Best Toys For Toddlers Ages 1-2
I wanted to share with you all of the most used items for Otis at this age. He’s currently 23 months (OMG!!!!!!) but I started writing this at 22. But basically most of this stuff we have been using over the last year till now. Sharing a variety of things from toys, feeding, to home stuff. Hope you enjoy this break down!
Disney Pixar Cars Mini Racers Mack Transporter: Otis already had these mini cars and one day Blake came home with this truck. It stores the little cars and also makes for a big fun toy to push around.
IKEA 20 piece basic train set: My sister gave us some hand me down IKEA train set pieces and Otis LOVES to put these together himself. It’s been a great toy for independent play and we plan to get more for his birthday.
Magna-Tiles 32-Piece Clear Colors Set: These are epic! They were great for when Otis was closer to 1 because they were easier for him to grab and pick up. Obviously you need to monitor your play because of the magnets but this is something he has loved especially during quarantine. We have a metal coffee table so he uses it to stick the magnets too. Or the fridge. Or the garage door. Basically anything metal he will put them on.
LEGO DUPLO My First Number Train: For his first birthday he actually got this set and he has become OBSESSED with Duplo legos. It’s been a great toy for independent play and I love how creative he gets with them.
Mega Bloks First Builders Classic Big Building Bag 80-Piece Set: This was another first birthday present that keeps on giving. I keep these with the Duplo legos and he plays with both. These are better for smaller kiddos and easier to put together closer to age 1.
Playskool Explore ‘N Grow Busy Gears: We bought this after watching him play with something similar at his Oma and Opa’s house. The gears move when you push the button so this is a good toy to keep them occupied.
Plan Toys Baby Walker: This was actually a first birthday gift from Oompa Toys and I am telling you he still loves it and he is almost 2. It’s pricey but its a 2-in-1 toy. Both a push car and you have all the blocks. Otis moves this from room to room and then plays with the blocks either inside or takes them out. He’s going to be using this for a while. He loves to build.
Tegu 24 Piece Set: These blocks are fun and different take on a magnets toy.
LEGO DUPLO Disney Frozen Toy Featuring Elsa and Olaf’s Tea Party: You know how obsessed Otis is with Frozen so we had to buy him Frozen Duplo lego set.
Magformers 30-pc. Rainbow Set: These magnets have also been a very popular quarantine toy for Otis. He uses them on our metal surfaces but also lines them up on the carpet. Again, we monitor closely because of the magnets but this is a MUST have toy.
Buckle Toys Buster Square: We call this toy, “Mr Buckles” HA! When we were actually going places, we would bring this in our diaper bag or in the car. I sometimes bring it on our walks so he can play with it.
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Count & Rumble Piggy Bank: He has recently rediscovered this toy and it’s so cute.
Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet, 8″ HD display: This has been a recent game changer. Since Otis is now into screen time, it’s been fun to let him play on his own kid friendly tablet. What I love is that he can literally click anything in kid mode and he’s all in approved kid content that we load on there. A fun feature of this tablet is you can also use it in adult mode if you want to tap into apps like netflix etc. This one also comes with a great warranty incase you kid chucks this down the stairs and it breaks. I also love this case with it.
Evenflo Versatile Playspace Indoor/Outdoor Gate: This gate has been incredible. We actually bought 2 so it can stretch across our garage and have our garage door open and use our garage as a playroom. We have also used it in the backyard as a barrier for some social distance hang out during quarantine. It’s awesome because it modular so you can always buy more pieces or make it as big as you need it.
HEDGBOBO Music Bubble Lawn Mower Electronic Bubble Blowing Mover: This was a gift from a friend and I am telling you Otis is obsessed with this thing. He walks down the sidewalk with this little lawn mower and love that the bubbles can be turned on or off. You can take the handle off so it’s easy to store.
Fisher-Price® Lil’ Snoopy: We use this toy every day. Since Otis always wants to walk Lola and that is not always very productive… we put a regular dog lease on this toy and let him “walk his puppy” down the street and it allows him to have his own responsibility and gives him something to do so we can also successfully walk Lola to do her business. Love this toy so much.
Step 2 Up & Down Indoor Outdoor Roller Coaster Toy w/ Car: We got this for Otis’ first birthday and now, he’s really enjoying this for independent play time. He pushed the car up, pushes himself down. Slides down on his stomach… you know. The normal ways of using it. HA! SUCH a great bigger gift idea. These are hard to come by in stock.
Mickey Mouse Glowing Bubble Wand: We actually bought our bubble wand at Disney On Ice but this one looks identical. It has both lights and bubbles for when the bubble inevitably run out. Lol. Anything Disney can go no wrong.
Veer Cruiser: I often get asked if this wagon is really worth the hype. My honest answer is that yes it’s VERY expensive but we have gotten incredible use out of it. It has very rugged wheels which allows us to easily bring to the park, on grass, and even in the sand. Yes it’s still hard to pull on sand but the rugged wheels make it easier. A plus is there are so many really unique attachment options. We recently got the additional storage bucket to add on. If you are looking for something splurge worthy, I 100% cosign this. Another thing that is great is you can add adapters to add a car seat. So if you are in a two kid family, that could come in handy. It folds down super flat too so we easily stow it in our trunk. We love it! Also the snack tray is EPIC.
Little Tikes Toy Sports T-Ball Set: This is a newer toy because obviously we love baseball in this house and this is a bigger boy toy. He has been having fun and it doesn’t take up that much storage space.
Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Kids Pretend Play Fun Grocery Store Shopping Cart: I bought this at the beginning of quarantine and it’s an epic toy for walking around the neighborhood. It’s nice to give Otis a task when we are walking to keep him focused and moving in the direction I want him too. Toddler problems am I right!??! It’s great because he can throw another toy or two inside and it’s big enough if he abandons it, I can easily just pull it with one hand.
