Monday, January 26, 2015

Climbing out of the Darkness

I know 99 Days of Laughter has been dark for a long time now, almost a year to the day, and so much has changed since my last post. The biggest change is that my little Samantha turned 2 and became a big sister to Baby Evey.

It is so amazing to watch how Sam shows her affection to this little baby. Always making sure her soother is near by, that she is wrapped gently in a "snuggle blankie", and the way she "teekle teekle teekles" her cheek. Clearly I am living the perfect life, right?

Tonight, while getting Evelyn to bed, I was putting her cream on (she has terrible eczema, I'll post about that in my next post) and she was crying, and crying and crying. And she hits this perfect pitch of crying that reverberates against my brain and drives me crazy. There is nothing I can do to stop this, except try to finish the task at hand as quickly as possible. Tonight, Daddy finished with bedtime.

With the Bell's Let's Talk campaign coming up on January 28th, I feel like this is a perfect opportunity for me to turn a light onto the taboo topic of Postpartum Depression.

First of all, let me say, I do not suffer from PPD; I am living with PPD.

Just typing those 3 little letters, I can already feel the stigma attacking me, see the eyes staring at me, hear the whispers around me. Excuse me while I climb back into my hole.

Mothers have this "supermom" title many of us feel we need to live up to. Whether you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, we feel like we need to do it all. The cooking, the cleaning, the bed times, the groceries, the laundry, oh and don't forget about getting to the gym, eating healthy, and getting a good nights sleep.

I am one of those moms who has tried to live up to that "standard", to that "title".

After Evelyn was born, life clearly got a little busier, especially with a busy toddler running around. As much as I love my children with all my heart, slowly, I began to feel more and more exhausted, more and more disconnected, more and more emotionally drained.

(The next sentence I have typed this 3 times now and erased it every time. But I want those who are living with PPD to feel like they can climb out of the darkness too.)

Then the yelling began, the feeling of wanting to throw objects against a wall, slam a door and just scream in frustration. The feeling of being completely helpless, and crying and crying and crying. Then I'd step on a toy that was not put away and feel completely trapped. Nothing is where it's supposed to be, everywhere I'd look is a disaster. To top it all off, there would be sticky rice from dinner stuck to the bottom of my socks and spit up or puke (quite possibly both) dripping down my my shoulder and stuck in my hair. There is no escape and everyone around me is crying...including "supermom".

I am not asking for you to pat me on the back and tell me I'm doing a good job, that I'm a great mom, that this is normal and "everyone" goes through it. I simply want to know that I'm not alone and that you are not alone. Let's talk about "it"...talk about Postpartum Depression, talk about the Baby Blues, talk about what happens behind the closed doors of "Supermom".

It's OK to ask for help, so let's help each other survive the steep and sometimes dark climb that is called motherhood. Together we can be that normal mom, who is generally happy and smiling, even when you have leftover dinner on your socks and puke in your hair.

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One out of every ten women who give birth will experience a postpartum mood disorder.

If you are suffering with some of these feelings, you may need professional help:
  • Frequent crying for no reason;
  • Difficulty sleeping;
  • Changes in your appetite;
  • Feeling that you are unable to cope with daily activities;
  • Mood swings that interfere with caring for your baby;
  • Over concern for your baby;
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby or a fear of harming your baby;
  • More sensitive and/or irritable;
  • Difficulties in your relationship with your partner;
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Feeling very anxious or having panic attacks; and/or
  • Feeling worthless or hopeless (leading to suicide).
You can get help! Help is available from:
  • Your family physician or midwife;
  • The Waterloo Region Public Health Department's Healthy Children Info Line (519-883-2245)
  • Grand River Hospital's postpartum disorders support group at 519-749-4300, ext 2267 (meets every Wednesday from 2-4pm, follow link for details)
  • Grand River Hospitals' crisis clinic (weekends/evenings). Please call 519-742-3611 and ask for the crisis clinic

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Samantha's "Doda" Cookies

Ever since Samantha saw Dora Live she has been obsessed with Dora. Everytime she sees Dora on the TV.."DODA"...Everytime she sees a Dora book..."DODA"...Everytime we see anything Dora..."DODA"

So, while trying to get her some "new" clothes at Once Upon a Child, I knew a Dora book would keep her happy while I shopped. Well, when it was time to go, she would not put the book down, so we brought it home with us.
Imagine my surprise when I found an Oatmeal Cookie recipe at the back! So, with Samantha's help we made our own "Doda" Cookies!  And...they were soft and delicious!!! ENJOY!
Samantha's "Doda" Cookies 

