Wednesday, December 8, 2010

3 Ways to Naturally Beat the Winter Blues — Simple Mom

Ok, time for my redundant apology for neglecting my blogging duties... life's been busy, I'm tired, yadda yadda yadda... but I truly have not forgotten you and appreciate (as always) your patience. I happened to catch this blog post over at Simple Mom and thought it was worth sharing. Hoping everyone is having a joyous holiday season whatever holiday you celebrate.


3 Ways to Naturally Beat the Winter Blues — Simple Mom

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Postpartum App?

I happened across this iPhone app today that claims to be a screening quiz for postpartum depression. Can't quite decide if it's a good thing or not. Perhaps I should pay the 99c and really see what it's all about. (Which brings me to my next question: should there really be a charge for such an app?) What do you think? ...Good, bad, on the right track, or way off base?


I'll have to get back to you with my final review.  (For now I have to take my snuffly achey self back to bed.)

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Friday, October 29, 2010

It Has Been a Rough Year

Actually, in some respects, it has been a rough three years; but this past year, in particular, has been really tough.  Ironic that a series of stressful events would start just two months after I stopped taking medication for PPD.  I felt good, I felt normal, and I was happy to be on the road back to me. Then.... WHAM!  Life has decided to test me; and there are days I'm not sure if I'll pass.  There's the old saying, "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger."  True, perhaps, but I just have to say that I'm tired of being strong.  I've been doing the strong thing since I was sixteen and I'm just ready for a break.  (Preferably, an un-medicated break; just a long run of good luck, please.)  Is that too much to ask?  Don't get me wrong,  I still know that I'm lucky.  I know we're fortunate in our lives to be blessed with many things others pray for and I know there are others struggling to be much stronger than me.  I also know that acknowledging my blessings doesn't diminish what I'm feeling; and that my feelings are valid.  It's necessary to appreciate the good in life and to move on but how can we move on if we don't address our feelings, our struggles or our pain?  I don't think we can.  So I won't feel guilty for the feelings I have.  Don't tell me I'm lucky and that others might wish for what I have.  I know that and I appreciate that; but pain is pain and loss is loss and this past year has been a painful year of loss for me.  Loss in the obvious sense and the not so obvious.

The end of 2009 brought with it a very early miscarriage (my doctor suspects possibly two).   So early, in fact, that there wasn't time to share the news.  I thought that meant I could be sad and move on.  Not true. Turns out, grief is grief no matter how early the loss and I would soon find out this was something I would never forget and this loss was going to affect me more in the months to come.

Struggles with our son would bring a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder (formerly Sensory Integration Dysfunction) which would be both a blessing and a curse.  Finally having a diagnosis, and knowing that not only was I not imagining his behaviors but that we would get help, was like lifting 100 pounds off my shoulders.  Realizing my son is different, and diagnosed as such, would bring on more feelings of loss and anger.  I was (am?) angry with God... why couldn't I have a normal motherhood?  One free of PPD and with a "normal" (I hate to use that word but language fails me) child?  Why is getting through the day so incredibly difficult?  I'm emotionally and physically drained well before my husband gets home from work. At this point in time I was scared to death of having another baby which puts our plans on hold for a few months while I tried to deal with my conflicting feelings about more children.  This would most definitely put a strain on my relationship with my husband through more or less our whole summer.

The summer would also bring the loss of my husband's grandfather.  He was in his late 90's and "ready", making it "easier" to accept, but the loss of such a wonderful, loving, caring man who brought so many memories to my husband's life was in no way easy.

In the early fall, cancer would claim the lives of a very dear family friend, a father figure if you will, and also that of a mentor and colleague.  I curse that disease which has take the lives of so very many important people in my life.  Two people who had so much to offer this world are gone. 

Then, last weekend, we very unexpectedly lost my beloved cat, Snickers.  He was an important part of my life for ten years, moved with me from California to New York, and gave unconditional love.  Perhaps the most painful part, however, is that he had become my two year old's very best friend.  I had often recently commented to my husband that Snickers was no longer my cat; he was J's.  Watching my son struggle with this loss is breaking my heart to pieces.  As my friend told me, I know the drill. I know it gets better but how do I help a sad little boy who just wants to play with and love "Kitty SheeShees"?

So, as I struggle with pain and loss, I'm ready to heal.  I want to move on but never forget.  I want happiness to dull the pain.  I think it's about time.
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Monday, October 18, 2010

Crazy, Crazy Schedule!

Yes, it has happened again. (Or maybe it has continued to happen??)  Either way, I've neglected my blog.  I'm so very sorry.  I do have lots to share: some is PPD related and some is not.  My two year old has a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) which has had me delving into many books and, combined with his speech delay, sent us on a crazy therapy journey through the end of the year (not to mention he just started preschool).  I've barely had time to empty the kitchen sink let alone write something coherent. I'll update you more, I promise.  I really have a lot of ideas in this head of mine that I'd like to get down on this blog.  For instance:  given that I'm pretty sure I also had/have a SPD, could it have anything to do with my PPD?  Then there's that article I read in a waiting room magazine that said hiring a Doula for childbirth can help prevent PPD... REALLY?!?!?  (No matter how beneficial a doula might be, I find it hard to believe she could prevent PPD.)

