Real Talk | The Struggle of Life, Parenthood & Anxiety

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This season of life and parenting just hasn’t been my favorite lately. I’m struggling. Struggling to stay on top of my emotions, on top of my hot temper. Struggling to find peace in the moments of chaos and frustration. Struggling to meet the needs of myself and my family. Struggling to make my home clean and comfortable which I often throw my hands up to because oreos and brushing your teeth. Literally the struggle is real right now.

I always wanted to be a kind, peaceful and carefree parent. One who can keep their composure in most any situation, one who seems to know when to speak and when to just listen and one who just radiates love in every word, every touch and every smile. I dream of being a parent like that one day. I never really thought I’d end up being a bit more cross and quick to snap. I never thought I’d end my days feeling like I have failed as a parent, like I said and did the wrong thing and wonder what do I need to do to change and to make sure I have the most nourishing and loving relationship with my children.

Lately I have had a flare up with my anxiety and have been feeling incredibly anxious about this whole PNW earthquake thing. Feeling like we aren’t prepared enough, what do I do if we aren’t home, or worst yet what do we do if Neil is at work on the other side of the river? I know for most West Coasters this isn’t a big deal it’s just a part of life but this East Coast girl is new to the whole massive earthquake thing. I’m working through my anxiety, trying to make time for meditation, using my oils that really help to ease my anxious feelings and trying to just not think about it. The thing is my anxiety over this one thing is seeping into the other aspects of my life – my children, my relationship with my husband, being social, work, and so on.

While I know much of my anxieties and the pressures I feel I created myself they are still there and it’s up to me to take control of them. It’s up to me strive for balance in life or rather strive for a life where I feel like I am fulfilling my duties as a mama, a partner, a girl boss and as a human.

I know I’ll struggle to post this because who wants to say I am struggling but the reality is I am and I know (or at least hope) I’m not alone. I’m also using this time to officially declare to you and myself that I am going to do The Orange Rhino Challenge. I keep saying I’ll read the book and follow through but I haven’t and today is my public declaration so hold me to it.

So this is life. I’m working on a lot of personal development things right now because I need to. We can all grow, develop, change and be the people we want to be. Thank you for joining me on this journey through life and parenthood.

Are you also struggling at this thing called life? parenthood? You’re not alone.

7 Tips to Survive Solo Parenting

Neil was recently out of town for four entire days which meant four days on my own with two littles. That’s 4 full days including 4 bedtimes and by the end of day 4 I was exhausted. I have come to realize 3 nights is my max before I start to go a little batty. I also learned the following ways to make 4 days of solo parenting work.

1. Get out of the house. It’s so easy to stay cooped up inside but the reality is just get out it will make all of you feel better.

2. Dance. When all else fails have a dance party or simply lay on the floor and let your kids crawl on you because that seems to entertain them just as much.

3. Take advantage of take out. give yourself a break and order some takeout, eat out of the cartons and make sure they bring plastic cutlery so you aren’t left doing any extra dishes.*

4. Delivery. in addition to taking advantage of takeout have someone else deliver your groceries. **

5. Bathtime. If your littles are cranky give them a bath – baths seem to make everyone happy.

6. Outsource. Skype the grandparents or parent who is out of town. that’s easily 20-40 minutes of entertainment and if it’s the grandparents you can do something else while your kids throw coconut chips as confetti.

7. Playdates. Let your kid(s) enjoy some friend time and you enjoy some adult conversation.

Does your significant other travel? What do you do to make it more manageable? 

* [I used Postmates Delivery – get a $10 delivery credit on your first order with code: 3kih]

**[I used Instacart – get $10 off your first order with code: LINGALLS21]

Busy Mom Snacks Featuring LARABAR

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This post is sponsored LARABAR.

Playdates, nature walks, gymnastics class, swimming lessons the list can go on and on. What can I say being a parent of two little ones keeps me busy. Often I find myself “forgetting to eat” and trying to fit in bites of a meal when I can and sometimes the only really substantial meal I get in the day is when we all sit down to eat dinner together. But, mama needs her fuel. So, to keep me going during the day I rely on quick and healthy snacks to provide me with the boost of energy I need.

