health · Life · stress free zone

5 Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

After weeks, heck months, of just an hour or two (if I was lucky) of shut eye I learned ways to help get a decent night’s sleep. You’ve probably heard most of these, but maybe not. I just know how it feels to try to function throughout a day after a sleepless night and hope I can help someone else.

  1. Yoga! Yoga makes a huge difference in my sleep patterns. It took a couple of days to notice a difference, but now, I don’t like to miss a day! You don’t have to go to a yoga studio to get your Namaste on. All you need is a mat and YouTube. Every evening I watch Yoga with Adriene. She fits me and what I’m looking for in yoga. I use yoga time as my time to clear out all the noise of the day. Go search some videos on YouTube and try a few out and see how you like it. 
  2. Warm Tea. I like tea a lot. I’m from the south so I typically drink sweet tea, but in the evening I like to drink a nice calming, warm cup of tea. I’m not a tea expert by any means, but this is what I like to drink about an hour before bed, Yogi Honey Lavender Stress Relief Tea, 16 Tea Bags, Packaging May Vary .  If I’m feeling extra fancy, I go to my local tea shop and tell them to make me happy, then I bring whatever they suggest home and add a little warm cream!
  3. Bedtime Snack.  I don’t know about you, but when I’m stressed I don’t want to eat.  I’ll go to bed and listen to my stomach growl for hours until I finally pass out or just get up for the day.  Even if I don’t want to, I make myself eat a healthy snack within an hour before bed.  This might be a banana, sunflower butter on a tortilla, a handful of nuts, or even a yogurt.  Just one of those, not all in one night…..
  4. Bedtime Soundtrack.  I love to listen to waves and rain while sleeping.  When I first attempted listening to music to sleep my therapist told me not to listen to any music with words.  Apparently our brains stay active longer spending time making out what the words are saying instead of relaxing.  I’ve found I can’t even sleep if there are bird chirps, crickets, or any other background noise.
  5. Holes in My Feet.  This one is going to sound a bit odd, I know.  When I was first told to try it, I gave a fake smile and said I would when in my head I thought she was one odd duck.  But, being wide awake at 3am, stressed and exhausted, I was willing to try just about anything to catch some zzz’s.  So here’s how you do it.  While laying in bed (the floor, wherever) pretend there are holes in the bottom of your feet. Focus on your feet and breathe in good air through the holes and push out the bad air (stress).  Sounds ridiculous, but seriously, it works!!  If I’m having a particularly difficult day at work I will close my eyes and do this at my desk.

I’ve been doing a lot of research on aromatherapy and just got my diffuser and oils, but haven’t tested them out enough yet to know if they help or how to use them to their best ability.  If you know any oil combos that you love, let me know! URPOWER Essential Oil Diffuser and Essential Oil Set

If you try any of these and they work for you let me know!  Also, if you have any tips that I didn’t mention, leave them in the comments.

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health · Life

Becoming a Yaya

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Never in my life did I think I would become a grandmother at 38 years old. It’s not what I would have planned for my kids or, for that matter, myself. But you know what, shit happens. It’s taken me a long time to deal with it (it’s still a struggle) and understand that my kids are not the first teens to have pregnancies. And before you say it, YES, I talked openly to my kids about sex and pregnancy and YES I provided birth control. I wanted my daughter on the shot, which they said she shouldn’t have at her age and gave her pills instead. Unfortunately, you can’t force your kids to make smart choices.

When it all unfolded, I had a nervous breakdown. I don’t say that lightly. It was a true and serious nervous breakdown.   After seven months of therapy and anxiety medication, I can finally deal with it enough to talk about it.

Back in October 2016, my husband and I were making all kinds of plans. We saw the light at the end of the teenage tunnel. We would look at our 14 year old and smile at each other and say, “four more years”.  We were getting our house ready to sale (in 2017) so we could move into something a lot smaller and more manageable which would help us afford to travel more and buy the furniture we wanted instead of what was cheaper. For the first time in our adult lives, we were doing really well financially. We had this beautiful plan to be totally debit free by March 2018 (still planning on that) and our lives were going to change. We were brimming with excitement.

Well, our lives changed alright. Just not like we expected.

First, my husband’s overtime at work was put to a screeching halt cutting his checks nearly in half right after I had to take a pay cut at work. Oh and, as I imagine yours did, our insurance premiums went way up. “Okay,” we thought, “We can handle this. We just have to tighten up our purse strings but we’re still on track”.

It was late October 2016, that things began to spiral downward. My then 18 year old son (now 19) told me his girlfriend was pregnant. She was almost 18, a senior in high school (they had been together for a few years). It was a huge shock.  I was more angry with him for not protecting them both than anything.  None of us were ready, but I trusted my son to do what was right no matter what their “right” was. I couldn’t believe this was happening.  I didn’t want this for him yet.  It’s so much responsibility to put on such strong, but young shoulders.

