How We're Fighting off the Post-Christmas Blues!

Winter is upon us, Christmas is over, snow is no longer magical, annnnd cue the winter blues.

Add a newborn and living in the middle of nowhere with not a neighbor in sight, and you might recall that Stephen King's The Shining was set in the Wintertime... with a view similar to mine:


Blah.

It was so pretty, in November.



Disclaimer: Overall, I love where we live and can honestly say that this is the happiest I've been.

Really, truly.


But on looong days, the white-ness surrounding me kind of seeps into my soul! I just want someone else to think this whole situation is wild because to my hubby, our little house in the woods is the most normal thing in the world. Meanwhile, part of me is dying inside wanting to yell, "Help! There is an extravert trapped in this house!"

Even one of our kittens ran away, bless his heart! The tiny heated cathouse could not contain his stir crazy nature. He probably found a pack of nomad felines to run with!

(Or much more likely, the local wildlife got him: think bobcats, coyotes, mountain lions. It's like National Geographic out here).

So since I do not take my sanity lightly, and there are too many things in my life to compromise its integrity at this point, I am looking towards the next few months with lots of hope. Or at least a little hope. Here are few of the things I cling to in months like these:

A Vacation on the Calendar
Mike's job makes it really hard to get away, they are on tight deadlines since their bridge work is commissioned by the state. Winter time is our best shot at getting away together. Two years ago we went to Puerto Rico and last year, his mom took us to Florida. This year somewhere warm just isn't in the cards as I am Archer's beloved lifeline while I'm still nursing, so we are going on a quick getaway to go to an outdoor hockey game in Minnesota.

Don't be jealous.

A Solid Book List

I have really learned that as a woman of few talents without many outlets, reading is one way I can stay connected to the world and feel most like myself.



When do I read you might ask? All the time! I am known to take hour long baths while my children run rampant through the house. During nap time, I find that it is slightly better for my soul to sit with a book rather than numb out watching the Kardashians. Mostly I read late at night because my body has been trained to only need 5 hours of sleep to survive (think: heavy coffee drinking throughout the day).

My only struggle is finding books worth my time, so if you have any shout out the titles in the comments!

Here are my recent Winter reads that I would recommend to my friends:

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
All of Liane Moray's books (so, so good)
Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers
For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting by Brene Brown (best.parenting.book.ever.)
Desperate: Hope for the Mom who Needs to Breathe by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae

Next up for January:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
(because I have a rule that I can only read WWII books in the Winter! Kicking myself when I'm down)
The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos (one of my favorite authors)

Change up the meal plan

Gosh I am such a housewife.

But seriously, I meal plan every Sunday and stick to that until Midday Tuesday. Since we're far from the grocery stores it saves me a lot of time and money to meal plan. Mike is always on a health-kick, which inevitably means I have to be too. So I keep my ice cream hidden, the fast food runs to myself, and cook healthy dinners as much as possible. I love Daniel Walker's first cookbook Against All Grain and it's great if you have a sorry diet plan like our family does-- gluten and dairy free. This is her new one, Meals Made Simple:




Keeping my Kids Occupied

Welp we got a membership to the Omaha Zoo and Omaha Children's Museum, both are super legit and good places for winter outings (the zoo has lots of indoor buildings and exhibits).

The amount of gear in taking 3 kids under 3 to these places isn't too bad, I put Archie in a stroller and let the other two go free. No matter what, it is always so worth it to get out of the house even if we only last an hour.

As always, I keep my standards low, which helps me welcome the moments my kids go rogue on me when we're out in public.

The kids thought this bounce house for Christmas was for them, false! Totally for me.


Oh you feel exhausted after jumping in here for 30 minutes straight? I had no idea! What a surprise! You want to take a nap early today? Go ahead little one, that bounce house just might have worn you out!

We have a play room in the basement where it's set up and they can turn it on themselves, it takes 45 seconds to blow up, then they turn it off when they're done. This whole situation is completely child operated. I don't even know where the "on" switch is. All the reviews on Amazon were from moms of boys and had me lol'ing the whole time.

