October 22, 2018

Why I didn't like "Girl, Wash Your Face"

I've noticed there's three camps when it comes to this book:

1. There's the readers who think it's marketed as a Christian book, so it needs to follow actual Christian doctrine and it doesn't.

2. There's the readers who think it's written by a rich white woman with no actual "journey" or problems throughout the book.

3. There's the readers who adore it and take the message to heart and embrace the idea of hustling to their goals.

I fall into none of those categories.

Anyone who truly follows Christian doctrine would follow-up with their own research; Rachel did have a few struggles in her life, especially her childhood; and there's nothing wrong with being motivated by her stories and advice.

Now that that's out of the way, I did not like this book for a few reasons.

(Don't get me wrong: I think Rachel Hollis is probably really great at motivating others. I think she wrote a book that can push people and I think her podcast does produce some bits of wisdom. Most of it has already been said before though, so I think she reframes or paraphrases other self-help books.

I also think she's a bit narcissistic and basically wrote a book about how you, too, can be as great as her. I think that she wants to be who Gretchen Rubin was back when she wrote The Happiness Project and inspired people, me included. You know, back before Gretchen got a podcast and started talking about stupid things all the time. Gretchen, to me, is currently insufferable, but I will always love The Happiness Project and there's a lot of value in what she had to say.)

Anyway, this is why I didn't like Girl, Wash Your Face:

1. Rachel talks about not breaking promises to yourself like it's a new idea. She also appears to heavily judge those who do break promises to themselves. I think it's important to realize that most of the population probably doesn't see giving up on a diet or a workout as "breaking a promise". Let's go by Gretchen Rubin's framework of the Four Tendencies, since I've already brought her into this:
Rachel's clearly an Upholder. She's reframing the idea of being an Upholder as being the the only way to be if you want success or victory. This isn't going to work for a huge chunk of people because most of the population is made up of Obligers. My theory is that this is why this book is so popular: an Obliger may look to an Upholder as the model of how they want to be in their habits, so Rachel comes off as looking pretty good concerning habits.

My thought here was really Big deal. I'm an Upholder too. In fact, if I were writing a chapter in a book like this, I could talk about the time that I was up at 1:18am because the dogs were barking and I never actually went back to sleep before my 5am alarm went off and I still went to the stupid 6am Pilates class because I was freaking awake anyway and I was just going to lie there gritting my teeth and being miserable if I didn't go. Even if I was crying angry tears as I left and I just really wanted to hit a wall with a sledgehammer because visualizing that was what made me feel better. But I probably couldn't have done that because I'd just gotten a flu shot the day before and my whole body ached. But off to the stupid (stupid) gym I went because Tuesday and Thursday are my days to go at 6am. It's a deal I have with myself and part of how I structure my week.

I mean, that happened last week, but I never talked about it because it literally doesn't matter. I don't need to flash around my Upholder-ness. I would never (ever) tell anyone that they had to do the same in order to be successful at something.

I like to think that I'm an Upholder who gets what it's like to be an Obliger. I'm married to one (he's also Hufflepuff and I'm Slytherin, so that makes things really interesting). I don't need outside accountability to make myself do something but I would never tell anyone else that they need to be the same way.

But anyway, going by the model of Girl, Wash Your Face, that story would've been a chapter and a lesson in my book.

2. Rachel doesn't differentiate "happiness" from "joy". 
She's very clear that being sad is different from being depressed or dealing with grief, which I appreciate. She said you should be happy "90%" of the time, which is how she classifies herself.
But she doesn't bring up "joy". Joy and happiness are different. Joy is seeking to see the good and believing God will work everything out for your good. Happiness is based on current circumstances.
She had the perfect opportunity to weave in Bible verses on joy in this chapter and she didn't. In fact, the only Bible-speak in this book was really about "God's timing".

I just think she missed a huge opportunity here if she did want to make this a Christian book.

3. The story about meeting her husband.
I'm pretty sure most of us have a story like this and it ends with us meeting someone better. But no. The advice given by this book is to allow someone to treat you badly, walk away, and then take them back hours later and then fourteen years later, you're still together. I don't know what lesson is supposed to be learned from this chapter. At the end, she says she would have been helped by "being prepared" and seeing the relationship for what it was. Well, which is it? Is she saying that she should've not taken him back? Is she telling young women to get out of bad relationships? I don't get the point of her telling this story. It just makes her husband look like a prick.

