OMG I Can Meditate

One of the things I’m pretty open about here on the ol’ blog is that I struggle with anxiety. Everyone has their thing and for me, anxiety is it. I’m also open about the fact that anxiety medication was a game-changer for me, but I had to discontinue use once I got pregnant.

Once I stopped using Celexa, it was so important to me that I practiced natural coping mechanisms to deal with my anxiety. I’m open to trying just about anything when it comes to relaxation and centering myself. Yoga, acupuncture, essential oils, calming teas…you name it, I’m game.

It was kind of a no-brainer that when I was offered to try out a new meditation app, I jumped on the chance. Now, let’s be real here: meditation is something that I was kind of on the fence about. Mainly because I took a meditation class once, and the last thing I remember was the instructor telling me to cleanse my third eye before I fell asleep. Like, the instructor had to wake me up at the end of class. I was literally drooling, which made things even better.

Anyway, back to the app.

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What I like about this app, OMG I Can Meditate, is that it makes meditation doable for anyone. It’s not intimidating, nor does it require the user to have any sort of experience with meditation whatsoever (thank God!) It’s seriously like having your own mediation coach in the palm of your hand, who you can access at any time. Annnd you can do it in 10 minutes.

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The first time I tried it, I kind of failed. I’m not kidding you when I say that the meditation coach, Lynne Goldberg, has the most soothing voice. Like, so soothing that it put me to sleep. [We can see a trend here, obviously…]

It was my fault because I didn’t follow the rules. I was laying down, elevating my cankle, and Lynne specifically tells you not to be lying down. Sorry, Lynne! 

Anyway, Lynne talks you through the meditation with calming music playing in the background. This sounds so weird, but I love guided meditation, like savasana at the end of a yoga practice. You know what I mean? Well, that’s exactly what this app is like.

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There are even meditations specifically for morning and night [finally, one I’m supposed to fall asleep to], as well as certain speciality meditations like stress & anxiety and meditation for pregnancy (under ‘women’s issues.’)

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I’ve genuinely enjoyed using the app over the past few weeks. Like anything, it takes some time getting used to, but I’ve found it to be worth tackling the learning curve. If you’re looking for ways to naturally reduce anxiety, or you’re simply interested in cultivating mindfulness, I highly  recommend this meditation app.

It’s not free, but thankfully I have 10, 3-month membership trials to give away! I’ll be picking 5 winners on the blog, 3 on Facebook, and 2 on Twitter. Make sure if you’re entering the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter, you’re following me! (Or, for more information, head on over to www.omgmeditate.com)

To enter here, leave a comment telling me why you want to try this app! Head over to my Facebook and Twitter to enter, too!  

“No Baby” + Labor Signs

“NO BABY” is how I have to start every phone call and/or text with my family and friends, so I thought I’d bring you in as well ;)

I don’t know if this is normal or not, but it’s at the point where all I can think about is this baby arriving. Every day I wake up thinking, “is today the day?!” and then I’m disappointed by bedtime because I am so over this. I’m just wildly uncomfortable and sleep deprived, really.

I haven’t talked to the baby throughout my pregnancy, but I’m doin’ a whole helluva lot of talkin’ these days. Mostly like, “I’M READY FOR YOUUU!” and “WHY ARE YOU STILL IN THERE!?”

over it

I’ve arranged everything for maternity leave at work. I’ve gotten my car cleaned (the Penny hair was outrageous.) The car seat is installed. I’ve packed my hospital bag, and the “thank you” basket for the nurses… What I’m saying is: everything is ready – expect for this baby, obviously.

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Which outfit will we get to use?! While we won’t be posting identifying pictures of the baby, follow along on Instagram and Facebook for baby updates!

My newest thing is Googling “indications labor is near” which makes me feel like a complete and total basket case, yet oddly relaxed at the same time. I’ll tell you: this and old wives tales regarding gender are the only things I’ve Googled throughout this pregnancy. I tried my best to stay away from Googling aches and pains and other things that would freak me out!

