Book Reviews by Well Read Reviews

Morning Musings: Taking a Long Time to Read a Book


The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova | Book ReviewsHow do you feel when it takes a long time to read a book?

I have been reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova for about two weeks, now. Normally when it takes me longer than a few days to finish a book, it’s a symptom that I may just not be all that into it. But, it is not the case.

I absolutely ADORE The Historian. Kostova has obviously done a ton of research on the topic of Vlad the Impaler (aka Dracula).

The only problem is that it is taking me so long to read. Because it is so detail oriented, I am unable to read this while doing other things; listening to children, music,  or the TV, etc.  I need peace and quiet which only comes to me at night when every one is asleep. I, then, only get about 20 pages in before I have to submit to sleep.

Yesterday, I think I maybe read a page or two before I had to go to sleep because I was so exhausted by the day.

My Question to You:

What book have you read (in the past or present) that has taken you a considerable amount of time to read even though enjoyable? 


Memorable Books: Which Books are Hard to Get out of Your Head?

Memorable BooksWhat memorable books have you read lately?

I have been reading Damaged by Cathy Glass, an author from the UK. Even when I lay myself down to sleep I cannot, for the life of me, stop thinking about it.

Have you ever had a book affect your thoughts so deeply that you found it hard to concentrate on anything else and get to sleep? Or, have you ever had your dreams and your books intertwine?

It’s like my mind won’t shut off. 

A couple weeks ago I was reading Walking on Eggshells by Lyssa Chapman. The review will not be released until closer to the April 2013 release but like Damaged by Cathy Glass, Walking on Eggshells affected my thoughts AND my sleep.

Books Lyssa ChapmanIn my dreams about Lyssa, we were sisters. At one point we were running away together, away from a house that was about to destruct. When it did, we were thrown to the ground, together, the heat traveling up our legs from the fire. Then, her father (who you all know as Dog the Bounty Hunter) came to our rescue. For some reason, I felt an intense bond to Lyssa — like we had escaped this disaster together.

As such, her book really made me feel a connection to her, as only one can obtain from an author who chances to be completely honest and vulnerable to her readers .

Now, I find myself pulled into Damaged by Cathy Glass and it’s affecting me deeply. I keep thinking about this little girl, “Jodie” (The UK has pretty steep laws about protecting the identity of minors) and my own experience with a troubled 5 year old from my own class (a few years ago).

There was this child that I had in my class,  you couldn’t help but look into those (adorable) blank eyes of his and feel that there was nobody in there. He was so far removed from society that to this day I still think about how he is doing and how his life will be in the future. At the time that I taught him, even for just that short while, I saw nothing in the future for him but prison and I was convinced that unless he sought deep therapy and a stable environment then he will turn into a destructive and dangerous man. At the early age of 5 he was already a destructive and dangerous little boy.

I wish he had someone like Cathy Glass.

The last I heard of him, he was being sent to a school for troubled youth with emotional disorders. I don’t know what that means, exactly, but I hope we haven’t failed him as we have failed so many children. Even though he had complete disrespect for women in his life (including teachers), I know he was reachable as we would sit and have discussions and he would actually smile; a very cute and charming little smile. Even though his eyes appeared to be soulless  I know there was  a frightened little boy in there somewhere, escaping the reality of his situation.

It still makes me sad that I didn’t have the power to help him, more.

But, anyway — what books have you read (either recently or in your lifetime) have you found to be difficult to get out of your head?

My Thoughts on Being a Book Reader | Booking Through Thursday


Every Thursday, Booking Through Thursday asks a book-ish question. This week, the question is:

Can you imagine NOT being a Reader? How does it shape your life? Your perception of it?

How does being a Reader affect your relationship with all those folks who are looking at it from the other side and simply can’t understand how you can sit and READ all the time?

Can I imagine not being a reader? No. I cannot even remember what it was like not to read, considering I started reading at the tender age of 4. Reading was always an enjoyable experience for me. It was always a reward and never a punishment.

I think this is do partly in fact that I don’t remember spending a lot of time with my Dad — which I know I did, but my memory is strongest of him and I reading together. We would read from these books that once belonged to my Dad as a child (they even had his crayon marks in them) so they were circa the ’50s. They were a treasury of children’s tales, all preaching some sort of moral lesson with a religious undertone. My Dad reading to me is still one of my fondest memories of my childhood.

My Mom was also a reader, but read a lot of the chic-lit, romance type books. I don’t remember reading WITH my Mom but she was the one to inspire the books that I read, often giving me books to read that she read when she was younger. For example — Nancy Drew. The first Nancy Drew book my mother gave me was “The Clue in the Diary (Nancy Drew, Book 7)“. After reading that, I was hooked. I went on to read most every Nancy Drew book I could get my hands on — often reading through one a day while in the 3rd and 4th grade. (P.S. My Mom’s favorite Nancy Drew book was “The Mystery at Lilac Inn (Nancy Drew, Book 4)“. I read that, too.)

My parents also allowed us to stay up past our bed time (of 8 or 8:30 on a school night) as long as we were reading. To this day, I still read myself to sleep most nights. It was during the beginning of this that my parents put a temporary hold on my reading Nancy Drew because they claimed that I had nightmares, none of which I ever remembered having so I still doubt their story. ;)

Reading with my parents combined with being encouraged by my parents to read (as well as seeing them read) caused me to become the reader that I am. This is so much so that I honestly, even at 29 years of age, cannot fathom why some people do not like to read and I hope, if years down the road my kids have learned ANYTHING from me, is that books are amazing and reading can take you anywhere you want to go.

My husband, though, is not a reader.  I admit, it does bug me sometimes, because I’ll read something amazing and want to share it with him and he just has no interest. However if the book goes to movie, he’s all about watching it with me. (I still wish he was a reader, though.) Luckily my mother-in-law is a reader and she often reads a lot of the same books that I do so it’s great to have someone to discuss the latest reads with.

As for what others think about ME reading all the time? I am too busy with my nose stuck in a book to notice. They can think what they want because it is their loss, not mine. :)

So, what about you?  Can you imagine not being a reader (or BEING a reader)?

