Are You Overlooking the Most Important Things in Life to Straighten a Picture.

I know the feeling. An endless list of random things that must be cleaned, put away, made. Dishes that are always dirty, bills that always have to be paid, laundry that always needs folding, floors that never seem to stay clean, and little sticky faces, framed with ever dirty, messy hair. The end of the day rolls around. You have worked all day long, ever since you rose from your bed this morning. Now, crawling back into bed, you quickly glance around at the current state of your home. You paw through the mental check-list of things still waiting for you to tend to. You wonder where the fruit of all your labor is.

If you are like me, you become disappointed with yourself.

I should have done better.

I should be more on top of things.

I should have everything figured out.

I should at least be able to keep my kid clean!

I need to do better.

You pull your covers up, thinking of all the things you could change to “be better”.

Tomorrow rolls around. You wake up, determined that today is the day where everything will be all order and cleanliness. Check-lists and To-do-lists galore. The day is planned down to every quarter of the hour. Today is the day you will be productive. Today is the day you finally get that corner pile of clothes folded and put away. The day you finally make those granola bars you’ve been just dying to try… they are healthy and only have six natural ingredients, who doesn’t need that in their life?

Your day may start out well. BAM! That’s another thing you can cross off your to-do list, and it feels oh so good! You are on a productive wave and no unorganized corner in your home can stand before you. It will all be cleaned, scrubbed, straightened, swept, folded, and so on.

But then.

There it is.

A cry. A spill. A tumble. A bumped head. A lost toy.

Whatever it may be, your child needs you again.

And again, and again, and again.

You feel your grand plans for the day slipping from your hand, falling to the floor and shattering into millions of pieces all around you.

Frustration. Oh, the frustration!

Can your kid not be fine for even ten minutes so you can get some work done?!

I am so guilty of this. All too often I find myself overwhelmed with the things I am trying to do, that I start pushing my daughter to the back burner. Setting her up somewhere on the floor with some toys, desperately hoping she’ll be quiet just long enough for me to finish cleaning the toilet. Or placing her strategically in the living room to where she can’t see me, but I can still keep an eye on her. (Because we all know as soon as the kiddo sees mom there is no escaping.)

I hate it. I hate that I have developed a mindset where I am so caught up in the things of the day that I actually ignore my little girl.

This is wrong.

I know that. You know that.

We don’t feel good about ourselves at the end of a long day filled with cramming tasks and being irritated with our kids.

But what can we do to change it?

We simply can not forgo the tasks calling for our attention.

Maybe though, maybe some things are not as important as we think them to be.

Especially when we compare it to the importance of raising our children.

Each child was placed in our care. We are charged to raise, teach, love, and nourish them. Still, we obsess over the floors staying crumb-free and are oblivious to the fact that our children’s hearts, minds, and souls, the very things that need us most and so desperately require our attention, are going without nurturing.

Ever heard the saying, “Don’t stop to straighten a picture when your house is burning down.”?

Don’t stop to dust the corners when your child’s heart needs tending.

My husband and I were having bible study together and this verse just jumped off the page at me.

Proverbs 14:4 Where no oxen are, the trough is clean;
But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.

Or, how I interpreted it;

Where no children are, the house is clean;
But much increase comes by the life of a child.

Man, that really hit me.

I could spend all of my time making sure my daughter has the perfect home to grow up in. A home where everything is perfect and everything is neat.

But where is the good in that?

When she is grown, all she will remember is a distant mother with a strict set of rules.

No food in the living room.

No shoes on the carpet.

No playing in the dirt.

No toys out of the playroom.

No clothes on the floor.

She won’t remember snuggles in the pile of laundry (because it will get wrinkled), or baking sugar cookies together (because it’s too messy). She won’t remember holding hands and splashing in rain puddles (because it’ll ruin her clothes), dancing through the house (because she’ll knock something over) or reading and learning together (because we have no time).

She will know how to keep a spotless and orderly house.

But she will not know the things of greatest importance. She will not know how to cultivate the relationships around her. She will not know what it is like to grow in a loving home.

