Five Ways to Read More

Five Ways to Read More

I totally understand that reading more (or reading at all) isn't necessarily a priority for everyone, but I hear people, especially moms, say all the time that they wish they had more time to read AND the truth is that everyone has the same amount of time and we all choose how to spend it. 

Now, before you reach through your screen and slap me... gear down, Big Shifter- I realize that obviously since I stay home with Alice and don't have a "job" (even though teaching was a lot easier than having a newborn! =) I have more free time than most moms. And everyone has different interests/hobbies... if you'd rather watch tv than read, I get it! It usually involves way less concentration (and I definitely have Netflix days where I don't crack a book open.) 

That being said, I have been asked a time or two how I manage to read so many books. The short answer is that I quit my job and have stayed home the vast majority of the time for the past year and a half. (Totally doable, right??) Since that's not a viable option, here are a few tips that everyone can apply no matter how busy their schedules. 

If you really want to fly through some books, choose ones that only have a couple of words per page. You'll feels so accomplished! =) 

-Find what works for you. It's easier for me to read on my phone while I'm feeding Alice but I have a really hard time following nonfiction when I'm on the Kindle app, so if there's a nonfiction book I want to read I usually get a physical copy. If I'm trying (and failing) to follow a more complicated book, I'll be more likely to give up (or get distracted by Facebook/Instagram/YouTube/whatever.) 

-Read what you like. I really love fiction and sometimes just need a simple plot to unwind, but I read a lot of nonfiction even though it doesn't always hold my attention the same way. But just because something is a "must-read" on lots of lists (even the New York Times!) doesn't mean you have to like it. For me, that means anything scary, graphic, or with a lot of language. (I'm a fairly sensitive person and graphic imagery of any kind really messes with my head.) On a podcast I listened to recently, a lady said she worries that her book choices won't seem "smart enough" to her friends. Who cares? Most of my favorite books are children's literature. I don't feel less than "intellectual" because I'd rather read Nancy Drew than Stephen King, you know? If a stack of Beverly Cleary sounds more appealing to you than the latest adult fiction, go for it. (Those Ramona books are probably more well-written anyway.) The point here is that reading something you enjoy makes it more of a priority because you will want to find out what happens! =)

-Abandon a book if you hate it. Like I said in the last point, you don't have to like a book just because someone else does, so if you're reading a book and it's just not holding your attention or you hate the plot or you want to strangle the main character (Scarlett O'Hara, anyone?!) give it up without guilt. Life is too short to sludge through lame or boring books when there are so many out there to be read and loved! I always feel a little bad about quitting a book (or returning it to the library without even getting to it!) but sometimes, like I said, I would rather spend my time on books I like than committing to something I'm not even enjoying. There are enough things we HAVE to spend time on that aren't enjoyable... why waste our precious reading time on drivel? (I'm aware that drivel is totally subjective and what may be awesome to me is total garbage to you. That's what makes it fun. =)

-Make it convenient. I can (and sometimes do) talk everyone's ears off about Gretchen Rubin's advice and research regarding our habits. (Check out her podcast, "Happier" or her website for more information.) One of her best tips for any habit, not just reading, is "make it easy to do right and hard to go wrong." Want to read/exercise/eat healthy/stay organized? Make it easy/convenient! Right or wrong, the fact is we are all influenced enormously by how convenient something is, so if you want to read more, make it easy to do so!

Downloads books on your kindle app if that works for you, carry a book in your bag for those inevitable down times like the car line at school, waiting rooms, etc., and utilize your library. It was a happy day when I started taking advantage of my library's hold system. I can search the database online, request the books I want, and then pick them up when they're ready. This also makes Jonathan happy because he knows that my usual "let me run into the library" time ends up taking much longer... I tend to get distracted. =) And nearly every library now uses an online checkout system called Overdrive that allows you to borrow books through the Kindle app too. So really, you don't even have to leave your house (or spend any money) to get new books to read! No excuses! =) 

Another option, especially for those who love to multitask, is to download audiobooks (also available through your library's online database.) Pop in those earbuds and "read" away while you fold laundry, make your commute, or even exercise. (Bleh! Maybe that will make the gym more fun.) I admit, I have a hard time with audiobooks (maybe because I have a baby to distract me at any and all moments of the day) but most people agree that it's kind of a skill to be developed. 

-Take what you can get. I know that our ideal reading scenario is curled up on the couch with a book and a cup of coffee, with no noise or distractions to pull us away from the story. But with kids, work, errands, and a multitude of other things, your reading time may not be that picture-perfect. And even though reading is an important thing, it's obviously not THE most important thing. My reading has dropped off a little since Alice was born because there are definitely moments when holding her is a priority (like this week- my poor sickie!) and I have to set my books aside. That's a no-brainer! But I'd rather catch a few pages at a time than just throw up my hands and say, "Well, I have a baby! Reading time's over till kindergarten!" We all have our priorities and reading happens to be one of mine (along with Diagnosis Murder marathons and keeping You've Got Mail on repeat. =) 

So, if you're looking to finally finish that book (or stack of books) that's been on your nightstand for months, maybe this will help. For stellar recommendations, check out Everyday Reading (my go-to for years now!) and Modern Mrs. Darcy- Janssen and Anne both have awesome book lists all the time and lots more reading information. (In fact, Anne just started a podcast called "What Should I Read Next?". Perfect!) And I have a book list or two here if you care to poke around. =) 

As always, happy reading! 