According to ‘The Google’ a few more things have to happen, but I’m hoping my doctor can give me some clearer insight this afternoon! ;)

If you’re a mom (or are more familiar with labor than I am), play along with me. Looking back, what were your indications that labor was close?!

For everyone: Do you Google signs and symptoms for anything? I’m pretty sure WebMD should be called “You Have 24 Hours to Live.com” 

 

Weekly Reads Wednesday #5

Happy Wednesday, my friends! I hope you’re neck of the woods is warming up like it is here in Richmond. I’ve gone on two walks this week, and it’s been glorious! I am so ready for Spring!

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Don’t forget to check out Clare’s post today today, too!

Life + Lessons

Essential Oils 101 <— So worth the read!

Humor + Happiness

Guy Writes Down Things Urban Kids Say When He Takes them On Hikes < — HILARIOUS!!

WWII Vet Celebrates 90th Birthday with 4-Year-Old Best Friend <— OMG.

19 Dog Friendly Stores Where You Can Shop with Your Pup <— Who knew?!

31 Times Celebrities Gave the Best Damn Responses to Sexist Questions

Parenting

I’m A New Mom – What if I Never Work Full-Time Again?

Can We Please Be Honest About How Breastfeeding Changes Your Marriage? <— I see valid points within this article, but I don’t agree with the majority of what she’s saying.

Why My Husband Always Comes Before My Child <— This is the article caused the response of the above article. What do you think?

The Disturbing Facebook Trend of Stolen Kids Photos <— If you post pictures of your kid online, I think this is worth a read!

Mental Health

Letting Go of “Letting Go”

Love + Relationships

I Married the Wrong Guy <— As a mental health professional, this story is all too common. This woman shares a brave story!

Time Spent in the Emergency Room

In past three weeks, I’ve been in the ER twice.

The first time was because I’d caught the stomach virus that’s going around, which was just great. (Do you know how difficult it is to barf in the toilet when you have a basketball protruding from your middle?) I became severely dehydrated, which come to find out, is not a good thing for a pregnant woman to be.

The second time was last week, following my routine OB visit. She sent me to the ER because she was concerned about the swelling in my right foot and leg. Swelling is a normal part of pregnancy, but it’s usually pretty equal on both sides.

For me, that wasn’t the case, so she thought it might be a blood clot. (Cue: my panic attack)

ankle

Since I had just been in the ER days before, I kinda sorta started crying on our way out of the doctor’s office. It was the combination of fear and the fact that I just didn’t want to go. (Clearly, I knew I had to; blood clots are serious business.)

We ended up sitting in the ER for for 3 hours before the ultrasound tech was available. All the while, I was gripped with anxiety over this possible blood clot.

You know, 3 hours is a long time to just sit and play the family-favorite “what if” game.

Anyway, the super nice ultrasound tech finally made his appearance. He made some quick small talk and then turned off the lights and began his exam.

Silence.

For 15 minutes (which seemed like 15 days) he searched for this possible blood clot. In silence. I didn’t want to interrupt his flow, but I much prefer when medical professionals talk you through the process. You know what I mean??

He ended his exam, and by this point I was having trouble breathing because I was certain he’s going to tell me I’m dying (hospitals bring out my most rational side.) I’m sure I seemed too eager and slightly crazed, when I asked, “So?”  

“Everything looks great! No blood clot.”

After sending up a major “THANK YOU, JESUS!” prayer and letting out an audible sigh of relief, I realized that we had just spent over 3 hours in the emergency room to come to the conclusion that I have cankle.

The joys of pregnancy, my friends. The joys.

Days Away

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve officially hit the “oh shit, this is happening” part of my pregnancy. I got a taste of it at my first baby shower. An even greater sense of urgency hit when Cory installed the carseat. But it wasn’t until last night when I was facetiming with my mom and she said, “We’re 19 days away from your due date!” did it actually hit me.

Days. 

