Yesterday, after staring at my planner for what seemed like hours, I was amazed to see that we’re nearing the end of March. Amazed because it seems like just yesterday we were celebrating Remy Bea’s first birthday — but it was two whole months ago!

Every single day with little kids feels like the.longest.day.ever. Everyday is jam-packed with commitments, errands, and the mundane; but somehow, we blink, and another week, month, and year have passed.

A dear friend of mine recently told me she thinks I’m crazy for keeping my schedule as jam-packed as it is; that I leave very little room for ‘down time.’ But also, that she commends me for keeping my kids active and involved in things — whether that be karate, playdates, or weekly trips to the art museum!

And this past week was no different. Well, minus one little thing:

I sent my husband on a Guys Trip to Wilmington, North Carolina to golf for 5 and a half days.

He had a blast, and we did a great job at surviving! 🙂

Here’s what we’ve been up to in the last week:

  • I took Ari to see The Little Mermaid ballet at the Akron Civic Theater. Despite my child’s affinity for all things Disney and all things artsy, he was bored. Cotton candy helped. Eh, win some, lose some, friends.

 

  • Before our ballet excursion, Ari and I went on lunch date at our favorite spotRetro Dog! I know I’ve talked about Retro Dog previously, but it’s seriously one of our favorite spots. They serve hot dogs, burgers, fries, onion rings, custard, and beer from Thirsty Dog Brewing. The couple that owns it is originally from Buffalo and their hot dogs are a Buffalo staple — Sahlen’s!
  • Ari’s karate session ended with a bang — or a HIYA! But not to fret, T-Ball starts this week. (PS. I’ve been informed that of all of the local leagues, we signed Ari up for the most intense and most serious league in our area. Ooooops. Makes sense since they have two practices this week alone… for t-ball….).

  • Pi(e) day was a success! Thank you, Sweet Mary’s! Your French Toast Pie did not disappoint!
    PS. Can it be Pi Day every day!?!

  • After months of false starts, Miss Bea finally started (and kept) walking. She’s taken steps before — up to 8 in a row — but this was the first time she just kept going. And she hasn’t stopped! Hooray!

  • One of the highlights of my weekend was getting a fabulous bright yellow cup from Starbucks. It made the gloomy weather completely worth it.

Guys. We survived. We survived!! Yes, we missed Chad; but we did relatively okay with being a single-parent household for a few days. It proved, both, that he can get away and have fun, and that we could do it — that we could keep on a schedule and power through whatever the week throws at us.

And this week I’m ready to take on my own happiness, ya’ll. Here’s my Weekly Mantra:

TGIM, friends! Don’t stress this Monday — embrace it!! xo

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I recently realized that I’ve been blogging for close to 10 years. That’s a long time, friends. Like, a ridiculously long time. So it’s likely that most of you have no idea who I am or what exactly brought me to where I am now.

  • I never wanted to be a mom. It’s true. My ‘grand plan’ for life did not include having children. Being a mom was simply something I did not want (and I’m not afraid to speak honestly about it). It seems bizarre now, but Chad and I had talked about kids and both had decided they weren’t for us. We were grown adults, living our lives, and, totally content. But life had other plans. One Vegas trip and one Birth Control Pill statistic later, and I’m a walking cliché. Because I seriously feel like being a mom is the job I was meant to have. It’s most definitely the path I’m supposed to be on. So freaking weird, dude.

  • I’m a (kind of) SAHM to Ari (age 4) and Remy Bea (age 13 months). Meaning, I take my kiddos with me to my part-time job. I’m a gymnastics coach and also work in childcare, and my kids are with me at my job and at home, so 24/7. Which is… interesting, to say the least.

  • I’m a sucker for comfort foods. One of my favorite foods of all time is biscuits and gravy. Of course, my husband thinks it’s disgusting. But I grew up in a house with a Southern father. Okra, grits, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, and biscuits and gravy? Those are my jam. But I honestly don’t remember the last time I actually had any of these foods. Turns out they’re hard to come by in Ohio.

  • We travelled a lot before becoming parents. Which is amazing. We went on a cruise, road trips up the Eastern Seaboard, and a notorious trip to Vegas (where, it turns out, not everything that happens there stays there).

  • My husband, Chad, and I eloped in Portland, Maine when I was 13 weeks pregnant with our son, Ari. I had a wedding dress, we hired a photographer, and we stayed in the only 5 star hotel in Maine. After our vows we dined at the Lobster Shack at Two Lights — so that’s the kind of couple that we are. Laid back. The real deal. No fancy shmancy nada around these parts.

