Happy wife, happy life?

Let’s face it. Sometimes we are so focused on our kids that we forget about the super cool couples that created these little humans. If you are like my husband and me, you might find yourselves on a Sunday afternoon sprawled out on the family room couches, feeling flat out tired, while your toddler naps. Our conversation went something like this -

Me: You okay?

Him: Yeah, I think so. You?

Me: Tired. And I feel kind of bummed out. When was the last time you did something for you that made you feel happy?

Him: I don’t even know.

Before we were parents it was a lot easier to go out on a whim and do something fun! We travelled, tried new places for dinner, and snuggled in on Saturday mornings. My husband could catch up with friends over a round of golf while I sweat it out in a yoga studio. The freedom made it a lot easier to connect, communicate, and resolve any issues that came up between us. Besides connecting with my husband, it was also a whole lot easier to connect with myself! Although I am happy with our decision for me to be a stay-at-home mom, there are a lot of things I miss about my old life as a working professional. I had great co-workers, an active social life, and felt proud of my accomplishments in the digital marketing industry.

Greg and me golfing in Arizona.

Greg and me golfing in Arizona.

Now that I’m a mom I’m realizing that the saying “Happy wife, happy life” has a whole lot of truth to it! And I don’t mean it’s up to my husband to keep me happy. Feeling good about myself gives me more energy to focus on my family, fulfill my responsibilities as a mom, and be more attentive and supportive to my husband. A friend of mine made a comment on her Facebook page that struck a chord with me and I want to share it with you. (Side note – follow Judy Hu Counseling Services on Facebook! Judy is an amazing mom, Psychotherapist and Parent Coach. She shares some great stuff on her page!)  She suggests, “The adjustment to a growing family can be easier if the priority is shared between self care, partner care, and child care…priority in that order.” It makes sense, doesn’t it? If I am happy, we are happy. A child will thrive in a home with a strong foundation built on happy, loving parents.

Having my son has been the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. He has altered the way I look at myself, my husband, and the world around me. He will be two years old next week and I’m turning 30 a couple of weeks after that! I’ve been on quite a personal journey over the past couple of years, and I’m just now realizing that it’s possible to find a balance between who I used to be and who I am now. With a little faith and a lot of hard work I can achieve both personal and professional success. One thing is for certain. Next time we ask each other, “When was the last time you did something for you that made you happy?” I want us both to have an answer. I think the world would be happier place if we all took the time to answer that question. If you love your family, love yourself!

My beautiful little family.

My beautiful little family.

Love, peace, and happiness to all!

Natural ways to beat cold and flu season

Cold and flu season is kicking our butts! Your local pharmacy has a plethora of remedies to choose from to help provide some relief. However, kid-friendly and natural remedies are a bit harder to find in the aisles of a store. With a little bit of searching and a little bit of experimenting I’ve rounded up a list of natural ways that can help you stay healthy or beat that nasty cold.

1. Buy a Neti pot – Fill your neti pot container with filtered water and saline solution and use it to flush out your congested nasal passage. Seriously. This works. And it’s such a relief to be able to breath again. Check on the age restrictions if you want to use a neti pot with your kids…they need to be old enough to control their breathing so I don’t recommend using it with toddlers and real youngsters.

2. Keep a cup of quartered lemons in your refrigerator and squeeze some in your (and your kids!) cups of water.  I could list a whole bunch of benefits to drinking lemon water, but I’ll stick to how it relates to curing the common cold. Because lemon has an anti-bacterial property it’s great for helping with infections. Lemon is also a natural source of vitamin C, which makes it a great antioxidant. Lastly, I remember reading somewhere that it can reduce fever.

3. Make your own cough syrup. I mixed up a batch of this magic potion a few weeks ago when my mom had a cough coming on. She swears by it now! 1/4 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar, a tablespoon of Honey, a dash of Cayenne Pepper, a squeeze of Lemon…voila!!

4. Try Oil Pulling – A friend of mind told me about oil pulling a couple of months ago and I’ve been doing it several times a week every since. I use coconut oil, but there are a variety of oils that you use. Supposedly oil pulling is most effective when you do it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. You take a tablespoon of oil, put it in your mouth, and swish is around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. Do not swallow it! After time is up you spit it out. Here is article on some of the science behind it, but basically it’s suppose to have a “powerful cleansing and healing affect…on the mouth and sinuses.” The jury is still out on whether I’ve felt any benefits with oil pulling, but I figure it’s worth a shot!

There really isn’t any conclusive scientific studies that would back up that all of the things on this list will 100% cure you. BUT if they are harmless…why not try? It can never hurt to try out some natural, alternative remedies. Please let me know if this inspired you to try any of the items I listed…and let me know how you liked them! Feel free to add to the list too :)

Peace, love, and health.