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp unsalted butter/margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup raisons, cranberries, or other dried fruit

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a bowl.
3. In a different bowl, beat the butter/margarine and regular sugar together until smooth. Then add in the brown sugar, egg, applesauce, and vanilla. 
4. Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture and stir. Then add the oats and the dried fruit.
5. Arrange round spoonfuls evenly on a nonstick cookie sheet. (I used parchment paper)
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes. If you placed your cookies on different racks in the oven, rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom during baking.
7. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes before serving up! 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

One Day at a Time

Well, I took a big first step for me and decided to pursue my career as an event planner again...though VERY part time. This was a very hard decision for me. Event planning took a lot of time and even though I love connecting the dots snd creating a picture perfect event, I love watching Samantha connect her own dots even more. First steps, first words, first everythings...I don't want to miss a thing.
But, reality has come to light and I know the day will come when I will no longer be able to hold her little hand and catch the butterflies with her. The fact of the matter is, one day I will have to let go and let her find her own way. But, that doesn't mean that I have to completely let go...lets start with one day at a time.
video
So, Samantha is officially in daycare 1 day a week! Like I said...one day at a time.

She apparently had the time of her life singing, dancing and painting...me on the other hand was nervous and quite emotional. I mean, I'm not just leaving her with Nana for the night...I was leaving my child, the person that is THE most important person in my life, with someone I had only just met.
That being said, I searched and searched and searched for the perfect home daycare for Samantha. I certainly wasn't going to just leave her with Joe Blow down the street (who I did speak to by the way...) I wanted to make sure that, yes Samantha "fit" with the family, but also that I felt comfortable leaving her with that family.

Let me tell you, that search took much longer that I thought it would. I met with women who's "daycare" was in their dirty, dark and dingy basement...stay at home moms who were just looking for some extra cash...and even one who told me when Samantha got a little older they can start doing more "advanced activities like coloring together"...WHAT?! She's almost 2 years old! I'm not exactly sure "how old" you want her to be before she picks up a crayon...but I guess my baby genius is ahead of the game in that area.
Enter Mrs V. When I walked into her home, I instantly felt warm and welcome and I knew that I had hit gold! Mrs V is not only a Montessori trained teacher, but it also speaks Slovak! (Yup...that would be language #5!)

So, on Samantha's first day, I may have been emotional but I didn't have a doubt in my mind that Samantha would be safe and have a whole lot of fun.

And at the end of an incredibly tough Mommy day, Samantha was all smiles when I picked her up! Not only did I get the BIGGEST hugs, but I also recieved beautiful original Sammy artwork to hang at home, a delicious homemade cake for me and had a toy for Samantha!

So, one day at a time I will slowly start to let Samantha lead the way. But not to fast baby girl...Mommy doesn't want to miss a thing!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Backyardigans: Sea Deep in Adventure Facebook Contest

After seeing Dora the Explorer Live with Samantha and my niece, I was SO excited to learn about Koba Entertainment's new contest! 

The five Backyardigans characters- Pablo, Tyrone, Tasha, Uniqua and Austin- all have their own unique personalities and special talents. Let Koba Entertainment know who your favourite Backyardigans character is and you could win 4 tickets to the show and meet the characters!

It’s simple. Follow the link below and “Like” Koba Entertainment on Facebook and then vote for your (or your little one’s) favourite character. After you vote, you will be asked to fill out your information so we can contact you if you win.

Enter the contest today: http://bit.ly/1da6ak3.

For more information about this very splashy tour, visit www.TheBackyardigansOnTour.com.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Thirsty Thirty!

For the last 4 years, I have been able to surprise my husband for his birthday! I'm not sure how he hasn't caught on yet (or maybe he has and is just being a good sport) but this year, I vowed, would be no exception...especially since he was turning the big 3-0!
 