  • I have Emetophobia, which is a phobia of vomit. No, I’m not just grossed out by it; I have a legitimate phobia of it.

  • I received my BA in Sociology and Anthropology from Syracuse University. I had every intention of going to graduate school for Biological Anthropology (think Jane Goodall), but was offered three different full-time positions at my job during the housing market crash. Soooo life won.

  • I’m obsessed with NPR and the old music in my iTunes. I’m a lame old lady and it’s all I listen to. But I still think it’s pretty rad.

  • My birthday is on October 5th, which just so happens to be the most common date of birth in the United States. Basically, I know what my parents were doing on New Years Eve, 1983.

  • I’m obsessed with cilantro. Load that crap on everything, ya’ll.

  • I despise Summer. Give me Spring and Fall all year long and I’m happy. But keep that crazy heat away from me. #ByeFelicia

  • I’ve been practicing yoga for the last 10 years, but fell out of practice when I was pregnant with Remy Bea. (Hyperemesis doesn’t make a person want to get out of bed, let alone exercise). But yoga and running really are my passion.

  • I can’t cook and don’t cook. A couple of times a week I buy a rotisserie chicken and make rice in the Instant Pot and call it dinner. Taaaaa daaaaaaa!

  • But I can bake, dude. Like, I’m the daughter of a baker and can make cookies, cake, and other desserts from scratch like no big thang. Just don’t ask me to cook. Please.

  • I despise when people say “No offense” and “Obviously”. Because people say “no offense” and think that it gives them free-reign to be turds. And nothing in this world is “obvious.” So STAHP.

  • Labor, delivery, and birth are my passion. Albeit, a passion I never knew I would ever have in a million bazillion years. But I love labor, delivery, and birth so much that I have a goal of someday becoming a birth doula and Bradley Method instructor.

  • I’m not afraid to do things alone. Movies, dinners, and random events? Sign me up. I can fly solo anywhere. It’s a skill that I’ve realized makes people really uncomfortable, either because they can’t imagine going to dinner alone or because they wonder why you’d want to.

  • I hate salt unless it’s on potatoes or corn. Seriously those are the only two things I put salt on. It drives my husband bonkers.

I realize this list is totally random, but that’s my life — totally, completely, and utterly random, like 99% of the time. Thanks for following along on our journey! Now tell me something completely random about you! 

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I’ve never shied away from talking about my struggles with postpartum depression and anxiety. In fact, while I was pregnant with my first child, Ari (now 4.5), I had a sneaking suspicion that I would be one of the 600,000 women in the United States each year to develop Postpartum Depression (PPD). I felt… prepared. Because, well, I had acknowledged is likelihood.

But, honestly, nothing can prepare a new mother for the darkness of Postpartum Depression and Anxiety.

With Ari, it developed swiftly. I knew something was off shortly after he was born. I just didn’t feel that connection you’re supposed to have with your newborn baby. Couple that with being attached to the breast pump every 2.5-3 hours and then bottle-feeding? It felt like torture.

I also found myself giving in to the desires of everyone else. Specifically, I opened up our home to many visitors almost every day. Instead of trying to bond with my new baby and figure out our new lives, I was entertaining and handing off my new son for photo-ops.

I ended up crying in my OBGYN’s office just a few weeks postpartum. He offered me alternatives — therapy, supplements, the works. But eventually we settled on going on an antidepressant. I just really needed to function again.

And for me? It worked. I settled into a routine; we adjusted; and my hormones eventually evened out.

Fast forward a few years. (Note: I stayed on the anti-depressants because, for me, I have always suffered with some pretty crippling anxiety; and this particular medicine helped to keep me from having panic attacks.)

When we decided to try for number two, I decided (on my own) that I no longer needed to take my medicine. Newsflash: That was a mistake.

I ended up pregnant and having daily panic attacks. Severe panic attacks. So I went back on my medicine. And things went okay the rest of the pregnancy in that regard.

But my postpartum experience with Remy Bea was much different. I immediately felt that extreme love and bond this time around; she latched and I ditched the pump; and I declined visitors for the first few weeks. I was doing everything right, right?? Well, yes. But that means nothing.

The darkness of PPD and anxiety hit harder the second time around. She was a very difficult baby. She had severe colic, which we determined later was a recurring UTI. She screamed nearly all day. She napped for a total of 20 minutes per day. And slept an average of 2 hours a night. You read that right — two hours a night. The rest of our nights were spent trying to calm a back-arching, completely miserable, screaming baby.

