Sunday, July 30, 2017

Hitting the Gym

Other than our daily walks, my exercise routine continues to be non-existent.  Add to that the need for J.T. and I to have some regular time together doing something other than hanging out with Isabella and his current health kick and you get two weekly gym dates on the weekends!

Not the most romantic way of spending time together but it is nice to kill two birds with one stone:). 

J.T.'s first degree was in exercise physiology so he is an expert in this area and he sets up my routine for me and I just go through the motions.  This is perfect for those days when I am running on no sleep and feel like a zombie. 

You know what?  This might also be the perfect time for me to revive the Zombies, run!  running app I downloaded a couple of years ago.  Oh wait, you were supposed to run AWAY from the zombie not BE the zombie...

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Addicted to (Yard Sale) Shopping

When I graduated for college and got my first real job, the financial freedom of a grown up paycheck was a bit more than I could handle.  Having a roommate to share expenses, I had a fair amount of disposable income which I helped use to support local retailers.  Especially retailers who sold clothes.  As I got older I fortunately got things under control and became fiscally responsible; however, I still enjoy some good retail therapy now and again.  Starting my little day care enterprise is proving to be just the ticket.

I am currently slated to have a 2 month old and an 8 month old starting at different points and the beginning of August and another 2 month old and two 3 year olds starting when school starts later in the month.  I need ways of entertaining these kiddos and have essentially no start up budget, so what's a girl to do?  Enter the world of virtual and live yard sales.

I had no idea there were Facebook groups you could join that would hook you up with almost brand new or gently used items for some amazing prices.  Fun fact--the best deals seem to come from those people trying to clean house.  They will let you take stuff off their hands for a fraction of the cost of retail.  I have also discovered consignment shopping as a great source of cheap kids stuff.

I am adding to the collection slowly, but surely.  We should be ready to roll come August and Isabella should never be able to utter the words "I'm bored" given the collection of toys and activities I'm accumulating for all of these different ages!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Traveling and Sip 'n See

So little girl has continued to forget how to sleep.  Some nights she is up as often as every 1-2 hours.  I am in such a fog I feel like my brain is broken.  I also feel like a broken record on this topic, so moving on...

Isabella took her first long car ride this weekend.   My mom threw a "Sip and See" for us up in PA.  J.T. couldn't make it because of work, but luckily my brother could go with us.  He drove there and back-bless him!  We traveled around her nap schedule and she did an amazing job.  We stopped for "lunch" after she woke up from her first nap.  It was like 10:30 so calling it lunch is generous.

We ate at a sit down restaurant.  My brother and I share the same traveling philosophy--get from point A to point B as fast as humanly possible.  So our usual MO is a single stop on this 7-8 hour trip for food, restroom and gas.  So to stop for almost an hour was unheard of.  But we survived and Isabella was better for it.  She napped again after getting back in the car.  We made one more stop at a Dairy Queen--traveling this way can definitely add time AND calories, but it was worth it because Isabella began fussing exactly 10 minutes from our parents house.  Win!

We had a nice weekend.  It was wonderful introducing Isabella to friends and family.  The trip home was also a success.  Even when she was awake she was pleasant.

Looks like we can add good traveler to the list of her three month accomplishments.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Nap Cocoon

So while night time sleep continues to be a roller coaster, I think I have finally figured out the magic formula for naps.  Creepily it is almost like I have recreated the womb, but without all the yucky goo.  A less creepy comparison is that we have created a nap cocoon.  Whatever you call it, it is working!

So step one is swaddling.  Step two is that obnoxious (but life saving!) white noise.  Step three is either putting her in her stroller with the cover all the up OR holding her until she passes out and THEN putting her in the stroller with the cover all the way up.  I am pretty sure we are the only new parents who need a place for their stroller INSIDE their home.

The nap cocoon can even be replicated on the go!  Instead of dragging the stroller into other peoples' homes, businesses, etc., I can replicate the cocoon with a carseat cover with equal success.

Using this strategy she will nap anywhere from 1-3 hours almost without fail.  If I wasn't such a lousy napper myself I might actually get caught up on some sleep myself.  But not knowing when she is going to wake up causes me to not be able to relax enough to go to sleep even if I am exhausted:(. 