So please stick around... I promise I'll make a comeback eventually.
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Quote of the Day

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity."
— Gilda Radner

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

What I Learned as a First Time Mom

I've been (mentally) working on this blog post for probably close to a year.  Somehow, I just haven't managed to get it written.  Several months ago, when my long-time friend became a first-time-mom, I managed to get some of it into an email that I thought I'd edit but that didn't quite happen either.  At this point, I just want to get it out of my head (I'm running low on RAM) and share it somewhere; it's not going to be a perfectly worded or extremely eloquent (is that redundant?) post but I think I'm ok with that.  I'm certainly not perfect and this blog isn't either.

When we brought our son home from the hospital I had everything that a baby needs.  Somehow, I never managed to think about what I, as a soon to be stay-at-home-mom with a newborn, might need.  In the two and half years since then, I've had time to ponder what I'd do differently next time around.  Now, of course, these lists are based on my personal experiences and, whether you're planning for yourself or gifting for another new mom-to-be, you have to use your own judgement and personal preferences.

A few things I found as a new mom:

  • The whole "sleep while the baby sleeps" advice doesn't always pan out the way you think it will.  My little guy nursed every two hours. Start to Start.  That doesn't leave a whole lot of time in between and I found that during that time I was scrambling for something to eat myself and by the time I got to my bed for an attempt at sleep, he'd be waking up and ready to eat. Again.  What I learned: stock up on one-handed, quick snacks or meals such as cereal bars, nutrition drinks, energy bars, etc.  Look for items that have at least some nutritional value and remember to eat balanced meals as you can.
  • Skip the flowers.  I know the sentiment is nice but, for myself, it just doesn't make any sense.  I have allergies and I have cats that eat the flowers and then get sick.  The last thing I wanted to worry about with a newborn was cleaning up cat sickies on the carpet.  Thus the flowers we received sat waaaaaaay up high out of reach of felines and didn't thrive so well in their forgotten about environment.  (Note: I do/did appreciate the thought. So if you sent me flowers, not to worry.) If you do want to send flowers to the new parents, I might suggest to opt for something more "useful" like an Edible Arrangement.  (In my case, I plan to politely decline flowers in advance next time around.  For those that really like to go that route, I might suggest they instead have flowers sent to my parents' grave sites in celebration of their new status as grandparents.)
  • ACCEPT HELP.  I'm bad at this.  I think I learned my lesson.  Maybe.  We'll find out next time around.
  • My OB/GYN once told me that she told all potential visitors that, if they wanted to come see the new baby (she said learned this by babies two and three), then they must either bring a meal or help tidy.  I never did try that approach yet I've always thought it's a good one.
  • Check out the post Crushing the Bowl of Cherries Myth by Amber over at Beyond Postpartum; I love her suggestion for including the book The New Mom's Companion as part of a baby shower gift.
  • Save yourself some time and utilize websites and services such as Alice or Schwan's for household and food delivery.  If you shop right, you can save time without spending more money.
If you're nursing:
Oh… and for recovery, ahem, “down there” (worth every penny): http://www.mom4life.com/catalog.php?item=1155

Someday maybe I'll polish up the list and even add to it.  For now, I've freed up enough space in my brain to worry about the next project.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

In a bit of a rough spot...

I know I haven't posted much lately but, as I've mentioned before, I've had a lot going on and family comes before blogging.  I hope to get back to writing more often as I think it IS therapeutic for me in a sense.  It's been a rough year, which started last November, and things haven't been getting any easier.  I can't go into details, because it's personal and family related, but I promise I will be back as time allows.

On that note, I pose a question to the other PPD survivors I "know" through blogs... do you feel people see and/or treat you differently since your PPD?  Do you ever feel that your bad moods, or rough spots, are treated as an extension of your past PPD even when you feel it's likely unrelated?  Let me explain, as I noted above, I've been in a bit of a rough spot lately.  I've been down in the dumps periodically and, most certainly, stressed to the max but it feels NOTHING like my PPD.  My PPD was a feeling I couldn't explain; what I'm going through now I can explain; I can make a list of the problems I'm having, why they bother me, and how I want to fix them.  It's the difficulty in accomplishing the latter that causes the most trouble.  Yet I feel that even my husband wants to "explain it away" by throwing it under the PPD blanket rather than dealing with, or helping me deal with, the issues at hand.  Just some food for thought.  For now, my supposedly napping, over-tired toddler is making odd thumping sounds in the next room. Thus a big reason my blog sits lonely in cyberspace...
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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Got Swag?

OK, I don't often write these types of posts but I'm very excited about this. 

Like most Americans, Hubby and I are working diligently at cutting costs.  We hope to keep the Munchkin out of full time daycare if we can and that means some sacrifice on our part.  So, I've signed up for every frugal, coupon announcing newsletter, Facebook update or blog post I can.  In the process, I discovered SwagBucks.  What's that?  Well, let me explain: you earn points for searching the Internet then you redeem points for prizes (even PayPal cash).  Can it get any easier than that?  You can install the toolbar, just the search engine or just go directly to the website without installing anything; that's really up to you.  All I can say is:  LOVE IT!  I've been on maybe two weeks and already have enough points for an Amazon gift card. 

