6 Absolutely Awesome Books to Read Aloud to Young Toddlers

There's a difference between books parents love and books toddlers love, if you know what I mean. We've read a lot of books over the last five years, and after having three toddlers hanging around here, I've seen these six books sift to the top--tried and true and so well loved I can recite all six in my sleep :). 

1. Where's Spot? 
We roar when we get to the lion, and we make monkeys sounds at the monkey. And so many opportunities to say "no!" Toddler book win. 

6 best books to read aloud to young toddlers

2.  Spot Loves His Mommy
All three of my toddlers have loved these great Spot board books! 

6 best books to read aloud to young toddlers

3. Are you a cow? 
I die. I love Boynton books. So do my kids, especially as toddlers! And SO many opportunities for them to yell "NO!" 

6 best books to read aloud to young toddlers

4. Moo, Baa, La La La! 
All four of us recite this randomly together. Without the book. 

6 best books to read aloud to young toddlers

5. Where is Baby's Belly Button? 
We look for baby's eyes, and then our eyes. Baby's belly button, and then our belly buttons. Sweet and short and precious! 

6 best books to read aloud to young toddlers

6. Goodnight Moon
I'm honestly amazed that this one holds my children's attention, but it does, every time! A classic read aloud for young children for a reason. 

6 best books to read aloud to young toddlers

There you have it--our six favorite read alouds for toddlers! Enjoy, and let me know YOUR favorites! 

What I'm Into (August 2016)

Totally cliche, but in the words of my friend's GrandBetty, "Meggan, where'd August go?" Linking up with Leigh for the first time! 

Changes

There's a lot of shifting going on for us right now. Not changes like having babies or moving or switching jobs, just shifts. Subtle things that will have big impacts when they're added together in another year. How is that for vague?! I'll share a few:

One of the most remarkable things about being a Christian (I've been one for almost 24 years!) is never running out of new things to learn about Jesus. I'm in a new season now and it is terrifying and exciting and I am starting over at the absolute bottom again. I think I will be very different when it's over. In a good way. Nothing but free, from here on out! 

Eating

By Sunday night I felt so nasty I knew it was time to get back to the basics, so I'm back on the no grains, no added sugar, and (this one's new) no dairy train. I want to feel better, ya know?

Kit bars (in this flavor) are some of the few bars that don't have any of the bad stuff I'm trying to avoid, and they're delicious and SO HELPFUL in helping me stick to my diet. Zoe's Kitchen has become one of my favorite restaurants (I've started craving the beef kabobs on salad...YUM), and they sell their dressing to take home. I'm sure it would be a cinch to make up myself, but...CONVENIENCE I LOVE YOU! 

My mom shared the veggie snack pack trick with me: keeping small containers of different veggies (mini tomatoes, bell pepper, snap peas, jicama, cauliflower, and on!) in the fridge to grab whenever I'm in a hurry. I use them and a Kit bar for breakfast, or add it to some kind of protein when I don't have time to whip up a salad. The first two days of clean eating are always the hardest for me--the food I want to eat makes me hurt, and the food that makes me feel good doesn't taste good to me. By day three or four, however, I start to crave and really love my salads and snack packs. 

Change of Schedule

A schedule change! You can see more here. I had a breakdown (or five) in August, and have been LOVING the solution we figured out to help me find time to work AND homeschool AND not lose my mind. We think things need to be level and chill and perfect all the time--but seasons are a part of nature, and breakdowns bring creative solutions to new problems. I think I'm pro breakdown sometimes :). 

Tea

Not every day, but once a week or so, I've started having tea in the afternoon with Eliannah. We both love it. It's a sweet time to connect with my blossoming middle child, and--NO BOYS ALLOWED! 

Read and reading

I re-read Gaudy Night the other day, which is saying something, because I rarely re-read books. BUT THIS ONE IS WORTH IT. 

After listening to Anne so persuasively argue for Seabiscuit and Rebecca, those two are on my nightstand. I grabbed the Night Circus at the library, too, and will start that soon! 

On the interwebs 

One of the subtle changes I've mentioned earlier is that I've started writing a novel. Cue nausea and inane laughing. It's really hard, you guys. So, to procrastinate, I've been REALLY enjoying New Hampshire Public Radio's 10 Minute Writer's Workshop--my favorite thus far is Salman Rushdie.

Tolkien on writing. ((“…I certainly hope to leave behind me the whole thing [LOTR] revised and in final form, for the world to throw into the waste-paper basket.  All books come there in the end, in this world, anyway”))

The Lazy Genius Collective = my new favorite blog. "Genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don't." 

David turns two on Monday

 

How was YOUR August? What have you been into? 

