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New Year…New Planner

One of my favorite parts of starting a new year is reorganizing and setting a plan.

I started a little late this year and I’m kicking myself a little bit because I feel slightly behind because I haven’t quite found a system that works for me. I did find a planner that I absolutely love; I bought the ‘create365 The Happy Planner’ from my local Hobby Lobby.image1-1

I like it because it is completely customizable. I’ve had a planner every year for as long as I remember but what usually happens is I end up not really utilizing it because I lose interest mainly due to it not really fitting my needs. Or I end up with 2-3 planners/journals and then get overwhelmed by it all.

After purchasing this planner I went on youtube, instagram, and google searched The Happy Planner and came across hundreds, maybe even thousands of ways people organize and decorate this planner. While majority are beautifully decorated I just can’t find myself to sit down each week and do that. Kind of seems like a waste of time to me personally. Most of the layouts and organization people use follows along with how it is originally set up, particularly the fitness extension kit (I’ll elaborate more on this down below). I still haven’t figured out completely how I want to organize this planner but I’m narrowing down with a little trial and error. I know I  want to track three main things:

1) Important events/appointments for the family

My husband has a busy schedule so knowing his weekly/monthly calendar is essential. Also with a baby making an arrival sometime early April I know I will have dr appointments and milestones/developmental events that I will want to keep track of.

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Here is the monthly view-I have always used this as a month at a glance and to help organize each week

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Here is the weekly view. It is broken down into three categories Morning/Afternoon/Evening. Since I don’t work at the present time or really plan this way I plan to use the top box for that day’s appointments for the family, the middle box will be for my To Do list that I need to get done and the bottom box as of right now is more for notes/goals I’d like to complete or accomplish for the day

2) Meal Planning/Grocery Shopping Lists

One thing I have started that I really have found helpful is planning ahead dinners and having 2-3 options available for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. Not only does this save time but also less stressful. I would also argue it saves money because I go grocery shopping about once a week or so and just get what I need. I have been using this planner to help create lists and plan the upcoming weeks dinners. I like that I can add a pocket folder to this planner to hold the coupons/gift cards/etc. I plan to use for that particular shopping trip.

3) Health and Fitness Tracking

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This is the extension pack I purchased to snap into the planner so that I can use one planner for everything. It comes in 4 month packs and includes all the labels and stickers needed to set up the months (This is for February that I haven’t set up yet).

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Here is the weekly view of the fitness pages. This is the page I struggle with finding a way to utilize in a way that makes sense to me.

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I really like at the end of each month there is a reflection page that allows you to review the past month and help plan for the next. I will not add pictures to this planner like the top suggest because I don’t want the planner to get so bulky but I will use this for measurements and additional information like my workout split, etc.

This is probably the part that is taking the longest to organize because this fitness extension kit that this planner offers allows for tracking daily food intake/exercise/and water intake. While I know many like to use the food tracker I just can’t seem to do that or find a benefit for it. I have used myfitnesspal for maybe a year or so and I find that this works best for me. Tracking on the app and the planner just seems excessive and I know I won’t keep it up long term.

I don’t know what to use the space dedicated to food intake in the planner for just yet. I have considered tracking my macros so I can see in a weekly snapshot what I’m consuming and what I’m doing well/poor with. I’ve thought about using it for more of a journal/reflection area to write how I feel on a daily basis.

I know I want to jot down my weekly goals regarding my physical, emotional, and mental health. I feel what would work best is using this fitness pages more of a reflection and give me a chance to see how each week went at the end of the week and try to improve in the weeks ahead. Finding a way to organize that is just going to take some practice with things. Unfortunately, with most things I don’t really have much patience. I just want to find a method that works and then settle into a system that I can maintain and utilize effectively.

As I figure out how I want to organize this planner I’m excited to get things going and feel organized because that is when I feel I am most productive. While some of the sections I won’t utilize as much now (as I’m not trying to lose weight because I’m pregnant I know later on this year I will definitely utilize!

To everyone else out there who likes to plan…. Happy Planning!

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Holy Tantrums! ….

Someone should warn you when your child is around 12 months old that the ‘terrible two’ stage doesn’t mean that it starts when your child is two. My daughter is now 17 months and for last few weeks I’ve noticed a change in her tantrum outbursts.