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Instead of turning to crackers, cookies and other less than healthy snacks I try to eat as clean as possible. I prefer my foods vegan and I avoid foods with artificial ingredients, added sugars and colorings. For me the easiest snacks are fresh fruit, pre-cut veggies, nuts and seeds and my favorite snack – LARABARs. LARABARs taste great, are an easy and healthy vegan option and I love that they are free of added sugars, artificial ingredients and preservatives. LARABARs are also gluten-free and kosher and are non-GMO!

LARABARs are easy to throw in my purse or diaper bag and I also keep them in a basket on our snack shelf. They are a super easy and delicious snack I can just grab and eat while I wrangle children or snack on when we are out having fun together. I even enjoy them for breakfast on the go sometimes with a cup of coffee and a banana.

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I have been eating LARABARs since long before I had kids because kids or no kids LARABARs are great for those on the go. They taste great, are an easy and healthy vegan option and I love that they are free of added sugars, artificial ingredients and preservatives. I remember the days when they only had apple pie, cherry pie and lemon bar. Now with such a wide selection of flavors, my gotos are cashew cookie and pecan pie. Although, lately I have been stocking up on the seasonal snickerdoodle flavor. I’m sad it’s only seasonal. I’m also looking forward to trying the seasonal gingerbread LARABAR because that sounds like perfect fit for holiday snacks and our littles ones’ stockings

What are your favorite healthy portable snacks? Do you or your kids have a favorite LARABAR flavor? We love to grab a few LARABARs, a few bananas or tangerines and a chia squeeze packet whenever we head out for a playdate, nature walk or class.

LARABAR_logo[1]At LARABAR®, we believe that the foundation of a sound mind, body and spirit is derived from what you eat – and what you eat is most delicious and satisfying when it’s in a whole, natural state.

Yes, Stranger. I Do Have My Hands Full

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I don’t know what is is about pregnancy and parenthood that makes people feel like they need to constantly make unsolicited comments. Unless you have something nice and positive to say don’t say anything at all. I don’t want to hear it and honestly I probably already have.

I swear to you, every single time I go out I hear “You Sure Have Your Hands Full”. This started when I was pregnant with Alder and has continued ever since. I’m just tired of it. While I know that some people don’t mean anything by it, I still don’t want to hear it just the same. To me, it’s an obvious statement and  it’s a judgement on my parenting and my kids. While this may sound overly sensitive I am not going to apologize for how I feel. Anyway you look at it I find the statement to be a less than a positive one.

That being said here are some wonderful alternatives that you can (or do) say instead of making that cliched statement ….

You’re doing great. This is a much more welcomed comment and sometimes it’s nice to have a little reminder that I am doing my best and that’s good enough even if it is from a random stranger.

A Thumbs Up. Again, this is a nice gesture of acknowledgement and gives you those warm fuzzy feelings. Especially appreciated when you have one kid that you’re desperately trying to calm while trying to keep an eye on the other.

A Smile. This is my favorite one. I mean really, you can never go wrong with a simple and warm smile.

A Helping Hand. Rather than pointing out that I have my hands full stop and actually help. Open a door, pick something up that I or one of my littles has dropped, move something out of the way for me so I can pass by more easily or whatever else might seem to be helpful at that moment in time.

Don’t say anything at all. I think people forget they don’t have to say anything at all.

Rather than pointing out the obvious do or say something that spreads a more positive vibe.

Oh and for those of you who, like me, don’t love the “You Sure Have Your Hands Full” comment you could always try these responses because they are all so true, regardless of the cheese factor.

….and so is my heart. 
….and so is my life. 
Thank You. (maybe they really are meaning it as a compliment and if not they’ll be so thrown off by the thank you that maybe they’ll think twice about saying it to the next person they see)

 

Gentle Parenting Isn’t Always Easy

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Lately I have found myself saying a lot more no’s and don’t do that/touch that or stop that. As soon as the words come out of my mouth I regret it and I am kicking myself for not finding a way to be more gentle in my words, in my approach and in my tone. It’s something I am battling with everyday; being a gentle person is not something that comes naturally to me.

I am a stubborn person. I can be hot headed and to say I am controlling and reactionary might be an understatement at times. The thing is I know these are flaws of mine and ultimately I don’t want to be this way and I don’t want to teach my children to have these attributes. So everyday I have to learn to slow down, to take a breath before I speak, to seek support from friends and my partner and to take stock of how I can improve, how I can be gentler parent and human being.

