Grins

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Lately, every time I sit down to write, the words just escape me. Life is incredibly challenging right now, and sometimes it’s just a matter of survival. Pushing through, trying not to lose hope that indeed, brighter days are on the horizon. We’ve been dealing with some health issues in our family for the past half a year, and I often feel lost in a sea of troubles.

When life gets tough, it’s even more important to take pleasure in the little things. Like the amount of joy a simple sheet and some clothespins can bring. Looking at those big, toothy grins on those little faces, I don’t know how I got so lucky to have brought these sweet, special beings into the world. This picture is so imperfectly perfect, and I love it.

This morning, on my second cup of coffee, Avi asked me to read a book. I sat down in the armchair in the boys’ room and Theo saw me struggling to hold both my coffee and Avi and the book, so he pushed over his play kitchen and said, “Here you go, Mama. For your coffee.” It was so darn sweet, I could cry.

These are the moments I want to hold onto right now. Giggles, static-electricity-induced hairstyles, and brothers having fun together on a Saturday afternoon.

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Living with a Disability: Tips for Soon-To-Be Parents

Recently, Ashley Taylor from Disabledparents.org reached out to me, asking if she could write a guest post for my blog. Parenting is hard work for anyone – and while a lot of her tips ring true for every new parent, it is especially important when dealing with health issues and disabilities to be prepared and receive the support that you need to thrive. Go on over to her site to check out helpful resources and articles for parents with disabilities. 

Without further ado, enjoy these tips from Ashley!


Living with a Disability_ Tips for Soon To Be Parents

Photo: Pixabay/AntoniaRusev

When looking in, being a parent can seem simple enough. The true complexities of raising another human being are mostly seen at a closer look. No one is a perfect parent, even when they appear so from the outside. If you live with a disability and are about to become a parent, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the looming responsibilities. However, you are not alone. There are 4.1 million parents with disabilities in the U.S. Do the best you can, utilize help when possible, and accept the imperfections and challenges as they come. 

Being a parent is a full time job. New parents are often overwhelmed but are too proud to ask for help. When in distress remember that people around you have probably done this before and don’t be afraid to ask friends, family members, or your parents for help or advice. And as birth day approaches, keep in mind these few tips:

Prepare Your Home

One of the challenges every parent deals with is preparing the home for the incoming baby. Preparation is more than painting the baby room or fixing the crib. And while you might think that your baby crawling around is still far into the future, remember that once the kid is here time flies. Prepare early rather than later.

  • Be cautious of where you keep house cleaning products like laundry soap, bleach, etc. They should be hidden and out of reach.
  • Use magnetic locks to ensure safety
  • Be mindful of where you store your firearms and ensure they are completely out of easy reach
  • Make sure to secure and anchor furniture like dressers and televisions in order to prevent tip overs, falls, or accidents.

Stock Up on Necessities

Babies are small, but they need a lot of attention, which makes it difficult to go shopping. The Huffington Post lists several key things to remember when getting organized before birth.

  • Buy plenty of baby wipes and baby lotion to have handy.
  • Make sure you have enough baby blankets, onesies, and diapers.
  • Get a stockpile of necessary items like rubbing alcohol, baby soap, cotton pads.
  • For mommy, pick up maxi pads and other women toiletries so as to avoid running out in inopportune times.
  • Meal prep. It’s a good idea to keep some home cooked meals ready once you’re sleep deprived and tired. Take some time before to cook some good meals and freeze or store them properly for later consumption.
  • Invest in a nursing bra. If mommy plans on nursing the baby, having these handy and ready to go is definitely a plus.
  • Attend classes for soon to be parenting. These classes can provide helpful information that will really prove useful when you’re short on time.

Cleaning and Tending to the Environment

This might not sound very exciting, but taking some time to clean the house and clear the air for the best possible environment. This can help mood and get you a nice head start for when the baby comes.

  • If possible consider cleaning the carpets and floors.
  • Clean around vents and blinds to get rid of dust.
  • Stay away from synthetic air fresheners
  • Institute a no shoes policy which will keep your floors clean.

Care for Yourself

As the new responsibilities pile up and the full nights of sleep get farther and farther away it is important to remember to care for yourself. After all, if you neglect your health it won’t be good for your new baby either. Avoid drugs and alcohol when stressed and focus on dealing with your feelings in healthy ways. Make a little effort to implement some self care during these hectic times.

  • Give yourself some ‘me’ time. Take a walk, continue your hobbies, take an evening or afternoon off.
  • Take care of yourself physically eat a nice clean diet, exercise, and catch up on sleep.
  • Develop a support system of other parents you can talk to that can lend advice

This new baby is a blessing, but it comes with its fair share of complications. Remember that parentings is difficult job for everyone and becoming a parent that has a disability might add some challenges, but nothing that is not overcome with enough love, preparation, patience, and a loving support group of friends and family.

Peaceful Parenting

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Just popping in today to tell you about Aha! Parenting’s Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids 12-week e-course that has CHANGED. MY. LIFE.

I have taken this course before, as I mentioned here, but am in it again for round 3. (Well, I technically sat out the last round to take part in another online course that was very time-intensive, but I really want to jump back into making parenting more peaceful and enjoyable for me!)

Registration is only open until Friday, so please don’t hesitate if you’ve been thinking about signing up!

Need more information? Ready to jump in? GO SIGN UP HERE!

By the way, this is not an ad. I’m just passionate about the work that Dr. Laura does for parents and children. This course is 200% worth it, especially as you have lifetime access. I have seen first-hand the improvements in my relationship with my children, as well as my ability to regulate my own emotions and to enjoy more of a sweet connection with my children.

