Monday, June 30, 2014

Where did June go?

It is so crazy to think that week 3 of summer is starting this week and the 4th of July is looking us straight in the eye! Where is our summer going?!

I am trying to do something with the kids every day. I know that sounds funny, but by that I mean, something fun/special/out of the dull drum of our daily activities.  That would have worked if a belt on my car didn't snap on Tuesday and leave me without a car until Friday night. LOL
Last week, aside from not having a car, it looked like it was going to rain just about every day.  Well on Friday I decided to chance it and walk the kids to Briggs Park regardless.  We were there about 3 hours and the kids had a BLAST!! Willow can walk around the edge, and started to jump into the pool.  The boys are great swimmers this year so I can let them jump off the diving board and not worry about them, so I just have to play with the babies.  Now with that said trying to hold Orion the whole time and entertain Willow is a bit difficult; but it just happened that a friend was at the pool too that day so she played with Willow while I kept Orion.  Amanda was there with us as well, but she actually came with her friend and while she isn't the greatest swimmer this summer; she can do basic things to keep her entertained.

I also made play dough and Willow loves it (recipe here).  I made the first recipe there on the page, and figure I will try the others later.
Willow also tried to tell me that I am not going to potty train her, and well... after a little thinking on my part; I told her we don't have any more diapers left and she would have to use the bathroom all day. I put her in a dress for 3 days and big girl underwear on day 4 (today is day 6), and well each day she has been in underwear we have had some sort of accident it has been later in the day as in almost bed time. I think she is too tired and I am too busy getting everyone all they need I don't catch her in enough time. So I need to start with her I think tomorrow!
I haven't mentioned much about my journey with PPD in a bit and well, personally I am still having a hard time with it.  I am able to care for the children, hang out, take them places etc. But on a personal level I feel like I am expelling so much energy to just 'be' for them that there is nothing left in me.  I crawl into bed and that is about it for me anymore.  To be honest, this blog alone is three days in the making and I still feel it is discombobulated in so many ways.  There were many thoughts that have been through my head and yet I feel scrambled at the moment.  To be honest, I just returned from a walk and am starting again...  The one thing I am working on remembering is to just take each day as they come. This was something I did to get through all the hospital visits and news we had with Willow in her first year with hydrocephalus.  It somehow got me through, so I will go that route again. Take today as it comes, and value it for the gift it has for you.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Difficult days

The plan for the day was to go pick strawberries.  The weather had a different idea for today - rain.  So we are not picking today; and really I am okay with that. It's a go with the flow type of day.  Who knows what the rest of the day will bring... only not everyone in my house feels the same way.

Evan asked me after he was done with his breakfast when we would be going to pick strawberries.  I quickly quieted him down as Willow has not asked yet (and she is the big reason we are taking this adventure), and explain to him that it is raining. The news was on, and it was at the weather segment, so I even got to show him the radar... it will be raining for a while this morning as its a slow moving front.  He started to cry.  I know changes in routine bother him, and I know he hates surprises, but what I am still having a hard time understanding is his lack in understanding that I can't control some aspects of our day (ie today's weather).  He is quite upset and is now rocking himself on the couch under his blanket.  It is days like today where I wish he could go with the flow a little bit more, or I could just understand him a tiny bit more so that this rough morning doesn't get worse; because you see - today will get worse. This rain has just set his mood for the entire day, and he will be quite difficult to deal with. Any suggestion I may have to make things better will only be met with grumbles, anger, and a bit of anxiety too.

Well, off to let him decompress and then remind him of our chore and school hour... please send lots of patience this way.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Too soon to tell...

Well, my kids have been on summer vacation for a week now.  I would like to say that things are going great so far; but that wouldn't show the whole picture if I did. You see Jonathan left for an out of state camp Monday morning, and doesn't return until 12:30-1 am Friday night/Saturday morning (however you want to see it).  Amanda has spent all but a day or two at a friends house, and Evan had day camp this week and so was gone from 12:30-3:30 Monday through Thursday.  So my first week WAS GREAT!! But I don't have all my kids home to drive me crazy yet either. LOL

Home schooling them is going well.  They all respect my summer rules (even Amanda when she was home), and do the one chore of their choice and get right on school work - so that part is working out wonderful as well.  Willow is really taking well to the letter of the day lesson plans too.  We have done A, B and today was S. No one said we had to do them in order :)  We have also made special treats on each of these days. Apple pie for A, Banana Cream pudding and Brownies for B and well today wasn't so special but she helped me make a sandwich for her to eat. We have been careful to listen while we talk and to see if we hear anyone say the letter of the day, as well as practice writing it.  It's been a lot of fun to work with her and see how excited she gets.  I have also found that she can type out her name on the iPad, which for a 3 year old I still think is amazing!