4. Her chapter on "being further along". 
She brought up how "long" it took her to have a baby. This is a pet peeve of mine: Taking more than a couple of months to intentionally get pregnant and having a doctor's diagnosis of you-will-likely-never-get-pregnant are different. I know my experience colors my thoughts here, but I would think she'd be a little gentler with this topic.
Also, she probably doesn't dread getting older because she's literally already accomplished as much as any 35 year old woman could've hoped to accomplish: a long-standing marriage, 4 kids, a body she is proud of given her chapter on diet "advice", and a career that has made her a millionaire. What.else.is.there that anyone reading this book would hope to accomplish? (Given that her demographic is middle-class white women).
I don't dread getting older because I value my experiences. But when I was in the season of waiting to have a baby (5 years, guys, not 8 months), I dreaded each passing year because it meant my odds were getting slimmer.
I'm not doubting her explanation of God's timing, but it means very little coming from someone who has everything she's ever wanted by age 35. It's just not relatable.

5. I do not like the message of "hustle".
By telling women they just need to work harder and follow their dreams and create a vision board (gag), they are being set up for disappointment. Not because failure is inevitable, but because things don't always work out the way we expect them to or want them to and by pushing the message of "Oh, you're just not hustling enough.." you're just not always being fair to people. Giving "grace" means more than accepting that it's okay if you end up forgetting school picture day. It means maybe your friend quit her diet for reason (back to #1) and Rachel talks about how diets are bad anyway. This all ties together.
Giving "grace" also means not making people feel guilty for not "hustling" enough.

6. I do not want to be the hero of my own story. 
The message at the beginning of the book tells us to be the hero of our own stories. I've tried that already. 
My own plans failed me again and again. It took me giving up and giving in to realize my purpose and what I was supposed to be doing with my life right now.
This is why many readers don't like the book: It's marketed as Christian self-help, essentially, but there's no message of Jesus being the hero of our stories and how it's not always up to us. This is sprinkled through the book through quotes and verses on God's timing but is contradicted with the hero talk.
I don't WANT to depend on me. I have failed myself before and I will absolutely fail myself again. I feel nothing but relief to know that God is in control and He will sort it out and I don't have to work myself into the ground, hammering away at something that isn't meant for me.

This blog post concerning the Biblical perspective that Rachel claims to be about but misses the mark on can explain more if you're into the theology of things.

Did you read the book? Thoughts?

Instead of arguing the religious-lacking or talking about how I really despise that word "tribe" (clique), I really tried to pick out points that haven't already been hammered at in the 1 and 2 star reviews on Goodreads. I gave this book 2 stars just because I didn't hate my dislike-reading experience (a level up from hate-reading, if you will). I'd say a good way to describe it is a version of a female mans-plaining something to other females. 

October 19, 2018

5 Friday Favorites.

Picking out 5 good things from the week...

1. I took the dogs to the vet for a rattlesnake vaccine booster shot and got them another 6 months worth of heartworm medicine. I also got a print-out of their records. Meaning, we can check "vet" off the list of things that need to be done before we leave Laramie. With so many things up in the air, I'm checking off boxes every chance I get these days.

2. We've been watching Bosch. I watched season one a few years ago and recommended it to Scott and he never watched it. When he finished Poldark, Amazon recommended Bosch so then he started watching. We just finished season 3.

3. I started watching The Romanoffs last week. A new episode comes out every week on Amazon Prime on Fridays. The episodes are about an hour and a half so it's like a movie, really. You have to have a basic understanding of what happened to the Romanov family, because most of the history is just alluded to, not clearly explained. Basically, each episode is about a different person who believes they're descended from the family (going off of the premise that Anastasia survived). Matthew Weiner did the show and it's beautifully done in that Mad Men-way. The first episode kept me on the couch for 90 minutes, even though I didn't plan on watching that much. It was fascinating. The second episode wasn't as good to me, but the ending was fabulous.

4. This week is/was the Back to the Mat Challenge on The Balanced Life. Basically it's a free challenge, 15 minutes of Pilates a day, for one week. The videos are on Youtube and I can send them to you if you'd like. These were actually the first 7 videos I went back to after having a baby.

