Working Together Wednesday: Calling All Bloggers, Brands, and Causes

Working (2)

 

Calling all Bloggers, Businesses, and Causes:

It’s been a while since I’ve featured someone on Working Together Wednesday, and that seems to have been a very popular feature on the blog. I’m looking to start this back up and I’d love to have several weeks worth of these scheduled throughout the summer and beginning of the school year.

What exactly IS Working Together Wednesday??? It was an idea I had to bring new bloggers, brands, and causes to my readers. It’s a very easy to answer, interview style post where I’ll send you questions to answer and then your answers along with pics you provide will be posted and promoted on my blog. It’s completely free, no obligations from you other than answering the questions.

Part of the reason I started this blog was to give back, to help, to contribute something to the community and to anyone who stops my my little blogging paradise. Working Together Wednesday is just one of those ways.

I have had so much fun getting to know some great causes, bloggers, and brands over the last few months, and I can’t wait to meet some new people. If you or someone you know has a blog, brand, or cause and would like to have it featured on Working Together Wednesday, please send an email to me at adventuresofbutmom@gmail.com with the subject Working Together Wednesday. I’ll send you over the list of 4 questions, and you can answer them in as much or as little detail as you’d like.

It has been a great run with this so far. Thanks so much to those who have already allowed me the honor of promoting your cause, blog or brand. Looking forward to a whole new meeting new people.

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Just an Update. Life is CRAZY.

An Update on our crazy life.

This is one of those, posts I’ve been avoiding for a while now. It’s not necessarily a “bad” post, just a tiring post. It’s the kind of post that is usually interesting to read (I love reading updates on the blogger friends I follow) but, to write it, to format the swirl of words that swish around in my head, well, it’s daunting to say the least.

So it’s been a while since we have talked about real life, and I feel like there is so much going on. I’m going to be all over the place, since instead of going in chronological order, I’m just going to finish out each of our stories 1 at a time.

“But Dad”

“But Dad” has had some stuff going on health wise. We have been dealing with High blood pressure, and now he will be starting Physical Therapy for pain he has been living with most if not all of his adult life. We are also getting a sleep study done to confirm his sleep apnea and get his very own C-Pap machine. He jokes about how he hadn’t seen a doctor since he was in school (for ADD meds) and now he finally sees one and is immediately loaded up with pills and 3 other doctors. Moral of that story Take Care of Yourself While You Are Young

We also had a bout which included an ambulance ride, the Emergency Room, His family doctor and then Urgent Care. We started out thinking it was a broken rib or his gallbladder, they ruled those out, called it Pleurisy and sent him on his way. We had a follow up with the family doctor where things were looking good, only to relapse and then find out through Urgent Care that he actually has pneumonia. It’s been a crazy 3 weeks or so for us dealing with all of this. (I’ll be making a post about the importance of having emergency info ready sometime later this month).

“The Oldest”

I’m not exactly sure if I have mentioned this before, however, we have started the oldest in feeding therapy. This is interesting, and particularly rough for me at times, as it goes against a lot of how I was raised. We are noticing some improvements though, so I’ll take it, and deal with my inability to handle change on my own time, not hers.

We have also been looking into some behavior therapy options. If I’m completely honest, the older she gets, the harder I find it to justify her actions and reactions. We are starting some new parenting techniques and I will be posting about those soon as well. All in all she is doing well in preschool, and proving to be an extremely smart little girl. I’m proud of how far she has come, and am looking forward to the days we can get the emotional and social stuff figured out.

“The Youngest”

Our youngest is doing extremely well in speech therapy and she is blossoming into a little girl with a great spirit. She is picking up on emotions and empathy so quickly, and just like a sponge absorbs everything going on around her. She loves her “Tsum tsums” and is wanting to learn ballet.

She will be starting preschool in September. I’m excited and a little sad, our baby isn’t really a baby anymore (even though she will ALWAYS be my baby). I’m excited to watch her unfold into this little person with a big heart and even bigger emotions. I’m proud of her for continuing to grow and blossom even in the midst of all the attention being on her sister.