Check it out:

Search & Win

Oh... and if you scroll down to the bottom of my blog page you'll find a "Swidget" wich will ocassionaly give you additional Swag Codes.

In the interest of full disclosure, I do get some points if you register off my links.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Just Talkin’ Tuesday: Let’s talk about sleep | My Postpartum Voice

Family life is still taking priority over my blog time (not that you, my bloggy friends, aren't important) but I was catching up on a little reading and this post gave me just the little chuckle I needed to day (and it's so true) so I thought I'd share:

Just Talkin’ Tuesday: Let’s talk about sleep My Postpartum Voice

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bless the Broken Road

I realized that sometimes I get so wrapped up in the PPD stuff that I forget to blog about how lucky I am.  I should have done this yesterday for "Thankful Thursday" but better late than never, right?

Yes, I have had some challenges since I became a mom -a colicky, fussy baby with reflux who became a toddler with a speech delay and potential sensory issues, not to mention my PPD, inter-mingled with being an orphaned adult myself - and no, I don't love being a mom. Yet.  But I DO love my son and I DO count my blessings every day and despite the sometimes rocky road, I feel lucky...
  • I have a child.  I have known so may families who still/have struggle(d) with trying to have a family of their own.  I KNOW I am lucky. 
  • He's healthy. Yes, he has reflux but even if he is on medication for the rest of his life, I know that's nothing compared to the challenges many other families face.  It's not life threatening and he can live a normal, healthy life.
  • I had PPD - it was hard.  It was the most horrible, dark place I have ever been but I got through it because I have a husband and doctor who support me and guide me.
There's the almost cliched saying: "What doesn't kill one makes one stronger."  I think it's true.  It's the challenges in life that that shape us into who we are.  Sometimes we need the rocky road to appreciate the smooth drive.

For our wedding song, my husband and I chose Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts because it summed up how our life together came to be.  I heard it on the radio this morning and realized, in many respects, it still holds true today.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Full Plate

Sometimes I feel like our family's plate is too full and if one more thing gets placed on it, it's going to break.  Or at least crack. Do you ever feel this way or is it just me?  Just when my husband and I think we have enough to worry about, and therefore just must be at our limit, something gets added to the list.  Ugh.  That being said, I'm sorry I'm neglecting my blog.  Priorities, you know?  I need to get things a little more settled on the homefront.  As always, thanks for your patience.

Our son is being evaluated for some sensory issues.  We're hoping he gets approved for occupational therapy.  Getting through the days can be a very difficult task which many times (probably at least 2-3 times a week, if not more) has me in tears and at my breaking point.  Often even before noon.  Making my life more frustrating are the people who don't understand and refuse to believe he has a problem.  This is nothing new; since he was an infant we've struggled with friends and family who just don't "get it."  But that's getting old.  And when frustration gets old, I think it sometimes sends one towards their breaking point. You ignore it for a while but it eventually eeks back in reminding you that you should deal with it. I feel like I'm lacking an adequate support system and often feel like this just might push me to the edge enough to backslide into that darn PPD place again.  I'm hoping I still have the tools in place to prevent that from happening but as many other PPD bloggers have written before me, I often wonder/worry, from time to time, if I'm really through it.  These are the days I long to move away; back "home" to the Southern California sun and it's familiarity (family in tow, of course).  But I digress....

Katharine Stone at Postpartum Progress has a great response piece to the PPD debate that has recently hit the "mommy blogger" community.  If you are a personal friend or family member, I ask that you please read it.  Even if you don't know me, I encourage you to read it.  Katherine very eloquently responds to recent negative comments about/to mothers dealing with PPD.  If you don't understand PPD (and, truly, unless you've lived it you probably can't comprehend it), Katharine's piece might give you some insight.  (Yes, all the links in this paragraph take you to the same place.  I wanted to make sure you get there.)
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Moving Thought

I don't think it's any big secret to those who know me personally that my husband and I have been toying with the idea of moving.  We're in that "do we stay here/stay local/stay regional/or maybe move-cross- country-back-to-my-roots?"  phase of thinking.  Nothing is imminent, if it even happens at all, but still a huge factor in our considerations has been my battle with PPD.  We wonder: would being closer to family/friends help?  What if we have another; then where do we want to be and when?  If we move, do we do it before or after any potential future munckins?  A lot of factors to consider for sure.  That's why I was glad to see this piece, from Postpartum Progress, as a reminder of how moving can be a stressor for PPD:
"...This move also reminds me how stressful moving is, which is why it is no surprise that an event like this can be a risk factor for postpartum depression. It's very unsettling not knowing where everything is, dealing with your children's discomfort in being uprooted, feeling like you are in a foreign place..."  (Read More...)
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Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!


Take a moment today to remember all the brave men and women to have served, continue to serve, or have died for our country.

"We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them." -Francis A. Walker

Monday, May 24, 2010

Re-post: May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month


Originally posted 5/27/09

It's that time of year... the sun is shining and everyone heads outdoors for fresh air, family fun, and some sun. It also means it's time to stock up on the sunscreen and sun smarts. Did you know that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer?

