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What I Learned By Tracking My Sleep

What I learned from tracking my sleep with EarlySense LIVEI knew I would lose sleep once I became a mom, but I didn’t realize how much. Not only am I getting less sleep (way way less), the sleep I do get is often interrupted (sometimes multiple times). And I am now the lightest sleeper on the planet, waking easily and often taking forever to fall back to sleep. I have also been dealing with low energy, fatigue, and have battled thyroid issues since I had my first baby. Between hormones, stress, exhaustion, and children who have their own idea of when to go to bed or when to wake up in the morning I’m lucky I get any sleep at all.

Since it can be so hard to come by, I decided I wanted to monitor my sleep to see how much I’m actually getting and how efficient it is. l did a sleep tracking experiment years and years ago, but it was a device you wore on your arm and it was such a pain. You had to remember to put it on each night and then it bugged me when I was sleeping (which didn’t help me sleep better, that’s for sure). This time I used EarlySense LIVE. EarlySense LIVE is an easy and accurate way to monitor your sleep and is the first hospital proven contact-free sensor. It’s super simple to use. You plug it in, which automatically activates the Bluetooth in the device, place the device under your mattress, and pair it with your smart phone. All data collected will sync with the LIVE app on your phone.

One thing I really like is that you don’t have to charge a battery or remember to turn it on to collect data. All you have to do is lay down in bed where the device is located and it automatically starts collecting data, which makes it perfect for someone like me with way too much on my plate to remember one more thing. Plug it in, place it under your mattress, download the app, and lay down — that even I can manage!

What I learned from tracking my sleep with EarlySense LIVESo after tracking my sleep for two weeks, here is what I learned. I was not getting quality sleep. My REM sleep was way low. I was getting out of bed multiple times a night (usually related to kids). And from the time I started tracking my sleep to the end of those first two weeks, my stress level went down. When I first started my stress level readings were high. But as you can see above, by the second week my stress level was medium. So just being conscious of my sleep patterns helped me to set myself up for better sleep each night. I started diffusing essential oils again, sometimes took a nice lavender epsom salt bath, had a cup of tea, or read a book instead of watching tv before bed. I moved a couple of weeks later so I stopped tracking during that process. But I just unpacked my EarlySense LIVE so I can start tracking again, because I can tell I’m not sleeping well again. Once I start tracking again, I’ll share my progress in my Instagram stories, so stay tuned!


What I learned from tracking my sleep with EarlySense LIVE

Even though I used EarlySense LIVE to track my own sleep, you can also use it to track your baby or child’s sleep or if you are caring for another family member like a sick or elderly parent. You can share the data collected with caretakers and medical professionals. For example, my tracker alerted me that my heart rate was higher than usual a couple of times, and that I had breathing interruptions a couple times which could be indicative of sleep apnea.

Overall, I found the ease of use and the accuracy of results to be extremely helpful and I’m eager to start tracking again so I can get my sleep and overall health back on track. Because if momma is tired she’s no good to anyone. Like many other methods of self-care, I think tracking and trying to improve one’s sleep is incredibly important to the overall wellness and happiness of the whole family. Now if I could just get my kids to sleep later than 5 am… 😉

Have you ever tracked your sleep? Or do you think that tracking yours could shed some light on other health issues you might be facing?

This post is sponsored by EarlySense LIVE, but all opinions are my own.


When Mama Needs a Timeout

Giving yourself a mama timeout: ways to relax and stay balanced.With three little (and oftentimes very LOUD) boys at home, I find myself going a little crazy at times. I can feel my patience running out and feel the anxiety monster creeping in. This happens more quickly when I have neglected my own self-care, or at certain times of the month when my hormones are shifting into high gear. I’ve been trying to find ways to cope and tools I can use in those moments when things are putting me on edge and I feel like I could very easily bite someone’s head off. Enter: the mama timeout.

The mama timeout can take many forms, depending on what your abilities are in the moment. When I have two toddlers at home with me, I might put them in their high chairs, give them a snack, and throw the iPad on for a 15-30 minutes. Then I will go to another room and put on some music, try to meditate (try being the operative word – I’m not often very successful…), or read a book or magazine for a few minutes — whatever helps shift my brain into a different mode.

Sometimes taking a quiet break is too hard to manage, so I’ll try aromatherapy with essential oils. Diffusing oils is a great way to both start and end the day. I like to diffuse Happy Joy in the morning to get everyone in good moods. If I’m working from home I sometimes need Energy Boost instead of that afternoon cup of coffee. And Peace and Quiet or Tranquility (or both!) in the evening during dinner gets everyone calmed down. I also like to diffuse Sleepy in our bedrooms to help with, well, sleep. I also sometimes use a Sleepy roller (made the same way as I linked to above but with relaxing oils) and roll on the bottoms of feet before bed. You can find even more about how I use oils in our home in this post.

I’ve also recently discovered some amazing candles from Chesapeake Bay Candle that incorporate some of my favorite essential oil combos. My three favorites are Balance + Harmony from the Mind & Body Collection, Focus + Patience also from the Mind & Body Collection, and No. 11 Neroli & Bergamot from the Alassis line.

Giving yourself a mama timeout: ways to relax and stay balanced.

When I’m trying to create a calmer, happier environment for all of us, I burn the Balance + Harmony. With the Sandalwood, Rosewood, and Orange Oil, our moods are uplifted and balanced. The floral notes create such a pleasant aroma combination and just make me feel happy. This is the one I like to start the day with, since morning schedules and crabby toddlers often set a chaotic tone.

