Dear Readers.

Dear Readers,

 

I have been absent. It is not something I ever planned to do when creating this website. I have had such high dreams and come so far through all of this. As many of you have read, I opened up about my Postpartum Depression and everything nasty little thing it did to me. It was not an easy thing for me to write, and honestly, so many times I wanted to give up and trash it. Mental illness is not something I can say I have an handle on, I don’t. But I work so hard to be a better person and nothing is going to stop me.

In my absence all of you kept reading, commenting, and sharing. It is that kind of support that makes me know all of this is worth it. What you don’t know is that my marriage has been rocky for some time now. I can not say that fault lies with either one of us directly, we both could have done things differently.

For now I will be moving to my home town as we take a break and look at the grand scheme of things. I plan to keep writing and developing my website. Thank you all for your support.

 

MainStays Kids Plastic 24 Piece Dish Set.

Having two toddlers means we go through a lot of dishes. Being the smart shopping momma that I am, I LOVE a good deal. Especially on things that my kids will out grow or not use for very long. When it comes to children’s dishes, yeah the sets with fun animals on them are cute, but are they really worth the price?

I was recently in Walmart browsing the back to school section. I know what you are thinking “But she has two toddlers, what does she need in that section?” I have a thing about office supplies. Anyway, as I am looking around at lunch pails I see this 24 piece plastic dish wear set for only $5!

I was so excited to buy this! I love the fun colors and obviously the price. What I love most is that these plates and bowls do to not have a plastic film to them that bubbles up or rips after too many uses. We have had several plates and bowls like that. Water would get underneath the plastic, it was hard to get out and would start to grow mold. So we instantly threw those out.

 

I love the idea of the lunch trays. They will be great when we travel. Toddlers are all about independence and like to carry their own plates. Paper plates are often flimsy and my son drops them. They trays are light enough, sturdy enough, and easy to distributed food across so the weight is even. This will make it easier for Emmett to carry his own plates. The size of the tray is also a win for me, I can fit more variety of things on his tray. And like most families, at our reunions there is always a huge variety of food to try.

The plates and bowls are amazing as well. They are light weight, easy for little hands to carry and great size. We have had a carrying issue in the past.

The best part about the forks and spoons are the length. This makes it easy for parents to help toddlers navigate food to their mouth. If you have ever tried to feed a kid with a short spoon or fork, you know what I am talking about. The forks and spoons are very durable so they wont break as easy as some other plastic wear. Plus, how fun are these colors?

As you can see, the cups are easy to use for little hands. They are super lightweight and small enough for both of my kiddos to hold comfortably. This makes learning to use a cup so much easier.

Con’s: They are not dishwasher or microwave safe. Which is not a big deal, I don’t mind hand washing. But it is not convenient when you are busy and just want to load the dishwasher and go.

I love the price Mainstays has set for this, that was a big factor in being buying this item. All around I will give the Mainstays Plastic 24 Piece Dish Set a 8 out of 10.

What Stay-at-Home-Mom’s Want You to Know.

It’s no lie that every mom has a tough job. No matter if you are a working mom or a stay at home mom, someone always has something to say. I never realized all of the misconceptions there were about being a stay at home mom. I also did not realize how many people had an option about my choice to do so.

  1. Not all of us are staying home because we want to. I know, I know you think it might be an option, and often it is. But you have to look at the financial matter to staying home as well. Having kids is expensive, between diapers, clothing, feeding them, money just blows in one window and out the other. Having to pay a daycare or babysitter X amount of money each week puts a huge dent in what you bring home. On top of the gas to get to work and any other expenses you may have, staying home might actually be a financially smart move in the long run.
  2. Not all of us are “Crunchy moms”. I had no idea what this term even meant until like 4 months ago.  I am a former breastfeeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering mom and had no idea there was a term for that. But I have also been the mom who used disposable, pushed the kids around in the stroller, and currently giving my 13 month old formula. My kids are smart, happy, and that is what’s important to me.
  3. It’s more lonely than you think. Not all of us have mommy tribes that play date every Wednesday. Most of us don’t get to go on dates with our significant others because not many people offer to watch the kids. Getting time for myself is hard, most people think because I do stay home that I don’t have the need for a babysitter or to do anything alone. It can get depressing not having someone to talk to.
  4. We don’t just spend our husbands money. Actually, if you need a serious 101 in budgeting, find a stay at home mom. Our money saving tricks and tips are the best around. Our designer yoga pants, we bought them on clearance. (little SAHM joke for you) But in all seriousness, living on one income is not easy, I have gotten pretty creative with my money saving skills.
  5. We actually love it. I know it seems like we complain a little. But deep down we wouldn’t want our lives any other way. Being a stay at home mom has been the best gift my husband could give me. I love having the open ability to do anything and everything with my kids. Being home for the first words, steps, being able to video tape them for my husband to see. I couldn’t be happier with my decision to stay home.