Thus far, my pregnancy countdown has really been in monthly (and very recently, weekly) increments. Yesterday was the first time I’ve thought about delivery being days away.

I can’t adequately explain how simultaneously excited and anxious I feel. I get stressed out because I feel like there is SO MUCH left to do, to prepare for; but in reality, we’re as ready as we can be

We’re spending these days relaxing and going out on dates and having conversations about this baby who’s almost here. I’m experiencing all the feelings on a daily basis. I’m probably certifiably crazy at this point.

I have some posts planned, but I can’t promise I’ll be an utterly consistent blogger in the upcoming days. I hope you understand. (Of course you do.)

I’m not going anywhere, but I just wanted to start off the week by thanking those of you who continue to follow along and send me words of encouragement. You are so appreciated!

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Searching for Childcare + Asking the Right Questions

I’ve alluded to the fact that, for me, looking for and choosing childcare has been one of the more stressful aspects of pregnancy and entering the World of Parenthood.

One of the biggest choices we’ve had to consider is an in-home caregiver vs a daycare center. This one keeps me up at night, honestly. Thankfully, one of my very close friends is a Director of a daycare center, and she coached me through the process of what to look for and what to ask when touring a facility.

I found her list of questions to be beyond helpful. I may have looked like a future helicopter parent with my mile-long list, but I was surprised that I didn’t give a shit what anyone thought. I left feeling assured and confident that all the bases were covered.

I know I have several pregnant friends and many pregnant blog readers, so with my friend’s permission, I wanted to post the list of questions that she gave me. [You’ll also notice that her explanations/comments are next to some questions in gray italics.] I hope that someone else in my situation finds them to be as helpful as I did!

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Impressions/Things to Look For

How does the outside of the building appear?
Did you have to ring a doorbell or did you walk right in?
Was the person that greeted you friendly?
If you scheduled a tour, did they appear to know that you were coming?
Does the inside of the building look clean?
Do the classrooms look neat and organized, or messy and chaotic?
Is there colorful art on the walls?
Do the children appear happy?
Are the children clean? [i.e. Can you tell what they ate for lunch because they’re wearing it on their faces/in their hair?]
Do the playgrounds look safe?
Ask to see the entire facility! If you’re touring for an infant or a toddler, often times Managers will only show off the first couple of classrooms. Your child will (hopefully) transition into every classroom. The Kindergarten room is just as important at the nursery.

Staff

When you walk into the classrooms, do the teachers say hello?
Do the teachers appear friendly? I only add this in because just because someone says hello with a sour-puss look on their face doesn’t make them friendly.
What is the teacher turnover like?
How long has the teacher in your child’s classroom been there? I don’t put TOO much emphasis on this because lets be real, childcare is often known for their turnover, and is even more often out of the
hands of the Managers/school. However, it doesn’t look too good for the school when both the Lead teacher and Assistant teacher were hired last week.
How long have the Managers been there? I DO put a lot of emphasis on this. This job is fucking hard. There are days that I go into the bathroom to cry for ten minutes, tell myself that tomorrow is a new
day and to get it together, then go back to work for ANOTHER 8 hours. Anyone that is that puts up with the shit that we put up with for more than a year, is DEDICATED and invested in the school’s well-being.

