Consolation

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About a year ago, I suffered through a pretty intense trauma that scarred both me and my entire family. Part of me can’t believe that I haven’t composed a post since Easter, and the other part of me sees that I stepped out of the spotlight for awhile to take care of myself during the anniversary of when I received this wound.

The good news is, I successfully made it through the flashbacks, the memories, and every thing else the flooded over me last month. I am also happy to announce that I launched my photography business and put together a portfolio of family portraits.

I wanted to give you guys a sneak peak of what my work will look like from here on out.

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and because my own children hate posing for me, I have enlisted the help of Matt Seal Jr. A professional whom I have had a photography crush on for a couple years. I am excited to have some one else be behind the camera, and to finally update our family portraits to include Cora.

That’s the update I have for you, and you can expect more posts from me this month now that i am feeling well and consoled again.

Fall Time

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Fall is in full swing, here in the Ohio Valley. Being the week of Halloween, there have been many fun activities that are fall themed. It’s part of the reason I was M.I.A last week, as far as updating the blog went… We went trick-or-treating at the mall, attended a fall festival at the university for the families of staff members, and we baked pumpkin spice cookies.

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Sophie has been increasingly affectionate toward me lately, which is nice since she is either being her introverted self, or she awaits daddy’s arrival from work to unleash her softer side. Perhaps it is the cool, fall cuddle weather? Either way, I’m not complaining.

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Growing up in California, I never got to experience fall. The seasons hardly change, few trees even lost their leaves, and palm trees of course, are perpetually the same. Fall still seems new and exciting to me despite having lived here for almost a decade now. Fall reminds me of the season in which I met J, and our romance blossomed.

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I love being able to share this gorgeous season with our children. There is so much excitement as we head into the holiday season!

Annual Apple Picking

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Last weekend we made our annual trip out to Peace Valley orchards. I thought Sophie would enjoy it more, now that she is a little older, but my little grumpy girl had just awoken from a nap as we were arriving. Cora on the other hand was thrilled and excited by the sensory overload.

She could not stop touching all of the gourds! Sophie preferred to stay in my Mother-in-law’s arms.

They didn’t only have apples in the country store on the property, but lots of other locally grown vegetables. We picked up an eggplant, [for the delicious ratatouille I’ve been making lately,] an onion, plums, and 2 peppers in addition to our bag full of apples. Of course, I couldn’t resist letting Cora pick a gourd since she had become so fond of them.

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It seems silly to drive 45 minutes just for some apples, but i enjoy driving the country roads and the atmosphere of the orchards. It really makes me feel like fall is approaching, even if the weather has still been hot and humid.

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I am so excited to share the holiday season with both girls. Sophie is getting older and subsequently more curious and excited about new traditions, while Cora has a curious nature in general. I love watching them explore and experience new things.

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In a few weeks it will be time to find a pumpkin patch, but for now, I need to come up with some truly delicious apple recipes. I have plans for some delicious pork chops and apple hand pies.

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Thanks for reading up on our apple picking adventure!

Mommy Make Up

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I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted this to be a series up on the blog, but I keep finding new products I like and little time-saving hacks that I think other moms will appreciate. So, without further ado, here is the third installation of Mommy Make Up!

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Lazy Mama Contour – This is by far my favorite new hack. I love the idea of contouring…. but what mama has the time to watch YouTube tutorials on how to do it?! And the cost of some of those contour kits? No thanks! So I found a cheat to make it look like you’ve attempted a contour, without actually doing it. BRONZER is your friend! Yes, take a make up brush and smear some bronzer from your ear onto your cheek, stopping the brush stroke at your eye. You don’t want dark bronzer all over your cheek, so try to brush it on a controlled line from you ear to the halfway point on your cheek (for me, it’s my eye)

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Lipstick is your friend! So, I was sticking pretty much to lip balm and tinted chapstick, but I have found that I really do like lipstick! If you choose a nude color, it doesn’t look extreme, too formal, or like you’re trying too hard. It gives you just enough color to look “put together.” I didn’t buy anything special, just your typical drug store variety. Since this is the cheaper variety, you can buy a couple neutral shades and keep one in the diaper bag!

Those are the new hacks and cheats I have for you beautiful mamas!

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Columbus Overview

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Last week when we went to Columbus the weather was absolutely horrible, so it was really convenient that my mother-in-law and I decided to go shopping at the gorgeous, indoor, Polaris mall. Our husbands on the other hand, we trapped at the Ohio State football game where the weather was so bad there was a game delay, leading them to eventually come back to the hotel and watch the game on TV.

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 The Columbus Zoo play area at Polaris Fashion Place is one of the many experience-shopping options available for families at the Columbus mall. Courtesy of Glimcher Realty Trust

While they still had a great time, I feel that my MIL and I got the better portion. The Polaris mall has an amazing variety of stores that we don’t get here on the East side of the Ohio Valley. Not to mention, they had a huge play area for the kids that Sophie totally loved. The most annoying part though, as is the pet peeve of every place place, is there there were bigger kids, totally disregarding the height limit for the play place, bullying the small kids. Like a good helicopter mom, I followed Sophie around and made sure no punks pushed her out of the way or yelled at her.