Being a stay at home mom has so many up and downs. You learn new limits that you didn’t know you had, you also learn some amazing life skills. I wear my badge with pride, and I hope you do to.

What Postpartum Depression Did to Me.

 

If you have children, you have probably been told about Postpartum Depression. But have you been told about the actual dangers around Postpartum Depression? I wasn’t.  Having my first child was supposed to be a joyous occasion for my husband and I; for the most part it was. With all of the day dreams I had, I was excited to step into my new role as a mother. After having a major miscarriage the September before my son was born I knew I wanted to be a mother. I fell into a really bad depression and could hardly function. By January we were pregnant and overwhelmed with joy. I was taken off of work and put on bed rest due to having a history of complications staying pregnant. We thought everything was finally looking up for us, what I never told anyone is that my depression was getting worse. I played it off like I was fine and even started to believe that myself.

As my due date grew closer I became more anxious. Not about having my son finally with us, in fact it was about everything else. We lived in the neighborhood both my mother and I grew up in with the same neighbors yet I started locking my doors, even during the day. I was constantly scared someone was going to break into my apartment. I always had it in my head that my husband was cheating on me even though I knew he wasn’t. I had never been an anxious person before and couldn’t understand what was happening to me.

After Emmett was born, I was happy for a while. I was relieved to be home with my husband and to start my new life as a stay at home mom. Two weeks later the crying started and I couldn’t stop. All I did was cry, I hated myself, I hated everyone. I felt like I had let this little boy down already, I knew it wasn’t true, but the thoughts kept coming. Emmett was around three months old when I finally called my doctor and told her about how I was feeling, she confirmed it was postpartum depression. I started an anti depressant and everything seemed to be getting better. I wasn’t as angry, I was feeling productive in my role as a mother and a wife. I was working out and losing all of the weight I had gained, I was starting to be my “old goofy self” again.

The medication helped me get my life back on track and I was truly happy. By Emmett’s first birthday we had gotten pregnant again, we wanted our kids close in age but didn’t think it would happen as soon as it did. I had to stop my medication immediately because of the effects it could have on the baby during pregnancy. I was not informed I needed to wean off of the medication and soon became angry again. The stress of pregnancy and a toddler was wearing me down. I was sick constantly and Emmett was getting to be a lot on me, even though he was just being a normal toddler. I once again started getting anxious over everything and could hardly function. I was falling deeper and deeper into my depression and anger and couldn’t see what it was doing to me.

Three months before Norva was due Matthew accepted a job that was two hours from where we lived. This meant he was going to be gone during the week and only home on weekends. Because we only had one vehicle I had to pick him up Fridays and drop him off Sundays. It was a lot on my heavily pregnant body and mind. Especially being alone with Emmett during the week. I had a lot of help between my cousin who lived with me , my sister who lived next to me, and my mother who came almost every week, but it wasn’t the same as having my husband around.

When Norva arrived I thought that all of the depression would finally be over. I wanted to so badly to believe that, but it was so different from what actually happened.

My depression hit an all time high after having my daughter. I was lashing out at friends and family, I was angry and yelling all of the time, all my husband and I did was fight, and I never saw any of this. I couldn’t understand what was going on around me, I couldn’t see what I was doing to the people who loved me. I couldn’t even see the toll it was taking on my kids to have a mother like that. A mother who was always upset or mad, a mother who would get frustrated at the smallest things, a mother who would be in a bad mood all day because of something silly. My son had started to bite his nails and I couldn’t make any connection with my daughter who was only a few months old at the time. Breast feeding became more and more difficult, all I wanted to do was give up. I didn’t feel like I was good enough to be a mother, I felt like they would be better off with out me, that my husband would be fine with out me. I went between thoughts of suicide and running away from my family. In this time frame we made a major move. It is is where everything got worse and worse for me. It was winter time, I was secluded in a town where I didn’t know anyone, my husband was still gone for days at a time, and I was alone with two small kids and no vehicle. I had no help and felt like I had no allies. This is when I knew I had a problem and began looking up the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression. What I found is that I didn’t have the signs for just postpartum depression, I also had the signs of postpartum anxiety.

