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Posts tagged ‘nap’

If you are familiar with the Flylady, you are probably familiar with the phrase, “You can do anything for 15 minutes.” Obviously, there are limits to that. I mean, unless you’re single, you probably can’t–and wouldn’t want to–limit your shopping to 15 minutes per store. But the idea is that if you don’t think you can do something, or simply don’t want to, you can make yourself do it for 15 minutes.

That’s how it was with me this evening. I had an orthodontist appointment in the late morning, but it’s an hour’s drive away and my husband needed to go somewhere else, so he dropped me off half an hour early. So we ate breakfast, packed a lunch for my son, and didn’t clean anything before we left. I ate lunch after the appointment (before the soreness set in) and took the train & bus back home–about a two-hour trip. It was 3:00 pm when we got home. And I was tired.

So instead of tackling the dishes and the laundry and such things, I sat down in a recliner and tried to nap. When my son decided to join me (but wouldn’t sit still), I put in a nice video for him to watch, turned the volume way down, and went to bed.

I got out of bed a little before 5:00, and was feeling rather groggy. Morning sickness had been mostly nil all day, and I still didn’t notice any, but I was tired and sluggish. Then my husband got home about 10 minutes later, and brought a whole bunch of fruit that he had gotten either free or cheap on the way home. I ate one of the oranges, feeling that I needed to eat something, and almost instantly my tummy began to complain. I moved away and sat down, hoping the feeling would go away like it sometimes did, but it just got worse. So I browsed facebook and tried to ignore my stomach for an hour or so, until I just couldn’t ignore it anymore.

I’ll spare you what happened next, but once I did what I needed to do and was feeling better, I ate a granola bar and decided that happy tummy or no (I was still not feeling 100%), I needed to do some shopping or we wouldn’t be able to eat cooked cereal in the morning (I’m hoping it will be gentle on my sore teeth–the orthodontist really tightened things up this time). So off I went to the store around 7:30.

When I got home at 8:30, I was feeling better, but I was also tired and didn’t want to face the kitchen. My husband had been very busy with things related to our house, so he wasn’t able to clean up–at least he had fed Manny while I was feeling so sick, so I didn’t feel it right to complain. But I didn’t want to clean up either. It looked like about a half hour of work to get the kitchen in order.

Then I remembered the Flylady and her favorite saying: “You can do anything for 15 minutes.” Yes, I told myself, I can clean the kitchen for 15 minutes. I’ll set a timer, and whatever is left when it goes off can wait until morning. After all, if we’re just having cooked cereal with nuts and fruit, there won’t be a lot of dishes after breakfast, so adding in a few from the day before won’t be a problem. And having some clean counters and a cleared-off stove will make breakfast so much less stressful.

So I put a cup of water in the microwave, set a timer for 15 minutes, and got busy. When the water was hot, I added a tea bag and left it to steep while I worked (I like to steep my tea a long time).

In 10 minutes, I was well over half way done. I stopped washing and rinsing  to clear and wipe the counters and stove, then washed a few more. When the timer went off, I took and extra 15 seconds to rinse the soapy silverware, and then took a look around. All that was left was my pressure cooker and a frying pan, neither of which I will need first thing in the morning. Everything else was done and the counters cleared and wiped.

And my reward? A nice cup of raspberry zinger tea. Mmmm!

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

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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.

Okay, this post is not for me. My son is almost two.  I am writing this for the author of a blog that I follow who just had a baby a few days before Christmas, and now she is starting to feel overwhelmed as hubby goes back to work, mom goes home, etc. She asked on Twitter if any of her followers had blog posts on the topic of surviving with a toddler and a newborn, and since then all kinds of ideas have been flooding through my mind. Of course, since my second is almost 2, I figure I am an expert on the topic (hahaha), so here is my advice, for what it’s worth:

Prioritize

I know that sounds hard to do right now. But take 5 minutes when the baby is asleep and toddler is happily coloring or playing with dollies or something that will keep her attention for that long, and decide what is really important. Spotless floors? Dream on! Making sure mother and all minors are fed? Absolutely. Making sure they get nutritionally balanced, gourmet meals? Forget it! If they get Cherrios & milk for breakfast, PB&J sandwiches for lunch, and takeout for dinner for a month, you can consider yourself a good mother! Hubby can fend for himself for at least the first month! Of course, the newest arrival will be getting nourishment from Mommy or a bottle, so make sure you keep taking those prenatals!

Seriously, though, decide what is absolutely essential to making sure the house doesn’t cave in. Things like meals, laundry (as much as you’d like to skip this–though intensive stain removal can go on the back burner now), dishes (get paper plates & bowls to make this part easier), and sleep (not necessarily in that order). Then stick to it, and only add in things as you have energy (notice I didn’t say time–energy!)

Simplify

I alluded to this in the previous section, but you really should simplify things as much as possible. When clothes get scarce, throw a load in and wash it. Don’t sweat the baby poop stains around the legs of the onsies. They will come out well enough when you have time to put them on the line later. Stock up on frozen dinners, rice-a-roni, sandwich makings, cold cereals, quick hot cereals (this time of year hot food is nice, and oatmeal only takes a few minutes to make), fresh veggies for munching (avoid broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage if you’re nursing–though if your toddler likes them, have some handy for her!), pasta and pasta sauce, and take-out menus of all your favorite places–especially the ones that deliver. The less you have to think about right now, the more time you will be able to spend recuperating and enjoying your precious children.

