The Do’s and Don’ts of Toddler Dental Trauma

Based on a true story…Ok it is a true story.  The story of how the Josie, the Toothless Wonder, came to be!

So, what to do and not to do during a toddler dental emergency?

When your toddler first trips and breaks her fall with her mouth…

DO: Provide a way to mop up the blood that is pooling on the sidewalk and staining her princess dress.

DON’T: Let her keep the wipe on her mouth for an hour before checking to see if her teeth are jacked up.

When first examining your child’s injuries…

DO: Take a long pause and a deep breath to talk yourself into staying calm.

Dthe injuryON’T: Let your eyes become the size of baseballs when you see that your child’s teeth look like shattered glass.

 

When explaining the situation to your child…

DO: Keep your voice calm and your tears at bay.

DON’T: Process the situation out loud and say stupid things like, “She can’t even eat now!  Her teeth are all cracked!”

When deciding on a plan of action…

DO: Call your dentist and leave a very long and borderline hysterical message on his voicemail.

DON’T: Feel bad about doing this, even at 8:13 p.m. on a Tuesday.

When putting your child to sleep that night…

DO: Give her a little extra dose of Ibuprofen just in case.

DON’T: Give her the entire bottle, no matter how tempting.  (Bonus DON’T: Sleep with your child that night to comfort yourself her.  Turns out she sleeps just fine and has to be woken up in the morning after said trauma).

When your child refuses to eat because you said that she couldn’t eat with cracked teeth…

DO:  Continue to offer all sorts of healthy food options, including yogurt, blueberries, and a pouch.

DON’T: Feel bad when she succumbs to her hunger in the waiting room of the dentist’s office and eats 2 granola bars and a package of fruit snacks.

brave like belleWhen your child is a little apprehensive about seeing the dentist…

DO:  Let her wear her Belle dress so she feels strong and brave.

DON’T:  Promise her that the dentist won’t hurt her.

When your child starts to get emotional about sitting in the big chair…

DO: Go ahead and promise that the dentist won’t hurt her.

DON’T: Feel silly about sitting on the chair and sitting her in your lap.

When your child gets to go see a Pediatric Dentist next…

DO: Send her to Dr. Tawana Ware at Fishers Pediatric Dentistry.  Seriously.

DON’T: Make any less than 419 promises of prizes, ice cream, donuts, and treats of all kinds to incentivize relaxed and even excited behavior.

When said Pediatric Dentist tells you that she needs to pull the two front teeth…

DO: Send your child with an assistant to the prize box so you can totally lose control of your emotions.

DON’T: Wait too long to compose yourself lest the tiny one return to find you sniffling and red-eyed.

Josie laughing gasWhen your child is hooked up to laughing gas…

DO: Laugh out loud when she comments to her assistant/new best friend that it smells good.

DON’T: Steal the laughing gas from your toddler to help calm your own nerves.

When your child has been stuck with a numbing needle several times and is ready to get her teeth pulled…

DO: Grip her hand tightly and shout sweet nothings over her screaming.

DON’T: Look as the dentist rips her two front teeth out with plyers.

Josie ice cream coneWhen your child finishes bravely and needs something cold for her mouth…

DO: Head immediately to the McDonald’s drive-thru for a vanilla cone the size of her head.

DON’T: Worry too much about the mess it will make and how the cashier is probably judging you for giving ice cream to the screaming toddler in the back seat.

When your child doesn’t know that her teeth are pulled but only thinks her “cracks” have been fixed…

DO: Take a really sweet video of her discovering that she has become the Toothless Wonder for the first time.

DON’T: Worry at all about her.  She’s a tiny warrior.  She doesn’t know or care that most kids her age still have all of their teeth.  She will reflect the self-esteem and bravery she sees in you.

the toothless wonderWhen you tuck your tiny and brave child in for the night…

DO: Giggle a little bit at her new lisp.

DON’T: Forget to thank God for the best girl in the whole world who will keep teaching you about life and love.

How I Became “Mother of the Year”

As soon as Cal was born, and life got even more nuts than I thought possible, it was hard some days to think that I was doing a good job as a mother.  Self-doubt, you are relentless.

Then, I decided that that is nonsense and the way to fix it was to think about the good things.  This led to me giving myself an award every day.  This award is similar to Michael Scott giving me a Dundie in that it’s pretty easy to earn most days.  (If you don’t know what a Dundie is: A. We can’t be friends, and B. It’s a reference from one of my favorite TV shows on the planet, The Office).  My award is called Mother of the Year.  And like I said, I try to give it to myself every day because chances are, I’ve either done at least one thing that ACTUALLY earns me Mother of the Year, or I facetiously award it to myself on a day where we all barely survived by the skin of our teeth.

