I read a story about post-partum depression today, it wasn’t a happy one, which reminded me that I haven’t updated the internet on the state of my health: mind, body and soul.
It’s good news. [Sigh of relief]
I don’t really feel like talking about the depression, it’s part of my past now and I know that it could potentially be part of my future. For now I’m going to tell you what I’ve been doing, about what makes me happy.
I needed more Family time, spouse time and time just for me.
First, I called my mom and asked if she would pay for my gym membership. I knew that all the time away from the gym was one reason I was sad. I missed regular exercise!! I started making better choices with my food and I started pampering myself.
Anyone who knows me, knows that when you think of me, you don’t necessarily think “cheapskate.” But, for years I have rarely paid for haircuts (ask a friend or sister to just cut it right over a trash can), I almost never go into a salon, I have never had a manicure and I only get pedicures once or twice a year (because if I didn’t, my entire foot would turn into a callus). I also never spent money on makeup, hair supplies or skincare.
My skin care routine – up until this year – was usually going straight to bed without washing my face. Rinse face in morning or just wait till I took a shower…whenever that was.
Wearing makeup was usually reserved for Sundays and the makeup I did own was either purchased for me by a mother or sister or given to me by a sister or my mother (because it came as a free gift during a purchase)! I spent very little money in the hair, skincare and makeup department.
In the spring and summer of 2016 when I struggled with pink eye, I had to throw away all of the makeup I did own – which included some new and nice (gifted) things. In addition to throwing out all my makeup, I threw out all my bed pillows (nice, newer pillows I couldn’t afford to replace).
We were also very broke when this happened.
Somewhere between back to back pregnancies, a husband who was gone all the time for school and with church responsibilities, a four year old just barely potty training (read “three kids in diapers”) – I was feeling pretty haggard.
Well, I discovered a multi-level marketing company that has amazing skin care and makeup. I knew I couldn’t afford to buy/wear good products unless I sold some. So, I signed up to distribute.
Along the way, I started having fun with my life again and taking care of myself made me feel good.
So, I’m going to the gym, taking care of my body, eating healthier and getting better sleep – now at bedtime, I don’t lay in bed trying to un-wind from a day that pulled and stretched me, I go to bed, I think of all the things I’m grateful for and all the things I can do better tomorrow.
Then, I stop thinking and go to sleep.
I started singing around the house more often, letting the messes sit later, snuggling with my babies a little longer.
I decided that dates with my husband were worth the cost of a babysitter (again, where I tend to be cheap – “let’s just not get a baby sitter and stay in or take the kids with us.”
I re-took my Athletic Training exam (to re-certify) and was 23 points short of passing!! [I mean, I can’t be too sad, I’ve been out of practice 11 years!! With very little study time I squeezed in, I almost passed!! Yes, I’m taking it again].
My energy levels increased and the chemicals in my brain have found balance as I allowed for more positive thoughts.
I consciously made it a daily effort to push negative thinking away and only see the positive. I had let negative thoughts camp too long in my mind and I didn’t want to be sad anymore.
Happiness had been my life before and I wanted that life back.
I never stopped praying during my struggles. I never stopped hoping. I knew that change would come if I just kept trying.
God knew me, He had faith that I could overcome my circumstances and He has faith in you too. The tools are there, we just need to reach out. Ask for help and take steps to change.
Postpartum depression is not an old friend, but foe. An enemy I may face in the coming years. But I have hope that my faith and past experience will help me defeat him again.
Disappointments still arrive, but I see the light and know that everything will work out.
My little family got a short break two weeks ago to visit my parents for two days…the remains of our Spring Break.
Wiley loves and frequently asks to go visit his “cousins” down there.
My parents began fostering children a few years ago – with the hopes of adopting.
So those children that Wiley considers ‘cousins’ are more than likely to become his legal Aunts and Uncles.
Since relocating to the city life, I am always happy to visit family (here in Missouri and down in Texas) where my babies can run free in the country with their cousins.
I’m a big believer that children need to be outside – as often as possible!!!
City life has it’s perks and I’m not one to complain about being two blocks from the library or the grocery store, but my husband and I both have plans to make our way to the country.
Or at least closer to the country…presently, we live off the main street in our town. So, a little further away from the city center.
We are very lucky to have Danny in school – considering all the small children we have collected since we married – Dan has had quite a load.
