Thursday, January 4, 2018

PPD: 7 Years Later


It has been seven years since I was hospitalized for Postpartum Depression. There are so many thoughts swirling in my head about that time in my life. It still boggles my mind that I was ever admitted to a psychiatric inpatient hospital. I said it then, and it has stayed true seven years later: Postpartum Depression was paradoxically the best and worst thing to ever happen to me. It was certainly the scariest time in my life, but it has also taught me more Truths about myself than I ever dared to know. Going through PPD has opened doors to my soul I never deemed possible.

Postpartum depression taught me how to manage my stress and anxiety. I wasn’t even aware I had childhood anxiety until I dove into numerous hours of therapy. I sometimes imagine what my life would be like now had I not gone through what I did, and I cringe at the thought. I cringe because I envision myself utterly uptight. I know I would still be sweating the small stuff and suffering from panic attacks. But mostly, I know I would be missing out on LIFE. I would be stuck in “playing it safe” and always reaching for the Easy Button. Now, let me not be mistaken... it’s not that I don’t experience insecurities and difficulties like everyone else, but I’m not paralyzed or plagued by them anymore. 

Postpartum depression has guided me towards a more grateful heart. It has helped me see the gratitude in any situation. Is it hard to do this all the time? Yes, of course; I’m only human (with three kids!) But the amount of therapy I’ve experienced has helped me implement this practice into my daily life. I believe this will always be a work in progress, but "practice makes progress" not perfection. 

Most importantly, PPD led me to Catholicism. I haven’t shared with many people the story of my “Awakening”, but it happened during my stay in the hospital. The priest who married my husband and me, visited and performed the sacrament of “Anointing of the Sick” (something most people receive on their death bed). It was in that moment that I felt The Holy Spirit envelop me with His love and say, “It’s okay. I am here. I will never leave you.” It is bringing me to tears just writing these words and revisiting that precious moment. I used to repeatedly ask myself, “Why me?” Why did I *get* PPD? But going through what I did was suppose to happen to me. It was GOD’S WILL, and I believe that with my whole heart.

Even though life is seriously crazy, demanding, messy, and chaotic with an elementary school-aged child, preschooler, and infant at home, I’m much happier and confident with who I am NOW, than I ever was before. 

And I have Postpartum Depression to thank for that.

loyally (& always learning),
katie

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

31 in 31

On December 20th, I turn 31. Here are my "Life Resolutions" for my thirty-first year:


1. Watch less TV

2. Rekindle an old friendship

3. Leave the kids behind and "get away" with my husband

4. Read literature at least four days a week

5. Fail and be okay with it 

6. Go to confession

7. Learn Mindfulness and practice solitude

8. Say "yes" more to my kids

9. Say "yes" more to my husband

10. Adopt a "do it now" mentality, instead of leaving it for later and letting "things" pile up

11. Purge often. Whether it be stuff, ideas, or toxic relationships

12. Re-learn how to do a handstand. And hold it!

13. Let my hair grow long again

14. Get a piece of writing published

15. Go to therapy

16. Move forward with my children's book

17. Yell less.

18. Pray the Rosary once a week

19. Treat other people the way I want to be treated

20. Be more active outside

21. Step out of my comfort zone more often

22. Stop comparing myself to others

23. Create and stick to a budget

24. Take advantage of sight-seeing on the West Coast

25. Make more art

26. "Unplug" one day each month

27. Take a class and learn something new

28. Hit "snooze" less

29. Smile and acknowledge strangers

30. Be more informed about current events

31. Love myself unconditionally. No excuses

loyally,
katie

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What Mom {Really} Wants This Christmas

Wondering what that special Boss Lady of your family REALLY wants for Christmas this year? It's real simple:



1. To pee in peace.

2. To roam the aisles of Target, Home Goods, & TJ Maxx. Alone. With no budget.

3. To not have to put ONE.MORE.KID. in his carseat. 

4. A clean kitchen. Or better yet--a personal maid!

5. A massage. Preferably at a spa. Under a cabana on a tropical island.

6. To not have to wipe any butts.

7. To sit in Starbucks alone. Drinking a (gasp!) HOT coffee, whilst reading a book not about parenting.

8. To not have to make any decisions.

9. A gourmet chef. (Who specializes in chocolatey treats)

10. A silent night.

Please, Santa? I've been a good girl all year. (Except for those times I yelled at my kids...)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Clear, Smooth, & Moisturized