Step2 Whisper Ride II Kids Blue Ride On Push Car: One of daily used toys. Each day we take a walk together. He loves to ride in it and we have used it since he was 1 and will get even more use after 2.
Halo Sleep sack: We have tried many sleep sacks and this is still our favorite. We have ones in different materials for different seasons but since we have A/C we like to use the fleece one since it’s nice and cool in the house. We put it on him backwards which at least helps a little in terms of him not taking it off. It’s been the best one we have found. They are just hard to find in the larger sizes. He is in the biggest size right now.
Slumberkins Sloth Snuggler: This is Otis’ prized possession. He calls his sloth his “love love” and he sleeps with it everynight. We introduced this when he was an infant for car seat rides etc before he started sleeping with it. I can’t say enough good things because they wash in the washing machine so well and I let them air dry and they are good as new. My recommendation is to buy 3 of any lovey you want to get for your child. So if you lose one you aren’t screwed. HA! Also keep cycling them so you can wear them evenly. I did not do this. Learn from my mistakes
Playskool Sesame Street Cookie Monster 10” Mini Plush: Cookie Monster is one of his loves in bed with him. This one is nice because its small.
Jellycat Bashful Turtle Stuffed Animal, Small: Otis loves his little turtle. The jellycat toys are so soft and I got him the tiny size since it’s easier to carry around and snuggle.
Hatch Rest + Sound Machine: By far one of my must haves from the newborn phase till now. I love this thing so much I have 3 of them in my house. 1 in his room, 1 outside of his room in the hallway to drown out any noise in the house, and 1 in our bedroom on my night stand because I got so used to the sounds when Otis was in his bassinet in our room. This newer version is pricer than the older but what is EPIC about it is that is has some reserve battery in it. So for instance, if the power goes out, the sound machine will stay on. EPIC. I have convinced many people to buy this including my sister. I had forgotten it at her house and her sons borrowed it and loved it so much she bought them. It also has time to wake functionality which we have not used yet but hope to in the future.
Skiphop Zoo 11 oz. Insulated Food Jar: Love these insulated food jars when toting around lunch or dinner for Otis.
Summer Infant Pop ‘N Sit Portable Infant Booster Seat: This is a must have item! We have gotten so much use out of this portable high chair even just in our own house. We use it for outdoor picnics and the detachable tray makes it great to kind of contain them in one place when you don’t have your highchair etc. It’s easily washable and it also can be attached to another big chair to serve as highchair height at a table. I have a slightly different version but buy this if you like it it’s been sold out.
Skiphop Zoo 7.5 oz. Snack Cup: These snack cups are like gold in our house. I constantly have at least 2 filled with goodies for Otis and love that they have a cap that closes so things are leaking out everywhere.
Inglesina Fast Table Chair: This is our current fav high chair. I LOVED my large high chair from stokke but one day Otis started fighting us to sit in ANYTHING. We were able to eventually get him to sit in this clip on chair so now we have two. One on our kitchen island and one on our dining room table. The best thing is that while the instructions don’t recommend it being machine washable, I was reading a couple blogs of people that put theirs in the washing machine. I tried it and holy crap it looks like new after! I just let it hang and air dry. We also used to take this to restaurants when Otis was too young to sit in their highchairs as well as taken to hotels etc.
Inglesina Fast Table Dining Tray: You NEED to get this tray if you buy the chair. Keeps clean up easier so food doesn’t cake under the handles. It’s easy to loosen and clean under but this helps prevent that as well as being something we can easily remove when mealtime is over. Otis tends to want to rip his plate up when he is saying he is all done so its easy to just remove this tray and get it out of the way.
UNICOO- Bamboo Height Adjustable Kids Learning Stool: I always get asked about this kitchen stool and the white is sold out right now but here is the wood version. What I love about it is that it is pretty compact because we have a pretty small kitchen. It’s been epic for Otis to be at the counter and help prep meals, have a snack, help make my morning coffee etc. It also allows him to be a menace and mess with literally everything but I love this tower so much. No regrets!
OXO Tot Transitions Straw Cup: We tried a bunch of sippy cups and this is the one we have used and loved when we transitioned him off the bottle to a sippy straw cup. It’s relatively easy to clean. But let’s be honest, any straw is annoying to clean. They do leak if there is milk in the straw but it’s the best option we have found so far.
Lollaland® Lollacup 10 oz. Sippy Cup: This is our #1 water cup. With the handles it’s easy for Otis to grab one handed when he is filthy eating dinner. Lollaland makes such great kids feeding stuff and we own quite a few of their products. This is by far my fav and most used water cup.
Bumkins Disney Silicone Grip Dish, Suction Plate: I love all the bumkins suction plates. They REALLY stick. You know we are Disney obsessed so this Mickey plate is in heavy rotation.
Bumkins Baby Fork and Spoon Set: These are the forks and spoons we are using for Otis right now. They are short enough to make it easy for him to eat.
Shop toddler favorites below:
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July 29, 2020 at 04:13PM
Failed IVF Frozen Embryo Transfer
If you want to know if I am alright. I am not. You don’t think it’s possible to have your heart broken as many times as you do going through IVF. It breaks into a million pieces and slowly, you piece them back together just in time for your heart to shatter again. I am still picking up those pieces today. I recently shared that my Embryo Transfer got cancelled because of Covid-19 and was patiently waiting for my fertility clinic to open back up. When I finally got the call that they were opening, I scheduled to start treatment ASAP. I quietly prepped the whole last month and a half for a Frozen Embryo Transfer on June 8th. After the most excruciating 10 day wait, it’s with a heavy heart that I tell you our transfer didn’t work. Not pregnant. Let me rewind to give you a little insight into this FET cycle.