How many other 29 year old engineering students do you know with three kids under the age of four? Hahaha, well, there aren’t many at Mizzou…I’m sure BYU could name a few.
Although we have quite a handful, we have a lot of help from our church community and family. I’m not sure I’d survive mentally without my church community of moms!
Most of our time spent at mom and dad’s is filled with chasing babies, making sure they stay out of the pond and jumping on the trampoline.
Danny and my brothers spend an equal amount of time as the little children on the trampoline, doing flips.
My dad made a new rule after he bought the new trampoline…only one big boy (that’s Dan or my brothers) allowed to jump at a time. My husband and my three younger brothers managed to collapse the old tramp – I mean, it was old, but yeah – too much weight es no bueno.
Speaking of jumping…
I got to visit my brother’s dance rehearsal.
Cabool, Missouri has a new ballet school – totally legit! Children’s Ballet of the Ozarks was opened by a family friend, who recently moved to Missouri from Utah and with Cabool already the home of The STARS Foundation (which produces excellent music and theater), Cabool is like, the center of everything awesome here in Missouri…especially for all the youth in the area.
It’s kind of miraculous this tiny little spot on the American map has so much to offer a community. All it takes, is for someone to take a leap of faith on a dream.
Because building your dreams, just might help others pursue their dreams.
Dan and I agreeing on a name when I was six months pregnant, was the soonest we decided on a name.
We had driven down to Texas for my sister’s August wedding, so we had ample time to talk names.
On our drive back to Missouri, Danny had his cellphone out and was telling me all the cool bird names he liked (because I really like the name Birdie, and we were trying to find a bird name for awhile).
I smile when I hear ‘Kestrel’…my youngest sister could have been Kestrel.
So, from Houston, TX to Tulsa, Oklahoma, Danny and I tossed names back and forth. Separately, he and I decided we liked the name Bell, but not as a first name.
Our little family made a really fast stop in Tulsa to stretch our legs and visit a close friend of mine.
My friend Rachel happens to now work at our alma mater, The University of Tulsa. It being August, the football team was in the middle of their two-a-day practices.
So, our brief stop was in the football training room to catch up with Rachel.
As she and I were catching up, one of the long time Orthopedic Doc’s came into the training room and joined our conversation.
I think some things are truly meant to be.
Out of no-where, Rachel says to Dr. M, “So Katie and her husband are having a hard time choosing a name for their baby girl.”
Dr. M has been a long time friend of my mother’s family, so when he got a sparkle in his eye and said, “I know a nice name.” I knew he was going to say, “Adrien.”
Dr. M’s wife died of cancer in her early forties, and I have heard, for many years from my Grandmother, what a lovely and gracious lady she was. He never remarried and adopted The University of Tulsa athletics as his family (in addition to his children).
Rachel and Dr M said how they liked the sound of Adrien (how his wife spelled her name) with our last name.
An hour later, Dan and I back in the truck swapping names again, I asked Danny what he thought of the name Adrien.
He said he liked it!
Dan looked up the origin of the name, depending on where you look, “dark one” or “one who comes from Adria” which makes way more sense to me.
Adria is on the north eastern coast of Italy, sitting on the Adriatic Sea.
Now that Dan is neck deep with research in Water Engineering, it only makes sense that he said, “if we spell it ‘Adrian’ after the body of water.”
And that is how our sweet little Adrian Bell came to be named.
Alert, Smiles all day, babbling, a great sleeper (when she isn’t sick) and trying to get up and walk to keep up with the boys.
The last thing I remember was, I had a baby…the other baby in August of 2014. Then, I was having a baby.
About the time I got serious about getting back in shape in Jan/Feb of 2015, I joined a beach body fitness group…my entire family had whooping cough (yes we’d been vaccinated, thanks).
Sick as a person with whooping cough, who is taking care of two small people with whooping cough, can be – I still started my fitness challenge the day the rest of the group did.
A month into my fitness challenge, I was growing another human again.
I was eating well, just got off antibiotics, and exercising regularly – so I couldn’t figure out why I was so tired.
Well, truth be told, I knew (deep down) that I was pregnant, but hadn’t excepted or tested the fact yet.
Here I am less than a year later with another baby laying next to me. My brain is not… what it is capable of being. I can’t remember some people’s names, I can’t recall words I used to know (I think I still know them, somewhere in there…) and every day feels like yesterday.
We’ve had a wedding, births, deaths (in my extended family), holidays in all those yesterdays. Where has today gone? Just another yesterday now.