When I moved to Western New York almost five seven years ago (having been born and raised in Southern California) I was somewhat surprised to notice how tanning - either at a salon or out in the sun - seemed much more prevalent than in my hometown of San Diego. I'm not saying I've never laid out in the sun but it seems the awareness (perhaps even fear) of skin cancer must be much more prevalent in sunny San Diego.

Please, please... use your sunscreen (and don't forget to re-apply), spend time in the shade, and be sun smart. Don't forget: you can get a sunburn on an overcast day!!! Check your sun safety IQ by clicking here.

Some quick facts from the American Cancer Society:
  • Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. This type of cancer can almost completely be avoided if people would protect their skin and follow simple guidelines when they are outside.
  • There are more than 1 million skin cancers diagnosed each year in the United States. That’s more than cancers of the prostate, breast, lung, colon, uterus, ovaries and pancreas combined. And the number of skin cancers has been on the rise for the past few decades.
  • The vast majority of skin cancers are due to unprotected ultraviolet radiation (UV) exposure. Most of this radiation comes from sunlight, but some may come from artificial sources, such as tanning booths. The amount of UV exposure depends on the strength of the light, the length of exposure and whether the skin is protected.
Reduce your risk of skin cancer:
  • Limit direct sun exposure mid-day (between 10am and 2pm have long been said to be the strongest rays - this has now been extended to 4pm)
  • Cover Up
  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher
  • Wear a hat
  • Wear UV blocking sunglasses
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps! (Positive links to skin cancer have not been made.)
Visit the Sun Safety page for even more information and tips.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Review: Covergirl Smokey ShadowBlast and Shine Blast

I'm doing a Bzzz campaign for the new Covergirl Smokey ShadowBlast eyeshadow and ShineBlast lip gloss ( http://www.covergirl.com/beauty-buzz/whats-new.jsp ):


I LOVE the lipgloss: for me it lasted a good amount of time (not all day but what gloss does?), went on easily, and didn't feel "goopy" like other glosses do. Average cost is about $7 and I'd say it's worth it.

The Shadow is fun but not fabulous. The colors are nice, and it's great having the convenience of two colors IN one applicator tool, but if you don't like pencil shadows you won't like this. The shading tip broke on my first use (not completely, but enough to be annoying). All in all, it IS convenient for your summer runaround, travel, or beach bag. Average price is about $8 and if you already like pencil shadows I'd say it's worth the
price. Otherwise, skip it and go for something more traditional.
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Blogging for Mental Health

Mental Health Month Blog Day Badge

As I mentioned earlier this month, May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  What I didn't realize, until now, is that congress designated it so back in 1949.  We've come a long way since then but I'm not sure we've come far enough.  Mental health is still stigmatized and generalized.  It's time for that to change.

Postpartum depression is a mental health illness that affects at least 20% of all new mothers (this statistic varies depending upon where you look but 20% seems to be the number quoted most often).  That percentage only reflects reported cases; how many women go untreated because they are afraid to go to their doctor with their concerns? I suspect more than we'd like to believe. 

 I found it surprising, when I decided to go "public" with my PPD, how many women I met sighed with relief and said, "so did I!"  Yet less than half of them had spoken to their doctors about it.  I'm not saying every woman with PPD depression needs to be medicated - that's a personal decision between a woman and her doctor - what I'm saying is that it's frightening how many women think it's something to be embarrassed about.  For a time, I was one of them.

PPD isn't caused by something we do or did.  It's an illness that can affect us as randomly as a flu virus.  Sure, some women have a history that may possibly predispose them to it but for many it's a surprise and a shock.  The important thing to remember is that there is help and it's OK.

The best thing I ever did was stop hiding my postpartum depression.  When I finally started telling family and friends it was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.  I didnt' have to hide any more.  I could concentrate on getting well instead of pretending I was well.  Huge, huge impact for me.  No, it wasn't easy.  In fact it was one of the most difficult things I had ever done.  True, some people backed away from me and some believe the stigma and the generalizations but if these people cannot, or will not, support me (and my family) why would I want to be surrounded by them?  The people that matter have been supportive, caring, and understanding (even if they don't understand).

What is right for me might not be right for someone else.  I realize that.  I also believe, however, that if we can educate the public about PPD, remove the stigma, correct the misinformation, and make it something that is talked about, then maybe more women would be inclined to get the help that they need (whatever that may be).
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Monday, May 3, 2010

It's May

And, yes, I know I've been MIA. I've had a lot of family and {gasp} me things to take care of.  I'm working on some posts (well, at least I have ideas in my head) for the coming weeks.  Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness month?  More on that coming soon.  For now I leave you with this link to Postpartum Progress regarding the upcoming Mother's Day Rally for Moms' Mental Health:

2nd Annual Mother's Day Rally for Moms' Mental Health This Sunday! - Postpartum Progress

Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Blog is Carbon Neutral

This post is long overdue.  I've been meaning to do this for, oh, a couple of months and I'm a bit ashamed that it's taken me this long.

"According to a study by Alexander Wissner-Gross, PhD, physicist at Harvard University and environmental activist, an average website causes about 0.02g (0,0008oz.) of carbon dioxide for each visit. Assuming an average blog gets 15,000 visits a month, it has yearly carbon dioxide emissions of 3,6kg (8lb.). This can mainly be tracked back to the immense energy usage from (mainframe) computers, servers, and their cooling systems." (Quoted from the My Blog is Carbon Neutral website.)

