thismummaslife

Motherhood, Art, Creative Play, and Finding Joy in Everyday Life


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My Winter Reminder

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This part of Winter has been rough for me. I have frequently felt sick, we have had loads of snow and ice, and things feel a bit stale. I find myself repeating: “One day at a time.” as a reminder that it will get warmer, I will feel better, and routines will change again.

Sometimes I forget to appreciate Winter for what it can be. If I let it, it can be an opportunity for connection. We are forced inside, we spend more time together in close proximity. Sometimes, we take turns caring for one another when we catch colds or illness. We learn to seize upon the days when the sky is blue, and the temperature jumps above freezing for a while, because we don’t know how long before it will happen again. And when it is snowing, and sleeting, and freezing rain for the third time in a week, we hunker together and try to be in awe of nature.

It is hard for me to do this. To put a positive spin on Winter and find the joy in it, when it goes on for months and months in this part of the world. But I have to take the time, for my own good. I need to stop, take a moment, and remind myself that Winter is a season in nature, and in the flow of life, when I must work a bit harder to be mindful and seek the positive, but the reward of doing so is crucial to my soul.

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SAD Time

ahhhh-now-i-get-to-be-dead-inside-for-6-monthsImage credit: NatalieDee.com

The above cartoon may say “November”, but had I drawn it, it would say “October”. I live in Maine where October kicks off the colder temperatures and the increasingly earlier sunsets. I have suffered for as long as I can remember with Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a difficult problem to handle in a northern state. Thankfully, we have had a fairly mild and warm Autumn so far (*knock on wood*), which has helped a lot. However, the lack of motivation has begun really settling in for me the past couple of weeks.

On the days when Simon and I have to get up early so that I can get him off to preschool and then go to work, I am able to fake my way through it. I have the responsibility of being places on time forcing me to get up and go. Usually though, I will experience a crippling energy dip in the afternoon, after I pick him up and we return home. That is usually when I find myself reaching for more coffee.

On other days, when there is nothing filling the calendar in the morning, I shuffle my way downstairs, fix Simon his breakfast and myself a cup of my beloved coffee, and then we snuggle on the couch under a blanket for far longer than I want us to. I want to be seizing the day, but instead I am fighting the urge to hibernate.

It is not so simple as just snapping myself out of it. I have been trying for years. But I have found things that help.

For example, using a “SAD Light”.


I borrowed one a while back from a fellow SAD sufferer. When I woke in the morning I would turn it on and sit in front of it while I ate my breakfast. It felt soooo good. She eventually needed her light back, but I spoke with my doctor and found out that I can get one with a prescription and insurance will possibly pay for some of the cost. I am going to be filling this prescription ASAP. Jeramy had the fantastic idea of setting it up on my nightstand with a timer, so it will turn itself on in the morning when I need to get up. I just might do that!

Another thing that helps me immensely is cracking down on my healthy habits. It is so hard this time of year, when temperatures get cold, and all I want to do is curl up and eat baked goods all day long. Baked goods are fine, I am not one of those people who rules carbs or grains out, however, they need to not be the main component of a person’s diet. When I focus more on eating loads of veggies and fruits, I always feel better and it helps so much through the winter. Taking a daily multivitamin fills in any gaps for me and gives me more energy too.

I have found that if I take my shower at night, so that all I have to do in the morning is throw on clothes and put my hair in a bun, I am much more likely to get outside sooner. And the sooner I get outside, the more quickly I feel better. Mornings are such a struggle that simply showering can feel like an insurmountable obstacle.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but cutting back on my caffeine helps a lot too because I shed my dependence on it for energy. When I quit caffeine a while back, I felt so much better. I am now back up to a minimum of two cups a day, and I recognize that I need to start cutting back again. I really love coffee, but I can always drink decaf.

Finally, and this is the hardest one for me: moving more. Forcing myself to get some exercise in is so good for my body and my motivation levels. Feeling healthy makes getting up in the morning so much easier. I love yoga and walking/hiking. I need to make them happen.

I would love to hear from you if you are a fellow SAD sufferer. What works for you?


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A Walk In The Woods

 

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The land directly behind our property belongs to our neighbor. He owns 125 acres, most of which is wooded. Shortly after we moved in, we were given permission to go walking back there whenever we like.

How amazing it is, to walk out our door, through our yard, and have ample hiking and exploring space that is private. Wildlife to spot, nature to enjoy, and adventures to have, right there all the time. Right now we can soak in the beautiful Fall foliage. We can snowshoe this Winter. In Spring the stream will be full and flowing, and in Summer there will undoubtedly be frogs.

One of my goals as a parent is to teach my child to observe and remember nature. I was able to do that before, however, it required more effort when we didn’t have such easy access to the woods. For this luxury, I am so thankful.


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Chasing Balloons

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This was the weekend of our town’s annual Balloon Festival. The timing was never right for us to actually go to the festival location to see the balloons filling up. But Saturday night, after supper, we decided to take an impromptu drive to see if we could “catch” a balloon, by which I mean find one landing. When I told him where we were going Simon excitedly asked me if he should bring his bug catching net to capture the balloon with. I explained that his net was a bit too small, and he would see why.

It didn’t take long to find a balloon touching down, and we found one descending into the parking lot at the local mall. We pulled our car into a parking space, and got out to join the gathering crowd as the balloon team managed the deflating balloon. Simon was absolutely thrilled to witness this. There were other balloons, still making their way across the sky, as well as a group of powered paragliders zipping overhead. It was definitely a spectacle.

Despite the crazy traffic that it causes, I am always glad every year to live in a town that has this event. Many balloonists arrive early, and fly their balloons over the city throughout the week. It makes a quick walk to the store seem magical, when a giant balloon is coasting over your head. Like seeing a rainbow, it never fails to bring out my inner child when I spot a hot air balloon in the middle of my day.


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Postcards From Rangeley

 

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A final set of snapshots from our week of vacation in Rangeley, Maine. Tonight I am back home in the city, wishing we could have had another week there. Something tells me though, that no matter how many weeks we might stay I would always be wishing for just one more.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the time we did have this year, and for all of the memories we made together as a family.


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Postcards From Rangeley

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Hello! I finally found a way to access the internet after almost 4 days here in Rangeley, via the internet cafe in town. I had previously thought I would be able to access from the Main Lodge at our camp, but I turned out to be wrong. Now that I know there is free internet available in the village, I will have an extra excuse to sneak down here for a bubble tea. (If one ever needs a reason for more bubble tea.)