simply love : October 2015
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a book review: bringing up bebe

excerpt from the back of the book: 

“marvelous… like julia child, who translated the secrets of french cuisine, druckerman has investigated and distilled the essentials of french child-rearing.” —npr

when american journalist pamela druckerman had a baby in paris, she didn’t aspire to become a “french parent.” then she noticed that french children sleep through the night at two or three months old. they eat braised leeks. their parents sip coffee while the kids play by themselves. and french kids are still boisterous, curious, and creative. why? with a notebook stashed in her diaper bag, druckerman realized that the french don’t just have different parenting philosophy—they have a different view of what a child actually is. in this deeply wise, charmingly told memoir, druckerman recounts how she discovered that children—including her own—are capable of feats of understanding and autonomy she’d never imagined.
-reading on our back porch with a pumpkin cupcake from starbuck's-

i recently read the book, bringing up bebe, by pamela druckerman and i am dying to discuss with you. we had a really great discussion during my october book club and i wanted to share some thoughts/things i walked away with... she is an american mother of three, who moves to paris with her british husband and shares what she learns as she observes french parenting- and how this helped her to better raise her own kids. as i read, i agreed with almost everything i was reading... i know i don't have any children of my own yet, but have been around kids my whole life and was in awe reading this book - it was pretty much my philosophy on paper. it all made sense to me. both when watching kids and as a middle school teacher, i yearn for more calmness/patience with kids and less competitiveness/rushing around. in fact, i have found that approaching situations at school in a calm/assertive way is much more influential than being loud. another key part of the book was about how french parents don't dwell on guilt and don't call themselves 'bad parents' for not doing small things... they feel like they are doing a good job. i feel like guilt can kill relationships- it's a dangerous feeling.  druckerman mainly seems to be interested in learning how to discipline her children just enough so that she can get her own life back. “in france i regularly see what amounts to a minor miracle,” she writes, “adults in the company of small children at home, having entire cups of coffee and full-length adult conversations.” it’s hard to blame her: as she spends her nights miserably awake with her crying daughter, she is amazed to discover that her friends’ babies all sleep through the night; as her kid throws food in a tantrum, she watches in awe as other children sit contentedly through three-course meals and as her son treats the playground gate as a dare, she is baffled by the sight of other toddlers happily playing in the sandbox. 
*however, there were two things i did not agree with in the book: their lack of effort/belief in breastfeeding and the fact that women have around just three short months to get rid of their baby fat before being criticized and pressured by others. 
 

