January 31, 2014

The trouble with twos...

It has been an extremely long time since I last wrote about what my kids have been teaching me or what my kids have been up to or what I have learned as a parent. And, it occurred to me the other day that I now have two children. I know, I'm a little slow on the draw with that one. It just kind of... happened, and then I realized that it had happened.

And having two children is a whole lot different than having just one.

Case in point...

1. Having two children doubles everything- car seats now fill the backseat (we actually had to buy a new car to make room for everything back there), appointments are coordinated to cut down on trips to the doctor's office (horrible idea by the way), and the number of sippy cups in our cupboards, as well as the refrigerator, has kind of climbed to epic proportions.

2. Everything takes twice as long now... baths begin an hour before bedtime, it takes almost a full episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse to get the kids dressed and out the door on time (especially during the winter), and somewhere in the world (I'm almost sure of this) is someone who can run a full marathon in the time it takes us to get everyone fed.

3. Two children can run in two different directions, ask for two different things at the same time, and fight over one toy...even when they are standing in a room full of other options.

4. When one child is sick you might as well take off the rest of the week because the second one is also going to get sick...but not at the same time of course. Nope. The second one's fever will show up right about the time you are ready to walk out the door to return to work after having finally got the first one back to daycare.

5. Meals were difficult enough with one but with two...it almost takes an entire buffet table to please everyone. In fact, we often throw in the towel and head to Pizza Ranch.

6. But, have no fear, two children can often do the same things at the same time like, cry. Or laugh.

7.  The Sunday bag is a lot fuller with two children...two snacks, two cups, two different piles of toys for two different ages.

8. If you're not careful, Christmas can easily quadruple the number of toys you have.

9. There are now two of everything to hunt down...pairs of socks, mittens, shoes, stuffed animals, favorite blankets, and funny smells.

10. But the biggest difference is that Rachel now declares that she has two best friends- her daycare friend Claire and her brother Ryan. How sweet.

January 10, 2014

I take drugs...

Brace yourselves folks... this post is going to get serious.

I learned something interesting about myself this Christmas. 
I learned that I cannot control my anger..
without the help of drugs.

Yep, it's out there now.
I take drugs.
I have to.

Millions of Americans take antidepressants and I happen to be one of them. In college I was diagnosed with mild depression and thus began my trek to find the perfect drug, one that would help my brain to function properly without driving me crazy. Kind of ironic, huh?
There are a lot of people out there who know what I'm talking about. Antidepressants may help the chemical imbalance in your brain but that balance often comes with extreme side effects. 
One drug made me gain 75 pounds!
One drug made my heart race.
One drug turned me into a space cadet. 

I finally found the "perfect one for me" several years ago and up until I got pregnant with Rachel, I took it on time, every day. 
But then, life happened and it got more and more difficult to make it to the pharmacy every month, and I often found myself skipping doses because "I felt fine". We all know how that goes.

I am still amazed at how much my body has changed after lugging around a baby for 9 months x 2. Bones crack, my skin is drier, muscles seem sorer, there are certain foods that I have to stay away from because they make me sick...and let us not forget the ridiculous weight gain that I have yet to address. And somewhere in that mix of changes, lies a change in my chemical makeup. My very being. The person that I am, has changed.

During both of my pregnancies I stopped taking my medication but started again once the all clear was called. Several weeks after Ryan was born I made the decision (without any input from my doctor) to cut my dose because, well, I felt good. And, I probably did.

But secretly lurking under the surface of "I feel good" was something new, something I had never experienced before. At least not to this extent. 

I wasn't taking my prescribed dosage. I wasn't aware of the chemical changes in my brain. I was tired. I was stressed. And then I lost my ability to control my anger. 

It would just pop up, out of nowhere. One minute I would be calmly telling Rachel that it was time to put her coat on and then, suddenly, I would be so angry with her that I would storm out of the room and yell at my husband to go help her.

So, why do I feel the need to write this post? I mean, it is far more personal than most of my other posts and exposes me for who I am. Not perfect. Why would I want to do that?


The week of Christmas was the last straw for me. Jake and I had the flu, the weather was crappy, holiday stress was getting to me, and the four of us were stuck in our tiny house together for several days in a row. And then my family got together for a few days to celebrate Christmas and I started to feel even more imperfect and resentful. I'm not sure why. Maybe it is because I'm not a fabulous cook. Or, perhaps I'm getting more and more self-conscience about my weight since I am, by far, the heaviest woman in my family. Whatever the reason....I was feeling...grumpy (that's the nice way to say it, I guess).

Thankfully, my family realized something was not right and knocked some sense into me. The very next day I took my prescribed dose of medication and an odd thing happened...life seemed less stressful. My children made me laugh more. I didn't feel like being angry all the time. I could honestly say that I felt good. Or, at least, better.

I'm not saying that my anger was justified. And, I'm not trying to find an excuse for being so mean to my family.

But, instead, I'm hoping that people will learn from my mistake.
Those of you out there who are on antidepressants (and I know you're there because statistics tell me you are)...
Find your perfect dose, with the help of your doctor, and then STICK WITH IT. 
Life is too short to be angry with everyone around you. 
Life is too precious to watch from the sidelines. 
Family is too important to not take your medication.

And so, let those of us who have them, lift our bottles of pills in thanks for what the Lord has given us. 
Let us be proud of ourselves for what we are doing, because it isn't easy or fun to have to depend on a drug. But, that is the hand we have been dealt, and we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to be responsible and take our drugs.

And, really, that's why I felt the need to write this.

That and...thanks family.
I love you.

January 3, 2014

The holidays...

The holidays...
Sometimes they are the best of times;
Sometimes they are the worst of times.

Let us take a look-see into some of the 'best of times' from the past few weeks.
The 'worst of times' doesn't really need to be remembered.
Or repeated.

And away we go...

The tree.

This makes me laugh because her father
used to make this exact same face when he was a boy.

My little Rachel...getting so big so fast.

Watching daddy and Rachel play in the snow.
He came in after he fell, face first, into the snow...
again. And again.

Yep, this is pretty much how he rolls.

The Christmas present, aka Ja-Ja.
Ja-ja meet Jill; Jill meet Ja-ja.

Rachel's Christmas Present
Jake and the Neverland Pirates! Still.
No dolls for this gal.
He pretty much chews on everything.

Christmas BINGO with the cousins-
The Prize Table

Not quite a BINGO but getting close.
Christmas Crafts with the cousins

Meanwhile...Ryan found another ship to play with.
These kids love their pirate ships.

The sunrise this morning
The view on our drive to work.
Current temp: -12 degrees
One last parting shot.