Does your being a reader (or lack of being a reader) affect the relationships with those around you? 


After Kate’s hospital visit, I am left thinking, “What Now?”

My beautiful little girl

Tuesday was Kate’s hospital procedure. I wasn’t looking forward to my tiny little girl being put under anesthesia but I was looking forward to getting some answers. Kate was scheduled for an endoscopy by her gastroenterologist and a ton of blood work ordered by both her gastroenterologist doctor and her endocrinologist doctor.

I was instructed not to let Kate have any food after midnight as her procedure would be at 8am and it was best if she had not eaten for about 8 hours prior. Kate went to bed at 8:30 and I tried as hard as I could to get her to stay up later so I could pump her full of breast milk here and t here but she had enough of awake time and her little body demanded sleep.

Smiling at herself in the camera phone.

She woke up around 4:30am hungry, and normally by then I would get up with her since 8:30-4:30 is 8 hours and that is a long time for a breastfed child to not eat. But I could only avoid her at all costs. If she saw me or heard me, the tantrums would start. The look in her eyes would say, “I am hungry! Why are you not feeding me??!”

We left for the hospital as we were to be there by 7am. We were there by about 6:40 and Kate was beyond cranky. Luckily, I thought, we would only have to deal with this for another hour and then she would be under and not feel the pain of hunger or thirst. It felt inhumane, denying my child something so basic as food & drink when they not only NEED it to survive, but Kate’s tiny and needs every calorie she can get her hands on that agrees with her system.

7 came and went as did 8. The receptionist had crossed off our names but claimed he didn’t see us. Um, what? I looked at the sign in sheet and it said I was there and it had been crossed off. What the heck? “I know there is not much you can do but it has been way too long since she has eaten and she is really hungry…” I said, frustrated to hear my 17 month old cry with frustration. Even a year and a half later, I grow incredibly agitated and frustrated when my child cries and I cannot soothe her. It’s motherly instinct, you know. You hear the cries of your child and you want to soothe them. You NEED to soothe them and anyone that stands in the way — so help them, God!

We were finally called back to registration, and then the waiting room where Kate was put into her hospital gown and overly large socks. Now, keep in mind that this was a pediatric doctor and she was at the hospital that had the Disney Pavillion! Now why on earth are they not prepared to have baby-sized hospital gear? Is this common?

Me and my Sweetie Petitie.

But, anyway– Kate started perking up when she was being given a lot of attention. The anesthesiologist, Dr. London, was incredibly gentle and kind with Kate. Now, if you know Kate, you know how completely opposite in personality she is from her very outgoing and friendly big sister, Carli. Kate will sit back, observe and you can’t always tell what she’s thinking. She is, though, very animated with her eyes. She gives death stares like no other. Even so, the doctors and nurses found her endearing and adorable and she really liked that. She would shoot a few smiles here and there. It was also nice and reassuring to hear (as a parent) that they were behaving so well. Either they were lying to me (because I could have sworn she was being one nasty toddler) or I expect to much from my children. Either way, I appreciated that they made me feel like no matter how she was behaving, they truly liked her.

Forrest really wanted to go back with Kate. When it comes to our girls and their illnesses, he really steps up as Papa Bear. In fact, he tends to be way more motherly during their illnesses than I am. When he knew Kate was to be put under, he really wanted to be with her. I could sense the tension and the anxiety he had, and she wouldn’t let anyone but me hold her — so we agreed that I would go back with her. We didn’t want any more anxiety than there was.

So, I went back with Kate and held her the entire time. I sat on her bed, cuddled her, and they applied the gas mask. I felt her body grow heavy and she began to relax. Within a minute, she was sleeping heavily. They picked her up and laid her on the bed. It was surreal. I have never seen her sleep so heavily. (She’s not a good sleeper). I left the room and went to join my husband in the waiting room.

The wait was quick. Maybe 20 minutes? It felt like no time at all and they were calling us back to go be with Kate in recovery.

We had to get a picture, first.

She was still sleeping when we got there. Unlike adults, they weren’t yelling in her ear to wake up. They were quiet and taking her vitals and let us be the ones to wake her up. So, I woke her up with gentle kisses and whispers in her ear and gently rubbing her arm. I woke her up the way I would have wanted to wake up if I was her. It’s terrifying waking up after surgery/procedures when you were put under. I’ve been in that position twice, and the last thing I wanted was for her to be startled and confused.

It took her a few minutes to wake up. She would wake up enough to want me to hold her but she would fall back asleep. It was like that for maybe 20 minutes. The nurses and doctors said that she was waking up “really good!” though, so I wasn’t worried.

The doctor came in and told us that he was sorry but they couldn’t do the bloodwork. The lab had sent adult-sized blood viles and equipment, rather than the pediatric, child-sized and they were unable to get the blood work while she was under. I was visibly upset but kept my cool. The bloodwork I wanted even more than the endoscopy. The bloodwork included metabolic conditions, thyroid, growth hormone levels, etc. My gut has always told me that the bloodwork would have the answers so when he said they couldn’t do it, my heart sank.

Supposedly it was the most mad he has ever been and really took it out on the lab employees. I would never have known as the doctor was soft spoken to us. But, anyway — he told us that there is a sphincter from her esophagus to her stomach that closes after eating and it helps keep the food down. I guess supposedly its not closed as a newborn (hence spit up) but it matures as they get older (around 6 months of age). But hers was completely open. It is like a cup without a lid. When it becomes overly full or agitated, the contents will spill out and that explains her random vomiting episodes after eating. He seems to think that it “explains” her FPIES and “this is it” but I know better.

FPIES doesn’t happen 10-15 minutes after eating. Not usually, anyhow. Kate’s FPIES episodes happen anywhere from 2 hours to 4 hours after ingestion. That is well beyond the normal digestion period. He said this should explain her not wanting to eat and I had to remind him multiple times that her appetite is NOT an issue. She would eat all day if you let her.