Then, there’s ME:

So, I think any moms out there know, when so much stuff is going on, we tend to forget about ourselves and get wrapped up in making sure everyone has what they need, when they need it. We have 2 weekly therapy sessions (1 for each child), 2 monthly parent teaching session (again 1 for each child), Preschool 3 days a week, and now “But Dad” will be in physical therapy twice a week for at least 6 weeks if not longer.

Some days I feel as if my head won’t stop spinning. It is CRAZY, and while I love my family and would do anything for them, I have days I just want to be left alone. After much thought and dealing with some really painful emotions, I have decided that I am going to start going back to counseling, and possibly back on meds if I can find meds that regulate me the right way.

It’s so hard, living with Bipolar for years and never knowing it, over the top emotions are what I am used to. I am finding it very difficult to give up feeling those strong emotions, however, I realize it really is what is best under our current circumstances.

So, now that THAT is out of the way, on to happier thoughts. I’m preparing to send in some posts to some big name sites *Stay tuned for the results on that* I am also still working on putting together a book of stories from people who either have, or deal with family that have mental illnesses and children with developmental delays.

All in all, it is safe to say that life is crazy, and mixed up, and at times even downright over whelming, but, we’re still here, still doing what we do, and bringing you all the ideas as to how we manage with so much craziness.

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The Little Things: My Biggest Step to Work-Life Balance

Finding true Work-Life Balance

 

It was Wednesday. I was stressed, and ready to give up my dream. I’d been trying to do blog work for about 2 hours and I was getting interrupted every 3 minutes by a “new” “amazing” toy one of my children wanted to show me… I should have been thrilled to see the happiness in their eyes as they brought each toy to me and had a conversation about it with me.  This was what I wanted, what I longed for prior to being a mom, but I had work that needed to get done. My work-life balance was all screwed up.

I often struggle with wether or not to call blogging “work”. I mean it would be one thing if I would be seeing some kind of compensation for it, but so far, nothing in the area of money. I’m okay with that for 3 reasons (Which would probably make a great blog post one day) 1. I enjoy writing, 2. The community of friends I have made is BEYOND amazing, 3. I’ll get there some day, I’m just not about to jump into something I’m not able to keep up with.

That being said, “But Dad” and I have had many a conversation where I cry on his shoulder trying to figure out if this is something WORTH holding on to, or something I should keep SOLELY in my “spare time”. We finally came to the conclusion that since writing makes me happy, the blog is (practically) free to maintain, and I can carve out the time to do it, I need to stick with blogging as more of a business, and maybe start looking into free lancing and writing for a paycheck eventually. I’m all for that because it DOES make me happy.

After Wednesday’s ordeal with taking 2 hours to comment on about 3 blogs, I told “But Dad” I needed a table to write outside. Away from all “my” distractions, and a place where I could actually get work done. He came up with a better idea. Move the girls back into the same room again, and set up my computer and stuff in the smaller bedroom and turn it into my “office”.

I’ll admit, a mix of emotions flooded me as I tried to decide if this would be the best idea. I want my kids to sleep, I also want them to feel like they have their own spaces and enough room to play. On the other hand, if I get my work done when I have time set aside, I can spend MORE time with them. I can plan fun things and we can have more time to do those, and I’ll be less stressed because I’m not “late” on a deadline, or thinking about what I could get done in the 12 minutes they are paying attention to the T.V. and not me.

I made it all exciting for my oldest as I moved her bed into the now “shared” bedroom. “This will be fun, sissy will be right in the same room with you” I said to her, I felt a bit of guilt well up inside, and then I said, “and now when mommy is working, she’ll be in the other bedroom working, and I can get my work done and then we can play when I come out”.

I moved my stuff into the room on Friday, and from that moment, when the computer was no longer my “go to” seat in the house. I sat on the living room furniture, engaging with my family, having conversations, and being present. It was at that moment I realized how BIG of a blessing this truly was. I realized how much I wasn’t going to miss out on anymore.

Things I would have missed today (Saturday):

Kira playing with our dog and an Easter egg. Granted, he was less than impressed, but, it was still awful cute

Kira and “Poppy” the house fly. The story goes: We were sitting on the couch, chillin’ and Kira said “Look, a bug” a house fly had made it’s way into our house. I told Kira that they normally fly around doors waiting for them to open and then fly right in as soon as someone opens the door.  She decided the fly had to have a name, and the “Poppy” the House Fly was pretty cool.

