Mental Health Mondays: When I Knew I’d Found My Village

Mental Health

For some, having a “tribe” or “village” comes easy. Some have been friends since they were in elementary school. Other’s slide right into a group and easily connect with them. I’m not one of those people. Feeling alone can be quite hard on your Mental Health. I know, I’ve been there.

Prior to having kids, I always said I didn’t need a big group of friends, and as long as I had a couple good friends, I was good. Then, when I had the oldest, things changed. I needed to be a part of a mom group, to go to play dates, and drink coffee while our kids played nearby.

I tried to befriend a few, each time I felt I was either chasing them away, or being judged by members within. It was a sad time. I was in the midst of Postpartum Depression, and pretending to be “okay” for those around me when inside I was dying.

There have been a couple of moms within a particular group who didn’t boot me off their Facebook pages right away, and occasionally I’d chat with them, or comment on something, but I was scared.

I remember exactly how it started this last time. Over a post I shared on Facebook that became quite the battle on my profile. It was through that post I reconnected with one of them.  We set up a play date for our kids. Then we began getting together more and more with them. Add in a few other moms on down the road, and there you have it, my “village”

Within the last 10 months or so, these ladies and another couple who hang out occasionally with us have become my “village”. I have watched them look out for my kids. We have had conversations about all sorts of topics. We have laughed and had a great time & also panicked together when searching for a missing kid.

Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending a birthday party for a couple of the kids, and that is when it hit me. Being in a place by myself with 2 very different children is hard. I can’t always keep my eye on both. Watching these other moms and dads, I began to truly feel at ease as they kept an eye on and even HELPED my children.

I didn’t feel judged as though I was a bad mom. I wasn’t stressed as if I had to keep my eye on them both every single second. They managed to have an amazing time, and I did as well.

That night as I replayed the events of the day in my head, it really sunk in… I FOUND my village. I found the people who care about my family. The ones who don’t judge and instead hold their hand out to help. It felt surreal and at the same time it felt very real, and I’m very thankful I didn’t continue in hiding and give up on ever finding them.

So, here it is, don’t give up and just keep trying, just keep going. There is a “tribe” or “village” for everyone, you just have to find it 🙂

Do you have a “village”???

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Thankful Thursday: Birthdays, Painting, and Everything In Between

The previous week in review and what we're thankful for

Welcome to the first “Thankful Thursday” on the blog. I have been trying hard not to copy people unless I’m actually following a series, however this is needed. This is kinda my “behind the scenes” post for you all, as well as my accountability to be Thankful.

So, let’s get started. The last week in June was crazy busy for us. We had a Birthday, 2 Dr appointments, and I started Physical Therapy. Busy is my jam. I know some people don’t get it, but if I am busy doing rather than thinking, it’s much better for all involved.

The first thing I’m thankful for is friends. We seem to be the definition of Murphey’s Law in this house. If it get’s “planned” it will fall through. If we are working at “planning” it, it won’t happen. I am very thankful for friends who understand. It’s not easy to be on the properly followed through end of a plan that someone else can’t uphold. The Oldest get’s so upset about it when plans get cancelled, and I get it (because I do too). So it takes special people to stick with other people who are constantly changing or canceling plans. I am Thankful for those friendships.

We went bowling on The Oldest’s Birthday, and the kids had a great time. It has definitely been a needed get together, and I am super happy things worked out for this one. I learned a bit about The Oldest, as she became more and more independent as she learned what she was doing. The time ended in her being able to be told it was her turn, and she’d get her ball and take it up there and roll it all on her own. She’s growing up way to fast *sigh*

Moving right along, I am thankful for those in the medical profession. You can learn so much when you ask questions to those whom care for you in various ways. We learned The Youngest does NOT have allergies to any of the major allergies factors. We also learned The Oldest needs glasses. I learned that there are true reasons why I’m having ankle and hip problems, and I am in good hands with getting back on track.

Last but not least, I am thankful for fun. We have been trying to implement some different activities into our routines, and those have been a lot of fun. The girls are in a reading challenge and challenged to read (or more to the point be read to) 500 minutes over the month of July. It is challenging for them to focus for any amount of time, but we have been breaking it up into about 3-4 books spread out throughout the day. I’m enjoying it, and so are they.