Mother of the Year

So how can you become Mother of the Year too?

  1. Count EVERYTHING: This is the first thing I started doing to get in the habit. Follow me on this one.  Ketchup is made from tomatoes.  Tomatoes are a fruit.  Josie ate 7 gallons of ketchup with a spoon for dinner.  Boom.  Mother of the Year.
  2. Kids to bed early: Two wins here. Your kid wins with lots of great sleep.  Josie is almost 3 and still goes to bed at 7pm, and sleeps until 7am.  Girl goes hard during the day and needs her rest.  (She also still naps, FYI).  Cal is on the same schedule.  Both kids are growing and restoring their bodies for 12 hours each night.  And guess what mom is doing?  Hopefully not growing, but definitely restoring my mind and body.  When the kids go to bed, magic and miracles abound.  Even if that means I’m folding laundry on the couch while watching Netflix.  I’m winning.  Kids are winning.  Boom.  Mother of the Year.
  3. Keep the schedule: I’m a BIG schedule person.  A planner.  A Babywise Mom if you’re in the mom circles.  That means I wake Cal up every morning at 7 for his first feeding so we can keep on schedule and know what to expect from our day…well, as much as you can know what to expect with a newborn and a toddler.  And I make plans around the schedule, for my sanity.  And keeping my sanity means…you guessed it!  Boom.  Mother of the Year.
  4. Break the schedule: Well now that’s just confusing. But seriously.  Breaking the schedule for GREAT reasons is the reason you have a schedule in the first place.  A few weeks ago Josie stayed up until midnight.    But it was so she could go to her first theatre experience, Beauty and the Beast.  It was worth EVERY MINUTE!  To see her enthralled in the music and story was a gift to me.  And a gift I had to keep reopening as the next day and for a few days after the sleeplessness got to her and she lost her ever-loving mind on several occasions.  Making memories.  Boom.  Mother of the Year.
  5. Self-Care: Guys, obviously I preach this, and try to practice this as well. But any time during the day that I do something for myself – even something as necessary and elusive as taking a shower – I call it self-care.  And I call it a win.  Boom.  Mother of the Year.
  6. Adios Mom Guilt: This is a topic I want to tread very lightly into, because it is such a real thing for most moms.  But not for me.  I decided a long time ago that I had too many other things that demand my emotional and intellectual capacity that I would not subscribe to Mom Guilt.  And I haven’t.  If a guilty thought comes my way, I dismiss it immediately.  I’m a great mom.  I’m doing my best.  Boom.  Mother of the Year.
  7. Invest in relationships: Although lately these have been few and far between, Ryan and I still do date nights.  Our goal is to sit in the same room, relatively undistracted, with each other one night a week.  Sometimes we talk and plan and dream.  Sometimes we watch Netflix and he falls asleep.  And then when we can, we go out on real dates.  And those are solid gold.  And marriage isn’t the only relationship I’m investing in.  Obviously we love spending time with our families, and I also still keep my standing Monday night with my Monday Night Girls to watch The Bachelor(ette).  And I schedule play dates and coffee dates and girls’ weekends with Mom friends.  I’ve got a wide circle of people who continue to know me and love me.  Boom.  Mother of the Year.
  8. Hone your Mom hands: Oh my gosh, this is my new favorite skill. I think the instant you become a mother, out of instinct or necessity you are able to see a glass fall a split second before it slips out of your kid’s hand and catch it.  I seriously can’t count the times that I’ve saved the day with my Mom hands.  Plus, I’ve also mastered several other skills while only using one hand – like making a PBJ sandwich while holding a baby.  One-handed people.  I dare you.   Boom.  Mother of the Year.
  9. Use the TV: For the first couple years of Josie’s life I was very adamant about NO TV. I’ve read lots of studies about limiting it for kids of all ages, but especially for kids under 2.  So I did.  But now, partly for my sanity and partly because it’s awesome, Daniel Tiger is teaching my kid things I wouldn’t have thought to teach….and teaching it in song.  Brilliant!  He’s got a song about everything from potty-training to sharing to saying goodbye to mom and dad at school.  My personal favorite, which DOES NOT work in the heat of the toddler meltdown, is singing, “Mad, mad, mad.  It helps to say I’m mad.”  Boom.  Mother of the Year.
  10. Stop over-thinking: Classic woman problem. Classic mom problem.  But we were given women’s intuition for this very reason.  Problem with your kid?  You probably already know the right answer.  Check your gut, and move forward.  And if that turns out not to be the fix, cool, try something else.  But to stand paralyzed (usually in front of the computer pouring over mommy forums) thinking through every single possible solution is exhausting and debilitating.  I’m trying to do this less.  Boom.  Mother of the Year.