Frozen Embryo Transfer Prep
The process was relatively easy considering I had just completed the majority of it with my cancelled FET cycle. I knew what to expect. I was in the groove. I had my eye on the prize. I think the scariest moment of prep is always the day I start progesterone injections. That scary long needle that gets injected into your butt. But like anything, after “pulling off the bandaid” and just getting through the first night, it all just becomes part of your routine again. I will say the injections aren’t even that bad compared to how your butt starts to feel after a few days. I remember telling Blake it’s like I have two bruises on my butt the size of tennis balls. Sitting is uncomfortable. I was doing them once in the morning and once at night. But regardless of any unpleasantness, you grit through because that precious progesterone is for your baby. So it’s all worth it. Once I started the progesterone, we were locked into a embryo transfer date. It was on.
Embryo Transfer Day
Given the state of the world, our transfer looked alot different this time. While Blake was allowed to come with me to the procedure, he could not because he had to be in the car with Otis since we are still fully quarantined at home. Since I have been doing my medical treatments, it was important to me and our family that we continue to be as safe as possible to protect my health as well as that of Blake and Otis. Since we are without childcare help and we aren’t having contact with anyone to watch Otis, he had to support me from the car instead of in the room. I am so lucky to have gone through a transfer experience before in normal times so I could at least know what to expect. I can’t imagine other woman having to go through this process alone. It weighs heavy on me thinking how hard the process can be for everyone.
Blake gave me a kiss, I kissed Otis on the forehead and I headed into the facility. I wore a mask, had my temperature checked, and answered a slew of questions pertaining to Covid-19. Besides the obvious precautions, everything was just as I remember. I met with my embryologist who went over my info, talked to me about my embryo and got everything set up to go. My doctor came in and I was able to ask to video in Blake during the procedure. But of course, with Blake watching a wild toddler in a car seat that didn’t want to be in his car seat, he had to mute his own audio and he ended up not really knowing what was happening as I tried to communicate with him, wearing my mask and giving hand signals. I think in a way, But, regardless we did our best to create our own sense of normal. I had my music playing and just like that, we were done. It’s a super quick procedure and after I lay down for 30 minutes before I am allowed to go home. It’s also to note, they give me valium before so I am SUPER relaxed but do need to be driven home because of it. We drove home and I got ready for my 3 days of bedrest. I queued up my favorite rom coms, wore my coziest pajamas, and had more time to myself than I remember in a long time.
The hardest part about the bed rest was not really being able to hang out with Otis. I missed him terribly. My little buddy We tried to have him come into bed when he was in a relaxed mood or it was time for his milk before bed and a lot of time, it would be a little complicated because he’s a toddler that wants to be on the move and I need to be very careful and not have any pressure on my stomach. That was the toughest thing. Not getting many cuddles and hang time with Otis. But luckily he had a great time with Dad and I cherished the time I did get to spend with him.
2 Week Wait
I thought the 2 week wait (or 2WW) would be easier this time around because I have been through it twice before so I should basically be an expert. WRONG. There is so much PTSD when it comes to infertility and IVF treatment. I feel the 2WW was even worse this time around. Day 2 I was already off to doctor google looking up implantation signs, symptoms, you name it. I knew it was bad. I knew I shouldn’t read, but damn guys. You ALWAYS READ IT. The first couple days were rough. Especially with the state of the world, I tried to disconnect myself from all social media as much as I could but it was also a time I could NOT look away. I think in hindsight I blame myself… maybe I should have truly disconnected more. Maybe I caused myself stress when I should have been more positive and focused on myself. Once I got to day 6, I started feeling better about being closer to blood test day. I was leaning into the “I’m pregnant” mentality and doing my best to be as positive as possible. Fast forward to the night before my blood work. I have not been that anxious in a LONG time. I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned all night. I had a million things going on in my mind. Blake was trying to get me to take an at home pregnancy test from day 7 but I held out. I didn’t want to torture myself with any false positive or false negative results. I was going to hold on until blood work day.
Blood Work Day
I tossed and turned all night before my blood work. My eyes were awake scrolling my phone before my alarm went off at 6am to get up, shower and head to the doctors office for my blood work. Anxious. Nervous. Excited. I ran to the kitchen and grabbed a solo cup to save my morning pee to test it with an HPT (at home pregnancy test), did my business, and showered to get ready. It was a misty June morning, softly raining and eerily quiet drive. A huge pit in my stomach. I did my quick blood drawl and I was back in the car on the way home.
Luckily it was Thursday, TRASH DAY, so I could distract myself with chasing trucks with Otis. Before I left on my routine walk, I had Blake go in and do my pregnancy tests with my saved urine. Did I tell you how much I love Blake and how he is the freaking best partner in the world? The idea of doing a HPT and seeing a negative result would destroy me so Blake was on duty. My last successful FET (which I wrote about here) I did a HPT after my phone call with the nurse to find out it was positive. My hopes were high. Until Blake came out, “All 3 are negative.” I could see it all over his face. The look I have seen before. Devastation. My heart sunk. But then just like that, I had to bring Otis to go see the trash trucks. Going through fertility treatment with a toddler is a very different experience. Less time to process. More distraction. Just different. We talked as I strapped Otis into his blue car that I pushed him out for our walks. “I’m going to pray that my beta comes back positive. Maybe it’s too early for my home test. There is still a chance.”
I left for my walk, where I always meet my friend down the block to take a socially distanced walk with our toddlers. With every step I took, it became alarming clear that, fuck. This might not have worked. I continued on with our convos focused on Otis and our kids and just hoped that she wouldn’t bring up whether I went in for my blood work. I could feel the tears just creeping up in my throat. It was my most heart wrenching trash day. A day I always look forward to. Now riddled with worry. It’s a blessing sharing our process with friends and loved ones, but when things are bad… they become epically worse when you need to report bad news. Thankfully our convos were light and I headed home. To continue to wait.