By now it was around 10:30 and Kate still had not eaten anything. When I expressed this, he THEN told us that she could have eaten 4 hours prior to her procedure and not 8 — I was mad. As her procedure didn’t happen until about 9:30am, I could have fed her at 5:30 that morning! We would have had a MUCH happier baby, then. It just added to the frustration I was feeling.

Afterwards, we went to the lab to get some bloodwork done. They had a hard time, for some reason, because they were getting it out of an IV rather than the way they normally take blood. But Kate was good the entire time and never showed any discomfort in what they were doing. It didn’t seem that was over, though. They could only get 10mL of blood from her, because she was only 16lbs. (Yes, she actually weighed at 16lbs that morning!!)

But, anyhow — she recovered nicely. She was herself a few hours later and we doted on her and held her and thanked her for being in our life and being such a good sport, regardless of not understanding what was going on.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel like I have any more answers. I had figured as much that she couldn’t hold her stomach contents in as well as others, but her body is just not as advanced as others her age. I did, however, lose confidence in my doctor a bit. He said he wanted to possibly start her on antacids since it was a little red from stomach acid and somehow that will close the hole? I kept asking but he just kept repeating a bunch of nothing. How is antacids going to magically close the stomach?

Plus we really don’t want to pump her body full of medications without fixing the issue. He also said that he would probably not scope her again unless the medication didn’t help. Okay, well the medication would just mask the symptoms of reflux, reflux that doesn’t really happen much anymore. But it’s not going to prevent random vomiting episodes and how is it REALLY going to close the hole. Unless he did scope her again, how would he even know if it closed or not? He wouldn’t.

So that just frustrated us even more.

The only thing I have to look forward to, right now, is the results from part 1 of her blood tests. I hope to God there is TRUE answer in there that we can, without a doubt, believe in.

After 15 months, could I REALLY be getting some sleep?

Katelyn Rain, 15 months old.

It has been a very long 15 months, in terms of sleep. I think on any given night, I may sleep a total of 2-3 hours. It is no wonder that I drag along the rest of the day in depressive state, yearning for the moment when I can rest my eyes.

Carli was a great sleeper from the start (still is at 3.) She slept through the night at 9 weeks and usually slept from 8-8:30 until at least 5:00am. When Katelyn came along, I was expecting the same. First rule in parenting is, “No child is ever the same.” so I should have known better. 9 weeks came and went for Katelyn and she was still up frequently during the night.

I think many people fail to realize how important sleep is for mothers. It can really take a physical and psychological toll on our bodies. I felt the pressure to accept that my breastfeeding daughter needed to nurse all night to be content, but inside I was resentful. I just wanted a few hours of sleep at a time. Or hell, some consistency. I got neither.

I couldn’t cosleep with my daughter, although I sure tried. When she was done nursing, she would fuss and fuss to be in her own “space”. I guess Kate is very much like me in that sense — needing a sense of space while sleeping. So even if she had taken half an hour to nurse, she would fuss and I would have to get up. It wasn’t that easy, though –  just putting her back down. For 9 months she had to be swaddled.. and I mean had to. Any time she would move, she’d jolt awake and cry to be nursed. Swaddling her gave her more sleep, as little sleep as she actually got in one sitting.

After getting her settled, it would take me 15 minutes, sometimes 20 or 30 to get back to sleep. Sure enough, 45 minutes to an hour later, she was up again. This, my friends — is what I have put up with for 15 months. Doesn’t it make you tired (or a bit nutty) just thinking about it? If it doesn’t.. then you’re not normal.

The lack of sleep has affected me in so many ways that I can not even begin to describe in one entry. But to name a few:

  • It contributed dramatically to postpartum depression (which made it difficult to bond to Katelyn for many months). This, in turn, made me feel inadequate as a Mother. What Mother (GOOD Mother) takes months to bond to her own flesh and blood?
  • Caused me to be impatient with my 2 year old.
  • My husband started taking on more work as he got home as I refused to budge from the couch (as exhaustion had taken over.)
  • Took away my enthusiasm for general living. Not much made me happy — at all.. except the idea that SOMEDAY I may get to sleep again.

With the support of family and friends, I finally sought some help for my postpartum depression (something that I wish to discuss at greater lengths another time) and in doing so — I was able to deal better with the lack of sleep. I was able to bond with my infant daughter, and my patience for my 2 year old increased (although now she is 3 and boy, oh, boy — is she something!”)

Still, though — I wanted sleep. I craved it, and although I no longer was upset with Katelyn, I knew in my heart she wanted sleep too. On the few occasions when she would sleep for 5+ hours in a row, the following day she was incredibly happy and amiable and loving. Seeing how being well-rested affected us both in such positive ways, I vowed I would figure out a way to help her learn how to sleep well.

I decided that it was my parental duty to teach my child this skill of sleeping; the first of many skills I hope to teach her (and that I will be responsible for teaching her) as she grows. While Carli was able to learn to comfort herself and sleep longer periods right away, it was something that Katelyn lacked. It was a skill, in her case, that needed to be learned.

But what way could I teach my child how to sleep and still maintain my sanity (and hers?!)

I felt like I couldn’t discuss the sleep issues with my breastfeeding Mama friends as they seemed content in their lack of sleep and God forbid I express any interest in the cry it out method. (Note: If you want genuine research on the Cry It Out method, read this blog entry: When Proof is Not Proof.)

I struggled with this. The crunchy Mamas I knew frowned upon it in a huge way. After all, Dr. Sears (who I DO really enjoy and have read a majority of his books) claims that CIO is nothing short of abuse (to paraphrase.) Mamas have taken his word as gospel without having actually read the studies that he has mentioned when trying to prove his point. The resources he uses are of actually abused AND neglected children — not even children who are well loved, fed, cared for and of parents gently guiding them to sleep.  Yes if you abandon your child to cry for hours without so much as your appearance, it is neglectful. AND these children that are in the studies are children that are left to cry all day, every day, for months; the kind of sad stories you read about on

BUT — not all sleep training is.