So what about you?  I’m sure you would be Mother of the Year too if you even thought to give yourself this award!  And if I earn it 3 days a week for counting ketchup as a serving of fruits and vegetables, then I just know you deserve it too.  You’re doing great.  And keep telling yourself that.

learn-this-one-skill

Moments that invite fear.

These have happened to me SEVERAL times in the course of my 2 ½ year motherhood.

  • Josie has a really high fever.
  • Josie needs discipline for the first time.
  • Josie’s room thermometer shows a one degree drop, meaning that she must’ve died and is a human ice cube chilling the room. (I didn’t say they were all rational.)
  • Josie is ready for her big girl bed a lot earlier than I thought (as evidenced by the fearless crib climbing).
  • Josie wakes up in terror with piles of barf on her bed for the first time.

crib-climber

Or the latest, this week.  Twice I had moments of fear (compounded by pregnancy hormones).  One was when Josie was crying in bed after we had said goodnight.  She was beside herself, but we had also been through 2 weeks of her using every trick in the book to get back out of bed once she was tucked in.  And knowing that every possible need of hers was met, we let her cry.  I hadn’t done this since she was a baby, and even then I didn’t ever let her cry more than 10 minutes.  And usually she fell asleep after 2-3 minutes, which still feels like a full hour.  So on this night, Ryan and I set the timer.  5 minutes.  We’d let her cry and then go from there.  But during this time, I was gripped with every possible fear:

  • She hates me.
  • I’m letting her down.
  • I’m scarring her for life.
  • She really does need something and her life is probably in danger. Even though I can hear her crying, somehow she’s already dead.  (Seriously.)

It took me a full two minutes to calm myself down, to start speaking positivity and truth into my chaos, and to switch from fear to faith.  And guess what?  It took Josie 3 full minutes before she was totally passed out and slept all night.  And woke up with her usual smile and affection for her mother.

The second moment this week took a little longer for me to move past.  We met Ryan’s parents for dinner to drop Josie off so she could spend the weekend at their place, and so Ryan and I could be productive around our house and have a date night.  I kid you not, I LIVE FOR THESE MOMENTS.  Dropping her off is one of my greatest joys!  Sounds a little harsh, I realize, but when you have loving family members that regularly pour into your child, you take advantage!  And I’m never worried, but as I loaded Josie in the car seat in her Gigi and Papa’s car, I kissed her quickly and ran for my life before she really had a chance to get upset.  Josie was fine, and hadn’t cried when Ryan said goodbye either.  In fact, she said, “Bye Daddy!  See you on Sunday!”  What a relief!  But guess who actually did lose her mind?  Me.  I was crying before I got in the car, my mind racing with worry.  Worry that she wouldn’t sleep well in a “big bed,” or that she would wake up and be a bother to them in the middle of the night, and worry that she would die in a car accident on the way down there.  Seriously.  Every stinking worry I could have, reasonable or completely unreasonable, took hold of my mind.  Until I made the conscious decision to STOP IT.  And move from fear to faith. 

What’s the reoccurring theme here?  My first thought, in ALL of these scenarios is “I’m not equipped for this!”  Sometimes it is specific: My middle child, peacemaker personality is not equipped to be a consistent disciplinarian.  Sometimes it is vague: I’m not equipped for motherhood in general.  If I’m feeling this way as the mother of ONE TODDLER, how will I feel as the mother of 2?  As the mother of teenagers?  As the mother of grown children? 

But this is the trick, the key.  The speed with which I move from fear to faith directly correlates to the amount of joy I experience as a mother. 

Some thoughts on Fear:

  • Silly, irrational fear: Don’t stay here. Don’t live in this place.  Shut it down and move on.
  • Fear of inadequacy in a moment that doesn’t really matter: Figure this out quickly.  In the case of walking into Josie’s room at night and finding piles of vomit on her bed for the first time, I was paralyzed for 5 seconds before my instincts kicked in, and I moved into action.  We may not have handled this perfectly, but we did the best we could and in the end, it doesn’t really matter how we dealt with the barf.  Josie was safe and well-loved.
  • Fear of inadequacy in moments that do matter: Discipline. First, know that there’s a phase of “new stuff” every 3 weeks in a kid’s life. As soon as you get used to one thing, and feel like you’ve got it under control, your kid starts biting or hitting or talking back.  Something totally new.  This has happened to me so many times.  And the key I’ve found is that the more prepared I feel for each situation, the less time I spend in fear.  So, as soon as Josie started biting, I did some research, I asked friends and family for advice.  I chose a course of action, and moved forward confidently.
  • Reoccurring fear: Whatever this may be for you, take the time to dig into it.  Don’t ignore fear and pretend like you’re not experiencing it.  Set aside some time when you’re not crippled by said fear, and figure it out.  Get to the bottom of it.