there are so many things i would love to discuss, but here are a few that stood out the most to me: 
you can teach your child the act of learning to wait. yes! oh.my.gosh- yes. i have been thinking this for years and totally agree. i have two cousins {i look up to both of them very much} who are so calm and patient; they both listen to their babies/kids and take time before rushing over to them the second they start crying. they talk to their kids like human beings - like people. and their kids are amazing: very calm-natured and independent. in the book, druckerman talks about waiting a few minutes and really trying to figure out what is exactly wrong first.  i could not agree more with this concept. it can certainly be frustrating to be around a crying baby, but sometimes they are just re-adjusting or are uncomfortable and don't have an actual 'need'. sometimes these actions can make the situation worse/can wake them up even more... making them more reliant on their caregivers and less able to sleep on their own. pamela writes: “it is why the french babies i meet mostly sleep through the night…their parents don’t pick them up the second they start crying, allowing the babies to learn how to fall back asleep. it is also why french toddlers will sit happily at a restaurant. rather than snacking all day like american children, they mostly have to wait until mealtime to eat and are therefore, hungry." (french kids consistently have three meals a day and one snack around 4 p.m.) while reading i thought, this totally makes sense?! instead of snacking all day and not being hungry for a meal, they are hungry and ready to eat dinner. she would see french children sitting in restaurants eating three course meals of fish and vegetables. in addition, a [french mother] delphine said that she sometimes bought her daughter pauline candy. (bonbons are on display in most bakeries.) but pauline wasn’t allowed to eat the candy until that day’s snack, even if it meant waiting many hours.” this idea of waiting has been proven in studies to improve the child's overall outcome later in life, which was also fascinating to read about. 
+ you can have a grown-up life, even if you have kids. she talks about how when she hangs out with american parents, they are chasing their kids around the house, are demanding that they all have to eat at a certain time for dinner, they are on the floor playing legos with the kids... while when she is with the french parents, they are enjoying coffee/cocktails as their kids play- on their own. they aren't tugging at their parents' pants legs and aren't whining/demanding their attention. pamela writes: “the french have managed to be involved with their families without becoming obsessive. they assume that even good parents aren’t at the constant service of their children, and that there is no need to feel guilty about this. ‘for me, the evenings are for the parents,’ one parisian mother told me. ‘my daughter can be with us if she wants, but it’s adult time.’ “ {again i hope we can have a balance and i hope to parent without being completely neurotic- really praying for this. haha} and i know kids demand a lot of attention and energy... but teaching them the importance of playing on their own is something that i feel is important.  
+ believe it when you tell your child “No.”  i feel like my parents did a very good job with this... no meant no. however, it was not overused. i think that can be key. questioning them about that word was completely off the table. my dad tended to bring up the fact that he had never {in his entire life} told his father 'no' {and my grandpa lived to be 95 years old} and that his kids were not going to do it either. it was a big one in our house- but it brought more trust, an openness for discussion, and a desire to overcome challenges for my sister, brother, and i. and trust me, they don't come calmer than my dad. it's extraordinary how calm he is- seriously. or patient. and i think his calmness brought more respect. pamela writes: “authority is one of the most impressive parts of french parenting—and perhaps the toughest one to master. many french parents i meet have an easy, calm authority with their children that i can only envy. when pauline [a french toddler] tried to interrupt our conversation, delphine [her french mother] said, “just wait two minutes, my little one. i’m in the middle of talking.” it was both very polite and very firm. i was struck both by how sweetly delphine said it and by how certain she seemed that pauline would obey her…i gradually felt my “nos” coming from a more convincing place. they weren’t louder, but they were more self-assured.” *again, i personally notice this with teaching... you don't have to yell/raise your voice to get your point across. in fact, kids respond much better to a calm authority and clear directions. 
+ kids can spend time playing by themselves, and that’s a good thing. pamela writes: “french parents want their kids to be stimulated, but not all the time…french kids are—by design—toddling around by themselves….’the most important thing is that he learns to be happy by himself,’ she also talks about how american parents try to sign their kids up for every sport/activity, put them in pre-school at a very young age, and want their kids to reach milestones so much earlier than in france. i have thought for years, i truly think that toddlers {age: one, two, three} should be playing. simply playing.  they have their whole lives for structure. druckerman said her and her husband noticed in the french daycare system {which is totally different and absolutely amazing.} that there were just toys- no centers, music circles- just toys for the kids to play with. kids either went to pre-school around four or five {or many didn't go at all.}  i spent my childhood constantly playing. playing and creating make-believe worlds with my sister, cousins, and the kids in our neighborhood... yes, my parents played with us-- they read to us daily, we prayed together every single night before dinner/bed, we took nightly bike rides together as a family for ice cream/around the lake in my hometown... but when i look back, i played on my own/with my peers - so much. and i remember those times so fondly. i think this helped to make me more creative, independent, imaginative. 
again, i am just now entering parenthood... and absolutely can't wait. i hope to enter parenthood as calmly as possible and hope to be strong enough to parent in the way we both desire; the way we feel best works for our family. {trying my hardest to take advice knowing they are meant with love, but that ultimately, mr. monaco and i have to decide what is best for our kids} and in the end, many of the parenting philosophies in this book seem to fit my morals, demeanor, personality... and just seem more like common sense to me? 

in america, women can feel guilty for carving out time for themselves and letting babies play on their own and i hope to have a balance that works for our family. there obviously is not one way to do things and every situation will be different- there will be challenges and successes- but i loved seeing what i believe in being discussed in such a well done and even humorous way {i admire her writing style very much!} 

now the trick: incorporate these french philosophies within an american society- hopefully successfully- and without guilt- knowing i am working hard to always do my very best. 
do you agree with these parenting approaches? what do you agree/disagree with most? would you like to read the book and discuss with me... i would love that. 

wishing you a wonderful weekend!
any exciting plans?
...
linking up with:  
Rebecca at XOXO Rebecca
Jennie at The Diary of a Real Housewife


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disclaimer: this post was not sponsored

oh baby | twenty-nine weeks

how far along? | 29 weeks 

due date: january 14, 2016
baby's size | baby is the size of an acorn squash -- 2.5-3.8 pounds and 15.2-16.7 inches long 

gender | a baby boy! 
feeling | feeling pretty awesome lately! i love being pregnant at this point- it's been such a special journey. i am in full nesting mode at this point- it's slightly out of control {it would have been more if i wasn't worried about hurting my back again!} in just a few days this weeks- i cleaned out our pantry, garage, every drawer, almost every closet, organized baby gifts, the refrigerator, the freezer. it's crazy. i am a 'nester' by nature and don't sit still for long sometimes... but this is another level. in addition, i just came across this awesome advice: 10 things i should have done before my baby arrived 

maternity clothes | really needing a few more options at this point ♥ 

movement |  he's very active at times and sleeps for long stretches during other periods... 
my love for anything knitted- esp. baby items- is also in full force at the moment {love.}
i really hope to get baby monaco some knitted stuffed friends soon

sleep |  still a night owl and still crashing in the evenings {not a lot of bathroom breaks either!} what's your favorite pregnancy pillow?definitely want one for november, december, and january 

cravings |  lots of water and fruit {oh, and pizza} i made a homemade pizza monday evening using trader joe's ingredients and it was delicious- mushrooms, feta, onions, pepperoni, and basil 
fun facts | baby's getting a little more cramped in there, since he's growing so fast. baby's growing white fat deposits under his skin, and his energy is surging because of it. 