This thought brings tears to my eyes.

Maybe it’s ok if I let the laundry sit in the basket another day so I have more time to cuddle my teething infant.

Maybe it’s ok if the carpet has dirt on it, I’ll vacuum it later and take my little girl outside to play.

Maybe it’s ok if I play with her in the grass, we’ll make time for a bath later.

What if we could change our perspective a little, focusing less on the material things of the world, and more on the ever more significant, intangible things?

Mamas, in the grand scheme of things, our children don’t need much.

They need our love.

They need our time.

They need to be nurtured.

They need to be encouraged.

I’ve slowly, very slowly been letting go of the need to “have things just so”. I promise, keeping your house in perfect order is really not a thing of critical importance.

Let us worry less, and instead, love more, snuggle more, play more, explain more, and teach more.

When your day comes to a close, it matters how much you loved your little ones, and little else.

Let’s turn our attention to the ones who need it most.

Our families.

Our children.

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That Negative Thing We Do When We Feel Insecure

I’ve noticed something lately, and perhaps you have too.

Negativity.

Can’t you just feel it everywhere?

You probably do not have the same experience as I do, but I am sure you have felt this to at least some extent.

It seems that we as people, especially mothers, tend to compare ourselves to others. We measure our worth, our ability, up against everyone else.

We let ourselves feel a little like a failure when we see someone else in a (perceived) better place than we are.

They look successful. Like they have it all together. We look back at our own lives and feel like failures.

It’s almost as if we feel we are less of a person because we are not up to par with everyone else.

What follows is our natural tendency to try and bring ourselves to their level… which, in all honesty, means bringing them down and making them feel like their accomplishments or choices are meaningless.

It makes us feel better about ourselves.

Here is my scenario.

I (sometimes literally) bump into a friend I haven’t seen in a while. We exchange a greeting.

Friend asks how I have been, how the family is, or something like that.

I answer, something along the lines of, “We’re doing really well, how are you all doing?”

They answer, and a little more chit-chat ensues.

Sometime during the conversation, Friend asks me a question. Maybe about what I am planning on doing for the weekend.

I excitedly tell them about the plan to take our little family camping. My husband and I love being outside and feel it is important to share that with Little-Bit.

Friend usually asks how exactly that works with a baby.

To which I explain.

The following answer I get is either one of two things. A *high-five*, “that is great!” sort of thing, or, more often, “well you can only do that because you have a really laid-back kid.”

What am I supposed to say to that?

Yes, my daughter is very laid-back. She is a happy, sweet, contented little girl, and I know that makes it so much easier for us to bring her outside and share adventures with her.

I am grateful for that.

But basically, I am being told that I wouldn’t be able to have an outdoorsy life with my kiddo if I didn’t have an “easy” baby.

Ok.

So I kind of chuckle and agree that she is easygoing, and try to reiterate how important it is to us to take our kids outside. I try to explain that even if she wasn’t so content all the time we would still make a conscious effort to take her outside because that is something we want to do. Regardless of whether or not it is easy or hard.

I walk away from our little accidental meet-up a little discouraged.

My husband and I have been so thrilled with how much we have been able to share our love for nature with Little-Bit.

Now I feel as though it’s nothing to be happy with. Nothing to be proud of.

After all, the efforts my husband and I make to continue hiking, camping, and enjoying the outdoors along with Little-Bit aren’t really anything all that great, because we have an easy baby.

Anyone would be doing what we do if they had an easy baby.

These are some of the things I hear all the time.

“You want a home birth? Don’t you know how many things can go wrong with labor and delivery? What are you going to do if something happens and you’re not at the hospital?”

“Oh, you say you want a lot of kids now. You just wait until you have a few more, you won’t be saying the same thing then.”

“You have an easy baby. If you had a hard one you would wish you had more time to yourself.”

“What do you mean you want to limit how many toys your kids have? Kids need toys, it helps them learn.”

“You want a natural birth? You sure won’t when you’re in labor.”