The above mentioned conversation brings me to the next thing I probably would have missed “But Dad” immediately calling the House Fly “Fly” and then my next remark “He’s pretty fly for a house fly”

I know to some people these seem like little things, and maybe they are, but to me they are the things that I would have missed if my head were in the computer all day like it normally is. The things that make my family smile, laugh, or just in general happy.

Having my “office” means I separate the 2. When I am at work, work gets done. When it is family time, I spend time actually interacting with my family, not just my body being there as I am frantically trying to finish something on my phone for work. When it is time to clean, I have no excuse, there is no computer to sit at and “work” while I should be cleaning.

This has been the biggest blessing EVER!!! I am now able to focus on the things that matter most to me, when it is time to do them. It also means I know my kids are getting to spend more time with me, and that makes me less stressed. Less stress = happier mama and less cycles of mine for the house to deal with. I really wish we would have done this sooner.

So, I guess the point of this post, you can do it all, just not at once, is all about finding the little things that help you. I have work hours now, and a place to work, I also have times set up for family and cleaning, and individual time with each child. It’s only been 3 days, and to think, I’d be pulling my hair out still if “But Dad” hadn’t come up with the idea to make this an office. I couldn’t be happier, and I know my family is as well.

Do you have little changes that help you accomplish more in your day???

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Spring has Sprung: My Goals for the Next 3 Months

My Goals for March-May 2016

 

Today is February 28, and it is going to be 61* in North East Indiana. I’m so excited for spring, and I’m so excited for where our family is going in life as a whole.  Today, with just 3 weeks until spring “officially” begins, I want to talk about my goals over the next 3 months.

There is something beautiful about all things spring. I’m addicted to thunderstorms, and the pitter-patter of rain on the roof of the trailer, I love days that are warm enough to comfortably head out-doors with the kiddos and explore the world around us, and I love seeing the new life everywhere.  All of these things give me the desire to set goals for the next 3 months.

Family Goals:

So as a family, we have decided on a few goals that we would like to accomplish.  These aren’t crazy over board, but definitely some things that setting goals for will help.

  1. Yard Work.  Now I’m not a big fan of yard work, which is why I feel like this is an important goal to set. It’s not so much about accomplishing the yard work, but rather making our yard work for us as much as possible.  With Nana being older now, I feel like we are in a much better position to get outside and enjoy the warm weather. I’d like to create an area in the yard just for the kids, and also add in an area for a rock garden (hey I am NOT a green thumb, but a garden = less yard to mow, plus it will be a nice place to sit and relax in the morning before kids get up, or in the evening after the kids are in bed).
  2. Savings Goals. Now to be totally honest, I’m a shopaholic spend to much money kinda girl. There is something so comforting about seeing other people happy and, sadly, I don’t have a money tree nearby (if any of you find one, could you point me in the direction to get one?) I was thinking about the amount of money I spent this month on things we didn’t necessarily “need” and I decided that instead of doing what I normally do to give me great feelings of satisfaction and joy, I needed a visual and set a goal.  We now have 4 different “savings” goals.  I’m looking forward to seeing if the blank thermometers I printed off the net can actually be enough to keep me saving for these things, I sure hope so 😉
  3. Clutter Clean-up. For those of you who don’t know, I spent the first 8 years of my life living in a hoarder home. My dad was a hoarder, there is now way around that one.  I’m not sure how my mom did it as long as she did. Having lived that way during my most impressionable time in my life, it is almost “normal” to just step over stuff, move stuff from one surface to the next, and just generally continue to accumulate stuff we don’t need. This spring, I plan to start working on getting 2 boxes out a week: 1 to donate and 1 to throw away.  My goal is to have a house we can LIVE in and not feel BURIED by.

