Friday, July 21, 2017

five on friday

{1} Pool days! As part of our HOA, we have access to an amazing in-ground pool and kiddie pool. Now that we know Etta likes it, we've been heading over in the evenings after dinner as a family. It's an awesome way to break up the witching hour(s) that fall after dinner and spend time as a family. Plus, it's super refreshing on these 90-degree days.

{2} Happy baby. Etta's happiest place continues to be her high chair. The dinner she's wearing in this picture is black beans and rice. We realized Etta was getting sick of the same ole stuff we had been giving her so we are trying to mix it up a bit. Since she can't have dairy that can be a real challenge, so any and all baby-led weaning suggestions that are dairy-free are welcome!

{3} Edith's personality. This girl is always cracking us up. On this particular day, she was wearing a dress. My mom brought some new clothes for the kids and this outfit was one of the items, which Edith quickly insisted on wearing. As soon as she was dressed she had to test out the skirt with some twirls. Love her so much.

{4} Parades! Our town's homecoming parade was this week and the kids made out like bandits. Between the candy from the 4th of July parade and the candy they collected at this one, we are set until Halloween.

{5} Cedar Point. This weekend is my work's annual picnic at Cedar Point. My parents are watching Etta while we take Elden and Edith. I'm really excited because this year they are both tall enough to ride two of the 'big' rollercoasters and I know it's going to blow their minds. 

Linking up with KatieAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

stitch fix box #1 review

I feel like I'm the last blogger alive to jump into the Stitch Fix craze. If you are unfamiliar, Stitch Fix is a subscription box service where you enter your clothing sizes, fill out a style questionnaire, and create a Pinterest board with styles that you like. A stylist will then use this information to send you five pieces of clothing. You try the clothes on, keep what you like and send back what you don't.

The main reason I hadn't jumped on board yet was because there is a $20 styling fee with each box. That being said, if you keep any items of clothing, that $20 is applied towards the cost of the clothes. Still, I wasn't willing to shell out $20 in the event I didn't like any items. As fate would have it, our cell phones are on the T-Mobile network, which does a promo called T-Mobile Tuesdays every week where you get free stuff just for being part of the network. A few Tuesdays ago, one of the freebies was a $25 credit for Stitch Fix, so I figured why not!?

My box came yesterday, and I have to admit... I was a little underwhelmed. This was somewhat surprising because every blog I read raves about the service!
I had requested mostly tops (I basically wear the same 3-4 shirts every week, and I have plenty of bottoms) and maybe a dress or accessory for Sally's wedding in the fall. My stylist sent me two tops, two dresses and one clutch. I loved the fit of the first shirt, but I wasn't knocked out about the pattern and it cost $58... which I just couldn't bring myself to spend. One of the dresses was knee length but I hated how it laid on my waist. The second dress was a faux wrap dress that seriously took me five minutes to figure out how to even wear it (it's hard to explain how a dress could be so complicated) and once I did wear it my goodies were hanging out in the front (not a dramatization, and truly a sight to behold). The clutch was cute, but I just don't use cute purses enough (function over form, I say). I ended up keeping the second shirt (below).
When you return your items, you provide feedback about why you didn't want to keep it--price, fit, style, etc. The thought is this will help your stylist pick out subsequent items for you and it will get better each time. I still have some credit left, so I'm going to give it one more shot to see if the second box is any better.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

edith at 2.75 years old

This morning while I was getting ready, Edith begged me to let her play with my makeup. I realized I absolutely wanted to remember this stage so here we are!
Edith cracks us up regularly. She is the most fearless/tough girly girl you will ever meet. Edith is constantly changing her outfit and greatly prefers dresses (or swimsuits) to any other form of clothing. Even though Edith is tough, she is also very empathetic. She was recently watching My Little Pony and in the episode one of the ponies' friends were acting like they didn't like her (they were planning her a surprise party) so she was sad, and Edith legit started to cry. It was so sweet and heartbreaking!
Edith is really intelligent and that has come back to bite us in the butt. She loves to swim. She sings herself to sleep. She is easily my worst eater in the sense that she eats like a bird, but she is also much more willing to try new things. Edith has requested a Disney princess party for her 3rd birthday and that came as 0 surprise since she lives in her dress-up costumes. She is also my little hoarder...she loves to tuck a billion random objects into purses, buckets, lunch boxes, etc. and cart them around. She loves to play kitchen so if we are able to find all her play food (which is hidden among her many purses and containers) she will happily 'cook' for you. I love her so much!

