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Posts tagged ‘morning’

Yesterday I shared about Flylady and how I have begun to establish routines. Today I want to share with you my early morning routine, also known as my before breakfast routine.

Flylady teaches that when you get out of bed in the morning, you should get dressed to the lace-up shoes and make the bed. Because I like to air the bed first–and especially since my husband is often still in it when I rise–I have moved that to a later routine. But I have found it helpful to get dressed and wash my face first thing, right after going to the bathroom (unless I plan on showering, in which case I just put on my shoes, because I don’t have time to shower before breakfast right now). So that is the first step of my routine: Get dressed and wash face. I never used to bother with washing my face, but I’m 31 now, and I think it’s about time I started taking care of it–especially since I recently noticed a couple of lines that I don’t remember being there before. At this point, I have Melaleuca’s Sei Bella facial wash and toner, so I use those. Later I plan on getting more products, like a moisturizer and a facial masque to use once in a while. But for now, I feel like I’m doing something good for my face, so I’m happy.

Then, before I leave the bathroom, I clean it. Yes, every day (except Sabbath). This consists of dampening a rag and wiping down all the surfaces. First, spots on the mirror, then the counter and sink, then the toilet. Then I hang it up to dry. It takes 1-2 minutes, and the bathroom is company-ready. I also take the time to put away brushes and toothpaste tubes or anything else that doesn’t belong on the counter. All that is supposed to be there are two soap dispensers and a container of Gislaine’s hair “thingies” that doesn’t fit in the medicine cabinet and I want to keep out of Manny’s reach (so not in the drawes). I don’t move the latter when I wipe, only the soap dispensers if I see bits of soap near them that need to be wiped up. Then I take the toilet bowl brush and give the bowl a quick 5-second swish.

Now, because I don’t use any soap for this process, once a week, just before hopping in the shower, I clear everything off of the counter and put it in the window, then spray the counter, sink, and all of the toilet with an herbal disinfectant spray. After drying and dressing, the spray has done its job of killing all the bacteria on those surfaces, and I just need to wipe it down (since it has soap in it, I can’t leave it like lysol). I also spray it inside the toilet bowl. Once we move back to well water, I’ll add some of the Tub & Tile cleaner to the toilet bowl to keep down the limescale, but for now, our water is very soft and it never gets any build-up.

The next thing on my list is to empty the dishwasher. Whether it is full from a load I ran the night before, or whether it just has a few bowls or plates from supper, I empty it. That way I don’t have to empty it before washing the dishes. This takes less than 5 minutes max.

The last thing I do is check my to-do list. I have a list on the fridge that lists things that I need to do on specific days of the week, but not necessarily every day, from deep-cleaning the kitchen counters (meaning I move everything and spray down the counters one at a time, instead of just wiping the bare areas) to soaking beans for the next day’s meal. I also add any daily tasks I want to make sure I don’t forget, such as laundry (it’s amazing how easy it is to forget, with the washer and dryer being out in the garage), or anything else I need to remember, like a doctor’s visit or a call I need to make. These I write down on a little dry-erase board on my fridge. When I accomplish a task, I wipe it off. Then I can see what is left. I put dots beside things that I absolutely want to get done today (sometimes a phone call can be postponed, or organizing the garage can wait a few days when the kids are sick), and as I go through the day, I might put lines beside the things I want to focus on next–2 or 3 things to get done before I attempt anything else. Because, well, I have to admit I am a S.H.E–sidetracked home executive–and tend to get started with something, then remember I should be doing something else, then get called by the kids to help with something or change a diaper… so being able to refocus with a glance at my white board is very helpful!

Now, it took quite a bit to describe my morning routine, but it takes much less time to actually do it. Getting dressed and washing face takes 10 minutes if I’m slow. “Swish & swipe” (cleaning the bathroom surfaces and toilet) takes about 2 or 3 minutes. Emptying the dishwasher takes 5 minutes or less, and updating my to-do list takes about 2 or 3 minutes.

