Spring Has Sprung: Regaining Mental Clarity as Winter Fog Lifts

Spring is here and now is the time the winter fog is lifting. Green is returning to the world and flowers are blooming. We can let is stay there or we can take advantage of the renewing season. We can renew our mind and attitudes- seeking mental clarity.

Ah spring has arrived! Hopefully we can push through this last small cold front we all seem to be experiencing and getting into the most beautiful iconic spring weather!

I am ready for shorts and tanks again (ok I know Hawaii is always this kind of weather but I am weathering the end of winter here in Korea, totally unprepared for the snow we just experienced). I miss my shorts and flip-flops. The earth is in bloom again- grass turns green, flowers bloom, trees grow their leaves again. We are all coming out of our winter drearyness ready to take on the world refreshed. At least that is how I have always viewed spring.

We recently had our family pictures taken and we were talking to the photographer about what dreary weather this winter was in Korea (thankfully I escaped the majority and am just riding out the tail-end). But winter can feel heavy- its cold and dreary making it difficult to get out of the house. Even in places like Hawaii where it is warmer in the winter it is the rainy season that can get you trapped in the house. This is even more so with a little one in tow.

But Spring gives you a new fresh breath ready to take on the world renewed. To me it is more renewing than the start of a new year. Granted I have never been one for winter. Summer is my season always has been, and probably always will be- I am a true southern girl at heart.

Anyway… I think the awakening of the Earth is a wonderful time to mentality and emotionally awaken finding clarity to continue through the year. Just go up to Alaska where they have only a few daylight hours a day in the winter time and you will find a much higher incidence rate of SAD(Seasonal Affective Disorder) than in southern cities like Miami for example. People need daylight and sunshine. Beyond the fact that our bodies need Vitamin D- which other than supplements only comes form sunlight, sunshine and beautiful weather just seems to give you a pep in your step.

So as Spring rolls in fighting with greater and greater force here are some things you can to do enter spring with renewed clarity:

 

Spring Cleaning is a thing for a reason.

There is a reason everyone talks about spring cleaning. Spring cleaning brings a refreshing to your home. Whether you use it as a purge to get rid of all unwanted or unneeded items or just a good scrub down so everything is fresh, cleaning can be a great way to get a fresh start. I don’t know about you but I love when my house is clean- even though I whole heartedly admit to hate cleaning, I love the final product. I never feel rested even if I am resting if when I look around my house it feels messy. It begins to give me anxiety. So getting up cleaning my house- finishing the dishes, putting away the laundry, scrubbing the toilets, and cleaning the floors all give me deeper and deeper sense of refreshment. I list this first because if you are like me then I can’t give in and enjoy or re-evaluate my goals with that hanging over me.

Get outside and Enjoy

Spring is a beautiful time. This year I am lucky enough to be in South Korea during Cherry Blossom season. I am so excited to get to see the cherry blossoms bloom. Based on the pictures I have seen from friends and years past it is truly a spectacular sight to see. But everywhere has something that makes getting outside more enjoyable in the spring time. In Hawaii the rain lifts, in the south flowers of all type bloom, there are baby animals all over you might get to catch a glimpse of! It truly is magical. So get out and enjoy. This will also give you the much needed dosage of Vitamin D you might have been missing all summer.

Regain focus by Creating/Reevaluating Goals

Maybe you made goals in January or New Years Resolutions. But maybe you have gotten off track. I know I have. But as the world begins to renew itself, it can be a wonderful opportunity to regain your focus by creating or re-evaluating the goals you already made. It is also a quarter of the way through the year. So how have you done? What do you need to go to continue to meet your goals? Do you need to get back on track? Make some mini-goals to help you get there.

 God Intended Spring to Be a Renewing

Whether you are religious or not, you can’t deny that spring is an awakening seasoning. The plants bloom, chicks hatch, baby animals are born. More animals give birth in the spring than any other season. Easter is also a quintessential Spring holiday. It is the ultimate spring awakening and renewing. Our lives can be renewed through Christ who was brought back to life. You can’t get more renewed than that! But because God intended it to be so, he will provide you ways to find refreshment and clarity as we leave winter behind and enjoy the wonderful World He gave us!

Spring is here and now is the time the winter fog is lifting. Green is returning to the world and flowers are blooming. We can let is stay there or we can take advantage of the renewing season. We can renew our mind and attitudes- seeking mental clarity.

Must Haves For Baby Sleep

Baby sleep sounds like an oxymoron, but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes all you need to help your baby sleep is a bit of preparation and a few basic essentials you too can help your baby get some good sleep.

