Weekend warrior and half a year…

It’s been a busy week at the TLMB compound, and the only time I’m finding to blog is while rocking a napping, teething baby, so forgive the stream of consciousness/lack of a clear thesis to this post. In no particular order, some updates:

The Baby turned six months old on Saturday!

He is *eating solids. He is scooting across the floor toward anything (cords, table legs, dog toys) he thinks he might be able to put his mouth on. He is picking up the main concept behind playing peekaboo. He has endured another round of shots and he has cut two teeth. My tiny baby is careening headlong into toddlerhood and I am just trying to keep up without my heart breaking/bursting. This wasn’t the only.milestone we hit since my last post. In fact…

*Mostly smearing on his head/massaging into his hands and arms like lotion.

My marriage turned six years old on Friday!

My dear husband brought home a bouquet of flowers and we celebrated by driving up to our old neighborhood in Cleveland, eating some of the best bakery in the universe, having a beer at Nano Brewery while The Baby slept in his carrier, and then going home and tearing the carpets out of our hallway and The Baby’s room. It may not be super romantic, but it reinforces the fact that The Husband and I make an amazing team. Which is critical right now, because…

The home improvement saga continues

We’ve been trying to make some urgent upgrades to our house (formerly my grandparents’ house) since we moved here in April. Most pressing has been replacing the 30-year-old shag carpet that resembles a basset hound’s back in its wrinkles. With The Baby making it clear he will never again remain where I put him down on the floor, we chose this past weekend to go for the hallway and his room. (We had someone else do our living room, kitchen and pantry a few weeks ago, but committed to doing the rest of it ourselves.) I actually really like doing this kind of DIY, but the corners and closets are awful. We also painted both rooms while we had the subfloor exposed. Last night when we finally moved the furniture vack into The Baby’s room it felt wonderful to be so nearly done with this project. But it’s just one of many projects, the craziest and next one being…

We’re getting goats?!?!

It sounds like a very bad idea, but the overgrown flowerbeds and yard around our house are brimming with poison ivy, brambles and wild garlic to such a degree that getting goats has become the most timely, affordable and eco-friendly way to solve this problem. The property has a barn (currently stuffed almost literally to the rafters with broken lawnmowers) that we’re tricking our friends into helping us clear out a bit. Then we’re charging full steam ahead into acquiring some goats. I am still in disbelief that I’m doing this, but that’s sort of how I felt about parenthood, so…it will be fine? Stay tuned.

A final note of congrats…

My good friend and way better blogger Melissa became a mom last week! I’m so excited to meet her little guy and hear how her birth went. Check out her post (and blog in general… especially if you love food and running and Cleveland.)

How’s your summer going? Any tips for new goat owners? Any tips for new crawlers? Any suggestions for what beer I should buy myself to deal with all this?

Weekend warrior and half a year…

Weeknight Meal Weds: Black Bean Burgers

Weeknight meal for new moms: black bean burgersFinally, the return of my extremely popular not-really-recipes food series for haggard new parents. I hope you all weren’t starving in the meantime!

Kind of a good-news/bad-news situation here.

The bad news: This is varsity-level effort for new parents. Something I’d recommend you work on during a Sunday afternoon while you have some extra help with the baby. (What can I say? I never thought the day would arrive, but it does start to get easier to cook when your baby can crawl under the couch entertain himself on the floor for awhile.)

The good news: Make a batch of these, pop them in the freezer and you can have several easy weeknight meals. The other good news: They’re super healthy and really tasty. The other other good news: This is a baby led weaning-friendly recipe.

The other bad news: This is a great example of what I refer to as “improv cooking” which means I didn’t measure anything and used leftovers in the recipe, so… good luck. Be creative. You’ll be fine. I adapted my recipe from the Pioneer Woman who clearly pays closer attention to her cooking than I do (and has stronger forearms and/or forks).