Some thoughts on Faith:

  • Faith in yourself: When you become a mom, you really do get this instinct and are equipped along the way for what your tiny might throw at you (literally or figuratively). Take heart that you’re doing the best you can!
  • Faith in God: I really believe that God not only chose Josie to be my child out of all the millions of sperm and egg combinations, but also that He cares for and provides wisdom for us to parent her.
  • Faith as a Verb: This is the big one or me.  When I say faith, I don’t mean this abstract, just pray about it, just push fear aside and hope for the best!  Faith in action.  Equip yourself!  Read and research!  Ask for help from trusted sources!  And make sure you’re setting aside time for yourself so that you’re joyful and reenergized when these situations come about, not always drained and at your wits end.   

This isn’t easy.  Moving from fear to faith is super hard and takes lots of practice.  But it’s a skill worth learning – for your sake and for your child’s sake!  The more I practice this, the more confident I feel.  The deeper joy I find in motherhood.  The more freedom I feel to practice self-care and pour into people and things other than my child!  And as my family grows, and our lives transition over and over and over again as we raise our kids into adults, I hope to look back at this time in life and know that every step along the way I did the work to be confident and prepared in the next step.

the-speed-with-which-i-move

Self-Care, Self-Love, Self-Whatever-You-Want-To-Call-It-Just-Do-It

If you’re thinking, “Self-care sounds like a therapy word,” You Are Right!  It’s a fancy, not-so-fancy way to say TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

As humans, yes, we need this.

As human mothers, we need this all the more.  And the more we have going on in our lives, the more we need to pay special attention to filling our own cups!

you-cant-pour-from-an-empty-cup

It’s not always easy, and it’s quite the process to nail down the specifics, but if you don’t have a satisfying self-care routine, dig deep and get to it!  Not sure where to start? 

Here’s a look at my self-care journey.

When I’m not diligently practicing self-care, (*in varying degrees depending on how long my stretch is) I:

  • Isolate: Not in the physical sense, because who has time for that! Full-time job, husband, 2 year old, family, friends!  Oh no no no….I hide away inside and bring my relationships to the surface. It’s a slow, almost-unnoticeable progression, but it happens.
  • Make poor decisions: I get lazy. Instead of practicing any sort of discipline, I do the bare minimum.  I keep up my house, sort of.  I keep the laundry going, just so I can binge on Netflix. I go to work, I cook, I play with Josie…but not in the fully-living way that we all deserve.
  • Play a dangerous game of chicken with depression: I’m prone to depression.  Sometimes I can see it coming at a distance, which is a scary gift.  If you’ve ever lived in the trenches with depression, you get what I mean by scary.  But a gift because I know I’ve got time to take steps to get healthy.

When I AM diligently practicing self-care, I:

  • Work out consistently: Nothing like a good sweat and some trusty endorphins to make me feel empowered, accomplished, and disciplined.  (Edit for pregnancy: let myself not work out because I can’t even get up the stairs or have an exciting conversation without losing breath and sweating profusely…oh the joys!)
  • Make healthy food choices: Can’t ruin my morning work out! (Edit for pregnancy: chocolate and dairy, in as many combinations as humanly possible.  The end.)
  • Am Transparent: I’m back to storytelling and wearing my heart on my sleeve.
  • Look for joy: Sometimes, I know just where to find it.  Other times, I’ve got my eyes wide open looking for it in the day to day!
  • Take my alone time: If I don’t get alone time, I go nuts.  So I take it when I need it, usually before I start getting really cranky.
  • Focus on others: Because I’m not busy burying myself, I’m free to send a small gift just because, bake cookies to give away, or enjoy conversations I’d otherwise dismiss.  I’m available to love others well.

It’s taken me a while to even get to the place in life where I can put words to all of this stuff.  I haven’t always been good at recognizing my times of no-care or plenty-of-care.  But I am getting better.  My self-care stretches get longer and longer, and the breaks get shorter and shorter! 

