I’m Singing the praises of the 3rd Trimester, and You Should, too.

Last week I felt myself slipping into the third trimester slump. I had been holding out, staying positive, staying active, not getting too down on myself about my weight gain, etc. etc. But I could feel it all slipping away. I was grunting audibly when I’d sit down or stand up, my restless legs were beginning to get worse, I went nearly two weeks without a single workout, and I had two tussles with heartburn that kept me up late into the night. My peace and patience were definitely on the decline, and I couldn’t think about much else other than getting this baby earth-side ASAP.

Well that’s no way to live, is it? I have 6 weeks remaining until my due date. My babies have come early so far, so maybe I have less. Regardless, I am thinking we have at least a month to go, if not more.

This pregnancy has been great all these long weeks, I don’t want to end it with groaning and discontentment as I languish on the couch. So here I’ll take a moment to sing the praises of the 3rd trimester, the unsung hero of it all.  Continue reading

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The Self-Care Series: Being Well In Your Own Skin, by Hannah

My senior year in high school, I had an English teacher that I loved, one who wept when she read us poetry, laughed when she read us Shakespeare, did not share any of my core religious beliefs, and routinely chanted to us the two great maxims for success: know thyself, and nothing in excess. I rolled my eyes at her words because they seemed too cliché, too reminiscent of self-help books and inspirational mugs. Continue reading

What Mansfield Park Taught Me about Peaceful Living

Recently I finished reading Mansfield Park. The writing that follows is nothing if not an attempt to ease the pain of separation that inevitably follows having read a really, really, good story.

It was slow going at first as I sludged through the first chapters, not sure where the story was going and daunted by the number of pages ahead of me. There are no hooks at the beginning of this novel, nothing to lure the reader in, and the pace of the story continues in much the same way for the duration of the novel with a few hills and valleys interspersed throughout. Fanny Price, the heroine, is not much of a heroine, or so it would seem. At first introduction she is a poor, 9 year old girl who is entirely dependent on the favors and benevolence of her wealthy Uncle and her two Aunts. She holds no power, and is constantly pushed down. She is more than a servant, but less than a daughter. She lives in a world that will not have her in and will not have her out.  Continue reading

The Self-Care Series: We Can’t Afford to Wait by Chandler Smith

Ah, self-care. That elusive thing we’ve all heard of, but don’t know how to practice.

I have a lot of room to grow in this part of being a human, but over the last few years I’ve pieced together some healthy exercise and food rhythms that have taught me a lot about nurturing and valuing my body. But first—my background with “wellness.” I used to hate to exercise. Before I had kids, working out was always fueled by vanity. I wouldn’t have used that word, but I dieted and exercised because I wanted to look a certain way or be a certain size. Because, if I was a size 2 then everyone in the world would love me, I would be accepted and adored, and everything would be great all the time. (That sounds so silly. But that’s the reality of where my heart was. Ugh.) “Healthy living” was always a burden; something I hated but needed to do to look the way I wanted. I never enjoyed it, and never felt like I had done enough. After I had my son, I continued to exercise, but my motivations totally changed. It was a completely different experience from working out pre-motherhood.

Here’s how having children shifted my attitude towards working out and dieting. Continue reading

Introducing: The Self-Care Series

For a very long time, whenever someone mentioned self-care, my mind immediately went to the image of sitting in a quaint coffee shop with a latte. Or perhaps just having a few moments of total quiet at my kitchen table—with coffee. Or maybe, again, total quiet, with a movie or pedicure or some other form of pampering. It wasn’t until very recently that I realized my notion of self-care was a very partial picture of the whole realm of what it means to take care of ourselves. The truth is, sometimes I would get a bit of time by myself and feel great while I was away, but then come home feeling every bit as irritable and ungrateful as before. It was certainly not a very nice reward for my husband who had sacrificed time to give me some quiet and space.

Maybe the naysayers are right, I would wonder, and self-care is just a thinly guised excuse for self-indulgence.  Continue reading

Minimalist Baby Gear Alternatives

It’s a pretty fabulous thing planning for not only a third baby, but a third baby who is the same sex as your first two. Our needs are few. We have a heaping drawer of clothes ready to go, ranging from newborn to 6 months, and a drawer below that for cloth diapers. However, with a 4 year gap between children, and two domestic and one international moves thrown in there somewhere, there were a few things we had parted with at some point or that broke and were never replaced.

When looking for baby gear I ask myself a few specific questions. They may be helpful for you as well whether you are a first time parent, a seasoned one, or perhaps planning a gift for a friend.  Continue reading

Clothing rules that change the game for women

Adult women often find themselves bouncing from a “normal” setting to gaining the “Freshman 15” to pregnancy to postpartum and then often back again, wondering what is the definition of normal anymore. Dressing ourselves can be not only difficult, but stressful and expensive. Even if you aren’t pregnant, you might find your size changing often due to hormone fluctuation. Our bodies are not like men’s bodies. Our bodies were designed to host a lot of change.

What if the clothing we purchased reflected this and could encourage a healthy perspective and enable us to embrace the unique features of these temples God has given us? What if our clothing could be a source of stability for our ever-changing bodies?

There are three principles of style to which I give some attention, and three specific clothing items that help me put these theories into practice. Continue reading