In fact it was one article I read on Dr. Sears on night weaning that gave me the idea and I combined it with time tested methods from friends who I trust. Combined, Katelyn slept from 9:30-4am the first night, and 9:30am-6:00am the second. This is amazing, you see. So how did I do it?

I realize that Katelyn has become completely dependent on nursing. Every time she wakes up (and I believe the average sleep cycle of children her age are less than 2 hours), she wasn’t able to get herself back to sleep so she HAD to nurse.  Dr. Sears recommended nursing really well before putting them to bed and then when they cried to nurse in the middle of the night, to comfort them in other ways that did not include nursing.

What is kind of funny is that Dr. Sears said they will cry and cry and that is okay because they will know its there. So the very person who so outwardly is against crying it out of any kind — also says its okay? Yeah, I am confused by it as well. Either way, I told myself that when she woke up in the middle of the night, I wouldn’t get up to nurse her. I would let her know that I was there and make her comfortable — but I would not nurse her.

The first night I woke up at 3am with Katelyn in bed with me. I could not, for the life of me, remember getting her. Then hubby was on call and I couldn’t very well deal with a crying baby who may cry for an unsaid amount of time when he would be most likely getting little sleep. So for another week, I got up and nursed her and did the same ‘ol routine of not having a routine.

Then we moved — and I felt guilty that we were in a new place and  I kept telling myself that she must be scared and worried and that I shouldn’t move AND take away night time feedings as WELL. Gah — there was always some excuse and meanwhile, I would wake up every day a complete zombie. Of course, I would take it all out on my husband (who does NOT deserve it.) That’s it — I had to do it. No more night time feedings and if she cried, well — she cried.

The first night — well, to be honest, it is hell on Earth. No one wants to hear their child cry, especially if they know exactly what will solve the problem. Forrest and I would look at each other in bed, and he would try to talk to me and I would shush him, unable to think of anything but Katelyn. I would go to her, pick her up,  kiss her, sing to her, and she would scream and pull at my shirt. I would put her back down, and she would get back up and she would cry for a few minutes and I would go back to her and settle her back down, put on her leap frog soother (which is awesome, by the way) on 20 minutes of nature sounds.

I think this went on for maybe half an hour, 45 minutes the first night. I think she got up briefly around 3 but when I went to comfort her, she settled right down. I could sense that it was beginning to work. She knew I was there, yet she also was gaining a sense of comfort in herself. She wasn’t learning to not need me but she was learning that she had the skills, as well, to comfort herself. There is a difference.

During the day she is so mellow and happy and smiley. I know, in my heart, that I did not do the wrong thing for my child. She needed this; to learn how to fall asleep and go back to sleep. She now is going down easily rather than it being a 45 minute ordeal each night. Now she is just laying down, puts her head to the side as I give her a lot of kisses and hair rubs. I turn on her soother, cover her with a blanket and I don’t hear a peep.

I am enjoying the sleep. I can feel myself going into a deeper sleep. It is taking some getting used to as I’ll wake up around 4-4:30 and be unable to get back to sleep. My body is just not used to so much sleep anymore!

So for those who are struggling with the sleep situation — do what is best for you and your family. If you feel in your heart that you cannot stand to listen to have them a rough night or two of controlled crying, then don’t do it. If you feel that it is what your child needs (like mine), then do it — but do always let your child know you are there, at least in presence if not touch or sound.

All children are different and all families are different — and “crying it out” or “sleep training” is not right for everyone but in our case — it was just what she needed to get some rest, as well as for me to get some rest and we couldn’t be happier.

So — if you have something negative to say about how horrible of a mother I must be (without knowing me or having met me) then by all means, keep it to yourself. Anyone that has met my children in real life knows how loved and HAPPY they are and my not nursing Katie through the night certainly is not going to change that.

BOOK Trailer: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children #Spooky

Don’t you want to go out and buy it right now? The author, Ransom Riggs, flew out to Belgium and got some of the spooky house footage himself! Oh man, this trailer is creepy! The book itself is pure art. PURE ART. Very rarely do I see a regular fictional book that absolutely intrigues me based on production alone. The smell of the pages and their clean, crisp, and matte images. Yum. This book is a keeper. I know that, already! I haven’t started the story yet, but I sure hope it sucks me in as much as the images do!

Did you know, by the way, that the book’s rights have already been sold for movie production by 20th Century Fox? Ooh Oooh!!! The book just has to be that good. (Can you tell I am absolutely thrilled to have received this ARC?)

So here is the creepy-don’t-want-to-sleep-alone-tonight book trailer and make sure to check back to Well-Read Reviews for a book review, coming soon!

Wait.. Did I just make this word up?

Photo by: autumn_bliss (Flickr)

Do you ever begin to write something (anything) and then a new word pops into your head and somehow you work it into your sentence, only to wonder later, “Wait — did I just make this word up or is it a real word?” You look down at this alien word before you and you genuinely believe in your entire being that the word works. Do you pass it off like you know what you’re talking about and risk the possible embarrassment of someone calling you out on your faux pas of it being a phony word? Or — do you erase it and find a word that you know exists in the human language? Or none of the above?

Earlier this evening I was posting on a message board when I used the word, “guise”. In my head, for some reason, the word suddenly became foreign to me. I began to question everything about it. I wanted to say that I used it correctly because it sounded right but what if I was wrong? So instead of just accepting my choice of words, clicking submit, and being done with the particular thread I was reading, I had to stop and look up the word. I had to verify its very existence.

It exists and I used it right. Whew. Seriously, though — close call. My next attempt to inject  new vocabulary into my words (written or otherwise) may not turn out the way I had hoped. (Wait — why is inject suddenly sounding off to me?)

I wonder why it is that words we know exist or use often suddenly get switched up in our brain and we begin to question them as being real or question its usage. (Or does that sound completely nutty?) Maybe it’s my brains way of saying, “Feed me more vocabulary.. Nom Nom.” (Or maybe it’s my brain’s way of saying LET ME SLEEP! As I haven’t had a full nights rest in 10.5 months.)