Personal Goals:

  1. Walking. My first personal goal is to spend at least 20 minutes a day walking in our neighborhood. I will still continue my workouts (that I haven’t messed with because everyone has been sick and then as soon as I feel better it starts over again *sigh*) but I feel like getting out of the house and being by myself for 20 minutes (or longer) a day is only going to help me in the long run.  I’m also not planning to wake up any earlier, or skip something else for ME, I’m just going to pick a time when I know everyone’s needs are met, tell “But Dad” I’m going for a walk, alone, and head out the door. Hopefully writing this here will help keep me accountable 🙂
  2. Reading. I bought 5 books last month. I found books I really wanted to read, and I know that reading is a much better way to unwind then playing my beloved jeweled game on my phone (there IS a time and place for that however). Now, it’s just getting myself into the routine of reading for a bit before bed *sigh*
  3. Freezer Cooking.  Now this one may seem like it should be a “family” goal, but, if I’m honest, I would be the one who would benefit from spending 1-2 days a week and making enough dinners for the next 1-2 weeks and then storing them to be pulled out later and fixed.  Getting myself on a schedule where I can shop one day, prep the next and then assemble the 3rd would be ideal, and it would eliminate the need to run and get pizza and make peanut butter and jelly 4 times a week. BIG goal right here.

The Blog:

  1. Monthly Mental Health Link Up. You will be seeing this for the first time this Friday. I’m excited to be hosting my very first link-up and it will be centered around mental health.  This means if you are a blogger and would like to link up here, you are more than welcome. Post must have some sort of mental health theme, these include: sharing a story about mental illness, interviews with yourself or someone else who is dealing with a mental illness, Self care tips, posts about postpartum care and postpartum depression. Pretty much if it has to do with staying mentally healthy, or dealing with mental health issues, it’s linkable 🙂  Look for the first one this Friday.
  2. My First Book. I am really wanting to write a book of stories centering around mental health. I feel like this is a topic that isn’t talked about nearly enough, and I know that through sharing stories we can help others who are in search of help. At the moment, my plan is to do 10 stories (10 different people’s stories) per book, and if I get more than 10 that would like to share, I’ll gladly make a 2nd and/or 3rd and so on. I am also wanting to make a short book on tips from people who are living with/working with people with mental illness and also parents who have children dealing with mental illness. These are lofty goals, however, I’m really looking forward to putting my heart and soul into this project.

So there you have it, these are my Spring Goals for 2016. Looking forward to seeing what happens when I work toward these goals What are your goals for spring???

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My Bipolar Mommy Life

Bipolar Moms

 

I don’t talk as much about being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, and honestly, that is going to change.  I haven’t really hid it, there are mentions of it in some of my other posts, however, I think I got too focused of “blogging” and not on what I want to accomplish through my blog.  Writing content is wonderful, but one of my BIG “Whys” for writing is to help bring awareness of mental health disorders, and I have been losing focus.  I want to write about my experiences and things that have helped me, and I want those who don’t have Bipolar to realize that is doesn’t make a person “violent” or an “animal” and for those who have this disorder, I want them to know, We are not alone.

I haven’t really written a Bipolar related post, so I think it is long overdue This is My Bipolar Mommy Life:

I have Bipolar disorder.  I was diagnosed about 18 months ago, and while it still sometimes seems like a nightmare, it also makes a lot of sense in my life.  It answered a lot of questions I didn’t even realize I had, and it gives me a sense of what is happening.  What does Bipolar look like in my life???  It looks a lot like someone flipping a switch.  When I was younger, the switch used to flip to anger.  I’d yell, call names, hit, do whatever I had to to try to get the feeling to go away, and it could happen out of the blue for reasons that never had to make sense.

I don’t talk about this much, but I was in a previous marriage for 12 years (14 year relationship) where my ex and I were both oblivious to that which I was battling.  It wasn’t easy, and my ex and I had many an argument, a harsh word, and had even come to blows a few times.  If you are curious, listen to the song “I Love The Way You Lie” and that will give you a good idea of my previous marriage.  When I finally left the situation for good, I knew I wanted a family, and I knew I had to change my ways.  I worked hard on biting my tongue, and am now working on appropriate communication (keeping stuff bottled up isn’t good either), and when I met my husband, we talked, about everything.  I laid it all out there, and he accepted me for ALL of me, and has never (to my knowledge 😉 ) regretted.