However, this isn't about that. This "favorite" is about the fact that Pilates is seriously life-changing and I will go on and on about that until everyone tries it at least once. Now, if you've been to a Pilates class and didn't like it, I would argue that it's a lot like yoga: some classes are terrible and some are great. In fact, I did a Pilates class in 2012 in Alaska and hated it so much. I also was really bad at it because even though I was in good shape when it came to cardio, I didn't have the core strength. So I didn't like Pilates. In the winter of 2014, I found The Balanced Life and started doing short, 10 minute workouts every day. And so it's been about 5 years. My core strength, 3 months after having a baby, is better than I was when I started in 2014 (when I was ironically at my thinnest). In fact, I did 9 months of Pilates when I was pregnant, and I legitimately feel like I'm almost back when I started strength-wise at this point.

Anyway, watch or listen to this video that Robin from The Balanced Life did earlier this week. In particular, if you are interested in the mentality of grace over guilt, you will like her message.
You don't need any prerequisites or equipment to get started. Half the time I don't even use a mat, just the bedroom carpet.

5. And, last but not least, a baby in an anorak.

This was my splurge, since he outgrows things so quickly. He's 3 months and this is a 6-12 month jacket. 

October 17, 2018

Currently 10/17

Not minding:  The onset of late fall because, in Wyoming, mid-October is late fall. As long as I have nowhere to be, I don't mind snowy winter days/nights at all.

Adding: To my Teachers Pay Teachers store. My "goal" (the word is used ever-so-loosely there) is to put something else in there each week. 
This is a Cornell Notes form to teach kids note-taking skills. I was taught how to do Cornell Notes by 2nd grade teachers in Missouri. If an 8 year old can do it, anyone can do it. This form provides a nice scaffolding set-up. 

Reading:  I'm re-visiting Girl, Wash Your Face. I read a part of it awhile back, but I just got it from the library and I'm prepping a true review for next week. 

Also, reading The Hating Game and Almost Sisters. I'm really into hardcopies of books these days and I just realized that when we move in a few months, I'll likely have to go back to my Kindle and what I can find for cheap on Amazon because I'll be sans library for a bit. 

Renewing: My Colorado car registration. What. a. waste. I mistakenly told my parents it'd probably be almost $400. That's close to what it was last year with the late fee I had to add on to it (it was due in August, I renewed in October, and it's a very long story). 

Still. This is bad enough.

Instead of just telling you how much it cost, I figured I'd let you see how El Paso county spends their money.

Getting: A flu shot. I got my first flu shot ever in 2015 after I'm 99% I had the flu earlier that year. I got horribly sick for two days from that flu shot. I got another in 2016 and then last year they gave me one when I went in for my first OB appointment in November. This year I went to Wal-Mart. If you're military, Tricare pays for your flu shot no matter where you go, so you don't need to worry about hitting the right time/day at the free clinics on base. FYI!

Laughing at: 

Also, since all the Christmas decorations are out at Wal-Mart:

October 15, 2018

3 Months of Wells

I mentioned that I wasn't going to do monthly updates because Wells is still very much a helpless baby, but here's a few things I don't want to forget...

You know how people say the newborn phase flies by? I don't think it does. These last 3 months have felt exactly like 3 months (technically it's been like 15 weeks). I know I'll miss the baby days, but I would not go back even a day to relive them. I love watching him learn new things and grow each day and I can't wait to see what he does next.

He smiles and laughs a lot now, especially when we tickle his cheeks or pat at his hands.

He does not like pacifiers. He loves holding onto blankets. He likes sucking on his hands. I'm still waiting for him to find his thumb because then he'll always be able to self-soothe (this is coming from a past-thumbsucker). A lot of people worry about nipple confusion with pacifiers. For us, I just see it leading to trust issues. If you give him a pacifier, it takes him all of 3 sucks to realize nothing is coming out and he starts screaming. It doesn't matter if he's just eaten or not. The only two times he's happily taken a pacifier were at his 1 month and 2 month doctor appointments.