We also did Firework paintings over the holiday weekend. I used bendy straws (real technical term there, I know, haha!!!) and tapes them to form a firework stamp. The girls stamped the fireworks one day, then we let it dry. The next day we added people and other fireworks with markers. It was a lot of fun, and something the girls still talk about almost a week later.

So, there you have it, our first Thankful Thursday is in the books. What are YOU Thankful for this week???

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Fun Finds Friday: Picky Eating and the Dinner Winner Plate

***This is a Post Sponsored by Lifetime Brands & Fred. I was given product to review and giveaway, but as always, the opinions are 100% my own***

Welcome to Fun Finds Friday. I’ll be reviewing some awesome products I am sure will help you in your everyday life. Today we tackle Picky Eating with the Dinner Winner Plate.

Kids are picky. It is just how things are. One day they love a food, the next they “hate” it. The oldest is beyond a “Picky” eater and more of a “problem” eater. However, through feeding therapy we are overcoming that. If your child either eats very little all together, or eats very little of certain food groups, keep reading, this post is for you.

Dinner Winner plates were designed to make meal time more fun, while helping kids to eat more. Some of you probably have at least one child you wish would “Just eat more”. The oldest, would not touch fruit or veggies unless they were completely liquid form (still working on this).

 

Dinner Winner Plates For The Win!!!

 

Having The Oldest in Feeding Therapy, and since The Youngest is a great eater, we decided, with the help of our Occupational Therapist, to use these just as something fun to do once in a while. Working pretty intensely in feeding therapy I don’t want to stop the progress, however, for those who aren’t in feeding therapy you WILL want to read on.

I told the kiddos we were going to do something fun for breakfast, and I pulled out these pretty little plates and washed them up right in front of the kids. They were really excited and when they realized there was going to be a prize at the end, and then candy for the prize at that, they were all for these plates.

I filled the plates with yumminess. The Youngest usually loves everything I was putting on these, and I filled the sections with half easy foods for The Oldest and half with some more challenging foods for her.

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To my surprise, The Oldest LOVED this idea.  She got a bit shy when it came to her challenging foods, she ate every section and made it through to the end. The Youngest, I found out doesn’t like soggy waffles. She at least ate part of her waffle, but ate everything else as I knew she would.

The Oldest ready to try the Dinner Winner Plate

I would say these are a success for sure. We used a piece of chocolate as the prize, but the ideas are endless. Some people have used: Fruit, yogurt, raisins, or stickers. For my girls, I made them turn in the “You Won” piece for their prize and that worked a lot better than trying to keep them from peeking to see what was under the lid there.

The amazing people over at Fred sent me over 4 of these plates. Since we only need 2, I am hosting a Giveaway!!! Check out how you can enter to win one of these awesome plates below:

 

 Giveaway is open to residents in the U.S. and Canada who are 18 or older.
Good Luck Everyone. What is your child’s least favorite food???
Dinner Winner Plates: Helping picky eaters enjoy mealtime

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Parenting is a Roller Coaster & Happy Birthday to The Oldest

The emotional rollercoaster of parenting.

 

I’ve heard it’s said that with kids the days go by slowly, but the years go quickly. I’ve never heard a truer statement. Today, The Oldest, turns 4. I can hardly believe it. I’m still trying to figure it all out. How did this happen so fast??? Where did the time go???  Parenting is an emotional roller coaster, and I’m certainly feeling it today.

I look back at the years and it just doesn’t seem possible. Yet in the middle of those hardest toddler years I felt like I was going to pull my hair out. Proud of how far we have come, I’m happy to bring you my top 3 tips for keeping your sanity during the emotional roller coaster of parenting.

Take Time For Yourself.

This is Super important. It could be just taking a bubble bath a couple times a week, or making time for a favorite hobby, or even just watching a favorite TV show (binge-watching is better). Taking time for yourself to recharge is the first step to keeping your sanity during the emotional roller coaster of parenting.

Make Memories.

Some days I am sad when I look back and think about all the trials and problems we have had with our oldest. Then, I click through my “On This Day” app on Facebook, and I see the funny and silly and adorable and awesome stuff I remembered to take a minute to type in. By going back and visiting those memories, I’m reminding myself that we really have had some good times. Recording memories can be as easy as using Facebook, emailing yourself a little note about what happened, or as complex as a scrapbook. Just make sure you take time to record some good stuff each week. If you have to, make it a point on Saturday night or Sunday morning to try to recall the good stuff and jot it down.

