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Always adore everything like this

Always adore everything like this

Always adore everything like this

Well, well, well.

It’s a new month, and we meet again!

This started as the January Coffee Date, but then got pushed back and pushed back because of all the amazing Sugar Free January recipes, and then it became February, and so this turned into the February coffee date, but what the heck! The month doesn’t even matter when it involves a cozy moment to get your warm drink on, pull that sweater a little tighter around yourself, maybe find some snacks (not to be a broken record but MAY I SUGGEST THESE), and settle in for a good talk.

Today we are talking about:

Yep, should be good. Here we go!

Sugar Free January Recap

Sugar Free January! It’s done! We did it!

GREAT JOB YOU GUYS!

Some thoughts I had this year:

  • I was flexible, but maybe a little too flexible. I made a refined sugar free cookie recipe at one point, but then I just ended up eating a bunch of the cookie dough and a bunch of the cookies. It really didn’t feel like it was doing me any favors even though it was “refined sugar free.” (This is one example of several.) I think I’ll try to be more strict about just saying no to desserts across the board next year – including refined sugar free desserts.
  • I need to be better prepared with snacks. Especially now that we have Solvi! The days would get busy and all of a sudden I’d find myself super hungry and in need of a snack IMMEDIATELY, and it was always really nice when I had a bag of energy bites in the fridge prepped and ready to go.
  • I wish I would have spent 2-3 hours prepping a bunch of stuff (snacks, IP freezer meals, etc.) at the end of December. To be honest, the end of December was Stress Level 100 for us this year. Bjork was sick, then I was sick, Solvi was teething, nursing was a wreck, and it was the anniversary of Afton’s death. So this year it just didn’t happen. But next year I’d like to try to make that prep time a priority so I don’t feel so scrambley when January starts.
  • My favorite Sugar Free January recipes this year: Lemon Chicken Soup, Lentil Greek Salad, Instant Pot Sweet Potato Tortilla Soup, and Roasted Vegetable Bowls with Green Tahini (pictured above)!

Any SFJ-ers out there this year? What were your favorite recipes? What was the hardest part for you?

Also: I’d love for you to take our survey if you have feedback for next year!

Daily Harvest

Have you guys seen / heard of / tried Daily Harvest?

The ads worked on me (as did a recommendation from a friend), so I decided to give it a go this month. We ordered a bunch of smoothies – like, 24, I think? We did the one month deal.

Here are my thoughts.

The Good:

  • Super healthy.
  • Super convenient.
  • Ingredient variety that I don’t normally get at home (dragon fruit, lychee, acai, pea protein, green coffee, that kind of stuff).
  • Beautifully designed packaging.
  • Not overly sweet – I often even add a bit of honey but I like that I can control the sweetness.

The Bad:

  • Shipping and individual packaging. Not great for the earth.
  • 2 serving per cup, but I don’t really want to keep the smoothies in the fridge for later, so I rarely end up eating the whole thing.
  • Only a few flavors have really gotten me super excited. Chocolate avocado being one of them. Otherwise they kind of just feel like… smoothies? And maybe I’m doing it wrong but I can’t quite get them to blend up like I want. They’re always a little icy.

I’m curious your opinions if you’ve tried it (or really, if you’ve tried similar meal or snack delivery services).

Solvi’s Schedule

OKAY WHOSE BIG BABY IS THIS! 😭

I started talking about Solvi’s sleep schedule on my personal Instagram a few weeks after she was born, and I’ve had a lot of people asking me to share sleep updates! I am right there with you – personally I find it so fascinating to hear about what other families are doing when it comes to baby sleep and schedules. What’s working, what’s not, all that jazz.

So here’s a quick look at our scheduling approach for the Queen Vi.