I am not completely alone here, am I? You’ve either made up words or thought you MAY have made up words, right?


Okay, good.

The Sunday Salon: 5 Reasons I Love My E-Book Reader More


This is The Sunday Salon meme; dedicated to chatting about your literary ventures of the week. This week I am going to discuss – ebook readers. Yes, ebook readers.

Ebook Readers get a lot of flack in the book blogging circuit. I admit, I was one to not really understand the whole concept of reading on an electronic device until recently. My husband gave me the iPad2 for my birthday/Valentine’s day combo present this year.  The screen is about the size of a hardback book so you’re not reading on a tiny screen. You can explore a variety of E-readers and accesories at Best Buy and find what gadget fits your lifestyle.

The iPad has quite a few different apps that you can use so you can download various book formats. You can get the Kindle app from Amazon or you can get the Nook app from Barnes and Noble. My preferred app, however, is Stanza. It pretty much allows you to read any format from any ebook reader. This helps a lot if you can’t find a book you want in a format you need.

Now, here are 5 reasons I like my ebook reader over the real deal.

1. I can download books from the store within minutes. You can find your books in your pajamas. You can wear nothing at all, if you should wish. You simply use your device to shop for an ebook of your choosing and purchase. The book is yours, forever.

2. Ebooks are cheaper. Have you tried getting a new bestseller when all they have is hardcover form? I’ve seen hardcovers average at around $17 while the ebooks, I have seen anywhere from 7.99 to 11.99. Plus think of all the money you are saving on gas and we know gas is not exactly cheap now a days. The bookstore is around the corner from me and timing on a gas gauge, it costs about $5 just to drive too and from the bookstore. Save it, and buy your book online.

3. Save valuable space within your home. (Your spouse will thank you) My husband is not a reader; not like I am.  So therefore he doesn’t get the appeal of a thousand books displayed proudly all over the home. Forrest’s taste are simple and clean and he tends to see my books as clutter — and they are, as I have so many of them. When you have an ebook reader, you can still have thousands of books and yet have more room for things that are important to the important people in your life; even if it is just empty space.

4. No waiting “until you get home” to start another book. When I am reading, I am often out and about. I do a lot of reading in my car as Forrest drives the family from point A to point B on errands or various activities.  But what happens if you finish one paperback book and aren’t due to be home for hours? With an ebook reader you can simply start another book that interests you. I love not having to wait!

5. Reading in the dark. Oh you can’t beat this. Sometimes because of Forrest’s hours, he goes to bed early. But when I am in the middle of a good book, I really don’t want to go to bed, yet he can’t sleep without me. He hates the light on — so how exactly can I read a book? The iPad makes it very easy. I can adjust the brightness of my screen. Then stanza has a night time setting where the background is black and text is white. Then when you tap the screen in a downward motion, it dims the screen even more. With an ebook reader, I can read in the dark. :)

So.. aren’t you just a LITTLE curious about ebook readers, now?

No loose covers but the baby stays covered!


I received a fleece Halo Sleep Sack, size small, a few months ago. It was right on time as we needed something warmer for a few chilly Florida nights. I emphasize on a few chilly nights as we have very few in comparison to the rest of the world.

The Halo sleep sack has the benefit of being a wearable blanket that zips up (or rather down) covering the baby’s legs completely. The small comes with a removable swaddle for the baby that needs to be swaddled. My daughter Katelyn is one of those babies. Even at 8 months she needs to be swaddled when she sleeps.

I loved the way the fleece Halo Sleepsack fit. The velcro was strong and secure. Wearing it, Katelyn was a toasty little baby. I liked the sleep sack so much that I went and purchased a small interlock knit Halo sleep sack. The fleece was too warm on normal nights and it worried me, so we also needed something light and breathable as the knit.

For some reason I think the fleece version is more secure. Kate has yet to free herself from that swaddle. However on the knit, it feels a little smaller and I have a hard time adjusting her so she doesn’t break her arms free and wake herself up from her slumber. I definitely like the fleece one better, however we aren’t able to use it as much due to Florida warmth.

Katelyn is about 14 lbs and well within the weight limit for the size small (which goes up to 18lbs) yet the width of the swaddle runs a bit on the small side. Ideally I would like to take the first flap and tuck it completely over then under her before securing the Velcro top flap. I think this is the issue that contributes to her breaking free in the knit version.

Overall I am quite happy with the Halo sleep sack. It will be quite helpful in transitioning her to unswaddled sleep and keep her from kicking off her blankets, keeping them safe and secure upon her.

I recommend the fleece version for cold climates to keep the babies warm. However the knit may work for Florida beach babies or summer time infants. Though babies who are incredibly strong may find the hold on the knit version to be insufficient to swaddle with.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


REVIEW: The ULTIMATE Swaddler by Peawee Baby

Book Reviews About Peawee Baby:

Taken from their website:

Hi!  My name is Tamara and I’m the owner of Pea Wee Baby™ LLC.  I’m also the creator of the SwaddleBuddy™ series of swaddles and swaddle accessories.

I’m married to the best guy in the world and am a part-time WOHM to 2 girls aged 12 years apart, a brand new baby boy, along with 2 Great Danes and a cat.  I’m an accountant by trade, but since my youngest daughter was born, dreaming up swaddle designs has been my passion.

Pea Wee Baby™ LLC was born out of necessity.  My newborn daughter was a swaddle houdini, and I was desperate for a decent stretch of sleep.  Once I found something that worked for us, I had to put it out there for other mamas with their own swaddle houdinis!

My oldest daughter noticed that our baby girl’s initials (PWE) sounded out was Pee Wee.  Combining that with the image of a baby swaddled in a pea pod and Pea Wee Baby was born!

I’m extremely excited about our products!  If you have any questions, please contact me at and I’ll be happy to help!