The "My Blog is Carbon Neutral" program started in Germany as a way to help ease the carbon footprint.  For every blog that participates, they plant a tree thus helping to neutralize the carbon footprint left by your blog.  Easy, right?

Since today is Earth Day, I've been thinking about that steps I've taken, and those I still need to take, to help make our world a better place to live for future generations.  I consider myself green; I may not be a perfect shade of green but I do all I can to help planet earth and pledge to keep bettering my efforts. 

I honestly don't know how many visitors I get in a day.  I suspect it's not 15,000 but why take that chance?

You can make your blog carbon neutral, too.   Visit the My Blog is Carbon Neutral site today and help erase your footprint.

Oh... and Happy Earth Day!  Be green. :)

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Quote for the Day

This is one of my favorite quotes and I just happened to stumble across it again today so I thought I'd share:

"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate now knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares."  ~Samuel Patterson


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Monday, March 15, 2010

What Happens After Postpartum Depression?

Amber over at Beyond Postpartum has a great blog post today about what happens after the postpartum period.  Some women have postpartum depression (PPD) and recover to parent with minimal effects.  Others (ah hem, me) still struggle with bouts of insecurity, anxiety and/or stress (among other things).  You can find Amber's blog post here: My child is no longer a baby.  I had PPD.  How is it impacting me today?

On another note, Katherine Stone over at Postpartum Progress wants to know what types of articles you want to see on her blog.  So, head on over there and leave a comment:  What Do You Want to Know About Postpartum Depression?

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Monday, March 8, 2010

A Simple Lifesaving Message

Eighty-three percent of all civilian fire-related deaths are a result of home fires, and on average, home fires kill 540 children ages 14 and under each year. An early warning can provide critical extra seconds to escape, smoke alarms double your family’s chance of getting out of a home fire alive — but only if they work.

So, when you turn your clocks back on November 1, make a lifesaving change in your household — change the batteries in your smoke alarms. This simple habit takes just a moment, but is the best defense your family has against the devastating effects of a home fire. And don't forget to check the batteries in your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and emergency power kit during the spring time change on March 14, 2010.

Please forward this message to your friends and family so that they, too, can make the simple change that could save their lives.

This reminder for the Change Your Clock Change Your Battery® program comes from your local fire department, Energizer and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Turkey and Vegetable Chili

First, allow me to give credit where credit is due:  This recipe is originally by Curtis Stone for The Biggest Loser but I made a few changes based on what I had in my kitchen.  I also didn't follow the method quite right and added the spinach and tomatoes earlier in the process.  I think, though, that it worked quite well for me that way so the recipe below reflects my changes. (You can view the original recipe here or by clicking on the recipe title below.)  We enjoyed our chili as a topping on small baked potatoes (as a meal) but it was also delicious on it's own the next day.  (Please forgive me - I forgot to take a picture of this yummy concoction before we dug in.)

Turkey and Vegetable Chili

INGREDIENTS
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, medium diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small red chili, seeded and small diced (I had a jalepeno and left the seeds in)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and small diced (I didn't have this on hand so just skipped it)
  • 1 large celery stalk, medium diced (Also didn't have)
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded and medium dice I used a combo of red and green peppers because that's what I had (and they were frozen/diced)
  • 12 ounces 1% lean ground turkey
  • 4 medium size ripe tomatoes, medium diced I didn't have tomatoes so i used a can of diced with mild green chilis and a can of original stewed (which i cut up a bit in the pan with my spatula)
  • 8 oz cooked white or black beans  (I used half a can because hubby doesn't like beans; I would have enjoyed more though)
  • 4 cups baby spinach (I had frozen chopped spinach on hand)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup plain fat free Greek style yogurt
  • Micro cilantro to garnish, (can substitute with chopped chives or chopped cilantro)
METHOD
  • Place a large saute pan over medium high heat, then drizzle with the oil.
  • Add the onion, garlic, and red chili and sauté for 2 minutes, or until tender.
  • Sprinkle the cumin, and a dash of cilantro, over the onion mix and stir well, then add the carrot, celery, spinach and bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the vegetables begin to get tender.
  • Add the tomatoes and the beans and cook for a further 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the tomatoes have broken down and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • In a separate saute pan, brown the turkey in the remaining oil over medium high heat (drain), then transfer to the vegetable mix.
  • Season the chili to taste with freshly ground black pepper
  • Spoon the chili into serving dishes or use to top a baked potato
  • Spoon a tablespoon of the yogurt onto each garnish and serve.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oh! and I almost forgot....

I have a new Facebook page!  Won't you be my fan?

Catching up?

I know, I know, I know... I keep telling you that I'm going to get caught up on my regular blog posting. I have good intentions, I really do.  I most definitely appreciate all of you hanging in there and continuing to follow me.  As much as I'd love to post more often, I also know that my number one priority is taking care of my family.  So please don't think I've forgotten about all my bloggy friends; I haven't.  I think about you often.  So, if you don't mind, please stick it out and I promise I'll keep doing my best to get "caught up."  Although, I wonder: is there really such a thing as getting caught up?  But I digress...