“Your kid already sleeps through the night. You have no idea what tired actually feels like.”

Sometimes when I am having a hard day I find myself letting these same types of thoughts creep up into the back of my mind. I’ll start trying to make myself feel better about how things are in my life, by making excuses for myself and invalidating others accomplishments.

I might see a mom who is doing really well in her home business and begin to feel bad for myself because I am not doing as well as she is. I don’t celebrate with her in her accomplishments, and instead of congratulating her for all her hard work and dedication I excuse it all away by saying something like, “Oh, well of course, she is doing well. She doesn’t dedicate enough time to her children, so of course she has more time to spend building her business. If I didn’t spend as much time with my kid, then I would be in the same spot she is.”

Reality is everyone is different. My skills, beliefs, abilities, and lifestyle are going to be different from anyone else’s.

Maybe she is just better at time management than I am.

That is ok.

Maybe she is more business savvy than I am.

That is ok too.

The choices she is making are the right ones for her and her family. 

Maybe, just maybe, what’s right for me and mine is a little different.

That is ok.

I just want to encourage everyone to be a little more positive.

Remember that every family has different needs and different struggles. Different wrongs and different rights.

If someone is celebrating the fact that their child is already potty trained, let’s celebrate with them!

Don’t tear yourself down by feeling inadequate as a mother just because your kiddo still happens to be in diapers. Every child is different!

And let’s certainly not belittle the work and effort this mama put into potty training her baby. It took work. Maybe it was less work for her than it’ll be for you and your child, but it was still work nonetheless.

There’s no need to make her feel like less of a mama because she had it a little easier than you do.

Let’s all try to come alongside one another and build each other up. Talk about our differences and share wisdom, encourage and support one another.

Do it in a positive way. A kind way. And a loving way. I think the world would be much better off for it.

Here’s to positivity and encouragement!

~N

How To Clean a Really Burnt Pot Without Tons of Scrubbing

Y’all.

I’m not a bad cook. Really I’m not. I may not be the finest chef in the world, but I can cook. (At least my husband says so. ;))

Yesterday though, yesterday I made my most shameful cooking blunder to date. Yes, it was worse than that one time I forgot about the steak I was grilling and nearly set the porch on fire.

So, just a little backstory here… My mother gave me a pressure cooker for Christmas this past year. The instruction manual it came with claims that it is the most useful piece of cookware you will ever own. I would have to agree. (Although a well-seasoned cast iron skillet is a very close second.) Since I pulled it out of the box I have used that baby several times a week. Sometimes almost every day of the week.

I love my pressure cooker! Homemade refried beans, hummus, pot roast, turkey breast, stews, chicken, and… rice.

Brown rice.

I’ve cooked brown rice in my pressure cooker many, many times. This wasn’t something new to me.

Yesterday I set about making dinner. Grilled chicken, steamed green beans, and savory brown rice. Yum! I had my chicken coming along nicely, my green beans ready to go on the stove, and my rice in the pressure cooker, cooking away.

Maybe I had a mom moment, I don’t know what else to call it. I totally forgot that after the pressure cooker is pressurized, you must turn down the heat.

I did not turn down the heat. Instead, I let the rice cook inside the pressure cooker for twenty whole minutes… on high.

A burning smell began to fill my little kitchen. Then came the smoke, and for the life of me, I could not figure out where it was coming from. I thought perhaps I had spilled something on my electric burner, I kept looking for the source.

When I finally realized what was wrong, the rice was way too far gone. I yanked the pressure cooker, now pouring smoke, off the stovetop.

The pot was so hot, it immediately caught the hot pad I had slipped underneath on fire. I, now slightly panicked, slammed the pot back down on the stove and shook the hot pad. Once the fire was out, I carefully grabbed the handles of the pressure cooker and ran it outside. I set it on the wooden rail of my porch and watched it smoke, making sure that it didn’t catch something else on fire!

It was nearly thirty minutes later when there was no more smoke escaping the lid. Since the pressure button still indicated the pot was pressurized, I left it outside until morning.