Since the negative HPT, the knot in my throat, and the tears just swelled but never poured out. I needed to know the truth and wait for the blood work results. But Blake and I had pretty much come to the realization that… this didn’t work. And here we were again. HOW DID WE GET HERE. I sat at my desk sitting next to Blake. I was NOT going to answer my phone. I knew I would break down and Blake needed to be the one to field the call from our doctor. I felt like throwing up. The wait was excruciating.
The Phone Call
My phone rang and Blake picked up. I could hear my doctor’s voice and instantly knew… it was bad news. Our hearts were broken. She explained that she was so sorry to have to share this news with us. And that I didn’t even have a bio chemical pregnancy, it was nothing. I am thankful for that at home pregnancy test. To be able to diffuse our initial shock, and make me more lucid for that phone call than I would have been going in blind. It’s the unfortunate thing about IVF. While it’s this wildly incredible beautiful thing, it’s not 100%. Nothing is. Everything was perfect. My lining was AMAZING and probably the thickest it’s been at transfer at a 9.2. Everything went perfectly. But in the end, it wasn’t enough. After 10 days going to sleep staring at my photo of my embryo and the ultrasound showing the transfer, our precious embaby was gone.
Processing Our loss
I was pretty open with family and close friends, and some of my fellow fertility warriors about our FET. The joy that comes along with sharing my experience and being able to connect with people during such a hard time also turns extra hard when you are left fielding texts from people who know you had a transfer wanting to know what happened. I talked about how to support a friend dealing with infertility and IVF and I think the hardest thing is that people just truly want to support you and don’t know the pain that comes behind some of their interactions. While innocent, those convos are still a bitter pill to swallow when you are dealing with mourning a loss. There is no perfect way to reach out. But let me tell you… those conversations were many. I basically had to go through my head and think about who I told and who I wanted to cut off from sending me that inquisitive message. I just couldn’t take that. I texted a lot of my friends my bad news, and politely let them know I did not want to talk about it. But to be honest, today is Tuesday, nearly 6 days later, I am still fielding texts or dms from friends who are checking in. In those first few days… it was unbearable. And I will be the first to say, I know all of these messages from friends come out of love. I know that. So if anyone reading this is feeling awful for reaching out to me, please don’t. I sincerely appreciate every message, everyone checking in. Because in the end, it’s more important you be there imperfectly than not at all. I think that in the current state of the world, that statement holds true in so many ways. I think that next time around, we will tell way less people because the repercussions of having to live through this experience of failure is more easily mourned without having to do damage control for my own sanity. If that makes sense? Damn infertility is fucking hard guys. Really fucking hard. And when you are down, you are really down. I knew I was committed in sharing our story with you all but it doesn’t make it easier sharing these huge dark times in such an open forum. But I do this because it’s important to see all sides of this journey. The good, the bad and the ugly.
I blamed myself a lot. Wondering if it was my fault for not creating a positive enough environment for my embryo. Was the state of the world creating more stress and worry and keeping me from being the warm receptive place for new life? I think it’s hard as a woman going through this process. You blame your body. You blame yourself for the things you just aren’t able to do. Those moments are hard. The fact that while people everywhere around you are seemingly sneezing and getting pregnant. Without a fleeting thought about it other than they were ready to start their families. The joy it must be to be blissfully unaware of these struggles… but sadly that will never be me. My path has been much different. The pressure you put on yourself. That strain is unfair. You have to remind yourself that you did the best you could to create a loving welcome environment and there is so much out of our control. But the guilt is always there.
One of the hardest things after finding out I was not pregnant was not being able to mourn properly. What i mean by this, is that being a mother of a toddler, I can’t just drop my role as a mother just to mourn our loss. Motherhood goes on, and in this pandemic world, we are still just Blake, Otis and I. I can’t just stop to be sad, and cry my eyes out. I have a tiny person to love and care for and the last thing I want is for my sadness to make him sad. 3 days after the news, I was sitting eating breakfast with Otis in the kitchen and I started hysterically crying. Hand up to my face as the tears streamed down. I didn’t want Otis to look me in the eyes and see the pain. Otis put his tiny hand on my arm and with the saddest whimper in his voice, I could just feel how confused and concerned he was that I was so sad. I wiped my tears on my shirt and wrapped my arms around him. “Mommy is going to be ok Otis.” I think that has been the strangest part of my mourning process is that you don’t just get a break from motherhood when things get tough. So it’s been a much different process altogether. I know everyone experiences these things different and we don’t have to be so strong all the time. I read something recently and it resonated so much. You don’t need strength. You need courage. Courage to keep fighting. Courage to be vulnerable. Courage to grow. And courage to look a sad situation in the eye and see the hope behind it. You never forget these losses. I still think often about our first embryo transfer that failed. It’s something that you live with. And something you hold in your heart forever.
So what is next for us? I will tell you what, WE KEEP FIGHTING. I am so thankful to say we have 2 precious embryos left. We fought hard for those precious embabies and when the time is right to try again, we will try again. Blake and I are both committed to not forgetting our past or what we have been through, but to fully put our hope and love into our next chance. To see Otis’ face everyday this past week (and really everyday) is a constant reminder of the beautiful miracle of IVF, what comes from never giving up, and just how sweet life has become with him in it. To all of my fellow IVF ladies (and partners) out there, I know just how dark some of these days may be, but please don’t give up. Otis has changed our lives forever. My biggest joy is being his mother. And each moment in the day is made better because of him. I know this fight seems isolating, especially in this pandemic world, but you are not alone. There is an army of women behind you just like me. While my heart is still picking up the piece, it’s here with you. Still filled with hope. To our future family, I will be patiently waiting for you.
