2 Quick Ways to Get Happy

On Monday I started my week out on such a positive note. I did a 30 minute vinyasa yoga class and took a lovely walk. It led me to think about fast, easy ways to boost my mood. These are two of my favs! 

Yoga

It’s no secret that I love yoga (hence the name of this blog)! Although I don’t get to practice as much as I used to, I still love to fit it in whenever I can. Nowadays I am happy when I can do a quick 30 minute vinyasa class during nap times! You don’t have to be a super bendy and in amazing shape to reap the benefits of yoga- just taking some time to breathe deeply, clear your mind, and stretch is what it’s all about. Even a few minutes a day of this helps my mental state immensely! 

Walking

I set out on a new route on Monday to fine a playground for Connor. The air was crisp, the sun was shining, I had a mug of flavored coffee in my hand, and Connor was happy after just waking up from a nap. It was a perfect combo and the brisk walk made my mood soar.  Walking outside and getting some fresh air on a daily basis is a quick, easy, free way to take a break from the daily grind, and release some endorphins. 

Another Wedding in the Books

My brother Paul got married this past weekend! That means 3 out of 4 of us are married. It’s crazy how fast time flies! Their wedding was in Cleveland at the Wyndham in the theater district. Cleveland is a really cute small city and it was fun to explore. They are rebuilding after losing a lot of their population after a lot of their industry left and there are lots of cool restaurants and bars to try out. Anyways, some highlights are below! 

Road tripping! 


My brother Peter  and his wife Felicia  live in Copenhagen and came in for the wedding. We decided to drive. I was a little worried about smooshing 4 adults and a baby into a small suv but it worked out great. It was really fun to hang with them and they were the best entertainment committee for Connor! 

Heinens Grocery Store


We stayed right down the street from Heinen’s.  This store is awesome! We have one near where we live but this one is extra special. It is located in an old restored bank building and it’s gorgeous. Also they have a really fun wine tasting you can do. You purchase a card for whatever amount you want and go to the wine tasting area. You insert the card and serve yourself wine. They had tons of different types of wines to taste and it was a fun way to taste different wines from around the world. Sometimes it’s nice to not have to learn a lot about the wines and just taste them :)

The Wedding 

It goes without saying that the wedding was the highlight of the trip! The wedding was simple and beautiful. Jim and I were both in the wedding. Madeline just said she wanted us to wear black dresses, and the guys wore back suits. Easy peasy! Everything turned out so great! It was really fun to enjoy the wedding and see lots of my cousins. I definitely cried through their vows.


Indians Game

We rounded out the weekend with a trip to the baseball field. We saw the Indians play the Tigers. I love baseball and the stadium was a 5 minute walks from our hotel! 

End of Summer

With Labor Day around the corner and football on tv, the end of summer is near. I got to thinking about this summer, and the fact that it is coming to an end. I didn’t have many expectations for this summer because we moved, and that was my main focus at the beginning of the summer. Now that the summer is quickly coming to a close, I thought about everything I have done:
Went to Napa! We took a lovely 4 day trip to Napa and it was my first time away from my baby. 

Went to Cleveland- we celebrated my bother and his fiancée at their wedding shower. 

Moved- we moved out of our home in Chicago and headed for the burbs

Sold our home and bought a new one

Sold our car and bought a new one

Went to Cape Cod


Went on lots of walks outside 

Ate plenty of ice cream

I thought about making and end of summer bucket list but the only thing I want to do is just make sure we take at least one walk outside every day until it gets too cold. So that is my only goal! Pretty easy! And to keep the windows open and the air conditioning off as much as possible. Once the weather turns cool we are cooped up inside for so many months so I want to enjoy the fresh air! 

I can’t wait for fall! Fall is my favorite time of year. As a teacher, it was a time of new beginnings. This year I’m not teaching but it is still my favorite time. I love the air getting cool and the leaves turning colors. I love everything pumpkin- pumpkin decor, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin picking, and pumpkin candles. I love my birthday and Halloween which both fall at the end of October. I love wearing sweaters and scarves. I can’t wait to show my baby the leaves and dress him up in a Halloween costume. This year we will also move into our new home which is currently being renovated, so it will be a busy and exciting time!