How I wished I took a photo of the rice in the pot for you all to see. It was bad folks! Black. All burnt and black and yucky. There is no telling how long it had sat there and dry-boiled.

Here is a what it looked like after I scraped out most the charbroiled remains of the rice. Just look at the nastiness I am left with.

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Ew.

I knew that no normal wash would get this puppy cleaned, and I certainly didn’t want to sit there and scrub at it for a long time either. Am I the only one who has ever done this? Hopefully not! If you have a pot that resembles mine, do not despair! There is hope! Here are the super simple steps I followed to get my pan clean!

How to Clean Your Really Burnt Pot:

  1. Cover the bottom of your pot with Baking Soda and give it a quick scrub to remove most of the larger burnt particles of food. Don’t worry about trying to clean the pot all in this first step, simply remove most of the charcoal. 😉 (You won’t need to use as much Baking Soda as I did in the photo… I went a little Baking Soda crazy!)IMG_0517
  2. Pour in two cups of vinegar, along with enough hot water to cover all of the burnt areas. Bring it to a boil, then turn it off and let that soak for two hours. (I did not bring the vinegar to a boil in my case because the smokey smell was too strong for me.)IMG_0522
  3. Pour out the vinegar and water. The burnt residue should be loose enough to scrape off. Spend about a minute or so scraping as much off as you can.
  4. Add just enough baking soda to cover the bottom of the pot and give your pot a final scrub. There is just no way to completely avoid a little elbow-grease guys, I’m sorry! This method definitely helps cut down the scrubbing time though!IMG_0538

There you go! This is what it looked like at the end.IMG_0540

As you can see there is still some staining in the bottom of the pot. I hate to say it, but there really is no way to restore the pot completely back to the shiny stainless steel it once was. You will be able to get it completely clean, but you may be left with some discoloring. No worries, it is totally safe to continue using.

Stainless steel is generally accepted as a perfectly safe piece of cook-ware, even with some discoloration. So take heart! Your pot may not be as new looking as it once was, but there is no need to throw it away.

There is some debate on how safe the non-stick coating on pots and pans is. Personally, if I had burnt a non-stick pot that bad, I would just throw it away and not risk potentially allowing harmful chemicals in my food.

If you are like me and tend to get super distracted all the time, (thanks, right brain!) you may want to focus just on your cooking when you are cooking. 😉 I was doing laundry and feeding my Little when the whole rice fiasco went down.

Hopefully, you all never burn a pot as badly as I did, but if you happen to do so, I hope this helps you clean it out without too much trouble.

Happy Cooking!

~N

I Miss You

Today is no special anniversary. It’s not your birthday or some sort of day to remember. I just was thinking of you today. … Though that is nothing new. I think of you often. Sometimes with happiness as I remember the way we laughed at things together. Sometimes with sadness as I think of the moments that we can no longer share.

I’ve come to realize that time does not heal everything. Still, I feel that lump in my throat while burning tears cloud my vision. Still, I feel as though I surely can not take another breath.

There are times when I handle myself better than others. Times when I talk of and think of you in all happiness. Joyful for the assurance of where you are.

And times when I can not.

I remember the last time that I saw you. I didn’t think as I hugged you goodbye that it would be the very last time I would ever do so. When I said that I would see you later, I didn’t know that later meant heaven.

How I wish now that I would have hugged you longer. And tighter. I wished I would have told you again how much I loved you. And still do.

I wonder if you know what sort of imprint you left on my life. What sort of impact you left on the world. Perhaps I can tell you all about it when I meet you in heaven.

But until then, I miss you.

The Things We Get To-Do

I was sitting there on the couch last evening, making my usual to-do list for the day, and the thought just kind of struck me. Here I am, making this list of things that I have to do. Already stressing somewhat over the demands of the next day. That is when it hit me. This to-do list that I have, these are things that I get to do!

I get to buy groceries tomorrow. I get to pay my electric bill tomorrow. I get to clean bathrooms tomorrow; I even get to clean two of them!