So every day I’m striving to love myself well, so I can love others well too!  Isn’t that kind of the point?

I’d encourage you…take the time to get to know yourself so you can chase down what brings you deep joy and excitement, health and wholeness.  love-yourself-love-others.png

Ramblings of an Over-Apologizer: Sorry, I’m Not Sorry.

Something I’m working through…

Ryan and I both work full time, but my job is a lot more flexible than his. So getting our daughter up and ready and to daycare in the morning and back home again at night has fallen to me 95% of the time. Ryan’s been unemployed since December 1st (his company moved to Memphis) so in this interim, he’s been home and more available, which is amazing. Throughout this time, my job has been more demanding and I’m either leaving earlier or getting home past bedtime, so he’s been handling lots of the Josie things.

Here’s the hard part to unpack.  I’m feeling extremely grateful to Ryan for stepping up in this way when he can.  I’m grateful for the time off he’s had and the extra hours we’ve had with him around the house.  But my first impulse is to feel guilty and apologize to him because he has to do these things. 

thankful

First, the guilt.  I don’t know where this comes from, because I’ve never been a fan or a victim of “mommy guilt.”  Anytime I leave Josie for almost any reason, the most guilt I feel is that I don’t feel guilty for leaving.  Especially since lots of the times I’ve left her for any length of time, it’s been for vacations or time away that fills me to the brim, which in turn, makes me a better mom. (Self-Care!  Hello!)  Is the guilt over Ryan getting Josie up, ready, and out the door because I feel like it’s “not his job”?  Or it’s a “mom thing”?  I don’t know.

Second, the impulse to apologize.  Note: I said impulse, not that I once actually apologized for any of this out loud.  And also to note, Ryan NEVER made me feel like he was even owed an apology. He loves his tiny one.  People!  There’s nothing to apologize for in this situation.  Ryan is her father, not some guy who’s doing me a favor by “playing house” every now and again.

And I know I’m not alone in this.  I put this out to an online self-care group I’m a part of and I got lots of responses from women that said they do the same thing but can’t truly identify why.

So here’s what I started doing in my brain: 

  • Re-framing the situation: As I said above, Ryan’s her father, and every part of raising her falls to him just as much as it falls to me. Enough said there, but that’s tough to always keep top of mind when we tend towards more traditional roles in the family (Me: cooking, cleaning, laundry…Him: outdoor chores, house maintenance, spider killing).
  • Voicing my gratitude: I started telling Ryan THANK YOU for doing all of the things he did. That’s way better than hearing SORRY a million times for no reason.  And who doesn’t love to be on the receiving end of gratitude instead of negativity!
  • Allowing myself space to feel awesome: Keep pushing away negative thoughts. I didn’t love missing all the time I did with my family, but it was easy to leave knowing that Ryan and Josie were having awesome daddy daughter bonding times.  And fun to fall more in love with the guy I married, who does love his family in lots of great ways.
daddy-daughter
Throwback to the cutest Daddy Daughter picture!  Oh, the good ole days of baby-open-mouth-kissing!  Photo credit: the fabulous Tina Cornett Photography (Nashville friends, check her out!)

The good news is that it’s becoming easier and easier in this particular situation to show gratitude and not apologize.  However, it opens up a whole other realm of noticing when I apologize for things that I don’t need to!  (Flash back to why I sucked at radio sales: Me: Here’s a list of sponsorship packages I think would really be great for you.  [Client hesitating for .3 seconds]  Me: Everything’s negotiable. Never mind.  I’ll show myself out.) 

Why do I feel apologetic for voicing my needs?  Why does guilt stop me from communicating my desires or expectations?  These are all questions I’ve been rolling around in my brain lately.  I wish I had some wisdomous thought to tie this post in a perfect little bow, but like I said, I’m just starting to work through this.  What are your thoughts?  Can we just commit to working on this together?   Can we talk about it below?

How to Raise a Confident Daughter

My biggest parenting fear…so far.

I’ve got a 2-year-old, which means I’m pretty much out of the “is she going to die in her sleep or fall down the stairs to her end?” stage.  I’m less scared for her safety and am moving into the long-term what if’s.  I hate looking too much into the future and worrying about these things, because it’s a time-suck and energy drain.  But I am aware, that if we don’t start thinking about how to approach the emotional/spiritual side of parenting (instead of where we’ve been – basically in keeping her alive and lately, in time out), it’ll sneak up on us and we won’t be confident in delivering the love and truth that she needs.

wish-we-knew-what-we-were-doing

The Goal:  Our goal as parents is to raise a humble and loving daughter with self-esteem that helps her make sage life decisions.  I don’t just wish happiness for her, but I pray for her to be a well-adjusted woman who has (and seeks) wisdom to navigate both her happiness and her struggles.

