Rock Your World

Have you ever felt the undeniable draw (read: need) to make a big change? I’m not talking about updating your hair style or repainting your great room. I’m talking rock-your-whole-world-and-shake-it-upside-down-until-all-those-firmly-placed-pieces-fall-free-then-turn-it-all-right-side-up-again big . . .

I have.

In the past month my husband and I took that feeling and leapt right out into the deep, dark unknown that is the future. As I type, we are just three days away from leaving everything we’ve known for the past 15 years to move half way across the country.

Our whole life is changing.

Our home. The first house we purchased together and where we started our family. Sold and traded for renting. At least until we’re settled and ready to buy again.

Our comfort. There is definitely something exciting and nerve-wracking about trading in a steady position for an opportunity at a new company.

Our city. The city we know like the back of our hand. A radius of familiarity that includes all our favorite hiking and camping spots, coffee shops, restaurants . . . We will definitely have to get out and explore our new stomping grounds!

Our tribe. Family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances . . . It all adds up to the people in your daily life.

Sounds crazy yet?

I mean, who uproots their stable, comfortable way of life for the complete unknown? My husband and I agree that we may be a little crazy, but when you know you’re meant to do something, meant to be somewhere, meant to make the biggest change yet . . . there is no fighting it.

Our life in boxes.

 

. . . And more boxes.

It’s so strange to think we won’t be coming back here.

To all the adventures we haven’t yet embarked on. And to stepping out into the great, big unknown.

Peace,

Y

‘High-Needs’ Baby

‘Hight-needs’ baby.

It’s a term I’d never heard before becoming a mom. Truth be told, I wasn’t a ‘prepared’ mom. I didn’t spend my pregnancy reading up on child development and parenting. I tracked the weeks and ‘fruit size’ of my growing bubs and that was about it. My husband and I were of the mindset that we’d learn about parenting through experience. And if I can be completely candid, we didn’t even know ‘parenting styles’ were even a thing. When people asked what kind of parents we planned to be, we answered with a confident, “Ugh, good parents. Duh.”

In a way our lack of a ‘plan’ was a blessing because when our little man did arrive, every expectation we could have was flip turned upside down. When you deliver a premature baby, your idea of what baby life will be like gets rocked. Regardless of how long your baby spends in the NICU, the timeline of starting life as a family at home changes. And all those typical milestones? They get tossed aside because your tiny human has his or her own set of preemie milestones to follow.

We found ourselves following a baby-led approach without much thought about our little man compared to other babies. It wasn’t until his cheeks filled in, his delicate cry gave way to a healthy set of lungs, his newborness faded, and his colicy days subsided, that I really realized how different he was from all the other babies I knew or saw . . . And I’m somewhat ashamed to admit, I began to question everything.

Why is my baby so different?
Why is he so much more vocal? Fussier? Less content than seemingly every other baby out there?
Why won’t he let me set him down for more than 30 sec? Or lay peaceably on a blanket, content to stare at the world around him?
What am I doing wrong?

My questions piled up. My anxiety intensified. Was I so terrible a mom that I’d already messed things up only months into mom life? I found my fingers reaching out to Google, desperate for answers. I searched and searched until my eyes fell on words ‘High-Needs Baby’.

A brief read into Dr. Sears’ overview of this very unique baby personality, and I exhaled for perhaps the first time since bringing my little man home. Inevitably, the tears began to flow pour.

This was my baby! He wasn’t alone in his insatiable need for everything! To be held constantly without break. To be nursed non-stop. To be ever in motion (read: bounded in mom’s arms because a rocker or bouncy chair is unacceptable). To be heard. I hadn’t done anything wrong. My little man just danced to his tiny drum. And he was just wired differently! I just needed to stop trying to fit him into the typical baby mold. Stop thinking I had to follow what everyone else was doing. Stop blaming myself for every little thing.