And although it’s not officially on my list, I also drink a glass of water while I’m in the kitchen. Then I either have my devotions or start on breakfast, depending on what time it is and when my husband needs to leave.

So that’s my before breakfast routine. It looks like a lot, so I will summarize:

  • Get dressed to the shoes & wash face
  • Swish & Swipe
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Update to-do list

So what do you do before you start breakfast?

So I am just ending the first trimester of pregnancy, and with it goes the misery of morning sickness. And this time around, I have found some unconventional things that helped it.

You’ve probably heard of the typical soda crackers and eating frequent, small meals, especially immediately upon rising or before even getting out of bed. Well, soda crackers never helped with my first two pregnancies, and since I’m allergic to wheat, I didn’t feel like getting any. I tried rye crackers, but found them too bland.

Then the secretary at the chiropractor’s office mentioned that she had a friend who found that protein helped her more than anything else. After some trial and error, I discovered that if I nibbled on almonds while I sipped my morning glass of water right after getting up, I’d be able to get breakfast and eat it without any problems–or at least, get away with keeping my breakfast in my stomach, even if I was plagued by a little nausea after eating. Sometimes a cheese sandwich would help, or a little tofu.

There were times when I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to eat, and lunch or supper was almost ready. Juice wouldn’t really help, but I discovered to my great surprise that Melaleuca’s Sustain Sport electrolyte drink would actually help calm my stomach for 15-30 minutes. One might expect this would be from the sugar, temporarily bringing the blood sugar up (because when blood sugar drops, then the nausea tends to get worse), but it is sweetened with sucralose, not sugar, so I think it really was the electrolytes. I am not sure how Gator-aid would compare, since Sustain Sport has twice the electrolytes and is naturally flavored. Not to mention, it tastes good–not salty.

Every pregnancy has been different so far. The first time, that first trimester is rather fuzzy–I don’t remember much of it. I do remember not knowing when or if I might lose a meal and have to eat again. I also remember that eating fruit would help–I’d eat a little container of applesauce or fruit–those individually wrapped ones–before getting out of bed. Second time, anything sweet nauseated me. Apples would make me throw up about an hour after eating them. Bananas were instantaneous–I didn’t even have to swallow them! Cake lost its appeal (and I have a huge sweet tooth). This time, the worst trigger has been water. If I drink more than 2 or 3 swallows at a time, I’d better be in the bathroom! So I’ve gotten rather dehydrated. Thankfully, that is going away with the disappearing morning sickness, so I plan on drinking as much as I can soon!

So I don’t have a ton of ideas, but add them to the ideas of others, and something is bound to help. And don’t be afraid to throw up–you’ll most likely feel better afterwards.

What have you found helps you during morning sickness? Please share!

Yesterday was not a good day. At least, that’s how it started out.

First off, I woke up late. Not terribly late, mind you. Probably only an hour late. But on a Friday, that’s just asking for trouble. Sundown shows up at the scheduled time no matter what time I rose in the morning.

Not to mention that I have been making a commitment to spend time with God each morning. Now, if I get up early, that isn’t so hard. But if I get up late, then I am under pressure.

By More Good Foundation on Flickr

Another problem with getting up late is that it seems whenever I sleep in, I feel more tired than if I had gotten up earlier. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I have more time to really connect to God’s strength when I get up earlier, but all I know is that for the past few months whenever I get up late, I have a worse day. Of course, if I go to bed late, it doesn’t help at all!

So I was tired. Really tired. The I-can’t-focus-on-anything kind of tired. I found myself not knowing what to do next and grabbing my iPod to check email or my to-do list (usually both) more often than I really should have. That made me get more and more behind, until I realized it was 10:00 am and the breakfast dishes weren’t even done. At that point, I began to slip emotionally as well.