The Fear: The fear is that I won’t do a good job of speaking truth and love into her.  That somehow something that I say out of anger or frustration or worry will be the one thing that she holds on to and lets define her in some way.  Or that somehow in our loving and praising her, she never learns that she’s not the center of the universe.  Or that she seeks acceptance in ways that will bring her harm.  This list could go on and on…

So, what to do?!  (Seriously, I’m asking….what do YOU do?!  Mom, what did you do, because you’ve got 2 fantastic daughters!)

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Keep in mind we’re raising an adult: Sure, sometimes a kid is just a kid…but sometimes we’ll start to see patterns in behavior that we also see in some adults.  So, since our end goal is raising an adult, we need to squash any ridiculous behavior unbecoming of an adult.  In our decision-making, we’ll ask ourselves, will this help or hinder her path to adulthood? 

Model self-confidence and self-care: She’ll see me taking care of myself in all sorts of ways (you know how I love self-care!), and as a result, my confidence will stay steady or grow.  And this includes keeping our marriage a priority, so she can see love as a verb in her parents.  Finally, I’ll try to keep my negative body image thoughts to myself.

love-yourself-first

Pray forever and ever and ever:  Almost every day I have a brief moment of feeling like I’m totally unequipped to be a parent.  The joy is overwhelming, the lows are crushing, and the whole job is bigger than I can do on my own.  I will pray as often as humanly possible for all of the things mentioned above!

Give myself a break:  I’m going to fail miserably at these things, more than once.  I’ll remember that Josie doesn’t need perfection from me, but she needs me to be her mom, even if I’m sucking at it!

What am I missing?  Sound off below!

I Can’t Remember The Last Time I Felt Pretty

This isn’t an easy one to write.  But those were the words I said out loud to myself one Sunday afternoon.  Ryan was running errands and Josie was sleeping.  I had a list of things to do, but the only thing I could think of when I looked in the mirror was that I couldn’t remember the last time I felt pretty.  Not looked pretty, felt pretty.  And I didn’t like it.  I felt (and looked) worn-down and kind of pathetic!

mascara-meme

So I got to work: 

  • Hot shower
  • Curled hair
  • 20-minute mascara application
  • Cute clothes
  • Painted nails

All great things that made me feel better about my outside appearance, but nothing that stuck longer than that evening.  And as I dug deeper into this, I realized that it all comes back to my New Year’s Resolution – to put more focus on self-care.

What does feeling pretty really have to do with self-care?  EVERYTHING!!!!!!  Everything.

Case in point, the week after my not-pretty afternoon, I went on a Girls’ Weekend with my college roommates.  On the first day, my soul was so filled with peace and encouragement, just from being together and laughing and swapping stories about babies with the flu and potty training and our husbands who sacrifice so we can jet out for a weekend away.  So filled that I lay on the side of a mountain, covered in snow, and felt like taking a selfie — which had little to do with my physical appearance and everything to do with how pretty I felt surrounded by my beautiful friends and the beautiful mountain.  And I knew I would post it because in the moments after the selfie when I lay there in the snow, I actually cried from relief that these moments exist.  If we focus on filling our own cups, we are able to pour into others – love and joy and peace and encouragement.  We can be who our family needs, and who our friends need, and who the world needs — our best selves!  Exactly who we are!  Exactly who we were created to be!

mountain-selfie

But it doesn’t just happen.  We need to figure out what brings us the most joy and create the space for it.  Not every weekend or even every year will we have the time or money to spend a weekend away with besties eating fancy crepes and getting massages and pedicures.  But every day we can do one thing that fills our cup a little more.  And with that we can love extravagantly!  God can take our little efforts of self-care and multiply them into care for those around us.  He is extra gracious and generous in that way.

You can’t pour from an empty cup.  And you can’t feel pretty with an empty cup either.  

Friends, please.  Create small moments in your day that fill you and cling to them!  You are worth the effort.  And you’re pretty too 🙂

pour-from-an-empty-cup

This One Thing Will Prevent the Spread of Stomach Flu

Disaster struck our house last weekend.  In the form of Josie’s first bout with the stomach flu.  Poor baby, you should’ve seen her…wild-eyed and scared to death of what had just come out of her tiny mouth.  (First and last gross part of the post, I promise).