I’d love to go further into detail about the characteristics of a high-needs baby, but that is it’s own post. If you’re dying to (need to know out of necessity because you yourself have found that your baby is unlike any other baby you know), I highly, highly recommend The Fussy Baby book by Dr. Sears. Despite its title, it gives such a wonderful insight on this very unique personality.

The real reason behind this post is to encourage mommas out there who are struggling and feeling like they are doing it all wrong.

Maybe your baby isn’t quite high-needs. Maybe your struggle is realizing your parenting style is the complete opposite of what you wanted, expected, or planned it to be.

Just know that you are not alone in whatever it is you’re going through. 17 months in and having had countless discussions with other new mommas, I have come to realize that we’re all in the same boat. Even seasoned mommas can be thrown for a loop by having a baby with a personality unlike their other children, or realize that their parenting style has evolved since their last child.

It’s okay . . . To feel lost. To not have all the answers. To take advice from other. To take advice selectively. To do things that work best for your family, even if your way isn’t the norm.

I am of course no expert, but what I can advise is to follow your instincts.

Trust yourself momma. Your family and your sanity depend on it!

Peace,

Y

Directionally Challenged

summer deals!

Over the years, I’ve had a few different blogs. Different platforms. Different names. And each time, I’ve come to a point where I feel like my post topic ideas are too broad. All the successful bloggers I follow have a niche. A ‘type’ of post that they always publish. Choose your theme. It’s blogging advice I’ve read over and over. You can’t grow a following if your blog theme is too broad…And that is so daunting when you have a zillion different things you want to blog about. So much in fact, that it stops my blogging dead in its tracks each and every time.

The other day, I was talking with a friend who has been blogging for a while, and asked how (if at all) she plans out her posts. And she doesn’t. She blogs about what’s on her mind at the moment…And as silly as it may sound, that seriously rocked my blogging world. Has the thought every occurred to me? Yes, of course…But that sort of blogging doesn’t fit neatly within the ‘rules,’ so I immediately threw it out as an option. Now however, I have decided to give it a shot.

At the end of the day, I began this blog to create a space for my thoughts and experiences. To talk about life. My life. And how can it reflect my life if I am constantly editing the content, and nixing posts before they’re even written?

So, while it may seem intuitive to some. Something others have done from the get-go, I am taking a step outside of what I thought a blog ‘should be like’ and am going to try blogging about what sparks my creative brain at that moment.

We’ll see how this goes over. To experimenting!

Peace,

Y

Counting Sheep

Counting Sheep.png

When reading up on bedtime routines to write Nighty Night, I didn’t expect to become sleep obsessed . . . And yet, my daily habits now revolve around that oh-so-sacred shut-eye.

While my nighttime ritual is far from perfect—I have yet to even try drinking a digestion-promoting tea after dinner, don’t always strictly adhere to no-screentime 1 hour before bed (i.e.: writing this post within an hour of hopping in bed), and still struggle with eating dinner later than I’d like—I am much more mindful of how I spend my time leading up to bed each night. The one big change I’ve made (which actually didn’t even make my bedtime rituals list!) is implementing a set bedtime.

For years I’ve been told and read that having a set bedtime is necessary for setting your body’s circadian rhythm. Let’s face it though until I became a mom, my evening habits and hours of sleep logged each night weren’t even a blip on my mind’s radar. I slept just fine and caught enough zzz’s without any sort of real routine. I knew how far back I could push my bedtime without interfering with getting up for work the next day.  Even during pregnancy, while friends struggled with insomnia and/or frequent wakings, I slept soundly.

Nowadays, however, my days (and nights) revolve around caring for a mini human. After a year of wearing the mom hat, I’ve learned that as loving as my mini man is, he doesn’t care a single ounce about how well slept I am from day to day. He needs what he needs, regardless of the time of day or night. What he doesn’t know is that my sanity, happiness, and ability to be at my best for him hinges on how many hours of sleep I get each and every night (even if those hours aren’t uninterrupted). While I look forward to the days of getting quality sleep once more, the overall number of hours is my focus right now.