Makeup Free

Something about the summer always makes me want to stop wearing makeup.  It is a combination of things:  I am on summer break so I don’t need to go to work everyday.  Also, when it is hot I hate the feeling of anything on my face.  I have allergies in the summer and find myself rubbing my eyes (even though I try not to) and rubbing makeup all over the place! I thought about how I am so dependent on makeup normally.  I don’t wear a ton, but my usual routine looks like this:  moisturizer, eye cream, liquid foundation, bronzer, eyeliner, and mascara.  I wear eye shadow when we are going out in the evening or when I am at work.  It’s a simple routine and a small amount of makeup compared to some people, but it still takes time, and I find myself asking why I feel the need to put makeup on everyday.

 With some makeup in Napa!

Now that I primarily stay home with my son, I find myself going make up free quite often.  It has been very liberating.  It is hard to shower and get ready with a baby who is all over the place.  I can only shower when he is napping, but nap times are also the only time I have to exercise, clean, and write, and there aren’t enough naps to fit everything in.  I have found myself making my shower and getting ready routine as fast as possible in order to fit in everything else.

Totally makeup free in the above picture!

Lately, there has been some buzz in the media about celebrities going makeup free.  Alicia Keys is the most notable one that comes to mind lately.  She has decided to go completely makeup free for good.  She is on the next season of The Voice, and will not wear any makeup on the show.  I think this is awesome!  First of all, she is lucky because she is beautiful without makeup.  However, even with this going for her, she could still choose to wear makeup for the cameras.  I commend her, and think this is such a crazy, bold thing to do in these times.

 

As a complete contradiction to this, I was watching Bachelor in Paradise this season. Side note:  I know these types of shows rot my brain, but I can’t stop!  The girls on the show wear SO MUCH MAKEUP!  They are ostensibly on vacation, at the beach.  When I go on vacation to the beach, I let my hair air dry, and wear literally no makeup.  The girls on the show had false eyelashes, tons of eyeliner, hair extensions, the whole nine yards.  I thought about how these girls would look so much prettier if they toned it down a little.  Of course, if you are trying to find love on TV, I suppose you would want to look your best, but maybe at least eliminate the false eyelashes while wearing a bikini 😉

 

For me, I don’t want to go completely makeup free for good.  I am a girly girl at heart, and sometimes enjoy the process of getting ready. I especially like it when someone else is doing it for me. I adore getting my hair and makeup done, even though it happens very infrequently. I strive to find a happy medium between no makeup ever, and fake eyelashes at the beach.  Some days I wear absolutely no makeup, and I’m fine with that.  Other days, I take a little time to put myself together.  I challenge everyone to try a few makeup free days here and there.  It is very liberating!

Cape Cod 2016

We had a wonderful trip to Cape Cod this year.  We were adventurous and drove from Chicago with a 6 month old baby!  I was nervous since he doesn’t like the car seat very much but it went way better than I expected!  We stopped in Syracuse and Boston on the way there, and Buffalo and Cleveland on the way back.  Our trip was filled with family, beach days, lobster, shopping, and relaxing.


I was surprised how fast the trip flew by this year, and I attribute it to the fact that being with a baby is so busy.  There is more work involved, but the payoff is so great.  Seeing my baby at the beach and with our family made my heart so happy.



We ate out a bit and ate in too.  Jim made lobsters one night, which is always fun. We went on a quick date night to Chatham Bars one night, and went out with my cousins for drinks to The Squire another night.

We took a day trip to Provincetown one day, and Nauset Beach another day.


Being at the beach and smelling the salt water is magical to me. I have gone to Cape Cod almost every summer of my life, and it is truly my happy place!

