we DO have. The Kids Are in Bed shared some proactive ideas for parents about not getting “stuck” in every day (sometimes very monotonous) family life grind and utilizing the downtime that you do have in your daily/weekly/monthly schedules.

I thought Bertsche really succeeded at sharing helping everyday tips and hack to not falling into the trap of not having enough time for ourselves, our marriage, friendships, etc. While life may look a lot different than it did “before kids” and the “downtime” we have may well be less, when we look at our habits and chunks of time, it can help us adjust the way we utilize it.

I did find that the stories in The Kids Are In Bed were primarily about her own very specific situation (with fairly young children), and although she did share ideas cited directly from other sources, I would have loved for there to be a bigger variety of examples of family life, especially with different aged children.

The challenges vary so much as you move through the life stages of having kids at home from babies to teens…all with their own set of positives and challenges. I think this would open this book up to a larger audience and also help broaden the perspective beyond her own immediate experiences.

Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton Books for an advanced copy. All opinions are my own.

Family Vacation in Ogunquit, Maine | Vacation Photos & Recap | August 2019 {Family Life}

Family Vacation in Ogunquit, Maine

Gen The Bookworm

I figured I should finally post these photos from our summer trip to Maine before I share our photos from our trip this past week. Going on trips together as a family is a big priority for us and near the end of August, we went for our annual “end of summer” vacation to Maine. It certainly isn’t always relaxing or stressfree, but we always make great memories and it is such a special place for the four of us.

Ogunquit, Maine hotel

We love that we have made this a tradition as a family and our first visit was when our older son was two and I was pregnant with our second son. Our life has changed a lot since then but it is still such a magical place to visit.

One Morning in Maine

Maine was somewhere that both Lucas and I visited as children. As New Englanders, Maine is easy to get to by car and has a low key pace similar to Vermont but with the ocean! It has been so special to carry on this tradition in our own family. This was my One Morning in Maine book from when I was a young child and the boys love it so much too.

How We Chose Ogunquit

There are so many amazing places to visit in Maine that the possibilities are nearly endless. When I was young, my paternal grandparents lived way up on Deer Isle (it was a long 8-9 hour drive!) and my cousins lived in the Kennebunkport area. Ogunquit is at the very beginning of Maine (close to Kennebunk) so it is much easier to get to, which also means it can be a lot busier than some other areas. Oguqnit was a place that Lucas visited as a child and when we loved our first trip together so much, we decided it was perfect for our family.

More about Ogunquit

Ogunquit Beach

It all depends on what you are looking for but we think it is a great vacation town that is family-friendly and provides endless outside activities and things to do with kids. While it can be busy, it never feels overwhelming. What helps is that we walk everywhere(driving can get pretty backed up) and tend to eat early (both breakfast and dinner) so we never need to wait for a table. We do book our accommodations a year before, which is pretty common for summer beach vacations. We found that four nights was the magic number for us and it seems like a great length for this type of trip.

Since our trip I have had a few questions about our itinerary, where we stay, dine, etc. so I am hoping this post covers all of that! I am not affiliated or connected with any of the places I am sharing here but I did want to provide links if you are curious.

Anchorage By the Sea on the Marginal Way

Ogunquit

The Anchorage By the Sea is right on The Marginal Way and is walkable to everything. I can’t speak to any other hotels because we have only stayed here but it is wonderful. We love the accessibility to the ocean and that you can easily get to most everywhere we wanted to go from there.

It is immaculate, very welcoming to families and everyone is so lovely that works there. The top photo is the view from the Marginal Way in front of the Anchorage by The Sea looking out to Ogunquit Beach. Depending on the tides, you can walk there a couple of different ways…either coming from the Marginal Way (this does involve some climbing on rocks and walking through shallow water) or walking through town and taking the main entrance over the bridge.

Ogunquit Beach

Ogunquit MaineOgunquit Beach

Our first night we walked through town after dinner to the beach, and then at low tide, we were able to cross back over to the Marginal Way and our hotel. It was a gorgeous summer night and the kids had so much fun exploring and looking for crabs. I love that they are at the age that this is still very exciting to them…

kids at beachMaine

Dining in Ogunquit

Ogunquit MaineOne of the highlights of vacation for us is always the FOOD! Ogunquit (and the surrounding area) have some awesome dining options, especially if you are a seafood lover. We have one adventurous eater and one pretty picky eater, and there was (almost) always something that would please everyone’s tastes.

Ice Cream Every Day!

ice cream cone

I am also a big believer in daily ice cream on vacation and Sweet Pea’s is our favorite here. The oreo ice cream is amazing! They have so many flavors to choose from and it is right in the middle of Shore Road so it is very easy to get to (and very hard to walk by!)