As I sat mulling this over in my mind, realizing what it meant, I was overcome with thankfulness.

I have money to buy groceries with, a vehicle that will take me to the stores, heck, I even have my choice of produce so conveniently located in stores for me. I don’t have the worry that comes with having to grow my own food to survive. It’s right there for me. All I have to do is go and get it.

That electric bill means that we have lights to see with in the dark, I don’t have to light a bunch of candles to be able to see as the evening sun fades away. It means I have a heater that keeps our home warm. Because of that electric bill, I am able to have a washing machine, an oven, a refrigerator. It means I don’t have to cook over a campfire. (Now don’t get me wrong, I do love cooking over a campfire… every once in a while. Emphasis on a while.) It means I have hot water to wash with at the turn of a knob.

Those bathrooms I get to clean? How many times more enjoyable is it to use a toilet than to dig a hole outside, in the cold dark?

Look through your entire list of chores. What are some of the things you get to do? Do have floors to mop? Dinner to make? Homework to help with? Trash to take out? Mashed potatoes to clean off the wall? If your chores look something like that, trust me friend, you have so much to be grateful for!

Perhaps we have become so used to what we have that we are no longer grateful for it.

Friends, I encourage you to take a close list at your to-do list. Break each item down so that you can see the blessings behind it; there will be a lot of them!

Consider renaming your To-Do List. I’ve started calling mine my Get To-Do List. The effect it has on my perspective is tremendous.

Try it! You’ll be just as amazed as I was!

So friend, what is it that you get to do today?

~N

Staying On Top of Those Goals

You guys. It’s 2018! We’re already halfway through January!

So, how’s it going staying on top of your goals? Have you noticed that I’ve been having at least one new blog post a week?! My goal was to have a new one out every other week. So far, I’m staying on top of it.

I was thinking a lot about goals and sticking to them. It’s the beginning of the New Year… Pretty sure it’s on everyone’s mind.

It get’s hard, doesn’t it? It is so easy to forget, or procrastinate, and once you let one day slip, it’ll be easier and easier to forget all about those things you were going to change and do.

Here’s a tip. If you really want to stay on top of your goals, tell people! Again, TELL PEOPLE!

Find someone, anyone. Let them know what areas you are working on. Ask them if they could be so kind as to ask you how you’re doing every once in a while.

Why? Accountability. It’s an amazing thing.

You are more likely to be diligent with yourself if you know people are watching you.

Say you’re trying to avoid having too much sugar. How easy would it be to have an extra slice of cake at your cousins birthday party if no one else knew? Super. Super easy. And then you could brush it off by saying that you will make up for it later. You won’t have that brownie next time, right? Wrong. So begins the vicious cycle.

Now, what would happen if you had already told your family that you were going to cut back on the sugar intake? When you started thinking about the second piece of cake, you know that someone would ask you about it. There it is. Motivation to stick to your goal.

So go tell some people about the new habit you are trying to create.

I tell my husband. He’s a wonderful guy. He motivates and encourages me like no other. (I love you, my dear!)

Who are you going to tell?

An Honest Review of the Boba Carrier

Its commonly agreed that there are great benefits to wearing your baby. Babys thrive when they are held and touched. Mama and baby benefit from a stronger bond when they are close together.

Not only is it good for your bond with your child, it is also super convenient! Wearing your baby will leave both of your hands free to work with.

I always knew that I wanted a carrier when Little-Bit was born. I received my Boba 4g Carrier Dusk as a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law right after I found out that I was pregnant. I tried it on right then and there, with my one-month-pregnant-belly, and was immediately impressed by how easy it was to put on.

Over the past few months, it has quickly become my favorite baby accessory. (Dare I say, necessity?) There have been a few other carriers I have tried out, but this one is my favorite by far, and here are the reasons why.

  • The simplicity of the set-up. Two clips. That’s all there is to worry about. Once you have adjusted your carrier the first time to fit you and baby, you only have to worry about readjusting the straps as baby grows.

