I don’t know about you, but after this week I’m ready for some down time and weekend reading! Yesterday afternoon I loaded up the car with the boys and headed to my sister’s home in South Texas for the weekend. The boys are thrilled to spend time with their cousins and I’m excited for a girls’ weekend with my sister, sister-in-law and mom. My sister lives super close to the beach which of course the boys love! And I’m pretty excited too for a couple of much needed beach days. If you have some down time as well, enjoy the below articles from around the web that were some of our favorite reads from the week!

1. The Extinction of the Middle Child: With the cost of living and a college education at an all-time high, the average number of children per family has decreased to two, thereby eliminating middle children. This might not seem like an issue at first glance, but this article points out how we rely on the strengths of the archetypal middle child more than we may realize. In many cases, they are the glue that holds the children of a family together – so what would a world without them look like?  (Can you guess where I fall in our family birth order?!)

2. Does Your Baby Suffer From Eczema?: Nearly 32 million Americans suffer from the red, itchy rash known as eczema, and it is most common during childhood. Our youngest Andrew who is 2 has eczema, and it has taken years to figure out the best routine and treatments for him. The condition can be brought on by a number of different triggers, such as diet, seasonal irritations and exposure to pollution or rough chemicals. The heat and sweat that accompany summertime activities can cause flareups, especially in young children, so now is the time to be particularly cautious.

3. The ‘Clean Eating’ Rules to Follow – and Break: Fitness and wellness topics are on everyone’s mind, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the different diet fads that all claim to be the most beneficial to your health. Clean eating is one of the latest health trends that we can get on board with, and this article tells us which rules are key and which ones we can skip.

4. How to Raise Optimistic Kids: It’s not shocking that with the rise of social media and #selfies, we are seeing an increase in narcissism and a decrease in self-esteem, especially in children. Now more than ever it is crucial that we instill the values of gratitude and patience in our kids and teach them the importance of mindfulness to help them lead more balanced, happy lives.

5. The South’s Best Beaches 2018: With the end of summer in sight, everyone is eager to pack in one last summer getaway. From Hilton Head to Texas’ very own South Padre Island, Southern beaches offer the quintessential American vacation no summer is complete without. And they are, for many of us, within driving distance!  (We are in South Padre this weekend so I thought this one was timely.)