My parenting isn’t perfect and I am constantly learning how to be a better parent, partner and citizen of the world. Each day I attempt to take a step towards a more positive, gentle and caring life. Somedays I take a few steps back but everyday I am pushing forward, learning from my mistakes and trying to be better.

Being a parent isn’t always easy but to be cliche being a parent is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I am learning so much from these two special beings who have entered my life and learning how to be a better, kinder and compassionate human being. So here is taking a deep breath, slowing down and giving more love.

35 More Days of Summer | #summerbucketlist

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There is officially a few more weeks before Summer turns into Fall. While we are in the midst of trying to get ready to move I can’t help but think about trying to fit in a few more fun things before the summer is officially over and the rainy season starts here in Oregon.

So I reviewed our bucket list and we have actually accomplished most of the items on it.

Visit a new park or playground. CHECK.

Visit a new park or playground. CHECK.

Go for a bike ride. CHECK.

Go for a bike ride. CHECK.

Enjoy a big bowl or cone of ice cream. CHECK.

Enjoy a big bowl or cone of ice cream. CHECK.

…but we still have a few things to cross off such as:

Attend an outdoor music event.

Attend an outdoor movie.

Make popsicles and enjoy them outside.

Have a lemonade stand.

Stay up late and lay under the stars. – 8/27 perfect day for this 

Go for a train ride.

Feed the ducks/geese at the pond.

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What is/was on your bucket list for the summer? How many have you accomplished? Any musts before the summer is over? I think that attending an outdoor music event and going for a train ride are highest on our list. 

 

Happy Father’s Day Neil!

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Nei’s first Father’s Day (2013)

It’s crazy to think that this is the third Father’s day we are celebrating and the start of our third summer in Portland. While we are out enjoying some camping and family time I’d thought I would share with you just a few of the many reasons Neil is an amazing father.

He has the magic night time touch to calm Alder. I know it’s a strange one to start with but it’s currently a big thing this week. We are pass the days where just the boob calms and frankly I’m exhausted from being up all night nursing this past month so in comes Neil and his magic abilities to calm. This isn’t a new ability he had it with Edith as well and that is truly a special and magical (to me anyways) thing. This not only makes him an amazing father but partner as well because even on work nights he gets up and spends time calming and bouncing so I can sleep.

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He can multi-task.  It’s taken some practice but by the time Alder arrived Neil is able to eat and soothe a baby to sleep at the same time.

He is a fun playmate. I love how easily Neil can release his inner child and just play. He will run around, be silly, makeup stories, sing (off key) and just have fun. He inspires me to be more playful everyday.

He takes most of the poopy diapers on the weekends. Maybe this doesn’t make him so much an amazing father but an amazing husband. Thank you Neil.

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He makes time for the kids morning and night. As soon as Neil wakes up he is making coffee (amazing partner points), reading books to the kids and playing even though sometimes (most times) this means scrambling to get ready for work. At night it’s the same thing he walks in the door, we eat and he is immediately in dad mode. He plays, reads, takes the kids to the park, or whatever they want to do until bedtime.

He has an unlimited supply of hugs and kisses. I mean what’s better than that? Even if some of those kisses are directed to feet or legs or backs (Edith has some odd requests sometimes).

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He shares his food. Even when he is super hungry or it’s a special treat that he would love to keep all for himself he shares it anyways.

He shares his interests and embraces theirs. Neil has a love for all things coffee and he loves to share this with Edith – she even has her own pour over coffee maker. Edith and Neil (and I hope Alder one day as well) both have a love of running and you can find them out running together on the path or running a race together. But that’s not all, he also takes an interest in whatever the kids are into as well and sometimes their favorites become his as well – example Red Yarn.

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While I could go on I’ll stop there because I think you get the point – Neil is simply an amazing guy.

We love you Dada/Neil! 

 

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Schools out, suns is shining and the days are longer it must be Summer! For me Summer has always been about trying to get in as many outdoor activities as possible before the snow or rain, since we live in the Pacific Northwest now, comes and we are stuck inside. My family and I are packing our weeks with fun activities and making the most of the beautiful weather.  We have already had fun doing a number of these activities from camping to swimming and of course making s’mores.

Below is a list of 25 ways to have fun this summer and some might even call it a summer bucket list.

Visit a new park or playground. Summers are about trying new things so explore your town/city or a neighboring one to find the best park/playground around.

Go Swimming! Whether it’s the ocean, a lake, a pond, or a pool go take a cooling dip!