Monday, July 17, 2017

weekending

Oh Monday, we meet again.

This weekend was wonderful and full of firsts for Etta! Friday evening was hotter than we expected. After dinner, we decided to head to our neighborhood pool for a little bit. We hadn't taken Etta yet this year because she was just too little. As always, Elden and Edith were little fish... and so was Etta! She loved it and ended up being in the water for about 45 minutes. Jon ultimately left with her because it was time for her bath, but Elden and Edith wanted to keep swimming. No one else was at the pool so I let the kids take off their puddle jumpers and jump off the diving board to me. They loved it. Once we headed home and got the kids in bed, I met up with one of my besties, Alli, for a late dinner.

It was so wonderful catching up and eating delicious food! Alli and I have been friends since 9th grade and always have fun together.

--

At the beginning of my last PPD episode, we had been driving around because I wasn't really functioning and stumbled across this beach. We let the kids play for about 10 minutes before we had to leave for Etta's bedtime, but promised we would bring them back. So when a friend invited us to go on Saturday morning, we were all in! We packed a picnic lunch and ended up staying for about 2.5 hours. Once again, the kids were in heaven. Etta also loved her first beach experience!

During the kids' naps that afternoon, Jon and his dad went to pick up a new mattress for Edith. That meant her old mattress found its way to her bedroom floor (this is relevant later). After naps, my mom came by. She surprised the kids with these baby hatching chicks and they were a HUGE hit. They've played with them every day since for a substantial amount of time. She also made dirt cups with them.

Since there was a spare mattress in Edith's room, we decided to let the kids attempt a sleepover Saturday night. We fully expected to have to separate them before 9 pm, but they miraculously went to sleep (after Jon laid down the law) and slept through the night! 
Elden begged us for another sleepover last night, but we told him he needed to sleep in his room (they did stay up later than usual and were both pretty cranky on Sunday). I told him if he is a good listener today I will consider letting him sleep in there again tonight. I think bunk beds might be in our future...

--

Sunday morning was church. Jon mowed the lawn while I napped during the kids' naps. After dinner, Jon's parents came by so he and his dad could go for a bike ride and his mom played with Elden and Edith while I did Etta's nighttime routine. Overall, it was just a perfect weekend--plenty of fun activities but not non-stop running around. I would be happy if every weekend was like that!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

what's hap-pining wednesday

As I'm sure you all know, yesterday was free Chick-fil-a day! We have gone every year since Elden was born and even though Jon is a vegan now that didn't stop the rest of us from enjoying some free chicken. ;)
Can we please talk for a second about my 8-month-old? I got Etta the 6 piece grilled nugget meal (since she can't have dairy) with fruit. This child ate 5/6 of the chicken nuggets and all but two strawberries. She could have kept going, too, but I thought there was no way in heck she needed to eat that much. She ate more than Edith! Etta also did her happy dance in the high chair the entire time she was eating so I'm pretty sure she was a fan.
Can we also talk about how Edith has been challenging us in new and exciting (<- sarcasm font) ways? The bigs finished eating much quicker than Etta so Jon went with them in the play area. They got a solid 20-25 minutes of playing in before Etta was done. When it was time to go, Edith scurried up into the play structure and said "I'm not going." I tried all old threats that typically work (I won't lay with you before bed tonight, no TV, no treats) and to each threat she responded, "that's okay!" quite cheerfully. Finally I told her we would leave her there. I took Elden and Etta to the car and Jon left the room the play structure was in and hid behind a beam so she couldn't see him but he could peek in. Edith eventually lost her mind and started to cry and Jon was able to get her to come down. I'm guessing she's scarred for life and she had an early bath, no TV, no milkshake, and I didn't lay with her. It was a rough night for her. I just don't get it! Elden is always relatively easily persuaded with our threats and I can't remember him challenging us quite like that before. She's going to be trouble...

