Friday, December 23, 2016

I'm Merrier Thanks To Merry Maids

I'm going to get REAL honest with ya'll.  I'm a control freak.  I like to have my house cleaned the way I like it and most of the time, no one does it the way I prefer.  I know, I'm the worst.  However, if I'm being even more brutally honest...I hardly ever have time to clean these days.  Between nursing Daisy, playing with the kids, getting all my errands run, and making dinner, the house is just a disaster. After the kids go to bed I tidy the house and put things away but the 'cleaning' isn't getting done.  My husband helps out here and there but when he comes home from work I hate to ask him to help clean when he has put in hours and hours of standing at work.  Basically what I'm saying's become more and more obvious that in my life right now I NEED help.  Add on the fact that my mom was coming into town and you have yourself a wreck of a person who was trying to do it all and realizing I couldn't do it all.

When it came to finding someone to clean my house it was like breaking down a wall of feelings.  Feelings that I SHOULD be able to clean my house.  Feelings like I had failed at being a homemaker.  Not feeling confident in myself because I knew I needed help.  It's funny how much we doubt ourselves as mothers.  We do A LOT, you guys.  We are keeping tiny people alive and that takes a whole bunch of work.  This house cleaning was a way to give back to myself.  Time that I could give to my children instead of sitting them in front of the TV while I cleaned the house.  So the search went on in trying to find someone who could clean and meet my expectations.  

Many of my friends get their homes cleaned.  They found people they trust and they know they will do a great job.  But for me...again, control freak, I was looking for someone who was not only qualified but was also trained, insured, and had great reviews.  Who answered the call...Merry Maids. The company is trusted, insured, has great reviews, and all their happy cleaners are extensively trained and have a high expectation on how things should be cared for.  

Scheduling was easy and when they came to my house they had smiles on their faces and got right to work.  I'm not even exaggerating when I say that my house has never been cleaner.  When we moved in our house it was newly remodeled and still had dust floating around for weeks after.  It took forever to finally get things settled and wiped clean.  When the Merry Maids left my house after hours and hours of cleaning, my house looked, smelled, and shined better than it did when we moved in.  They scrubbed permanent marker off of the walls (Jade likes to color...anywhere she can).  They made my girls' beds.  The baseboards where clean, the walls had been washed.  They vacuumed my couch cushions and under the pillows.  Every frame on my wall had been dusted and wiped down.  I even came home from running errands to find them sitting on the floor cleaning the return air vents! My dining room chairs were scrubbed from the food and fingerprints my kids left behind.  And then my head blew up from amazement.   

After my brain matter was cleaned off the walls, I kid I kid, we went on a walk through the house and made sure every room, hallway, and corner was cleaned to my approval.  They pointed out areas that they spent extra time on.  They ultimately made sure I was 100% happy with the cleaning...and by golly I WAS!  I sat on my bed after they had left and felt such a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders.  I didn't have to worry anymore about my mom coming into town knowing she wouldn't feel like she had to clean on her visit.  She would be able to just show up, relax, and enjoy time with my family instead of scrubbing the bathtub and toilet.

Now I understand if having your house cleaned isn't something you ever thought about.  I was that person too.  I never in a million years thought I would need it.  I mean, I'm the weirdo who LIKES to clean.  But I'm at a place in my life where I need the help.  I need that part of my life to just be done.  It may only be for a year, or the rest of my life, but for now it just feels great knowing I don't have to stress about it.  

So, lets talk about pricing shall we?  Cause I know you and I are both on a budget.  Between buying new clothes for the kids every new season and keeping the house stalked with food, how can one afford house cleaning?  When the kids are young and growing by the second, my time with them is priceless.  I would hate to look back on their growing years and feel like I've missed precious moments because I was too busy with a mop in my hand.  I would hate to have them look back on the memories they've made and I'm missing from them because I was vacuuming.  So how can you and I afford house cleaning?  Simple.  By understanding what's most important in our stage of life.  I want most to be making memories with my kids.  I want them to see that I don't just put in all my effort in cleaning the house but that I put a large amount of time and effort into showing them love in how they need love. I can not put a price on their time.  

Merry Maids has a $50 off deal right now for the holidays in Utah.  Just mention Holiday Clean Up.  Even better...if you sign up for their 24 cleaning agreement (that's a bi-weekly cleaning) they'll knock off $400 on your initial deep cleaning service.  HUGE DEAL!!  Maybe you're not looking for a bi-weekly cleaning?  Get in touch with them and discuss what it is you're needing or looking for and they'll get you what you need.  

