Finding Sunshine Through the Fog

Imagine this :  you’re wandering around aimlessly while you’re trying to find an address in a city you don’t know, where street numbers are jumbled up and don’t follow any particular order so you just walk around until it feels normal for nothing to make sense. You’ve become accustomed to 6 coming after 3 but before 1. But then one day, it’s all jumbled up again and you have to figure out the new order, the new normal. And it becomes so routine that you don’t realize that it’s all mixed up… Until you do. And then you wonder how you’ve lived so long in such a state of fog and confusion and frustration.

 

That basically sums up the last two years.

I’ve cut through the fog and am starting to realize that life doesn’t have to be like that. That it’s not normal. That I shouldn’t just accept that being the usual.

 

A month ago I was diagnosed with postpartum depression.

For those of you doing the math… That’s 22 months after I had a baby. Approximately 90 weeks. Somewhere over 600 days.

Yeah, apparently it can linger that long. Who knew…

 

I noticed I was getting impatient with my oldest during the pregnancy but I chalked that up to being tired, pregnant and working while trying to still fit in quality time with my oldest. I felt like I didn’t have the effort for things like crafts, sensory projects and simple things that I’ve loved doing during my years as a nanny.

After baby was born, I had just grew to believe that was my new normal. That my patience levels had dropped. It happens. People change as they grow older. It wasn’t anything severe, it was little changes at a time. I was still patient on many levels and to a decent degree. But *my* old normal was much more patient.

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With two young children that are 25 months apart, you expect a certain about of crazy. But I handled it well. I felt like those first 4 months were a breeze… And then the four month sleep regression hit. And now, after 18 months of it, we’ve only started to see the end of it. S went from a wonderful sleeper who would put himself to bed without fussing, to being a raving maniac who would wake and freak out every other hour. If we were lucky to get that long of breaks. It was gruelling. But it became our normal. Husband and I would take turns doing the dreaded nightshift and we’d try to catch up on sleep the next night. We waited for the long nights to end but, while it improved to only 4-5 wakings and an hour to get to sleep each night, it still didn’t end.

I felt like a zombie. An emotional, exhausted, grumpy zombie… Which I guess isn’t a good description for a zombie since they don’t need sleep or have emotions. But you get the point.

It became the new norm, up from just being short on patience.

Sometimes I yelled at my kids. And then I would cry because I yelled at them. I don’t generally yell. I will raise my voice at times (you know, “Put down the sharp knife!” and “Don’t jump on your baby brother!” just don’t have the same effect when you whisper them) but I’m not one to yell.

I went to my family doctor around 7 months postpartum, asking if this could be PPD. She assured me it was normal for having two young kids.

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About six weeks ago I started to get even more emotional and tired and found myself getting angry about things that really shouldn’t matter. I felt like I was on the verge of tears, if not crying, for the better part of a week. I talked to two friends who have PPD and both of them said that it sounded like PPD and that I should get a second opinion since my doctor wrote it off the last time, 15 months prior. I decided to go to my family doctor again and ask for blood tests to check iron. At least if I could write that off, I could get closer to a diagnosis. Those results came back fine. So I booked a follow up appointment and told her about my emotions and frustrations and how I felt like I wasn’t me anymore. And that I wasn’t the mother I wanted to be because of it.

I left with a prescription in hand. I felt like there was some weight off my shoulders… And I hadn’t even started taking the medication.

 

It’s been a month of taking the medication now and I feel so different. It’s like night and day. I look back and wonder how I hadn’t realized it before. And wonder why I hadn’t fought the first brush off of the idea of PPD.

 

Postpartum depression is something not enough people talk about. Not enough mothers are willing to put themselves out there and say, yes, this is common. It’s real. And it’s something that needs to be addressed as soon as you can. I never got to a point that I thought of self harm or hurting my children but I can only imagine how people – mothers and fathers, both can get PPD – can slowly get to that level and assume it’s the normal for them. That it’s what they do. PPD plays awful tricks on your mind and your heart.

I’m writing this for moms, who like me, dismissed their feelings as tired or stressed out or just general “mom feelings” to look into it more. Knowing that I’ve spent the past year and a half, likely even more, suffering from PPD and knowing I could have been less annoyed, less snappy, less angry at times kind of hurts. I could have been better than I have been. I could have enjoyed more. I could have enjoyed my children and my husband and my family more.