Speaking of Edith, that bug bite got worse. The pediatrician Jon took her to (not our normal one as he had no openings) said she thought it was consistent with a histamine reaction and not a tick bite. But then on Monday night the redness was spreading. Bust out the Sharpie...
Thankfully, it was less red and covered less area as of yesterday so I think she's on the up and up. Poor thing is apparently just crazy allergic to mosquito bites. We will be diligent with bug spray henceforth.

Finally, these are three products I am loving lately:

To be perfectly honest, I could take or leave the mascara. It doesn't clump but I don't necessarily think it make my lashes voluptuous either. Butttt it was on clearance for $2 and I had a gift card so... #priorities. These three makeup items are basically all I wear (unless I'm going to a special event) and therefore it takes about 45 seconds to do my makeup every morning.

Linking up with Jessi and Jenn.

Monday, July 10, 2017

weekend recap

This weekend we had perfect weather and plenty of time to just lay low and relax!

Friday:

We spent the evening at my parent's house to celebrate my sister! She just started a new journey as a travel CRNA and moved to New York, so that was our last big family dinner before she left. The kids played outside with water balloons and unfortunately Edith got a nasty bug bite. Thankfully, we are friends with a pediatrician who works with our pediatrician so he looked at it at church yesterday. He recommended we take her to be seen because the bite looks like something that can be associated with a tick. Jon is taking her in today and we are praying it's nothing serious!

Saturday:

We laid low on Saturday, and after a busy week of 4th of July festivities it was much needed. One of Elden's friends from school came to our pool with his mom in the early afternoon for a play date. We ended up staying for about two hours and the kids had a blast! 


Sunday:

Jon ran sound for church on Sunday so he had to leave by 7 am. That meant I needed to wrangle the kids solo. The last time this happened was when I was two days into my really bad postpartum depression episode. The difference between those two Sundays was thankfully like night and day! I didn't cry once, I was able to get everyone fed, napped (Etta), and things packed to take with us to church. After church, we headed home for lunch and naps/quiet time. I ended up making this soup for dinner and it did not disappoint! I like to make soup on weekends because it reheats really well for my lunches at work for the week. 
After dinner, Jon played water balloons with Elden and Edith while Etta and I hung out inside. At one point we took a little walk around our front garden where the borage re-seeded itself like crazy this year and watched all the honeybees and bumblebees make their way to every flower. Once the kids were bathed and in bed I binge-watched five episodes of Friends on Netflix while Jon went for a bike ride. It was the perfect way to end the weekend!

Linking up with Biana and Johannah.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

etta (33 weeks old)

At 33 weeks old, Etta is sitting up on her own now. She doesn't show much of an interest in crawling and when you try to show her how she cracks up. Etta is primarily in 12 month clothes and some of those are getting a bit snug. She still loves food! I'm not sure whether I mentioned it, but she has the same allergy that Elden had as a baby, except instead of rice, her allergy is to dairy. As such, she's on soy formula. Thankfully, Aldi has soy formula for half the price as all the other brands so it hasn't broken the bank! Etta still has no teeth, but to be perfectly honest I am soaking up every second of her gummy smiles and don't mind the lack of chompers one bit. She does a happy dance when you sing to her, even if she is grouchy. Etta brings such joy!

Friday, July 7, 2017

five on friday

{1} Unexpected selfies. Elden loves taking my phone to look at the masks / filters on the Photogrid app I have. When he uses that app he also apparently likes to use the forward-facing camera to take selfies. This was definitely a fun surprise to find on my phone!