2018

Whew. 2017 was not the best year…

But today, I am thankful for a cousin (aka Christoph, the nicest human being on the planet) who came here this afternoon to go out with Tobi and the boys and let ME have some Time To Myself. As an introvert, this is my lifeline. And as a mom, I don’t get it often enough.

So, with all my free time to myself, I am starting 2018 by rearranging furniture, drinking coffee, and checking off items on my to-do list.

First, I did a massive brain dump, which I actually started yesterday (last year! ha ha!) – just went room to room to jog my memory and to write down all the things that are contributing to this exhaustingly heavy mental load I’ve been carrying around. I then knocked off a few things off the list, and then organized it into categories: short-term projects, long-term projects, courses (I’m enrolled in so many online!). I chose a few tasks for each day of the rest of this week and put the rest of the items on the project lists.

I’ve already crossed off so much this afternoon, and I’ve ‘only’ had 3 hours to myself so far. It’s so refreshing and energizing to have a large chunk of time where NOBODY NEEDS ME. That’s one of the things that can be most wearying for me as a mother and a person. I do get little breaks here and there, and I really try to use my time wisely (but don’t always manage that, of course) and make self-care a priority. But it’s easier said than done.

Anyway, I’m not making resolutions. Nothing official, anyway. But here are my wishes and intentions for the new year:

More love. choose love, always

More patience. with myself, with my kids, with my husband

Less clutter. both mental and physical

Better health. taking better care of my body, mind, and soul

 

In an effort to make things feel fresh and new, I’ve printed out some free printable artwork to update some of the art in my frames.

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Enjoy the small things – from chicfetti – for the frame in the hallway in our entryway. I can see it from the bathroom and of course right as I enter and leave my home. It’s a good reminder. I used to be good at enjoying the small things, but life has gotten super overwhelming lately. I am hoping to get back into the habit of enjoying the small things and taking pleasure in them. Especially when life feels so heavy; you have to hang onto something, right?

And for the bathroom, this reminder to wash your hands. no, seriously. Because I always have to tell this to Theo. “With soap! Always with soap!” Not that Theo can read, but it made me chuckle.

I need to stick this one in a frame, but I also got this simple yet wonderful “life is tough my darling. but so are you” print. Another good reminder.

Apparently I need a lot of reminders, lately. #mombrain?

And, just for fun, a monogram S with twigs and succulents. Because succulents are always a good idea.

Wishing you all a happy new year, my friends. I want to carve out more time to write, because it does make me happy. I even have a guest post coming soon for you. It’s time to breathe some life back into this ol’ blog. Are you with me? Please do comment and say hi, or drop on over on instagram and say hi there. It’d be lovely to hear from you.

Happy New Year!

2018, let’s do this!

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Vorfreude

Oh my goodness, you guys. Photobucket changed their terms of use overnight and effectively killed every single photo on my blog. I’ve been blogging for like 10 years. There’s no way I’m going to be able to fix this. I am so very sad.
I was writing the following post and wanted to add a picture when I noticed that it didn’t work… And then had a total breakdown. All I could do was sob. So much work. So many years. Ruined. I am so very disappointed. The only way to fix it is to pay $399 per year for third-party hosting – like they’re holding my photos hostage – for a service that used to be marketed as free.
Anyway. It seems silly to have written this post and not actually post it. But the joy of it has been taken away. I don’t know what to do. But here it is, anyway. For the rest, gucken wir weiter. We will see. It’s like they’ve stolen my diary and ripped all of the pictures out. The words are still there, of course, but I can’t see which pictures I posted onto which posts. Just awful. I’m not a professional blogger at all…this is just my hobby. So I never really looked into private hosting. Now I see that that was a mistake, but how could I have known? Disillusioned. Disappointed. Distraught. I guess I need this post about Vorfreude more than ever.
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In German, there’s an expression that goes like this: Vorfreude ist die schönste Freude. The greatest joy lies in the anticipation. Vorfreude is like before-joy. The joy you feel before something you’re excited about. Like sometimes it’s nicer planning a party than it is being there on the actual day! You know what I mean, right?
What are you currently looking forward to?
Today has been another day where it just feels like I’m fighting through the day. In an effort to try to think positive thoughts, I thought I’d take a moment and jot down some things I’m looking forward to.
1.  Seeing my family in the US – 14 more days.
2.  Avi sleeping through the night – TBA. A backhanded positive, because it gives me a chance to complain about the fact that he still doesn’t sleep. Ha. But I do look forward to the day…and pray it is soon.
3. Christmas. Because I love Christmas. ;)
4. Eating the chia seed pudding I made – will be ready tomorrow! I absolutely adore chia seeds right now, and I bought three packages on my trip to the grocery store today.
5. Theo being fully potty trained. He suddenly showed some interest this weekend and even wore his underwear to the Kita today for the first time. (Teacher said he did well going #1, but then handed me a plastic bag full of underwear, pants and #2. Sigh. Par for the course, right?)
6. Breakfast tomorrow morning. Because I love breakfast. Coffee. Ahh, coffee.
7. There’s some lemon sorbet in the freezer. 
8. Speaking of lemon sorbet…FUDGESICLES IN THE US. Can’t wait! Going to binge eat them after the kids go to bed every night.
9. Real summer. Because Hamburg likes to call this summer, but it’s not hot enough for me. Hope it’s nice and hot in the US!
Having 9 things on a list seems unfinished somehow. Like…come on…can’t think of one more thing to make it a nice, even 10?

Well, not tonight, folks. So maybe you can tell me something you’re feeling some Vorfreude for to round off my list? I’d love it if you’d share!