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8 Things Helping Me Battle Depression


 

I’ve never been shy about sharing my ongoing battle with depression and anxiety because if it helps just one person not feel alone then it’s worth it. As most of my long-time readers know I had mild to moderate postpartum depression after the births of both Maia and Mason. But after Zoey’s birth it all went sideways and I had severe postpartum depression which slid into postpartum psychosis and settled into debilitating anxiety. It’s taken me years to climb out of the pit. And it’s still a struggle sometimes. My moods are affected greatly by the seasons and the weather and my current level of stress. Managing my mental health is something I will be conscious of for the rest of my life. I’m in a good place right now. I feel like I’ve climbed the highest mountain for the last 6 years and I’m finally reaching the summit. I no longer spiral into a panic when I’m having a bad day, worried that I’m sinking down into that familiar black hole. I can accept that a bad mood is just a bad mood and know that not getting enough sleep one night will not trigger a depressive episode. It’s a work in progress, always. And I’m always reflecting on where I am at and what I’m doing that is helping keep the depression and anxiety at bay. 

1. I leave the house every single day. I can’t believe how much this has helped me. I dreaded this school year with having kids in 3 different schools because it meant I had to go out to drive kids around every single day. And in retrospect, this has been the biggest blessing of my year. Getting out of the house and having a change of scenery every day has boosted my mood considerably. 

2. I make my daily to do list. One of the issues I struggled with was feeling unproductive and lazy. So I have a notes section in my planner and I make a to do list for every single day of the week. I check off things as I go and I feel motivated. 

3. I keep the house clean and clutter free. I’m still in the middle of a purge but I did finish my 40 bags in 40 days challenge. It felt great to get rid of so much junk that we just didn’t need. My house feels more open and clean and it’s helped me considerably. I am committed to maintaining a clean and clutter free home. 

4. I have one hour of quiet time every morning. I fully admit that I’d rather be asleep. But the big kids leave for school at 6:15am and the little kids don’t wake up until 8am. So I have over an hour of quiet time to read and relax and be ready for the day. 

5. I keep the house bright and cheery. I keep the lights on, the blinds open, and the ceiling fans going. The house is bright and open and it makes me feel happy. I add a few drops of essential oils to my diffuser and make the house smell good. 

6. I make the vision for our family top priority. I keep at the forefront of my mind what we want for our family. We want a happy, peaceful family. We want joy. We want laughter. We want experiences. So I ruthlessly cut out anything that is not adding to the vision of our family. I say no to things that don’t fit with the lifestyle we are trying to create. 

7. I go with the flow. This has probably been the hardest for me to achieve. I’m very much a planner and going with the flow goes against everything I am. But it’s helping. Plans changing at the last minute used to send me into a tailspin. Now I just laugh, shake my head, and adjust. And we’re all happier. 

8. I keep looking forward. Nothing lasts forever. A bad mood passes, a rain storm moves on, stress dies off, and it all evens out. I just have to keep looking forward. 

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5 Things Friday {4.21.17}

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It’s Fri-YAY! Finally. This has been a very long busy week and I’ve never been so happy to see Friday morning. The kids counted down last night how many days of school they have left this year. Mason and Zoey have 34 days, Maia has 32 days, and Tyler has 26 days. Come on summer vacation! 

1. Last weekend we went to my parents house to celebrate Easter. My sister and her family also went so it was the whole family and it was fun. The kids had an Easter egg hunt, we ate a ton of good food, and we laughed a lot. Exactly what we needed after some very busy months at our house. 

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2. We finally got the sliding barn door hung in Tyler’s room. It only took….well, it’s not important how long it took. All that matters is that he finally has a real door, right? We found the whole kit at Lowe’s for $399 and it took us about 45 minute to hang it up. I love it. And we chose the off-white color so it blends with the kitchen. And the kitchen looks so much better now with the door instead of that curtain. I love it!

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3. Maia had her first eye appointment this week. She’s been complaining about not being able to see the whiteboard at school so I knew it was time. And sure enough, she needs glasses. She’s nearsighted and has an issue with her eye muscles. So we’re waiting on her glasses to come in now. She picked out some adorable frames and she seems happy enough about it.

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4. We also started the redo on her room this week. She’s been waiting patiently for her turn in the room redo rotation at our house. She picked out a beautiful pale aqua color paint and I can’t wait to show you all the fun details we’re doing in her room. 