{2} Summer! I saw someone share a countdown to fall on Facebook last night and I darn near had a heart attack. Don't get me wrong - I love fall as much as the next ~basic~ girl - but I am. not. ready. Why? Because fall in Ohio means winter is right around the corner which means about 5 months of major cabin fever. I am finally getting into a good place in terms of my postpartum depression... I do not need to start having anxiety about winter!!

{image source}
{3} Elden's birthday is less than a month away. I think we're going to have a party for some of his friends in the morning and then a family dinner in the evening. I rented our neighborhood pavilion for the day, but Elden specifically requested a pajama party so he can wear his footie pajamas.. in Ohio.. in 90 degree heat. I need help! I need ideas! Do you think it would be too much to do a friend party at our house (so there is air conditioning) at 10 am and then do a family cookout at the pavilion for dinner? If I do a PJ party at 10, would I have it go to 11:30 and feed the kids? Or should I have it from 9-10 and have breakfast foods? I seriously need and welcome any and all suggestions.

{image source}
{4} We love Luvs diapers. They are typically our go-to for the kids (the other choice being Aldi's diapers). They are on sale on Amazon right now with a $2 off coupon. Just thought I'd pass along the savings because between Subscribe and Save at 20% off and the $2 coupon it's a great deal!

{5} Dress up. We inherited a big box of hand-me-down dress up costumes from my friend, Sam, a while ago that the kids basically live in. All day long, both Elden and Edith will alternate with the dresses and skirts. As a result, several of the dresses are starting to fall apart. I had a Zulily store credit so I decided to see if there were any cheap play clothes there I could get the kids and I hit the jackpot. If you search "costume" you will find oodles of options! The skirts were $5 each and the purple tutu dress was $10. I definitely think Zulily will be my go-to dress up clothes source from now on.

Linking up with KatieAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

weekend recap

It may be Wednesday but the weekend just ended for me. ;) It was a great one, too!

On Saturday, we did nothing. It was much needed after the first week returning to work and I was so glad to stick close to home.

On Sunday, we went to church and Etta spent the entire time in the nursery for the first time ever! This was a huge milestone because she has a very real case of stranger danger so she would usually be a hot mess not too long after dropping her off. After church, we headed to my parent's house for dinner and to visit with my grandma. Elden and Edith wanted to sleepover their house (this would be Edith's first attempt and I think Elden's third attempt) so Jon and I headed home with just Etta after dinner. Etta's bed time is 6:30 so we had all. evening. to. ourselves. We binge-watched Friends on Netflix and tidied up around the house. The kids made it until about 11 pm but were still wide awake and showing no signs of willingly sleeping there, so my parents brought them home around 11:15. Maybe one day we can get them to spend a whole night away from us. :)
photos by my dad 

On Monday, we stayed close to home again. Our friends, Heather and Paul, came over at dinner with their kids. Oh my goodness, it was so much fun. The kids played in the splash pad and the bounce house and after they left, Elden and Edith told me how much they missed Lilly, Josiah and Abigail.
I told Edith to go get a dry shirt. She came back with the fanciest dress we own.
Finally, on Tuesday we had a full day to celebrate the fourth. We headed to a local parade that we had gone to last year. This parade is PERFECT. Not too crowded, the timing of it works really great with our schedule, the candy is bomb and there is a TON of it, and the parade itself is only about half an hour long. It will definitely be our new tradition. After the parade we headed straight to my parent's house for lunch and to give Etta her bottle, then we went to the Lake Erie Crushers game. I had my company's suite, which came with a pretty hefty food credit, and it was so much fun! They had inflatables that the kids went wild for. You had to pay $5 per kid to use them, but it was definitely worth it. The one was an obstacle course where at one point you need to climb up a pretty tall wall then jump to a landing pad about 10' below. Edith is a freaking firecracker and took one look, said "ok" and jumped. She was the talk of the area - everyone kept saying "watch the little girl in the green dress, she's FEARLESS!" It couldn't be more true. She scares the crap out of me! 
Etta's first parade!