My husband has been just as tired and overworked as I am. This winter vacation has been such a blessed and lazy affair.
We have had a very short visit to see my family this break and a weekend visit with Danny’s parents.
I was mind boggling tired with each visit and forgot to get pictures of my kids with their grandparents!! I was so grateful for the time we had together.
I’m enjoying this “honeymoon” of sorts with a(nother) new baby! The long days just cuddling are slowly fading and I’m slowly pulling myself together.
It’s good to exercise my mind again – with the whole blogging thing – and having just looked at a calendar, I can see that today is Monday…January 2016!
Wishing you all the best while facing your trials and reaping your blessings of another year.
The perfect storm of stress was probably the main reason I went into the hospital two weeks ago (and missed my sisters bridal shower – sad face indeed) for pre-term labor.
I had a lot of friends, who have experienced pre-term labor, give me great comfort in knowing that things will be okay – EVEN if I have more days like that again.
So much happening right now, I haven’t been making the time to write or take quality photos with my good camera, so you all will have to settle for the photos taken by my cell phone camera; which has been dropped far too many times.
My husband has been really busy – gone for long stretches – and with me having to rest more often…things get a bit messy (which leads to more stress…I’m still learning to let that thing called, “a mess” go… but I’ve been a struggle).
My husband did have a weekend free (or took the babies to do some work one day) while I drove to Tulsa to visit my Grandparents – sans children – Gramma was admitted to the hospital for another fall.
I spent the entire weekend with her in her hospital room.
Sometimes she forgot who I was, thinking I was a nurse, she would ask me questions about myself (that she already knew about me)…she was always embarrassed when she realized who I was.
I called her 10 days after I returned home and she asked if I knew she had been in the hospital. I reminded her that I was there with her the whole weekend. She felt bad about forgetting.
I’m just glad she still knows who I am when I call. I have three remaining Grandparents and they cause me tears every now and then.
The weekend after my trip to Tulsa, my mother came up for a brief visit (for a Midwifery conference) and she and I went out shopping one afternoon.
She needed to find a dress for my sisters wedding (In August. In Houston, Texas. Because people still get married in Houston in the summer – I did).
For my trouble of helping her spend money on new clothes and jewelry, she bought me some make-up. The fancy kind of make-up I’m too poor to buy myself.
Since my husband had Scout Camp the week before our trip to Texas, and I was slowly loosing my sanity, there were many nights where I let my sons stay up late.
I was too worn out to fight the bed time routine.
Our trip to Texas was a teary one…Grandparents weren’t feeling up to a visit on our way down, and I got a call that our dog got into some trouble at my parents. I’m not overly fond of my dog in the, “I cuddle with him every day,” but I love that Boy and I was quite upset that he got in a scrap.
So, I cried.
When we arrived at my sister’s house, I was so happy to see her. She too is pregnant (currently 36 weeks and has more hustle than I do!) and two pregnant sisters together is a great comfort. We ‘get’ each other.
We normally divide our time between Danny’s family and my sister’s home, but I – not feeling well – have kept mostly to my sisters house (where she and her kids have been a great help when I need to rest).
The day after my hospital visit, we drove out to spend time with Danny’s family. My boys just love their grandparents and great-grands (on both sides). Normally Papa gets all the love, but this trip Little T Rock was loving on Gregre.
Later in the week, my sister’s family and mine drove out to Papa and Gregre’s for lunch and the kids were happy playing and running about. It really is a little slice of heaven out on their property and Danny’s family are all Southern Hospitality.
Last week my mother in law took some time off work to take me shopping! And my sister in law offered to watch my two boys. My boys had so much fun playing at her home.
A few days after our shopping trip, we went back to have dinner at my sister in law’s and when we pulled up, Wiley recognized the front door and said, “yeah, this is the good house.”
It seriously makes my day that my children love their family like they do.
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity.
My baby sister gets married this Friday – last Friday, while she was at work – she and Jeremiah got the keys to their new home…which didn’t have electricity yet, but the family got them moved in (through 104 degree heat) anyway.
It was the day of the move, after spending so much time in the Texas heat, Danny said he wasn’t so sure about moving back to Texas…
So, uh, I have no idea what the future holds after graduation.
I do know that we will have three children. 2 boys and 1 girl.
While our family was down in Texas, back in March, we met up with my sister and her soon-to-be husband for a Sunday dinner.
