Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Year in Books

I read a lot.  You might call me a compulsive reader because I find it hard to not be in the process of reading at least one book at any given time.  One time on a trip (before I had a Kindle...or children, so I actually had a chance to read on trips) I finished the one book I brought and had no other choice than to start reading it again.

This year I decided to keep track of the books I read.  I have read more than (post-children) normal this year because the first half of the year I spent a lot of time reading to try to distract myself from throwing up, and the last part of the year I spent a lot of time reading while nursing in the middle of the night.  Night wakings are slightly easier if you at least have an interesting book to read!  So here are my 2013 book statistics:

59 - total books read
30 - number of that total that were re-reads
4 - nonfiction books
25 - Amazon free books
4 - books purchased

I did not include in my total books that I started but didn't finish (some of the books are free because they are really terrible), books I read parts of (because I do that), books I referenced (like sections of parenting books), or children's books.

As you probably notice from my statistics, I don't read much non-fiction.  It's not that I dislike nonfiction, I just like fiction a lot more. :)  Generally the non-fiction books I like the most are ones that tell a story.  The non-fiction books I read this year were all related to topics I find particularly interesting.  Since there are only four, I will tell you what they were:
1. A Year of Biblical Womanhood
2. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
3. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
4. Everyday Justice

You will also notice that I like to re-read books.  A lot.  My favorite books (Christy, Til We Have Faces, The Little House books...) I re-read almost every year.   Some people have a hard time understanding this, but it makes perfect sense to me.  I love drinking coffee every day, I never seem to get tired of chocolate, and I like talking to the same friends year after year.  Familiar books become a part of your life like a friend or a favorite food, so that you start to really miss them after a long absence.  If I had to choose between only reading new books or only re-reading books, I would have to choose re-reading.  (And I have already read a lot of books in my lifetime, so I'd have a pretty decent size collection to choose from.)

Because of my voracious reading habits, I get a lot of use out of my kindle.  I hardly ever need to buy books because  there are so many free ones.  Admittedly, I read some and think, "Good thing this was free, because it would not have been worth spending money on."  But a number are decent and some are actually quite good.  We also have access to digital books from three different library systems.  While at home, I also enjoyed a selection from my family's extensive home library.

If you were to read one book I read this year, I would most recommend Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of our Daily Choices.  This is the book that will have the biggest impact on how I live.  Julie Clawson examines the impact of our consumer choices in several different areas (coffee, chocolate, cars, clothes, waste...).  This book causes you to confront the reality of modern-day slavery, unfair labor practices, environmental hazards, and to acknowledge the ways we contribute to these systemic injustices in our every day choices.  Working to live ethically can easily be overwhelming, but the author encourages us to start small and make manageable changes rather than throw up our hands in guilty resignation.  So...read it!

What book from your year of reading would you most recommend?  What are you most looking forward to reading next year?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

3 Months Old

I'll probably say this with each new age, but it's hard to believe Adalyn is already 3 months old! That is a fourth of a year! The other day we saw a two-week-old baby at church, and Adalyn looked so much bigger and older than him, even though it seems like she was just two weeks old herself.

Here is the lowdown on 3 month old Adalyn.
Nursing: She nurses about every 2.5-3 hours during the day, although sometimes more in the evening. She also nurses around 3x a night. I know I've done this before, but it is amazing how much easier nursing is once you get past those first weeks. She has now started getting distracted during nursing by wanting to smile and talk. She still spits up a LOT. I think I read somewhere that spitting up peaks around 4 months, in which case we're in trouble!
Sleeping: Well, she's still way ahead of Juliana, but her glory days of sleeping seem to have gotten left behind in Georgia. She has been going to bed earlier (between 8 and 9pm) and sleeps 3-5 hours at the beginning. Unfortunately the 5 hour segments have been relatively few lately. After that, she usually sleeps 1-2.5 hours at a time. 2.5 hours I can live with - 1 hour is rough. She sleeps in a bassinet beside the bed until early morning when she gets very restless and I bring her into our bed. Last night she only woke up once between 9pm and 6am, though! It was pretty great.

Naptime: We swaddle Adalyn up and she usually goes to sleep very quickly - like seriously within a minute or two. We have been working on stretching out her 30-45 minute catnaps with varied success. At bedtime she usually can't stay awake through nursing, but at naptime I've been putting her down while she's semi-awake. In theory, that's supposed to help a lot. We've started using white noise at naptimes to drown out a certain noise maker who likes to yell very loudly or come in to check on her baby.
  Temperament: She is still such a contented baby. The other day we spent two hours teaching Chinese to second graders, and Adalyn just hung out in our arms the whole time, sleeping a little, looking around, and hardly making a noise. She likes to look around and observe the world. She is happiest when she first wakes up or just after she nurses - she gives lots of big smiles and carries on long conversations of sweet gurgles and coos.
Craning her head to watch the fan
Loves: Sucking on fists, staring at the fan, watching her crazy sister, "standing" up for long periods of time, talking, listening to Juliana sing (mostly), cuddling

Hates: A wet diaper, sitting in an unmoving car, an overenthusiastic fan yelling directly into her face, inaccessible hands, bathtime (mostly), being on her tummy
Why do they do this to me??
The best part of this age is the smiles. Adalyn has a range of delighted smiles, silly smiles, and - my favorite - the adoring smile. It's the smile that says, "No one has ever loved you as much as I do," the one you'd really like to save up for those future days when she doesn't adore you quite so much. Adalyn has also almost started laughing. When I tickle her chin or massage her belly, she gives a big, open-mouthed grin and a little chortle. It's going to be fun when she starts giggling for real!

The hardest part about this age is sleep. I think that's usually the hardest part of the first year. For the first month or two you know you're not going to get any sleep, but after a few months you forget what it is like not to be up several times in the middle of the night. It's frustrating to be dragged from a deep sleep and then by the time you have cared for baby, be so awake you can't get back to sleep.

Still, she is only three months old. I certainly never expected her to be sleeping all night at three months. I will try to promote good sleep habits, and I will try not to stress about it. And I will enjoy the sweet, waking-up smiles. She will grow up way too fast!
The delighted smile