Black Bean Burgers (Good Enough for Baby)

Ingredients

  • About 1.5 cups of cooked black beans (If you’re feeding this to your baby, cook the beans yourself so you know there’s no added sodium, as babies can’t have salt and canned beans are super salty.)
  • 3-4 slices of bread (check the sodium content in your bread, too)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small onion
  • About a half cup of leftover mashed potatoes (optional)
  • 1 small beet
  • Dried herbs of your choice – I used oregano and thyme
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic powder or chopped fresh garlic
  • Kosher salt (just for your portions)

If you’re eating the burgers tonight, you’ll also need

  • Washed baby spinach
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Hamburger buns
  • Mustard, ketchup, etc.

Instructions

Black beans

Drain your cooked black beans. Don’t rinse them. (If you’re using canned beans, remember this probably isn’t a good BLW meal, because of salt.)

mash black beans

Mash them up in a bowl so they’re still chunky but smashed enough to stick together well. The Pioneer Woman used a fork but I guess my arms aren’t strong enough for that.

DIY breadcrumbs

Meanwhile, toast some bread. I used four pieces of whole wheat bread, but three of them were butts. Making your own bread crumbs is another good way to control salt, but if you can find low sodium breadcrumbs (and I’m leaving it entirely in your hands to do your BLW/sodium research), skip this step. (If you don’t like the state of my toaster oven, you should see my office hahahaha someone please come clean my house.)

breadcrumb grind

Let your toast cool off a few minutes so it doesn’t steam up, then grind it up in a food processor/bullet/etc.

black bean burger mix

Add to your black beans: The breadcrumbs, the herbs and garlic, a half teaspoon or so of chili powder (The Baby seems to like a little spice, but I didn’t go nuts on this recipe), the egg, a shredded small beet and a shredded small onion, and if you have it, some leftover mashed potatoes. (Mine had sauteed onion, zucchini and peas in it from some zucchini boats I made the night before. Salt reminder goes here.)

mixed black bean burger

Mix well and let sit for a bit. (The beets make it look like bloody red meat a little, don’t they?)

salt and blw

If you’re giving some to baby, pull out a portion to leave unsalted, then add kosher salt to yours.

burgers sizzling

Heat a cast iron skillet and add a little canola oil (I also used some butter – aim for unsalted, said the broken record.) I’m getting used to a new stove (backdoor brag) so I got the pan a little too hot. Don’t be like me. Cook your burgers thoroughly on both sides. If you’re planning to freeze any, turn the heat down so they’re good and cooked but not super browned.

black bean burgers dressed

To serve, melt some cheese on your burger, then put it on a bun (or two pieces of bread if you’re improv cooking and don’t believe in grocery lists). Add mustard and baby spinach and enjoy.

baby's black bean burger

Here’s The Baby’s portion. The cheese helped hold it together a little, and because I was cautious about how much salt was in the burger itself (and he didn’t have anything else with salt in it that day) I didn’t feel nervous giving him any.

freeze black bean burgers

I froze the leftover portions first on a cookie sheet then wrapped them up and put them in a freezer bag. I’ll just turn the pan on nice and low and cook them from frozen the next time we eat them.

Bon apetit, my dear mamas. I know this is a more time-consuming recipe, so if you can’t pull it together, may I offer an alternative *recipe from my earlier days:

3 string cheeses, eaten on the couch while nursing. Three heaping tablespoons of frozen yogurt, eaten in front of the refrigerator. No more than two high fiber cereal bars, eaten in front of the computer while the baby naps. One very well-earned bottle of your favorite IPA.

*Not suitable for BLW.

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Weeknight Meal Weds: Black Bean Burgers

Raising a low-tech baby (isn’t easy)

Raising a low-tech babyHere’s another post in the Things I’m Trying Not to Sound Sanctimonious About series I have accidentally started…

Among the many things I decided were important to me as a parent was the hope that electronics, and specifically devices with screens, would not become staples in my child-rearing arsenal. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents of children under two should avoid exposing them television and “other entertainment media,” with the reasoning that children this young learn best when they’re interacting with people, not screens.

