surviving the early weeks: the practical list.

Thank you for your sweet comments to my first surviving the early weeks post. I had intended on writing something more practical, which is what you're about to read today, but that pizza feet story just told itself as I started writing, so I went with it.

But, let's get down to business. There are lots of things that help make parenting easier. I've blogged about some of my favorite baby products over the last couple of years (see: first month; months two and three; baby food tools). Now that I'm going through newborn life again, I've reaffirmed what helps me get through the days. As in: what's good for my soul.

Sure, a good wipes dispenser can be a game changer, but having a few things to look forward to each day just for me - morning, noon and night - have helped me make it through, especially in the early weeks when there were those 3 a.m. moments that felt impossible to survive.

But, there's hope! Caffeine helps. And I have a few other thoughts to add. Here we go.
 + A really good cup of coffee. I have never been a coffee drinker. I've proclaimed that I prefer tea to coffee, but a French Press entered our life (on sale, at the time!) and I haven't looked back. I drink one very diluted cup of coffee every morning, and the ritual of warming hot water, pouring it over coarsely ground beans and letting it steep makes me so happy.  Getting up is slightly less painful.

+  To a good cup of coffee, add a good breakfast. I started eating oatmeal when I was pregnant with Jenna and then, like you do, got a little tired of it. But, once I got Megan Gordon's beautiful new cookbook, Whole Grain Mornings* - on recommendation from The Faux Martha - my oatmeal addiction has reached a new high (see page 30). Like Gordon suggests, I double the recipe and have enough for a few days of re-heats. I make mine with almond milk, and usually top it with blueberries, granola and sliced almonds.

+ A really hot shower with this. Holy cow. I've long been a fan of Kai products but had not yet scrubbed with the body polish until Eddie surprised me with it for Christmas. Do yourself a favor and get some. And then take a long, hot shower. My skin has never felt so pampered and smooth.

+ Back to tea vs. coffee. At night, after the girls are asleep - or at least in bed - I heat up some water in my favorite Le Crueset tea kettle and sip some tea (highly recommend for nursing moms, btw) with a drizzle of honey. Sometimes Eddie joins me, and when he does, he sips on chamomile. This evening ritual will one day be replaced with a glass of wine, I'm sure. Until then, this daily wind-down is one of my favorite moments of the day.

+ Lastly, having a few good meals in the bank does wonders for all of us. We've been making a lot of soup that carries us through a few nights of left-overs, and I really do believe that soup is good for everyone's soul. Our two favorites that I can make with very few brain cells are The Barefoot Contessa's Italian Wedding Soup (most days, when I don't have time to make meatballs, I just use cooked, shredded chicken) and Whitney's white bean chicken chili.

+ And, on those bonus nights when leftovers are what's for dinner, sometimes I do make it to yoga. I'm trying to get back into the swing, and it's painfully hard but it feels so good. And I'm so thankful to Eddie who encourages me to get out and go as often as I can.

The beauty of blogging is that I am able to consciously recognize what helps me be a better person, partner and mom and then record it, and I'm so grateful for this space. My hope is that whether you're a mom or not, pregnant or not, you might get an idea or two from this post and discover what, for you, personally helps make your days better and brighter.

Here's to a happy rest of the week.

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