Facility/Policies

How long has the facility been open?
Is your facility accredited?
Is your facility licensed by the state? ALL facilities that are licensed MUST have their most recent inspection posted for parents to see. It can generally be found on a “Parent Board” of some sort in the lobby or entrance. All licensing inspections for all licensed facilities can be found on the Department of Social Services website. This is a HUGE indicator if a facility is a tight ship or a bit loosey goosey when it comes to following the rules.
Is there an open-door policy/am I limited to how many hours per day my child can be here?
Are there cameras in all of the classrooms?
– If so, can you watch your child’s classroom from online?
How are the children signed in/out everyday?
Can we authorize family members to pick-up/How do you monitor who is permitted to pick up?
What is the illness policy?
How do you notify parents when there is illness in a classroom?
If my child ends up with allergies, or if we need medication to be administered throughout the day, who is trained to do so? Don’t be surprised if some facilities will not administer fever reducing medicines, like Tylenol or Advil. We do not. Medicines with acetaphetamine are often given to mask a fever when it’s quite likely that a child may be contagious with something else. This can be a frustration for some parents that we won’t give their child Tylenol when they’re teething. Unfortunately, we don’t have the ability to determine if that child has spiked a fever because they are contagious with an illness, or if they are indeed only teething. Because we don’t want to take the risk that a child is contaminating a classroom with something, if a child’s temp goes up above a 101, they will be sent home. It’s then unto that parent to either keep the child out until the fever drops, of if they take them to the doctor to get a note that says they are not sick.

Financials/Logistics

What is the tuition?
Is tuition paid on a weekly or monthly basis?
Does the tuition include meals?
If still potty training, do we need to provide diapers and wipes?
Are there any additional fees throughout the year? Material/activity fees?
What forms of payment do you accept?
Is there a registration fee, and is it annual?
What is the process to enroll?
Is there a multiple child discount?
If we decided to withdrawal, what is the process?

Question: Does this topic stress out any other moms or moms-to-be?!

Weekly Reads Wednesday #4

Hey there! I hope everyone’s had a nice week so far! I apologize for being slightly MIA on the blog and social media; I’ve been a little under the weather these past two weeks. YUCK!

I hope you enjoy these articles as much as I did!

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Head over to Clare’s blog to check out HER weekly reads!

Life + Lessons 

Meet the Woman Who Says, “I’m Much Happier Being Fat” 

I Drank 96 Ounces of Water Everyday for a Week and This is What Happened

27 Charts That Will Help You Make Sense of Makeup

14 Recommendations for a More Authentic, Happy Existence 

Humor + Happiness

Boob Groping and Other Things I Was Oddly Fine with During Childbirth  

21 Changes You’ll Experience Between Yours 20s and 30s <— Too funny!

Parenting 

Do Our Online Lives Affect Our Children?

Tips for Being a Happy Mom

The Parenting Myth I’ve Finally Stopped Falling For

Mental Health 

This Suicide Prevention Site is Really Funny and It’s Working <– YAY!

5 Ways to Get Involved with Eating Disorder Advocacy and Volunteering 

Question: How many ounces of water do you think you drink every day? I’m working on the recommended 96, but I don’t always get it!

Baby Shower #2

Do you guys know what month it is?

BABY MONTH!

How exciting is that?!

To kick off Baby Month, I had my second baby shower, hosted by my wonderful friend, Remy!

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Remy did such an amazing job with the shower. It was beautiful, fun, and relaxed – everything I could have possibly wanted. As someone who is not a natural ‘hostess with the mostest’ I’m always beyond impressed by the way Remy puts a party together.

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We spent the first hour or so mingling and chatting, which was great. During the winter, we all tend to hibernate and go to bed early, so it was such a treat to get together with my sweet friends!

meaghanThe second half of the party was spent playing two quick games, followed by opening presents. If you ever find yourself in the position of hosting a baby shower, these two games were great. The first one, “Wishes for Baby” wasn’t so much of a game, but an activity/keepsake. All the guests were handed a super cute print out and asked to fill in the blanks. They were then collected and given to me to read over when I got home, which is something I throughly enjoyed. Some were heart-felt and so sweet, while others catered to my special sense of humor ;)

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The second game was “The Name Game.” Each guest was given a print out and it was a race to see who could come up with a name for each letter of the alphabet the quickest. My friend, Paula, finished in, like, 30 seconds!

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Next up was present opening, which always makes me sweat. I’m an extrovert who hates being the legit center of attention. It’s a conundrum. That said, I do tend to warm up after a few minutes ;)

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Our little baby is already so spoiled. We received such amazing gifts; from functional to precious, all the bases were covered. I honestly spent the rest of the weekend on Cloud 9. Here’s to enjoying our last few weeks as a family of two!