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  • Elastic bands to tuck away extra straps. THIS! One thing I’ve noticed with other carriers is that the slack in the straps hangs loose. They get tangled and catch on things as you walk by. No worries about that with the Boba.

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  • With a weight capacity of 7-45lbs, you can wear this with newborns. An infant insert is included with your carrier. It is a small, adjustable cushion that will grow with your child. It snaps in quick and easy and can be taken out when your child is big enough to sit in the carrier without it.

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  • Stirrups for the older kiddos. This set of stirrups also snaps on and off quickly. It’s a great way to support your kid’s tired legs, and it also helps keep your child in the correct position, avoiding poor circulation.
  • Detachable hood that actually covers baby’s whole head! I use this when I am in the sun for a while, and also if we are out in the cold, it helps keep the heat in.

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  • The lightweight and streamlined design make this carrier perfect for the hot Summer months. No worries about baby overheating. Mama stays cooler too, which is always a plus!

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  • Waistband sets all of baby’s weight on your hips instead of shoulders. This feature has to be my absolute favorite! Kiddos can get pretty heavy on your shoulders if you are carrying them for extended periods of time. Just last week my husband and I took Little-Bit on a 6-mile hike. I carried her the whole way, without any shoulder pain.

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  • The ease in which you can adjust between different wearers. I mentioned before how easy it is to readjust the straps on this carrier to grow with your child. I don’t feel like it’s cheating to mention again how easy it is to tighten/loosen them between wearers. This is a huge plus! If my husband and I want to switch carrying, it takes only a moment.

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  • Can switch between a front and back carry with no effort at all.
  • A snap on each shoulder to keep purse in place. If you are like me, you absolutely hate when your bag falls off your shoulder, into the inside of your elbow with a jolt. I love the snaps on the shoulder of this carrier that keeps my bag in place!

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  • Adjustable straps on the side allow for easier breastfeeding. Again, super easily adjustable straps on the side allow you to give baby more room to breastfeed. Huge plus if you are on the go.

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  • Boba offers way cute patterns, (Which you can view here on their site https://boba.com/collections/boba-4g-carrier ) and all their dyes are lead-free. As a company, they seem totally committed to the safety of you and your baby.

 

Of course there are a few small drawbacks to the carrier, but for me personally, they were so small and are practically a non-issue.

 

  • Virtually no storage. There are three small pockets on the whole carrier. A zippered pocket on the front of the waistband that will fit an item just slightly larger than a credit card, and a second pocket directly on top of it. When you are wearing the carrier the second pocket is not very useful. You could maybe slip a credit card into it, but once baby is in, it’s rather hard to get to. The third, larger zippered pocket, is located at the top of the carrier, just behind baby’s head. This pocket is just barely large enough to cram a 16oz plastic water bottle in. This larger pocket also doubles as storage for the hood, so if you like to carry that with you you’ll lose that extra storage. If you back carry a lot, you won’t have any access to the pockets, as they are only accessible with front carry.
  • While the Boba can change easily from a front carry to a back carry, your baby can only face inwards. If you have a really young baby this is great because babies love to snuggle their mamas (and dads too!) If you have a small active toddler, however, they may not appreciate having to face in all the time. My Little-bit is only four months, and already gets frustrated at times because she can not see out.

Keep in mind that this is a baby carrier. Not a backpack. The pockets do just fine for small necessities like a cell-phone, credit-card, and keys. Which is great if you’re running into the grocery store real quick. If you are planning on hiking, however, you may want to plan to carry a backpack to hold snacks, water, and baby necessities.

If you are like me, you probably don’t wear your carrier when you are not active. Even though Little-bit can only face inside when I carry her, there is usually enough going on behind me to keep her occupied and happy. Rarely does it ever present a problem.

Ultimately, the Boba is a fabulous carrier! I recommend this to anyone and everyone. Little-Bit and I use this literally all the time. Shopping, cleaning house, folding laundry, hiking, making dinner, dishes, exercising… You name it. We use it for everything. Pretty sure there isn’t a day that goes by that it sits unused.

Go buy one for you and your Little, I am sure you won’t regret it!