He hates the rock-and-play. Like, loathes it. He sleeps in it at night because we're weak, as parents. But I don't know if it actually helps him (or us). He will only go into it when he's already asleep, which means I generally feed him and hold him (taking about 20-30 minutes in the middle of the night, every time he wakes up hungry) until he falls asleep and then put him into the rock-and-play. He will not go willingly when he's awake. I feel like he's too little to move him to his crib and I don't even know if he'll take to that well...he naps there during the day right now but I always put him in there after he falls asleep to get him used to it.  I feel like the rocking motion keeps him asleep even if it doesn't put him to sleep?

I wrote about what we used for the newborn days; what we loved and couldn't live without. From that list, we still love the Dr. Brown's bottles. We do use the bottle warmer still, as well. I did take down the bottle station "set-up" because I don't have pumping supplies to wash/dry any longer, and we just keep the Boon drying rack on the counter. We still use the Snug-a-Puppy Swing, but not every day, so it's just in his room now (instead of in ours) for when I need a safe place to park him. He loves staring at the mobile of mice and that calms him down when he's upset.

I switched to Enfamil Gentlease formula and he seems happier and we had a really good night of sleep on Saturday after two days of the formula. I don't know if that'll continue or not. When I say "good", I mean he'll sleep for 4 hours, wake up to eat, go right back to sleep, and they sleep for another 4 hours. I've heard of babies eating 8 or more oz at this age and sleeping for a long time, but Wells won't drink more than 4 or 5 oz at a time so I can't exactly force-feed him.

And, he has this thing for watching TV. He loves it. I know he's just attracted to the light and maybe the sound but it's definitely a way to calm him down. Oh well.

I did come up with a Halloween costume idea. Let's just cross our fingers that the dogs cooperate.

October 12, 2018

5 Friday Favorites. 10/12

Bound and determined to find 5 good things every Friday. Because there are a lot of good things out there.

1. Great Pumpkin Swap partners have been notified! If you don't hear from your partner or if you have any questions, please send me an email or an IG message. Becky and I will post updates to remind everyone to shop/ship/swap. Try to have your box in the mail before Halloween!

2.  My brother and his girlfriend outfitted Wells in some winter gear. Not only does this baby have likely more clothes than me, he has nicer clothes than me.

3. He loves hugging Taggies.

4. We got in several cold walks this week. 

5. My Teachers Pay Teachers store is up and running. I need to start creating more content, but the items I have on there now for sale are all products I made myself over the last few years and have been tried-and-true in the actual classroom. 

The first item you list has to be for free, so I'm basically giving away this note-taking page that I used at least twice a week for the last three years...if you're interested!

October 11, 2018

Formula Struggles

(This post will appear to be an ad for Similac based on the pictures. It is not. These are just all free samples I've accumulated.)

Currently, we're struggling with formula. Wells had been drinking Similac Pro-Advance since he'd been born. It was recommended by and given to him at the hospital, he sucked it right down, and so we kept buying it. We mixed it with breastmilk for the first 6 weeks, then I stopped pumping, and he had been on just the formula for the last 7 or so weeks.

Lately, it's been a lot of spit-up. He always seemed happy and smiley but just a lot of spit-up, especially since we started just formula instead of half formula/half pumped milk. This has just been annoying in a first-world way because it results in a lot of laundry and him wanting to eat all the time because he's losing half of what he eats. I also think it's probably why he's up twice a night to eat.

But now, it's getting more difficult. He screams, he coughs, he pushes the bottle away. And then it takes forever to get him back to sleep in the middle of the night. Tuesday night was me cycling through bottle/burp/cry/calm down/sleep for 5 minutes/change diaper/repeat from 3am-6am. (Side note: he's also starting to get annoyed when he has a wet diaper, so I feel like I'm alwayssssss changing his diaper now.)

So, long story short...I'm on the hunt for something new. I never, ever considered that he just didn't agree with the formula, because he never had any problems in the first several weeks. I did bring this up to the pediatrician at the 2 month appointment, and she said I could do whatever I wanted (helpful, right?) and gave me containers of the Similac Pro-Total Comfort to try. I started it yesterday and I hate the smell compared to the Pro-Advance, so I'm hoping that doesn't also bother him. We also have a sample of the Pro-Sensitive that I'll attempt if a week of the Pro-Total Comfort doesn't work.

Then, if that's not doing it, I'll move onto Enfamil...this is the one the internet recommends.