 

How I stopped peeing on myself: 7 steps I took to restore my body and heal stress incontinence after multiple pregnancies

peeing on yourself after pregnancy

Once upon a time, I had three children in three years. Each pregnancy was more painful than the last, until the third, when I ended up with pubic symphysis, separation of the pubic bones.

Yes, it’s painful.

By my third child’s first birthday, I also had developed diastasis recti, and had a severe pain in my abdominal muscles when I moved certain ways, or carried heavy objects--including my children. I didn’t carry my children a whole lot. That’s painful to write. I had an umbilical hernia, and was plagued with what every woman who seems to have had children is plagued with--stress incontinence.

I peed on myself a lot.

And it all sucked--all of it. I was tired, achy, and in pain. Couldn’t move the way I wanted to. And just in general was exhausted. One can attribute a good deal of the exhaustion to three small children and not sleeping through the night, but by December of last year, I knew I needed to figure out how to get better.

I’ve done scads of online reading, tried and rejected multiple exercise problems, and seen a handful of medical professionals, and--I don’t pee on myself anymore.

That’s worth repeating (and shouting from the rooftops, writing in the sky, etc.):

I NO LONGER HAVE STRESS INCONTINENCE.

Here’s what’s worked for me:

1. Baths

I started taking baths in the evening as a way to prioritize my health and be purposeful about making the changes I needed to. They were relaxing before bedtime, helping me get to bed on time instead of way too late, and they soothed my tired or aching muscles. I’ve become a huge fan! 

2. Physical therapist

I started seeing a physical therapist at the end of December. I did, probably, 6 sessions. It ended up not working out: I had to travel an hour for each session, the sessions were $80/pop, and in the end the office was charging me $150 in fees, and I just called it quits. But…

3. They prescribed, among other things, walking for 20/minutes a day

It hurt so bad at first. I was hobbling by the end of each walk (I probably spent those twenty minutes just going around the block), and taking a hot bath and then sitting on an ice pack. So painful. But I kept at it, and now, I can walk for thirty minutes or an hour like it ain’t no thang, and where I was probably walking not even a quarter of a mile in 20 minutes, now I’m walking a mile in fifteen minutes. AND I’M NOT IN PAIN AFTERWARDS!!!

4. Peggy Brill

This has been my favorite discovery to date. I’ve done a lot--a lot--of research on the pelvic floor and women’s problems. Kegels ain’t cutting it, my friends. Peggy is a physical therapist who wrote this amazing book. It is filled with amazing stories of women who were in pain, and who are now pain free. I literally cried over some of the stories--pain is no joke, my friends, and Peggy was offering hope! The exercises seemed absurdly simple, but I was faithful and--WOW. What a difference. I immediately felt better, my core felt stronger--I can pick my children up without hurting now. That almost makes me want to cry.

5. Katy Says

In all my pelvic floor research, I stumbled upon Katy Bowman. Man, this woman knows her stuff. I’m just diving in. I purchased her Diastasis Recti book (Peggy’s book doesn’t focus on DR super specifically, and I wanted something that did) and am getting ready to purchase a DVD. Her outlook is much, much, MUCH more lifestyle--it’s definitely not a fifteen minute a day kind of thing! It’s an incredible look at the human body, however--I finally feel like I’m getting answers nobody was ever able to give me!

6. Special note:

When I asked about my situation, Katy recommended working my way through the alignment snacks--she said she filmed them 10 weeks post partum, and they’re an excellent place to start. Her DR book has a series of exercises, but I found them a little difficult to wrap my head around--watching a video is much more helpful!

7. Diet change

I should also mention diet. Sugar and grains seem to be the root of so many evils. I could write a whole post about all of this, but I’ll try to keep it brief. I wanted to do a Whole 30 in January, but what I realized was that giving up everything at once felt too much like deprivation, and I was rebelling against that. It’s such a mind game. Instead of a Whole 30, I gave up added sugar and all grains for the month of January. It was amazing. I dropped a whole bunch of weight (still don’t have a scale, so I have no idea how much, but I went down two clothing sizes and my face looks like my face again) and just felt good--I had energy, and didn’t experience that 4pm sugar crash. I still haven’t been able to get totally back on the no sugar no grains train, but I’ve made that more of a lifestyle than not--and I feel soooo much better.

Friends, I need your help! Will you share this via Facebook or Pinterest or messenger pigeon? I feel like there are a lot of women, like me, who need to know incontinence and pain don't have to be their reality after childbirth! I KNOW I would've loved this post four years ago...help me share it with a woman who needs to hear it TODAY! Thank you!!  

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Is peeing while sneezing or laughing normal after pregnancy? By the end of my third pregnancy, I had diastasis recti, an umbilical hernia, and stress incontinence, and couldn't even walk without pain...