~N

 

5 Things You Need Post Partum

Congratulations on your new baby!

Motherhood is such a wonderful thing! To have that new sweet babe in your arms at last! Oh, how long was the wait to meet them! Now finally, finally you can look at their sweet face and touch their tiny toes.

You are enjoying getting to know your precious child, but you’re probably not enjoying all other things post-partum. The post-partum period is different for everyone, and I’ve heard it’s even different with every baby. So, I’m not going to give you a bunch of tips that will magically make your recovery time a breeze. (Because I’m pretty sure those “magic tips” don’t exist.) I will, however, share some handy tips that super helped me in the immediate week after giving birth. I think you’ll find them helpful as well!

Number 1, Peri Bottle:

You need it.

If you don’t have one, go buy it. Now.

I can’t imagine what I would have done without it. … Let’s just say there would have been so much more pain involved every time I had to go to the bathroom. Just fill it with warm water and spray every time you go. This dilutes the urine and helps it not to burn so much when you pee. 😉

My midwife supplied me with one in my birth-kit, but you could easily get on off of Amazon for about 5 bucks. Do it.

Number 2, Padsicles:

Let’s face it… We all know we’re more than just a little sore after giving birth, whether it’s just bruising, or tearing as well. These little buddies relieved so much discomfort! You can buy these if you want, and if you are delivering at a hospital they will most likely have some on hand for you. If you want to make some extra’s, or are having a home birth, I’d recommend just making them for yourself.

They are super easy to whip together! Grab a handful of panty-liners. (I made about fifteen and didn’t end up using them all) Pour some water over them, fold them back up, place them in a Ziploc baggie, and pop them in the freezer. That works just fine. If you are looking for something a little more soothing, however, I recommend adding a few more ingredients. I used a mixture of 1 part pure aloe vera gel, and 1 part witch hazel. (get a kind without alcohol if you can) Pour it over each pad just enough to soak it, but not so much that it drips. Fold them up again and stick them in the freezer. I made these about a week before my due date, and was so glad to have them ready! You will be too.

Number 3, Comfy bras

This one is really more for if you plan to breastfeed. Nursing can be a bit of a learning curve for us new moms. There is no reason to be feeling uncomfortable while you are learning to be comfortable feeding your baby. The only comfy bras I already owned were too small when my milk was coming in, and the ones that fit had that super annoying underwire.

Do yourself a favor and get a few large, stretchy bras for those first few weeks. You’ll be sooo much more at ease.

Number 4, A friend

If you can, see if you can find a friend who will help you out around the house for the first few weeks. Someone who can grab groceries for you, clean the dishes, do laundry, that sort of stuff. You will have such a load taken off your shoulders and be able to focus completely on bonding as a family with your sweet baby.

Do you feel bad or awkward asking someone for help? Don’t! I struggled with feeling like I was taking advantage of my friends and family by asking them for help… I can’t tell you how many times I was assured that none of them felt that way. People really like helping out when there is a new baby around. Whoever you ask will be thrilled to assist.

We had family that helped keep our house clean and our fridge full. I seriously don’t know what we would have done without them.

Number 5, Pre-planned meals

Again, you can ask friends and family for help with meals, but I found it was so nice to already have some frozen ones in the freezer.

We had some lovely friends who provided us with food for at least two weeks after our daughter was born. I had already made a week’s worth of frozen dinners, and when meals stopped coming in from friends, we were able to just pop them in the oven really quick.

It wasn’t a necessity, but it was nice to kind of ease slowly back into the swing of things.

Trust me, if you go ahead and make yourself a few freezer meals, you aren’t going to regret it later.

There we go! That’s my list of the top five things that were most helpful to me during my post-partum period. I hope this helps give you some ideas as you are planning for your new addition!

Blessings!

~N

New Years Resolutions?

It’s that time of the year again. New Year, new you! Am I right?

What’s on your list of things to accomplish in this upcoming year? Lose weight? Work out more? Eat healthily (didn’t know healthily was a word… it’s fun to say!)? Save more money? Stay more in touch with family? Something similar? Maybe you want to break a bad habit, or create a new one?