The hospital initially told us Similac or Enfamil are the best. They also told us to buy the premixed liquid if we could afford it because that's guaranteed to be sterile and the powder is not, at least for the first few months. I didn't hear the "if you can afford it" part because I think I was still half-traumatized by the hospital stay. I heard "use the premixed liquid for the first 3 months", which is why I never started with powdered formula until this week (Scott corrected this when I brought it up), and now I realize I probably could've been saving some $$$ because the premixed stuff is expensive ($8 a bottle at Wal-Mart is cheaper than the $10 a bottle on Amazon, though) and he drank close to a bottle a day.

ANYWAY. This is what I've been thinking about all week. I'm still not sure how much of this is the formula not agreeing with him and how much of it is just him being a baby.

What formula did you use, if you used formula? Why? 

October 9, 2018

(The rest of ) September books.

I don't think I really, truly loved any books I read in September. So, I'm showcasing the fact that I did already meet my reading goal for the year, so whatever happens is fine with me. Most of the books I read, I read in the spring. In the last 3 months, I've read very little. This isn't actually because of the baby but more because I'm just generally stressed out on the whole, so I don't read. 

Heating and Cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly
This was a waste of time. Sorry.

Whenever I feel iffy in the middle of a book, my strategy is to go to Goodreads and check out the reviews. This one obviously has many 4 and 5 star reviews. But I always learn more from feedback and constructive criticism than I do from praise and accolades. ANYONE can write a summary and say a book was "GREAT!" and "Everyone should read it!".

Looking at this story through my teacher lens, I saw the cycle of poverty. I saw the effect of it on education. I saw the effect of it on families and the choices they had to make. I've taken a few courses on generational poverty and that's what I saw in this book: People who can't get out of the cycle they're stuck in and then being forced to turn to gangs and drug-dealing to make enough to survive. That is the theme of this book: the whole story is centered around Starr's parents sending her and her brothers to a prep school that is 45 minutes away. It's the device that moves the plot because Starr wouldn't act the way she did if that weren't the case:  Starr wouldn't have the struggles of being "two different people", as she says she needs to be.
Anyway. I didn't love it for a few reasons. This review is so thoughtfully done, though. If you have 24 minutes, please watch. (Slight spoiler in white: In the end, I thought it was good YA, but was written in a very stereotypical way? I liked Starr's mom a lot. I didn't like the way joining the riot was considered the way for Starr to get her voice heard. That isn't constructive to anyone looking at this as a model for how to make a difference.

What Made Maddy Run by Kate Fagan
This was an important story to tell, but I felt like there were a few things wrong with it. I wish someone who actually knew Maddy had written it. I wish there had been some closure about what was wrong with her. Was it depression? Was it mental illness?
I wish (I REALLY wish) the author had not inserted her own story into the book. Every other chapter was about the author's (non) struggles. Or maybe they were struggles, because we all have struggles, but it was no comparison to Maddy's suicide.  It was super annoying. I think a documentary 20/20-style could've done the job of this book. The story NEEDS to be shared and I'm so glad a foundation has been set up to help college students who are in the same situation. But the way the author put the book together wasn't the best.

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris
Ugh. I didn't finish this. I read about 1/3 and got bored and then never had the desire to sit down and finish it. Feel free to email me spoilers...I would pick up her next book because I liked her first two, but this one wasn't great.

Linking up with Jana and Steph for the FOURTH anniversary of Show Us Your Books!

October 8, 2018

Thank goodness for a new week.

I can't lie. Thursday, Friday, and then Saturday morning were rough. I swear it doesn't even have much to do with the baby. I wonder if you get some sort of resurgence of hormones every week or so pospartum that just makes you sad and mad and depressed at the same time. I can't even explain our housing situation or our soon-to-be-PCSing situation or any of that because it's so complicated that I can't even form the thoughts to put it into a cohesive explanation and just thinking about it makes me want to crawl under the covers...but I can't because the baby will inevitably start crying as soon as I try that.

That being said, the only only only thing that turned my weekend around was all the Lindsey Graham memes and videos on Twitter. 

And this picture...


Today is the last day to sign up for the #GreatPumpkinSwap!