  • Wake Windows – Her whole schedule is structured around three things: a wake up time (~7am), a bed time (~7pm), and wake windows. A wake window is basically an ideal amount of time BETWEEN naps, and we use it as our benchmark for when to put her down again. One of my favorite quotes from Taking Cara Babies is: “Remember, she’s a human, not a clock.” Even though I’d really prefer to have her nap times be super strict every day (nap at 10am, nap at 1pm, etc.), we have had to leave some room for flexibility aka those pesky short naps. So instead of a rigid schedule, we build her day around wake windows. Right now (4.5 months, 3.5 months adjusted) she can handle about 1 hour and 45 minutes of awake time between naps.
  • EASY: Eat, Awake, Sleep, You Time – We try to follow this order in her day. First thing after a nap: Eat. Then play. Then back to sleep. And then mom and/or dad get a little time to reset. It doesn’t always work out because sometimes her naps are short, or she needs to eat earlier or later in the day. But we have found this to be the ideal structure and try to prioritize this order during the day.
  • Taking Cara Babies – This is hands-down my favorite resource for baby scheduling and sleep. I took the newborn class and read the 3 and 4 month ebook. I like structure, and I like routine, but at first glance, I found some of the more popular structure-and-routine resources (Babywise, Moms on Call, 12 Hours by 12 Weeks) to be lacking in the softness and flexibility that knew I want to have as a mom. Cara’s approach is both structured AND gentle, scheduled AND flexible. The strategies she teaches are nurturing and responsive, and her tone is so encouraging for new moms. The Taking Cara Babies Instagram account is excellent if you’re just looking for tips and tricks on naps, night sleep, etc.

Here’s what our daily schedule looks like (and right now we are dealing with short afternoon naps which is very less than ideal)!

  • 5am – Eat (then back to sleep!)
  • 7:30 – Wake Up, Eat, Awake Time
  • 9:00 – Nap 1
  • 11:00 – Eat, Awake Time
  • 12:30 – Nap 2
  • 2:00 – Eat, Awake Time
  • 3:45 – Nap 3
  • 5 – Eat, Awake
  • 6:30 – Bedtime Routine (hopefully asleep by 7)

A few clarifiers:

A) She very rarely follows this exactly! Lots of 40 minute naps lately have majorly thrown us off any sort of predictable schedule.

B) She sleeps through the night most nights, minus that 5am feeding.

C) She sleeps in our room, in a crib, for naps and nights.

D) She is breastfed, but we give her a bottle (breastmilk) before bed, which started out of sheer desperation because she was very fussy when nursing at night, and now has become a nice little routine that allows me flexibility in the evening.

I would LOVE your thoughts on this! What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? Anyone else fighting the good fight against short naps? πŸ˜…#please

My Fave Nontoxic Perfume

You guys, I haven’t worn perfume for literally years because of the whole “fragrance is the new secondhand smoke” thing.

But. I found this fragrance line at Target and I LOVE IT.

It’s affordable, yummy, and appears to be relatively clean! It’s vegan, paraben-free, and fragrance-d with essential oils. Here’s more on that.

I have two scents – the Queen Bee (in a roller ball thingy), and Wild Child (in a spray). Highly recommend.

When the Hard Times Come

Instagram Photo

On a more serious note, it has been a devastating week for one of my closest friends. If we were on a real coffee date, I’d probably get tears in my eyes telling you about everything that has happened.

Some things that have helped me as I sit with my own sadness and also try to support my friend:

  • This video on what it means to have empathy. Profound.
  • This video on what it means to live with grief. The idea that our lives grow and heal around our grief is so important.
  • This post that I wrote after we lost Afton about what to do when your friend loses a baby. Because I’m learning that even when you’ve been through it, it’s still really hard to know what to do.
  • This website that has all kinds of resources specifically for baby loss. The most useful things at the moment are the free guides for planning a memorial service.
  • This illustration that beautifully outlines ways to support a grieving friend.

Oh, and by the way. This month Sage says…

Sage. SAGE. Over here please?

I don’t know, she’s too busy watching birds and leaves and snow blow around the backyard. Which is maybe her lesson in and of itself? Let’s get lost in the little things like leaves and snow and birds this month.

And if you were wondering if she’ll be your Valentine, the answer is heck to the yes.

That’s it! (Says the person who just wrote 90 million words.)

Talk to me! How’s your winter going?

And if no one has told you lately, you’re doing a great job. β™‘

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