Three very short weeks later, my 16 year old (now 17) year old daughter told me she was pregnant.   Still, right now, months later, it hurts to type those words. This was the point I broke. My heart was broken. I was devastated. There were literal hours of that day I just don’t remember. I had severe panic attacks. If I stood up, I saw spots and would nearly pass out. I hadn’t realized it, but I started rubbing my hands and feet together constantly and would hurt from the swelling and rawness. I didn’t sleep for weeks. No kidding, weeks. I lost about 20 lbs in a very short period of time. I couldn’t eat.  I cried more than I thought was physically possible. To be honest, it felt like someone told me she died. I felt the death of all the dreams and wishes I had for her. I felt the loss of her youth and felt the pain of the future she would endure and the sacrifices she would make.

I was consumed by it.

I couldn’t talk with anyone. Not my husband, not my best friend, not my children, no one. I was failure as a mother. I failed them. Every vision, hope, dream, plan, I had would never be. Why did I struggle so hard for so long to give my kids more for them to throw it back in my face?  That’s how I felt.  That’s how I sometimes still feel.

So, I went to a therapist. After speaking to me she immediately sent me to the doctor to get anxiety medication. That was the beginning of my journey to where I am now.  It hasn’t been easy, but months of therapy (my therapist is awesome), different things I’m doing at home, and with the right medication I can see the light at the end of the tunnel again.

My son and, pretty much, daughter-in-law have lived with us since February and believe it or not, currently in the other room in the first stages of labor with my granddaughter. It hasn’t been easy, but we’re managing.  My daughter is still a straight A student who is doing so well in school she will be graduating early and with honors and plans to go to college while raising my grandson. Life didn’t end for me or either of my kids. Yeah, it’s going to be ten times harder than it would have been, but we’re a family and we’ll be there for each other. I raised my daughter to be a strong woman who can do whatever she sets her mind to and she’s proving how strong she is every day. My son is working hard and saving as much money as possible so he can provide for his family. His girlfriend graduated high school and I have no doubt will be a wonderful mother.

I was/am embarrassed to let anyone know what was going on because of what they would think of me as a parent and what they would say about my children. But no matter how many times I look at it, I can’t imagine anything I could have done differently.  I was open with my kids.  I did everything I knew to do to prevent this from happening, but here we are.  It happened.  Even writing this post scares the bejesus out of me, but I’m doing it anyway. I’ve looked at the stats, I’m not the only one out there going through this. I can’t keeping thinking of the “what ifs” and concentrate on the “what is”.

What is, is I’m going to be a Yaya to two babies who I will love with all my heart (I already do). I will still be a parent to my children and try my best to guide them to the right path even if that path is a terrifying one.

calm woman meditating reciving power by light

In later posts I’ll talk more about the process I’ve gone through and what I’ve done/doing to deal with it and the other medical issues I’ve had along the way and how I’m managing those also. But one of the things I’ve learned through all of this is life is messy guys. We can plan all we want, but sometimes life says change your plans. Pick people to be in your life that will be there for you no matter what, because you might need them one day and they might need you.

DIY · House

Half Bath Redo

Have you ever had a room in your house you refused to use?  Like would not step a foot inside?  No?  Well, I did.  Our downstairs half-bath gave me the creeps.  It was old, cramped, and gross (gross because of the old tile, toilet, fixtures….and boys.  Boys are gross).  Fortunately, I no longer fear entering the room.  As a matter of fact it has become my favorite room of the house, so much so I randomly walk in there and admire all of our hard work.

I wish I could show you a full photo of the room, but it’s so small I couldn’t get it in one shot! 🙂

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I so wish I had before photos for you, but I don’t.  I was so freaked out about the bathroom that I couldn’t be part of the demo day (it probably wasn’t that bad, but I’m a germophobe).  Michael was supposed to take photos before he started and either I forgot to tell him or he didn’t hear me, but either way, there aren’t any to show.  Luckily, I came back at just the right time (when everything was gone) and I have photos from that point on.  Hope you like the room as much as we do!

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Product List

Toilet : Lowe’s

Sink: Lowe’s

Faucet: Lowe’s

Black Hexagon Tile: The Tile Shop

Globes: Home Depot

Wall Paint: Montpelier Madison

Plank and Trim Paint: Kelly Moore Swiss Coffee

Shelving Brackets: Amazon

Art Work: Etsy and Hobby Lobby

Shelving Décor: TJ Maxx

 

 

 

Food · stress free zone · Uncategorized

Tea Time

Downtown Fort Smith, Arkansas has impressed me with its continuous growth and variety. Five years ago I would have never imagined it to be as it is now AND it’s still improving.