And so, this mom now has a bedtime. 10 pm. I recruited my iPhone to help keep me mindful and accountable. It’s sort of ironic to use technology to help with sleep when limited screentime is a factor. The ‘bedtime’ feature though is pure gold. I have it set to alert me 1 hour prior. It’s a great heads-up for me. My time between once baby goes down and when I need to be in bed is limited, so it’s easy to get caught up in working, spending time with my hubs, catching a sweat sesh, or hanging out on family dinner nights . . . So the little buzz on my Apple watch and alert on my phone are wonderful.

While there are still tweaks to be made to my bedtime ritual, making this one change so far has made a whole world of difference for me.

You can expect more from me on the topic of sleep as I continue to balance marriage, baby, freelance work, life, and sleep. Oh, and I just began a new bedtime routine with my little guy, in an attempt to lessen his nighttime waking. Yup, I am very much sleep obsessed over here.

Peace,

Y

 

Nighty Night

Untitled design (2)

Morning routine. You’ll find article upon article if you page through fitness and lifestyle magazines, quarry Google for productivity boosters, or dig into the habits of highly successful people. Nearly everyone has a morning routine of sorts. Even if it is isn’t the healthiest.

I first began developing a morning ritual back in high school! Yes, I was a high-level, narcotic planner even then! I remember writing out a very detailed morning routine my senior year. It was complete with what time my alarm was set to go off, how many minutes were allotted to ‘waking up,’ when I’d begin those necessary morning time tasks (teeth brushing and using the bathroom), what time I’d begin my yoga flow or other 15-30 minute workout, when I needed to hop in the shower to get ready for school, etc, etc, etc . . . Embarrassingly enough, I recall—with such clarity that my face gets hot thinking about it even now!—my step-mom coming across this cherished list and commenting on how I better not lose my life schedule or I wouldn’t be able to live . . . But I digress! This has nothing to do with my point. 

I haven’t ever really focused my energy on creating a nighttime ritual. I’ve read an article here and there on the importance of limiting screen time at night, or about not working out within 3 hours of going to bed, and on other pre-bed no-nos. And like the majority of information taken in, I read and mentally dispose of the content within minutes, hours, or days.

As a new mom, I’ve learned the importance and necessity of creating a sleepytime routine for my little dude. A predictable set of events that cues his little brain to begin winding down and relaxing, promoting peaceful rest. My own bedtime routine, however, is non-existent!

To be honest, I am a mess come the day’s end. When I will head to bed always seems to be a mystery. It’s dependant on when I’ve finished working for the night (as this is really the only time I can get productive work done), how late we’re eating, if I’m getting an evening workout in, or what the hubs and I have planned for the night (aka if we’re marathoning Bobby Flay or Worst Cooks). 

Creating structure in my evening I realize, is just as important to my health as how I begin my day. While I can fall asleep at the drop of a pin these days, creating space to wind down and relax is still vital to promoting restful sleep. And so, that is precisely what I aim to do over the next few weeks or so. No dramatic changes that will inevitably be impossible to hold myself to. Just adding a few things to my nightly routine to create more of a defined ritual.

  • Drinking a warm cup of digestion-promoting tea after dinner.
  • Putting my phone down for the night between 9:30pm and 10pm. In all honesty, I am not calling, texting, or emailing anyone that late, and won’t be responding to calls, texts, or emails that late unless it’s an emergency.
  • Reading only a physical book if any at all before bed. Sometimes I like to wind down with a little reading, but since I read on my phone 97% of the time, this habit will need to change.
  • Trying my absolute best to unplug and log off from any and all work tasks within one hour of going to bed. This will be the toughest I fear.
  • Finish eating dinner 2-3 hours before bedtime. Another tough one, as this is the one meal the hubs and I get to enjoy with each other. He gets home right before little man’s bedtime, so we wait until baby’s down for the night so that we can actually eat together. Add in the fact that we eat homecooked food more often than not. A great habit, but it can delay dinner even further.
  • And working out also falls within the 2-3 hour before bedtime window.