But I have to remember I’m only human. And I still have a ton of time to slow down and enjoy my children as they grow. There’s many more years for that, now that I am me again.

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If you, or someone you know, may be suffering from postpartum depression, talk to someone. Anyone. Even just a spouse or a friend. Even an anonymous forum.

Until recently, I never really talked about it. Because “I didn’t have it” and it was “just how I am” – but it wasn’t. I felt like I was surviving so there was no way I could have PPD. But that’s the problem, I was just surviving, I wasn’t living to my full potential. I was just going through the motions.

Lately I’ve been talking about it with my village. A few close friends, my husband and a moms group that has many of my “mom friends” (and many more strangers except as an online entity)  who I felt comfortable sharing my new diagnosis with. And I am shocked by how many people have had some kind of mental illness after having a baby. I knew it was more common than society lets on… But I had no idea that it was *this* common.

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If you’re local to the Lower Mainland (Vancouver, BC) here are some recommended-to-me  places that can be of help to you :

 

One in six women and one in ten men have some sort of anxiety or depression after having a child enter their lives via birth or adoption. You are not alone. Let’s end this stigmatism about postpartum mental illnesses – be it depression, anxiety, OCD or others.

 

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Guess Who’s Back….

Back again!

 

I took a hiatus for the summer. With the move, summer weather and Fart, we’ve been very busy!

 

What’s Fart, you ask?

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Cruising on Fart

 

Fart is our new cargo bike! He’s a big part of our days. We’ve been clocking over 100 kilometres each week for the past two months. It’s been amazing and exciting. We’ve had plenty of big adventures and an abundance of faster-run errands or local trips.

 

 

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Diapers? No problem!

 

The boys love riding around town on the bike that my oldest has affectionately named Fart. We can use it on the skytrain so that’s expanded our reach for biking. It’s been wonderful and I’m  looking forward to using it for commuting to and from Nature Preschool starting next month.

 

Summer has been busy.

We’ve been busy.

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Moving Day

The move has gone well. We are in the new house and are feeling at home these past six weeks. The kids have a playroom and the living room and their bedrooms filled with toys – why wouldn’t they love it?! We’re still in the process of unpacking the “junk boxes” of things we don’t know where to put yet. We have a small room off the laundry room (aka our future gym) that is full of stuff and our dining room is stacked chest height with boxes of things for sale and of my in-laws things for them to go through and decide to keep / sell / donate etc. Once the dining room is cleared out, we have to figure out what to do with that room.

 

We’ve been on many outings with our gorgeous weather we *were* having. It’s since turned cloudy and wet but in the past two months we’ve rarely had rain!

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Summer fun!

 

Our summer has been full of parks, play dates, Science World, Aquarium, bike rides (so, so many), water parks, swimming, PNE and playing in the backyard. We didn’t get to do too much hiking or geocaching. And we didn’t get to Granville Island or water slides as I hoped but that’s not surprising with our other activities. That’s okay, there’s next year! And the next!

 

 

I’m looking forward to Fall. Cooler weather and calmer days. We’ll be bringing out more crafts (once I can find the box of supplies…) and we’ll be looking at more local activities that are close by. Strong Start, Family Place, Nature Preschool, recreation centre lessons, lots of fun to be had! It will be nice to slow down.

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A rare moment with both relaxing for a moment

 

 

I’ll be blogging more now that things aren’t as busy.

Be sure to check back! I’ll be posting more about our summer fun, a recent diagnosis from my doctor, a fiery Sunday and much more. ❤

Week Two – Weighing In

It’s been two weeks since I’ve begun on my journey to lose weight and get back towards my pre-pregnancy weight.

 

How is it going, you ask?

Well, everything is kind of done on a whim. I haven’t gotten a routine down, nor do I have a plan that I am following for eating.

I was hoping to have something figured out by now, but as we’re adjusting to no preschool for the summer, getting ready to move and other events going on, I just haven’t been able to map out a plan yet.

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I’ve made much better choices in my habits though. I have only had one Starbucks in the past fourteens days. That’s HUGE. And, even then, that one coffee was a better choice than what I would have normally picked. I’ve been making sure to eat while we are out on adventures, rather than coming home ravenous and downing a half the pantry in an attempt of hanger-management.

I’ve always been fairly good about drinking at least 1L of water every day but now I am around 2L per day.