Before she would get upset for reasonable things….stumble…I left the room… sleepy….etc. But now she will have a complete meltdown for apparently no reason at all. She wants a fork instead of the spoon. She doesn’t want to eat what I gave her. She wants to play with another toy. She can’t see the plane in the sky anymore. I’m left like “whoa child…. it’s not that deep”. I haven’t given into her demands (I don’t think sometimes I try to get her to pay attention to something else instead of the catastrophic event that just occurred to her). Sometimes I wonder if giving her even that kind of attention to distract her is feeding into her need for attention. I’m actually still unsure how I want to handle these tantrums. I want to be consistent in what I do but I wasn’t prepared to start thinking about this so soon! I thought I had a few more months!

I’ve read a lot into the subject and nothing has quite felt like how I would want to deal with it. My mom tells me to lightly ‘pop’ her to get her attention but I feel that doing so 1. teaches her to hit to get the response she wants 2. she’s already upset so I’m not sure how that will help. 3. I’m not quite comfortable with that. I know I was never really spanked as a kid but I know my mom gave my brother and I a few little poppings; and I turned out alright. lol

A lot of articles say to explain to the child what happened and the desired outcome I would like. UM that’s perfect in theory but have you ever tried to calmly explain anything to an upset 17 month old? Not realistic at this stage in her development. I do talk to her but I do it more because I talk to her and explain to her everything that is going on in her environment- I explain why we are getting dressed; what I’m cooking for lunch; etc.

I’ve also read about using a ‘time out’ for tantrums. Again, I can see how that could work for a child a little older but I don’t think my child is ready for that concept fully. I guess I have been up to this point doing a version of time out. When she starts to throw a fit where she flings her arms and legs (oh and the head banging… really child? so unnecessary; she has a flair for the dramatic flair) I will lay her down on the floor where she can’t get into anything or hurt herself then I’ll step back a bit and let her just have it out. I will watch her but I won’t give her the attention to feed into the tantrum. Eventually after a couple of minutes she will get up and come over to get in my lap. If she is still trying to throw a fit I put her back into the spot. Only if she comes to me calmer will I pick her up and hold her; and then talk to her.

Meal times are also becoming a lot more frustrating over the past several weeks. Sometimes I even find myself dreading it. She has been feeding herself with a spoon and fork for a while now which is great….sometimes. But now I can’t feed her without a fit and sometimes it would be easier, quicker, and not to mention CLEANER if I could just feed her so we can get on with going somewhere or if we are on a time crunch. I hate when she starts to throw a fit while eating because I don’t want her to choke on any food. I try to feed her what I cook for my husband and I but she is so finicky about new things that sometimes I don’t know if I should just give her that or if she doesn’t seem to like it give her something that I know she will like. I don’t want to create a habit of making essentially two meals but I also don’t want to force her to eat something she doesn’t like. Can we just go back to when she was drinking formula and that was all that required… lol! kidding! Well maybe a little serious.

I haven’t gotten to the point of pure frustration with her because I have been able to remind myself that this is a normal stage, she is still a baby even though she thinks she is so independent, and this is her way of communicating some of her feelings. So I know this is all a stage and it too will pass but I feel a little unprepared for it and I don’t want to be inconsistent in my actions with her so I’m hoping we find a groove soon. Granted I know that’s when she will start a whole new phase!

Until next time…. props to all the moms (and dads) out there going through similar situations! Parenting by far is the hardest thing I’ve ever done!

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Cry it out or pick her up?!?!

I think we have officially been in the 9 month sleep regression or whatever you want to call it. It’s been two weeks and it seems like every other night my daughter wakes up crying. And it’s a constant struggle to whether I should go in her room or let her put herself back to sleep.

She’s been sleeping 10-12 hours a night for a little over 5 months, so I do consider myself lucky. But it makes sleepless nights harder because I’m not used to it. And she’s always done really well putting herself to sleep. I’m at a lost as to how to handle this “disturbance” with what’s comfortable for me as her mother.

I’m afraid that if this little sleep regression thingy is only temporary I don’t want to create bad habits by going in her room. At the same time I don’t want to avoid her if she truly needs me.

Every night she wakes up crying I go through thoughts like:

1. “Is she hungry?” But she hasn’t had a nighttime feedings and she was just over three months,so no I don’t think she’s hungry.

2. “Did she bump her head and hurt herself?” Doesn’t seem like her cry indicates pain so maybe she didn’t hurt herself. She doesn’t sleep still so I think when she moves constantly she wakes herself up. But when she is crying she is typically laying in the position she sleeps in so I keep thinking maybe she’ll put yourself back to sleep

3. “are you teething and in pain?” This one is the hardest for me to answer because I feel like she’s been teething nonstop but not in a terrible amount of pain. I hate using medicine if she’s not really teething or in pain.