You know it was a successful day when all three shorties fall asleep in the car on the way home!

Friday, June 30, 2017

five on friday

After sharing that post about some of the really bad postpartum depression thoughts I had yesterday, I figured we are overdue for something a bit more lighthearted.

 {1} I picked this up at Aldi yesterday and it is so good. Jon may be vegan now but I could never in a million years give up cheese.

 {2} On my way into work this morning I was greeted with the mother of all rainbows (and it's little brother). I could see the full arch and the colors were so vibrant. I've never been a person who feels like God is speaking to me directly (I always question if it's my thoughts or God's voice), but I couldn't help but see the symbolism and feel really connected to Him in that moment. I'm weathering this PPD storm and He has provided for us during it in the most humbling of ways.

 {3} This guy. He loves to draw and would go through a ream of paper in a day if we let him. He drew this picture of Etta for Aunt Jacqui. He also drew a picture of a bear that was actually really freaking good, especially since he wasn't looking at anything for reference and neither of us have shown him how to draw a bear. Jon thinks Elden will be an author/illustrator when he grows up. Elden tells us he's going to be a Power Ranger. :)

{4} Jon took the kids berry picking at our favorite local farm for red and black raspberries. Now Jon wants to get a black raspberry bush for our yard. I'm more than okay with that!

{5} I somehow managed to snag my company's suite at the Lake Erie Crushers stadium on the fourth of July. It comes with 12 tickets and a food credit, so we are going with our families! I'm so excited to do something different (that is free!) and doesn't require me to clean my house before or after a big gathering. 

Linking up with KatieAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

postpartum depression: an ugly peek inside my brain

I have had a handful of women thank / commend me for my transparency about my postpartum depression. When they reached out to me, though, I felt a little guilty because I haven't been 100% transparent about the thoughts that I was having or what led me to where I am now. I can't speak to others' experience, but this is what postpartum depression looks like for me. Let me tell you right now: I felt like a total monster. The reason I want to share this is to give a glimpse into what postpartum depression can do to a person. If you have any thoughts like what I share below, please seek help. I know how awful these thoughts make you feel; you don't need to suffer. With medication and a great therapist you can get better.

--

One friend was impressed by how self aware I was that I knew to get help right away. There are two factors to this. First, I suffered from depression as a teenager, which is what threw up the first red flag; when I am depressed, all I want to do is sleep. The second is that I literally went from being a functional person with pretty normal thoughts on a Friday to wanting to drive off a bridge Saturday.

As for my thoughts, here are some of the big ones:
-I did not want to be alive anymore because I was so miserable, both physically and mentally. The only thing keeping me from planning my suicide was the knowledge that Jon wouldn't get any life insurance money and therefore he (and the kids) would have a lifetime of struggle. What scared me the most was the thought of the kids growing up without me--a thought that wrecks me when I'm healthy--didn't even register. I was totally unphased by the notion. The last two days I had work before I took time off, I prayed my entire commute that a semi would hit my car so I could stop suffering and Jon could be set financially. This was why I was so fearful my OB would send me straight to the hospital to be admitted--because even though the life insurance thing was a good enough reason not to do anything that day, who's to say it would be enough of a reason the next?
-Normally the kids cuddle with me in the morning for a few minutes before we start our day. At my worst, I wanted nothing to do with that part of our routine. I just wanted to be alone. This was when I felt the most like a monster.
-I genuinely believed I would never be 'me' again. The overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and darkness of that belief is one I will never be able to adequately convey. It was the worst feeling I've ever felt.
-For lack of a better term, the first few days after I restarted my antidepressant, I had moments of lucidity where I felt totally normal. However, as the medication would wear off I could physically feel the anxiety building up within me. The lucidity and the anxiety came in waves and I never knew what I would be feeling at any given moment.
-The bigness of the rest of my life was the biggest source of my anxiety. The notion of having to work every day for the next 40-odd years, child rearing (plus a lifetime of worrying about the kids) the next 18 years, debt the next 28 years... cue panic attack. As soon as I would redirect my thought away from that, something else would pop into my head and overwhelm me. It was crippling. That's a big part of why I slept so much - I was wholly exhausted.