miss anything |  my skirts! i am a very big dress/skirt wearer {pants are once in a blue moon} and although i can still wear a lot of my dresses, no skirts with my baby bump. 

best moment of the week |  it was a simple week, full of fun events out and time at home, too. the perfect combo for me 
how's dad? |  just the sweetest man. 
looking forward to | spending time with parents this weekend and getting baby's room put together. we also booked our 'babymoon' last weekend!!! i absolutely can't wait to spend a weekend with mr. monaco in savannah, georgia. it's one of my favorite cities; we have it planned for november 20-22 and are staying at the cutest little bed and breakfast in the historic district downtown! and am secretly hoping they have some christmas decor up around the city!! 

next appointment: friday, november 6 
...
in case you missed: 
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halloween decor + blogger love

halloween decor


if i were to host a halloween gathering this year... these are some inspirations i adore for decorating! i am actually not a huge holiday decorator {usually just for christmas} *unless we are having people over ... then i decorate an area of our home {usually the island or breakfast nook} for the event. i am a collector and love to hunt for old/vintage pieces to use when hosting. for christmas, i am not a traditional decorator either... for example, i don't incorporate any red, but instead, love a lot of gold, silver, green, pink, white, and a TON of vintage pieces. i am all about the glitter, florals, birds, faux fur, rustic wood pieces for the holidays. 

originally, we had four halloween parties to attend this saturday {and were going to try and make two of them} however, my parents are now coming into town this weekend instead of last weekend, so we are going to spend time with them instead {can't even wait to see them!} i did want to share what we were going to be though... 
i was going to be a jar of preggo and mr. monaco was going to be the milk man ♥
this look is stunning to me - just perfect for a fall gathering.

blogger love: 

here are some autumn inspirations from bloggers that i simply love: 

apple cider mimosas from lisa loves john 
glitter mason jar d.i.y from hill collection
october | monthly favorites from taking steps home
halloween jammies from home of the malones 
soup weather from katie elizabeth 
halloween fun from little baby garvin
d.i.y succulent pumpkins from oh lovely day
pumpkin farm love from floral & fudge
vanilla pumpkin face mask from boone & owl 
currently | october from a short blonde

are you having a halloween gathering? 
what are your favorite ways to decorate?
...
on another note, last night i was able to attend a cupcake + calligraphy class at my favorite french bakery, amelie's, in charlotte 
it was so, so wonderful~ i was able to meet absolutely incredible people & the instruction was perfect~ with delicious coffee and cupcakes.
 i am so excited to share this event with you all soon...
thank you, stefanie, for having me!
you are so sweet and talented
i will be sharing future class dates and information about her company,
  stroman studios, soon!
until then go check her out: facebook . instagram . etsy
 ...
hope your week is going well! 
linking up with jenn & jessi for what's hap-pinning
come say hi -- instagram . facebook . twitter . bloglovin

a southern backyard wedding

on october 10, mr. monaco and i attended the most beautiful outdoor wedding in fort mill, south carolina {very close to charlotte}. it took place in their backyard and was so lovely; so well thought out. despite an abundant amount of rain {nothing some tents/straw couldn't fix} the event was flawless and was full of so much love. they had me at eucalyptus, home brewed beer {which i didn't partake in!} market lights, a bluegrass band, a campfire, and southern food stations. congratulations, mr. and mrs. stout!! we were honored to attend your memorable day- it was so special. 
 here are some photos i snapped on my iphone... hope you enjoy! 
 the tables were gorgeous- especially once the candles were lit and started to drip down 
 their neighbor brewed beer for the event and the names were after his three labs - so cute! 
 vintage family photos 
 lavender programs:  
 the strings were beautiful during the ceremony 
 how amazing was the cake?! stunning
 these veggies were so.good.
they also had fried chicken, shrimp and grits, macaroni and cheese- lots of southern favs
 a bluegrass band played after the ceremony- a dj would later follow!
  they had large jenga blocks as their guestbook- so cool! we love playing this at breweries around the city- and had a regular set at our rehearsal dinner for people to sign wedding advice/notes on... 
 his and hers 
pumking for dad and lemonade for mom
her dad looked so proud ♥
 mr. and mrs. stout- you could feel the love in the room!
my forever wedding date 
and 26 weeks along with baby monaco
 my outfit details- dress from ASOS 
 wishing you both many years of laughs, adventures, hugs, and memories! 
it was one beautiful southern backyard wedding
xo
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