After a rough C-Section with out first child, and having to be put on nerve meds while still on the operating table, I began to experience what I figured was Postpartum Depression.  I looked up ideas, tried to make the best out of my situation, even went back to work to get out of the house.  I was managing, but not doing “good”.  Then I got pregnant with our second, and I was 3 hours away from “home”, I knew no one, and I was miserable.  I finally was put on antidepressants during the last 2 trimesters and that seemed to help a lot.

Once our 2nd was born, I knew I couldn’t continue to get my meds from my ob, so I decided to seek professional mental help.  I got a quick (well after about an hour long questionnaire and meeting with a psychiatrist for about 30 minutes, “quick”) Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, Dysthymia (Depression), and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It was a lot to take it, hell it’s still a lot to process sometimes when I write it out or think about it too hard.  However, it is my life.

I was on medication, and ended up going off of it with the idea that if I ever feel like I’m losing it (even slightly) I’m going back on it.  However, I am learning to see things for what they are.  I’m learning that when I start to think that spilling water is “the end of mankind” it’s really just a cycle and I can breathe and go relax for a few and come back and at least function for a while again.  I’m learning that when I have bouts of extreme excitement and want to take on 30 projects at once, schedule them out, and sleep on it for a day or 2 and then tackle one or two.  I learning to navigate my emotions, and I’m learning that sometimes I say things I shouldn’t and I need to think sometimes a little harder before I speak.

This is an ongoing battle, and I promise not to keep my readers in the dark anymore.  I have good days: where I write 3 blog posts, clean house, cook dinner, and still have time to watch a movie with the family before bed, and then I have bad days: where I can barely feed my family something from the freezer and change diapers. I might fall behind on posts because LIFE is overwhelming enough, but I usually make up for it on a good day.  Bipolar Disorder is not WHO I am, but it is HOW I live.  It is in everything my family and I do, and there is NOTHING more real life than that.

 

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Word A Day Challenge: 3 Tips for Teaching Kids Compassion

3 Tips for

It’s day 3 (yes I know, technically it’s day 4, but I’ll get caught up today) of the #wordadaychallenge from Phyllis at Verified Mom. Today’s word is compassion, which made me stop and think of how I am teaching our littles about compassion.  Here are 3 tips to help you teach your kids about compassion.

The word “compassion” might sound like a toughie to teach to toddlers and even preschoolers.  It has always been my goal to instill this in my littles as early as practically possible.  While I know some days will go better than others, and there is a fine line between how much “suffering” you expose a child that young to, here are a few of the guidelines I have set up for our family to help us truly be a compassionate family.

  1. Choose a monthly cause and donate. This can be donating time, donating money or even donating items.  Having the kids choose a few toys they don’t play with anymore that are still in good shape and donate them to a children’s hospital, or homeless shelter is a great start. The younger the kids are the less formal of an explanation: “We are going to choose 3 toys each that you don’t play with anymore and give them to kids who don’t have toys to play with”  Leaving it that simple for toddlers while elementary school children may be old enough to understand that these are for “sick children” or “children that don’t have a home or much and would love to have a newer toy”
  2. Teach Compassion at home with siblings.  This is one where we are having some GREAT victories, and also some not so great progress.  Remember, each child is different and it will take different children different amounts of time to figure out what this word is.  My youngest is like the poster child for compassion.  She saw me sitting on the couch, crying.  She walks up to me and climbed in my lap, gave he a hug.  Then, she said “You cry?” and laid her head on my chest wrapping her arms around me.  She is the one who will kiss her sisters “boo boo’s” if I am not right there to do it, and any time someone cries she is there to try to make them happy again.  She just turned 2 at the end of December.  Her older sister is still a bit behind.  We work hard reminding her that when her sister is upset it is no laughing matter and we always have them apologize when one upsets the other.
  3. Be the example. This works along with the first one, however, showing compassion to others as adults is a great way to lead by example and teach our children to do the same.  Younger children can help carry bags of food to a food bank or soup kitchen, as well as having them help “put the mail in the box” when mailing checks to charitable organizations.  Again, for younger children the explanation can be a simple “Let’s help get this food in here for people who need it” or “Wanna help put the letter in the mail for the child we sponsor?”  Make being compassionate a NORMAL part of your life, thus kids will retain it has “always” been done this way, and will seem normal.

There you have it, three ways to help your toddler learn about compassion.  How do you teach your children about compassion???

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