Savoy Tea is one of my favorite places to go downtown. The cool colors, cute décor, and amazing smells never fail to cheer me up and make me feel like I’m doing something special. And in my opinion, they have the best chai latte in town and their Ozark Sunset Sweet Tea is perfect on a hot summer day.  I’ll also be signing up for their Tea Toaster’s Club this month.

 

 

This weekend my best friend and I went to Savoy Tea to discuss nothing and everything over a cuppa (me) and coffee (her). There’s nothing better than having a friend you can be in tears with one minute and laughing the next. I’m not going to lie, this season in my life hasn’t been an easy one and I’ve needed my friend and thankfully, she’s been there.   With two unexpected grandchildren on the way, work, school, and just life, I’ve been unintentionally isolating myself and she’s the kind of friend who forces me to get out and do something with her and talk about things instead of letting me close off the outside world. She’s also the kind of friend that I can say, “Hey, can you go outside and take a photo of me through the glass?” and she says, “I hate you, but yes.” HA!

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One thing I’ve learned lately is life usually doesn’t go as planned. Things happen that are out of our control and in that moment you might feel like everything you’ve worked for is up in smoke, but life goes on. Take a yoga class, call a friend, have a cup of tea, make a new plan, and before you know it things don’t look as bad as they did before.

Dress : Brickyard Buffalo  (This dress is no longer available, but I always find something great on their site)
Chai Latte: Savoy Tea (Fort Smith, Arkansas)
Food · travel

Wild Things Farm

Just across the state line into Oklahoma and about ten minutes from my house sits a family farm, cleverly named Wild Things Farm, that I love visiting. They’re open to the public pretty much year around so you can go in and pick whatever produce they have available at that time. Right now, it happens to be strawberries.

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Strawberries
I’d like to thank my husband for taking this photo when he knows absolutely nothing about photography and gave it a go.  I think he did pretty good for his first time.

 

I don’t know about y’all, but I love fresh strawberries and the strawberries at Wild Things Farm were a beautiful, vibrant red and incredibly sweet. Of course I had to make something from my bounty before my family devoured them all. I decided I’d make a couple chocolate strawberry loaves using a basic strawberry bread recipe, found here. Because I’m me and I like to mess with things and see how it goes I added cocoa powder and a few tablespoons of vanilla extract to bring out the chocolate flavor and it also added more liquid to the recipe since chocolate is notorious for drying out. I crossed my fingers and went for it and I’m glad I did.

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I also make a simple chocolate glaze with powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and milk (not pictured, sorry) to drizzle on each pieces after slicing.

If you get a chance, find a produce farm in your area and hang out for a while. If you happen to be in the Fort Smith, Arkansas area, take the extra three minutes and get lost at Wild Things Farm (and that could be literally considering it took forever for me to find my way out of the corn maze last fall).

DIY · House

DIY Arrow Art

While we’re waiting for the other projects in the house to get their final touches, I thought I would show you one of my favorite DIY art thus far.  We did these arrows a few years back and I still love them and look at them often.

It was a quick and inexpensive project that made a huge impact on the entryway.

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Arrows1

All it took was a few pieces of wood, a saw, wood stain, and flat brackets.

Uncategorized

2017 Bucket List

Every year, instead of resolutions, I like to write a yearly bucket list. This way I don’t end up feeling disappointed in myself by February 1st, when I don’t stick to whatever resolution I set and didn’t achieve.  With my bucket list, I don’t have that problem.  I can make a list of all the things I would like to do, see, and create then try to do as many of them as I can before the year is up.  Here are a few examples of my 2017 bucket list.

  • Have a weekend getaway with my gal pals.
  • Try a yoga class.
  • Bake a pie from scratch.
  • Take more nature walks.
  • Remodel the downstairs bathroom.

Some years my list has twenty things, some years it has fifty.

I love looking at my list throughout the year and checking off the things I was able to do AND, if I don’t get some of them checked off, I just add it to the next year. It’s a win/win situation.

My husband and I started 2017 out with a big bang. We decided to take one of the projects on our list and get it done over our four day holiday.  We ripped down on of the living room walls to the studs (which we plan to do to all of the living room walls), put up sheet rock, and did a faux-shiplap, accent wall.  We also planked a wall in our dining room and repainted the entire room.  We feel very accomplished already and we’re not even into our second week of the year!  We’re still working on the décor aspect of the dining room and looking for the perfect buffet to put against the planked wall (and build a kitchen table to replace the current one), but we’ll get there eventually! J

Stay tuned for before and after photos of the dining room! Can’t wait to show you how awesome it looks.

Happy New Year!