This is going to be a huge challenge for me! I can already foresee that. My aim is not for perfection, but for healthful changes!

Peace,

Y

New Year. Same Girl.

the down-low

I probably say this every year, and I will say it again: I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. Never really have been. At least not along the thread of the norm. The idea of changing in order to be better. I get the intent behind it, I guess, but what I hear is: You aren’t good enough, and therefore, MUST change!

What I am a fan of is goal-setting. Tomayto, tomahto? Perhaps. But I don’t think so. The difference I see is that I LIKE ME. I’ve growth rather fond of myself over the past 32 years (and counting). And while I believe there is always room for tweaks and growth—maybe a little lacquer to freshen things up as I age—I don’t think 2017 me (or the me of previous years) is half bad. And therefore, I don’t want to transform her into a completely new & improved version . . .  

This year, my goal list was drafted up in about 3 minutes. Maybe it’s because becoming a mom has forced my brain to cough up ideas at a much quicker speed than before. Brain: You either have something to contribute in 2.5 seconds, or you don’t and baby now needs attending to, so the moment for genius has now passed. The end . . . Or perhaps, since I’m already working on everything listed, they just naturally came spilling from my brain. Then again, there’s the idea that mom life has actually fried my brain and I have no new thoughts to contribute. So the ease of these thoughts is actually due to reduced creative capacity.

Whatever the case, I embrace it!

So without further dilly-dallying . . .

*drum roll, please*

I present to you, my 2018 G.O.A.L.S.

  • Lean further into faith. Daily study through a mix of: the Verse of the Day delivered right to my phone & watch, SRT guided readings, daily devotionals sent to my inbox, and podcasts. 
  • Be present for my family. Limiting phone and computer use when I’m with Bubs and/or the hubs. Even if it means not taking as many pictures, or staying up-to-date with calls, texts, social media, etc . . .
  • Embracing the fact that my post-baby body is different. Stamina. Tone. Proportions. And realizing that none of this is bad or ugly or not enough. Not focusing on numbers: weight, size.
  • Living to be my healthiest. Not my slimmest. Fastest. Most toned. Or any other variant of not good enough.
  • Eating for health and for happiness. Banishing C.H.E.A.T. from my tongue and thoughts. Fueling up with what makes my body and mind FEEL good.
  • Read! Real Life is the key to this year’s book goal. 15. That’s 1 book a month, with 3 more sprinkled in throughout the year. Too basic for some. Realistic for where I’m at in life right now.
  • Nurturing my freelance business. Being mindful that my focus is still on Baby. Significant growth may not be in the cards for this year, and that is okay. If it is, then wonderful.

I always hear the phrase, “This will be my best year yet!” around this time of the year. For me, the past several years have been wonderful. I’m not looking to top 2017 but instead, build on the happiness that is in my life.

Peace,

Y

Don’t Blink

Bright

I remember my first 2017 post with a clarity that makes me wonder how this year has already come to a close! Is tomorrow really Jan 1st of 2018?

Kenny Chesney song anyone?

Every year end, I like to take a mental inventory—for lack of a better word—of the events that made up the past year. This year, I’m called to look back on how my world has evolved over the past three years . . .

2014:

After nearly 7 years of dating, we took the plunge into married life.

2015:

My dude took a huge leap and began a brand new career.

2016:

We purchased our first ever home together and found out that our family was growing by one!

2017:

Life as we knew it changed forever! When we became parents a whole 6 weeks earlier than expected, I learned a great deal of patience, leaned further into faith, and reconnected with being thankful for everything, from victories to challenges.

2018:

???

What awaits our little trio in the new year?

The future is a crisp, white page just waiting for us to write our story.

And I can’t wait!

Peace,

Y