We Go Outside Whenever Possible
This one makes me grit my teeth a little bit but the fresh air is so good for all of us. Even if I just walk to the mailbox, and stop to get a few dozen things/pieces of trash out of my car, it does me well. We have a 20 degree threshold for outdoor play and I'll probably lower that temperature at least two more times as the winter drags on.


Emmy must have some extra insulation because that child will run outside no matter what the weather! I keep their rainboots and winter coats within their reach so they can put them on and go in the backyard without my help. Since they don't stay out very long, I don't usually fuss with gloves and hats unless there's lots of snow!

Cry Ask for help

I am not shy about saying "I'm having a hard time, Dear God-- somebody help me!" I called a friend a few weeks ago and told her I was going stir crazy so could she please go out with me one night after our kids are in bed. My hubby just can't help much during this season of our lives so I'm also quick to ask our families to come in for a visit and give us a little relief.

I love my long-distance friends and we have kept our relationships strong through lots of phone dates, even if it's just a quick 5 minutes to swap toddler war stories from that day. Some nights I hide the remote and the lap-top, and make my husband look deep into my eyes as I tell him all the exciting things that happened to me that day.

Get Hooked on a TV show. 
This past fall, we loved Quanitco. Recently, Making a Murderer held me over until the Bachelor premier on Monday, gosh I just love it so!

Let myself off the hook. 
Winter with kids who are too young for school is hard. It just is. I type this as my three-year-old sobs at my feet begging me to play Princess dolls with her for the 8th time today. The two-year-old is laying prostrate on the kitchen floor in front of the pantry screaming for another snack.

Perfect Archie sleeps away in his swing, because that's what the favorite child does.

Any time I'm in the house all day with the kids, things shift from being wonderful to really hard. I find moments of unexpected peace that are quickly followed by someone screaming like a banshee.

This is my normal, and probably yours too if you have wee ones. Some "seasons" of life are really hard, and I'm betting that the worst of them happen in Winter in the Midwest.
We are doing a week long TV fast up in here-- basically I am just a glutton for punishment and I will be letting you know how that goes when we're done! 

**Today was our first day and by 8am I couldn't wait until the kids were out of earshot so I could turn on the Today Show. To get Lou to drop the whole princess doll game, I just gave her my phone to watch YouTube videos on. --So you could say the first day is going really well! 


5 comments:

  1. I just love your posts! So much truth. I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling the post Christmas wintertime blues, and trying to find strategies to get through each day!

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  2. As the girl who has a very similar reading list, I will tell you that "The Precious One" is good. Not nearly as good as Love Walks In, but good none the less. I'm also reading Bittersweet and just finished The Wife, the Maid and the Mistress. It was meh. I've also got Hands Free Life queued up on my kindle. I'm sure I'll feel convicted by it. As I am by all my non-fiction picks.
    I'm winning no parenting awards. I can't, for the life of me, figure out what happened to Gracie's thumb which looks oddly like she might have stuck it in an electrical socket ...

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  3. Thank you for the cookbook recommendation! We have recently cut out dairy from Philip's diet due to rashes and eczema that he developed once we introduced cow's milk. The rashes have getten better but have not completely gone away so we are thinking we need to cut out wheat as well to see if that is another allergy. I am thinking, "what in the world can I feed him?!" I will have to look at that cookbook. How did you know your children had food allergies? Thanks Ally!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Katie! I hope you get a note that I responded but I will FB you too just in case. Emmy has eczema too and I noticed it really flared up when she ate gluten. I have a wheat-allergy and my mother-in-law has Celiac Disease so it runs in the family! It hasn't shown up on tests, but I swear she sleeps better and has less tantrums as well when I am strict with her diet. We keep out sugar, wheat, and milk at home (but I let her have low-lactose foods like greek yogurt and cheese) but when we're out or at a friend's house she eats whatever! I hope that is helpful. I am sorry Phillip has allergies too, at least the world is a friendlier place to those that have intolerances! Lots of good books and blogs out there.

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    2. Thanks so much for your reply Ally! I agree- there are a lot of resources out there now!

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