So while we have survived the first week of summer vacation quite well, I also know that I have been spoiled a bit in not having most of my children home the whole time.  I really wonder if I will feel so great this time next week?!

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Start of our Summer

Well, it is the first full week of summer vacation.  I have Jonathan off to camp this week with friends from Frontline Community Church at NTS camp - he said he was excited about that endeavor.  Evan is attending a day camp this week at the West Michigan Academy of Environmental Sciences, with his theme being Flinging Newtons (so he is building a catapult and a rocket this week).  He came home with a smile so huge, it was pretty cool :)

I have instituted summer rules for our house as well:
Willow and Amanda seemed to really like the fact that we would still have fun this summer if all the rules were followed.  

So the first rule is one chore must be done by lunch time, and here are the choices they may choose from daily: 

They just have to pick one thing on that list and make sure it gets done in the morning. Then we have an hour of summer school at our house this year.  That is partly because Evan needs structure or he breaks down very easily (hence his half day of day camp this week to ease into lazier days) and partly because Amanda failed at multiplication and division and really needs the help; as does Jonathan with focus (if anyone has any idea how to truly improve that, I am taking suggestions).  So to make it fair its summer school for all (including Willow).  Surprisingly there was not much fight to that rule. I will do this by doing a half hour of book work and half hour of an approved website.  They have a list near the computer of what they can play on, and they may pick one or two and play for 30 minutes.  If this is all done without arguments, that truly would leave us all afternoon to have FUN!! I have explained it to them in that manner as well, in hopes that we will have less break downs, less fighting and whining as well.  We will see... after all it is only the first week of summer vacation.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Is there a difference?!

I have been asked that question a few times lately, as it's been three weeks since I have been on my antidepressant medication.  I was told a few stories that I may have crazy side effects, or I may notice nothing at all.  It is this noticing of nothing at all that I am supposed to be looking for... sounds odd right?!  My understanding of that was I was supposed to just notice one day that things didn't seem to bother me as much anymore.  Thankfully I can say I feel a difference.  Whether my family see's it or not yet may be a different answer (hey I am only human); but I can say that I don't feel as anxious or cluttered, or even in a constant fog anymore.  I still have days where I want to stay in my room all day and just disappear.  But those days are no longer every day.

I can also say that I have missed a night here or there in remembering to take my pill and I have noticed the next day that upon waking up it is an instant feeling of panic.  Now that I know what I am looking for it is so easy to sense when it is not right and acknowledge it.  Yet still so scary to feel so out of control of myself at the same time.

I still want to thank all my friends and family who are here lately sharing stories and supporting me in this.  I have had some reactions from 'how could you not be with 5 kids?', to 'who isn't depressed these days?!', and in some odd way, that too is reassuring. :)

Today starts my kids summer vacation, and I am looking forward to it.  We have no big plans really, but little things here and there will fill our summer I am sure.  But I think it will be nice to not have to run out for a few months early in the morning unless I really want to. Have a great summer everyone!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Wrestling within - the next chapter

So I suppose I almost set myself up for failure from the word 'go' on this journey of my life.  Last year Jon and I decided we would make the jump in our family from 2 part time incomes, to one full time income and we would actually come out better in the end.  What that meant was that I was going to be a stay at home mom (SAHM), but I have NEVER stayed home exclusively with our children (shocking I know, but I haven't).  I have always done something outside of the home - be it school, working, PTA, cub scout leader... It didn't matter what it was, there was always something I was juggling (on top of wife and mother). But that was how I wanted it, that was how I made my life to be.  I have known since having Jonathan that I love my children dearly but I can not stay home with them.  I do not possess this quality of patience that it requires to raise little people well; funny since my life goal since second grade was to be a teacher; yet that too was justifiable.  I have the patience for all other children but my own, it truly was that simple, or so I thought.  All last summer I still worked though, two days a week for about three hours each day.  It was something that got me out of the house and gave me a break from feeling needed ALL day.