As it turns out, the young man my sister is marrying is a good friend of my husband’s family…isn’t it nice how that works out?
After a big family dinner I made those two sit for lots of photos – I’ll spare you – and only show you a few.
In an effort to be silly, I like to play a game where I give a scenario for their life and then I capture the look on their faces:
Scenario: “you just found out you’re having triples!”
Scenario: “You just found out you’re having a second set of triplets.”
I then told them to try to give me their best American Gothic pose:
Ah well, I can’t wait for those to tie the knot in August…a little less thrilled about the Houston heat and humidity; but then again I married in Houston on July 9th, it wasn’t any better and we survived.
SO cheers to marriage and love and all the happiness that accompanies such things.
My husband doesn’t get to see his family very often, so for spring break we decided to drive to Texas.
Along the way I have family in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and the Ft Worth area…so a drive to Texas means a stop to visit with my family too – win.
Our families roll out the red carpet and there is always good food, clean beds and good company.
Since we have returned from our trip, my almost three year old is now calling every older person he sees either, “KoKo, Grampa, and Gregre.” It cracks me up.
We drove up to my Aunt Kathy’s (KoKo’s) house around 9:30pm on a Friday night and she and Grandad were up and had a lovely dinner waiting – we partied till 1:30am. The next morning, I met my brother, Aunt Colleen and cousins Max and Miranda for smoothies at Jamba Juice (Auntie C’s treat). When we got back to Koko’s house, she had a large brunch getting ready.
Part of the expense of road trips is hotel and food – check, check. Blessings.
We got to Danny’s grandparent’s home Saturday evening. Both boys were desperate to get out of their chairs.
Sunday, we went to my in-law’s Ward in Cleveland, Texas (which is always a good visit). Unless you’ve been to Cleveland, Texas for your LDS worship needs, you don’t know what you’re missing.
After church and dinner, we had a lovely afternoon with friends and family.
I spent the majority of my day taking photos…too many to post.
Grandchildren, baby goats, Danny Quadcopters, family photos, it was kind of a perfect day.
This last week as kind of hard for me, but that’s just because I got really sick after a long string of hard things.
Monday, February 2nd, I started my fitness challenge…the day I woke up really sick. Thinking it was just a common cold, I continued to work out, but struggled to find the energy to keep eating, let alone take care of household chores.
For the last few months – going back to the week before Christmas – my entire family has been dealing with the grief of sick/hospitalized family. My mother’s parents have not been doing well and since December my aunt Gail or Uncle Kevin (with occasional help from Mom or Uncle Keith) have been dedicating their time and energy to caring for and helping my grandparents for the transition that comes from failing health.
The only thing that the rest of us can do from far away is send our encouragement, or offer advice via group texting or by mail (My sister Kelsey mailed a family photobook she created from our reunion at Christmas and I believe my other Aunts mail treats too…), but we can’t be there physically to help.
His bear, “baby.”
My two year old got sick during the family reunion in Tulsa and after he started to get better, the baby got sick…never getting better, which resulted in the little guy taking antibiotics last week. Tuesday I started antibiotics. I am just now feeling better and more rested.
Just KEEP eating…
or drinking healthy food!
All the while, feeling grief over the inevitable loss of my grandparents, who are more like my second parents. Now, for all I know, they could end up living another 5 or 10 years…but I’ve been struggling with their loss for awhile now. As a deeply spiritual and believing person, I am confident I will see them in the afterlife. But, losing loved ones is never a simple thing.
Right now, I’m finding comfort in my family life. I am so happy with the blessings I have in my husband and children.
Danny has been helpful when he isn’t busy with school/studying. He has cheered me up immensely with the interesting things he is doing (one being aerial photography).
At the beginning of this semester Danny was officially accepted into the mechanical engineering program with an emphasis to study aerospace (hence the aerial photos).
Even with a supportive husband, I’m alone a lot, especially lately – with all the sickness in our house – I’ve not been able to go out.
So, although it may seem as if this was a bad time to start a fitness challenge, I really believe it was the perfect time. Exercise has been just what I needed to help boost me emotionally, physically and spiritually…it has kept me going and helped me to stay on track with eating healthy too.
Thank you Aunt Gail and Uncle Kevin for taking such good care of my Grandparents. I wish I could be there with you all. I know what you are doing is very difficult too – so continue to make time to recharge your personal batteries! I love you very much.