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

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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

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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

I Am Enough

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Mom. Wife. Sister. Aunt. Daughter. Dad. Husband. Brother. Uncle. Son. Friend. Employee. Boss. Citizen.

We wear many hats on any given day. Hats that require our energy. Energy to care for others. To hold down a business. To make a living.

In the midst of it all, it’s easy to feel like Atlas, condemned to hold up the sky for all eternity. Bearing the weight of our world in a silent struggle.

Enter social media. The platform of picturesque perfection.

Women sitting down to daily quiet time. Entirely uninterrupted. Beautiful, handcrafted coffee mug in hand. A pitcher of fresh flowers nearby. Sweet, cherub-like children sleeping peacefully or playing quietly in the other room.

Men and women, flawlessly clothed and styled, even after a long, hard day’s work. Home just in time for a homemade, sit-down dinner around the kitchen table.

The comparison game is so, so easy these days.

What’s easier still is feeling like not enough. And not good enough.

Not . . . successful, attractive, trim, smart . . . enough.

Not a good enough: parent, spouse, friend, business partner . . .

Simply not enough.

I am here to gently remind you that no one’s life is as picture-perfect as pictured.

You don’t know what goes unseen outside the camera’s perspective. Whether that oh-so-put-together women feels just as lost and alone as you, despite her award-winning smile. That the flawlessly set table and home cooked meal was eaten in silence. That one partner rushed home to ensure dinner was ready and on the table . . . And the other walked in 45 minutes late. Long after dinner went cold. And into an emotional boxing ring.

The point is, we just don’t know. A picture is just that. A picture. A moment forever frozen. A picture that ironically does not represent the entire picture.

So, if you’re feeling not enough today, I invite you take a few moments wherever you are.

Take a deep breath in.

Exhale.

And remember: You weren’t meant to be everything to everyone. But you were made to be enough to those who matter. You were made to be you. And you are enough.

Write it on a post it. Make it today’s affirmation. It doesn’t matter how you remember it. Just remember. And don’t forget it.

You. Are. Enough.

I am enough.

We are enough.

Peace,

Y

Unexpected Guest

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Somewhere between expressing gratitude and enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a not-so-welcome guest snuck into our house . . . The cold bug. And like that creepy guest who stays long after the party has ended, he has stuck around. Much to my dismay.

I have not been at my best the past week and a half. And neither has little man, since I got him sick. We’ve been running on little sleep and all the snuggles we can get in.

There isn’t much you can take as a breastfeeding momma, or as an infant. Add to that, my hesitance to load my little guy up on mainstream medications . . . Yup, I am that mom. A few things that have gotten us through the thick of things are:

  • Hyland’s Baby Tiny Cold Tablets – For natural, homeopathic relief. No unnecessary junk. I pass no judgment on mom’s who prefer traditional cold meds, but this is my pick. This is mini dude’s second cold, and I have seen a relief in all of his cold symptoms both times. Dosing can be tedius—every hour—but I don’t mind. I set an alarm on my phone. Note: My tiny man has not run a fever. These tabs are not designed to reduce a fever.
  • Hyland’s Baby Nighttime Tiny Cold Syrup – A nighttime version of the tiny cold tabs. I didn’t use this during his first cold but wish I had. He woke up so frequently during his first cold and has slept soundly—dare I say like a baby lol— this time.
  • Zarbee’s Naturals Baby Soothing Chest Rub – It’s like Vick’s, but all-natural and safe to use on infants. I rub a bit on his chest during bedtime. It has a wonderful, light eucalyptus scent.
  • Gaia Black Elderberry Syrup – An immune support for this momma. I went back and forth on taking this because of mixed info on whether it was safe to use while breastfeeding. Even Gaia’s own website has multiple articles with differing info. Confused, I consulted my doctor and was reassured that it is one of the safer herbal supplements and meds for a nursing momma to take.

I am very thankful that baby boy and I are both turning the corner. His nose is still a little runny, and I am still a bit congested, but overall we are on the mend!

How are you holding up so far this cold season?

Peace,

Y