We will email/message partners starting tomorrow, so please let Becky or me know if you'd like in on it :)

October 5, 2018

Friday Favorites

1. It's officially coat and boot weather here, which I'm okay with as long as it doesn't snow much.

2. Manifest. This is a new show on NBC. I watched the first two episodes on Hulu. I heard the summary of what it was about on the I Hate Green Beans podcast over the weekend. I really like Josh Dallas, and I thought the first two episodes didn't disappoint. Apparently, they didn't like it on the Appointment Television podcast, but their taste is quite questionable anyway. Give this a try.

2. I got this Northface jacket from Cabela's for $29 because we had some gift cards lying around. They were Scott's, sure, but we've had them for over two years and he never used them and I figured I'd just be spending the money anyway because a new jacket was on my to-do list this fall...

Cabela's also does FREE 2-day FedEx shipping for orders over $50. There's exclusions listed on the website, but we live in Laramie, Wyoming and this jacket showed up in LESS THAN 48 HOURS, so they might be worth checking out if you're in the market for outdoorwear. 

4. Thank you to everyone who sent me comments through email about my (one and only) political post on Tuesday. It's nice to feel not alone in this world of the internet. Also, I turned the comments on the post off not because I was afraid of what people might say, but because I didn't want readers to feel like they HAD to say anything. Agree, disagree, I don't care: it just felt so good, like a weight being lifted, to post my thoughts. 

5. The Great Pumpkin Swap! We have about a dozen swappers signed up so far!

Sign-ups end on Monday...we figured we'd give you a full week... and we'll match up partners early next week! Message me on Instagram if you want in!

October 3, 2018

Currently in October {a link-up}

Wearing...I got this nylon bag at Target for $25. I love nylon bags and my favorite was from Nordstrom, like 5 years ago. It's been worn to death at this point and has been washed many times. It was only like $30 and then it was discontinued. As much as I like my Longchamp bags, I'm always so disappointed when I use them because they don't have pockets.  

Collecting nothing. In fact, I'm getting rid of as much as I possibly can. Every time Scott leaves the house, I find something else to throw away. I'm only kind of kidding about that. I actually have a breast pump and about 600 milk storage bags that I'm trying to GIVE away and no one on the local "for sale" pages is interested. 

Making.... I made some barbecue chicken in the crockpot the other day. 

1 1/2 t. onion powder, 1 1/2 t. garlic powder, 1 T. mesquite seasoning, 1 cup (give or take) Sweet Baby Ray's bbq sauce, 1 pound chicken breasts

Put everything in a crockpot on low for 6 hours. Shred.

Taking the opportunity to sleep in. For several weeks there, I used the excuse of "you just had a baby...you can do this/that, eat this/that, etc". Now, I'm in the place of "it's been 3 months, get your life together, please". However, the one area where I need to start being kinder to myself is concerning sleep. Let me be clear: I do not nap. I despise sleeping during daylight hours. I think it's a waste of time altogether. So, I've realized that I need to start sleeping in later. You see, for the last 8+ years, the latest I've ever gotten out of bed on a weekday is like 7:00am. For the last 4 years, I've been up by 5:30am, getting ready for the day ahead. If I'm only going to be getting 5 hours of unbroken sleep a night, I'll hit a wall by 10am if I don't let myself sleep in. That way, sleeping until 8 or 9am most days as long as the baby's still asleep, I can function until bedtime. For the record, I think "sleep while the baby sleeps" is absolute crap. That relies on the premise that one can fall asleep on command. I read a blog post the other day about how a person's parents and in-laws took turns staying with the mom, dad, and baby for the first several weeks. Under those circumstances, the new mom really promoted the "sleep while the baby sleeps" advice because she could sleep whenever she wanted. If there's no medical reason for all that extra help, that. is. weak. Grow up. 

(In the same vein, I'm lucky that I don't have to worry about showing up to a job each morning, exhausted. But that also means we have no childcare, no family support, etc. There's pluses and minuses here.)

Planning....A baby's Halloween costume? We're not going anywhere or doing anything for Halloween. It will be cold. Does a 3 1/2 month old need a costume? Or will a cute Halloween outfit serve the purpose?

I was thinking this from Amazon. It could double as a snowsuit.  

Linking up with Anne in Residence!

And with Kristen!