I often get asked what my daily face regimen is like so I thought I’d write a little post about it. I am nearly obsessed with keeping my face as clear, smooth, and moisturized as possible. It’s a pet peeve of mine for anyone to touch my face. And while the thought of wrinkles does pester in the back of my mind like any other 30-something-year-old, I am more concerned about sun damage, cleanliness, and whether or not a product contains harmful toxins and chemicals. 


*Please note, this is not a sponsored post. (But wouldn’t that have been nice?!)

A product I have used for a few years now is the Makeup Removal Cloth by Norwex.  I refuse to use anything else, as this cloth does not contain soap or other harsh cleansers. Since using this cloth, my face does not break out. You just wet the cloth and wipe your face. I swear to you it removes even eyeliner and mascara. Then, just wash the cloth in your washing machine as often as you want (I do it every week) and reuse! Incredible, right?

(I even had a random bout of eczema on my hand, but after using the Body Cloth for three days it disappeared and never returned!)

Next, I use a toner. Honestly, I have been skipping this step for the past few years because I haven’t found a toner I like, as most of them leave my skin feeling filmy. That was until I was recently introduced to Modere’s toner. Why use a toner? Because it helps remove any traces of dirt or grim your regular makeup remover may have missed. I believe it’s a vital part of skin care.

But what’s best about it is that I’m not using harsh chemicals on my face. I know this is true because Modere is an EWG Verified Member. EWG (Environmental Working Group) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that “empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment”. To be “verified” the products must score in the “green” zone, they cannot contain any ecotoxicity and/or contamination concerns, they must disclose all ingredients used on the label, they must follow the European Union’s labeling requirements/guidelines, among other standards.

Basically, they use all their smartness to do the research, and people like me get to reap the benefits. It takes the guesswork out of knowing which products are good or bad for me. I downloaded the app onto my phone and while I’m shopping I can scan almost anything to see how it scores by their standard. I used to research products I brought into my home and it can be so daunting and confusing! Now, I just look it up on EWG.

I am currently still using Rodan and Field’s Hydration Serum, night cream, and eye cream, and I like it, but I’d love to try Modere’s Dual Action Eye Gel and Wrinkle Guard next!

For years I have been using TRESemme shampoo and conditioner, but a hair stylist said it was leaving my hair with a waxy film. I gave Modere’s hair products a try, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed. I was actually thoroughly impressed and surprised with how great my hair felt immediately after showering, and also after styling: smooth and silky, without a waxy or greasy feeling! I was gifted a Body Bar and can tell you I’m just as equally satisfied. It has a very gentle exfoliant and my skin is so smooth; I rarely use lotion after showering. 

Two other products I own are the Hand Wash and Fresh Space (air freshening spray). I like using them in my home because they don’t contain controversial chemicals!

However, my MOST FAVORITE product I use every single day is Modere’s Antioxidant Gel. I cannot rave about it enough, actually. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is wipe my face with Norwex’s Makeup Removal Cloth, then apply the Antioxidant Gel. From the moment I put it on my face for the first time, I fell in love! It was like running a silk scarf across my face. I kid you not.

Some other products I hope to try soon are Modere’s Skin Veil, and Body Butter. I bet my kids would like the Body Butter because it has a sweet fragrance of caramel, cotton candy, and sugary fig. Yum!

Oh! I almost forgot! I use Modere’s toothpaste, too. The first time I tried it I thought, “I don’t know about this--it doesn’t seem strong enough.” But I don’t have any complaints. I actually accidentally used Crest the other day and thought it was way too sweet tasting! I’m sticking with Modere. 

To top off my daily routine, I always floss! ;-)

So there you have it. A pretty simple routine, I’d say.

And just in case anyone is interested in the Modere products I mentioned above, you can use my Referral Code: 597875 and receive $10 off your first purchase. 


