How to Become a Morning Person

I’ve never really been a morning person growing up. I remember my dad waking me and my sisters up at the crack of dawn when we were younger in order to make first tracks on the ski slopes. What did I care? I was a teenager and wanted to sleep! Even in college I despised having to take a class earlier than 10am. If I did somehow manage to schedule myself for an 8:30am class, you can bet I’d show up in sweatpants and head right back to bed afterwards.

It wasn’t until very recently that I have had a change of heart around mornings. When I was on maternity leave, Finn, Juneau and I would stay in bed until 10 or so. We’d be incredibly lazy, binge watch Netflix, and end up slowly getting our day going after the morning was long gone. It was nice while it lasted, but it also made the day seem so much shorter and ultimately made me want to stay up later – making me more tired the next day.

Now that I’m back at work, waking up early is a necessity. There’s just way too much to get done in the morning to press the snooze button. Strangely, though, I really don’t mind the early wake up call. It’s the early morning, before Finn wakes up, that have become so important to me. Even the first few minutes at my desk in the morning are usually my favorite. I sip my coffee, catch up on email, and read through the blogs I follow. It’s a nice little routine before I dive into my work.

So here are a few things that have helped me to enjoy my mornings a little more:

Enjoy a cup of coffee!

It’s such a small thing, but having my morning cup of coffee is something I’ve always enjoyed. Maybe because it’s really the only time of day that I drink coffee (at least I try to only have it in the morning), but there’s something cozy and nostalgic feeling about coffee. It reminds me of cold winter mornings in New York at my parent’s house and of all those mornings in college when coffee was the only thing fueling me after a late night.

Give yourself some quiet time.

The rest of the day can be loud and chaotic. Mornings are meant to be tranquil and quiet. Leave the television off, turn down the radio in the car, and get lost in your imagination.

Get outside.

There’s nothing more perfect than a chilly fall morning. We have witnessed a couple this season in Virginia, but I can feel it in the air – there are more coming! I don’t give myself nearly enough time to take a long walk in the morning, but the days that I do, I feel so refreshed and peaceful afterwards. Juneau is usually so psyched to get outside, too, and seeing a dog’s excitement is one of life’s simple pleasures.

 

Make it about you!

There’s a lot to be said for a little “me” time. I don’t know about you, but as much as I love being around people, sometimes just being alone to reflect on my day is the most amazing thing. Working full time with a baby at home gives me little time for myself. The mornings – whether it’s when I’m in the shower, or driving to work, or even pumping! – are usually the only time I’m truly alone.

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Life Lately

I know, I know. I haven’t blogged in about a week. But that doesn’t mean I have forgotten all of my plans for S&I. The last week or so I’ve been doing a lot of “behind the scenes” type things. Contrary to popular belief, maintaining a blog takes a lot of work and a lot of time – something I don’t have a lot of these days. But now I’m back, and have worked hard to continue to build this blog.

In any case, life has been so crazy lately, and I have no idea where the last month has gone! The past year or so has been full of anxiety and waiting. There were doctor visits and pregnancy apps to keep our minds busy, but in reality we were just living for the month of May. And then May arrived, and so did Finn. And since then we’ve been trying to soak in every little smile – and all the cuddles – while still trying to maintain our lifestyle and make time for one another.

And now summer is over and it feels like things can start to slow down a bit. Or least I hope they can. Here’s a little bit of what we’ve been doing:

New job!

In the great news of the week, David received a job offer with the defense contracting company he worked at when we first met! He was laid off  way back in 2011, and since then he has never given up on getting back in the industry. He has been in school full-time since 2012 and is about to finish up his bachelors degree and start on his masters. If this doesn’t inspire you to never quit going after what you want, I don’t know what will! Love you, David!

Baby Noah

A few weeks ago we were able to visit with some friends of ours who had their baby boy, Noah. David and Sean have been friends since high school (Sean was the best man in our wedding!) and it’s so wonderful to have friends who are in the same place in life as us. It’s also so exciting to think about all the play dates, baseball games, and birthday parties we will share with Noah and Finn. They are already so lucky to have each other!