I wrote a few posts on infertility and IVF and you can find them below:
Photo taken by my dear friend Alison Conklin a few months ago
The post Failed IVF Frozen Embryo Transfer appeared first on eat.sleep.wear. - Fashion & Lifestyle Blog by Kimberly Lapides.Via Wellness http://www.rssmix.com/
via Blogger http://kurtxwarren.blogspot.com/2020/06/failed-ivf-frozen-embryo-transfer.html
June 24, 2020 at 12:13PM
15 Black Owned Businesses For Kids Shopping
As a mother, my priority is to raise a son who practices love, kindness and respect for all humans. This week has only magnified how much we need to work on as a society to support our Black friends, businesses, and communities.
Everyone should be outraged. No one should have to fear death just for being in their own skin. In an effort to share some actionable ways to help support the Black Lives Matter cause as well as support justice for George Floyd and so many others whom have lost their lives I wanted to start by sharing some Black owned businesses for kids shopping that we can support now. I plan to always continue to work on being better, continuing to educate myself, and growing a kinder safer world for all of us.
This list below is only a small start. But it’s a start. I will be actively sharing resources to this BLM highlight on my instagram account where I can amplify other Black voices in the community and other helpful resources. These businesses have a mix of baby and toddler goodies both for boys and girls. Will share some of the pieces I ordered when they arrive.
photos are all pulled from shops instagram accounts
The post 15 Black Owned Businesses For Kids Shopping appeared first on eat.sleep.wear. - Fashion & Lifestyle Blog by Kimberly Lapides.Via Wellness http://www.rssmix.com/
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June 03, 2020 at 10:13PM
5 Ways Meditation Makes Us Better at Yoga
Meditation. Yoga. The two go together like Batman & Robin (though with less capes… usually).
As spiritual health practices that have both found popularity in the West over the past 50 years, we tend to lump yoga and meditation together. Whenever we read of one, the other usually isn’t far behind. And when we’re shopping for yoga pants it’s no surprise to see a meditation mala in the vicinity.
Yet despite the obvious correlation between yoga and meditation, there are still countless people who do one or the other and not both.
Yoga makes you better at meditation because it creates a relaxed body that is conducive to a relaxed mind. Not to mention, it also makes it far easier to get into lotus position without feeling like your legs are going to snap in two. And meditation makes us better at yoga in five key ways. Let’s take a look.
How meditation makes us better at yoga
1. Meditation helps us focus on asanas
When we’re practicing yoga, we are, of course, exercising the body. But we ought to be exercising the mind at the same time.
Every time we place the body in an asana (pose), we should be focusing on that pose. By focusing the mind on the body while in a pose, we experience the asana in full. Yoga asanas offer many mental health benefits, but in order to glean those benefits, we have to actually focus on what we are doing.
Sadly, many people don’t leave their thoughts and distractions at the yoga studio door. And so they are not able to focus on the yoga.
Meditation is well known to improve focus and concentration. And because of this, it makes it easier to focus the mind on the body when we enter a yoga pose. The result is complete mind-body immersion in the asana.
2. Meditation lowers oxygen consumption
One of the lesser-known benefits of meditation is that it changes the way the body uses oxygen.
Scientific research shows that meditation lowers oxygen consumption rate by 10%. This means that we are more able to control the breath during and after meditation. This is a game-changer for anyone who gets short of breath when practicing yoga. If that’s you, try meditating before doing yoga, and during your yoga session, take a few moments here and there to practice mindful breathing. This will help regulate the breath.
Not only does this help us practice yoga for longer, it also gives us more control of pranayama.
3. Meditation helps you to discover the philosophical aspects of yoga
While most yoga studios these days are more concerned with physical exercise than philosophy, historically yoga has been about both.
If you want to truly embrace the yogic lifestyle, you have to get in touch with the philosophical side. Meditation can help.
The yogic system itself includes many meditations, such as Trataka (Still Gazing), chakra meditations, mantras, and sound meditations (Nada Yoga). Not only do these meditation techniques help train the mind, they also prepare the mind-body for more advanced stages of yoga. After all, it’s hard to truly experience Pungu Mayurasana (Wounded Peacock Posture) while you’re worrying about that business meeting.
4. Get too sweaty doing hot yoga? Meditation will help
Anyone who practices Bikram (hot yoga) knows what it’s like to sweat a little too much. But meditation can change that.
We get sweaty when our body temperature rises. But meditation reduces heart rate and blood pressure, and this cools down the body and thereby reduces sweating.
So if you’re worried you might be a little hot, sweaty and, yes, smelly when you’re doing hot yoga, try meditating.
5. Meditation improves balance
Feel a little wobbly in Warrior III? Meditation will change that, at least according to one scientific study.
Ying Kee, PhD, and his colleagues at the Nanyang Technological University’s National Institute of Education took 32 men and split them into two groups. Kee made both groups stand on one leg while holding a basin of water. While they were doing this, Kee asked one group to be mindful of their hands, while the other group were allowed to think of anything they liked. Kee then tested the balance of members of both groups.
The results showed that being mindful of the body increases balance, where thinking about something other than what we’re doing will actually lower our balance.
So, if you want to stay in an asana for longer, be mindful of your body while you’re in the pose.
Anyone who is serious about getting better at yoga should embrace both the physical and the mental exercises. And of the latter, meditation is the most important.
By practicing meditation not only do we embrace more of the yogic lifestyle, we also prepare the mind for success in the yoga studio.
The benefits of meditation are significant, and they are invaluable when it comes to improving our yoga practice.
