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Friday, January 24, 2014

A Little Light Reading...

This probably would have been a more timely post to write for early 2014 right when we turned our calendars to the new year. But since giving birth I've been behind on about 95% of life, including Downton Abbey episodes (I know, I know, but I'm finally all caught up this season). Regardless of the best date, I still wanted to share some of the books I enjoyed in 2013.

This book completely rocked my world last spring. I mean turned it upside down and change how I view our American life in so many ways. Also, it was one of the funniest books I've read in a long time. Jen Hatmaker, I don't know how you do it. But somehow she manages to perfectly blend humor along side profoundly heart changing truths. It's the perfect read- weighty with depth, but light with humor. I've since become a HUGE bit of a Jen Hatmaker fan. I got to meet her last spring at a NCF women's luncheon at Mez in Durham and I was over the moon never been more excited kinda excited to meet her. 
Thank goodness I didn't have my eyes closed because I might have cried the whole way home if that had happened. This woman knows how to shake things up in the church and really challenge us to consider whether we look more like the American church or more like Jesus. 

 In Praise of Stay at Home Moms by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
Wow, wow, wow. If you are an SAHM this is an absolute must read. I'd been struggling with finding the significance in my long days (and sometimes nights) and this book was so inspiring. Plus, I respect that Dr. Laura Schlessinger doesn't get all mushy gushy...she says it like it is, even when it's hard to hear and I respect that. Her book The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands is equally a good read. 

Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle
I laughed out loud when I read this book and was seriously sad the day I finished was such a good book I didn't want it to end. Melanie is absolutely hilarious and has a knack for weaving funny into the same chapter as poignant. Definitely a mommy must read. Plus her daughter's name is Caroline too! 

The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller
I really like Tim Keller. But sometimes I can get a little lost in understanding his sermons, it's my lack of being completely and utterly untheologically minded. But, I felt like I was able to clearly follow most of what he said in this book, save for a few points that just didn't hit home to my aforementioned utterly untheoligical mindedness. But, I'd save that's a winning ratio because what he does have to say in here will turn your idea of marriage upside down, in a very, very good way. If you're married or engaged or even if you'd just like to get married someday down the road I'd say consider this one assigned reading for your life. 

I'm a little skeptical of books that boast they hold the secret to child rearing. But I've got to say the farther I got into this book the more I enjoyed it. Druckerman makes some good points about the difference between French parenting and American parenting. And shares how a handful of French parenting techniques might be quite beneficial for us as American parents to adopt. I also simply enjoyed her day to day thoughts on her experience as a mother raising children in another culture. Motherhood is after all a universal experience whether you're American or French.

The Nanny Diaries by Emma Mclaughlin and Nicola Kraus 
This is one of my all time favorite fiction reads and I just keep coming back to it year after year. I reread if every couple years or so, and this rereading was no disappointment. And if you saw the movie, which was okay, let me tell you firsthand the book is waaaaaaaaaaay better. The movie just doesn't do it justice. 

Bottled Up: How the Way We Feed Babies Has Come to Define Motherhood and How It Shouldn't by Suzanne Barston
Can I say that this book too ought to be assigned reading for mothers? There is so much stigma in the world of mothering. So many smiles behind which judgments are made about how one mother raises her children differently from another. This book opened my eyes to seeing beyond stigmas and taught me to question how we as mothers determine what's really best for our babies. I really respect Barston highly for writing this book and creating a supportive online community for moms to share their struggles and triumphs with infant feeding. And for the record she's supportive of infant feeding choice. She's not for breastfeeding or for formula she's for moms of infants and their ability to determine what's best for themselves as mothers and their babies. The best thing a mother can give her baby is love. 

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
I originally read Gatsby as high schooler and had very little understanding or appreciation for this classic novel. But with the movie coming out this past year I wanted to reread the book before I saw the movie and truly appreciated Fitzgerald's writing in a way I never could have in high school. 

What are you reading? I need to get started on my 2014 books and it's already almost February...ah!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Toddler & Pinterest

I've resorted to letting Caroline play with my phone daily. It's either that or the keys, but the phone is always more entertaining for her. And when I'm trying to finish filling our grocery cart, eat a quick bite of food, or put something on besides yoga pants (my daily SAHM wardrobe)  I hand her most coveted treasure over in a second.

This morning I handed her my phone so I could eat breakfast and 5 minutes later she'd created a Pinterest board and even thought to include a workout pin for me. Very interesting title choice she typed. Perhaps she's thinking I'm just ok or huh, and need to work out more? Caroline, my little love, keeping up with you is quite enough work out for me most days.

So if I follow and unfollow you 12 times in a row on Instagram, text you something along the lines of "9 kshtiese8yhsdu  e8w08w439ifjdij  937r 9eufdf u9e4uf8u fefewf 43 t", or call you and leave a voicemail with heavy breathing and Yo Gabba Gabba in the background you'll know who is responsible - that very adorable and very short little smart phone junkie that lives in our house.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Family Portraits in the Gardens

To finish my photography commitments for 2013 I got to go out with style and photograph this simply beautiful family for a second year in a row. I was so excited to photograph these 5 again...they're a gorgeous and totally fun family and our mini session at Duke Gardens simply went by too fast, it was a blast! 

I love doing fun family shots like this one. If we ever have 3 kids I'm totally going to request we get this shot for our family album. 
So did this one make your Christmas card, Sharon? Just kidding! 

Love mother daughter photos even more now that I'm a mom!

Dad and his boys. 

Duke Gardens is always my favorite place for family's just gorgeous anytime of year.

All images copyright of Bethany Schneider Photography

And now that I've sold my old camera and have a new one I can hardly wait for my first portrait session with my new camera. Let me know if you want to book a spring session! I'll be kicking things into gear after Valentine's Day.