Now if I could just figure out the magic formula for sleeping at night.  There HAS to be one...right?!?!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Heightened Anxiety (Part 2)

So much great information to process, but information can only take me so far.  I am a doer, so I need to start DOING something to change things.  Suggestions I found include:

"Breath long slow breaths"-  It's amazing how often I actually find myself literally holding my breath.

"Invite rational brain in" (look at what is-what do I know for sure, what are the facts, what do I not know and where/who do I go to get it)."  This is so me...well this WAS so me...I gotta get back to it!

"Develop some go-to mantras" This one has always been a favorite...

Be in the moment-practice mindfulness

Worry always lives in the future

"Self-care comes first:  sleep, water, diet, exercise , mindfulness gratitude."  LOL for days at the first example, but I can definitely take care of the others.  The diet and exercise piece especially.  I feel like I have been given myself a pass since I lost all of my pregnancy week in like 5 weeks (Thanks anxiety!), but need to focus on eating better and attempting some type of exercise besides walking)

Also, I'm going to give this book a read and see what else it can offer.  Wish me luck!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Heightened Anxiety (Part 1)

This sleep regression may just kill me.

O.k. that may be a bit dramatic, but it is definitely a struggle.

I guess I should look at it like this.  I have been fortunate to be pretty much a great sleeper and have slept 7-8 hours a night for most of the last three plus decades.  What's a few months of sleep deprivation torture, right?!?!   Turns out it is pretty torturous!

It also seems to feed my anxiety.  I have heart palpitations, auditory "hallucinations"  (I can hear her crying even when she's not), and even when she is sleeping I often can't because I am stressing about when she will wake up next.  THIS. HAS.TO.STOP!

I don't feel like talking more either via the counselor or the support group will add any additional help though I will continue to use the support group.  I need some real, concrete things I can be doing to...I don't know...reprogram my current thinking.  This may turn out to be one of the few times my need to control may come in handy:).

I am praying A LOT and know that my weakness provides an avenue for God's strength, BUT I feel like I need to be doing SOMETHING.

I am listening to podcasts about anxiety and have found some interesting information, which I am going to process here.

Reliever 1-  God is sovereign
Reliever 2-  truth in the word.  Focus not on "what if", but rather "what is"--"the thoughts of what if overshadow the reality of what is."
Reliever 3-  focus on eternity rather than the albeit important blip of our life (perspective)

What am I anxious about?  Failing?  Fear of being wrong?  Why don't I ask God before making these decisions?  Do I just assume He will tell me if I am wrong?  Probably!

"When the foundation of your life and personality - how you feel about yourself- is shaky, your world view and thought life are shaky" -THIS!!!

"Anxiety is an issue rooted in our belief system. We are anxious when what we put our faith in is something other than God." --I am trying to put faith solely in myself and my ability and the need for contentment with all facets of my life.

Am I using our adoption agency as a scapegoat for my anger?  (This is one of the tangents my brain goes on at night when I'm awake).  If so what am I truly angry about?  Lack of control?  Fear? I think I am angry about having anxiety!

"It’s no secret that when our minds feel out of control we try to control our environment … both our physical surroundings and the people around us"  "I became immediately obsessed with time … what time, to the minute (and how many ounces, to the drop), did my son eat, have his diaper changed, etc. And, if the feedings were off, I would get wacky, anxious"  Umm, did I say this, get recorded and forget?  Oh, wait I have a daughter, but it's crazy to think someone out there is exactly like me...poor woman!

"Our thoughts are so powerful they want them to be true...we want them to be true.  We believe they already are. We believe we are just making observations.  When most of what we are doing is thinking.  Worry doesn't protect us from what we fear. " I suspect the same is true of anger as it simply serves as a distraction for the worry.

"Hard to hear wisdom and answer to prayer during anxious times as these come through in times of peace."  SO TRUE!

"We live out the stories we believe about ourselves."

"Use mindfulness to make a choice...avoid the habit of falling into trigger based thinking".  Sooo easy to do when you are so exhausted you can't think straight!

"Everything is impermanent...nothing is permanent...there is always transition."  I feel like I am living out one of the biggest transitions of my life right now.

"By expecting there to be no problems we are setting ourself up to fail...there are always problems." true...