I now have piece of mind this holiday season.  I don't have to scrub anything in my house.  I can just enjoy my family, make memories, and relax in my clean bathtub with an ice cold Diet Coke.  My mom dreams have come true.  Seriously friends, Keep Calm and Call Merry Maids.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Coping with Seasonal Depression

This time of year is usually about giving, joy, and warm fuzzies. But for me this time of year brings on a different effect.  I become burdened, I feel alone and isolated, and more often than not I don't take care of myself.  My hair hasn't been washed for more than a week and I'm pretty sure if I were to wring it out I could fill a small bottle with oil. I have not put on makeup or really gotten dressed, for that matter, for days and it's starting to settle in that the good old seasonal sadness, or depression if you will, has come to take it's course.

A few years ago I had my first experience with this inner demon.  It took me by surprise and buried me deep in my bed for days.  I didn't accomplish anything I needed to.  I sat and stared at my television for hours and hours and dreaded the undertakings of keeping up a household and caring for my kids.  What got me out of this horror was taking care of ME.  Something I wasn't doing in any sort of fashion.  I obviously wasn't bathing regularly, I was eating crap...or not eating at all, I stayed inside and neglected my physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Many would argue that mental health is something that can be controlled.  I used to think the same thing.  In fact I'm pretty sure I said "snap out of it" to my sister who's struggled with depression her entire life.  It's not a quick fix when it comes to finding light in a time of darkness.  It's not like one can just flip a switch and all is right in the world again.  The joy and happiness come back at a slow and steady pace as long as we are striving for it.  I'm not an expert in depression or treatments for it, but because of my seasonal struggle, I've found ways to bring me slowly back to that state of mind where I feel level and in control.

This week has been one where I've noticed that evil seasonal shadow hovering above me. It has me feeling tired, unmotivated, and dreading the care of my little ones.  With being a nursing momma it's been even harder to wrap my arms around  my baby to feed her.  Her cries are like knives to my ears because I know it means I'll have to crawl out of my cozy and darkened room to feed her and comfort her when I can't seem to feed and comfort myself.  Today I finally realized that while I can't just 'snap out of it' I know I can be in control of my life.  So I wanted to share a few things that help me during this difficult time of year.  Before I share I should state that, again, I'm not an expert, and if you feel like you need professional and medical help, that is where you should go.  But for me my heart and mind tell me that I can crawl out of this darkness on my own if I simply put some effort towards the cause.

I'm starting with placenta pills.  That's right people, I take pills filled with my dehydrated placenta from when I was pregnant with Daisy.  It sounds absolutely disgusting and, believe me, when I first heard about it I thought the same thing.  I'm happy to share the fact that I ingest these pills though because they have been my lifesavers in a time of sadness.  From what I've read, they're filled with your bodies hormones that are needed to help you recover during the postpartum months.  They help with hormone balance, milk production, mood swings, and that's just to name a few.  From  my own experience I can honestly say that they've made a HUGE difference in how I've felt after I take them. Still kinda gross, but if it works...I ain't complaining.

Essential oils are a major part in helping to brighten my darkest days.  I could go on and on about how great they are and the science behind their affects but for now I'll just say this.  What happens to you when you smell something you love?  Do you cry or grin?  I stick to a few oils that I love and smell them or diffuse them throughout the day.  Citrus oils are amazing during the dreary winter months because they're uplifting and warming.  I put a drop on my wrists and breathe in deep and sure enough, within a few moments I start to feel more level.

Self care is an obvious one.  This season has been especially hard because my self care is almost non existent.  All day I'm caring for three other humans...ok four if you count the hubby.  I'm giving giving giving all day long to others but I'm not giving back to myself.  I love the quote, "In order to take care of others you must first take care of yourself." Yes, I am a firm believer on service and giving to those around me, but when I'm on empty it becomes nearly impossible to have anything left to give.  This one is so hard for me to follow through on.  By the end of the day there aren't enough hours left before bed to really take care of myself.  So I simplify by doing small and simple things to help fill that emptiness.  I take a bath, paint my nails, wear a skin mask, watch my favorite movie, or indulge in my favorite dessert or snack.  Sometimes the simplest of things bring about the most joy.  And this rings so true in the self care department.

Lastly is the hardest one for me to complete and yet it's always the one that's most needed.  EXERCISE!  Remember how I suffered from seasonal depression a few years ago?  Well, the thing that got me through was exercise.  It always sounds more simple and easy than it really is.  But I didn't just buy a gym pass and drag myself to the treadmill everyday. No.  I enrolled in a class that I knew I would love and WANT to go to and sure enough I went.  I went three times a week for 2 months.  I pushed through the burn and the soreness and went back again and again.  Why?  Because those endorphins my brain was pumping was necessity and I could feel it after the first time I went.  I understand that not everyone can afford this type of thing so instead I say this.  Find a friend and go together.  You can walk around the mall or swim at the rec center near you.  While you workout, spill your hearts to one another.  Release the feelings of sadness and solitude you're experiencing and work together to feel uplifted.

Ok one more.  I always call upon my Heavenly Father for support.  It's not easy carrying around the burden of depression.  But I'm grateful I have the knowledge that my Father in Heaven knows my struggles.  He carries me when I can not carry myself.  Christ experienced all our trials, afflictions and pain so that we wouldn't feel alone in those times of need.  Pray for comfort, for support, and for guidance.