If you’ve been doing the physical side of yoga without practicing meditation, perhaps it’s time for that to change.
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Paul Harrison, a meditation teacher based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He has 20 years of experience and has spent more than 2,000 hours meditating. He also works as a freelance journalist.Via Wellness http://www.rssmix.com/
via Blogger http://kurtxwarren.blogspot.com/2020/06/5-ways-meditation-makes-us-better-at.html
June 01, 2020 at 05:13PM
BEST MAI TAI RECIPE + MOCKTAIL
Best Mai Tai RecipeRecipe by eat.sleep.wear.Course: DrinksCuisine: Other world cuisineDifficulty: Easy
The best Mai Tai recipe I have used that combines the perfect amount of sweetness and deliciousness!
Recipe Card plugin by WPZOOM
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May 27, 2020 at 02:13PM
BEST MAI TAI + MOCKTAIL
MAI TAI + MOCKTAIL
serving size for 1 cocktail
*FOR MOCKTAIL: Replace light rum with orange juice. Replace dark rum with sparkling lemon water. Replace Cointreau with fresh lemon juice. Follow instructions above with the ingredient modifications*
Pour that cocktail, play some Hawaiian tunes, and get in the island vibe. I am usually not a sweet drink person but this cocktail has the perfect amount of sweetness and I think the almond syrup is the secret ingredient. I also never knew you could buy pebbled ice from Sonic and called my local shop and bought it in the drive through for $2 bucks! Feel like the ice really elevates the cocktail and makes me feel like I am having a drink out at my favorite resort.
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May 26, 2020 at 05:13PM
How to Support Your Student’s Wellbeing During COVID-19
Approximately 1 in 4 people (in the UK) suffer from a mental health condition. Couple this with recent research suggesting that 300 million people practise yoga worldwide, and it is reasonable to assume that someone in your yoga class has experienced, is experiencing or will experience an episode of poor mental health. Given our current circumstances, this likelihood is significantly higher, as mental health charities have reported an increase in cases of anxiety, OCD and depression due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yet for all this, yoga teachers are not therapists, nor should they be dealt with the responsibility of counselling their students. Mental health is a delicate matter that requires a unique sensitivity and education, knowledge not obtained in a foundation teacher training.
What yoga teachers can do is take steps to ensure their students feel safe and supported in class. Below are some suggestions on how to do so.
“How are you, really?”
Ask your students how they are. It is a simple question, and yet one that is charged with meaning. These four words create an opportunity for your student to open up, to put into words thoughts or feelings that may have felt incommunicable. Contrary to what you may expect, you do not need to provide life-changing advice, the mere act of taking an interest and listening to your students is enough to show your support.
In a yoga class, we often ask students to check in with themselves or pay attention to our thoughts and feelings. For some, this introspection can stimulate an emotional response. While guiding a class through the physical practice, it is important we are sensitive to the emotional reactions. Checking in with your students at the end of a class allows them the space to verbalize their experience, and in doing so, perhaps identify something that needs exploring/greater attention.
Unlike the stark cast signalling a broken arm, mental health conditions are not so evidently visible. Because of this, it is all the harder to approach/address. In absence of crutches, a shoulder sling or bandage, it is all the more important to pick up on subtle signs: missing a regular yoga class, entering the class late, seeming distracted or leaving a class immediately.
It is well established that physical activity is good for mental health, as is keeping up a regular routine. Of course, you cannot force your students to attend weekly yoga classes, however beneficial it may be to their wellbeing. However, you can make doing so more accessible. Monthly packages encourage a sense of accountability and commitment to showing up each week, even if that is so not to lose out financially!
Create a Community
In lockdown we have a heightened awareness for the importance of connection, but community and social support has always been crucial/fundamental to our sense of wellbeing. As yoga teachers we have the opportunity to connect like-minded individuals, whether that be through weekly “challenges” to build group spirit/solidarity, or separate means of communication through Facebook or WhatsApp groups. Being part of a group can combat feelings of isolation that so often arise in those struggling with their mental health. While we are not able to physically attend classes, virtual groups serve to foster this element of belonging and community.
Direct Them to Resources
As mentioned above, yoga teachers are not counsellors. It is a distinction that is often blurred by those working in the industry, their career choice motivated by a desire to help others. Yet, while it may be tempting to share personal experiences and guidance, such advice can be misconstrued or even damaging by those in a vulnerable position.
It is, therefore, more prudent and helpful to guide your students toward professional support. Here is a list of several organizations your students can turn to:
Understandably, it is not easy to drop the above into a casual conversation. If possible, it is worth posting these helplines on the studio’s notice board or desk so that anyone interested can access help discreetly. Alternatively, you may want to add these as resources to your website or social media page as a signal of the help available.
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Melissa Albarran from Yoga Alliance Professionals. She is a practicing yogi, dedicated runner, and avid writer.Via Wellness http://www.rssmix.com/
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May 25, 2020 at 11:13AM
Happy Mother’s Day
Today will always be a very special day. I am writing this post the night before, tired from a full day of happily chasing my toddler. When I put him to bed, we have our special snuggle time and I feel it’s always our little time of gratitude together. We both see each other, and really feel in that moment. His sly little smile from behind the crib bars as he puckers up his tiny little lips to give me a goodnight kiss. I dreamed for so long to see that face in front of me. Becoming a mother is the best thing to ever happen to me and my most cherished responsibility. Being a mother is challenging myself to grow with another human and learn and adapt with him.
The past few months, Otis has become to fascinated and in love with flowers. On our daily walks through the neighborhood, we walk down a few doors to our neighbors and Otis walks their path smelling all the flowers chanting “Flo flow” as he points to the different blooms. He sometimes doesn’t even get close to the flowers but takes in the deepest sniff in the air as he closes his eyes and concentrates. It just blows my mind being able to watch him grow and not only experience things but truly enjoy those experiences.