While the AAP and I differ on some topics, I think it makes good sense to try our best to delay as long as possible The Baby’s inevitable obsession with screens. I want him to be able to use his imagination, to be able to engage face-to-face with people and to not need a screen as a crutch when he is bored, frustrated or lonely. As much as screens can connect us to each other, I find the very exercise of trying to get away from them more myself has proven to me that life feels more meaningful when you’re not staring into the glow.

I know as he gets more mobile and grabby and demanding, the temptation to stick a phone in his face so I can have two minutes to use the bathroom will grow stronger and stronger, but I’m really going to try to resist as long as I can, and even after he hits two, I hope we will be able to introduce screens in a way that keeps our values intact.

Here’s what I’ve learned in the first six months of this experience, though.

It’s really hard.

As someone who grew up watching 37 hours of TV a day, who had physical fights with my brother over whose turn it was on the computer, who makes money and nurtures a career on a computer and who is absolutely addicted to my mobile device, I have had to make some big life changes to accommodate this aspiration.

The Husband and I binge-watched Netflix the first three weeks home with The Baby (who certainly was not watching any of it), but as soon as he went back to work, I committed to only watching the morning news and keeping the TV off until TH came home from work to wean myself from the habit of keeping it on all the time. When we moved, we didn’t have the TV set up for over a month.

As soon as The Baby took an interest in glowing screens around two months or so (I think?) we began to try to make sure they’re off when he’s around. It’s hard to even quickly check my email with The Baby around, because the second the screen lights up, he’s whipping his head toward in wonder.

I’ve started listening to the radio and playing music for him when we play. I listen to podcasts when I need to hear adults talking as I do the dishes. I’ve tried to keep battery-powered, lights-and-sounds toys to a minimum because I want him to be able to use his imagination (and honestly, because battery-powered lights-and-sounds toys are annoying as hell on top of being horrible for the environment. Sanctimony achieved. Let’s go back to me describing my weaknesses and flaws, shall we?)

I try my best to look him in the eye and save my idle screen scrolling for when he’s asleep, but those flashing notification lights are like a siren’s song, luring me to check out of whatever I’m doing with The Baby. I know he doesn’t need perpetual direct attention from me, but I also know that even though he’s very small, I’m setting an example, and it’s not always a good one. It makes my heart explode with guilt when I look up from my phone to see that my baby has been smiling at me and trying to get my attention. I know The Husband struggles with this too. We are equally guilty of this frustrating habit and I so wish we could do better.

I hired a mother’s helper last week to come entertain The Baby for a few hours a few days a week so I can get work done. I’ve started putting him down for his first stretch of the night in his own crib so The Husband and I can spend some time watching a little TV together after dinner. There are plenty of other things I’d like to be doing: online classes and tutorials to hone my graphic design skills, being a more attentive blogger (and blog reader), and keeping in touch with friends, but for now, it’s more important for me to be present for my baby.

That’s the crazy dilemma and the irony that technology brings, especially for parents and probably most especially for stay-at-home parents. It’s easier than ever before to continue to make money, to stay connected and avoid isolation as you stay at home with your kids, but it’s also easier than ever to check out and miss out on meaningful time with your kids.

Fellow SAHMs, fellow mommy bloggers, fellow phone addicts, tell me: Do you share these challenges? Are you keeping your kids away from screens until two, or did you give in? How do you help yourself and your family manage media consumption and stay present for each other?

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Raising a low-tech baby (isn’t easy)

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers, father figures and positive male role models out there.

Happy Father’s Day especially to The Husband, who is an amazing dad to The Baby.

Moms: Did you forget to make a card? It’s not too late to put your baby to work!

Now I’ve got to go make some strawberry pancakes.

First Father's Day
These two…. *heart explodes*

 

Happy Father’s Day!

