Monday, June 29, 2015

Halfway Done - Reading Challenge Update

June is almost over {less than 6 months till Christmas!}, so I thought I should share another update on Modern Mrs. Darcy's Reading Challenge {check out the original post and first quarter update}.

Since April, I've crossed off another 4 boxes - woot!

April: a book from a genre I don't usually read - Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. I listened to the audiobook of this, and while there were many, many beautiful lines, overall things were slow and simple, which is probably why I don't usually read many books of this genre. I'm glad to have read it, but I probably won't re-read it. 

May: a book by a favorite author - Black Dove White Raven by Elizabeth Wein. I'm going to be honest here and say that I think I read the best book by Wein first; the two other books of hers that I've read have not been as exciting or intriguing as Code Name: Verity. This one was fun but not intense or suspenseful. 

May: a book currently on the bestseller list - The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. This book was great! A little bit slow until you realize that not everything is as it seems... can't say more without spoilers. Also fun: one of the characters was voiced by Louise Brealey aka Molly Hooper! That was an unexpected but delightful treat. 

June: a book "everyone" has read but me - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Oh. My. Word. Why did I not read this sooner?!?! I bawled my eyes out, thank you very much. My Book Club read this and then got together and watched the movie...jeepers creepers. If you are like I was and have not yet read this book, do yourself a favor and read this {with tissues!}. 

There you have it! Isn't summer a great time for reading? Sun + sunscreen + book = perfection. What are you reading these days?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

June Sunshine

The first official day of summer is in less than two weeks, but after last Sunday's sunshine + heat wave, I think summer's already here :) So to keep things light and breezy, here are some "currently" updates.


...reading: Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans. If you're like me and think that the Church is lacking, to put it mildly, read this book. RHE articulates the questions and concerns that I didn't realize I have, and she does so gracefully and succinctly. I'm about halfway done with my library copy, and I think that I'll be purchasing my own copy very soon. More eloquent reviews can be found here and here.

...watching: Season 5 of "Gilmore Girls." My sis and I are usually able to watch one episode most nights, and oh my word, pack me up and move me to Stars Hollow.

...listening to: Florence and the Machine's new album "How Big How Blue How Beautiful." This. Album. I play it all day {or most of the day, for my co-workers' sakes} in the office, it's in my car, and then I turn it on as soon as I get home. It's beautiful and perfect and I can't get enough. "Queen of Peace" and "St Jude" are two of my favorite tracks {check out this beautiful music video, too!}.

...anticipating: a reunion dinner with Samara and Cami next week! Woohoo! It's been FAR too long since the three of us have been together.

...working on: smaller reading assignments for doula certification. Last night I plopped myself and some yarn on the couch and listened to every last "lecture" that is required; it felt so good to cross half a dozen assignments off my list! I celebrated by watching a couple {required} birth videos... why yes, I do know how to have a good time ;)

...craving: time outside in the sun, flip-flops, hair long enough to stay in a messy bun, and VitaminWater.

...supporting: this Kickstarter campaign with Ricki Lake and Abby Eppstein {creators of "The Business of Being Born"} to make "Sweetening the Pill: How We Got Hooked On Hormonal Birth Control." Read an interview with the filmmakers, watch the trailer, and consider supporting this project!

...grateful for: sunshine during my commute, dinner with my CareNet friend and her family, chai lattes, new friends, and the beginning of what's promising to be an amazing summer.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Doula Adventures: Book Review of "The Labor Progress Handbook"

May was so busy I didn't even think about sharing a book review until June - oops! A tad late, but here is my review of The Labor Progress Handbook by Penny Simkin and Ruth Ancheta.

For your reading pleasure...

This book is fabulous and so, so helpful. I love that Ms. Simkin and Ms. Ancheta talk from their experiences and from research. The information they present is well-informed and balanced.

I appreciate the diagrams and the timeline that this book follows; this is how labor actually progresses. other reviewers have commented that they take this book with them to labors, and I have to say that I'll be doing the same thing.

The last chapter is the most helpful for me. The various ways to turn the baby and to soothe or comfort the mother are so pertinent. I especially like the "when to use" and "when not to use" features, because how much more straight-forward can it be!

I also appreciated that the authors were upfront about ideas that need further research, practices that are commonly used but not fully supported by research, and when their suggestions may not be effective. I think that the honesty and candidness is very useful, and I would love to get an updated copy of this book {my copy was published in 2000}, if such a thing exists, just for the added benefit of more research.

The part that was challenging for me was the highly medical-oriented terminology. This handbook was obviously written for medical professionals, not the mother herself or other lay people. That was slightly frustrating, but it was also good to get into the mindset of working with medical professionals who use the terminology. I would have appreciated a definitions page in either the beginning or end, just to be considerate. But this is my only complaint. I definitely will be purchasing this book for my doula practice.


For those future doulas out there, this book is gold. It is a teeny handbook that will fit into your birth bag and benefit you greatly. I will let you know if I find a more recent version. Happy reading!

Not Alone Series: Summer

Hi friends! It's hard to believe that this is our last NAS link-up before the summer - thank you, Jen and Morgan, for all your hard work hosting our link-ups each week and for facilitating our FB group. You guys are awesome!!

Also, happy second anniversary, Not Alone Series!! Yay!!

Today's prompt is about summer plans, since it is June {!!} and we won't be linking our blogs this summer.

My summer plans consist of spending time with my family and friends, specifically the sister with whom I now live - woot! Maybe we'll even get through Gilmore Girls :)

Some short road trips are definitely in order. My dear friend Dahlia lives a couple hours east of me, and we both will be making at least a few drives to visit each other. Also, Portland is just a few hours south, and Powell's has been calling my name for a couple of months now.

I'll be housesitting for a couple of weeks in July, so that will be fun to make friends with some cats ;) Also, my favorite Aerobic Dance class is coming back to Tuesday nights, so that'll be great fun.

Oh! And this summer I plan on cracking down and cranking out a ton of doula work. It would be my dream and goal and heart's desire to get through all my certification requirements {except for the births} by the end of 2015. I'm finishing the last book today {10 pages left!} and will share another review shortly. I'm working on some doula business names and when I have them narrowed down, I'll be sure to share them with you all :)

That's my summer so far! I hope you all have grand plans, and NAS girls, see you on FB :)