So much what to do about it?!?!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Walking Therapy

Pretty much since the day after Isabella came home from the hospital we begin our day with a walk. 

At first while I was recovering the walk was very short.  Basically across the street to the community pool house and back.  Then we were able to extend it past the pool house to the cul-de-sac behind the pool.  Our daily walks then doubled to two- a walk upon waking up and a walk as a part of wind down for bedtime.   In the beginning, without vaccinations, it was our only safe escape from home.  Our morning walk now stretches for miles.

Isabella likes our walks.  Even on her fussiest days once we are out in the warm sunshine and she feels the vibration of the stroller on the pavement, she immediately relaxes.  Like her mama, heat is soothing...being outside is soothing. 

Our walks also allow me to be a part of the world after a long night of being alone with a tiny, fussy creature who I am still figuring out and who is still figuring out the world herself.  We pass people and cars that remind me that the world still spins much the same as it did before my world got turned upside down (joyfully turned upside down but still very different from the life I knew).

Meditation, prayer, music and podcasts also sooth my exhausted soul on our walks.  Sometimes we walk with friends be it on a greenway or in a mall.  We walk with other mamas, both new like me, or experienced mamas with new tiny babies.  These walks and talks are also very soothing for my soul.

Fortunately we have not had much rain and even when it is misting, I put on my rain coat and enclose Isabella in her stroller so she stays dry and we trek out anyway.

I need these walks.  They are my free, daily therapy. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Sleep Regression

Over the past two weeks Isabella has been teasing me.  She would fall asleep and sleep a good 5-6 (even once a seven!) hour stretch, wake up for about an hour and then sleep for another 3 hours or so.  I was so excited.  "This is it", I foolishly thought to myself, "she is creeping her way toward sleeping through the night like those magical babies I hear about!"  Sure she had an off night here or there, but never two nights in a row.

Silly, silly me.

I am now typing bleary eyed as we have now suffered through not one, not two, but three disruptive nights of sleep.  We have had a 3-4ish hour stretch followed by 1-2 hour stretches:(.  No rhyme, no reason, just cause I guess.

J.T. is going to put her to bed tonight so I can try to go to bed at 7 and hopefully get at least 5-6 hours in a stretch.

With the decrease in sleep I am feeling an increase in my anxiety level which makes it impossible to nap during the day and more challenging to fall asleep at night even though I am beyond tired.

Such cruel irony!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Taking Some Time Off

No, not from motherhood rather from my obsessive data tracking.  Since Isabella was born I have tracked every ounce consumed and every diaper change.  I began tracking her sleep in May. 

Data tracking served me well in education.   It has been helpful to have actual information to share with the doctor, BUT as previously mentioned I am a bit obsessive about it.  Time to take a break.

A break like this would be nice...

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Not Alone

I know that PPD and PPA exist and I know OF people who have been diagnosed, but in real life I am the only person I know who currently/recently have been dealing with this.  The counselor I met with mentioned a support group and I figured "Why not?", so Isabella and I went and checked it out today. 

There was only one other mom there, but it was nice having someone to talk to who was coping with some of the same feelings.  Her little guy was born at the end of October, but continues to struggle with sleep so I could definitely relate!  She said some meetings have more people in attendance than others so I am hoping today was just on the low side.  We exchanged info and plan to go walking soon, so I'm glad I went.

Saturday, July 1, 2017


Yesterday was the last day of my contract as principal of an elementary school.  For the first time in my adult life I am officially not employed anywhere.

I have received some sort of a paycheck since I was 14 years old.  Even though I intend to earn an income in the coming months I will be self-employed.  No supervisor.  No co-workers.  No formal paycheck.  Weird.

I think what also makes it strange is that my last official day at work was not meant to be.  It was the Friday before spring break and I fully expected to come back for at least a few days after that break. So it's kind of like I got cut off mid-sentence.  I did take Isabella to school on field day and got to see everyone, but it was a quick spin around campus and it certainly wasn't work.

What's even more weird is that the back to school ads are bound to start any day now (I mean it IS July so why wouldn't they), and I will not be having a first day of school.  I mean I will start my classes again so I guess that counts but for the last 16 years (and for most of the last 30+ years) I have had a first day of school in the K-12 world and this year I will not.  Weird.

And the adjustment period continues...