I have noticed an increase in energy from the eating and the amount of water I drink.

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This baby will be arriving any day now!

I haven’t been increasing activity a ton yet but we’ve always been fairly active. I would like to get some sort of workout routine but until then, we just go on plenty of walks and lots of bike rides. I’ve been getting about 25km on the bike each week and hope to be increasing it with the new bike next week!

 

But, without a plan and without a routine, I have still managed to lose 6lbs in the past two weeks. The scale is moving and I’m slowly noticing a slight difference.

I’m hoping to implement some kind of regime in the upcoming weeks.

Our new house will have a small gym with an elliptical and weight set so I hope to add in some lifting into the mix. And the elliptical will be great for some cardio since running doesn’t agree with my knees.

 

I’m quite happy with my results, just from the small changes I’ve done so far. I’m looking forward to more results!

 

I’ve got some before and during photos in the process, but until then, I’ll leave you with my progress photo from pre-babies. 🙂

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Six month progression photo, 2011

[Series] Playgrounds : Round Up By City

Are you looking for new playgrounds to venture to this summer?

Have I got a list (or eight…) for you!

 

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My boys and I are always out and about in various areas of the lower mainland. We love exploring new parks and new communities. (Which, by the way, will be so much more fun and easy with our new Yuba Boda Boda that we have in a week or two!!)

With the summer weather bound to hit soon (please?!) there’s plenty time for new slides to cruise down, swings to rock out on and climbers to conquer!

 

 

I’ll be running a series over the next two weeks about the different cities in the area that we like to explore and which parks are our favourites and why.

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Stay tuned if you’re looking to broaden your horizons!

 

Links (will be activated once the post goes live) :
New Westminster
(North) Surrey
Burnaby
Vancouver
(Downtown) Vancouver
Richmond
Tricities
“Around Town” (from all over the lower mainland that don’t fit into an above category)

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[Bucket List] Summer of 2016!

It’s just a couple of days away from the official start of Summer!

I don’t know about where you are, but we have had a gorgeous Spring in between some very wet and dreary days. We’re getting some much needed rain to hopefully help with the usual water restrictions and drought that seem to happen every year.

Summer’s around here are HOT. We’re lucky enough that there are so many waterparks to keep us cool in the coming months.

Want to know what else we plan to do this Summer? Check out our Summer 2016 Bucket List below! I’ll be blogging throughout the summer as we cross them off – be sure to check the bold text (IE : Take a Hike) as the summer progresses and we complete it, I will blog and link it! I look forward to sharing our summer time adventures with you!

 

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Summertime is Upon Us! ❤

Take a Hike!
We got into hiking the summer before we got married. I love the scenery and the serenity of it. A friend and I would go hiking every other weekend or so to various trails around the Lower Mainland. Check out the website for a list of many, many trails – you can sort by level, distance, transit friendly or by area. One of my favourites is Admiralty Point, though Deep Cove’s Quarry Rock is a close second! I’m hoping to get out with the boys for some trail walking this summer – maybe some of the easier/shorter ones will be better for us though so both the boys can walk it.
http://www.trailsbc.ca

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Go Geocaching!
My husband and I got into geocaching a few years ago. If you haven’t heard of it, you should check it out. It’s a modern spin on a treasure hunt. But there isn’t any actual treasure involved, just bragging rights! (Though occasionally there is a small loot you can swap something you bring for)
Geocaching makes for a fun, adventurous day! It gets you moving and out of the house – and exploring little nooks of your city that you normally wouldn’t even think to pay attention to!
http://www.geocaching.com

Make a Geocache!
It’s simple! All you need is a container and a sense of adventure. Che11406792_10155668187340570_2046230358974184400_nck out the link below for suggestions on what to include and where to put it.
http://www.geocaching.com/guide/

Go to the Beach!
Sunset, White Pine, Jericho or White Rock. Any beach will do for building sandcastles, dipping our toes in the water, combing for seashells and enjoying a picnic. Or perhaps hot dogs from the amazing hot dog vendor by Sunset beach?
http://bcmag.ca/travel/five-great-beaches-in-the-lower-mainland

Make and Deliver Treats for the Neighbours
We are moving this summer – how perfect would it be to introduce ourselves to our new neighbours and bring over some fresh baked cookies or cupcakes! While Jason knows the neighbours (it’s his childhood home!) it will be nice to re-introduce ourselves.
Here’s a favourite simple chocolate chip cookie we like to make.
http://www.marthastewart.com/344840/soft-and-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies

