Wednesday, April 27, 2016

book club :: the mountain between us | discussion questions (chapters 40 - 51)

book club :: the mountain between us | discussion questions (chapters 40 - 51)
I read The Mountain Between Us this month. :) Every Wednesday in April, I listed a couple of discussion questions about the chapters we were supposed to have read. We were supposed to have read about 13 chapters a week. You can, of course, read at your pace and look over the discussion questions when you're ready.
  1. What was Rachel right about? (ch. 41)
  2. What do you think about Rachel's decision to risk her life for the twins? 
  3. How did you like the end? If you could change anything about it, what would you change?
Feel free to answer any or all questions in the comments. You can also ask your own questions or bring up another topic/discussion starter. I will be commenting, as well, and replying to all comments left. (If you leave a comment at a later time- when you've gotten around to reading this section- I will still reply to your comment within the comments section. Again, feel free to go at your own pace).

Related: Discussion questions for chapters 1 - 13discussion questions for chapters 14 - 26; discussion questions for chapters 27 - 39

Monday, April 25, 2016

a kinda unorthodox list of newborn baby must-haves

a kinda unorthodox list of newborn baby must-haves
I'm excited to share that my sister Jasmine and brother-in-law Oscar are expecting their first baby this September! :)

Some time ago (back when I was expecting Juli, my fourth daughter), I shared my must-have items during those newborn baby days. Some of the items I shared are unconventional, but helped me tremendously. I decided to update my list and reshare it now that it's personally relevant again. (Hi, Jas!)

BOPPY PILLOW
I was introduced to the boppy by a lactation consultant when my oldest daughter was a newborn.  I was having trouble with her latching (it was terribly difficult those first few weeks), so I went often to seek the advice of a lactation consultant.  (As in multiple times a week for a few weeks). She told me it was necessary for me to be comfortable during nursing, and brought out the boppy for me to use.  I was having so much trouble with breastfeeding, and I really wanted to be successful.  The boppy was one of the tools that helped me succeed with breastfeeding.  (I breastfed all of my daughters for 2+ years).   I know that others will agree with me.  The boppy pillow is a must-have. 

ANTI-BURST GYM BALL
I know this one is unconventional!  Jesse and I used the gym ball to bounce our little ones to sleep or to soothe them when they were fussy.  Jesse had bought a workout ball for himself to add to his fitness routine.  One day when it was time for our little one's nap, he jokingly started bouncing her softly on the gym ball.  She quieted down right away, and fell asleep.  We were sold.  We never did use it for working out.  ;) I read about another mom who used the ball during labor, as well. (But be careful- the "anti-burst" ball burst a couple of times! lol. I fell all the way down to the ground one time. It happened so fast. Don't worry- Jesse got a good laugh). 

ROCKING RECLINER
Rocking chairs didn't work out for us.  They weren't sturdy enough and would annoyingly move back as we rocked Lani (our first daughter). Rocking recliners, however, totally worked.  Our girls would nap in our arms as we rocked them in the recliner.  We were very comfortable and we were able to catch up on all of our favorite shows (and then some). Which brings me to...

NETFLIX 
I watched so much bad, late-night reruns (infomercials when I was unlucky) when my oldest daughters were babies. Netflix was seriously heaven sent during those newborn days. We watched Breaking Bad when Juli was a newborn. Jesse and I would take shifts those first few weeks. (New parents, if you can, take night shifts! Each of us would sleep for 3 hour stretches at a time. This is a story for another day, but when Lani was a newborn, we were still so clueless that we were up together or glaring at the other when the other slept because we didn't have a shifts system in place. "HOW CAN YOU BE SLEEPING RIGHT NOW??! It's hilarious now, but it wasn't then). Anyway- back to the point- we watched Breaking Bad and we were so hooked we would actually skip our time to sleep to watch another episode together. That's true love for Breaking Bad, guys. Invest in Netflix or Hulu. :)

BUILT-IN SHELF BRA / BASIC CAMISOLES
I lived in these when my girls were born.  They were comfortable and provided good support.  When I needed to breastfeed, I would slip off a strap and nurse easily.  I found them more comfortable than nursing bras and button up shirts. 

PORTABLE SWING SEAT
This was perfect when I needed to shower, cook, entertain my other little ones, etc.  I especially loved it for travelling.  