Giving yourself a mama timeout: ways to relax and stay balanced.

When I need a little help in the patience department or am trying to work from home while caring for my kids, I light the Focus + Patience candle. This scent has notes of black tea, cinnamon bark and cedar, and contains essential oils of Birch Tar, Cedarwood, Patchouli. It helps slow my pace (in a good way) and restores my patience. I also love how it diffuses the candlelight and the wooden lid.

Giving yourself a mama timeout: ways to relax and stay balanced.I think my favorite is the Alassis No. 11 candle. It contains two of my favorite essential oils: Neroli & Bergamot. Bergamot helps ease tension and stress and Neroli helps reduce anxiety and anger and is a big reliever of chronic anxiety, which is something so many mamas deal with. And the scent is just heavenly — totally relaxing for my mama timeouts!

Giving yourself a mama timeout: ways to relax and stay balanced.

In the morning (or all day long) when I need a little help perking up, I like to burn the Wild Lemongrass Jar Candle from the Heritage collection. The combination of eucalyptus, lemongrass, peppermint, and spearmint really help me wake up. And it smells so good! 

Giving yourself a mama timeout: ways to relax and stay balanced.

How do you decompress, destress, or give yourself a timeout? Are you able to prioritize self-care in your home?

This post is sponsored by Chesapeake Bay Candle Co. but the opinions are my own.

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Our Last Los Angeles Family Photoshoot

Family photoshoot inspiration: beach photos, great ideas for family of five photos, and outfit coordination for the whole family.

If you follow this blog or my instagram feed at all, you probably know our family lives in Los Angeles and that we truly love it here. My husband and I have been here for 16 and 13 years respectively, we were married here, we started our family here. Each of our sons were born in the same hospital. We’ve lived in the same general part of LA (in three different apartments) over the course of our 13 years here together. But in the last year or so I’ve started to realize that as much as we love it here, our true home is wherever we are, all together. And as the mom of three small and crazy boys, I’ve found myself more and more longing for a simpler existence — for a place where everything isn’t quite so challenging or so exhausting. Without our families at all close by, we’ve been neck deep in the parenthood trenches together, just the two of us. It is wonderful in many ways, but really draining in others. We’ve reached a point where we were ready for a change, and I think the boys are too. They want a yard and a dog and to be closer to their grandparents. We want to be able to give them those things and more. So after a lot of thought and weighing the pros and cons, we decided to take the leap. We bought a home about 10 minutes outside of Columbus, Ohio and will be moving there in a few short weeks. So we’ve been adventuring and saying goodbye and taking in this city we love so much. And our dear friend Jennifer documented our family one last time. Read More

Keeping Track of the Family Schedule

keeping track of the family schedule

This post is brought to you in partnership with Pickett’s Press.

I’ve always been an organized person. I never mixed up appointments or forgot an important birthday. I never missed an event. I was never late. Until I had kids. Honestly, I was pretty organized until I was pregnant with Quincy (baby #3). By then, the mom-brain mixed with pregnancy brain mixed with the short term memory challenges of a person with Hashimotos/Hypothyroidism mixed with keeping track of a family of five pretty much did me in as far as living an organized life. I could no longer rely on my memory. I couldn’t even rely on the calendar on my phone, because to rely on it means I always remember to check it (or to write things down in the first place). I needed to come up with a system, before I went to the doctor on the wrong day (again) or forgot about a hair appointment or a school function. I don’t know if it is because I have three kids or because one of them is school age and suddenly has lots of activities, playdates, and school functions, but it has been such a challenge keeping it all straight. I can’t even imagine what it will be like when all three are in school!

I recently found these schedule pads from Pickett’s Press, which have been such a game changer. You can personalize them to include all of the members of your family and can keep track of everyone’s schedules in one spot. The best part is each sheet is for one week, so it is easy to see what is on tap for the week, rather than looking at a monthly calendar where it is easier to lose track of things. You can write the schedule on the pad itself and then tear off the old week to write the schedule for a new week, or you can do what I do and tear off each week and hang it somewhere that you’ll be sure to check it each day. They also have a variety of really cute designs to choose from. I like to stick mine up in the kitchen with some washi tape before the start of each new week.Read More

Introducing: Chandra’s Favorites Guide

Oh Lovely Day Chandra's Favorites Guide

You guys asked, and I’m nothing if not a people pleaser 🙂 So I found a way to share all of my favorite brands and products for family, home, baby, travel, and self-care (just to name a few categories) all in one place where you can refer to it if you’re looking for a specific recommendation. You’ll find it in the top menu at the far right under Chandra’s Favorites.

Chandra's Favorites GuideWhat or who is included?

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Feeling Happy and Confident in Yourself

feeling happy and confident in yourselfI’ve been thinking a lot about ways to feel good about myself again and about what it would take for me to look in the mirror and like what I see, after probably a year of hating my reflection (and longer than that if you count each of my postpartum phases). I think we all look at ourselves sometimes and see our flaws instead of our beauty. I know I even did it to myself before I had children. But other times I could look at myself and appreciate what I saw and like myself. Since becoming a mother, I haven’t been able to feel that way very often. (I shared a bit about these feelings and my struggle here if you want to read more). While I’ve become more judgmental and critical of myself (and I’m working on this) I have become less judgmental about the things we can do to make ourselves feel happy and confident. I truly believe that whatever makes you feel good, happy, and more like “you” is a good thing — as long as you are doing it for you and not anyone else. Read More