In August that all changed, and my boss said to just stay home and enjoy the rest of my pregnancy and call six weeks after birth. So I did; but at that time she said she no longer needed me.  It was official! I was a SAHM now with nothing on my responsibility list except to raise little people... I think as that realization started to set in was when I grew further into my depression.  I think if you were to ask Jon though, he noticed things shortly after Orion's birth, though I really couldn't tell you when he showed a lot of concern towards me.  I already suffer from seasonal affective disorder (or seasonal depression) so winters in Michigan are not my favorite time of the year, but this winter was hard. Not only due to being stuck indoors so much because of weather, but I had a new little person to raise, who needed me ALL THE TIME and Willow still NEEDS me ALL. THE. TIME.

If you know me and you are reading this story, it may be coming as a surprise to you.  I did a great job of hiding my thoughts and feelings. I denied being depressed because I saw it completely different than how I was feeling. I was tending to all the needs of my kids, but I wasn't interacting with them. I was keeping myself kept, and would go out to social gatherings (like Mom's group) or have coffee with friends and put a smile on my face at all times.  I did not believe I was suffering from depression, I felt I was tired due to Orion always being awake at night, and if it wasn't him, well Willow still wakes up at night.  I thought it was a rough day due to someone being sick, whatever the excuse was I found it.  There was no way I was suffering from depression.  Jon would ask me how am I doing and offer up the depression idea and I would say I am fine and not depressed.  I just told him things would get better when... (fill in the blank with whatever I thought would make things easier for me at the time).  But they weren't.

Jon reminded me about a month back that spring IS here (one of my excuses), and that I am still not myself.  It was then that it started to sink in that I have been coming up with many excuses as to why I was not well and that nothing had really gotten better.  Then I went to our last Mom's group meeting where the topic was depression (funny since I hadn't gone to a meeting since before Christmas for various reasons) and I realized that depression was not just how I thought it was.  My lack of motivation, my lack of feeling connected, the fog I felt in my head. The anxiety I felt that I was not being what a SAHM should be (whatever that really means), the pressure I had put on myself to do everything because Jon is working and that is what a SAHM is suppose to do.. All of it was part of how I was suffering from depression.

You see anyone who suffers from depression really does suffer differently; but it doesn't lessen the fact that it is there.  Yet no one wants to talk about it either.  It is so hard for me because for some reason, I feel like less of a person, mother, wife because I... I am not sure I have found the reason or the word for why actually. But I feel less than my old self I will say that.  I have never looked at someone else I have personally known with depression any differently than I had before, but I look at myself differently. That is also a bit of a struggle.

But for now, that is the story of my struggle, and I am sharing it because as I said yesterday - sharing our stories doesn't just help us heal, it helps others who are suffering too. I have always been an open book when it comes to my past of sexual abuse, miscarriages, bad days, good days, parenting fails, etc... But this is a lot harder to share.  So thank you all who have been so warm and kind since yesterday. It means a lot.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Wrestling within

So there has been this post that has been writing itself over and over within my mind for at least a couple of months now.  Do I share it?  Do I keep it to myself?  What would my closest friends think?  Or what about my family?  It's those questions and so many other feelings that have left me keeping it all to myself...

Until today - this won't be a complete story, or maybe even not a basic understanding (after all I have two little ones still home needing my attention).  But it needs to be said, for a few reasons, I suppose.

I have recently been diagnosed and am now on medication for post-partum depression.  It is not easy to say and share with you, as I am still fighting it within myself.  I do not want to admit that I have depression, or that I am something less than myself (whatever that may mean).  But the fact is, I need to share this part of my life as well because I have always felt that a good way to heal from wounds within is to share our stories with others.  We are never truly alone no matter how ALONE we may feel.  But this part of my life journey is very difficult to put out there.

So for now, I will share that tiny little piece of my life and let you know that not every day is easy, and that is okay. Not every day is full of smiles, though I may wear a smile in front of you. I am doing better now that I am on meds; but things are slow and that is okay as well.

Thanks for understanding and I will promise to share more when I have the time to really sit down and process.