Finn and Noah - Aug. 2016

New furniture

We’ve been living in our apartment for two years and just signed a lease for a third. I love where we live and we have plenty of space, but knowing it’s not permanent has put a lot of decorating dreams on the back burner. With David’s new job, we are now starting to look at buying a home (although the market in Charlottesville is sooo annoyingly high). We bought used furniture when we moved back to Virginia and told each other we weren’t going to invest in nice furniture until we bought a home. Well, Juneau had other plans. He decided to get into honey – of all things – and it totally ruined our $40 sofa we found on Craigslist. I think we got our monies worth out of it, so we’ve decided that the new furniture can’t wait after all. It’s actually exciting to start thinking about permanent things in our life. It makes me nostalgic for our nomadic days, but we are starting to plant some roots – and it starts with a new sofa!

Finn Man 3.5 months

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What’s Inspiring Me

weekends inspired

To keep in theme with the true message of this blog, I have decided to write about what inspires me. Every now and then, I’ll check in and let you know what keeps me inspired every day. Sometimes, it will be big things and other times it will be small. It’s all about giving the mundane things in life a little extra thought!

Since going back to work after maternity leave, my days have been jam packed. To top it off, David is currently working second shift, so he doesn’t come home until I’m about to get into bed for the evening. These schedules have made the weeks seem even longer. However, we have been taking full advantage of our weekends. I’ve been trying to slow down and really enjoy our Saturdays and Sundays.

Finn wakes us up earlier than we would like, but we take advantage of it. We have gone to the farmer’s market and gone for long walks with Juneau. We’ve spent time organizing a closet that has never been organized and made dinner together. David was able to go fishing for a few hours and I spend time working on my blog. I can’t really explain how rejuvenating our weekends have been recently, but every Monday morning I find myself texting David telling him I miss him and I can’t wait for the next weekend together 🙂

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Finn at Three Months

Finn 3 Months

Can we just stop to think about the fact that Finn is three months old?! Sure, he’s still a little bitty baby, but I cannot even believe how much he has changed in the past 13 weeks! I am already finding it hard to think about him as a newborn.

I think there are several “buckets” of development for a new baby. The physical growth is the most obvious, but there is also the brain growth, sleeping, – oh, the sleep! – eating, and the interaction with the outside world. And while we focus a lot on the growth of the baby, there is also something to be said for growing as parents! Being a new parent is hard. Not only has Finn come a long way in three months, but so have David and I!

Physical Growth

Last week, we took him to the doctor after his fever spiked. Thankfully, it was no more than a little cold he picked up at daycare and his fever broke within 24 hours. However, while we were at the doctor, Finn weighed in at 13 lbs 8 0z. Last Monday, a growth spurt began, and Finn started eating like I’ve never seen him before. By the end of the week Finn unofficially weighs around 14 lbs 6oz. At birth, Finn weighed 8 lbs 6 oz, so he has already nearly doubled in size!

Brain Growth

There is nothing sweeter than the cooing of a little baby. Finn loves to chat with us! He has also started swatting at toys and can bring his toys to his mouth. He has found his hands and loves to chew on them. He is such a smiley guy too, and loves to watch us from across the room. I never thought I’d be so excited to see such small little victories in a human being, but it’s truly remarkable to watch him grow.

Sleeping

I’m going to be honest and say that I had second thoughts about having a baby about a month in. Don’t get me wrong, Finn is awesome, but waking up every three hours to feed him was not. In the first month, I was nursing exclusively so it wasn’t like David could wake up and feed him every now and then. It wasn’t until about six weeks old that Finn started sleeping for longer than three hours. When we went to Colorado, everything changed. Whether it was the traveling, the altitude, or just having a slightly bigger belly, something clicked in him. At that point he was waking up around once at 3:30am. At about nine weeks, he started sleeping through the night. We also started a sleep routine. We have bath time, then change into pajamas, read a book and, by then, Finn is ready to be put down. He is still sleeping in our room, but I think that’s more for me than for him. 🙂