Just as I was figuring this out, I was always making excuses as to why I couldn’t get help. Some excuses were even so far fetched that I didn’t even believe them. I knew I needed to get help, but I felt like such a failure not just my kids and husband, but to myself as well. I no longer recognized the person looking back at me, I could no longer recognize the sound of my own voice, and I couldn’t place who was thinking these thoughts about suicide, there was no way that could have been me. I spent so many nights crying trying to figure out where the real me had gone and looking for any trace of her I might still have left. I could never find the happiness I once had, or the passion, things I used to love doing I now hated or couldn’t do anymore. I hated everything and everyone, mostly myself and what I had become.

In March of 2017 we made another major move, this time closer to my husband work. This meant we would be together as a family everyday and I would be able to get the help I needed. But at first I didn’t. The first two weeks I felt amazing, I was happy, we were all together as a family again. I was getting out and exploring my new town and meeting the neighbors. My postpartum depression and anxiety soon came back with vengeance. I became so angry with my husband for moving me so far from my home. I was so angry that I had no one I could call to sit with the kids for an hour while I de-stressed. I felt even more secluded than I did when I literally had no one. To say my marriage was on thin ice would be an understatement, we were both just waiting for the other to say it was over. Once again, instead of getting help, I just blamed everyone else, this time my husband got the worse of my lashing out. He no longer wanted to be around me, we both could feel the tension and knew something needed to give.

When our marriage hit an all time low and I left for a weekend, I would be lying if I said I didn’t like the lack of responsibility I felt. It was a much needed break that gave me time to get the clarity to see my life, where it had gone, and what I needed to do about it all. I decided when I returned back home I would be calling around for a therapist to finally do something about this. I told my husband of my plan and that I would require his help and support to make all of this work. I made sure we were on the same page 100% before I jumped into anything.

After a week of calling around, I found a therapist I felt comfortable meeting with. We have had several meetings since and I can honestly say it is doing so much good for me. I told her about all of the feelings I had and my thoughts to look into medication. She suggested working out as well so I joined a gym that week. I also recently started a new anti-depressant and can feel such progress in my life and see my relationships improving. I am no longer lashing out at people, my mood has improved and I actually feel happy. I am making huge strides in the gym and my physical well being, all around I feel like I am getting back to normal.

When ever I talk to people about this time in my life, I am completely honest with them. I don’t want anyone to go through what I have been dealing it. I know the strides I am currently making are not a quick fix and that this will take time. But I am ready for that fight and get my life back.

If you or someone you know has had a child in the past 12 months and are showing any signs or symptoms, please call your doctor. You don’t have to fight this alone. According to http://postpartumprogress.org  15% of women are affected by postpartum depression.

Postpartum Depression signs:

  • Excessive crying
  • Sever panic and anxiety attacks
  • Intense anger or irritability
  • Difficulty bonding with baby
  • Thoughts of death of suicide

Postpartum Psychosis signs:

  • Confusion
  • Obsessive thoughts about baby
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions and hallucinations

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/basics/symptoms/con-20029130

Thank you for taking the time to read my experience with postpartum depression and what it did to me. I hope this post can help you or someone you know. Having a good support system is so important. Remember you are loved and you are worth it.

38 Simple ways to bond as a Family

When you think about spending time with your family, you might think about dinner time where you discuss your day, Sunday evening board games, or camping on the weekends. It all might have been so fun or relaxing, but it also helped you build a strong bond with you parents, siblings, and other members of your family. As children grow they learn everything about life from their parents, having a strong bond helps children grow more confident in themselves. It has also been suggested that children who have steady positive interaction with their parents will less likely have negative behaviors or suffer from depression.

Often the biggest challenge families have when trying to set aside family time is when and how to do it. The great thing about spending time with your family and bonding is that it can literally happen when ever and where ever. It could be something big like a road trip or something small like taking 15 minutes a day to talk. Many people seem to think that spending time with the family has to be routine, it is a nice thought, but not ever family has that option.

If you have ever worked in a public setting such as restaurant, gas station, stores, etc, you know that you don’t always have a set schedule; you might not even have the same days off each week. Some people even work over night which leaves very little time during the day to sleep and do other daily living activities, others might even work opposing shifts as their S/O. So how do you plan to spend time with family when you live an unconventional schedule? You have to be creative with the things you do.

