To My Darling Second Child

To my darling second child,

You have surprised us with joy.

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Our lives moved forward with no knowledge of your existence for a little over a month.

It was sweet for this planning-everything-to-a-T kinda mama, to have something so completely beyond her, come into being without her knowledge.

Thank you for choosing us.

I’m feeling you kick, for sure now, on the cusp of 19 weeks with you. I’ve been feeling flutters of you since 14 weeks…it must be the way I’m built, being able to feel my little ones so soon.

I remember the ultrasound technician being so sure I couldn’t have felt your big brother at 16 weeks. Later on, when I knew for sure what a kick from a fetus felt like, I knew it had been very real.

My life with you so far is constant, yet in snatches. I’m constantly aware of your presence, the changes in my body. Yet, I’m completely caught up in living and how many times you’ve already kicked your brother or he’s sat on you, I’ve already lost count!

I didn’t know if I’d be able to emotionally handle having the dreamed about second child. You see, hormones swirling & mama’s mental health struggles don’t mix very well. But what I didn’t realize was that more than a cliche saying, His grace is sufficient for me.

And more than I realized, this journey of motherhood is a journey of me rising up, an invitation to step into beauty. The beauty of making my own choices for myself and two little ones. The beauty of being true to what I can handle and refusing the guilt that threatens to overcome me. Just like in my marriage, what is required of me is to become the real me. The one I’ve always been shy of being in bright boldness, but the only option, really. The more I’m true to myself, the sweeter my marriage to your daddy. The more I’m true to myself, the sweeter my mothering is to you. Thank you for requiring that of me. ❤

God’s grace is overflowing, my second baby. From that earthquake shock of a positive test at 11 months postpartum with your brother, to that sweet rush of joy that hasn’t stopped coming, your presence shakes the world little one.

We are all so happy to meet you. Eager to know more about you, little by little. First, you just keep forming & growing, then we’ll figure out the rest when you’re in our arms.

I can’t wait to love you with a little less worry than I felt with mama’s firstborn.

I can’t wait to drink in your sweet newborn newness without wondering if you’ll ever grow, make eye contact, really smile & laugh.

It goes breathtakingly fast and I’m gonna hold on a little longer, and I’m so glad that gets to be with you.

We’re dreaming up names for you & we’re excited to find out whether you’re a girl or boy in 2 weeks.

Until then,

Mama

A Book Recommendation: Words Unspoken by Elizabeth Musser

I just finished a captivating read and thought- I need to do some book recommendations on the blog!

I am an avid reader and adore historical fiction. My preference is to read a book that takes my heart from the place which I started and deposits me into a new place. Forever changed from what I have read.

That is also my goal in writing books one day. I’ve come to notice that while nonfiction challenges the mind, fiction has the great opportunity to bypass the mind (on some level) and go straight to our hearts.

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Since this book was written in 2009, you may find it wherever used books are sold on the internet; I’m not sure about in bookstores. A simple search told me that you may buy it for $2.99 plus shipping or as low as $1.35, I think.

I borrowed it from my local library.

Who Should Read This:

This book is psychological fiction. My highest recommendation would be for any who have experienced traumatic deaths, depression and/or fear of traumatic events and deaths. Now, this book will journey you through these things, but will definitely have moments of touching these places in the heart. I would’ve wished that someone would have told me this before I read it, so I could be open with a close friend about the things going on inside my heart. Thankfully, my husband is my close friend, so I ended up being able to let him in on how I was feeling in the beginning of this book and the follow-up at the end. That was really helpful for me.

What it is About:

Largely, this is a deep read that delves into human nature and many different peoples’ stories and then brings it all together in the end. I don’t want to say much more than that, to allow the reader to experience much of the same that I got to experience!

On a more detailed note, this book acknowledges the fact that we all hear voices in our minds. These voices can guide us to great things; these voices can threaten to completely overcome us with despair. It was the most amazing experience for me to acknowledge that it’s not something that I alone experience, but that each one of us experiences this within. Coming to realize the power of these negative voices and the power of voices speaking truth is something I hope to freshly bring to my awareness again and again over the years. This book did an extravagant job of journeying through this truth of life and I think that many can relate to this deeply.

Fun to Note:

The author herself is from Atlanta, Georgia but lives in Lyon, France. I love her global perspective as well as her down-home Southern experiences written throughout the pages of this book! Anyone who has been to the South and experienced it’s delightful warmth and beauty will find pleasure in going back there. For those of us who have not been to France or abroad very much, it was fun to feel the experience of one of the character’s cities and the traditions of that European city.

