What’s On Your Nightstand Series | Book Recommendations & More | Sarah

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Happy Friday! I hope you had a great week. I am excited about (hopefully) having a low key weekend after this being a fairly hectic work week due to the kids being on school vacation next week. We don’t have any big plans for vacation but we are hoping to get outside as much as possible and hopefully meet up with some friends for a couple of play dates. I am also hoping to catch up on some reading, blogging, and sharing as I have felt a little behind the last couple of weeks.

I am excited to introduce you to my friend Sarah today! Sarah and I met in an online pregnancy message board/group when I was pregnant with our second child and she was pregnant with her first. At the time she as living on the west coast but had been married in Vermont and was photographed by the same wedding photographer as we were (the same connection I have with my friend Kristy) which felt like such a fun coincidence.

We connected again when she moved to Vermont just a couple of years ago and now are friends in real life too. Sarah and her family are amazing skiers and she juggles a  challenging career while also doing so many amazing outside adventures which is so inspiring to me! At our last get together we drank coffee and walked around Target discussing books and podcasts, I mean how much better could it get?!

I hope you enjoy learning more about Sarah today. ❤


Introduction:

Hello! My name is Sarah. I live in northern Vermont with my husband, our two children (ages 6 and 4), and our two elderly labrador retrievers, Summit and Ellie. I am an emergency room physician, but in my off-time, I love to ski, hike, bike and, of course, read!

When I was growing up, I was always that kid with her nose in a book. And I was a true child of the 80s – my favorites were Sweet Valley Twins, The Babysitters Club, R.L Stine, and Christopher Pike. High school kept me pretty busy, and I found myself reading less, and even less so when I went off to college, medical school, and residency. When I finally finished my training and felt like I could join the land of the living, my husband and I started a family. So here I find myself staring down the barrel of middle age and finally catching up on lost time! My nightstand might reflect this ambition — haha!

What is on your nightstand for books?

SO MANY BOOKS. Usually, I don’t have this many books all stacked up, but we are preparing to go away for winter break, so I have a few extra set out that I may pack for our trip. I’m currently trying to make up my mind between The Wife Between Us, The Woman in Cabin 10, Sometimes I Lie, and This Is How It Always Is. I love fast, suspenseful reads that I can’t put down, especially on vacation.

The main book I am currently reading is The Devil in the White City (I told you I was catching up on lost time!). I am enjoying the parallel storylines, though admittedly some parts of this book have been so disturbing, I have been tempted to just put it away for good! So many friends have recommended it, so I’m keeping it for now. I am also slowly making my through Duct Tape Parenting, which was recommended to me by my hairstylist (who also, I like to joke, serves as my life coach). It really helps remind me to stop meddling and let my kids be independent and start taking responsibility in the home.

Other books that have found their way to my nightstand include The Storyteller (Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors!), Weekend in Paris (looks like a fun, quick read), The Emperor of All Maladies (the size of this one intimidates me, but I do enjoy medical non-fiction). I also have Mom’s Five-Second Memory Journal (this is also a favorite of mine to include in baby shower gifts), How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk (recommended to me by my son’s preschool teacher), and Fodor’s New England (we recently moved back to Vermont from the west coast, so I’m always looking for inspiration for mini vacations and day trips!).

What is on your Kindle? 

I’m a bit of an old school reader on this one. My husband has a Kindle, but I’m still reading regular old books. This is partly because one of my favorite things to do is find and collect good books to read from consignment shops and used book stores. I have amassed quite a collection, and I don’t think I’ll ever run out!

What are you listening to? 

I love to listen to podcasts on my commute to work or when out for a run. I am not much of an audiobook reader, but my favorite podcasts are EM-RAP (Emergency Medicine Reviews and Perspectives – nerd alert, haha!), Unladylike, On Point, Forever 35, This American Life, and The Longest Shortest Time.

What else is on your nightstand?

My nightstand also holds a few extra sundry items. One is Palmer’s cocoa butter, which I use on my lips before bed. The texture is smooth like lip balm, and the smell is heavenly! I also love to use Badger Lavender & Bergamot Sleep Balm on my face and neck before bed. It smells wonderful. Additionally, I have a small lavender-scented candle from Pelindaba Lavender, based out in our former hometown of Seattle, which I like to burn sometimes before bed. And finally, I have a small hand-painted tile I bought on our honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta, which I use as a coaster.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Gen!! xo


Thank you so much for sharing today, Sarah!

Self-Care & The Work-Life Balance | Parenting

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This past week has been a very exciting one for me in the “work world”.  A lot of the things I have been working towards are actually materializing. I had some great meetings and left with some so many thoughts and inspiring plans running through my head.

I also have felt like a total mom fail this past week. The kids have been full of so much extra energy that despite playing outside, still results in them wrestling all over our house and me yelling way too much. There are piles and piles of laundry to be put away and I feel like the kids are eating us out of house and home despite visiting the grocery store multiple times a week. I am so behind in my (very minimal) attempts to be “involved” at school and I always have big plans to respond to emails once the kids are finally in bed and then fall asleep at 8:30pm. I could go on and on, but I will stop now. 😉

That’s the thing I didn’t realize, often times it feels like you doing a great job managing your workload or an awesome job prioritizing your family’s needs but it can sometimes feel completely elusive to having that feeling about both things at the same time.