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Go camping! This is the perfect way to relax, unplug and enjoy some quality family time while getting back to nature.

Attend an outdoor music event. Most cities/towns host various music events at parks throughout the summer; this is a perfect event for families with children of all ages.

Have a picnic. What’s more fun then taking a meal outdoors? You can venture to a new park, find a spot near a lake or venture as far as your front yard.

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Go Berry Picking. BERRIES! One of the best parts of summer is the fresh fruit.  Kids of all ages love to pick their own berries. The trick is to see how many berries actually end up in your bucket to take home.

Enjoy a big bowl or cone of ice cream. Summer is a time for sweet cold treats. Head to your favorite ice cream shop and get a nice big bowl (or if you prefer cone) of ice cream to share (or not).

Attend an outdoor movie. There aren’t many times during the year that you can sit outside and enjoy a movie.  Check out if your town/city hosts any movies in the park or maybe you still live in an area that has as drive-in.  If neither of those options work why not set up a little outdoor “movie theater” in your backyard complete with pillows, blankets and your favorite movie treats.

Make popsicles and enjoy them outside. Get the kids in the kitchen and whip up a batch of popsicles. Once they are frozen head outside to enjoy them in the warm sunshine.

Hula Hoop. Yes give it a try! 

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Visit a museum. Explore a new museum or one you don’t frequent often.

Have a lemonade stand. Some people, myself included, would say that this is an essential part of summer and childhood. Make up a pitcher or two of lemonade, set up a little table out front of your home and start selling! 

Head to the library and join a summer reading program. Summer reading programs are a great way to keep kids reading.  Most programs are for birth through teens so mamas and papas with little ones can still participate. We just completed our first month of summer reading with Edith (2 years) and after 30 days of reading to her for 20+ minutes per day she was able to pick out a new book.  We are now onto doing a second 30-days!

Go for a bike ride. Grab the kids and get out for a bike ride. If your kids aren’t biking solo yet you can always go with a bike trailer or other seat. If investing in a bike trailer isn’t in your budget find a spot that does rentals! 

Attend or host a BBQ. Get together with friends and enjoy one of the perks of summer a big ol’BBQ!

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Go down the biggest slide at the park. I’m talking to you too parents!

Blow bubbles. Make your own bubbles or pick up a bottle of your favorite brand and spend the afternoon blowing, chasing and popping bubbles; easily hours of fun.

Create side walk art with chalk. Decorate your driveway or sidewalk with sidewalk chalk art.  This is fun for kids little and big (and adults too).

Stay up late and lay under the stars. Toss out the bedtime (for one night), grab some pillows and blankets and set up camp outside the stars. Take a look at the stars and the moon and try and find the big dipper.

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Go hiking. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the great outdoors. Find a hike that fits your skill level or maybe a nature walk is more your speed. Either way grab the kids and get outside!

Go for a train ride. Find a nearby train and take a ride.

Visit a Farmers Market. Take your little (or big) ones to a local farmers market. Explore the various fruits, veggies and other local goods.  Take a new fruit or vegetable home to try!

Make s’mores. One of the best parts of summer! Make them over the campfire or the grill at home.

Feed the ducks/geese at the pond. One of our favorite summer activities! Grab a few slices of bread and head to the duck pond to feed the ducks.

Kick a soccer ball around. Or maybe head out to a ballgame!

How many can you already cross off already? Which ones are on your list to to do this Summer?

Hello Friends! | Quick Update

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Hello Friends! I know it’s been a bit since my last post but life is just kind of happening over and here and I haven’t very many free moments to sit down and write. That being said part of this “life just happening” is Neil and I working on some fun new projects including some surprises for Naturally Family.  The other part is a baby boy going through a growth spurt and developmental leap and a little lady who seems to also be going through both as well – talk about the perfect storm! I think we are at the tail end of Alder’s growth spurt (not the developmental leap though so babywearing to the rescue!) and I think Edith is finally coming back into a better place now. As part of Edith’s “fun” spurt period we have been dealing with a bout of sleep regression which results in some challenging days for all of us but (knock on wood) I think the worst is over!

Anyways that is where we are at so this week is all about getting the house back in order and life back on it’s semi-normal track. I’ll be back later this week with a new post but until then you can follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more realtime updates and tidbits.

 

xo. Lindsay.