Motivation on Monday: When? No Time Like the Present.

Be present. Live in the present. Carpe Diem.

Put down the games. Put away child’s play. Play out your life just the way you dream it should be.

“It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.”

~ George Harrison

What are your dreams for your life?  Take the time to think about them.  Take the time to write them down.  Take the time to map out your plan for their achievement.

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”

~ Napoleon Hill

This is the dawn of a new day. The time to do that thing of which you dream is now.

Hop to it, Sweetie!
(And, let me know how it goes!)

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Tips for the Montessori Home

the CHILD centered

Many times parents feeling pressured to set up their home environment often ask, “Where do I purchase Montessori materials for our house?”  I reassure them- it is not necessary to have your home environment mimic the classroom.  As a Montessori certified primary teacher, I promise my children’s rooms are not fully equipped Montessori mini classrooms.

The basic concepts of a Montessori classroom, however, can easily be duplicated at home.  Simply put- there is a place for everything and everything in it’s place.  The external order will cultivate your child’s inner order.  Build in opportunities for your child to participate in the care of his home environment and in self care.  Basic discipline expectations center around respect of self, others and materials.

Montessori materials extend beyond the cognitive works designed by Maria Montessori and, in fact, a child’s success working with the specially designed Montessori curriculum greatly depends on how…

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Where to look?

Where to look?

Maybe you don’t know what your goals are. Maybe you do. Maybe you’re afraid to verbalize your goals publicly or privately because you are afraid of failure. Which scenario describes you?

Look within yourself. Allow yourself to discover what you truly want out of life, love, and work. What do you want to be? What do you want to learn? What do you want to do? Where do you want to travel? What are your visions and goals for your family? What, of all of your goals, is most important? What, in the end of life, will you be most thankful for achieving? What are your “cherry on top” goals?

Most people do not have written goals. (“Most”, meaning apporoximately 90-95% of people.) Of those who do have written goals, there are certainly those who have only written down a portion of their goals. (In other words, there is likely room for improvement for some subset of the 5-10% with written goals.) Those with written goals are extraordinarily successful at reaching them.

Here is a sagacious suggestion:

Write your goals down on paper.

This is a worthwhile enough suggestion to state again. And again.

Write your goals down on paper.
Write your goals down on paper.
Write your goals down on paper.

I have set goals for myself from a young age. I have experienced failure from time to time. Nevertheless, most people looking at my life from arm’s length would classify my existence a success. The key for me, and for anyone, really, is to press on. Keep moving. Be optimistic regardless of life’s setbacks.

Europe is exciting, and South America is interesting. Georgetown is wonderful, and Chapel Hill has its charm. Dental school is a study in self-abnegation (or self-abasement), and culinary school is a study in sapidity. Pregnancy is a surprising metamorphosis, and crossing the threshold of motherhood is miraculous.

I’ve been to what some would consider to be many places, and I’ve accomplished a few things along the way. But, I’m not finished.

With terrific things in my rearview, I am –as I should be– thankful. Nevertheless, I must focus on the road ahead.

In life, there are campers, hikers, and climbers. The climbers face the roughest route, with the most steep incline. Their journey is the most trying. Few choose the route they forge, and few enjoy the view they do.

I want to go on a path less travelled, and I want to go with trusting, positive people in my life. I want to continue to explore the world around me. I want to enjoy the most beautiful view. I want to continue to learn (yes, even after nine years of schooling). I want to continue to grow. I want to nourish my marriage, family, friendships, and life with sweet sagacity.

I am not afraid of coupling lofty goals with more realistic goals. I will aspire to every success available in life.

You are welcome to join me.

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30+ Things I wish I’d known in the First Trimester

My husband and I just had our first baby; our angel arrived a few months before our eleventh anniversary. Needless to say, if any couple has had sufficient time to prepare for a little one, we did.

Over the course of the pregnancy, labor, delivery, and since beginning life with our angel outside of the womb, I learned more than I ever thought that I would. My experiences and research have topped the most frequently requested list of blog topics. Thus, I hope you will find the sweet sagacity you seek herein.

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Pregnancy. Wow. Where do I begin? If you are not yet pregnant, but someday aspire to be, you should know that pregnancy changes everything. If you are pregnant, or have already experienced pregnancy, you know what I mean. Even with 4.5 doctors and 2 nurses in my immediate family (yes, I’m only counting siblings and parents), there was much left open to surprising discovery regarding pregnancy from both a practitioner’s and patient’s view.  I also made discoveries that would have been nice to know from a practical point of view.  I’ll just offer a few bullets that I believe to be of interest here, and you can let me know if you have any questions.