Breastfeeding: The early days can suck

Breastfeeding: The early daysIt’s hard to believe I’ve been breastfeeding for six months. Soon this phase will be just happy memory. (I’ll gladly stick it out for at least a full year but don’t intend to keep going with a kindergartner.) Anyway, before the  memories of the earliest days of this strange and wonderful experience get any foggier in my head, it’s time to talk about my initiation into breastfeeding.

It didn’t start when I had The Baby, though. I need to back up to 2008, first. I was fresh out of college with a journalism degree and had moved to a small city in South Carolina (following The Boyfriend, eventually to be known as The Husband) just at the peak of the economic collapse that made an already bleak job outlook almost comical. So when I got a job offer managing a women’s resource center at the local hospital system, I threw down my Books-A-Million apron (sorrynotsorry) and marched headlong into a field in which I had no business serving as any sort of resource.

I had to prescreen childbirth videos to purchase for the childbirth education classes.

I had to learn the functions and merits of every model of Medela breast pumps and explain to outraged women why they shouldn’t use their sister’s old pump.

I got to know the kindly older nurses who were certified lactation consultants, who taught breastfeeding classes and who helped new moms figure out how to get the hang of breastfeeding. (Lee, Faye, Elizabeth… if there is a heaven, I want those three greeting me at the gates. Seriously, they were saints.)

One time, when no one was available to teach a booked breastfeeding class at the last minute, I had the out-of-body-what-the-shit-am-I-doing moment of seeing myself standing at the front of a room full of extremely pregnant women and their partners, holding a doll up to my own chest and explaining the various holds I had observed the nurses explaining, but that I had never actually seen in action, let alone performed. The not at all convinced faces staring back to me confirmed that a childless 22-year-old with a fresh journalism degree and the stink of desperation is not the spirit guide you want for your journey into motherhood.

Somehow though, I smugly thought of myself as an expert as I approached my own impending date with breastfeeding destiny. Armed with the reassurances of those LCs so many years ago, their warm southern accents engraved in my memory, I practically felt like I had done this before.

The Baby arrived and latched on right away, fervently nursing for a solid hour in the delivery room until we had to convince him to take a break. So I felt affirmed: I, breastfeeding expert, was in for smooth sailing.

Then the no-nonsense midwestern nurses packed us into our Subaru and waved goodbye, and my real adventure began.

Or as I like to refer to it, Hell Month. (How I wish I could call it Hell Week.)

My OB didn’t make it to the delivery, but he did call me when I got home to see how I was feeling. He ended the call with, “Whatever you do, just don’t get mastitis. It feels like you have the flu but worse and you’ll wish you were dead.”

Noted. (Spoiler: He also told me, whatever I do, not to go into labor on Christmas Day. I am an unintentional contrarian, I guess.)

It took my milk a couple days to come in and when it did JESUS CHRIST. Let’s just say I couldn’t see my toes again for a few days.

Latching on became an impossible game of target practice. The Baby would open his mouth wide but wave his little hands in front of it. Getting the latch wrong felt like sticking a high-suction vacuum tube lined with sandpaper to my nipple. Getting it right honestly didn’t feel much better after awhile, because the cracking and bleeding had set in and any contact brought a great deal of pain.

The worst of this hit leading up to a weekend and I couldn’t make an appointment with a lactation consultant until the following Monday. In the meantime, The Husband would hand me the baby and I would start sobbing just from the anticipation of having to feed him. I ended up pumping and feeding him with a medicine dropper for a day or so to give myself time to heal. My nipples were in such bad shape I had to dump out the first half-ounce or so of milk because it was tinged pink with blood.

This weekend was also when I got my first plugged duct, which felt like a horrible bruise on top of a tumor. I read that scrubbing it in a hot shower worked, so I did that. I did that so aggressively that I gave myself a serious friction burn from the washcloth. Plugged duct gone, but skin also gone. (Take it from me tip: Use a bar of soap to coax a plugged duct.)