--

I'm a little bit nervous to hit publish on this post. I know I need to lay it all out there because if it helps one mom know she isn't alone and she doesn't have to suffer anymore, my concerns about others' perceptions of me mean nothing. Before this experience, I never could fathom how a mother suffering PPD could take her life--not from a place of judgment, but because I had never experienced it before and I truly just couldn't understand. Now that I've been in that place, I totally get it. Please don't suffer in silence. Reach out to someone, get help. You can come back from this with the right support and resources.

Linking up with AnnieNatalie, and Julie.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

etta (32 weeks old)

Postpartum depression means I totally failed to take Etta's weekly picture for about a month, but I am learning I need to show myself some grace, especially in this department. Etta is 7.5 months old now. She isn't crawling but will roll to get places. She can sit up mostly unassisted, but she also thinks it's a super fun game to fall back onto you and have you put her upright again. Etta is primarily in 9-12 month clothing. Eating is her happy place and she often kicks her feet excitedly and does a little wiggle from side to side (we call this her happy dance) in her high chair. Etta is pretty consistently sleeping through the night now and we lay her down awake and she drifts off on her own, which is a huge blessing and a major departure from the rock-her-to-sleep-then-ninja-away routine we used to follow. Etta's favorite food seems to be sweet potato and she's liked everything she's tried with the exception of avocado. If you do not get spoon to mouth quickly enough you are sure to be informed of her displeasure in the form of pterodactyl shrieks. Etta loves to be outside so when she gets really cranky we will usually go for a walk to calm her down. She has no teeth which is hugely shocking to us since Elden and Edith both had several by this point. Etta also loves toys and will get bored so we've been switching it up and giving her the older kids' toys to look at and play with. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

monday thoughts

I'm returning to work on Wednesday and I am a nervous wreck. I've been trying to identify why I'm so anxious and a lot of it is a fear that I will go back to the dark place I was in two weeks ago. I'll have three days of work this week then a four day weekend for the holiday, so I am hoping the short weeks will help ease me back into my daily routine.

--
This weekend two of my best friends from college drove in from Chicago to visit. They brought with them chicken salsa and Giordano's and so much love. We had a bonfire in my back yard on Friday and went downtown Cleveland Saturday night, but just doing my daily tasks with their company was the highlight of the weekend for me. Angela and Kaycee, thank you for loving me (and my brood!) so well, especially at a time that has been filled with struggle for me.

--
I managed to get the big kids out the door by myself and to a parade last week. Grateful for friends who we met up with and who played with my kiddos while we waited for it to start.

--

Our church community has played an integral part in my postpartum depression journey. Every day I received texts, cards, and phone calls checking on me, encouraging me, and offering to bring us meals. Our small group generously provided us with gift cards to grocery stores, Target, etc. - helping to alleviate the financial burden of me taking time off work to get better. The support of our church family has helped me tremendously. I am so thankful for them.

--
Every day is a different struggle. Things have gotten much better than they were two weeks ago, but I'm learning that I probably won't be consistently 100% "normal" for a while. When I feel the anxiety welling up, I try really hard to focus on a task at a time, but it's not always manageable and I have to get into bed for a little bit. I continue to be so grateful for Jon and our families--as well as my work--during this period of my life. Knowing I even have a job to go back to is huge. Mental illness is a very real thing and there is nothing to be ashamed of if you are also suffering from any form of it. Life is too short to want to spend your days wasting away in bed; if you are suffering from any form of depression / postpartum depression, please seek help. I know how hopeless that pit is and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

one foot in front of the other

Things are much better today than on Wednesday. Mornings are still the hardest for me - I have to psych myself up for the day to get out of bed. This morning, I ended up back in bed at 8 for about an hour and a half because I was so tired and overwhelmed. I've been up and at 'em since, though.