Given my list of chores for the day, I thought (in lieu of being original) I'd just pass along a couple new (to me) blogs that I've been forunate enough to discover.  I'm also awarding them the Best Blog Award:

Musings, Musings, Musings - The Muser shares her experiences with perinatal and postpartum depression, motherhood and more.  She is also starting a weekly round up of other blogs that discuss perinatal mood disorders (and I thank her for including me on the list).

Housewife Bliss - What a fun blog!  Her recent posts have included Sexy New Girlfriend - the experiment and Looking at my home with fresh eyes.

{P.S. - If anyone can tell me where the spell check feature is in the new Blogger post editor, I would be forever greatful. (Or is it grateful?  If I could spellcheck, I'd know.) }

{P.P.S. - Juicebox Jungle tells me that 118 people clicked on my Jungle box last month - does that mean I have more than the 18 followers I know about?  I'd love to meet you! :)  }

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Mom With a New Baby Needs Your Help! | Best for Babes

And speaking of catering a little more to postpartum moms, check out this great resource for moms to be:
A Mom With a New Baby Needs Your Help! | Best for Babes

Posted using ShareThis

Postpartum Depression Research in WNY

I was very pleased to see this article in this issue of  the Buffalo State College magazine 1300 Elmwood. 

It is still amazing to me that the United States, certainly thought to be a progressive country by most, is still one of the few that doesn't do more to help new mothers.  I think we've created a sterotype for ourselves of the perfect soccer mom - the mom who can be all, do all, and still look fabulous.  All while thoroughly enjoying every minute of it.  I'm not saying this mom doesn't exist but I'm certainly learning that this is not the norm.  Anyway... take a look at the article (it's not long):  After Baby: Now What?  Research examines access to health care for postpartum depression.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Madly in Love with Me (and a Giveaway)

Madly In Love With Me Day is Feb 13!

One of the many things I've learned (and am still learning) from my battle with postpartum depression is that I have to make time for myself.  I need to change my thinking, in many cases, and learn to believe that I am a good mother and wife.  But how can I believe that if I regularly criticize myself? 

Last night, driving home from work, I was flipping radio stations and happened to catch an interview with Christine Arylo discussing her book Choosing ME before WE, Every Woman's Guide to Life and LoveIt occurred to me that her ideas make so much sense not only from the standpoint of a romantic relationship but in other aspects of life as well.  After all, how can my son learn to love himself if I don't teach by example?  So, I made a mental note to look up her website to see what else I could find out.

Ms. Arylo's premis is simple:  self-love is essential and women need to learn to fall in love with themselves.  It really makes sense, doesn't it?  It's not about superiority or narcissim; it's about learning to love you.  ALL of you - your best qualities and your not so best.  Instead of looking in the mirror and criticizing your weight, size, shape (fill in the blank), look in the mirror and compliment yourself. Change your thinking.

In keeping with her theme, she declared February 13 as Self Love Day. As part of Self Love Day it's time to fall madly in love with me by creating my own Manifesta:

I vow. . .
to give myself the respect I deserve.
to learn to love me for who I am (not who I think I should be).
to realize that while it's ok to become better, it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with who I am.
to take care of myself the way I deserve to be taken care of.
to compliment myself daily.
to remember that learning to love my self is a process that will continue to evolve.

It's time to realize that my flaws make me who I am and that's ok.  It's ok to want to change them or improve upon myself.  It's not ok to continually knock myself down for them.  Life is about moving forward and there's no time to dwell on the negative.

I encourage you to visit the Madly in Love with Me website and make your own manifesta.  You can download a free Madly in Love with Me Guidebook here.  Start falling in love today. (With you!)

Wait... there's more! 

Like this necklace?

One lucky reader could win one of her very own!  Here's what you need to do:

  • Download the FREE Me Love Kit by clicking here.

  • Leave a comment on this blog post telling me either 1. The self-love dare you took and why? or 2. The self-love vow you took and why?
(Both the dare and the vows are found in the Me-Love Kit .  You must download the kit and take/share a vow or dare to be a part of this contest.)

Winner will be chosen with a random number generator on March 12, 2009.

*I am working with Christine Arylo as part of this blog campaign.  The necklace is being offered by her as a giveaway on this blog. 

You may also visit Facebook for chances to win other prizes.


Madly In Love With Me Day is Feb 13!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I Don't Love Being a Mom

And that bothers me.  Don't get me wrong - I love my son more than words can possibly express.  Being a mom, however, is not turning out the way I envisioned it.  I don't know what, exactly, I envisioned.  Probably the "perfect mom" who bakes cookies, does crafts and colors with her child; who is always put together and full of highly creative daily activites.  You know - the Donna Reed type.  Not that I don't ever do these things but they certainly don't come easily.  At all.  Whenever I read an article, status update, tweet, etc. that says, "I love being a mom,"  it hurts.  Because I can't honestly say that.  I am convinced, though, that someday I will. 