Oh, and she wouldn’t take a bottle. So I wasn’t even able to hand her off to my husband for a small break. It was a nightmare. No medicine could help this situation. I was in a pit of despair and depression unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed before.

I found myself frantically calling my mom and friends at all hours of the night, telling them how ashamed I was to be screaming obscenities at my baby because she wouldn’t stop screaming and crying. It was the darkest time of my life.

And it lasted for the better part of her first year of life. About 10 months to be exact. The longest ten months of my life.

One day, when Remy Bea was about 11 months old, I woke up and just… well, felt, human again. The only thing that had changed was that Remy Bea was no longer screaming nonstop and she was sleeping a bit more than 2 hours a night (waking only about 3 times per night at 11 months was a huge improvement from being awake all night).

My daily goal was just to survive and keep my children alive. Most days this felt nearly impossible. And I wouldn’t have made it without an army of people surrounding me, both near and far. An army, for which, I will forever be grateful.

 

If someone you know is suffering from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, here’s what you should absolutely NOT do:

  • Do not say “It gets better.”
  • Do not say “But you have a beautiful baby. How can you be so sad?”
  • Do not tell the person that they should be grateful because things could be worse.
  • Do not come over to visit without bringing a meal and being prepared to clean/fold laundry.
  • Do not give unsolicited advice. It makes things worse. I promise. You are not being helpful.

If you or someone you know is suffering from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, here’s a list of things you can do to help:

  • Be there, day or night, to listen. Listen through screams; listen through tears; and just to be on the other end of the phone.
  • Ask for help. Ask for someone to come bring you coffee (or wine).
  • Focus on making it through the hours. Then focus on making it through the day.
  • Allow yourself to say “No.” Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Whether it be with work, with your personal life, or social obligations.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness. Thousands of women are going through this exact same thing. You are not alone.

Have you suffered from PPD and Anxiety? What tips would you give a new mom? 

 

 

*Disclaimer: I am not a physician and this is not medical advice. It is simply a compilation of thoughts based on my personal experience with postpartum depression and anxiety.** 

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Letting Go Of Mommy Guilt //

March 12, 2017

Do you ever feel so overwhelmed by your to-do list that you decide to take a nap instead? That was pretty much my life last week. I can’t even explain why, because I don’t quite understand it. Things are fine. Heck, things are more than fine. But, still, I’ve been in a funk. A blog […]

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Pinterest Fun, Plans Gone Awry, + a (Long) Overdue Haircut // A Weekend Wrap Up

March 7, 2017

You know those weekends that just restore your soul? Well, I had one of those weekends, friends. It also just so happened to be one of those weekends where I had “X-Y-and-Z” planned…. but all of it got nixed off the to-do list and we just improvised. Friday we had plans to go to the Great […]

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Weekly Mantra //

March 6, 2017

As I sit here and stare at my computer screen, I face both awe and utter exhaustion from this lovely weekend. It was fairly ordinary, but filled with happiness, laughter, love, and fun. And, of course, not nearly as much sleep as I’d desire. So I’m keeping my mantra for the week short and sweet. But […]

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Smoothies, Foodies, and the Vitamix Ascent Series Launch //

March 3, 2017

In my constant search for balance in motherhood (and life) I have made certain concessions for the sake of time. For instance, we often forego eggs, toast, and cereal for breakfast in lieu of something we can take on-the-go — like smoothies. I’m guilty of occasionally using those pre-made frozen smoothie fruit mixes. Yes, I […]

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FeBREWary Beer School at Ohio Beergarden

February 28, 2017

I’m finally just catching my breath coming off my crazy-busy week last week. While things had been crazy since Monday, the fun really took off on Wednesday when I had the pleasure of attending FeBREWary Beer School at Ohio Beergarden in North Olmstead. While Chad and I have frequented The Rail since it’s early beginnings […]

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Weekly Mantra //

February 27, 2017

Guys. Last week was a whirlwind! I had two events, continued my 14-day-straight working streak, and dealt with a plethora of toddler/baby related issues. It can only be summed up with the cliché of rollercoaster. Roller.COASTER. ya’ll. And because I was so busy with the ups and downs and loop-dee-loops, I had exactly zero time […]

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Weekend Wrap Up // and a Weekly Mantra

February 20, 2017

Ya’ll! I am beyond — BEYOND — excited for this week! I’ve been very ‘mum’s the word’ about my world, as of late. But this week is going to be amazing! Not only does Ari have 3 karate classes this week [which is just beyond adorable], but I have an all-Ohio beer and food pairing […]

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