Later that evening , J and I were able to sneak in a spontaneous date night, as the rest of our crew wanted to dine in and order take out. We went to the Bonefish grille for the first time and it was delicious. We both got fish tacos, giving us a feel like  we were on vacation. It was a fun weekend, and I am glad we went even though it is always tough to travel with young kids.

Postpartum Depression

I have debated on whether or not I publicly wanted to declare that I am suffering with postpartum depression, and have since decided that it would be more therapeutic and healing for me to write about it, then to put effort into concealing it.

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I have been on a long and exhausting journey, and I wish I could say I have reached my destination but the reality is, I am still on the road to recovery. I don’t know when I will feel comfortable writing about my experience from start to finish, but today I wanted to reveal my very first encounter with a psychiatrist when I first started treatment. This doctor was horrible, and I’m not just saying that because I am “ill” or because she told me things I didn’t want to hear; I’m saying that because she had no clue about postpartum depression and was less than qualified to do her job. To any woman who has attempted to get care and been treated this way, I am sorry. I am sorry that our system failed  you. I am sorry that you may have even given up seeking treatment because of a bad experience. I am sorry that mental health care professionals carry stigmas against their own patients. I know; I experienced it.

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I remember walking into her office, alone, afraid, and completely vulnerable. Her space was the epitome of a psyche ward: cold pale tile floors, white walls with various dents and scratches, and bright fluorescent lights that occasionally flickered.  As I explained my symptoms she interrupted me and in a very brash tone assumed “This is your first baby, huh?” I remember being taken aback that I would A) be interrupted just as I am bearing my soul and B) to have an assumption made about me by some one who had only known me for a total of 3 grand minutes. “No,” I replied, “This is my second child, which is why I didn’t expect–” Interrupting again, she just couldn’t hold back her surprise at being so painfully wrong. “Second child? That is very unusual. Are you sure you weren’t depressed with your first? It isn’t common to have depression with your second child and not your first.” And that’s when it hit me, I wasn’t going to receive a fair assessment and this doctor was going to do every thing possible, even imagine a history of depression in me, in order to make my illness fit her perception of what Postpartum Depression looks like.

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When I thought it couldn’t get any worse, she ended our appointment by asking me, “Do you want to have any more children?” I told her, “Yes, my husband and I would like to have a large family some day.” With a cold, domineering expression she said, “You may want to reconsider. I would probably stop having children in your situation.”

In a society where it is a CARDINAL SIN to tell a woman what she can and can’t do with her body, an incompetent doctor who had assessed me for only 20 minutes decided I should never procreate ever again. This was my first experience receiving psychiatric care for my postpartum depression. Perhaps to some it sounds dramatic, but I am completely serious when I say that the care I received was criminal. It amplified my symptoms of feeling like a failure, feeling guilty, feeling crazy

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I have since found a therapist who specializes in Postpartum Depression, who cried when I told her of this account. She is the one who made me feel human again. She is the one who gave me hope that I could get better and go on to be an amazing, wonderful, loving mother [to even MORE children, if I wish!]

If you are struggling with this horrible, awful illness I want you to know 3 things: You are not alone, it is NOT your fault, and with the appropriate care you can get better. For great resources and tools to help you find a specialist, visit http://www.postpartum.net/

Winding Down Summer

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Like a true Californian, I want all the perks of fall time without the weather becoming too much colder. We have some exiting things coming up like : a double date with our friends, an Ohio State football game, and apple picking. I’m looking forward to these events, though still wishing that the warm weather won’t be leaving us.

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Even though I have grown quite fond of the Buckeye state, it is hard for me to reconcile with the impending doom of winter. Earlier in the week, my mom sent me a picture of a shirt that said: “I bake because punching people is frowned upon.” I, of course, laughed… but then I thought a little deeper about it and my love for baking. When the weather changes, I really do go into baking mode, and you can find me in the kitchen almost every day working on a new treat. I always thought that it was because I liked to be by the warm oven while it is cooling off outside. Here is my new theory though, the kitchen is where my expertise in baking collides with irreconcilable mourning of summer.

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I don’t know how or when I will stop longing for sunshine. Of course, I am the one who made the decision to stay out here in Ohio, so there must have been a good reason for leaving California. But like most decisions, we forget why we make the changes we do. We choose to see the past through the most flattering of lenses. Even though I know this, the weather still tugs on my heart strings and makes me question where I live and why I can’t go back to the golden state. So, I bake. I measure, I read recipes, I focus… it is where what I don’t know collides with what I do know.

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My mind is clear when I am in the kitchen. I carefully read instructions, take care when using specific tools, and improve my technique when I can. Baking is some thing that, when you follow the instructions and do the best you can, you will always get a perfect result. In life, [or at least in my own life] the reaction is almost always opposite. You can try your best, do every thing “right” and things may still not work out. I can control the speed on my mixer, but what I can’t control is every element affecting my everyday life. And so, I bake…