Good to know, or I wish I had known…

  1. You may or may not want to be social.  You may have symptoms that prevent social activity.
  2. Your bra size will change (possibly several times).  Purchase nursing bras during pregnancy. Even if you are unsure about your intention of nursing, at least the nursing bra gives you the option, and functions for you longer.  Do not purchase new (“regular”) bras during pregnancy. They would only be worthwhile for a couple of months during pregnancy, and may never be needed (or fit) again.
  3. You will probably require maternity clothes beyond the birth of your baby for a period of time.
  4. Considering how nursing-friendly your maternity wardrobe is, as you acquire it, will save you money (and frustration).
  5. Shoe size may change temporarily, or permanently. (I was able to handle the last few months (and a black tie event to boot) with ballet flats.)
  6. A birth plan is worth having and (*thoroughly*) researching, regardless of how much you think you do or don’t care about what happens during labor and delivery.
  7. A great doula is a priceless gift from heaven. Priceless. Worth every penny.
  8. Register for a doula, or gift yourself one. If finances are tight, a doula may be willing to accept a reduced rate. The best doulas support you in your birth the way that you desire your birth to be. They are your advocate in your labor and delivery.
  9. Midwives specialize in uncomplicated births. Obstetricians specialize in complicated births. You will want an uncomplicated birth (read: no cesarean).
  10. Midwives can and do deliver babies for women desiring epidurals.
  11. Ultrasounds are not necessary.
  12. Read ahead.  (Assume you will not have time to read after the arrival of your bundle from above.)  Audiobooks are a respectable option.
  13. There are decades of research in infant development and learning from books like “Montessori from the Start” and “Your Self-Confident Baby” to help you formulate a child centric nursery design and registry list.  No need to reinvent the wheel.  (I am not on board with everything in either book, but modifying these methods a bit to suit our situation has demonstrated a great advancement in development for our son.  This (after a bit of thoughtful preparation) is with less effort on our part as parents.  Thanks to this, our happily self-confident baby safely explores, entertains, and teaches himself.)
  14. Kelly Mom is a wonderful evidence-based parenting site.
  15. Keep the purchase of stuff to a minimum. (Even if you do this, you will still accumulate more than you need.)
  16. Sign up for classes (yoga, birthing, breastfeeding, etc.) in your first trimester.
  17. Acupuncture can help with virtually every pregnancy ailment. Sickness? Check. Insomnia? Check. Back pain? Check. (Trust me. If you go, you will love it.)
  18. Co-sleeping can be an optimal solution. Dr. Sears speaks to its many benefits.
  19. Take care of your back & joints.
  20. Stay well hydrated with water.
  21. The practice of relaxation during pregnancy truly helps during labor and delivery.  Try guided relaxation or guided meditation if you need help relaxing.  There are free podcasts from Meditation Oasis that are nice.
  22. Less is more.
  23. Organic is a gift to your baby.
  24. Unless your doctor does, do not fret about your weight gain.
  25. The Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears is information every parent should read.
  26. Researching the benefits of breastfeeding is worthwhile.
  27. Attending La Leche League during pregnancy is very helpful. You’ll have a wonderful resource, friendships with other mothers, and an open-minded group of support.  (Of all mothering groups I’ve attended, I have found the most  widely and well informed mothers at LLL meetings.)
  28. Freeze meals for yourself ahead of time.
  29. Working mothers, or mothers who may like quality childcare from time to time, or mothers who would like a “less is more” parenting philosophy, respectful to infants and their needs, would love to learn about Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE).  (I melt methods from this philosophy into our breastfeeding, Attachment Parenting, Montessori, and Elimination Communication philosophies quite well.)
  30. Do your research, but you will probably want to delay cord clamping for as many minutes as your provider will wait. (I had hoped for a delay of 15 minutes or more, until the placenta delivered naturally, but waiting even 5 minutes is a great benefit to the baby.)
  31. Researching Vitamin K, bathing, Hepatitis B, eye drops, and every other routine intervention for your labor, delivery, and your newborn is worthwhile.
  32. Natural childbirth is truly amazing. I had fears that were derived from horror stories of others. Interestingly, all of the horror stories were from women who had epidurals (which prevent the release of natural pain inhibitors). Natural childbirth was not comfortable, but I was surprised at how doable it was. The level of discomfort was less than I expected.
  33. Placenta encapsulation may be of interest, especially for those who may want to prevent post partum depression.
  34. HypnoBirthing is something both women and docs rave about. The mother who told me about her hypnobirth experiences had labors lasting less than 4 hours with the first, and 1 hour with the second. Sounds great to me!
  35. Make no plans for the two months following your baby’s birth. (This is, of course, at your discretion, but you’ll see what I mean.)

Do you have additional pregnancy pearls?  What would you add to the list?  Do you have experience with a doula, midwives, maternal acupuncture, natural childbirth, water birth, HypnoBirthing,  Placenta Benefits, AP, RIE, infant Montessori at home, EC, troubleshooting breastfeeding?  Please share them!