Give Yourself Permission (and a Time) To FEEL these Emotions.

Let me say this, I am going to cry today, I know I will. Figuring out a good time, and then working through sadness, or frustration, fear, and anger helps us stay on top of our game. Try making time twice a week to sit quietly and think about the ups and downs of the week. Work through emotions, allowing yourself to fully deal with them before you move on. This way you are not bottling them up and making it harder to control emotions later.

 

Today will be bitter-sweet, as we check off yet another year. We will ride the high’s of partying & mourn the passing of another year to hold on to her. Parenting is a roller coaster, and it’s my favorite thrill ride ever.

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Everyone’s An Expert: My Gift of Mercy in This Unforgiving World!!!

Everyone's an Expert

 

It’s 7:06 in the morning, I’ve been up for less than an hour, and already reading people’s thoughts has gotten my blood boiling. I’m don’t claim to be an expert on much (except maybe living our crazy life, which I think I rock pretty well 😉 ) But, sometimes, people’s comments just make me want to scream.

So here we go, my take on 2 of this weeks recent news stories involving parenting and parent decision making.

To the parents who are disgusted over the 12 year old boys “proof vaccinations are bad” video. Lighten up!!! I am almost 100% positive that there is No One on God’s green earth whose mind has been made up one way or the other about vaccinations solely because of THIS video. Part of the problem is, on the internet, you can find whatever you are looking for. Want proof that vaccines are awful things that must be locked away in biohazzard containers in order to save us all from certain death, I’m pretty sure it’s out there. Want proof that vaccines save lives, yep out there too. Want proof not vaccinating can cause illnesses that are deemed “unnecessary” and “potentially fatal” that my friends is out there too. Our choices as parents come down to either potentially exacerbating a neurological disorder or other health issues I’m sure have been linked to vaccines, (after all vaccines are the new cancer) to save our kids from potentially fatal diseases, or  not vaccinating and leaving our children vulnerable to the many disease out there, and also causing other children who actually cannot take the vaccines due to already found out medical conditions (believe it or not, not ALL children can be vaccinated due to previous health issues)to become exposed to said diseases as well. While this issue is not a debate over which is right, it is to prove the point… with those as your choices, no one really wins. Parents have the hardest job they have ever had with all the new found information right at your finger tips. Kudos to the parents who follow their hearts, while still allowing a bit of logic to guide them. The video hurt no one, so agree or don’t, but let’s stop knocking each other down for the sake of our own agendas.

Next, The Cincinnati Zoo fiasco. I can not even begin to imagine how anyone who was near that exhibit during that time could feel. The whole thing is a very sad story. Just in case you have been living under a rock for the last week, A 4 year old little boy fell/jumped (depending on whose story you listen to) like 15 feet into a Silverback Gorilla exhibit. So, here are my thoughts

1.Yes, the mom should have been watching her child better-but we have all turned away for “just a second” and our child has gotten out of our sight. Possibly either parent thought the other was watching the child when in fact no one was. Maybe they were trying to trust he would listen like so many of the parenting books I’ve been reading talk about.

2. How the heck does a 4 year old get in an inclosure anyway, I mean, that right there is just scary. I understand the desire to see these animals in a more natural habitat. I also understand that No One wants to see these animals so upset from being in captivity, and so maybe  fewer bars will help. Um… it appears it kinda did the opposite in this case. *sigh*

3. The zoo did what they probably didn’t want to do, but were responsible and kept the child alive and unharmed. Everyone this week was a Gorilla “expert”, a tranquilizer “expert”, a zookeeper, — Folks, the people at the zoo didn’t WANT to do what they did. They made a responsible choice to save a human child. End. Of. Story.

Now, If you wanna call this mom an awful parent, ask yourself if your child has ever gotten into the street without you knowing, climbed up a high place where they shouldn’t have been, or gotten lost in public where they could have been harmed. We ALL are human, we ALL make mistakes… let’s extend some mercy to this poor mom, I’m sure she feels bad enough already.

The bottom line. I watched 2 news stories pick apart, yet again, parents. Shaming parents is NEVER the way to go. If you have something to share, doing it in a nonjudgemental way goes over a lot better than shoving your side of an argument down someone’s throat. I’m pretty sure as parents, we are all just trying to find our way through this life, raise our kids to the best of our abilities, and hope they come out with as few “scars” on the other side of this journey we call childhood. Let’s be kind, show mercy, and if all else fails, put your hand over your mouth and walk away!!!