Starting from scratch with running

Very early on in my pregnancy I stopped running. It didn’t feel good and I was too nervous to push myself. I’m sure it would have been fine, but I was a first time preggo lady and I was scared. So I stopped running cold turkey. Fast forward to 6 months post partum and I still haven’t run much. I had a long recovery, and have found it hard to get back into running and exercise in general. 
I really miss running and everything that I get out of it. I am a super slow runner, but have run 3 half marathons. I run to push my body and stay in shape, but I mainly run for the mental benefits. Sometimes I zone out and blast music, and sometimes I use it as a time to think and sort things out. I have really missed running, and have started to slowly get back into it. 
Since I am starting at square one, I decided to do the Couch to 5K plan. Couch to 5 k I am on week 3, and while it is frustrating that I feel like I mainly am on a walk, I already feel that I am getting better. I was really sore the first few weeks and now I’m not anymore. I’m excited to continue this program and maybe get back up to the mileage I was at before. I might never run a half marathon again, but who knows! 


A half marathon right before our wedding! 

I’m back!!

After a long, long break from blogging, and lots of consideration as to where I wanted to take the blog, and if I even wanted to continue blogging, I have decided to return!  I have decided to keep my son’s life private, so you won’t be seeing many baby photos on here, but I will still be talking about parenting, and all of the challenges and joys that come along with having kids. I have decided to stay true to the name of the blog and focus mainly on the following:

Yoga- and all things fitness related

Wine- and all things food and drink related

Happiness- my constant quest to be happy and fulfilled in life

 

I hope you will continue to read and encourage any comments and feedback you have!

 

Julia

New Buffalo

We took a little vacation this past weekend! It was our first trip with the baby, and it was so nice to get away. I go back to work in less than a week so it was great to spend some time together before life gets a little more complicated. We returned to New Buffalo, Michigan.  New Buffalo has lots of fun things to do for couples, families, groups of women, and groups of friends. We discovered New Buffalo a few years ago and have returned many times since. We have gone as a couple, with friends, with family, and now with our baby! Here are some of my favorite things to do in New Buffalo (and the surrounding areas)!

Redamak’s

Redamak’s is a New Buffalo staple! They have delicious burgers and fries. They also have shakes and tons of other food choices. It is perfect for families and large groups of people.

  
The Town

I forgot to snap a pic, but the town of New Buffalo has lots of cute shops and restaurants. It is not huge or overwhelming and you can go through the shops in a few hours.

The Beach and Harbor 

The harbor and beach are in the town and you can easily walk to them. There are benches everywhere to sit and enjoy the view, and of course, when the water is warmer, the beach is great for swimming.  

 

 

 Wine Tasting

There are wineries all over this area! Pre baby we used to spend the day wine tasting and picnicking at the local wineries. This time we went to a winery for a quick visit, and picked up a bottle for later too. You can even take a wine tour and get shuttled around to various wineries.

Neighboring towns

We love visiting Sawyer and Three Oaks- two nearby towns. They have small local coffee shops, a distillery, and a brewery, and restaurants. We visited Greenbush Brewery for a drink. They also have delicious food!  We also stopped by Staymaker in Three Oaks. Staymaker is a restaurant inside of Journeyman Distillery. It is housed in an old repurposed building that is one of a kind. The craft cocktails and food are delicious!



Restaurants

There are many other great restaurants in New Buffalo! This time we chose eat lunch out and get carry out for dinner because we didn’t want to push it with the baby. We got take out sushi from Song Asian Cuisine, and Mexican from El Rancho Grande the second night. Both were delicious!
Our Vacation Rental

We rented the cutest house! We stayed here Last time too and it is perfect. It is close to town and decorated so nicely. I wish it were ours! We rented it from homeaway.com.

  

All in all New Buffalo is a great place to visit and I can’t wait to return soon!

Colic 

  
My sweet Connor has colic. He takes Zantac for acid reflux but we don’t know what the cause is. I read the Happiest Baby on the Block recently and the Happies Baby Guide to Sleep,  and have been following the ideas and suggestions in the books. The website has lots of great info and the books have even more!  The cause of colic is unknown but whatever the cause or reason, babies cry for at least 3 hours a day 3 times a week. Connor cries a lot! In the beginning it used to freak me out and I would be crying right along with him. Now I am more used to it but it is stressful and I do everything in my power to help him. Thankfully Connor is much better than he used to be but he still has fussy times and even fussy days. For my baby this is what happens and how I try to deal with it. Of course every baby is different! 