A SMART PHONE
Breastfeeding is VERY time consuming.  (Rocking babies to sleep and holding them while they sleep? Also very time consuming). After I got the hang of it, I would get bored of lying or sitting there for long periods at a time.  I used to have a "dumb" phone, and I got really good at Tetris on it.  ha.  With Addy (our third daughter), we finally bought smart phones.  I use(d) it for countless things including reading my favorite blogs, scrolling through Instagram, playing games, Weight Watcher tracking, random google searches, blogging, even reading books.  It was easier to read a book on it than to try to hold an actual book while nursing.  It's undoubtedly another must-have for me.

What would you add to this list?? The kookier, the better. ;)

Related: Dear Marta: 5 General Newborn Tips

Friday, April 22, 2016

five on friday

five on friday
Evie got several coloring pages, markers, and other art supplies from her friends for her birthday. If you're wondering, the sleepover was both fun and exhausting. lol. Anyway, we've been coloring every day after school. It's been nice. :)

I have 5+ links to share with you!

1. I loved Eleanor & Park so much- I bought this postcard set this week.

2. I'm currently obsessed with bedroom makeovers. Molly Madfis' bedroom is definitely "cozy and calming and grown up." That woven blanket is gorgeous!

3. Tracy Benjamin is speaking my love language: Keeping Creativity Alive. She brilliantly says: "Over the past few years I’ve honored this part of myself- the part of myself that firmly believes that I must respect my creative spirit in order to be happy. If I don’t respect this, everything in my life tends to fall apart."

4. I came across a new blog this week: "So What I Really Meant" by Dr. Alison Poulsen. It's FULL of wisdom and insight. I especially appreciated the "Dividing Up Household Chores" topic.

5. I was immensely humbled and inspired by this thought from the podcast episode When God is Late on Your Move by Andy Stanley: "There is nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing He can't do" (at the 25:10 min. mark).

Read more Five on Friday posts here.

Hope you have a good one! :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

book club :: the mountain between us | discussion questions (chapters 27 - 39)

book club :: the mountain between us | discussion questions (chapters 27 - 39)
I'm reading The Mountain Between Us in April and have invited you to read along if you'd like. :) Every Wednesday in April, I will be listing a couple of discussion questions about the chapters we were supposed to read. I plan to read 13 chapters a week. It's about 100 pages or so. You can, of course, read at your pace and look over the discussion questions when you're ready.
  1. Why are Ben and Rachel separated? 
  2. What did you think about Ben's "conversation" with Rachel about Ashley? (p. 261)
  3. What is the purpose of Napoleon in the novel?
  4. Share any other survival books you've read or survival movies you've watched. How does this book compare to them?
Feel free to answer any or all questions in the comments. You can also ask your own questions or bring up another topic/discussion starter. I will be commenting, as well, and replying to all comments left. (If you leave a comment at a later time- when you've gotten around to reading this section- I will still reply to your comment within the comments section. Again, feel free to go at your own pace).

Related: Discussion questions for chapters 1 - 13; discussion questions for chapters 14 - 26

Friday, April 15, 2016

five on friday

five on friday
I see myself having a strawberry lemonade from Del Taco this weekend. #treatyoself

Happy Friday! We've made it. ;) As I mentioned earlier in the week, we are celebrating Evie's birthday with a sleepover. I'm looking forward to it. (Seriously!) We plan to bake and decorate cupcakes. Evie specifically requested this activity and watching the new Goosebumps movie. I've got to get my house cleaned up (that's the true horror!) and get all of these party supplies together. It'll be a busy Friday.

I have 5+ links to share with you. :)

1. Mondays have been hard for me. How about you? Here are 5 Ways to Increase Your Motivation to Work on Mondays by Stefan James.

2. But also: Why Downtime Isn't Lazy - It's Actually GOOD For You by Ashley Paige. This article also suggests that down time/ time for yourself will make you more successful: Want to Be Successful at Work? There's 1 Easy Way to Do It by Macy Williams.

3. We made these Taco Quesadillas by Ree Drummond. (We lightened them up a bit by using ground turkey). They were VERY good.

4. I want to move into the house featured on A Beverly Hills Hairstylist's Bohemian Home shared by Garrett Fleming. I especially love the cozy kitchen.

5. Wisdom about beauty from Jennifer Aniston: "This is the only body we’re given, we need to be really good and mindful of what we eat and how we take care of our skin- getting a good night’s sleep is extremely important, as is hydrating with water, water, water. It’s so important to getting that extra glow" (via Jennifer Aniston on Her Biggest Beauty Regret- And Why Easy Always Does It by Monica Kim).

Related: Five on Friday

Hope you have a good one!