I hope this time of year, especially if you that struggle like I do, you won't feel alone.  I hope you know that this time of year is hard for a lot of us.  Don't be afraid to reach out for help or express what you feel to those you can confide in and love.  And please please please, if you need help you need to ask.  Don't be ashamed of your trial.  It's a trial many of us experience, and many of us are here for care and support.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Disneyland Travel Tips

I left my heart in Disneyland.  True story.  Since I was a little girl this place has been a happy escape for me.  The moment I walk through those gates and hear the chipper music and smell the scent of railroad ties I know it's going to be a good day.  We try and make it to our favorite place once a year, but as the kids get older and times become more hectic and stressful we've realized that once a year isn't cutting it. It needs to happen more often.  This year I turned 30 and wanted nothing more than to celebrate at my favorite place on Earth, but we also surprised the girls!  They had no idea where we were going or when we would arrive.  We just reassured them that they would love it and, sure enough, they did.

When Mike asked what it was I wanted for my birthday I literally couldn't think of a tangable item.  Sure gift cards are great and so is money...duh...but I knew deep down what I really wanted was a family vacation to Disneyland.  When I said it outloud to him I honestly laughed about it because I knew that was a lot to ask.  I mean, come on, we just had a baby and were still paying off bills to the hospital.  But little did I know that he would say yes and make it happen.  Gosh I love my man!!

When we plan our Disneyland vacations we always use Get Away Today.  They make it easy to plan and organize where you'll stay, how you'll get to the park everyday, if breakfast is included, and they make sure you'll be comfortable.  Sure it's easy to just hop online and figure it all out on your own but when I call into Get Away Today I know they'll have all the answers and will guide me to the right hotel and accomidations I need for my family and me.

Weeks before your trip they mail out your Disneyland tickets and all the info you'll need for your stay.  Seriously guys, I can't begin to explain how easy they make it to get your trip off to the right start.

We stayed at a beautiful hotel just a mile from the park and it not only included free parking, free breakfast, but also a free shuttle to and from the park that ran every half hour.  WINNING!!!  The hotel was so accomidating and brought us a crib for Daisy and truly made our stay so comfortable.

On with the birthday celebrations!  Right inside Disneyland on you left is City Hall.  It's a small quaint little building that has bathrooms attached...if ya need.  Inside City Hall is where you can request a free pin!  I, of course, got my birthday pin and a pin for Daisy's first time. It's necessity when you're celebrating your birthday. Why you ask? Because every cast member will celebrate right along with you.  Who doesn't want to be told Happy Birthday a million times a day?

I've written before about all my tips and tricks for a family fun trip to Disneyland you can read here.  But this time around we were with a tiny little baby who was still nursing and needing extra sleep and attention.  So here are a few extra tips for traveling with a baby. 

Disneyland and California Adventure both have Baby Care Buildings.  They're both great but I highly prefer Disneyland's for nursing!  They're nursing rooms are in a seperate area far away from the changing rooms so you're staying away from the smells. Catch my drift *wink wink*?  On top of the great nursing rooms, they also have tiny toilets for little kids who are potty training.  Jade got so excited to use them becuase they were "just her size". If the cast members aren't too busy they'll even congradulate the kids after they go with a sticker.  So cute right?  This is also a place you want to keep on your radar if you have a child in diapers.  They have a small shop inside where you can purchase anything from baby food to diapers and wipes.  Pretty much anything baby might need you can get it here if you're in a pinch.  Thank goodness for Disneyland's kind heart. 

If you're not near these buildings on your travels I've found so many hidden and quiet areas that are perfect for nursing or a small break where the kids can have a snack. Don't stress too much about finding places to 'hide' to nurse your little one.  As you walk around just make mental notes of places that might work and you'll be sure to have success. 

If your baby is asleep you can still go on many of the rides with them! Be advised that some of the rides do require your baby to be on your lap and facing forward, but if you've got them in a wrap, like I did with Daisy many times, they're just fine to be left alone sleeping. Another great way to ride the rides while baby sleeps is asking for a Stroller Pass from the cast member at the begining of the line of the ride you're wanting to go on.  That way one parent can take the kids on the ride while the other parent sits with the baby and then they can switch and the kids gets to ride all over again.  The Stroller Pass allows up to three people so our girls got to ride a lot of the rides twice without having to wait in the lines forever.

Disneyland will forever be my most favorite place on earth.  It holds dear memories for me. It reminds me of simpler times.  Time spent with family. Time spent laughing and acting ridiculous.  It's given me moments with my kids I never want to forget.  There's no doubt in my mind that my own children will find joy in this magical place throughout their lives as well.  They'll look back on these family vacations with a smile because family time is everything and nothing beats the magic of Disney.