Reasons for crying  

Being hungry- I think every baby cries because of this! 

Being in his car seat- he hates it! 

Being overtired- if Connor goes more than 90 minutes awake, he gets overtired and then he can’t seem to settle himself down. 

Overstimulated- Connot doesn’t like loud noises or loud voices, and gets overwhelmed, especially if he is tired. He deals with this by crying. Some babies deal with overstimulation by sleeping and some deal with it by crying. Connor chooses crying! 

Having a tummy ache- when Connor is gassy or has a belly ache he cries. 

Unknown- Connor sometimes cries and we don’t know why!

How we help calm the crying and deal with colic 

The Happiest Baby book talks about the 5 S’s- sway, swaddle, shoosh, side/stomach, suck

Sway- I walk with Connor when he cries. He is heavy! My arms are so tired all the time but it works for him. Sometimes I walk for hours at a time! 

Swaddle- at night we swaddle him so his arms are pinned down. During the day I try to calm down his arms if he is crying. 

Shoosh- I have the white noise app and it helps tremendously!

Side/stomach- when I’m carrying Connor it helps to have him up against me on his side. 

Suck- sometimes he likes a pacifier but not always. 

Tips for dealing with colicky babies if they aren’t yours

It can be hard for family and friends of a colicky baby. It can be stressful and overwhelming when the baby is crying a lot. Here are my tips to anyone who encounters a colicky baby. 

Let the mom or dad calm the baby- many people are tempted to try to calm the baby down and use their parenting skills to try to stop the baby from crying. For me, it makes the situation 1000 times more stressful and overwhelming because the baby gets worked up even further. It is easiest to just let me calm him since I am with him the most. 

Don’t take it personally-it might seem like the baby is crying because of you but it’s not! Babies cry. There is no rhyme or reason to it. And the fact of the matter is, babies usually cry less with their moms than anyone else because, well, it’s their mom! 

Be extra nice to the parents- being a new parent is hard, and being a parent to a colicky baby is really really hard! Give the parents some extra love! :) 

Respect the parents’ wishes- sometimes it’s hard to take Connor out. Sometimes we prefer to stay home because it is easier and works best for him. All parents of babies need to do what is best for the baby first and foremost! 

Know that this is a stage- colic ends eventually, and a happy smiley baby emerges. You will get to play and laugh with the baby eventually. 

Connor is feeling better than he used to and I hope this trend continues! If you have tips for colicky babies please share! 

Return to healthiness

I’ve taken a hiatus from blogging for a while. I’m a little unsure of what direction I want to take the blog, and am considering some different options. I also have a colicky little baby to tend to so I haven’t had much time for anything!
 I have been focusing on my health a lot! Since I’m 11 weeks postpartum I am finally feeling almost like myself again! I’m cleared to exercise moderately and am ready to return to my old self, or a new version of it. 

I am currently in physical therapy because of my rough delivery, so I can’t do much but I’m not letting that bring me down! 

I know I can’t just jump back into my old fitness routines so I’m taking it slow. Right now my daily routine is: 

Walking everyday 

Squats and lunges 

Planks 

Push ups 

Or 

Yoga from Yoga download

Or a stroller strides class or workout dvd 

I’m starting small and can’t wait to be back in shape enough to return to running and hot yoga! 

In terms of eating my plan is: 

Veggies and/or fruit with each meal

Lots of water

One treat a day- either a small glass of wine or a piece of chocolate so I don’t feel deprived 

So far that’s it! Nothing crazy or super disciplined since I’m navigating mommy hood and also nursing so I can’t restrict calories at all. I have decided to be happy with my new body. Yes it’s curvier and I weigh more than I used to but it is for good reason!