When life gives you snow…

It is the same drill every year. As holiday season approaches I wish and wish for Jack Frost to wave his wand and transform the world into a winter wonderland. When the first sprinkles of white appeared this December, I fell asleep watching them fall from the sky, dancing in the spotlight of our front house lights. It feels like magic every year. But then, somewhere down the icy road, or amongst the news reports that 50% of the US population has contracted the flu, or during the sleepless nights listening to Cole cough himself awake, the magic wears off. So here I am, hugging a box of tissues, with a major case of the winter blues.

Today I decided to whip out the snow shovel and dig up some good times from my memory bank! Beyond the blistery weather, dry skin, and stubborn ailments, my family has been enjoying our first winter in New Hampshire.

Cole loves playing in the snow. From the moment I strapped on his boots and snow gear he set off into the fluffy white stuff to make some footprints and snow angels. I taught him how to roll snowballs, which of course turned into a snowball fight (courtesy of mom) so now we are working on aiming for below the neck.

Image

On the really cold days we have to get creative and find things to do indoors. Moving Greg’s electronic drum kit has been a major hit in our household. I get a request for “Dums, dums, dums!” about 8 or 20 times a day. Here is a preview of future rock legend, Cole Benson, on the drums.

And sometimes the mood strikes us to get our hands dirty and create a piece of art. Here is a snippit of my soft, gentle boy making handprints.

I suppose the point in all of this is that when life gives you snow…make snowballs. We have found a lot of ways to keep ourselves busy and active this season. In my next post I’ll share all of the fun ways we’ve been trying to stay healthy! I’ll share some homemade remedies, green drinks, and even a couple of cold weather recipes.

November: 30 Days of Thanks

All month long I’ve been reading and enjoying the spattering of social media updates that give thanks. Friends are taking a moment each day to reflect on what they are thankful for, whether it’s something as small as a hot cup of joe, or as momentous as a healthy newborn. It never ceases to amaze me how a single positive (or negative) thought can cause a domino effect of feelings. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Deepak Chopra: You are not the drop in the ocean, but the ocean in the drop.

In every imaginable circumstance more is accomplished when we are working together as opposed to picking apart our differences. As a social media user, it’s been fascinating to observe the voice contrast between October and November. October felt like one giant shouting match that didn’t accomplish anything but spread havoc across our country. Fear and anger are contagious and spread like venom. On the other side, happy thoughts and reflections are contagious too! I’m not sure who started the “Give Thanks” trend this month, but whoever it was I want to thank you.

With that, I’ll share what I’m thankful for this November as Thanksgiving approaches. I’m thankful to be a stay at home mom. The light that spills from my son’s eyes is my own personal miracle. We all came from the same place and it’s up to us to explore our potential and live every day with the curiosity and zestfulness of life that we started with. It’s hard to access that inner spirit sometimes because we all get bogged down by daily routines and negative people.

I feel a positive shift in the air just by reading these simple, happy Facebook updates. Do you feel it too? Please keep sharing your happy thoughts, November and beyond!

Cole meets the Atlantic ocean

We decided to take a mid-week trip up to York Beach Since Greg has been working in Maine quite a bit over the last few weeks. My sister-in-law made the suggestion since she was spending a few nights in a motel on Long Sands Beach with her boyfriend. What a nice little get-away!

The Cutty Sark Motel advertises that every room has a view. They weren’t kidding! The motel is so close to the beach that during high tide you can hear the waves crash against the breaker wall that is right below the windows. There is nothing like the sound of ocean waves to ensure a peaceful sleep. There was plenty of space in the room for Cole’s travel crib and the location was perfect since we could walk to Long Sands Beach.

Arriving at Long Sands Beach

Cole loves the lake, but had never been to the ocean. I was so excited for him to step into the Atlantic for the first time! He had such a blast chasing the waves and walking in and out of the water. Of course he loved the beach as well.

Cole digs the sand.

Greg had to work during the day, but he met us afterwards for dinner with a view. We drove up some winding roads towards the Cape Neddick “Nubble” Lighthouse. The lighthouse was beautiful and when we return to York I want to go back up there during the day to spend some time enjoying the view from up there. We ate at Fox’s Lobster House, which had a great family atmosphere and served delicious food and drinks.

Family picture at Fox’s.

It was a bit rainy, but the gloomy weather couldn’t spoil the beautiful view from our table.

Dinner with a view.

The next day we visited York’s Animal Kingdom and I was pleasantly surprised! I assumed it would be a hokey, beach town zoo and that turned out to be completely false. It is clean and there are a wide variety of animals to see, including alligators, tigers, a lion, and an assortment of monkeys. There are interactive areas where you can feed ducks and deer. Bambi can walk right up to you!

“Cool, an alligator. Ok…what’s next?”

 

My favorite part of the zoo was the butterfly house, because I loved seeing all of the bright colors fluttering all around us!