I’d love to hear what your routine is like, and what products you love!

loyally,
katie

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Thank you, New Bern

It's been nearly five months since we uprooted my little family of five from the picturesque small-town of New Bern, North Carolina to sunny Southern California. And while I have never loved a place more climatically perfect, I have been feeling awfully nostalgic about the people I had to leave behind. The truth is, I could never put into words just how magical these people were to me, but I do have some words of gratitude to share:


Thank you for that time you babysat my kids so I could unpack my house.

Thank you for that time you came over for “Pizza, PJs, & Puffy Eyes” when our husbands deployed.

Thank you for that time we exchanged numbers for a play date.

Thank you for that time you drove over just to dispose of a dead bird on my porch because I. Just. Couldn't. Deal.

Thank you for letting me borrow your husband (on more than one occasion) to hang picture frames and change light bulbs.

Thank you for that time you convinced me to join MOPS.

Thank you for all the dinners. And wine. And coffee. And chocolate.

Thank you for that time you drove me to the ER and watched my kids when I sliced my finger open.

Thank you for that time you let me cry and prayed over me when I missed my husband over Christmas.

Thank you for that time you stood by my side when I was Baptized.

Thank you for all the after-church family sushi dates.

Thank you for that time you helped me get through kindergarten.

Thank you for all the carpool line texts.

Thank you for all the Snapchats to brighten my day.

Thank you for that time you threw me a baby shower.

Thank you for that time you took my kids so I could nap.

Thank you for that time you took care of my kids while I had another baby.

Thank you for that time you helped me organize and prep my house to move.

Thank you for all the times you loved on my kids like they were your own.

Thank you for ALL. THE. TIMES. you told me we’d be friends no matter the distance...

// // //

loyally,
katie

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Prayer Process


I have discovered I am The Best Version of Me when I begin my day with intentional prayer. My alarm goes off, and before my feet hit the ground, I recite The Lord’s Prayer and a Hail Mary. Most of the time I will actually hit “snooze” and repeat both prayers over and over until my alarm goes off again. I envision a specific person (or people) for which I offer up my prayers. (Although I will be honest and say I sometimes can’t help but fall back asleep! #sleepdeprivedbecauseofbaby)

Praying first-thing in the morning helps me feel more grounded and in tune with God, and myself, thus leading me to be a better wife and mother. I find that prayer transforms me to be more patient and think before I speak (or yell). I encourage everyone to try it!

You will find below, that I have paraphrased Matthew Kelly’s guided process for praying, that I follow (most) every morning. I have a notebook I write my prayers in, which helps me stay focused and disciplined. If you are not familiar with Matthew Kelly, you can read more about him here, along with his ministry, Dynamic Catholic. My husband and I were blessed to hear him speak a few years back and it was quite transformational.

The following “prayer process” can be for anyone, regardless of your religion! That’s the amazing thing: we’re all praying to the same God!

“The Prayer Process”

1. GRATITUDE – Thank God for what you are most grateful for today.

2. AWARENESS – Think about times in the last twenty-four hours when you were and were not the “best-version-of-yourself”. Talk about these times and what you have learned from them.

3. SIGNIFICANT MOMENTS – Find something that occurred in the past twenty-four hours and ponder what God may be trying to say to you by way of that event/person.

4. PEACE – Seek forgiveness from God for any wrongdoings you have done, whether it be against yourself, another person, or Him. Ask God to give you peace over the situation.

5. FREEDOM – Converse with God about how He is welcoming you to change your life, in order for you to be “the-best-version-of-yourself”.

6. OTHERS – Offer up to God anyone you want to pray for today, requesting He blesses and guides them.

7. PRAYTHE OUR FATHER’ (or if you’re Jewish, pray 'The Shema')

I pray the latter helps you be more intentional with your prayer, and that it leads you to be The Best Version of Yourself.

I'd love to hear how prayer has transformed or improved your life!

loyally,
katie 
     

Monday, June 19, 2017

North Carolina Goodbyes & California Vibes



So we did A Thing: We moved across the country.... to California! I can’t believe we did it, but we did. It wasn’t easy--that’s for sure; and it’s not over yet! It has been stressful, both physically and emotionally.

