Janssen Bradshaw

Janssen lives in North Carolina with her husband and their two little girls. A former librarian, she is an obsessive reader, especially of picture books, young adult novels, and adult non-fiction. She also loves food in any form, whether it’s trying a new restaurant or making dinner at home with her little sidekicks. Her lifestyle blog, Everyday Reading, features daily style, book recommendations, and her family's favorite recipes. You can also find Janssen on Twitter, Instagram and Google+.

Things I Really Appreciate Now That I'm a Parent

How often do you hear parents tell not-yet parents say “you won’t understand until you’re a parent?”  It can be deeply irritating when you aren’t a parent to hear that, but once you have a baby you do see things differently.

Now that I'm a Mom

Here are a few things I didn’t appreciate until I become a parent myself:

Now that I'm a Mom

The Best Parts of Traveling Abroad with Toddlers

My husband and I have spent the last four months in Europe with our two little girls, traveling to nine different countries and living in London while he does a semester of his MBA there.

There have, of course, been some moments where juggling two children and traveling across the world has seemed a little difficult, but overall, it’s been a phenomenal experience for our family and, I think, better for having had our children along with us.

Traveling Abroad with a Baby

Here are a few reasons I’ve loved traveling abroad with my littlest sidekicks:

Traveling Abroad with a Baby

Why I Always Find Out the Gender of My Baby

Five years ago, my sister was expecting her first baby and when I mentioned it to a co-worker, she asked, “Is she going to find out what she’s having?”

I was completely taken aback by the question! I hadn’t even thought to ask my sister — I just assumed she would, of course, want to know in advance. With ultrasounds so readily available and generally accurate, who wouldn’t want to know if they were having a boy or a girl?

But since then, I’ve realized that lots of people choose not to find out what they’re having. Plenty of friends and acquaintances have waited until the delivery room to know whether their new addition is a girl or a boy.

In my case, though, I’ve never personally considered not finding out.  I’m on my third pregnancy and every time the ultrasound tech asks if I want to know, I can hardly say “yes!” fast enough.

Here’s why I like finding out:

5 Tips for Being a Happy Mama

How many millions of times have you heard that phrase “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”?

And it’s true!

Of course, being the mom is a draining job and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or run down.

After four years of parenting, I’ve learned some tricks to help me stay positive and enjoy being home with my small children:

Happy Mamas

Happy Mamas

A Magical Milestone

One of the things my girls both love is a good book.

Since my professional background is in children’s libraries, this delights me to no end, and we’ve spent hundreds of hours snuggled on the couch or in bed reading stacks of picture books together.

In the last month or two, though, a new reader has arrived in our family.

Toddlers Reading

Our older daughter has learned how to read pretty fluently and she loves reading to our second daughter.

Now, whenever I need to take a shower or get something done or keep the girls entertained on the bus or train, I suggest that Ella reads a book to Ani and, like magic, the two of them are totally engrossed in the book.

It’s great practice for Ella to work on her reading skills, Ani doesn’t mind if Ella stumbles a little here or there, and the two of them get to enjoy one of life’s greatest pleasures together.

Plus, mama gets a few minutes of peace to make dinner or send off an email. Win-win!

Toddlers Reading
Rocket Fuel