Nap When You Can

I know they always say, “Sleep when the baby’s sleeping.” With one, that was easy. With two, it seems almost impossible! It took a while, but eventually I was able to get my two to sleep for at least half an hour at the same time. To be honest, I usually tried to get things done then, but I wish I had taken more time to rest–even if I couldn’t sleep. Hindsight is 20/20, and lack of sleep contributed to some very difficult times for me later (especially since my son had severe eczema, and that was emotionally draining for me, and even more so because I was sleep deprived).

There is a lot of conflicting advice about co-sleeping, but I did it with both of mine for the first few months, and that really helped me get more sleep. It can also be helpful at naptime. By 2-3 weeks baby should be able to handle nursing lying down, and it allows you to relax more than sitting would. If you just can’t fall asleep for worrying that you would roll over on the baby, get a co-sleeper thingy. There are different styles available; one kind slides under the mattress and hangs over the side of the bed; the other kind lays on the bed, but has soft sides that come up to keep baby safe. It’s worth looking into. At 3 or 4 months you should be able to transition baby into sleeping by himself (especially if he does that during the day already).

Cut Down or Eliminate Caffeine

I know it seems like caffeine is your friend, but it’s not. If you are nursing, you are passing it to your baby (which means he’s going to be more hyper), and you’re taking away from tomorrow’s energy reserves to get through today.

When I was a child, I had this kid’s book about health that had a picture of a couple of tired horses trying to pull a heavy carriage up a steep hill. They were giving it their all, and yet the driver was whipping them to make them go faster. And it told me that is what caffeine does to us. Maybe that’s why I never touched the stuff. And let me tell you, it’s not because I never felt like I needed it. There were days I wished I had some around! But overall, it’s much better for everyone to avoid it.

Ask for Help

They say children are meant to be raised in a village. If you were Amish, the neighbors would be over mopping your floors, weeding your garden (if it were summer), doing your laundry, and bringing you home-cooked meals–without you having to ask anyone for anything. But we don’t live like that anymore. Nowadays you have to ask for help. And that is hard on our pride sometimes. But the sooner you do it, the better off you will be.

The first place I would look if you don’t have family nearby is your church. A good church is like a second family. Call the head deaconess or the pastor and ask for help. You will probably need to be specific: “I would like someone to come once a week for the next month and a half to mop my floors and do some important cleaning like toilets and vacuuming major walkways; also, a few home-cooked meals would be lovely!” If anyone in your church has kids your toddler’s age, see if they would be willing to come pick her up once or twice a week in the morning for a playdate to let you take a nap while the baby sleeps and not have to worry that the toddler is getting into something.

Watch Your Coping Mechanisms

For me, adding a second child was not as hard as watching that child slowly develop a severe case of eczema. It was draining for me. By the time he was 7 or 8 months, he was a very miserable baby and I was about to have an emotional breakdown. I found myself trying to cope by watching movies and playing games on Facebook. Looking back, I wish I had looked for other ways to cope, because all I did was hide from my problems while they got bigger and more overwhelming.

Now don’t get me wrong. A good movie now and then is not the issue. It’s 3 movies a day while I ignored everything around me. I wish I had taken more of that time to get down on my knees and plead for strength to get through the rest of the day, claiming promises like Isaiah 40:29-31. I wish I had taken the time to read good devotional books and other good literature instead of letting Hollywood fill my mind with useless trash.

So there you have a few ideas. I hope it helps you and anyone else who finds this post.

If you are a mom (and you probably are, if you’re reading this blog), you probably know what Kegals are. If you don’t, go back and click on that link for more details. Because you should know. And if you’re a guy, I suggest you stop reading. Seriously.

Well, a couple of months ago I decided to get serious about them. Part of the problem was that I had gotten a Diva cup, and it kept sliding out. Very annoying. So I decided to try doing Kegals to see if it would help. I started out doing 25 or 30 reps, 6 times a day. Every week I would add 5 or 10 reps, until I got to 50. But by that time, the initial enthusiasm I had was waning, and I couldn’t seem to remember to do them. And anyhow, with the tone that I have achieved, I don’t need to do them 6 times a day. But I don’t want to quit, either.

My midwife told me that it often helps to associate something else with doing them. She said that one lady would do Kegals every time she stopped at a stoplight. That’s fine if you’re a Soccer mom, but I rarely leave the house, so that wouldn’t work for me.

Here’s what works for me. Every time I put my son down for a nap, I have to stand outside the door for a bit to make sure he doesn’t get up. Doing 2-second reps during that time with a 1-second rep in between gives me nearly 2 minutes of time standing there, and I feel like I’m getting something done while waiting to make sure he’s not going to get up. That gets me at least 2 times a day.

The other thing that helps is putting Kegals at the top of my daily to-do list. That way when I see the list, I remember them. I may not have time to stop and do them every time, but sometimes I can, and that usually gets me at least 1 or 2 more times. Which is probably more than enough to maintain what I’ve got.

That’s what works for me!

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.