As soon as we discovered this horrible turn of events, I immediately sent Ryan to the store for grape juice.  Yes.  Grape Juice.  100% Concord Grape Juice with no sugar added is THE ONE THING that will prevent the spread of stomach flu.

everyone-gets-the-flu

So follow these simple instructions the next time one of your family members (coworkers, etc) gets taken down by the stomach flu:

  1. At the first sign of the flu invading your home, drop everything.  EVERYTHING.  And run to the store to buy 100% Concord Grape Juice with no sugar added.  The no sugar added is important.  Brand is not.
  2. Drink 8 ounces 3 or 4 times per day until the flu has left the premises.
  3. The end.
  4. No, seriously. That’s it.

welchs-grape-juice

Some thoughts:

  • This should go without saying, but don’t attempt to give the grape juice to the flu-ridden. That would not be pretty.
  • At the first sign that you may have the flu, discontinue the grape juice. Again, not pretty.  But, probably not likely, since the grape juice is a miracle-working drink.
  • Please note, the grape juice doesn’t CURE the stomach flu, it prevents the spread of stomach flu. So there will still be one family member that has to take one for team.  If that’s you, sorry ‘boutcha!  But your entire family will thank you for reading this and heeding my very wise words.
  • During cold and flu season, maybe just keep a bottle of grape juice at the house just in case. We don’t keep juice in our house at all, so the late night run to the store was mandatory. Next time, I’ll be more prepared.
  • Some may say that red wine has the same powerful effect. However, I have not tested this theory, nor do I intend to.  Seems a little risky if you ask me.

So how does this tale end?  Ryan and I remained healthy and flu-free!  (This isn’t our first time using this technique either — it’s tried and true!)  Turns out, Josie got this stomach bug from daycare.  A few of the other kids got it over the weekend as well, but guess who else got it?  Their parents!  If only they had known…..

Cheers to good health and whatever works to keep us healthy! 

A Review: My Experience in a Sensory Deprivation Float Tank

Have you heard of floating? Yeah, it’s a thing.  You get into a pod with about a foot of water and 900 pounds of Epsom salt.  As soon as you slide in you bob like a cork, water reaching over your ears but somehow not covering your face.

float-tank-girl

Here’s what floating is supposed to be (as described to me by many people and the wonderful world of the internet):

  • Freedom from your senses: You’re floating in a pitch black pod. In water the same temperature as your skin so you lose the sensation of touch. You have ear plugs in.
  • Relaxation like you’ve never felt before: 90 minutes in said pod, where some fall asleep or get to the place just before sleep where your brain produces theta waves. It’s science.  And supposedly magical science that will change your life forever.  My dear friend said it felt like he slept for a week.  So you can see how attractive that was to me, a pregnant mother of a potty training toddler.
  • Recovery from all that ails you: Luckily for me, I would test this theory. I had worked out the day before and was pretty sore.  Then, I took a hard fall due to the slick conditions and probably cracked my knee cap.  Plus, my shoulder is still jacked up.  I was in prime condition to be whisked away from my tiny world of pain.
  • A euphoric experience: Apparently, when you’re THAT relaxed, creative types write novels and come up with their next big ideas. Athletes feel connected to their bodies and their teams (The Cubs have these in their club house, and some contribute their World Series win to these pods). My Chiropractor had an Inception-like experience, with deep conversations with people from different time periods.  Another friend felt a connection to his unborn child.

float-tank-me

As you can see, my expectations were pretty high.  So high.  Too high.  So here’s what happened for me in the tank:

  • I buckled under pressure: It’s like when you NEED a nap, but only have a short amount of time. Or you know you’re getting up at 4 a.m. so you force yourself to sleep early.  And of course you can’t sleep in either situation, because you’re continually telling yourself to sleep.  And then getting mad when you’re not sleeping.  And finally deciding it’s not worth it and maybe you should just quit.  That’s what I was going through in this pod.  I wanted to badly to “get there” that I got nowhere except to a place of negative self-talk about how I wasn’t “getting there.”
  • Too many distractions: First, I had a hangnail from days past. Submerging that in salt water for 90 minutes was not the most pleasant of experiences.  At one point, my nose itched, so I itched it and a drop of salt water got inside my nose, carrying the burning sensation through my nose and down my throat.  And for my biggest distraction, see below: A float within a float.
  • I got a migraine: My ginormous pregnant belly made my middle extra buoyant, leaving my head and neck to overcompensate. My neck muscles got so sore and tired, that I kept trying to figure out a comfortable position – using the floating head rest, hands behind the head, or hands under the neck.    And all that strain gave me the start of a muscular migraine, which I didn’t recover from until I actually slept that night.
  • I got cold: The water temperature is the exact temperature of your skin, so in theory, you’re not supposed to feel any sensation of hot or cold. But when you can’t get comfortable and keep moving your various body parts in and out of the water, plus, your big fat pregnant belly submerged once and now floats above the water, you do get cold.  And there’s nothing worse than being cold while you’re trying to sleep in a lukewarm bathtub.  Am I right?
  • A float within a float: The main reason I didn’t have an enjoyable float? Because my baby was floating around inside of me!  Kicking and rolling and having himself a regular blast!  The entire time.  Which, although wonderful and miraculous and blah blah blah, is not relaxing.