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Go to the Capilano Suspension Bridge!
Capilano has come a long way in the past ten years. When I went as a child, we went across the bridge, looked around and were done within twenty minutes. Boring! But now they have a ton of interesting things for those that like heights! The bridge is still the main attraction, but now they have also included the Cliff Walk, Tree Top Adventures and a few other sights and activities, included in the admission! Also, for the price of a single visit, BC residents (with proof of address) can get a membership for an entire year! Score! We got our memberships a few months ago and definitely need to go back this summer!
http://www.capbridge.com

Make Stepping Stones for the Garden!
How cute would it be to add these into our garden each year?! We could do handprints or footprints and see them grow. Their footprints could lead a path throughout our garden.
http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-CONCRETE-How-To-Make-Stepping-Stones/

Spend the Day on Granville Island!
There’s so much to do here! There’s the spray park and playgrounds. The Kids’ Market. Adventure Zone, if your kids are old enough and you want to browse for an hour or two, sans children. Food Market, where you can grab some picnic lunch items and sit along the docks outside (though, watch out for the Seagulls, they can be a bit feisty!) or out on the grassy fields while flying a kite.
Parking can be hard to find during the summer weekends but it’s not impossible! Just be prepared to dodge pedestrians while scouting a spot. Pay parking is a bit easier to come by, if you’re up for spending some money to do so.
There are plenty of buskers around the Island so you can usually catch a performance or two – anywhere from music to a man juggling fire while riding a unicycle balanced on a suitcase, stacked on top of a baseball bat…
http://granvilleisland.com/discover-island

Thirty Handmade Days
Photo Credit : ThirtyHandmadeDays.com

Play with Spray Sidewalk Chalk!
This looks like so much fun. The boys would have a field day decorating the driveway with this… I can picture a fair amount ending up on them, but nothing a quick play in the sprinkler can’t handle! Check out the Thirty Handmade Days link below for a recipe.
http://www.thirtyhandmadedays.com/2011/06/summerfunforkids/

Go Berry Picking!
We went last year and it was fabulous! We had fun picking berries, though Dean ended up snacking from the bushes and was stealing from our buckets as well and we didn’t actually pick much – we bought pre-picked from the farm after some time in the fields though! I swear, they need to weigh kids on the way in and then again on the way out and charge for what they snatch. There are so many different farms – check out the link for a compiled list, below! We particularly like Krause as it has a few extra things, beyond just the fields.
http://www.findfamilyfun.com/berrypick.htm#.U4ehzRboa2w

Join a Summer Reading Program!
We join one every year, even though Dean is too young to be reading the books himself. They offer prizes and contests and activities throughout the summer, on top of the encouragement to read for a short time each day. I think most local libraries have a reading club – get down to yours and check it out!
http://www.surreylibraries.ca/5370.aspx

Go to the Burnaby Central Railway!
At Confederation Park, located near Willingdon and Hastings, is a miniature train. It’s perfect for those train-lovers that are borderline obsessed. My guys will have a blast riding the rails on miniature steam engines.
Rides are approximately 10 minutes long and tickets are $3.50 each, or a book of twelve (no expiry) for $30. Children under three ride for free.
Confederation Park also has a spray park, playground, running track and a library and indoor pool if looking for an escape from the outdoors.
http://burnabyrailway.org

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Go to a Fancy Ice Cream Shoppe!
What says “Summer” better than a scoop of tasty ice cream on a waffle cone?! The list below is so tempting, we may be crossing this off the list multiple times!!
http://dailyhive.com/vancouver/best-ice-cream-metro-vancouver

Build a Sandcastle!
The hard part about this is going to be to build one before the boys destroy it. Bonus points if they can handle the temptation and actually help with the building! It won’t be as epic as these in the link, but the boys will be impressed, nonetheless. (Mainly because I won’t let them see the link so they won’t be aware how RAD they can actually be!)
https://www.buzzfeed.com/alannaokun/epic-sand-art?utm_term=.qtQBWMbKv#.fdpw6xMJ7