I have a difficult child: a speech delayed, strong willed, quick tempered, impatient two year old (yeah, I know: what two year old isn't impatient?).  It's not his fault, of course, that I don't enjoy motherhood but his temperment tests my patience (of which I had little to begin with).  Add that to my dangerous habit of idealizing everything - imagining too perfect scenarios about motherhood, holidays, life - and it's a recipe for disaster.  Oh, and did I mention that I compare myself, as a mother, to everyone?  Not healthy.

Is it remnants of postpartum depression?   Probably.  I take comfort in realizing that things ARE better.  Every now and then I do have that "perfect" day where, for at least a while, I can say "I enjoy being a mom today."

I don't think this makes me a bad mother.  (Ok, some days I do think that but overall I know that's not true.)  I know that the most important thing is that I love my son unconditionally and I do everything I am capable of to make him happy.  No one ever said motherhood was easy.  In fact, I think we've all heard the phrase, "the toughest job you'll ever love."  Sometimes it takes a while to get into the groove of a new job.  I have a lifetime to figure it out.

And yet . . . .

I think I want to do this again.

Call me crazy.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ways to Beat the Blues

I was flipping through one of my many magazines this afternoon and came across an ad for Peperidge Farm's Fishful Thinking campaign which featured a tip designed to promote optimism and positive thinking in kids.  I decided I just might have to steal the idea for myself.

The idea is a "Smile Box."  Take a small box or recipe card box and decorate it in a bright and cheery way.  Put your box in the kitchen, living room, bedroom - wherever you're likely to see it when you need a quick pick me up.  Keep a stack of index cards and colorful markers with your box and during your day when you think of something you did that made you happy, write it down on one of the cards.  Then, next time you're feeling blue, reach into your smile box for a happy thought. You could even take it a step further and add some favorite photos. (Here's Fishful Thinking's version of the project.)

Not really the DIY type?  Check out Julie Green's shop, UpUp Creative, and purchase a set of her printable Feelgood Cards (she also offers an already assembled set) or customized Feelgood List.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

How Cancer Has Touched My Life

When I was nine, my mother became ill.  It seemed sudden to me that she was in the hospital - a few times in a manner of months.  I knew during one of those visits that she had surgery.  I didn't know why.  I think my parents were trying to protect me.  It wasn't until her cancer returned, three years later, that I would learn she had colon cancer.  From that point on, she endured a lot - she was in and out of the hospital for several surgeries, a colostomy, removal of the colostomy, return of the colostomy, radiation...  Eventually the cancer spread to her lungs and other parts of her body.  She gave chemo a try at the end; a sort of last attempt at warding off the inevitable.  Finally, Hospice was called and she died in our home when I was sixteen years old and she was just 53.  I will never forget that night.  It was the night I realized she wouldn't be here to see me get married or to become a mother myself. 

I will also never forget how strong she remained throughout her lengthy battle.  The doctors didn't think she would live as long as she did.  She was a true fighter.  Any pain she may have been showing was hidden by a smile the minute I entered the room.  She didn't want me to see her suffer.  I was a teenager throught most of this - I'm sure I made things difficult on more than one ocassion (isn't that what teenagers do?) but through it all she stayed strong for me. No matter what.

I began getting colonoscopies when I turned 30.

On May 31, my 24th birthday, I came home from a river vacation to Laughlin with my friends to find my father home from work ill.  He looked worse than I'd ever seen him.  The next day his doctor sent him for chest xrays and I thought he was going to fall over on the way to the car.  I don't think I've ever been so scared. 

The chest xray showed fluid.  A surgical attempt to remove the fluid a few days later would show that it was actually a type of tumor.  He had mesothelioma. He tried chemo and several experimental drugs.  His battle would not go on as long as my mother's.  I know it pained him deeply that he would be leaving me an orphan.  I know he tried hard to fight.  Just three short months later he died at Hospice; two weeks shy of his 62nd birthday.  I had to convince him that it was ok to go and I would be alright.  He, too, always tried to put on a smile when I came in the room.

After he died I was angry.  Very angry.  You see, one of our constant battles was that he never went to the doctor.  He didn't have health insurance and didn't think he could spend the money.

There are, sadly, so many more friends and family members affected by this horibble disease:

  • My dear friend died of prostate cancer when he was just 22.
  • My mother's best friend, my sort of surrogate mother, died of colon cancer 3 years ago.
  • Another dear friend fought a battle with cervical cancer 2 years ago and is a survivor!
  • I had pre-cancerous cells removed from my cervix in 2003.
  • My best friend's grandfather has had numerous skin cancer surgeries.
  • Yet another dear friend is currently battling colon cancer.
  • A friend's dad is in remission from prostate cancer.
  • Another friend's dad has been battling pancreatic cancer for six months.
  • Numerous women in my mom's group have/had family members affected by cancer.
My extended family has been affected by colon cancer, Leukemia, breast cancer...  Too much.

So today, World Cancer Day 2010, I strongly encourage you to do your best to stay healthy.  Maintain regular doctor visits, maintain a healthy weight, stop smoking, wear sunscreen, stop tanning.  Pay attention to your body!  Encourage your friends and family to lead a healthy life and give up those bad habits.

Maybe some day they will find a cure.  I pray they do.