Eating

My man is a champ at eating! But it was quite the journey to get here. Finn never had issues with weight gain, but for the first month or so, he was quite lazy at eating. I was nursing exclusively through that time and it was wearing me out. He was not on a set schedule, and I was feeding on demand. It was fine for the first month of his life, but I knew eventually it would wear both of us out. I think I finally realized that Finn and I just aren’t good at nursing. I had two goals: to introduce a bottle effectively since I knew I was going back to work, and to get him on a schedule since I knew it would help with his sleep – but I wanted to continue feeding him breast milk. As soon as we started bottle feeding, Finn was such a happier baby. He was never really a bad baby, but he was never really content. We realized quickly that he wasn’t eating enough for his growing body. Once I started pumping and we could see how much he ate at each meal, our lives changed. He started sleeping better, he was happy, and so were we! Plus, David could help with feedings which took a load off of me. Now, at three months, Finn eats over 30 oz a day… which is roughly 5-6 oz per feeding. We’ve had to supplement my breast milk with formula, which I was hesitant to do at first, but in reality, I have to do it. Finn just eats way too much!

It’s been a huge learning curve being a new parent. Like I said, David and I went through a phase where we were worn down and exhausted. In the last month, our feelings have made a huge 180. Finn is so fun now! Every day it seems like he learns something new. Seeing him smile from his bassinet when he wakes up is the best part of my day. He’s my favorite!

Things I Don’t Want to Forget

  • Finn makes the cutest face when he is sleepy and getting picked up. He stretches his arms above his head, scrunches his legs like a little frog and raises his eyebrows up. He has been doing it since he was born and it’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.
  • When I walk Juneau and use the baby carrier, Finn is so content. He just looks up at the sky, squints a bit, and takes it all in.
  • Right now, Finn likes to fall asleep on his own. I’m hoping this doesn’t change, but I realize it may. Already missing the snuggles and rocking though!

A little advice for new moms: stop taking advice! There’s so much information out there, it can be overwhelming. Your baby is one of a kind, and so are you as parents. As soon as David and I stopped following “directions” from what we had learned or had been told, our relationship with our son changed dramatically. We kept trying to force certain things (mainly feeding) and it wasn’t working. We couldn’t keep doing things the same way just because… we had to learn to bend and do what was best for all of us.

 

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My Hopes for S&I

helen keller quote

So, maybe this post is a little bit more for me than for you, but I thought I’d share my hopes for Simple & Inspired and it’s readers.

I’ve been blogging for several years now, but never really put 100% into it. My blog turned into an online diary – a place to keep all of my memories. I documented the summer I was laid off from my first job, my move back to Virginia, our engagement, our wedding, my pregnancy, and Finn’s birth story. I am so glad I made the decision to write these things down, because I’ve already re-read these passages countless times. Along the way, my blog has gathered a following, and I’ve always wondered who really cares about my daily life?

In the meantime, I have followed several blogs pretty religiously over the past two years. Although we’ve never met, I have watched these women get engaged, plan their own wedding, get pregnant, have babies, move into new houses – all the while making a living solely from blogging. Every time I open their blogs, I get green with envy because that’s what I want to do!

Somewhere along the way I asked myself, “why can’t I?” Many of my family members are business owners and entrepreneurs. I have the tools, the education, the know-how, and the drive to make blogging my full-time job, I just need to hunker down and do it.

I’m realistic that this venture may take some time, but there’s no time like right now to get started towards my goal. I have a wonderful career that I enjoy, and I’m fortunate for that. However, I want to have more babies, and I want to watch them grow up. I want to coach soccer teams and go on field trips and take long vacations. I want to be my own boss where I don’t have to worry about daycare and missing out on watching my babies grow up. I know I can do it, so I’m starting now.

Are you an entrepreneur or “girl boss”? What drives you every day? How long did it take you to get where you are going?

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