All of these thoughts/questions and then some leave me laying in bed thinking to myself “do I go in there and pick her up or do I let her cry it out.” I’ve also pulled out good ol Google to read articles about how to handle this sleep regression (because we all agree Google is the know all lol). The only thing I really found as I could last anywhere between 3 to 6 weeks. We’re about to hit week three so maybe were almost done.

I just never know what I want to do about it. She doesn’t wake up every night right now it’s about every other night but when she’s up she’s really crying for about 30 minutes to maybe an hour. Not constantly I should say, she’ll settle down for a few minutes and start back up and do that for maybe an hour.

The first night I heard her it startled me because I’m not used to her waking up so I jumped out of bed and ran into her room. I quickly grabbed her and calmed her down. Then I realized that I couldn’t put her back down and I struggled for almost 4 hours putting her back to bed. She’d fall right to sleep in my arms so I know she was tired but would scream so hard when I tried to lay her down. I eventually had to just let her cry it out. I was crying listening and watching the baby monitor. She’s also getting very clingy with only me which I know is pretty common so I don’t want to enhance that by keeping her up at night and creating bad sleeping habits.

If anyone who reads this has suggestions that worked for them I’m all ears.

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Creating a monster

It is becoming very noticeable that my daughter notices when I leave the room. And by notices I mean screams until I return. I’ve tried leaving when she isn’t looking and that doesn’t even work. Now that she has started to reach out for me (which is the most adorable thing) it’s hard to resist her.

My husband works a lot and so he doesn’t get to spend loads of time with her. I feel awful when all she does is cry in his arms when he tries to play with her. I just don’t know what to do to help. I am with her all day everyday but I don’t hold her all the time but I also cannot ignore her. I try to give her time for independent play.

My brother and his girlfriend was over last night and it was hard to get her to stop being so fussy because she wanted me to hold her. My mom also came into town and she does it a little bit with her.

A part of me secretly loves that she wants me around her all the time; I mean I love love it. However, I want my husband to enjoy his time with her more. Do I just back away and let others do more no matter how much she fusses or will she grow out of this?

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“You know when you know”

How many times in our lives have we heard or said the above phrase “you’ll just know when you know”?

Earlier today I was talking to a new mom of a beautiful 3 month old and we were discussing bedtime rituals and the struggles with that. All moms (and dads) out there you know what I’m talking about. She asked me “how do you know when it’s time to put your daughter to bed”?….Let me back up for a minute and explain our bedtime ritual… We start by having bath time and I always give my daughter a little massage in the water l. We keep things pretty mellow the whole time. After bath time I rub lotion on her and put on her pjs. I give her to daddy for him to say goodnight, hug, and give a kiss goodnight (she can get a little fussy during this part because I’ve walked out of her sight and well that’s pretty traumatic for her these days lol). While daddy and her are having their moment I get a small bottle ready. Her and I then go to her room and I rocked her gently while she has her bottle. I keep her room dark with no lights and just the sound machine playing (rain sounds). I don’t talk to her I just hold her. After her bottle I rock her until she’s ready to be laid down in her crib.

My friend has a similar routine but she said when she lays her daughter down she just cries and takes forever to fall asleep so she asked how do I know when it’s time.

I had to take a minute to think about it because I didn’t know how to answer her. Even my husband had had problems getting her to relax and go to bed. I finally determined the only answer I could give she wouldn’t like. The answer: “You just know when you know”. I put my daughter to bed every night (something I’m kinda stingy about because I absolutely love to… I’m working on letting my husband hehe) so I know my daughters body language. I’m with her all day everyday so I know her very well. Sometimes rocking her takes 5 minutes of and other times maybe 30. I don’t rush her bedtime, even if my favorite show is about to come in or if I have to go to the bathroom (this is what my husband struggles with). I just relax and let her do her thing. I personally think that’s important in anything with my daughter…. Be present. I’ve come to thoroughly enjoy that dark, quiet time just rocking her. Just her and I.

I explained to my friend there comes a moment when my daughter is not quite asleep but is still and just peaceful. When this moment happens I pause and embrace that moment because I know these days won’t last forever, and then I lay her in her crib. From there she falls completely asleep within a couple minutes.

I certainly hope I was a little help to her because I know I got so much help and advice from others so it’d be nice to pay it forward.

Looking back to day one of finding out I was pregnant I haven’t stopped reading articles, researching theories, etc…but I’ve made every decision for me, my daughter, and my family based on how I feel and living by the phrase “i’ll know when I know”.

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