Tamara, the owner of Peawee Baby graciously sent me one of her SwaddleBuddy Suits when she knew I was in need of a good swaddler. The SwaddleBuddy Suit is different than your ordinary Swaddler. This information below is taken from her website:

The SwaddleBuddy™ Suit is guaranteed to keep your houdini baby swaddled!  The arm restraint keeps the arms comfortably at the sides while the exterior wrap provides the comfort of being swaddled.  Unlike other swaddles that wrap the arms, the SwaddleBuddy™ Suit uses hook and loop to prevent the arms from becoming unwrapped by an especially wiggly swaddle houdini.  The Suit option keeps the upper portion of the swaddle in place and is perfect for use in swings and bouncy seats.  The hook and loop opening allows for super easy access for diaper changes without having to unswaddle.

This adorable swaddle is made of your choice of 100% cotton interlock.

Size Small will fit most babies up to approximately 15 lbs.

Size Large will fit most babies from approximately 15 lbs until they no longer require swaddling.

I was extremely, extremely excited to be able to try out the PeaWee SwaddleBuddy Suit. I was laying in bed talking to my husband about how Katelyn was frequently awaking herself by busting out of her current name-brand swaddler. Then because Katelyn loves to be swaddled as she rocks, it makes for a less secure swinging experience when I can’t properly place the buckle around her waist and between her legs.

“I think it would be really awesome if a swaddler had the option of allowing the legs to go free.” I even debating (being able to sew myself) coming up with my own if there wasn’t one on the market. Miraculously, I somehow stumbled upon Tamera’s creation, the Peawee SwaddleBuddy Suit. I was all sorts of excited!

When the suit arrived, I instantly put it on Katelyn. She smiled the widest smile and so I placed her in her swing. I loved that I was able to secure her in the swing now that the legs were free! Being a little chilly, I put a warm blanket over her legs and Katelyn smiled and cooed and stared at herself in the swing’s mirror hanging above.

Within 15 minutes, she was fast asleep where she remained asleep for a good 4 hours or so. She slept absolutely brilliantly. Since the arrival of my swaddler at the beginning of the week, I have been using it for naps and for sleeping at night and I absolutely, undeniably love it. Katelyn looks very happy and content being swaddled in the SwaddleBuddy Suit and it feels secure but not overly tight. This swaddler is amazing and I am telling all my friend’s about it who have newborns!

So if you are a mother of a newborn, or know someone who is having a baby — get a PeaWee SwaddleBuddy product. You will absolutely love it as much as I do!

Keeping the little ones as safe as possible #ChildSafety

Book Reviews

Keep that baby safe!

I am notoriously picky about my child’s safety. When we were at our old house, Carli was blocked off from anything she could get hurt with. I had a special play area that was behind a wide gate that kept her safe when I couldn’t keep an eye on her 24/7. I knew that whatever was in there, was safe.

In fact, I am such a paranoid mother that when Carli started eating solids, I would tear things into pieces so small that she developed the ability to pinch and pick up the tiniest of objects. People (family) still joke with me that it is because I made everything so small for her.

Now that we have moved into a new house (and have another new baby) I am even twice as paranoid. I think about everything from the sockets in the wall, to if I have purchased the best baby mattress for my little ones.

I am very big on crib mattress safety. Our mattress(es) are firm without excess blankets. We do not use bumpers at all. We keep the temperature in the girls room cool and we do not over dress them in anything too warm. For example, a lot of baby and toddler pajamas come with footies and long sleeves made of fleece. While they may be fine in other states, it is still too hot for such items to be worn to bed.

I do what I can to follow the rules and even so, I am super worried every night I go to bed until they wake up in the morning. Forrest still does not like going to work without seeing Carli in her room. While I appreciate his concern, he leaves at 7am! (Our kids will probably never learn to sleep in, LOL!)

We brought our wide gate with us to the new house and it currently blocks off the kitchen so Carli (and eventually Katie) can not get into the kitchen where they could potentially get hurt. I’ve stuck wall plugs in every socket I could find. I’ve cut the cord(s) to the window blinds around the house so they are out of reach. (Nothing like the huge WARNING sign on the windows to make a Mom go a bit nutty).

Carli still isn’t allowed free range in her own room, yet.Forrest needs to secure her bookcase with an anchor and then she will be good to go. We still need to find a way to secure a  bifold door. (If anyone has any ideas, that would be wonderful!) And we need a few more baby gates.. but our new place is definitely becoming baby/toddler proof.

So tell me, what are you doing to keep your little ones safe in your home?

BEWARE: Formula Company’s “Breastfeeding Help” line(s) or Products

Book ReviewsYou’re sitting at your doctors office and he (or she) asks you the big question, “Will you be bottle feeding or breastfeeding?” You say “Breast” because, “Breast is best, right?” but you don’t know much about it. The doctor (or nurse) retracts and then comes back with a gift. You look down at this box, “A breastfeeding support kit — cool!” Then you begin to observe it. Enfamil? Aren’t they a formula company? Why would they be supporting the very thing that could put them out of business? Good question.

They’re not.

Breastfeeding Support Packs

Formula companies are deceiving you. They aren’t in support of your breastfeeding — come on! This breastfeeding support pack makes just as much sense at receiving information on a nicotine-free life from major cigarette corporations.

What they are doing you is the bait and switch. “Oh how kind of Enfamil for giving me this stuff. They must REALLY care about me and my breast feeding. I trust them. And this free sample of formula? I hadn’t planned on using it.. but I guess once wouldn’t hurt. I mean, I have to sleep one time.”

Do you see where I am going with this? They understand that the simple act of having it in one’s possession (along with misinformation) will weaken the new mother enough to use their product; to see its temporary “ease”, and switch from breast to bottle. (And believe me — as a breastfeeding Mom who used to bottle feed..  breastfeeding is SOOO much easier!) Yes it’s harder than hell at first but if you push through it (and you will) it’s just SO much easier all around.