When I went to the lactation consultant, she helped me work on my latch (which frankly, I was doing right during the day, but every night I would backslide because The Baby would only sleep latched on and next to me, and I was too exhausted to sit up in bed with the light on to diligently monitor his position.) She also took a look at the horrible aftermath of my plugged-ductectomy and said it looked extra red, and that I should watch out for mastitis. I assured her it didn’t hurt anymore and was probably just red because I’m an idiot.

Then I woke up the next morning convulsing with chills, with a 102-degree fever and a weakness that made the aftermath of childbirth feel like child’s play. My OB’s words came back to me: “It feels like you have the flu but worse and you’ll wish you were dead.”

I got some antibiotics and was feeling better by the next day. Latching was slowly starting to get easier and my nipples were starting to heal. I still had to stomp my foot and say FUUUUCK out loud when The Baby started his feeds, but the pain faded after the first minute.

Then I started getting paranoid about getting thrush from the antibiotics, so after feeds I would dunk my boobs in cups of warm saline solution. I also spent half a year’s salary on those Lansinoh Soothies gel pads, which are unbelievably expensive but worth every cent.

I got mastitis one more time – The night before The Husband was due to go back to work, I woke at 3 a.m. with a throbbing pain in my left breast and immediately the chills set in. I felt too guilty to interrupt The Husband’s sleep to ask him for help (stupid), but ended up waking him up two hours later because my chills were shaking the bed. I unplugged this duct without shredding my skin and nursed and laid in bed and felt better that afternoon, but it was once again awful.

Finally, finally, as The Baby got bigger, feeding him got easier.

Quitting never occurred to me as an option for some reason, but I can see why some women do, and don’t blame them one bit. At least I had a GREAT supply, and plenty of time to work on it and lots of help. If I had been in agony and my baby wasn’t getting enough milk, or I had to go back to work far sooner… Ugh. It can be really daunting.

I’m so grateful that breastfeeding worked out for me, despite a rocky start. It is such an awesome bonding experience, it’s free (except for having to keep up with my ravenous appetite) and it’s super, super good for him.

So that’s my stumbling, fumbling entry into breastfeeding. If you’re reading this, feeding your new baby, good luck to you. You can do it. I believe in you! It gets easier, and then it gets awesome.

(And if you decide you can’t or don’t want to do it anymore, you can do that too! Fed is best, as they say.)

How did your early days with breastfeeding go? Share in the comments!

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Breastfeeding: The early days can suck

Baby led weaning, indeed!

adventures in baby led weaningI hadn’t heard about Baby Led Weaning until I was pregnant and a friend asked if I planned to try it, but once I started reading about it, I was committed. It makes a lot of sense to me that babies should be given lots of variety, and the agency to decide what they want to eat and how much of it. As someone who was fed purees as a baby and grew into a kid who didn’t eat anything but peanut butter and jelly, mashed potatoes and chicken nuggets until basically college, I wanted to give The Baby every opportunity to start off on the right foot with food.

When I explained to my mom what BLW was, you’d have thought I was explaining how I was going to feed The Baby lit firecrackers and broken glass. When she was raising kids, purees were the only way to go because choking.  (As the BLW book explains, gagging ≠ choking, and babies gag easily and regularly as they figure out how to manipulate food in their mouths. As long as you’re supervising and not giving them nuts, whole grapes or other obvious choking hazards, they’re going to be fine.)

And while my mom still is adorably cautious about the whole ordeal (she peeled cherries for The Baby and then proceeded to cut them into pieces about the size of a small booger), I think at this point her delight in The Baby’s messy, exuberant dinners has diminished her fears about having to rescue him from a too-big piece of food.

This all started about a week ago. Although The Baby has been advancing pretty rapidly developmentally, sitting up with very little assistance needed, putting anything in sight in his mouth and gnawing on it with his gums, everything I’ve read has said not to start BLW until baby hits the six month mark, that any earlier than that is just too early for the baby’s digestive system and can up the risk for choking.

But I was holding a fussy The Baby at the dinner table during family dinner on Sunday, trying to finish up my corn on the cob so we could get him to bed, when he grabbed the other end of the corn cob and started chewing and sucking on it with the determination of a starving dog.