This adventure in our life has been Crazy with a capital C. There's so much I want to say and yet, for weeks now, every time I try to sit down {‘try’ being the operative word because A) I own three needy little humans, and B) because I’m sleep deprived} I just can’t seem to put into words all of my emotions. Like the fact that I’ve been wanting to write a “love letter” of sorts to my friends in North Carolina, but I keep pressing the delete button because I don’t feel like my words emulate just how much they mean to me.

Moving with the military is bittersweet. Getting to live in different locations, climates, and houses is both fun and exciting, for many reasons. If we weren’t forced to purge our stuff every two years, I’m slightly afraid we’d be submitted to be on the TV show, Hoarders! The hardest part about moving every two years in having to leave behind some wonderful people. There’s no other way to say it, except for: “It sucks!” But I truly believe it is “better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.” I wouldn’t be the person I am today without every single one of my friends from past moves. And that helps ease the sting a bit...

Making new friends can be tough, so when you meet people you really connect with, it can be very difficult to leave them. But what’s even more devastating than leaving your own friends, is watching your kids leave their best friends.

There have been some rough days, watching my girls (especially Emmalyn) feel sad over leaving her friends. When she says things like, “I wish we didn’t have to keep moving houses. I wish we could just buy a house and stay with our family forever,” it breaks my heart! But she continues to show me just how strong and resilient she is, and it puts a smile on my face whenever she FaceTimes, SnapChats, or Marco Polos her friends.


I'm sure going to miss our quiet and quaint little Nicholas Sparks town, and all the people in it! But as Winnie the Pooh once said, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” That chubby little cubby is a wise one.

The logistics of sending your entire life across the country is quite tedious. It took months of preparation, starting with my aunt helping me organize and purge a lot of our stuff. I don’t know what I would have done without her help! I am 100% positive all of her hard work (and a dash of mine) is going to pay off WHEN we move in to our new house.

Oh, that’s right… we left North Carolina on May 22, and still haven’t moved in to our house. We have stayed in three different hotels and are now in a vacation rental condo (for another three weeks!!!) At least we can see the Pacific Ocean from our window...

Some days I feel like I’m losing my damn mind, y’all! One Friday, I went the entire day thinking it was Thursday. Now, people do this a lot of the time, but usually snap out of it within a few hours (or at least by the end of the day). Well, NOPE, not me. I woke up Saturday morning believing it was Friday. I looked over at my still sleeping husband and was worried his alarm didn’t go off for work. I asked him, “Do you have to go to work today?” and was elated when he answered, “No,” believing he had a surprise weekday off! Later that morning I got a phone call from the massage place asking if I wanted to reschedule since it was 10:05 and my appointment was for 10:00. I confidently said, “My massage is for tomorrow.” The lady on the phone apologized and said she would see me then. When I got off the phone Blake asked, “What about church?” I was all like, “What do you mean? Tomorrow is Saturday.” He said, “No it’s not. Today is Saturday.” Then I continued to argue with him over it. Seriously, folks, I am losing it!

Living out of one container of toys and books, and living off of ten outfits is difficult, to say the least. The girls have been fighting a lot more because they’re on top of one another 24/7, sharing every inch of this condo. Fortunately, Emmalyn will be going to musical theatre camp this week, giving the girls a break from one another. 

We have definitely made a lot of happy memories amidst the chaos, though. We’ve gone to the zoo, the beach, Balboa Park, lots of different playgrounds, hiking, outlet shopping, and swimming. We’ve also met some wonderfully kind families, welcoming us to this beautiful new town (and watching my kids so I can go to the grocery store in peace and pick up everything on my list because I can actually hear myself think!).

I joined the good 'ole YMCA, and have taken Barre and Yoga, which has been super helpful for my psyche. Pinteresting paint colors and loft beds have also distracted me from being “homeless” this past month.

Knowing that “This Too Shall Pass”, helps me get through the OMG-I’m-Going-To-Sell-My-Kids-To-The-Circus moments.

Normalcy is right around the corner--I can feel it!

loyally,
katie

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