When I had Carli in June of 2008, I didn’t know much about breastfeeding. I knew very little people who breastfed so my support system lacked incredibly. I had no one around to keep me going when I was feeling overwhelmed or lost or insecure about my breastfeeding relationship. But you know who was there for me? Enfamil & Similac and their endless formula samples. (Gag)

Overly tired and drugged up from my c-section, I let my husband give her a bottle. There wasn’t one single day in Carli’s life where she wasn’t supplemented with formula. Needless to say, we stopped breastfeeding by 2 months. Feeling endless guilt, I tried to re-lactate but found it incredibly hard and the formula samples kept coming! I vowed not to be a pawn in their marketing schemes with my next child. I would be well-informed and decline everything.

Katelyn has gone 2 months, so far, without a single taste of formula — and going strong. Boo ya, Enfamil/Similac et all.

Breastfeeding Support Lines

Abbot (aka Similac) has created a new breastfeeding support help line.  It’s another bait and switch tactic. Just imagine, a breastfeeding mother — overwhelmed and no support calls up this “support help line” because they are feeling insecure about their supply. Instead of calling a certified IBCLC, they call this Similac support help line — because it’s a name they are familiar with so “it must be trustworthy” — right?

In fact, an IBCLC I know called them up, pretending to be a mother with very basic breastfeeding issues (an insecure with supply) and you know what they told her? They mixed basic breastfeeding support with marketing their product, “Well, you’re going to want to get the baby to breast as much as possible — but you’ll also need to supplement with our formula because it sounds like the baby is not getting enough. Some Mom’s just can’t breastfeed.”


Are you SERIOUS?! Nice. REAL nice.

Do you know the actual percentage of mom’s who CAN’T breastfeed is incredibly low — like, less than 1%? And most likely, if you’re having breastfeeding difficulties, you’re NOT that 1% no matter what a doctor may tell you. If you are having (what you feel) is supply issues, see a certified IBCLC. Then, see another. Join a support group of breastfeeding Moms. Get the facts, not the false information forked over by formula companies to urge you to switch to their products.(And yes, many doctors or hospitals are financially supplemented by these formula companies to recommend their use.) If you come across ANY doctor that says that without a doubt, formula is equally as good (if not better) than breastfeeding, find a new doctor. Find one quickly.

If after seeing MULTIPLE IBCLCs and participating religiously in support groups, you are still having issues — you may in fact be that 1% but most likely you will be diagnosed with supply issues for a specific reason BY an IBCLC. They are trained specifically to help, diagnose, and treat. In very rare occasions, formula may be your last resort. But let it be that — your last resort.

But back to the issue at hand — support help lines. Do you know that these “counselors” are not certified through any breastfeeding organization? They are NOT IBCLCs (although Nestle claims thier counselors are CLCs, to which I would report them for their malpractice). So just who are you getting your “expert” information from? What dignifies them as an “expert”? A day-long training from Enfamil? Pu-lease. IBCLCs train for YEARS to understand how our breasts work and how to support a healthy breastfeeding relationship. YEARS. It’s not information you can learn in a day and no respectable, professional, IBCLC would ever work for a formula company. Case closed.

If they claim they are “certified”, ask them their intentions as breastfeeding supporters working for the very organization that is recommending formula supplementation to a “client” they have never met or observed breastfeeding. Don’t take advice from a counselor recommending formula without careful observation and documentation of your situation.

Free Samples

They are everywhere. In a normal world — free is good.  Free is fabulous — especially when the product is expensive. But in a breastfeeding world, free is dangerous (unless of course you’re receiving free stuff that is SUPPORTIVE of actual exclusive breastfeeding [whether by breastmilk in a bottle or actually to the breast.])

When I gave birth to Carli at Winnie Palmer  Hospital in Orlando, FL — the formula samples were right there. Showing me their cute little “individual” sized bottles. Oh and I got a TON when I went to Prenatal Impressions in Orlando for her 3D Ultrasound. Then I come home after having the baby, and more samples in the mail. An actual large case of it! You almost feel wasteful for throwing it out — so you use it. Bad move.

This time around when I gave birth at Altamonte Hospital (I switched after my horrible experience with Winnie Palmer) — I received not a single sample of formula. Not a coupon, or anything. I had not ONE nurse tell me I needed to supplement, but only worked with me to make sure Katelyn got the best pre-milk (MY milk) possible. It was because of their support that I was on a good start and breastfeeding exclusively today.

Book ReviewsNow — let’s talk about the ultimate free sample nightmare, Nestle. Do you know what those morally-corrupt a-holes did? Don’t worry, I didn’t know until about a month ago and since then I have boycotted Nestle and their products.

They went to a third-world country (who, by the way , breastfeed) and handed out a vast array of free formula samples claiming that it was better than their breastmilk. These mothers, wanting the very best for their children and knowing very well that being in a third world country, they lacked in general, they eagerly accepted these hand outs.

Nestle gave them just enough formula to last them until their milk went dry and they were unable to breastfeed any longer. Now the issue starts, these families can NOT afford formula. So what they would end up doing is heavily diluting their formula with bad and/or tainted water so it was mostly water. In effect, their babies were now severely malnourished and/or died. Nestle did nothing to help. But .. helping was not their issue. They just wanted to push and sell their product.

To read more about the Nestle & bad marketing crisis, read the following web-articles:

Just to name a few..

Now if these formula companies are choosing to be so deceptive in their marketing plans to get you to buy their product, what else are they not telling us?

Wordless Wednesday: Sleepy Sack #Meme

To participate in this meme, visit:

I am knitting this for the baby on the way. It is a sleep sack made of 100% wool yarn which goes over a cloth diaper. Not perfect, but – I am pretty new at this.

If you’ve participated in Wordless Wednesday, and have commented on my entry – make sure to add your WW post to Mr. Linky below! :) (Users must comment and make sure to check participant in order to leave their link on Mr. Linky. It’s only fair).

Tired ALL the Time!

catnapI know in part it has to do with just being pregnant – but, my GOD – I am tired ALL the time. I usually nap when Carli does – and sometimes (as Forrest has been home this week) I will sleep until the evening time. Still, though – I manage to go to bed on time just as exhausted as if I hadn’t taken a nap in the first place.