All in all, I hope you can get your hands on this book and give it a read. I hope your heart is touched, like mine was.

Read on!

Xoxo,

Ailene

Goals for a Healthier Life

Hello, courageous friends!

Today’s post is about my goals this next year for a healthier life.

I’ve spent the past 2 weeks with all of 3 of my siblings and parents. Many times, our topic of conversation has centered around nutrition and cutting out sugar.

We’ve talked about how it helps us emotionally, mentally & physically be our best selves.

Another topic that I have felt strongly about is how to get my family on a real budget, a doable budget and one that we feel good about.

Anyway, here are my 5 Goals for a Healthier Life:

1. Learn how to eat whole, unprocessed foods again. Begin to replace refined sugar with fruit & then come up with a plan to eat 3 meals a day (4 meals while pregnant) & 1 healthy snack each day.
2. Come up with meal plans and grocery shop with a list again to help us stick with our budget goals.
3. Look at each of our long and short term financial goals and make sure our budgets for each are in line again. I find that during hard stretches of life (1st trimester sickness) and/or summer vacation type times, the budget can get a little out of whack!
4. Keep up with friends who bring me life, who have expressed that the feeling is mutual. Start a mom’s group for support & friendship.
5. Keep practicing self care and sharing it gracefully with others. Please visit this post on a friend’s blog for more about this!

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One last note- I was thrilled to find that this book is coming out tomorrow! You can purchase through my link to Amazon here.

Here’s to your health (and mine)!

Xoxo,

Ailene

An Easy Way to Combat Pregnancy Insomnia

Hello, courageous ones!

Have you ever suffered from aches & pains while trying to sleep?

I have!

In fact, during pregnancy, it is even harder for me to sleep. Especially in the second and third trimesters as everything is stretching and growing!

I’ve been wanting to share this post for awhile, but was freshly reminded of how important my earthing sheet is to my sleep this week.

Have you heard of grounding? It’s growing in popularity recently, so you may have.

My neighbors some years ago practiced it, and while I thought they were a little strange, I’ve come to see that it’s a great practice.

Grounding (also called earthing) is when we connect with the earth and the Earth’s electrons conduct into our body which helps to ground us to the same free electrons as earth. In theory, it can reduce inflammation in the body & help with chronic illness.

I wasn’t sure if it was crazy, but you know how you feel really rested after walking barefoot on the beach? (To ground, the best part would be to have your bare feet in wet sand).

I know that feeling, so that’s what first made me think this could be plausible.

I saw a naturopath that recommended an earthing half sheet & when it went on sale, I decided to buy it along with other supplements I was purchasing to optimize my health at the time.

Then came my first pregnancy! This is the first time I finally noticed real benefits with the earthing sheet. You see, I’d unplug the sheet during thunder and lightning storms, just as an extra safety precaution and after a few nights, familiar aches & pains were overwhelming my body again.

I would also sleep very lightly, waking up many times throughout the night which was my normal since I was a teenager.

When the storms passed and I plugged my earthing sheet back in, I slept deeply and woke up with significantly less inflammation and pain in my body.

The same thing happened this week, only I didn’t realize that I had forgotten to plug my sheet in after a night away from home this week.

I was really feeling the 2nd trimester aches and each day I woke up with a new one, it seemed! Not to mention I couldn’t fall asleep at night, even though I was exhausted.

Last night, I slept so deeply and awoke feeling refreshed.

So, my friends if you want to try it yourself, here’s the Earthing Sheet on Amazon to the exact sheet I have. You can use this across the bottom of your bed so both you and your partner’s feet are grounded all night, or you can just use it for yourself.

This is about $50 cheaper than when I bought it, as it’s about 3 years later.

Here’s to great sleep!

Also, if you don’t wish to ground while sleeping, you should be able to get the same benefits from walking barefoot on the earth each day! Either on the beach or in soil.

Xoxo,

Ailene

Learning the Art of Self Care

As a mother, I have never ever struggled with getting a shower in or eating food. Not because of motherhood, anyway.

You see, before mammahood came and blessed me, I realized my dire need for practicing the art of self care.

And it is an art!

I was realizing a pattern of depression and also panic attacks and I began to realize that when the care of me began to slip, I began to experience both of these things.

Continue Reading at SincerelyHannah.net.Healing Bath