We were able to run free in empty field as Otis pointed at the ocean he could see in the distance and running through the wild flowers. Pausing to smell them, pausing to point. Chatting away. He was in such a mood (the kissy face photo with his sour puss face is my FAVORITE) that day but it’s wild that even in those frantic toddler moments there is always beauty in them.
Motherhood is far from perfect but that doesn’t mean you cant have the most beautiful moments together. Embrace the messiness and take pause to enjoy those small moments together.
Many of you know we were in the process of an embryo transfer that got cancelled due to Covid-19 and while we wish our situation could be different now, I know our time will come soon to start back up. For all my fertility warriors out there feeling helpless especially on a day like today, I see you. My heart is sending your heart a hug because I know that dark struggle. Stay strong and never give up. Otis is my little miracle boy and I know he was worth the fight and his future sibling is worth that fight too.
Happy Mothers Day friends.
photos by Lua
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May 10, 2020 at 12:01AM
Clover Baby & Kids + EatSleepWear Rainbows is here!
I am so happy to share my collab with Clover Baby & Kids is now LIVE on their website. I shared all of my favorite photos of Otis in this previous blog post but wanted to share today as you can finally purchase them!
I collaborated with Nikki and Shannon, the co-owners of Clover Baby & Kids on this special new print to celebrate those parents that have battled infertility and finally got their miracle babies. Its about celebrating life and love. Rainbows are a celebration after the storm. A symbol of hope for those who have fought and continue to fight infertility. It’s a battle very near and dear to my heart after our 3 year fight for Otis and especially now after our recent cancelled frozen embryo transfer due to covid-19. The rainbow print just makes my heart smile and I hope it can brighten your own day. Whether you are buying it for your little one, or buying it for your coming miracle, it’s my sincere hope that this collection brings a smile to your face during these strange times in the world. After everything we went through, the ultimate gift is getting to enjoy Otis’ laugh and smiles and I am so thankful to be able to work on such a special project with other strong mothers. Tonight I bought a pajama set for my future little one and one for my nephew so he can match Otis. Please share photos with me if you purchase the rainbow print. I would love to see your little ones enjoying them.
I have a discount code for 20% off most items
I wrote a few posts on infertility and IVF and you can find them below:
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April 29, 2020 at 11:23PM
COVID-19 CANCELLED MY FROZEN EMBRYO TRANSFER
To be honest, I was never going to write this post until Monday came around. With this week being National Infertility Awareness week, my situation just hit me hard again and I was reminded that for me, being open and sharing my truth and struggles is something that not only helps me personally but hopefully helps others too. This Covid-19 world has become a super shitty time for so many people. Before I go into everything. Let me rewind.
Many of you know that we struggled for a long time to bring Otis into the world. You can read all about our infertility and multiple rounds of IVF as I wrote a lot of pretty detailed posts throughout the process. After settling into life as a new mom, Blake and I both started to think about expanding our family. We have 3 frozen embryos that have been genetically tested and our plan moving forward was to do a FET (frozen embryo transfer) to expand our family. We made the decision not to try naturally based on my own anxieties about my egg quality being poor. Plus, to have these little miracle embryos is such a blessing. We worked so hard to get them and we wanted to give them a fighting chance. Sharing the start of our cycle and what ended up happening. I had started a FET diary on my computer to document what I was feeling and going through so tapping into that in the paragraphs below.
STARTING MY FROZEN EMBRYO TRANSFER CYCLE
We decided to prep for a transfer at the end of March so that meant starting our treatment at the beginning of February. The first piece of the puzzle was doing a Hysteroscopy to take a look inside my uterus with a camera to make sure everything looked good to prep for a transfer. I remember the day I had the blood drawl in preparation for the procedure. It’s funny how quickly you fall back into these same routines of what now has seemed like a distant time away. After finally being in my own skin for about 2 months, here we were again. In my own skin meaning no breastfeeding and finally for once having my body literally to myself. The wildest thing after years of treatment and then being pregnant. Have to say, those 2 months were an incredible time to honor my own body and mind just being my own. Staring into a future of needles, meds, mood swings and anxiety had me on the edge of my seat. Maybe its PTSD from the years of treatments. It’s wild because it’s such a strange emotion. I am both calm and anxious at once. Is that even a thing?!? After going through this process before, there is a sense of calm in knowing what to expect. I also know that this really can work. Otis is sheer proof that the miracle possibility is something that is so real I can literally wrap my arms around him this second and hug him so hard and close. On the flip side, it’s heavy to know the journey that lies ahead and the obstacles ahead of us as well. So it’s this wild mix of emotions as I know those evil estrogen pills are on their way to my pharmacy and the countless needles that lie in my future. For a split second, I think about how much easier it would be if we could just be normal and conceive without all this baggage. But then I snap out of it. All the blood, sweat, tears and love we put into this process. All the work. Our precious embryos sitting frozen at the embryo bank. My mind instantly switches gears. It’s a privilege I get to look this battle in the eye again. And you know what? I’m a hell of a lot stronger than when I first started this journey and you bet the fight left in me is strong.
FIRST DAY OF INJECTIONS
I hoisted the giant cardboard box of medications onto our kitchen island. I took a deep breath because I knew what was ahead of me. The first shot of many and the first opportunity to prep for baby number 2. So exciting. Nerve wracking. Emotional. All the feelings. I decided that I was going to do it. Blake was next to me reading my protocol papers and telling me my dosage. I was starting my lupron injections. The lupron basically turns off your own hormones so you can sync everything with the hormones I will be taking soon. The injection is telling my body not to ovulate etc. It’s wild what these meds can do to help prepare for an embryo transfer. Wild. I pulled out the bag of orange insulin syringes. Funny that something so distant was feeling all too familiar. I pulled back the syringe to the 20 mark and I was ready to inject. I stood there for a second. Anticipating how it would feel again, psyching myself up. And BAM. I did it. And just like that, we were “IN IT” again. Holy crap guys. We were really in it.