The therapist thinks untreated anxiety led to postpartum depression (in addition to all the hormonal changes I've been going through). Considering I've always been very anxious, I think she hit the nail on the head. I loved her and really connected with her--something I struggled to do with previous therapists--and I left the session feeling so much better. I go back Tuesday and I'm looking forward to working on some techniques for when my anxiety starts to get away from me.

I'll probably take at least this entire week off work. Even though every day has seemed a little better, I felt nauseous at the idea of going back next week. I don't want to jump in too fast and end up back in the place I was on Monday. In the back of my mind is a little fear that I'll never be able to hold it together and hold a job down again. I know that's probably not true, but the biggest fear in all of this is that I'll never be 'me' again. A very qualified friend reassured me that thoughts like that are the depression talking and to try my best not to let it get to me. 

I got the labs back from my OB. I was vitamin D deficient and my thyroid was "low normal" - I'm not sure what that means but I go back to see her Monday. Have I ever mentioned how much I love my OB office? I still drive down to Akron (35 min away) to go to that practice because I am so happy there. It's actually the nurse practitioner I've been seeing (for simplicity I call her my OB because too lazy) and she personally called me on Thursday to check in. She also called me in a script for vitamin D.

The kids have obviously noticed something is up. Elden asked me why I'm in bed all the time (luckily not so much the last two days). We initially just told them mommy was sick in case it resulted in a hospitalization and as the days have gone on I've explained a little to Elden that mommy just worries a lot and that makes me tired, but the doctors are helping me be less worried. Elden shows signs of anxiety too--even Jon has started to pick up on it--so I want him to understand that there's nothing embarrassing about mental illness and there's help available if you need it. Parenthood is a weird balance of wanting to be open and honest with our kids but not tell them too much that could upset them.

So that's where we're at. I try to take it a day at a time, one foot in front of the other. I have some moments where I feel great (I took both big kids by myself to Aldi! And there was an unexpected bathroom trip and van refueling in there that I didn't anticipate! And I survived!) and there are moments where my mind starts to race again and my stomach hurts while I think about all the responsibilities I have and the things that could go wrong. I'm trying not to lose sight of the big picture and I'm doing everything I can to be well. I want to be the healthiest I can be for Jon and the kids 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

when you need help

Things spiraled out of control this weekend.

I couldn't get out of bed. My entire body ached. My mind was racing at all times. I only wanted to sleep. I felt nauseous. I couldn't eat more than a few bites. I weigh ten pounds less than I started last week. Sunday morning I could barely get out of bed. I cried all of church. I cried all evening.

Monday wasn't any better. I somehow dragged myself into work, where I proceeded to cry and be useless. I emailed my OB. I requested a Zoloft refill.

Around lunch I received an alert my meds were ready. My boss graciously let me leave to get them and work from home the rest of the day. Monday night, I felt like me. It was probably placebo, but for the first time I felt free. Like 800 pounds had been lifted off my shoulders. Tuesday, I was a mess when I woke up (although I had stopped crying, which was almost more alarming) and dragged myself into work. Once again, my boss let me work remotely when I could barely hold it together. I worked from my bed, where I remained all day. My mom had to come and help Jon with the kids in the evening because I was desolate. I would get up but felt like I was going to collapse. I also made an appointment with my OB at her urging based on the email I had sent her updating what was happening.

The littlest things overwhelmed me. It's not even something big that caused me to spiral. If I had to guess, it's a combination of things - the underlying PPD obviously contributed. But on Friday I stopped taking the medication that can cause depression but is also supposed to boost my milk supply cold turkey. On Sunday, I stopped breastfeeding because I just couldn't wrap my mind around holding Etta to nurse her. My hormones have probably gone AWOL.