Alice Juliet- Four Months

Alice Juliet- Four Months

Nothing says "we've been out of town and sick" like a four-month update that is a week late, but here we are! I can't believe  my girl has already gone through a third of her first year! (And I've kept her alive this whole time! Yay me! =) Unfortunately all my plans to share this post and a couple others have been derailed thanks to RSV paying us a nasty little visit. (Before you are too sympathetic for me, know that my sister has THREE kids with it. Send all sympathy and blessings her way. =( Anyway, I'm finally taking advantage of a nap by being productive instead of, you know, napping myself. And on to the main lady, Miss Alice herself...

Come on... can you handle this? Because I cannot. 

Weight and Length- I thought I would have to wait until her doctor's appointment next week to find out, but sadly because of our unexpected urgent care trip she was weighed on Monday night and she is 14 pounds, 8.5 ounces! Ahh! Big girl! I knew she had to weigh around 14 pounds because Lillian weighs a little over 13 and Alice is, shall we say, wider than her cousin. =) But it was still a shock that she's so much bigger than when she was born! =( I'm not positive about her length... one of these days I'll have to pin down her squirmy self and measure. We should find out next week at her checkup though. 

Nicknames- Alice from the Palace, Love Bug, Squish, Little Girl, Pookie, many other over the top uses of "sugar," baby," sweetheart," etc.

Sleep- doing great! She sleeps around nine hours most nights and more if she skips her last feeding, which I'm trying to phase out a little at a time. She is doing really well in her room but up until this week would not nap in her bed. Starting on Monday when she was sick, she refused to sleep anywhere BUT her room, so we shall see if she sticks to that in the future. I really don't mind that she doesn't, but I feel like she rests better without the interruptions around her so naps in her room would be good. I'm just extremely grateful she sleeps so well at night!

Eating- obviously, she's eating well (see weight. Ha!) She eats pretty much every three hours on the dot if we're home... if we are out and about I may let her go 3.5 and occasionally 4, and at night she is more like 2.5 between her last couple of feedings. Having a schedule is so nice because finally, after weeks of never knowing quite what our day would look like, I can plan around her feeding schedule. (I stuck to a schedule from the time she was born but her first feeding, which determined the rest of the day, wasn't consistent until she was about two months old.) The only time she seems to struggle with nursing is after a day being out/traveling where she has to have several bottles (last Tuesday when we went to Georgia, nursing her that night was a nightmare!) We are getting ready to introduce real food so that is sure to be an adventure! 

Clothing- mostly three months, some 3-6. It's already so warm here that I'm a little nervous about her still having lots of wintery 3-6 outfits but at least with the air conditioning being SO cold everywhere, she'll stay warm inside wherever we go. =) Dressing her is so fun... I love it!

Mood- happy sweetheart. This week is the fussiest she's been probably since she's been born. I hate her being sick =( but she has been much jollier since getting her breathing treatments. Overall, she is very happy and content.

-watching basketball with her daddy
-rolling over
-sleeping on her side
-bath time- she's really starting to splash
-music- especially her Disney lullabies and JJ Heller!
-grabbing her feet

-being read to- we are currently working our way through the Chronicles of Narnia series at bedtime!
-sucking her thumb (noooo!)
-drooling and sucking on her fingers/hands (just lovely)

-cuddling with a blanket

Doesn't Love-
-her little bouncy seat, which is too small- time for an upgrade!

-saline and suction =(
-being stuffed up =( =( 
-getting stuck on her tummy 
-falling asleep on her arm and it falling asleep (just like me!) 

What I Want to Remember/Milestones- her personality is showing all the time! She is so sociable, smiley, and happy. She is very determined- when she's trying to roll over or grab something, she works at it! And I'm learning that she does really well with independence/alone time... especially when it comes to sleeping. (Extrovert AND introvert tendencies already!) She's just so much fun right now. She loves silly songs, voices, faces and probably does a better job making herself laugh than anyone else. (She thinks blowing spit everywhere is just hilarious.) I loved seeing her with Lillian this week and watching the bigger kids with her. I hate that she's so far from her cousins but they are so sweet when they're together! 

What I'm Looking Forward To- her first Easter and all her cute spring outfits, along with her first (closely-guarded, sunscreen-slathered) trips to the pool.

Me- Motherhood is a strange thing. It brings out emotions and behaviors that you don't usually display, on extreme ends of the spectrum. 
I've simultaneously become more rigid and more flexible, bolder and more private, and tougher and more selfless. (Slightly contradictory but all true!) I didn't realize just how scheduled I am until a) last week when we were out of town and b) this week with Alice being sick. I've always like to plan my time but I really thrive on our schedule, and I think Alice does too. That being said, I don't want to be one of those people whose schedule rules their lives with an iron fist and they are insensitive to the needs of others because THE SCHEDULE (think THE CLAAAWWW from Toy Story) dictates whether or not we can enjoy time with family, reach out to a friend, or just having some spontaneous fun. (If anyone squelches spontaneity in this house, though, it's Jonathan and not the schedule. Ha! We're just a couple of planners!) 

Anyway, I could not love this baby more. It's been just over a year since I found out I was pregnant and I could not have dreamed up a sweeter, prettier girl than the one God gave us. (I'm not biased at all!) There's a meme out there somewhere that has a mom frazzled and stressed and yelling at her kids and then the bottom shows her standing over their beds while they're sleeping and the caption says, "I love you so much I might die." The yelling, frazzled part hasn't started yet but I can definitely identify with the caption! No matter how frustrating a day is, I am overwhelmed every single night that this little squish belongs to me and her daddy. =)

Growing so big! =( 

Happy Wednesday!