Today we were at the mall – and walking through a department store on the way in to find Santa and I see their display of beds and I instantly wanted to crawl into them and go to sleep. So what if people stared? I didn’t though. I have SOME self-control. But – oh, how I wanted to!

I don’t remember being this tired the first time around. Forrest says the last pregnancy’s first trimester went by a lot slower for him and he said I was a lot worse.. Is there some sort of natural instinct to block out these horrible memories so we’ll have more kids? What kind of dirty trick is that?

I keep telling Forrest, “This is the last pregnancy for me! I don’t want to go through this again.” and he told me to write it down and remind myself because come 2nd Trimester, and when I see Bug for the first time, that feeling and memories of these early days in pregnancies will be long forgotten.

And they probably will.

Counting Down Until Dec. 14!

Carli at 6 weeks

Carli at 6 weeks

Monday was a full day for us. We had two medical appointments for hubby (had to go to the hospital for a sonogram on his heart.) You know, the kind they put you to sleep for because they shove something down your throat? Not something I would want to do, that is for sure! Either way, everything came out just fine and his heart is in great shape! That is good news! Then we had a follow up appointment with his family doctor. His doctor and my OBGYN (from my last pregnancy) are in the same practice.

I stopped by Dr. Z’s and before I even made my appointment I asked suspiciously, “Does Dr. Z do vbacs?” The verdict came back that yes, he does – but he only delivers at W.P. Hospital. Well, I don’t WANT to deliver at W.P. Hospital. They keep your baby away from you after a c-section while you’re in recovery. But anyway – I guess worse comes to worse, I’ll just show up at A. Hospital because supposedly they have a really good baby center there (better than W.P – blah). W.P is just a baby factory.

But anyway.

My appointment with Dr. Z is on December 14th at 1:30pm and following that, at 2pm is my first ultrasound. I should be about 7 or so weeks by then so we should see some defininate baby sack. I’ve included in this post a picture of Carli’s ultrasound at 6 weeks, which was at the hospital. With Carli I had pretty bad morning sickness to the point where I was at the hospital at least 4 or 5 times for IV fluids (if I remember correctly). I am pretty sure by this point in my pregnancy with Carli I was already feeling pretty crummy but so far I’ve been feeling pretty good. I am hoping (knock on wood, here there and everywhere) that my morning sickness is not NEARLY as bad as it was last time. So far, just have bits of dizziness (enough to have to close my eyes) and fatigue but it’s been pretty managable. Even so, with all my friends saying “You just wait..” It’s making me nervous. But I am putting it out into the Universe, “I will be OKAY this time and it won’t be nearly as bad as last time!” So.. THERE!

Everyone keeps asking if I know what I am having yet, and the answer is no. With Carli, I knew right away. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew in my heart I was having a girl. This time, I just have no clue. No clue at all. I don’t even really care. But truth is, it sure would be a lot easier if we had another girl. We have a ton of girl stuff already.. and I would love to have two girls close in age. That would be ideal. My Mom said she thinks I am having a girl, and my best friend Blair, agrees.. so who is to know?

Yesterday we went to H&M and bought me a pair of maternity jean capris. (Don’t judge for getting them so early). Forrest said he wanted to butcher my current pair of jeans but yet didn’t want to buy any I would only wear for a few months before needing new pairs.. so we just skipped the whole step and went ahead and got a maternity pair. I am so amazed by how comfy they are. They have a roll down panel that feels of a soft stretch jersey. Below it looks like regular jeans with belt buckle hoops and everything. You can’t even tell they are maternity pants if it wasn’t for the belly panel thing-a-ma-bob.

Then today we went to Motherhood Maternity while we were at the mall and I got another pair of jeans (full length) because they were on sale.  So now I have two pairs of jeans that I can wear for months and months (even fit in them postpartum). So it was well worth giving up my beloved pair of ugly jeans. (You did me well old friend.. but it was time to go!)

The Sunday Salon #meme



This is The Sunday Salon meme; dedicated to chatting about your literary ventures of the week. This week I am going to discuss – finding time to read. Most people (especially friends) ask me OFTEN, “How do you find the time to read so much and so often? Even with a toddler, it’s really not difficult once you find a schedule that works for you and your kids (and I am a ‘by-the schedule’ Mom). Being a former kindergarten teacher, I can say that kids love consistency and knowing what to expect.

1. Nap time Carli goes down for a nap anywhere from 11:30-12:30 depending on day’s errands. On good days she’ll sleep until at least 2:30-3. This gives me enough time to either clean (hah!), read a book, or nap. Sometimes I choose the napping option (but with a toddler, can you blame me?)

2. Play time As she is so young, she doesn’t need to be played with and entertained constantly. It’s good for her to be able to explore and play at her own place during solo play time. Plus she doesn’t always want to play with me – she just wants me near. So she has a play area in the family room that is blocked in and I will usually sit on the couch and read, while she’s on the floor with her books or play kitchen. She seems me reading, so I have noticed that she has spent a lot more time reading herself lately!

3. In the car (when my husband is driving!) This is my least favorite time. Although I don’t tend to get extremely car sick, I can get somewhat nauseous of I do a lot of reading while driving on a regular road. Though when husband is driving the interstate and it seems to be pretty calm in terms of stopping and going, I find it a lot easier. I can also read without issues if Iam pretty tired. It’s weird but I tend to not feel sick when I am very tired and reading in the car! Sometimes hubby wants to go everywhere on the weekend so reading in between destinations is typically my big reading time on the weekends!

4. At night in bed. I like to read at night, in bed. Everyone is asleep and it’s just me and the book. Sometimes hubby complains about the light bothering him so it depends just how far along I get to read. If I am in a really good book, like The Maze Runner by @JamesDashner, then I tend to get a little snarky with husband and tell him to deal with it. :) Other times I happily oblige by agreeing to only read for a “few more minutes”. My husband works hard and because of his working hard, it allows me to stay home with our child and be the mother I’ve always wanted to be. It also gives me more free time to do activities that interest me. So- I usually will turn out the light when he asks.. but you know, sometimes a book is just that good.

What about you? What are some times that you can sneak in some reading time?