So, should you float?  Sure!  Give it a go!  The guys I went with absolutely loved it and are planning monthly visits.  I wouldn’t recommend it while you are pregnant, but I think it has definite potential.  Next time I’ll be sure to go baby-free, scratch and hang nail-free, and most importantly…expectation-free!

sensory-deprivation-tank

P.S. This didn’t cross my mind, but next time!

I Hate New Year’s Resolutions…So Why am I Making One?

Some thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions…

I hate them, because I suck at them.  Thus, I rarely do them.  I’ve tried the “pick a word to focus your new year” and the “I’m going to run at least a mile every day in the new year.”  Umm, please.  Can we not?

maury-new-years

But of course this year, I find myself needing to make some kind of change in the new year, mainly for fear if I don’t, I’ll lose my mind.  And to be fair, I think if I would’ve hit this point at any other time of the year, I’d make the same resolution.  So, in order for me to succeed, I won’t call it a new year’s resolution.  Just a resolution.  To start practicing what I preach – self-care.

Seriously, why is it always the hardest to take your own advice?  I know deep, deep down that when I’m exercising and eating healthy, plus getting enough sleep, I’m my best self.  Pregnancy has ruined this for me.

I’ll blame the constant fatigue of baby-growing for the cycle I’m in.  I’m so tired by the end of the day that I park myself on the couch as soon as humanly possible.  Then, I get lost in the wonderful world of Netflix (currently, I’m watching the entire Gilmore Girls series for the first time and LOVING it), and before you know it, I’ve forgotten how tired I am, and one episode turns to 3 and my 9 p.m. bedtime is now 10. 

So it’s no wonder that I can’t get up and work out — I can barely get up!  I thought I was going to be the buff pregnant chick.  Seriously.  I thought this.  I made a workout plan.  I printed it out.  And then I hit snooze until I finally decided that Josie could be my alarm clock.

And don’t get me started on eating healthy.  I’m eating like a regular pregnant chick.  The kind that knows she’s gaining 30+ pounds anyway, so what’s a few more pieces of fudge or my current cravings – milk shakes.  Ice cream.  Fruity Pebbles.  Toaster Strudels.  Just reading the list sounds gross to me.  I never shop or eat like this, but because I have this “excuse” I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth.  Never mind the fact that my back fat is growing at an alarming rate.  I’m surprised it’s not as big as my bump at this point.

junk-food-meme

So where does this leave me?

Making a resolution.  (Eye roll)

So if you’re in a boat similar to mine (soon-to-be capsizing or not) and are on the resolution bandwagon for 2017…

Here’s my advice.  (And yes, I’m talking to myself).

Take a Position:  Choose your resolution.  Mine is not a firm plan, but a renewed focus on self-care.  Giving myself grace when I fail, and a swift kick in my expanding butt if needed.  Also, tell someone else, so you’re not all alone in the kicking of the butt.

Stand Firm:  Don’t say, “I’m going to lose 50 pounds this year” and then go eat a dozen donuts.  I’ll stand firm in my position of self-care, and continue to make tiny steps toward this goal.

Look for the Results:  If you’re really standing firm, you’ll see some changes.  Some so small, you may have to actually look hard for them.  But believe you me, it’s ok to celebrate even the minutest of positive changes.  I live with a toddler and we celebrate every tiny thing she does (if you’ve ever been through potty training, you know this is true).  I’ll celebrate every night I’m in bed before 9.  I’ll rejoice that my grocery bill is $50 higher because I’m buying fresh fruits and vegetables instead of 3 tubes of cinnamon rolls (true story).  And although I doubt I’ll see a reduction in back fat, I’ll feel better knowing that with self-care, my back fat will someday go on its merry way.  If not, my 2018 resolution practically writes itself.

So, Happy New Year’s Eve, my friends!  I’ll be enjoying one last total pig out and late night, milkshakes and all…

happy-new-year