After that, The Husband and I tiptoed around the fact that this particular baby was leading us headlong into a new phase, trying to stick to the 6-month recommendation. The Husband would surreptitiously let the baby suck on the bitten side of a whole apple; I’d offer a chunk of banana in the mornings after TH left for work. Finally, unceremoniously, we gave in and started offering food on the regular. Each day The Baby has tried something new, and each day he has impressed us with his enthusiasm for whatever’s on the table (and his capacity for making a gigantic, gigantic mess.)

Here’s a short list of things The Baby has *eaten so far during his short but promising career:

  1. Corn on the cob
  2. Apple
  3. Banana
  4. Toast fingers with apple butter
  5. Cheddar cheese
  6. Mushrooms, beet greens and carrots out of a tomato-based soup
  7. Broccoli
  8. Penne pasta with broccoli and chicken
  9. Roasted potato
  10. Asparagus
  11. Roasted green beans
  12. An assortment of Indian food on naan
  13. Watermelon
  14. Peaches
  15. Frittata with spinach, onion and cheese
  16. Roasted sweet potato fingers
  17. Rice with sweet potato and chick peas mixed in
  18. Cucumber sticks
  19. A taste of mom & dad’s morning smoothies (usually beets, bananas, blueberries, spinach and almond milk)

So far, he hasn’t outright rejected anything, though the texture of cheddar cheese threw him a bit, and the tartness of some fruits makes him go a little walleyed. I’m really happy we opted to go this route and can’t wait to continue exploring new tastes and textures with my favorite little gourmand.

As a bonus, his eating our dinners has forced me to step back toward healthier meals from my exhausted and defeated approaches to dinner in the recent past. Someday soon I’ll revisit Weeknight Meal Wednesdays with a BLW-friendly meal.

Join the conversation: Did you go the BLW route? What were some of your baby’s favorite foods? Any tips for someone just starting off?

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Baby led weaning, indeed!

A New Mom’s Summer Reading List

summer reading

I was one of those kids who wiled away a lot of my summers at the library or with my nose in a book in any number of beautiful summer settings – treehouses, porches, tents. (To be perfectly honest, I also squandered much of my summer days in front of the TV. I grew up in the ’90s, after all.)

Anyway, one positive change I’ve been able to adopt somehow during the process of moving to a jungle-like old farm with a baby is reading more. I credit most of this to the fact that The Baby is still sleeping in our bed at night (shut. up.) and I can get about two 40 minute stretches of staying awake time before he really can’t go back to sleep without me. With daylight pressing through the curtains at 9 p.m., I’ve got some time to kill before I can fall asleep, and reading feels more soul-nourishing than endlessly scrolling through my phone. Plus, writing more (blogging) makes me want to read more, and reading motivates me to write more.

While I love reading, I’ve never been very good at keeping track of what I’ve read, the authors I I like, or what I want to read next. So to propel me to a more successful next library trip, I thought I’d do a rundown of what I’ve read over the past few months.

Before I get to the list, a small item of blogkeeping: I made a Facebook page for TLMB! I figure there’s no quicker way to lose Facebook friends (especially the dude variety) than incessant posting about things like childbirth and baby poop. So instead, people who like reading about childbirth and baby poop (ya weirdos) can follow me here. If you’re a regular reader and on Facebook, won’t you do me a solid and like my page? Leave me a comment below if you are a fellow mommy blogger with a Facebook page and I’ll happily return the favor. Thanks, friend.

Okay, onto the book list.

TLMB Moms Summer Reading List

What I’ve loved, and what to skip

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

This was my first foray back into reading after the birth of The Baby. Nothing like reading about post-apocalyptic, gut-wrenching loneliness to cure the baby blues, am I right? Really, though, I loved this book, and if one can find hope after the apocalypse, can’t one find hope that breastfeeding will eventually stop feeling like nursing a baby crocodile? The writing was beautiful, and while I did wake up The Husband because I was sobbing during one particularly sad scene, I woke him up because I was reading really late into the night because I could not put it down.