Butterfly at York’s Animal Kingdom.

We had such a perfect, short trip to York and definitely plan on returning!

 

15 month milestones and meltdowns

Peaceful baby by the lake

Mama is thankful for peaceful moments like this one…especially lately!

Arriving at swim class this morning Cole was anxious to get into the water as soon as possible. He decided to start walking over himself, and was promptly picked up by mom since she wasn’t quite ready yet.  Meltdown.

Chatting happily to himself as he sits in the carriage at Target, Cole decides he wants to walk around instead. Mom picks him up out of the carriage, puts him down, and holds his hand as they walk down the aisle.  Fixated on something that he wants to play with, he tries to change the direction they are walking in, but mom won’t let him play with lamps. Meltdown.

Sliding the oven drawer. Climbing on the dishwasher door. Opening the DVD player.  Slamming doors shut. Pulling on the cat’s tail. On the eve of Cole’s 15 month birthday, I’m starting to feel like a broken record as I try to teach him what “no” means.  I know he is listening, because when he tests a limit he looks at me as if to say “This is about to happen, Mom. What’s your move…”

The good news (because let’s face it – we have to look on the positive side to keep ourselves sane) is that I believe Cole’s extreme emotional reaction to things is because he is growing and transitioning from a baby to a toddler.  He’s asserting his independence and experiencing the effects of his motivations and movements.  I can see the wheels in his head turning as he thinks “if I do this, then that will happen…”

I get that. Really, I do…But boy is it tough to focus on milestones when your little one is in the middle of a major meltdown. Especially in public!

Although, often times his curious spirit leads to laughter rather than tears.  Yesterday in the supermarket I gave Cole a container of Cheerios to snack on to keep him busy. This type of container ensures that (most of) the snack will stay inside because it has a snap on cover that he has to reach into.

baby snack containerCole’s been throwing and dumping food all over the place lately so I thought I was mom of the year for finding these containers!  One moment Cole is smiling and munching on Cheerios, and the next moment I hear a loud “POP!” followed by the sound of cereal raindrops on the floor. I look over at Cole; his eyes are as wide open as the top of the container, and he has cereal all over him.  A fit of laughter bubbles out of me, which triggers the giggles from Cole as well.  I did feel bad for maintenance though… :)

At the end of the day, regardless of how tough or peaceful it might have been, all I feel is love for this little human that we made. It might take me glass of wine sometimes, but I’m always able to let go of those cringe-worthy moments and just be thankful for my family. Let’s face it, you don’t have to be a 15 month old to have meltdowns. We all have them! I just want to be sure I teach Cole how to get through them safely and quickly.

World Immunization Week: Giving children a Shot@Life through access to vaccines

Vaccines. It’s become such a controversial topic in America that we might as well add it alongside religion and politics as subjects to avoid during polite dinner conversation.  As a new mom I scouered bookshelves to educate myself on both sides of the discussion on vaccine safety and effectiveness to ensure I make the best choices for my son, Cole.

Then it hits me. Choice. There are other moms all over the world, who want to protect their children from preventable diseases, but they don’t have access to vaccines. These moms don’t have a choice.  As a result, many of them will have to hold their beloved babies in their arms as they take their last breath on earth.  Every child deserves a shot at a healthy life, which is why I’m supporting the Shot@Life campaign. Cole inspires me to want to help other children that are less fortunate than he is.

For our love of children we need to learn about, advocate for, and donate vaccines.  With our help the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign will decrease vaccine-preventable childhood deaths and give children a shot at a healthy life.  There are other organizations that are working towards the common goal of providing vaccines where they are most needed.  For example, I volunteer with a non-profit organization called Sustainable Healthcare for Haiti.

Sustainable Healthcare for Haiti (SHH) is in the process of planning and developing a medical clinic and children’s hospital in Jerusalem, Haiti, a city just north of Port-au-Prince. As you might have read or seen in the news recently, the cholera vaccine needs to be dispensed immediately to everyone in Haiti.  Doses are being prepared and distributed, but there are not enough clinics to vaccinate the population.  The medical clinic that SHH is building in Jerusalem could help to meet this dire need.

Join me in support of the Shot@Life campaign and Sustainable Healthcare for Haiti.  Support comes in many forms: a tweet on Twitter, a “like” on Facebook, a dollar donation. And just to be clear there is no affiliation between Shot@Life and Sustainable Healthcare for Haiti.  I’m just sharing what they both mean and represent to me!  For more information and to follow updates online, please stay connected.

Websites
sustainablehealthcareforhaiti.org
shot@life.org

Facebook
facebook.com/sustainablehealthcareforhaiti
facebook.com/shotatlifecampaign

Twitter
@shhbuilds
@shotatlife

Together, we can make a difference and save lives.

Shot@Life Join the Movement