Of course, emotions are harder to control when one is tired. And mine were just all over the place. I fought hard to control my attitude and not fall into negative thinking, but it was so hard. I would find myself saying things like, “Why am I so tired today of all days? I mean, I got to sleep in this morinng. Why am I always more tired on days when I sleep in a little?” Or, as I lumbered up the stairs to change a diaper, “Why am I sore? I’ve been exercising at least every other day for the past couple of weeks, and sometimes more. I shouldn’t be sore. It’s not fair.” Or, “What is my husband doing on the computer on his day off? Why doesn’t he come help me?” [I knew the answer–he was working on essays in his attempt to get some scholarships to get his Master’s–but you know how the mind tends to focus on the negative anyhow!] Then something would go wrong, and I would whine to myself about it.

But as I sensed my spirit becoming negative, I also sensed God calling to my heart to surrender the feelings and thoughts to Him and to focus on something positive instead. Several times I turned my thoughts away from the negative direction they had been going toward something positive, claiming a promise or counting a blessing.

Finally, a little after noon, I just couldn’t go on. I had put Manny down for his nap, and I decided it was time for me to take one too. My husband was planning on going to town soon, and said he would take Gislaine with him. So I went to try to take a nap. Manny wasn’t asleep yet, so I put in earplugs, just in case.

I had just started to drift off–I know because my thoughts suddenly made no sense when Manny’s crying woke me up. Glancing at the clock, I figured I couldn’t have been asleep more than a couple of minutes. As his cries escalated, I decided that I might as well feed him; it was a little early (he’s on a two-meal-a-day schedule right now, partly since he takes his nap around noon and wakes up late in the afternoon, and partly because it gives his irritated digestive tract a bit of a break). So I got him up, much to his delight, and tried to fix him a lunch.

I say tried, because I was only slightly refreshed from the 2-minute nap. I still couldn’t focus. I had cooked him a sweet potato for breakfast, and planned on giving him the leftovers for lunch. But I needed a little more to make up the meal, so I cut a few slices from an unused sweet potato and started to cook them. Then I started toasting rice in a dry pan to make Spanish Rice for today’s lunch and seasoning beans I had pressure cooked earlier. Those two things took all the focus I could spare, until suddenly it dawned on me that the sweet potatoes were not bubbling in the pan behind the rice anymore. So I lifted the lid.

Sure enough… the pan was black inside.

And since I had sliced them thin–only about 1/4″ thick–I was able to salvage very little.

I forgot to mention that I had burned his sweet potatoes at breakfast too–not as badly, but still, the pan had blackened.This time was much worse. And I still hadn’t cleaned the pan from the morning. So now I had two blackened pans to clean.

It was just too much.

I didn’t think I could take it anymore.

Not to mention that my husband still hadn’t gone to town. Was he going to go or not? I had forgotten to put a book I sold on eBay in the mail box, and now it was too late; if it didn’t get to the post office, it wasn’t going out that day. And it was supposed to go out that day. Of course, I didn’t bother to consider that what my husband was working on was something he wanted to go out in the mail that day too.

Then the pile of dishes was starting to look overwhelming. And they were all dishes that had accumulated after the breakfast dishes had been washed. Sure, a few things hadn’t been washed after breakfast–my daughter had helped and hadn’t been able to handle them. And I had made teff milk and soy milk and still needed to make nut milk with the nuts soaking in the window…

I had a sort of headache, and noise was bothering me. I found myself starting to snap at the kids. Knowing that I needed divine strength, I dropped to my knees behind the kitchen island and pleaded for help. I actually did this several times throughout the morning. When I found myself dwelling on negative thoughts, I made a point to stop and ask for grace to change, and more than once I had knelt to pray. Somehow, those prayers gave me strength to fight back the tears  that would come up and helped me change my focus.

But after the sweet potatoes burned, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I went down to the office where my husband was working and my iPod was charging and sent a text to one prayer partner and a Facebook message to another, briefly describing my exhaustion and out-of-control emotions and asking for prayer

.

After that, I went back to lunch prep. I soon had Manny fed and sat down to eat myself. By the time the meal was over, I was feeling better. I got everything done just in time for Sabbath, and after worship went down to walk on the treadmill, reading a chapter from The Gift while I walked. This refreshed my body and my spirit, and I felt so much better the rest of the evening. Of course, I made it a point to go to bed early!

