New Year, Same Old Me

I’m a little late to the resolution game this year, which is pretty appropriate as a reflection of 2016. In all honesty, I didn’t follow through on a lot of things I planned to do this year. While some goals were met intermittently, others were completely missed or forgotten about. 2016 was a year of transition and change. Through that transition a lot of wonderful, positive things and changes happened, but some things were also left behind.

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It’s not Fall without Pumpkin Muffins

Fall is without a doubt my favorite time of year. With the heat and humidity of our summer, we spent more time inside than I would have liked. I guess us Northerners can’t take the heat! The cool weather we are having now is a nice break from all that, so we have been heading outdoors for all of my favorite fall activities. The fresh air, the breathtakingly beautiful changing of the leaves, and pumpkin flavored everything help make this time of year so special for me.

When Jack was sick last weekend, his sleep schedule was way thrown off. On Sunday morning, he woke up at 4:45am and was ready to start his day. Since I stayed up late to watch the end of the Ohio State football game, I was not quite ready to be awake that early, and wasn’t in the best mood.

So we went through our morning routine, played for a little bit, and when I started to get hungry, I decided to do something to turn my mood around and bake some muffins for breakfast. I have always enjoyed baking, but in the last year or so both baking and cooking have become great sources of self-care, comfort, and pleasure. I think being able to feed my child home made meals has really contributed to why I am enjoying it so much more. 

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The Not So Fun Firsts

As a new parent, I have spent the last 10.5 months excited for and documenting all of Jack’s “firsts”. His first smile, first time in a swimming pool, the first time he rolled, crawled, and took a few steps toward me. These are the things I daydreamed about when I was pregnant with him. With each first, I feel a sense of bittersweet pride, watching my sweet boy grow, develop, and explore, but also a little sad and frantic that it’s all happening so fast.

These are the fun firsts. There are iPhone photos to commemorate these moments, they are shared with grandparents and bragged about with friends.

Then, there are the not so fun firsts, and we experienced one of them big time this weekend.

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7 Days of Self-Care: Day 7

We’ve come to the end of the week focusing on self-care. Each day I focused on a different way to practice taking care of mental, emotional, and physical health (you can follow along from day one here), and my 7 topics don’t come close to how many ways you can take care of yourself. I chose the highlight some of my favorites, or things that have been incredibly helpful for me.

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When I first became a mom, obviously, all of my focus went to taking care of Jack. This gives me an immense sense of joy, but “mom” quickly became my identity. It’s gotten a lot better, but my anxiety makes it very hard for me to spend time away from Jack, so for awhile I was missing out on everything I used to do and enjoy.

I’ve slowly been working to reincorporate hobbies back into my routine. By doing so, I feel like I’m reconnecting to Kate, and not just being mom. As I talked about yesterday, I’m back to doing yoga. I started reading a book I got from the library last week. My parents came over to watch Jack after work last week, and I was able to go to an evening Crossfit class for the first time since before Jack was born. I’ve even discovered that I actually really like cooking and experimenting with new recipes. I was always a fan of baking instead of cooking, so this is a new hobby for me!

It’s been awhile since we have gone hiking, I would like to start doing more of that. This is the perfect time of year for hiking too. I used to color in adult coloring books, ride my bike, and crochet. It’s exciting to know that I am in a place now where if I want to go back to these things, I will. I can now more easily say I’m going to go ride my bike for a half hour and leave the boys home to hang out.

I’m getting back to the things I enjoy, the things that make me feel like me, and it’s pretty great. This series was only 7 days long, but I truly feel like I have improved myself by being purposeful about what I am doing to take care of myself. I hope that if you’ve been reading along, you have been inspired in some way to take care of yourself more or in new ways. Thanks for sticking with me through this.

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7 Days of Self-Care: Day 4

Welcome back to my series, 7 Days of Self-Care. We are on Day 4 now, so if this is the first post of the series you are seeing, check out Day 1 and follow along with all 7 days.

Day 4 – Focus on the positive

Our thoughts are powerful things. They have the ability to change how we feel, and influence how we behave. As a therapist who uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which focuses on challenging negative thoughts to positively impact our feelings and actions, I recognize the impact of thoughts constantly in myself and my clients. I know how devastating dwelling on negative thoughts can be for me. If you’re interested in learning more about this, check out this post

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7 Days of Self-Care: Day 2

Welcome back to my 7 day series on self-care, where each day I am focusing on something I can do to take care of my mental, emotional, and physical health. We all deserve to take time for ourselves, but it’s not always the easiest thing to do. So often, especially as parents, we put everything and everyone ahead of ourselves and we suffer as a result. There are so many things that I “need” to do. I am working on thinking of self-care as an equally important priority.

Yesterday, I focused on deep breathing. I had multiple opportunities to practice, which was great! It was easy to practice during a yoga video, or on a walk. It was more challenging to remember to practice when having a stressful conversation, or anticipating a phone call I was anxious about making, but those are the times when it is so important to breathe deeply! By practicing deep breathing, I was able to stay present in the conversation and manage my anxiety about making the phone call. 

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How my life changed when my baby learned to crawl

I wrote last week about how I feel a mixture of pride and sadness when Jack reaches a new milestone. The joy he feels and so vividly expresses is undeniable and contagious when he firsts discovers something new or learns he can accomplish something.
For quite a while, we thought Jack would skip over crawling and go straight to walking. He really showed no interest in crawling. When placed on his belly, he would quickly roll over, and seemed content just rolling until he got to where he wanted to be. Or he would just wait for mama to pick him up and carry him, because let’s be real, I’m always wanting to hold him when I’m with him.
Then all of a sudden (and really, it did feel like all of a sudden), little man was off. Scootching around on his belly at lightening speed. The moment he figured out how easily he could move himself around, there was no stopping him, and our lives will never be the same.
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Grow up, but not too fast

As a new mom, I feel such a sense of pride and excitement when I watch my son grow and learn something new. To see him get stronger and smarter every day is just awesome.

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First he was rolling. Then sitting up on his own. Now he’s pulling himself up on anything he can get his hands on, and he’s finally crawling! It’s still a sort of army crawl, but he’s moving faster and faster every day.

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You Changed Me

I wrote this about 5 months ago, way before I even thought of starting a blog. It’s lived in my Gmail draft box until now. The thoughts came to me one morning as I was nursing Jack. I was, and still am, completely overwhelmed by the emotions that come over me whenever I’m with him.

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I never used to crave physical closeness
Now I ache to hold you when you’re not in my arms. 
The feeling of skin on skin used to make me uncomfortable
Now the touch of your skin is one of the sweetest things.
I’m still tightly wound, emotional and selfish,
But now I’m patient, tough, and self-sacrificing. 
The moment you were born, you changed me, 
And being your mom has brought out the best in me. 

I knew everything would change when I became a mother. I really had no idea just how much that was true.

I love who I am as a mother. I feel like I have more purpose now than ever. I want to be better, not only for Jack, but for Ryan, and for myself. To know someone loves and needs me reminds me of the worth I have, and I deserve to be a better version of myself.

Thank you, Jack. Thank you for coming into our world over 8 months ago and changing me for the better.

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