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Birth Story: The Oldest

I realized I never actually wrote my birth stories for the blog. I’m starting with the oldest, and soon I’ll follow up with the youngest’s birth story.

***Disclaimer: This post contains vivid and somewhat scary visualizations, if you are a sensitive soul, or pregnant with your first, you may want to wait and read my youngest’s Birth Story, which is much more pleasant. You have been warned 😉 ****

Our Oldest's Birth Story

“It isn’t supposed to be like this. This is supposed to be the happiest time of my life, WHY am I so devestated???” It isn’t hard for me to think back to the very first day my oldest little one came into the world. I was terrified. I had NEVER had surgery, She was the reason for my first (and many more after that) blood being taken. I didn’t know what to expect, and further more, everything after they took me down for the C-Section is burned in my memory in hazy cloud-like thoughts.

We were told she would be big, REALLY big. “I’m guessing she will be every bit of 10 pounds at birth” I heard the horrifying number echo in my brain, “There is NO WAY I am pushing out a 10 pound baby” I thought. They pushed for a scheduled C-Section, then, she ended up staying breech the rest of the pregnancy, anyway.

I was okay with the idea of a C-Section, I felt like it was the safest way with “But Dad” and I being so very different in size, I was worried. What if I tear, what if she gets stuck, what if we end up having to do a C-Section anyway. This will be just an easier way of doing this, and in the end, our little girl will be here, safe and sound, and I’ll heal.

There is something about the unknown that strikes fear into just about everyone. The day arrived, and they prepped me for surgery. I was scared, but determined to be positive. The took me down to surgery and when they wheeled me in… we waited. I HATE WAITING. But, when there is something really important you are waiting on… it takes even longer and is even harder. I was beside myself with emotions, and panic began to set in as “But Dad” was ushered out of the room and I was brought into the OR by myself.

I remember them giving me the epidural, and I asked them to “Let me know when you check me” so I knew I wasn’t going to feel anything. I felt the epidural work slowly up my left side, and even slower down the right. I panicked, I felt like a ton of bricks was sitting on my chest, and I was terrified. The anesthesiologist asked if they had checked me and could bring “But Dad” back in. “Oh, yeah, we already have her open, go get him”

Those words… I tripped on my breath, “they never told me they were checking me, never asked if I felt anything, how do they know I’m not going to feel something in a different area?” I thought.

“But Dad” came in a sat next to my head. He was already in his own state of mental torment from being made to wait so long to come in. He never showed it though, he sat by my side trying to keep my mind off of everything that was going on.

“…She’s almost out” I waited to hear a cry… I waited… and waited… and waited. I held what little breath I could manage, praying, pleading to hear a cry. “Here she comes…” WAIT, WHAT???  She isn’t even out yet… what is taking so long??? I saw them pull her out and about 45 seconds later there was a cry.

“Ma’am, we’re going to give you something to help calm you down” they gave me a shot of nerve medication and I started to go into a coherent, but super relaxed state. “She’s 5 pounds 9 ounces” Wait, what???  I fought through the meds… She was supposed to be 10 pounds easy. “But Dad” went with our oldest to the nursery as I laid there, in an uneasy but physically relaxed state.

They finished putting me back together and took me to recovery. I wanted my baby, I wanted my family, instead I got nurses who were busy, talking about their plans for that weekend while I laid there unable to talk, unable to communicate, but still able to miss my family.

Recovery took forever, and I finally got to go back up to my room. They wheeled me past the nursery where they were finishing up the newborn exam. I got to see her in all her perfection. I was happy, but I was out of it.

They brought her into me within a few minutes of getting me settled, and began to try to help me with breast feeding. My tiny little baby was hooked up to a heart monitor since she had 1 heart deceleration and they wanted to monitor it. I was hooked up to cords, she was hooked up to cords, and as I frantically tried to make sense of the whole breast feeding thing, the heart monitor would beep when I’d get hung up on something, causing me to panic. After a couple of tries, I asked to have formula brought in. She needed to eat, to gain weight, and I just couldn’t handle all the stress. “But Dad” fed her, her first bottle, and… as they say… The rest is History.

Our Oldest's Birth Story

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