The following information is courtesy of the UICC World Cancer Campaign:
  • Each year, 12 million people receive a cancer diagnosis and 7.6 million people die of cancer. If no action is taken, the worldwide cancer burden is projected to reach 26 million[1] new diagnoses in the year 2030 and 17 million[2] deaths, with the most rapid increases occurring in low- and middle-income countries.
  • The good news is that experts estimate that approximately 40% of cancers are potentially preventable. You can significantly reduce the risk of you or your family developing cancers related to tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, excessive sun exposure and obesity by avoiding these risk factors and encouraging healthy behaviour such as regular exercise and eating healthily.
  • In addition, some cancers such as cervical, liver and stomach cancers are known to be caused by chronic infections. Prevention of these infections is possible through interventions such as vaccination, antibiotics, improved sanitation and learning simple avoidance strategies.
  • World Cancer Day, under the campaign slogan “Cancer can be prevented too”, is led by the International Union Against Cancer (UICC), the leading international NGO which unites over 300 member organisations in more than 100 countries in the global fight against cancer through the implementation of the World Cancer Declaration.
Support World Cancer Day 2010 - February 4th. Visit http://www.uicc.org/

Friday, January 22, 2010

I'm Back!

Although you probably didn't know I was gone because I'm a paranoid Mommy Blogger who was afraid to let the world wide web know that I wouldn't be home for a week.

We took a great family vacation back to my hometown of San Diego.  As soon as I get caught up (that will happen, right?) I'll  tell you more about it and get caught up on  my blogging.  In the meantime, here's some San Diego sunshine (and a cacuts) for you:

Monday, January 11, 2010

Did you know...

...that January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month?  Take time to learn more about how YOU can stay healthy and, hopefully, prevent cervical cancer by visiting Pearl of Wisdom:

Friends tell friends how to prevent cervical cancer.  Learn how at www.PearlofWisdom.us

Learn more about Cervical Cancer and take the plede to prevent cervical cancer here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Need A Personal Assistant?

If you don't already follow Tip Junkie, and you're looking to get organized in a fun way, you'll want to check out her new Personal Assistant each month.  Great tips and free printables.  I can't wait to get started.

Reading Challenge Updates

Well, I didn't quite make any of the book challenges I joined in 2009 but I did finish 21 books and I still think that's not too shabby.  For 2010 my goal is to read 30 books (down from 50 but that's ok).  Of the 30 I'm also challenging myself to include10 library books and 10 by authors new to me.

Here's the final 2009 list:

1. Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton


2. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

3. The Rivals by Joan Johnston

4. The Next Mrs. Blackthorne by Joan Johnston

5. Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson

6. The Passion of Artemesia by Susan Vreeland

7. Miss Julie by August Strindberg

8. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

9. Edith Wharton Short Stories

10. Daddy by Danielle Steele

11. Witness in Death by JD Robb

12. New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

13. Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer

14. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Myer

15. The Great Eight by Scott Hamilton

16. What am I thinking; Having a Baby After Postpartum Depression by Karen Kleiman

17. Literary Savannah by Patrick Allen

18. The Mighty Queens of Freevile by Amy Dickinson (LOVED this book)

19. Red, White and Blue by Susan Iassacs

20. The Deception of the Emerald Ring

21. The Seduction of the Crimson Rose

Saturday, January 2, 2010

It's A New Year


First, let me just say that I don't make resolutions.  The only one I've ever kept was the one I made around seven years ago:  not to make any more New Year's Resolutions.  That being said, I do like to set certain goals for myself.  I just don't put that pressure on of having to accomplish something by the end of the year - that just doesn't work for me.

So, I've thought a lot about what I want to work on this year and I decided that getting my life organzied is a good way to go.  I don't just mean clutter on the dining room table (oh there's plenty) but rather clutter in my life.  Little by litte I want to fix this.  I realize this will be a process and I may need to take baby steps in some sense.

I posted a week or so ago about going back to work.  You see, I've been browsing around The Professional Family Manager for at least six months and thinking how right Michelle is:  Motherhood is a job.  A full-time job at that.  So why don't I treat it like one? 

I get to the end of every day, get the baby (ok, toddler) in bed, and start scrambling to finish about a million chores before bed.  If I decide to relax, then the chores pile up for the next day and thus the vicious cycle begins.  By the next morning, I'm exhausted and don't get up till I hear babble (or cries) coming from the other room.  I then trudge, toddler in tow, to the living room in my pajamas and slippers.  By the time I get dressed for my day, it's already half over!  This just can't go on.

Now, if you didn't click on either of the above links yet, do.  Then come back.

My plan is to start reorganizing my routine.  I need to set my alarm, get up, get showered, dressed, etc. and start my work day.  Hopefully, I can get some of my chores, even if it's just the sit-down computer type, done before the ltitle guy is up and clamoring (rightly so) for my attention.  My goal is to get my evenings back - I want to be able to sit and relax before bed not always scrambling to get everythign done.  I realize that won't always be the case but my hope is that it also won't be the norm.

Wish me luck!  I've never been an easy riser (I'm the queen of the snooze button) so this is definitely going to take some doing.  Baby steps.  I just need to remember it doesn't all have to happen at once.

Happy New Year!

*Photo Credit to Laurie|Liquid Paper on Flickr