Do you ever find that when January swings around, everyone is all gung-ho about what they are going to change for the New Year? By about mid-April though, all those aspirations seem to have been forgotten. Ever been to a gym in January? It’s packed. Like, if-you aren’t-lucky-enough-to-snag-an-empty-treadmill-as-soon-as-you-walk-in-the-door-you-aren’t-ever-going-to-get-to-run-today packed. Two months later, not so much. You have your choice of treadmills. You can use all of them if you want.

Wonder why that is? Why do we let ourselves end each year, looking back laughingly on all the things we said we were going to do but didn’t? Something isn’t working right. What is wrong?

The solution is simple really. We aren’t setting realistic and attainable goals, or we aren’t making a plan to reach them. That’s all. Did you know that goal setting is actually a skill that needs to be practiced?

Name something big you want to do over this next year. Anything you want! Define that goal specifically. Don’t tell yourself that you want to lose weight, instead, tell yourself that you want to lose 30 pounds. Don’t say that you want to read more. Say you want to read 12 new books by the year’s end. Don’t say you want to eat better. Tell yourself that you want to get to a point where you are having healthy, whole meals each and every day. Be specific, so you know exactly what you are working towards. It will motivate you to keep going! If you just say that you want to lose weight this year, and only lose 2 pounds, you’ve technically already accomplished what you set out to do. You will lose motivation to keep working towards what you really want.

Ok, you’ve got a specific goal. Now, can you accomplish that tomorrow? Next week? Most likely not. You need to set a plan that will help you get to where you want to be.

Start by setting some really super easy goals to meet each week. For example, this is what I want to be able to do by the end of 2018. I want to be able to pick up a hymn book and play any song in it on the piano. I also want to understand the how and why behind chords and scales. I want to be able to tell you off the top of my head which notes to play in each different key. Those are my big goals. I now need smaller goals to help me get there.

This is what I have planned for the month of January. Five times a week, for ten minutes at a time, I am going to play all my scales. I have two pieces of music I will practice twice for five days out of the week. That is all. This is something that is easily attainable.

When February comes around I will find two more pieces of music to practice, and then I will practice playing all the major and minor chords in the scales I have spent time on in January.

As the end of each month draws near I will evaluate my progress and set a new goal for the following month. It’s pretty easy, right?

Ok. Now you make a goal. Make it specific. Map out a plan to get there.

Don’t be discouraged if you find that you aren’t making progress as fast as you wanted to. Keep at it! The progress will come, the changes will happen.

You are capable! There is nothing that you can’t accomplish if you truly set your mind to it.

Here’s to bettering ourselves in 2018!

Happy New Year!

The First of Many

Here it is… My very first blog post!

First of all, to you who are reading this right now, I just want to say thank you!! Thank you for supporting me as I take my very first step into this strange and new world. I’m not being overdramatic. Not at all. Seriously. I’ve wanted to do this for a really long time now, and haven’t because I’ve been too scared. What if no one ever reads what I write. What if it’s something that I can’t keep up with. What if (gasp!) people don’t like what I write?

Perhaps my biggest fear is that I will not be able to keep up with my blog. Remember I’m a new mom of a four-month-old. Life happens right? Stuff just gets away from you. Ever stop to think about how much we use that as an excuse for our short-comings? Don’t get me wrong, there are times when things happen that are completely out of our control. The whole day is turned upside down, topsy-turvy, and suddenly all those things you were going to accomplish are shoved to the back-burner. But how many times do we let ourselves just get sidetracked? I tend to let it happen a lot.

This will be different. I’ve set that out already. The best way to accomplish what you want is by setting smaller, attainable (this is key!) goals that are in line with your ultimate goal. This is what I am doing. My very first goal is to have a new blog post out every other week. It’s a small thing, but easy and attainable, and it is where I will start.

Are you a goal-setter? What things are you going to accomplish today?

Here’s to sticking with the things we’ve set out to do!

~N