Baby Sleep… It sounds like a bit of an oxymoron to some. Even though all newborns seem to do is sleep, you some how managed to only ever be exhausted. That is because babies sleep only a couple hours at a time, which means you only have a couple hours of a time to sleep. And if you are anything like me, you don’t fall asleep quite as fast as your newborn. Or if your baby is like mine their favorite place to sleep is on top of you and so you never manage to get in a good nap along with them.

Now I am not going to pretend to be any sort of baby sleep expert. While my baby sleeps pretty good most nights at 4 months, we definitely don’t have nap times down pat. She naps in the car, she naps on me and will fall asleep briefly when I lay her in bed if I nurse her. But at nights she wakes once to eat between 4 and 5, and then again at 6 or 7 then sleeps till about 9am.

But we struggle greatly with nap times. I have a couple theories about why that is. With such a tiny house it is hard to get our room quiet enough, it is bright and sunny in the room which also makes it warm and it is nearly impossible to cool it down and get it dark.

But it also leads me to conclusion that what I am doing at night that fixes those things really are working.

So here are my top items to help my baby sleep:

1. Sound Machine

We keep a sound machine running in the bedroom. I like to use the ocean sounds. To me it is the most soothing white noise so I can still sleep while it blows out all the background noise of sirens, cars, and shouts throughout the neighborhoods.

This one has six different sounds you can choose from so you can choose the one that is right for you and your baby! Babies are so used to constant sound that silence can actually make it harder for them to sleep. Before babies are born they never experience silence as the inside of our bodies are quite noisy with all the blood rushing through the veins and arteries. That is why shushing helps. So yo prevent you from having to spend your evening making sushing sounds to help baby sleep, invest in one of these to help!

2. Sleep Sacks and Swaddles

Babies are not supposed to sleep with lose blankets to help reduce the risk of SIDS, but you also want to help keep them warm throughout the night. Also my baby is very active so having a sleep sack helps keeps her legs from flailing and keeping her awake. When she was itty bitty we used the zipper sleep pods, then because she was a very long baby she lengthed out of them pretty quickly so we moved to the velcro sleep swaddles. Then when she needed her arms out we moved to sleep sacks. It keeps her warm and I think it helps weigh downs her legs so she doesn’t lay in her bed and continue to play with her feet when she should be napping.

3. Pacifiers-

Ok, so I know not all babies take a pacifier, some never will. And that is ok. But if your baby does it can help so much. My baby loves her pacifier and often time when she is nursing at night she falls asleep when she unlatches she will often start rooting around. Not because she is still hungry but because she loves to suck- it is kinda what babies do. When I offer her the pacifier she takes it and drifts right off to sleep.

4. Full Belly

Babies sleep so much better when their bellies are full. However your schedule works whether you nurse the baby to sleep or feed her, get her ready for bed and then lay her down, just make sure that the last feeding of the night is a full feeding and baby has a full tummy. This will help baby sleep longer at night because they won’t be hungry as quickly.

5. Darkness-

This is probably the number one reason why my baby sleeps so great at night and hardly at all during the day. No matter what I do, I cannot make her bedroom dark in the day and keep it cool enough for her to sleep. If I close the windows the room will be super hot, and then she won’t be comfortable, but light streams into the room with them open.

And Snuggles.

When all else fails I know it can make the days long, and the nights even longer. But they are only that little for that day. When they wake up they will be bigger than you remember from the day before. And one day they won’t need or want your cuddles to fall asleep. So if you can just snuggle them. Baby’s crave physical contact. It makes them feel safe and secure and will in turn sleep better. And then as if the baby is a stick of dynamite, move them into their own bed as carefully as humanly possible! And with a little bit of luck hopefully you will get some sleep too!

 

Baby sleep sounds like an oxymoron, but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes all you need to help your baby sleep is a bit of preparation and a few basic essentials you too can help your baby get some good sleep.

Last Year We had 2 Pink Lines, Today We have You

A year ago on St. Patrick’s Day you made my dreams come true! Just a couple days before I couldn’t imagine that in a year I would be a mom, but here I am. And Loving every single bit of it.

A year ago I woke up with nothing more than a feeling that I should take a pregnancy test. No missed period (or so I thought), no nausea, no symptoms. Just an overwhelming feeling that I should. And since I had plenty didn’t seem any harm in what I assumed would be wasting them. And then I saw it the faintest of faintest second line. I didn’t quite believe my eyes so I tried to take a second one but I only got a single line on that one. So I stopped and picked up one of those digital pregnancy tests on my way home that day. Saving it for the next morning to try again. Sure enough there it was. A positive test, two of them!! I went to my doctor for a confirmation test and that was positive too!

