Monday, July 30, 2012

Thoughts on Motherhood

Just over two months ago (two months and a day!) my entire world changed, and while I now all of a sudden feel like motherhood defines me, I don't want it to take over this blog. With that being said, I will most definitely have numerous posts on this new adventure I'm on. It is, after all, the most exciting thing in my life these days.

It is amazing to me that for twelve years I was a teacher first and foremost. It was the biggest part of my being. Then, on May 27th, my water broke and I began the final transformation from pregnant teacher to mother. It wasn't until Tuesday the 29th that Little Man joined us here in the world, but at 7:22 a.m., my identity changed completely. I did look at the clock when Little Man emerged and think to myself, "Oh, look school's about to start. I should be there. We have three weeks of school left, I have so much to do." It was actually a kind of surreal moment. As cheesy as that thought seems, it is exactly what went through my head. And then, as quickly as it flashed through my mind, my focus on being a teacher vanished. There was this tiny wiggly being in  my arms and I was ready to give up everything I spent the last twelve years building for the human being I'll spend the next eighteen plus years raising.

Images from Pinterest.

When I was pregnant people told me that I would love Little Man more than I could imagine. I just nodded and smiled. What did they know? I already loved the kicking, hiccuping, squirming baby inside of me. We had bonding time on the way to work when I would talk to him and he would move and kick in response. I'd rub my belly at night and tell him all I hoped for him. I loved him. There was no way the love I felt for the little being inside of me could be bigger or more intense.

And then I met him. I can't even describe the overpowering waive of utterly unconditional love I felt at that very moment. Nothing else in the world mattered.

First picture of my guy. Thirty-seven plus hours of labor couldn't make this moment less perfect.

And so now, two months and one day later, my love grows bigger and bigger each day. Even on horribly reflux-y days when there is more time spent crying and fussing than gazing lovingly at his mommy, Little Man is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Both Beau and I wonder what took us so long. We finally feel like we have found our purpose in this world. So it seems that all of those people were right.

Life, it seems, is made up of stages. What stage are you in? Does it define you?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ten Girls to Watch

I have a Goodreads profile--just what I need, another digital forum to keep track of--because I thought it would be a good way to see what books my friends are reading, what titles have gotten good reviews, etc. I had no idea that the site had other benefits to it. One of those benefits is giveaways of advanced copies of books. The idea is that Goodreads members get them, read them and review them and then followers want to read the book. It is good old fashioned word-of-mouth marketing in a digital forum. So I entered a few contests and I won a book! It is Charity Shumway's Ten Girls to Watch. (Actually, I won two books, but I haven't touched the second one yet...)

I was a little doubtful when I got my copy of the book, but i gave it a chance during my many, many, many hours of breastfeeding. (Awesome opportunity to read, BTW.) I ended up liking it quite a bit. It is a pretty good summer read if you're looking for a mindless chick-lit type book. Think something along the lines of a Jennifer Weiner book or The Devil Wears Prada and you've got a pretty good idea of what you're in store for.

Here's the review I wrote for Goodreads.

Of there was a 3.5 star option, this book would have that, I'm feeling generous, so it got a four rather than the three it probably should have earned. Here's why:

Ten Girls to Watch is classic chick lit: Nice girl goes to NYC to make it big as a writer and finds herself struggling. She fumbles through relationships, friendships and work with equal parts self-deprecation, snark, and earnestness. Astute readers can glean where this book is headed from page one.

Here's the thing- In all of its early predictability, the book shifts toward plot developments that aren't as expected as that first page suggests. That's not to say there is a whole lot of depth or literary merit to it (it won't be up for book awards), but it is an absolutely enjoyable summer read. Shumway has written a novel that will sell well and will entertain readers even if it doesn't win literary awards.

Shumway has created a very likable protagonist who, through a really cool writing assignment, gets to come of age with some advice from successful, accomplished women. This is woven into the plot very effectively and never once hovers in the land of preachy-ness that it very easily could have landed in. 

This is a book I'll recommend to girlfriends who are off to the beach or on vacation. Like other titles of this genre, it is a feel-good departure from the world. Unlike those others, it manages to end pretty realistically without some gag-worthy, sugary sweet group hug that is often the norm. More importantly, though, Dawn is carefully crafted into a character I could see myself being friends with. Shumway managed to make this reader want to see Dawn through all of the ups and downs of her early twenties.


In my defense, I wrote that on my iPhone while breastfeeding a baby, so I know it could be a little bit better, but these days I do the best I can with the time I'm given by the little man.

The book comes out this week--Tuesday (July 31) to be exact. Go ahead and preorder it, then go lounge by the pool or at the beach and enjoy some mindless (but well written!) summer reading.

What's your favorite summer read?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

I'm back...

May 3rd was my last blog update. What the what? Did you think something horrendous had happened to me? I'm not one to make excuses, but here goes...

See, what happened was...I got busy trying to get everything done so I'd be ready to have a baby. I had to finish up the class I teach at the community college, get my exams made and approved, have grade books updated, 1200 yearbooks to adoring and expectant high schoolers, clear out my classroom, finish a nursery, prep meals and freeze them, wash and organize newborn clothes and pack hospital bags. See, busy.

I was working like a crazy person. I got the college class finished and grades posted. I did the laundry and almost got the nursery finished. I even packed a bag! Then, three weeks early, my little guy decided to join us on the outside. My mega long to-do list got pushed to the side as he got pushed out. ( just typed itself...)

I've got tons of interesting things to write: books to review, products to discuss, sunshine to spew, etc. (Beau tells me that sometimes my posts are a little too cheesily sunshiny. At least he's reading!)

But first, enjoy gazing at my belly the day before I went into labor and, more importantly, the beautiful baby I get to spend the next eighteen years embarrassing. I'll tell you all about the amazing photographer who shot those two pictures in the next day or two (or certainly before a few months pass by!)

So, what have you kids been up to over the past few months? Anything as exciting as having a perfect baby? (Ten fingers! Ten toes!)