Some Things I Didn’t Know about Pregnancy [Until I Got Here]

You’ll flash back to being 13 and wear pads again. Not because you’re bleeding, but… you’ll still need ‘em. If you haven’t been there yet, I won’t ruin all the surprises for you.

You’ll consider purchasing adult diapers. You don’t know how many times I’ve read about buying Depends, but it’s something I really just can’t bring myself to do. I breathed a sigh of relief after talking to my cousin who just gave birth, and she assured me that they are not necessary. Suck it, Pinterest lists.

You’ll sleep with approximately 900 pillows and barricade yourself from your spouse. I have three pillows for my head/back, one for between my legs, and two pillows for each side of my body. [I’m pretty sure I look like I’m wrestling an anaconda every time I attempt to roll over.] I’m a hardcore spooner, but ain’t nobody got time for that these days.

My friend, Caitlin, suggested buying a body pillow very similar to this one, and I’m kicking myself for never getting around to ordering it. If you still have enough time in your pregnancy left to justify the purchase, I’d DO IT.

cookies

haters gonna hate // cookies gonna bake #newlifemotto

You’ll make weird noises. And I don’t mean the inventible farting and burping. I’m taking about grunting like an old man every time you sit down, stand up, or roll over.

You’ll spend an ungodly amount of time watching your belly. Once it gets to the point where you can see your belly moving when the baby moves [which is so cool, yet so weird], you’ll just sit and stare waiting for it to happen again. Sometimes you stare at yourself when you’re alone, annnnd sometimes you’ll be in a business meeting…

You’ll legit pee your pants at least once. It’s true. Wait for it.

Your ankles will disappear. Dude. Cory and I were in the car for several hours last weekend, and when we got to our destination and I looked down at my feet, I gasped. My ankles were gone, and my feet looked like a popped tub of rolls stuffed into my Toms. It was unsightly to say the least.

You will be so excited. Think of the most excited you’ve ever been. Now multiply that by a million. It’s no secret that I’m not a glowy pregnant lady; I really haven’t enjoyed pregnancy. But I promise, the closer you get to the end, the pure excitement overrides all the pad wearing and weird noise making and uncomfortable sleeping and you’re left finding yourself counting down the days; not because you’re miserable and you want it to be over, but because you simply cannot wait to meet your little one. It all becomes happy and exciting, even when you pee a little.

A Little Bit Rant-y

Okay, I’m going to get a little rant-y today.

Since we got rid of cable, I’ve been watching some of “my shows” on my computer. I was catching up on Pretty Little Liars yesterday (because I totally fall within the target demographic, I know) and every commercial break, they ran the trailer for the new movie, DUFF.

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I guess I live under a rock (?) but I didn’t know until I saw the trailer, but DUFF stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend.

Okay, wait. What?

I think it’s a sick, fucked up day when Mae Whitman is considered fat or ugly. It’s not like she even pulled a Charlize Theron Monster move for this film. She wears overalls.

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I mean, seriously?!

I don’t know anything about the movie other than the typical ‘girl is friend-zoned’ plot, which is not a novel concept at all, but I feel like this has taken it a step further. Rather than a gorgeous actress wearing glasses and being dubbed a nerd, (only to put in contacts at the end of the movie for everyone to realize she’s ~*hot*~) this movie is flat out calling a totally cute girl FAT and UGLY, two words I wish could be banned from the English language.

As a 27-year-old, this doesn’t affect my self-confidence; but as a pre-teen, teenager or a young 20-something? Uh, yeah, that message would be been read loud and clear: if that girl is fat and ugly, I’m really fat and really ugly. 

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I know the media is constantly sending us messages of “you’re not good/skinny/pretty/smart enough” so this isn’t new, and I get that it’s a comedy, and I understand we can’t take everything so seriously but I don’t like this. Not at all.

- end rant -

Chime in: I’d love to know your opinion.