I couldn’t wait for my husband to get home from work so I could share this with him. A text just wasn’t going to do it! So I set about trying to find the best way to tell him. Do I blurt it out, try to be clever, get cute? I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep it from him so I went simple.

It was St. Patrick’s Day a quick trip to TJ Maxx and I found clover socks and a cute picture printed from Etsy and that was that.

I couldn’t imagine how just a year has changed my life. In my life I have gone through some crazy things in a year, but nothing has been as life changing as this. Just a couple short years ago I went from girlfriend, fiance to wife. That was a big change I know that sounds crazy to say because obviously motherhood is one of the biggest life changes that ever. But you just can’t fathom it until its happening even though this is something I have wanted for so long.

So here it is, a letter to you my baby on the one year anniversary I knew you were mine.

Dear Little One,

This is your momma and I love you more than you will ever know. I love you through every late night and early morning. I love you when all you want is me even when you deny me a break because of your refusal to take a bottle (even if I did work so hard to pump all that milk for you that will forever sit in my freezer now). And I would cuddle you forever if you would let me.

You are already showing me all your independence. You love playing and being active. You are so busy and you can’t even go anywhere yet. But I know that won’t last long. Our days are numbered for your stationary time. Then I will be exhausted while chasing you down for the rest of my life. But I will watch with joy as you find all the new things about this world we live in.

I look at you and see perfection. I had nine long months to prepare for you.To imagine what you would be like, look like, act life, sound like. And everything is more and better than I could ever imagine. Your first full laugh was the best thing I have ever heard. When you snuggle into my chest while nursing are such special moments that I will always treasure. Even your independence when you wiggle to free yourself from my arms because you area already so independent.

You just keep being your awesome little self and I will keep loving every sleepful and even sleepless moment with you. Because a year ago I had two pink lines (well more like 8, because I just couldn’t believe you were coming to me) but today my heart is more full than I could have ever imagined because I have you.

So St. Patrick’s Day may be considered a lucky day for the Irish.  But I could never have dreamed I would get so lucky!

Love,

Your Mom

3 Things To Consider Before Having A Baby

Many people believe they need to have their lives in perfect order before having a baby. In reality, many of the circumstances people worry about bringing a child into seem to have a way of working out and both the parent and the child are better for having overcome the challenge.

This week we have another Guest Post from Erica Johnson over at. She is sharing her Top 3 things you should consider before having a baby

 

Many people believe they need to have their lives in perfect order before they will be ready to have a child. In reality, many of the circumstances people worry about bringing a child into seem to have a way of working out and both the parent and the child are better for having overcome the challenge. However, there are some legitimate areas of life that are important to consider before you start trying for a baby. Here are a few areas that are worth some time and attention.

Here are Three Things you Should Consider Before Having a Baby

Finances

While you certainly don’t have to be rich to be a great parent, being aware of your current financial situation is wise. A new baby brings along several extra costs: In 2015, the estimated cost of raising a child for 18 years was $233,610. Having money in savings and learning how to maintain a balanced budget can help provide a cushion against unexpected expenses

A baby has only a few true physical needs: food, shelter, diapers, a safe sleeping area, a car seat and clothing. Taking a look at your current financial state to determine if you will be able to provide these necessities can allow you to make any changes to your budgeting and saving habits now.

Time

One of the most important things any baby needs is lots of love, snuggles and attention. In other words, your baby needs your time.

Children are notorious for not following an adult’s preferred schedule, and being aware of some of the changes a baby will bring to your life is worth some consideration. Are there commitments in your life now that you may need to put on hold or stop completely? Are there some personal boundaries that may need to be put in place to carve out one-on-one time with your child?

Proactive changes are usually easier to make than reactive ones. Considering the commitments, relationships and goals already present in your life can help provide some framework when thinking about how adding a baby will fit into your life.

Your Health

Thinking about the current state of your health is an important consideration. Pregnancy, delivery and caring for a newborn will require a great deal of energy from a mother’s body. Learning about and implementing good nutrition, exercise and daily vitamin routines can help get your body ready for a healthy pregnancy.

If you are concerned that you may have unhealthy habits or need to lose/gain weight, an appointment with your healthcare provider can help you develop a plan to get you and your future baby to optimal health.

Becoming a parent to a totally dependent newborn can change you at some of your deepest levels. Taking the time to consider your current situation can be very helpful in showing you where any changes may need to be made. Parenting is one of the greatest joys of life and investing the time to consider how you can provide the best environment to bring a child into is worth the effort.

Many people believe they need to have their lives in perfect order before having a baby. In reality, many of the circumstances people worry about bringing a child into seem to have a way of working out and both the parent and the child are better for having overcome the challenge.

 

Want to Find more by Erica?

Check out her blog here

And, Follow her on Social Media!