I never really knew what it would feel like to be pulled in two directions, both important but in really different ways. I was a “stay at home parent” for the first four years of having children. I feel grateful it was an option for our family and it was also one of the hardest things I have ever done. I am not writing to minimize the challenges of that, they were just very different challenges.

I slowly went back to work a little at a time as our kids started preschool and things really amped up now that both of our kids are in elementary school. I think it is important to say that I can’t speak to all the challenges of being a working mother. I don’t have experience with having to pump at work with a small baby or managing the completely unrealistic expectations many mothers face of needing to go back to work right away because of the small amount of time they were “given” for paid maternity leave and I know that is a privilege in so many ways.

Staying home when my kids were younger was wonderful for many reasons but it was also very scary. I remember sitting in therapy a couple of years ago and talking about how I felt I would never be able to get those years of “not working” back and I felt completely overwhelmed about how I would get back into the workforce when it was time. While I was “at home” many of my friends were continuing the career paths they studied and worked hard for, which is one of the big reasons many parents go back to work right away, and sometimes I wondered if I had made “the right” decision.

What I have realized over time is that there isn’t a right or wrong way to do it, but it all has its different pros and cons. Work doesn’t fit into a tidy little 9-5 box for me anymore and it doesn’t for many other parents…I, like so many, am often at the “mercy” of the school calendar. This means there are many weekends that Lucas “takes over” so I can fit in my work and we do a lot of “switching on and off” during the summer months so we both can meet our work demands.

I work for many reasons, and one of them is to have an identity outside of motherhood. I also work to contribute financially to the growing needs (and grocery bill) of our family. I am still struggling to figure it all out and I think I probably always will be. I am grateful to have a supportive partner who understands how important and helpful this is to not only me but also our family.

This was more long-winded than I had planned but my point of this whole post was to write about balance and self-care. So in summary, I don’t really think there is a true feeling of having a perfect work-life balance. I think it is totally normal to feel like one sometimes overshadows the other and in the long run it all balances out but it might not feel like it on a daily or weekly basis.

And of course, there is that trendy idea of “self-care” that you are probably hearing all over the place right now. The other day we were ice skating on our backyard pond after school. It was all fine and dandy until it was time to take everyone’s ice skates off. I was floundering around on the ice while still wearing my skates, and at the same time trying to take three kids ice skates off while also trying to avoid being sliced in the face with six sharp metal blades…it wasn’t going very well.

I then said, “hold on, let me take my skates off first and then it will be easier to help you guys”. And it was! It took 30 seconds to take my own skates off and then not only was I much less stressed but it was much easier to help them unhitch and untie their skates that were covered in ice and snow. This is kind of like what self-care does to you as a parent. Taking a little time to care for yourself helps you be able to be a better parent, partner, and person. It doesn’t sound that hard in theory but self-care isn’t always something that is easy to prioritize when the daily tasks of work and having a family are never-ending.

Self-care materializes in many different forms for people but therapy and exercise are mine and I am unapologetic about these two things. I schedule them into my calendar and they are set in stone. My family, friends, and co-workers know this and I know it. Besides a sick child or snow day, if I scheduled it, I am going.

This often means I am waking up a couple of hours before the kids do to get work done so I have the space to fit in my barre class during the workday or dropping off the kids at my husband’s office so I can go to a therapy session in the summer. I cannot tell you what a better person and parent I am because I do these things for myself. It doesn’t mean that I am a perfect parent or partner but when I am filling my bucket too it is much easier to meet the needs of everyone around me.

How do you practice self-care? ❤

Coffee Talk Tuesday | Currently…

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Good afternoon! Is anyone else forgetting which day of the week it is? The kids had a long weekend from school for MLK Day and I have been feeling confused all day…It also means trying to fit everything into a 4 day work week which usually means there is a lot of juggling going on…

With the holiday break just a few weeks ago and a random snow day, I really am looking forward to having a full week of school at some point soon…Figuring out how to juggle work and kids in school is a constant challenge as their schedules and mine are somewhat inconsistent but it is a work in progress!

Yesterday we embraced the day off with negative degree temperatures and had a playdate with some school friends. We are at the age where play dates consist of the kids playing (in another room) and us moms chatting, which is the best! We had many years of not even being able to have a full conversation so I totally appreciate this so much now.

What are you listening to? 

I have been taking a little break from audio books and have been binging on true crime podcasts after getting some awesome suggestions last week on my Instagram post.  I listened to Bear Brook Podcast which was just fascinating and I am just a few episodes into The Cold Podcast.

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What are you watching? Nothing right now.

What are you eating?

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I am obsessed with this strawberry licorice, it is amazing, and addicting. I made the mistake of keeping it at my office desk, and it didn’t last long…

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I am also going to a cocktail making class tonight! I currently only know how to make one cocktail so I am really hoping to expand my horizons a little.

What are you wearing?

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I am loving my UGG boots. They are super warm and cozy and make the perfect “commuter’ boot. I think they are super cute and perfect for getting around town when I don’t want to wear my huge Bogs winter boots. Winter is long here and having winter shoes you love makes such a big difference!

What are you looking forward to?

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We are teaching our first 2019 YLYC class this weekend and I can’t wait to meet everyone! Teaching is one of my very favorite parts of my work and I always get excited about meeting a new group of photography friends when we teach our beginner class. We have quite the class lineup this winter and spring and it is exciting to think about how much our classes have grown and being able to watch so many amazing photographers blossom in the process.

I hope you are having a great start to your week. ❤