So, I started to save my pennies and being the event planner that I am, check out the Pirate Party, started to plan plan plan. Thankfully, Josh and I had a holiday party to attend the same night and my mom was going to babysit Samantha for the night. Who could have guessed that poor Sammy would get sick and we would have to leave the holiday party early to "pick her up". A short drive later and we were walking through the doors of Nom Nom Treats to a huge "SURPRISE" and a happy healthy baby!
To me, a party is all in the details, so I decided to go with the theme Thirsty Thirty. I loved that I could keep the colors "manly" with blacks and golds and could incorporate so many great additions to the theme through decor and food.
First, I had to have slumped glass platters to have the hors d'oerves served on! Though I'm sure the cook and server hated using them, they totally completed the whole theme and were my favorite aspect of the party planning! I ended up purchasing 2 of them for Josh's birthday gift. They will be a great way for him to remember the night and be a great conversation starter at our next dinner party!
Second, came to food! No party is a party without food! So, I had Little Mushroom Catering cater the party. We had Angus Skewers with a Horseradish Cream, Boar wrapped in Phillo with a Dijon Butter, Antijitos with a Lime Sour Cream, Cheddar Stuffed Meatballs with a 40 Creek BBQ Sauce, Teryaki Chicken Skewers and Raspberry & Brie Puffs topped with Rum Butter! The food totally complimented the theme and were quickly eaten up by all our friends and family.
Then of course there's the sweets! Everyone knows I...Josh has a sweet tooth, so I picked up some of his favorite snacks and some delicious Mancave and Guiness cupcakes for dessert (Thank you Just Baked)! Then to end the night off, my mom made a chex mix roasted with sirarcha sauce that we served in rock glasses.
But the night would not have been complete with out all of our friends and family! They not only were able to help keep the party a secret, but were able to join us and celebrate with us.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Year in Review

Most baby blogs and mommy blogs titled "A Year in Review" will look something like the side bar here (sorry had to squeeze those in there!) but just over a year ago, I made myself a promise to spend more time with my daughter; watch her grow, listen to her laugh and hold her a little tighter every night.  

So, 99 Days of Laughter was born. This blog was simply meant to be a place for me, a first time mom, to write down those special moments, the hardships and remember to slow down and enjoy the laughter in life! Looking back at that first post, tears fill my eyes to see how far Samantha has come in a year, heck, looking at the side bar my eyes are filled with tears and if we're being really honest, my heart aches for a sibling for Samantha.

I would like to think that, even though we had some rough days, some long nights and, yes, some weeks I don't even remember, the end goal of this blog was a success and has become even more than I could have ever imagined! 

This blog has become a place for moms to laugh with me, relate to my situations, and maybe even learn a thing or two. Now, I'm certainly not claiming the Mother of the Year award and am not even a close second, but if there's one thing I have learned, it's that no mother is perfect and that even when you think you're doing something wrong...it's probably not. I have a happy, healthy and beautiful toddler baby girl (she will always be my baby girl) who is kind and caring towards everyone and anything...hopefully that means I've been doing something right.  

So, what was supposed to be a 99 day mission for laughter has become something I am proud to say has reached more than 8000 people worldwide! And with My Picasso being the number one viewed post, hopefully that means I have made other moms and children laugh too!  

2013 brought with it A LOT of ups and a whole heck of a lot of downs for this family. But it was also one hell of a ride and I cannot wait to see what 2014 has in store for my blog, for myself and for my family. 

This year, my only resolution is to laugh and in the process, hopefully laugh with the world too.
So, from my family to yours...May 2014 bring to you love and laughter! 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Leftover Turkey Tetrazzini

OK, many of you know I am by no means a gourmet chef...but I'm starting to learn my way around the kitchen.

After cooking another deliciously successful Christmas turkey dinner, I decided to try to make something special with the leftovers. I mean who really wants to eat a turkey sandwich for lunch, followed by another turkey dinner! So...I googled and the only thing I could find, not only of interest but that I had all the ingredients for was a Turkey Tetrazzini from Allrecipes.

As I looked at the recipe, I thought it a little bland...so I threw in not only my leftover turkey...but the veggies and sweet potato too! And then jazzed it up with some of my favorite spices!
And alas...Leftover Turkey Tetrazzini was born!
Leftover Turkey Tetrazzini

1 Package Uncooked Pasta (I used fusilli, so Samantha could eat it easier)
1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Flour
3 Cups Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup White Wine
1 Clove Garlic
Oregano, Basil & Onion
"leftover peas, carrots, onion, sweet potato"
2 Cups Milk
1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Cup Grated Marble Cheese
4 Cups Chopped "leftover Turkey"

-Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a LARGE baking dish.

-Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes. Drain and place in prepared baking dish.

-In a small pan heat/cook your leftover veggies in a small amount of oil or butter.

-Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic. Stir in flour (will get SUPER clumpy). Mix in white wine, chicken broth and milk. Add spices and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in parmesan cheese. Remove from heat and mix in turkey and veggies to sauce.

-Mix the sauce, turkey and veggies with the pasta until completely mixed and covered. Top with marble cheese. Bake for 50 min in preheated oven, until surface is lightly browned.

-Remove from oven and let sit for 10 min before serving.

TA DA! A delicious alternative to another turkey dinner!

Let me know what you think and please share your suggestions!!!