Today I went to the OB with Jon. I cried. My blood pressure was high when I arrived from the anxiety - when I typically hover in the 90/60 range. We talked through the things I had been thinking and feeling and made a mutual decision that I was not an immediate danger to myself, so thankfully I will not have to be admitted (a grave fear I had, and yet another source of anxiety). I am seeing a therapist later today. My medication dose was increased. Blood was drawn to make sure my thyroid is functioning properly. I have FMLA paperwork to take a little time off of work.

The things that caught me most off guard with all of this is how fast the episode came on (and how bad it got in such a short amount of time) and how it comes in waves. I have moments of total peace and clarity where I can think rationally (like Monday night and right now) but then within a few hours I'm back to feeling like the entire world is collapsing around me. Last night I was at my lowest. I felt like I would never surface again. I've never been more afraid that I had lost myself entirely.

I am so grateful for the love and support of those around us. To Jon, for carrying my weight and being the loving encouragement I needed to eat and survive. For loving me relentlessly through this. For our families, for helping with the kids, helping us financially, and giving me the chance to get the treatment I so desperately need. For our friends, who have offered meals and prayers and encouragement and babysitting. To my work, who has told me life is more important than work and to take the time I need to be well. Without this vast support network, I don't know that I would be here to write this update.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

postpartum depression sucks.

I thought I had beaten postpartum depression. I had been doing so well that I even tapered my medications. Then life happened and I have quickly spiraled downward. I keep telling Jon it feels like I'm drowning because I can't think of a better adjective for what I'm feeling. I want to scream and thrash and run away. There is a physical aspect to all of this--a pit in my stomach, pressure on my lungs. I spent most of church crying today. The morning started out hard and with prayer I felt peace - and the hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness quickly came to mind. It was insane how different I felt. Unfortunately, the peace and relief was fleeting and I was overcome. The tears have had no shortage and the guilt I feel at wishing motherhood away is staggering. I love my kids and I know what a gift they are, but right now I don't recognize it for what it is. I try to tell myself that this is a season--albeit a hard as f%#* season--and it will get better. But then my thoughts get away from me and all the worst case scenarios continue to pile onto my chest and the pressure increases.

It gets easier right? I'll eventually regain some freedom? I won't feel like I've lost myself entirely forever?

All this to say: I'm struggling. PPD apparently doesn't just disappear. When I feel like I can't think lower thoughts than I was already, I surprise myself. I have a refill request into my pharmacy. If I don't start seeing some improvements in my thoughts after a few weeks I'm going to need to meet with my doctor to see about increasing the dose. If that doesn't work I'm going to have to find time (and money, because we live in a society where mental health isn't considered imperative to our physical health) to see a therapist. I want to be the best partner I can be for Jon, and I want to be the best mom I can be to my kids. Right now - I am not in a place where I can be either of those things.

Friday, June 9, 2017

friday photos

Things are looking up. In the last week:

-Jon found out he will have an interview with a local grocery store this Friday.
-I realized the medication I had been taking had been causing some pretty hefty depression in me and decided to stop taking it today, which makes me hopeful that I will stop losing weight (down 10 pounds now) and stop feeling so tired.
-We discovered Etta has FPIES to cow's milk and switched her to Aldi's soy formula - which she has been handling really well.
-Edith had her last dance class and Elden had his last preschool class for the summer.

We are hopeful to have lots of fun family time this summer, including a company-sponsored trip to Cedar Point. Otherwise we will do what we can to stick close to home (or the zoo, with our membership) to save money!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

last day of preschool

Oh, my heart. Elden has grown so much in this past year. We love his preschool and are so glad he gets to return in the fall. He will miss his best friends who are graduating to kindergarten, so we are a bit worried about his transition in the fall. Nonetheless, this was a great year for him and we couldn't be more proud of the little man he is turning into.