LEADING UP TO EMBRYO TRANSFER
Everything was on track. Everything was going, dare I say, GREAT. Time was flying by and really before I knew it I was taking my estrogen pills and estrogen patches headed into the doctor’s office for scans to check my lining. I remember Dr. M saying how surprised she was that my lining was looking so good toward the beginning to the point I thought something might be wrong! Maybe things were just finally playing out without a struggle. Maybe things were finally syncing up perfectly with the universe. There was an odd sense of calm and peace and everything was shaping up to look great.
RUMBLINGS OF COVID-19
Covid-19 was starting to slowly creep into every part of daily life and I we quickly felt like we were on a race against the clock. What was really happening in the world? How was it going to trickle to us? It started to quickly become scarier by the day and it was always in the back of my mind that our fertility center might close. I was talking to a girlfriend on the East Coast who let me know at some point that her fertility clinic was closing and my heart instantly sunk. Was this all really happening?!
COVID-19 I HATE YOU
It was March 16th that would darken this FET cycle for us. In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, it became clear that this was going to possibly affect my treatments. I feel like each day leading up to this started to become increasingly scary and left me feeling such fear looking into the unknown of what each new day would bring. The virus was spreading more quickly than ever and slowly but surely everything was starting to close. Of course like so many people out there I was glued to my phone. Waiting for updates from businesses, brands, and most importantly my fertility clinic and the CCRM. The CCRM is the facility that not only stores my embryos but performs the surgical and non surgical procedures of egg retrievals, iuis, and embryo transfers. The day before my doctor’s appointment, I was scrolling instagram and saw an update from the CCRM. My heart sank. It stated that at this time, they were still performing egg retrievals but had put a pause on all embryo transfers and iuis. The tears started to flow down my face. Of all reasons to have my cycle cancelled, it wasn’t my body’s fault, it was totally out of our control. This stupid virus was fucking up my whole treatment plan. After months of prep, and a month and half of medications, I was literally a week away from my transfer and it was cancelled in an instant. I sent the text to a close friend of mine. Blake was on a conference call, and I was mid convo with my friend. She called me immediately to say how sorry she was. And we both started crying. I just knew it. I was going to get cancelled and I had found out by casually scrolling my instagram. Brutal. Absolutely brutal. I still held on to a glimmer of hope for when I immediately called my doctors office. They were still waiting on feedback from our specific CCRM center and I would have to wait till the morning for a final word on whether I was getting cancelled.
I woke up, showered, and got our whole family ready. Otis included! And packed us all into the car to head to the doctors. Keep in mind, we were in the middle of a quarantine to stop the spread of Covid-19 and didn’t have our nanny with us so Otis was coming with us to my appointment. We got 5 minutes down the road and I called my clinic. I let them know there was no way I was coming into the office if my cycle was getting cancelled. They placed me on hold and the receptionist said I was being cancelled. So we turned around and awaited a call from my doctor. I talked to my doctor later that day. In a way, I kind of felt awful for her too. Having to make all of these gut wrenching calls to tell patients why their cycles needed to be cancelled. I think in that moment, things shifted as I know the weight of all of this falls on so many people. She explained that since the effects of covid-19 on early pregnancy are so unknown, she was not comfortable compromising my healthy and strong embryo to these unknown circumstances. We talked for a bit and while it was a bitter pill to swallow, I agreed with her. It was better to put everything on hold until the world was in a more stable position and we had more information to implant an embryo for best chances of success. Also treatment and monitoring might become increasingly difficult to knowingly put myself at risk if I had any complications would just not be the right thing to do.
The honest answer is that we wait. We wait till the world starts to recover. We wait till our health care systems are not being overloaded. And we wait until our doctors office comes up with a plan to start treatment cycles again.
Dealing with the repercussions of this pandemic world have left us all in a state of mourning. Mourning our past social lives, routines, and interactions. Not only was I mourning the state of the world, but I was mourning our cancelled cycle. While I am lucky to have doctors and a medical team that is putting my health and my future babies health first, the sting of being one week away from our transfer date is still fresh. It makes my heart ache knowing that others are going through the same and the worst of it, you can’t go to your girlfriends house to just get that hug you need right now. The solitude of quarantine kind of makes it an extra lonely time.
But before it sounds like a doom and gloom story, I wake up everyday, looking at Otis and smiling. Every day I am lucky enough to spend with him and our family staying home and spending this time together. The advantage of being through this before is that I have seen first hand how all the emotional and physical drains of treatment can be worth it. I know for a fact that I am strong and that I can stare infertility in the eye and kick its fucking ass. Excuse my language (sorry Mom I know you are reading this!) but you know what, I did this before and I WILL do it again.
To all my warriors out there that are feeling alone, scared, and hopeless I want you to know you have an army of women (and men!) behind you. The hardest thing to have through this process is hope but hope is what saw me through this the first time. Please know my heart is with you and whether you have shared your own journey with anyone else, I am here to support you. DM me. Email me. It might take me time to respond but if you need a friend, I am here. Don’t ever give up. Everyday I get to hear Otis’ laugh makes me so thankful I never gave up. Stay strong friends.
A note about this old photo from before quarantine. I was struggling to find a photo that was appropriate for this subject. This specific photo always reminds me that there is such beauty in the world meant to be enjoyed with your loved ones. And I know one day, we will be looking at this same sunset together as a family of four.
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April 24, 2020 at 01:47AM