What did I learn from this day? Several things. First, our thoughts direct our emotions. The things we allow ourselves to think on affect what we feel. If we think negative thoughts, we can work ourselves up into tears very quickly. By the same token, if we resist the negative and focus on the positive, we can change the course of our emotions.

The second thing I learned is that it is important to firmly resist temptation. I had to choose to change my thoughts. Of course I asked God for help, but He couldn’t choose my thoughts for me. He could only point me in the right direction. The choice was up to me. Refusing to break down in tears–even when they were welling up in my eyes–was very hard and totally foreign to my nature, but I did it in Christ’s strength. And when the devil realized that I was determined to choose Christ, he got tired of trying and relaxed the temptations–no doubt planning the next one, but at least giving me a break for a while.

The third thing I learned is that I need the prayers of those I love. The temptations didn’t begin to lessen until my friends started praying. Now, I know they pray for me every day, in a general way, but on days like this if I ask, they can pray specifically for the trial I am in, and that is even more powerful.

So thank you, prayer partners!

Have you had a trial lately that you found victory in? Do you have a prayer partner that you exchange requests with? Please share how this has been a blessing to you.

Not Me Monday

I have never participated in “Not Me Monday” before, but this morning has just been one of those mornings that makes you have to tell someone, so why not do it here, this way, and get a laugh out of it in hindsight?

I did not cut my thumb on our french fry maker this morning while dicing potatoes. I’m always far too careful to let my thumb slip off the potato while trying to get it into the sharp grid. No, that’s unthinkable!

I did not find out that we are going to have to, without question, replace the cooktop in our new house. We are not going to have to take out the cabinet under them and do a minor remodel to put a new cookstove in. The stove is in the island in the middle of the kitchen, meaning we do not have to buy a more expensive stove that doesn’t go up in the back. I did not spend probably 20 minutes on hold with GE waiting for the customer service rep to find out the interior dimensions of the stove to make sure it would fit my larger cookie (or two smaller ones side by side). I do not need to call the contractor that I had told last week we were going to hire to do the repairs on the deck to tell him that we decided to use the other contractor because he’s cheaper (and other reasons). I will not probably end up just sending him an email. That would be ridiculous. Not me!

During the time that I was not doing the above, I did not ignore the kids, letting them run wild, still in pajamas, waiting for me to run their bathwater. They did not make a complete mess of the house, scattering a blanket, an apron, pillows, books, shoes, hair accessories, and clean silverware from the dishwasher all over the place. I did not hear a big crash from one of the back rooms, and did not discover that my kids (probably my son) had knocked over my little plastic chest of drawers that holds all my sewing thread (nearly to capacity), scattering it all over the floor. It had not been arranged by color, so of course I did not mind picking it up and putting it all back in the right drawers. Not at all. I also did not discover that the Mutual Mania game, which has more pieces than Monopoly does, had been opened and dumped in a very disorganized pile. I did not sit down in the middle of this mess and throw a 5-second tantrum out of frustration. Not me. I never lose my cool, especially where children are concerned! I did actually find the work of sorting rather therapeutic, and have been much calmer ever since. Really.

I did not get that all cleaned up, the kids bathed and dressed, and my son down for his nap, only to discover that I was still in my pajamas, and that the breakfast dishes still have not been done! And I did not sit down to write this before fixing said issues.

And I most certainly did not inhale a pea skin while eating split pea soup for lunch. No sir! I never breathe through my mouth while eating because my nose is plugged from allergies or whatever. Not me!

Later in the afternoon, I did not get so caught up in posting my blog contest on other sites that I didn’t notice that the kids had wandered off. When I got off the computer to look for them, I did not discover that Manny had gotten ahold of my unused spool of brown paper tape, and had pulled out several yards of it from the middle! I did not then proceed to wind it all back in again. And then I did not let the kids go play together outside, even though it could rain at any moment. And I have not failed to get any packing done today! Of course not!

Sigh. I can’t wait until we have moved! I am sure life will be so much easier once we are in our new house. Or not!

Don’t forget to check out my regular Monday post. This week it’s Mom’s Cornbread.