Ogunquit Breakfast Spots

Perkins Cove Ogunquit MaineWe had great breakfasts at Amore and The Cove Cafe in Perkin’s Cove. Like everywhere here, they are very family-friendly. We walked to both of these but you could drive if you wanted to. The Cove Cafe is about a 15-minute walk down Marginal Way and Amore and just down the main road. coffee mug And how genius are these crayons that can’t roll off the table?! I had seafood at just about every meal, so it is no surprise I had the lobster eggs benedict at Amore, and they were delicious!

breakfast in Ogunquit

We also love Bread & Roses Bakery for a quick (and delicious) breakfast on the go (or out their outside patio) Their blueberry muffins are to die for and they also have a great selection of breakfast sandwiches and burritos. They also have great coffee and lattes!

Dinner Spots

Ogunquit Maine

We had some amazing meals on our trip. Our favorites were The Crooked Pine (just opened this past summer where Gypsy Sweethearts used to be) and Brix & Brine.

Perkins CoveFor no-frills seafood, we love The Lobster Shack at Perkin’s Cove. They do have grilled cheese or hot dogs if you have a pickier eater like we do!

Vacationing With Kids

vacation with kids

Of course, it isn’t all fun and games. Vacationing with kids is more like “parenting in a different location”. As they have gotten older this has improved in many ways, but dining out every day can take a toll.

We had a great Italian dinner at Angelina’s (and their blueberry gelato is amazing!!) but it was a rough one with the kids. It was towards the end of our trip and everyone was ready for a bit of a break from sitting through 2 hour-ish dinners at restaurants. This picture of Lucas makes me smile because it brings me right back to that eventful night, ha.

Pool & Beach on Repeat

Maine vacation

So what did we do our trip? We swam, both in the ocean and in the pools. The boys also loved the “kid-friendly” hot tub, there is also an adult-only one although we never visited it. 😉poolside readingWe also did a lot of reading by the pool which is the best! There are always a bunch of other families at this resort so there is no lack of other kids to play with which makes vacation SO much easier. Ogunquit MaineWhen the tide was lower the boys had so much fun exploring. Because it was August the water wasn’t that chilly so we all did a lot of swimming too.

readingAnchorage by the Sea

After dinner, they usually did a night swim and we loved sitting next to the fire pits.

Meeting Up With Friends!

crabs

One of the highlights of our trip was when we met up with our Vermont friends who were at Ogunquit Beach for the day. With five boys total, they had a blast racing around and catching crabs. Jess even got in on the action!

vacation with kids

Perkin’s Cove

Ogunquit Maine

The best part of Ogunquit is how walkable it is. We only used our car once when we well to Wells(more on that soon). We loved walking down the Marginal Way to Perkin’s Cove (and it also saves you on the pricey parking spaces!) and there couldn’t be a more gorgeous walk.

Perkins Cove

Not only is Perkin’s Cove super picturesque but it is a great way to see the boats coming in and out and sometimes even getting to see the drawbridge in action! We stopped at  Java and had a delicious iced latte! There are also easily accessible and super clean public restrooms at Perkin’s Cove. This may seem like a small thing until you drink a huge coffee and then have to walk a mile back to your hotel, not that I know from experience or anything…

kids at a candy store

One of the highlights for the kids is the candy store! Perkins Cove Candies has almost every candy you could think of, and you get to put all of your selections into a sand pail while you shop which is quite the cute touch.

When It Rains…

Wells MaineWe usually have one rainy day when we go and it is the perfect opportunity to take a break from the ocean and pool and head over to Wells. Here you can find the Boardwalk Arcade which is a great way to entertain the kids for a bit when the weather isn’t ideal. I also always love seeing all the other parents who have a similar look of exasperation and disbelief that this is now what they do on “vacation”.

Fishermans Catch

We also never miss an annual visit to Fisherman’s Catch. Our youngest isn’t a big seafood eater, but he loves the fried clams and I do too! It is rustic, so delicious and has paper towels that hang from a red lobster from the ceiling, which come in handy because we always make quite the mess.

Souvenirs

Maine

Just like any vacation town, there are lots of places to find souvenirs to take home with you. We try to keep it to a minimum with the knick-knacks(we have enough clutter at our house already…) and so we try to get something we will actually get some use out of and these sweatshirts have been worn SO many times since our trip. We also love finding a book related to the place we are visiting.

children's picture book

On our very first visit, we found I Met A Moose In Maine One Day and it is still one of our favorite picture books now.

Ogunquit Maine

I hope you enjoyed this recap of our 2019 summer family vacation to Ogunquit, Maine! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer!


Disclosure: Some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, it helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you! 

Small Animals by Kim Brooks | Better Together Book Club November 2019 Selection {A Motherhood Book Club}

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A New Motherhood Book Club

We had a wonderful start with our brand new motherhood book club and had our first discussion and guest speaker last week! I am planning on sharing some of our discussion topics when I return from vacation but for now, you can read more about our first book club meeting HERE on Instagram. You can read more details about the book club in my blog post HERE.

November 2019 Better Together Book Club Selection

Small Animals by Kim BrooksWhile many of you are too far away to participate in person, a lot of you have shared an interest in following along! We are excited to announce our second Better Together Book Club selection, Small Animals by Kim Brooks.

This book made my top books of 2018 list HERE, I discussed the book topic HERE and shared my full book review HERE. I can’t wait to hear everyone’s thoughts!