5 stars.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Have you heard of this book? Of course you have. No, I haven’t seen the movie yet. Yes, I know I am way behind on Oprah’s book list. Honestly I finally decided to read this book because I binge-listened to Cheryl’s podcast (along with Steve Almond, whom I’ve also never read) Dear Sugar, and while it is way more earnest, almost uncomfortably so, than any other podcast I listen to, they do have a seductive way with words and I decided I finally needed to read for myself about Cheryl’s heroin binge. This is another tearjerker, and while sometimes I find myself resisting the urge to eyeroll when Cheryl describes how she got a tattoo with her ex-husband to commemorate their marriage/divorce or how she chooses her new last name (come on), the earnestness I caught on her podcast is the same earnestness and committed jumping-in-head-first approach to life that makes her story so compelling. If you’re like me and haven’t read this yet, it’s worth crawling out from under your rock to check it out.

4 stars.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Okay. I’m starting to sense a pattern I didn’t notice before. I have been bellying up to books that are seemingly way too sad. Books I actively avoided because of their obvious ties to loss. After my pregnancy loss and throughout my pregnancy I couldn’t think about sad things because I didn’t think I was strong enough to handle them, and I didn’t want to even acknowledge that sad things happen. I guess I’m stronger now. Anyway, this has been my favorite book of the summer so far, in spite of the fact that the shortest description I can offer you is, “Kid’s dad died in 9/11. His grandma was a survivor of the WWII Dresden fire bombing. Adventure!” I really loved this book, though. And I only cried a little.

5 stars.

Girl Walks Into a Bar by Rachel Dratch

I love Rachel Dratch. Most recently I’ve loved her small part in Broad City. And yes, like the rest of America, I wondered with some chagrin at what happened to her after SNL. The beginning parts of this book felt very similar to Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please! (which I am just now remembering I also read… I love Amy, but this book didn’t hold a candle to Bossypants and is best reserved for an easy beach read… uh, 3 stars). Anyway, lots of “this is how my early comedy career went down” stuff, but when she gets into trying to date in her late 30s, the book gets better. I’m really glad I didn’t do any research on her or this book before I picked it up, because it was a really fun surprise (sorry, spoiler, but it’s in the GoodReads synopsis) that she became unexpectedly pregnant and had a baby! Yay, surprise mom book! Anyway, Rachel and Amy both fall short of Tina in their ability to move me or feel particularly insightful, but they are funny and charming and I will always root for them.

3.5 stars

It Sucked and then I Cried by Heather Armstrong

I picked this book up at the library because it sounded familiar, then I remembered I have been a sporadic reader of Heather’s blog, dooce.com, for awhile. I decided to read it with the embarrassingly aspirational perspective of a new and not particularly successful blogger who (though I will deny it to my ever-encouraging mother) will not die happy unless I publish a book. I like Heather’s blog. I think she’s really funny. Her book felt…like a bunch of blog posts. Like it could have used a lot more tightening up and thoughtful editing. Um, I didn’t even bother finishing it. I’m not trying to be a jerk, and yes, she’s the published blogger, but it made me feel reassured that I could write a book someday if she pulled it off. God, I’m a jerk. But meh.

2.5 stars

On that sour-grapesy sounding note, I will close for now. But I plan to do this every few weeks so you can keep up with my literary escapades. On my nightstand now: Baby Led Weaning (of course), The No-Cry Sleep Solution (also of course), Cannery Row (took a stack of my high school summer reading books from my childhood bedroom) and A Doubter’s Almanac, another random library pick-up that sounded pretty good.

What are you reading this summer? Anything I should pick up during my next library trip? (Parenting books, really sad novels (I guess), memoirs and classics I likely never picked up are all welcome suggestions.)

One last quick reminder to find me on Facebook and click the little pink picture below if you’re picking up what I’m putting down.

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A New Mom’s Summer Reading List