Go on a Bike Adventure Around Vancouver!
Come on, we knew this was going to be on the list. I have a renewed bike obsession. I love riding and the boys are pretty into it, too. Dean loves riding along side and is actually pretty darned good at being a cautious and courteous rider. Looking for some local paths? Click the link for some suggestions in your area.
https://bikehub.ca/maps-route-planning

Discover a New Playground Nearby our New House!
As we will be moving into a new neighbourhood, it’s a great time to explore close to home. We’re not moving far but it definitely changes up what our “local” parks will be. We’re going to be venturing out in search for a new go-to playground.
The Lower Mainland has many fabulous playgrounds – here’s a small start of a list of parks worth a trip out of your area for! There’s many more not on here though.
http://www.vancouversun.com/playgrounds+Metro+Vancouver/11166738/story.html

Make a Handmade Bird Feeder!
Dean and Sammy LOVE animals. They really like watching birds but tend to get excited and chase them. I would love to hang these outside the front window so they can see the birds come to eat but they can’t bother them while they eat.
http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/craft-ideas/how-to/g678/bird-feeders/

 

Do you have anything that would be on your bucket list? I always love to hear more ideas of local fun things to do!

 

 

Top Five Reasons I Bring My Young Children Out Of The House

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Saying hello to his snail friend

1. To help you slow down and enjoy the little things in life
I bring my littles out so that you have to slow down during your power walk, in order to go around them, without tripping over the strategically placed speed bumps, as they watch a worm wiggle his way out of the ground.

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Taking over IKEA!

2. To allow you to appreciate silence
What? You don’t find the train bridge exciting enough to have a freak-out-fit, including jumping, screaming and lots of laughs?
After a ten minute skytrain ride with my children, you’ll enjoy any bit of silence in the near future. You’re welcome.

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Never a dull (or quiet) moment with these two!

3. To give you downtime
It’s pretty hard to try having that business conversation on the bus when my oldest child is begging to play I Spy the. entire. fifteen. minute. ride. And my youngest? Begging to come out of the stroller in the jam packed bus that is elbow to elbow full. Don’t bother trying to have your phone call. Just put your phone away. You will no longer have to yell overtop of the noise of the train and everyone on board in order to be heard by the person you were talking to.

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The see me rollin’, they hatin’. Patrolling they tryin’ to catch me ridin’ dirty.

4. To give you an excuse to get your bitch-face on.
I’m sorry that I enjoy Starbucks. I’m sorry that my youngest hasn’t mastered the skill of eating on the go and that we need to sit down to enjoy our snack. But most of all, I am sorry that my boys sat and ate quietly and didn’t give you a valid reason for the glares you sent our way when we first walked in the doors.

And the final reason I bring my young kids out…

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Yuck! Keep your germs to yourself, sir!

5. To build up your immunity
Kids, even while not sick, carry nasty germs. Be careful that you don’t get too close. I’ll be sure to keep him from breathing near you…. After all, I don’t want him to catch your douchbaggery.

 

 

 

The Diet That Lasted 2.25 Days…

So, remember that I was supposed to start Weight Watchers on Monday?

I started it.

 

And then, this morning, I ended it.

 

I did Weight Watchers years ago, for about six months before I got married. I enjoyed the ease of use, the app and the simplicity of it all.

I found it hard to get back into this time around. The app has some big flaws and with chasing two young children around all the time, I just don’t have time for that!

After chatting with their tech support, I received a refund and have parted ways.

 

I’m going to start up in the morning using another tested and true app to help me log food / calories. I used Calorie Count for a while and liked how it would show me my overall pie chart for fats, proteins and other nutrients. I could see when I was eating too many carbs or not enough protein. I could adjust my days to make my meal planning more rounded. It has a very easy flow for logging foods – and I can use weight to measure, instead of cups. Which really speeds up the process.

I need something fast, easy and effective. If I have to spend too much time on it, it’s going to get neglected. I’ve got too much stuff keeping me busy that I can’t spend all day measuring out my foods while my boys are terrorizing the house. If it’s complicated, I have no interest. If it’s not going to be effective because I’m eyeballing cups while trying get everyone fed breakfast, I’m not going to want to stick with it.

 

So while my Weight Watchers diet has ended, tomorrow I begin back on Calorie Count. I’ve still kept on track with eating today, though it was tempting to let loose at IKEA (their Mac N Cheese is amaze-balls and so bad for you) but I kept in check and kept my meals clean and portioned.

 

So, bring on tomorrow!