  1. Plan trips and events a month in advance
  2. Check out local events and festivals
  3. Research your family genealogy
  4. Write notes to each other
  5. Find time to read together
  6. Talk walks
  7. Tell your kids stories about your childhood
  8. Ask for their help with meal planning
  9. Play card or board games
  10. Invent your own family game. Example; Trivia about your family
  11. Color and draw together
  12. Start a family journal
  13. Camp out or camp “in”
  14. Video chat
  15. Learn about a country and its cultures
  16. Do crafts
  17. Take an interest in your children’s interests
  18. Bake or cook together
  19. Find a new show to watch each week
  20. Start a family group message or text
  21. Start a family scrap book
  22. Play dress up at grandma and grandpas
  23. Volunteer
  24. Talk in accents all day
  25. Spend time with each person individually
  26. Ask your kids what they want to do
  27. Make Holiday decor
  28. Simply just talk to each other
  29. Build a fort or tree house
  30. Catch fire flies
  31. Make goal charts and help each other meet their goals
  32. Plant flowers or a vegetable garden
  33. Take a class together
  34. Stargaze
  35. Watch the sun rise or set
  36. Go to an SCA event or a Renaissance fair
  37. Go berry picking
  38. Have a dance party

I hope this list helps you create beautiful memories and have some summer fun!

On The Road With Kids: My Top 4 Essentials.

If you have ever been in the car for a long time, you know how uncomfortable it can become. Now imagine if you are a toddler or child trying to sit in the car for hours. My two year old can hardly sit for 5 minutes, he gets that from me, I always have to be doing something.

I have found that when we are going on a trip, even if it is just around town to pay bills and do shopping, I have to be prepared for everything and anything. This is pretty vital when you have children, especially two toddlers who fear nothing.

  1. Emergency kit– My emergency kit is something I picked up at a drug store. It contains everything you need for cuts, burns, Tylenol, upset tummy, all basic first aid. I keep one in my car at all times, you never know when you will stop at a park so the kids can let off some energy or if someone decides to climb out of the cart in the store. I also found it helpful to put fun stickers in the kit so my kids will feel better.
  2. Collapsible Baskets– I have several in the car. One for toys that are in car only, we switch them out every few months. One for extra diapers, wipes, sunscreen, extra clothing for kids and mom, and snacks that wont go bad. I do not keep drinks like bottled water in car, I bring those when leaving. I keep an extra basket for things like muddy shoes, wet clothing, etc. A bag would work great for these as well. It also helps keep that car more organized
  3. Small cooler/Large Lunch Box– Kids are CONSTANTLY hungry, except when it is time for dinner. I try to pack little lunch like things to go along with the snacks I already keep in the car. Due to us only have one vehicle right now, we have to plan our day during my husbands work schedule. Which means all or our store trips, bill paying, etc is around lunch time. We also live in a city, so we tend to get stuck in traffic a bit. This is where the lunch box is handy. My kids have quick snacks to grab. I put in PB&J sandwiches, cheese sticks, drinks, fruit, veggies. This is also a must if you breastfeed, you have snacks and some where to store milk if you have to pump.
  4. Toys– I know I mentioned this in number 2 about the baskets, but I want to go a little more into it. I went to the dollar store and bought a bunch of small $1 toys for the car. Something that if it gets lost wont be missed. We have cars, books, stuffed animals, coloring supplies, toys that make sounds, and some outside toys like chalk for when we stop to play. Stopping to play is super important for us, the kids need to get out some of that energy the build up. Some people like to bring things like tablets, Ipads, portable DVD players, which is all fine, but my kids are small yet, so I try to stay away for digital unless we will be in the car for hours. That is where I bring portable DVD players and some movies.

 

I always keep these items in my car, even if we are going across town. Have two toddlers has taught me that even when you are prepared, you are never really prepared. These items just help my day go a little smoother when we are out and about.

Do you have any “must have” items in your car? Email me about them at Chaoswithsugar@gmail.com or comment below! Have a great trip!

Maternity clothing and what I found most useful.

Now, all women love a good deal on clothing, and when you are expecting a little bundle of cuddles, you probably want to save as much money as you can. I personally always shop sales, clearance, and discount clothing stores like Burlington Coat Factory. If you have never been into a Burlington Coat Factory, it is literally name brand clothing at huge discount prices. And I mean HUGE discounts. You really can not beat it. But if you can not find anything you like there, which I will find hard to believe, there are always sales at other stores. H&M sell maternity clothing, Motherhood Maternity, the list of stores goes on.

