Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Quick Lit :: April 2015

I can't believe I haven't shared what I've read all year.  More than that, I can't believe I've only read this small number of books.  Hopefully the summer months will be kinder to my reading time!
{Want to see what others have been reading?  Check out the link-up at Modern Mrs. Darcy!}

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up :: Marie Kondo
A quick treatise on how to pare down rapidly to avoid further re-organization forever.  Sounds good in theory, but this lady obviously has no kids.  Also, I do not thank my socks and am not inclined to start.  But I was motivated to clean out my desk, so that's something.

The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education :: Leigh A. Bortins
Not much new information to me, but for somebody looking for an accessible rundown of classical education and what it entails, this is a great place to start, though Well-Trained Mind will forever and always be my go-to.

The Paradox of Choice: Why Less Is More :: Barry Schultz
There are lots of numbers, studies, facts, and figures in this book...but the nuggets about how decision-making affects us were enlightening and, quite frankly, relieving.  I feel better and better about the choices I put on autopilot since reading this book.

Angry Optimist: The Life and Times of Jon Stewart :: Lisa Rogak
Interesting look at the man behind the desk of The Daily Show (for a little while longer, anyway).  Didn't love everything I learned about Stewart, but everybody is human, and there were enough funny things to at least even it out.  Looking forward to picking up her bio on Colbert.

Lessons from Madame Chic :: Jennifer Scott
Who doesn't love a little French advice?  Scott describes her fabulous French host during a study abroad program and discusses how she has incorporated some of her best practices in her own life.  Fun, quick read with a bit of food for thought.  Enjoyed it so much, I read her other book...

At Home With Madame Chic :: Jennifer Scott
Very similar in tone and tenor to the previous but with an emphasis on living well at home.  With three littles under five, it was a good reminder for me to enjoy baking and lighting candles and--as best as I can--even doing the dishes.

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains :: Nicholas Carr
Technically I haven't finished this one yet, but I am really enjoying learning about how our brains respond to all the skimming, switching, and tabbing that the Internet brings us.  It makes me want to subscribe to the newspaper and read more print...

Professor had a birthday at the end of March, and he made out like a bandit in the book department, which means I did, too!  Here's a peak at what's on our bookshelf, just waiting to be devoured (the last one is mine, not his):

What have you been reading lately?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

On self-medication vs. self-care {and a baby!}

It took having my third child to finally stare a truth in the face: the ways in which I "care" for myself, those pockets of time and attention I give to my own desires, are really just self-medication.

Facebook.  YouTube.  Blogs.  Junk food and diet soda.  These top the list for me...actually, they are the list.

Wait, what's that you say?  Back up to the baby part?  Gladly!

Our little mister came into the world January 16, in the middle of the afternoon--a new and delightful development for the Professor and me after two early morning deliveries (preceded by long, day-and-night labors).  In all, it took about twelve hours and, despite some grumblings of "I'm so stupid; I should have gotten the epidural," all went very well.

I'm not quite sure what he'll be known as here, though I'm leaning toward Bubby.  He's a beautiful creature to behold, with all manner of dark hair and lashes, long fingers and toes, and a lower lip that sucks way in, a trait from his Papa's side.

Anyway, back to self-care.

An interesting thing happened during labor: I slept through a good chunk at the end.  I was getting desperate and the nurse offered Fentanol.  It made me loopy in the past, so I was hesitant, but when she offered to give me half a dose, I jumped on it.  The greatest consequence?  It put me to sleep between contractions.

It felt like I slept in twenty minute chunks, maybe more.  Professor later told me that I slept for about 90 seconds, labored for 90, lather, rinse, repeat.  Those 90 seconds of rest were exactly what my body needed.  When the overly-fresh-faced doc came in to deliver the baby, she barely had time to get her gloves on before Bubby made his grand entrance.  I was ready because I was rested.

At home, I don't have a nurse waiting with half a dose of Fentanol.  I can't take naps (but if I could go back and tell myself two kids and no at-home job self to sleep more, I would).  But I can choose to care for myself, choosing what I need (like the Fentanol) over what I want (an entirely unmedicated birth).

I go for a walk before Professor leaves for work in the morning whenever the weather allows.  I fall asleep on the couch for a few hours in the evening instead of endlessly and mindlessly surfing the web.  I tweaked my work hours and work load so that I feel less guilty and stressed, even if it slightly dropped my income.  If the kids are playing well, I open my Bible or a book or take a much coveted shower.

I am very much imperfect.  I hit the chocolate pretty hard today and have managed to plow through two and a half seasons of the Great British Bakeoff (have you seen that business? completely addicting, also I make scones now...) in a pretty short span of time.  This blog post has been in draft mode since January and I haven't posted a single thing this year because I still struggle to prioritize my time online.  This post isn't polished like I want it to be, but at some point, you just have to get back in the pool, even if you flail a bit.  I am a work in progress.

Breaking away from the self-inflicted numbing agents is such a freeing feeling, and my days feel less monotonous and tiring...even though I have three children under five and spend more time than ever on mundane things like laundry and potty training (pray for us, by the by...).  Self-medicating might have felt good in the moment, but self-care feels good all the day long.  I'll take it.

And I promise I'll try to get back to being funny next time. Trust me, these hooligans have been bringing the funny lately and they are ready to share.
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