For all you first timers, you are probably thinking “Am I really going to need maternity clothes. I won’t get that big.” Well, I am going to let you in on a little secret, I DID get that big. I gain 53 pounds with my first pregnancy and 48 with my second. Now, I am high risk and spend a bit on time on bed rest, but if you are active and make healthy eating choices, weight might not be a big issue.

Did I spend a lot on maternity clothing? Actually no, between both pregnancies I spent about $150 dollars worth of actual maternity and nursing clothing.. As I stated before, I had a summer pregnancy and spent about 75% of it in a bikini. My winter pregnancy was was leggins and over sized shirts.  If I could go back and redo my clothing choices, I would probably have bought more clothing.

Essentials for Maternity Fashion and Comfort:

1. Shoes. Shoes are probably the most important to me. All I wore my first pregnancy was flip flops. My feet were in constant pain and swollen. With my second pregnancy I wore a light weight sneaker with a good sole in the fall and spring time. Holy moley did sneakers make a difference. Sure my feet were still swollen on and off, but not as badly as they were when I wore nothing but flip flops. In the winter months, if you live somewhere that gets snow like I do, a boot with a good deep tread is important. Our body changing, changes our center of gravity, you want a good tread to avoid falls.

2. Anything with an elastic waist band. Now, I am not talking about shopping in the grandma section of Kmart. Lately I have been seeing more and more shorts being made of a light cloth material that has a comfortable waist. I bought a pair at walmart just after having my second child and instantly wished I had bought them sooner. I wore a lot of gym shorts, joggers, and leggins while I was pregnant. Jeans just were not comfortable for me, even the maternity jeans. Often they were too lose somewhere and too tight in another spot.

3. Maternity Jeans. I feel as if finding the right fitting maternity jeans is like finding a unicorn. They can have their perks as well. For instance, if you have to squat down to pick something up, the high waist band covers you undies from trying to peak out…or anything else that might try to peak out, I had it happen to me in the store. I strongly suggest trying jeans on in the store, don’t blindly buy them. Sizes run so different with maternity clothing that you really want to insure it is a comfortable size and something you wont mind wearing all day at work or on tips.

4. Maternity Shirts. These can be helpful when showing off that bump, but they are not totally necessary. You can find some really great fitting shirts pretty much anywhere. I loved longer tank tops and with a nice cardigan, but that is just my style. If you want a shirt that shows off your bump, look for shirts that have the elastic on the sides. They mimic maternity shirts but are half (or less) of the cost. Many athletic shirts and tanks are made like this and are great for everyday where, even if you are not working out. Athletic shirts are breathable, a beautiful and much needed thing in the summer months.

5. Shape Wear. This is something I have never personally tried, but I really wish I had. I have had many friends say that shape ware was great because it gave you that little bit of extra support. I tried the belly bands, but those always rode up and fell down where as I have been told the shape wear stays in place. I have also been told that shape wear is a huge help after having your baby. Smooths everything out under your clothing while you get back into shape.

6. Dresses. You can make a dress work in any season. In the spring in summer months dresses are way to keep cool and look cute with minimal effort. They are easy on, easy off, especially in the end of your pregnancy when baby is pushing on your bladder. You don’t have to worry about fighting with your pants in the bathroom. My pants always fell to my ankles. I had a hard time getting them back up because I couldn’t bend over to reach them.

7. Bralette. Bralettes are those super cute lacey little things that look like they offer no support. They come in all kind of styles and gorgeous colors. These will be great when your breast start to swell and you belly gets bigger. I made the mistake of buying a push up bra with underwire and man oh man was I uncomfortable. As my belly got bigger, my bra would push into my belly and leave deep marks that would hurt. I switched to bralettes and it made such a huge difference. If you like to have a little more support, sports bras work very well in being both supportive and comfortable.

I have added some photos of what I wore during both pregnancies to give you all an idea. As you can see most of the time I wore leggins, yoga pants, or something easy on my waist. These items were also helpful after I had my babies and still couldn’t quite fit into my pre-pregnancy clothing.

Remember, when shopping for maternity clothing, you don’t always have to spend a ton of money to look cute. Sales are a girls best friend. Happy shopping, and happy pregnancy.

-Lizze