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5. Tyler has yet another staph infection on his other thigh now. We went for his monthly Accutane appointment on Tuesday and the dermatologist is really pleased with his progress. She upped his dose again for this month and gave him some antibiotics for the staph infection. Poor kid. I cannot wait for him to be finished with this medicine. 

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So that’s part of what’s been going on around here this week. We also had a football meeting last night that lasted a long time and 99% pertained to the upcoming freshmen…and their moms. Today I’m hoping the hot tub repair man comes to fix the leak we have in the hot tub so I can enjoy it again. Hopefully next week’s Friday 5 includes a picture of me drinking a margarita in my hot tub. Fri-YAY!

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Delicious Chicken Alfredo Bake

My kids are huge lovers of Alfredo. They will eat Alfredo on just about anything. But Matt is not such a big fan of Alfredo sauce so I have to doctor it up a bit to make him eat it without complaint. I use Zatarins Cajun seasoning to add some spice and it’s delicious! If you don’t like food with a lot of spiciness then you will want to go easy on this seasoning. We like it really spicy so I add a good amount. 

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Ingredients:
3-4 chicken breasts
1 box penne pasta
2 jars (15oz each) Alfredo sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Zatarins Cajun seasoning

Directions:
1. Put chicken breasts in bottom of crockpot and cover with 4-6 cups of water.
2. Cook on High for 4 hours.
3. Shred chicken in bowl and mix with Zatarins Cajun seasoning (taste as you go for desired spiciness)
4. Cook and drain pasta.
5. Pour pasta in baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
6. Add chicken and Alfredo sauce and mix well.
7. Cover with shredded cheese.
8. Sprinkle with more Zatarins Cajun seasoning.
9. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

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We never have any leftovers when I make this dinner. The kids clean the pan every single time and are still disappointed to not have any left. Sometimes I add steamed broccoli before baking instead of on the side. 

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Old School Parenting In Our House

 

A post shared by Delia James (@semidomesticatedmama) on

We had a fabulous weekend celebrating Easter with our extended family up at my parent’s mountain home. It was glorious- warm sunshine, nice breeze, chilled wine, yummy eats, and great conversation. Exactly what we needed right now in our busy lives. There were several of our family members there with kids so my kids had built in friends to play with. And Matt and I were continually amused watching the parenting styles of some of our relatives and friends. Let’s just say, we are totally different parents. My mom’s best friend remarked that Matt and I are “old school parents” and that got me thinking of all the ways we are definitely old school. 

1. We make them ride the bus. Even the 2 going to charter schools this year ride the bus. I pay for that bus and they ride it. They hate it. Do I care? Nope. I’m not driving an extra 20 minutes all the way to school and sitting through 2 different car lines every afternoon because they hate the bus. Nope. Next year Tyler will drive to school and he will take all the kids in the morning but the younger 3 will ride the bus to the communal bus stop in the afternoons. 

2. We let them entertain themselves. My parents never played with us. We were expected to entertain ourselves. I’m not playing Monster High. I’m just not. This is why we have so many kids so they can entertain each other because I have zero interest in imaginative play. I’ll read all the books they want, I’ll have a dance party, I’ll go in the hot tub with them. But I’m not playing dolls, or tea party, or God help me, Littlest Pet Shops and Shopkins. No. 

3. We let them learn from their screw ups. It’s not my job to fix every mistake they make. How will they learn? Forget to do your English paper? Better find out if you can turn it in late. Forget your PE uniform? Guess you’re getting lunch detention that day. Mistakes are a part of learning how to be a responsible adult. Far be it for me to deprive my kids of that learning experience.

4. We do not pay them for chores. Nope. Chores are a part of living in this household. You do your part and you pull your weight. We provide shelter, clothing, food and luxuries like electricity and running water. So they will do their part to help out or I’ll send them outside to bathe from the hose. 

5. We are not besties. I have friends and I don’t need any friends who are kids. All my friends are old enough to drink. I don’t need my kids to like me. They will respect me, they will listen to me, they will do what I say. And that makes us definitely not besties.

6. We enforce limits and follow through on consequences. Don’t get in trouble in my house because I follow through on consequences. Always. But we also don’t have a thousand stupid little rules. We have a few important big ones. And they better not get broken or the offender will pay the price- usually losing a beloved phone or laptop or iPad. 

7. We don’t fight their battles for them. I get involved if it’s really serious but otherwise, nope. Have an issue with a coach? Deal with it respectfully and work it out. Same with teachers and friends. I strongly believe in kids learning to handle confrontation and stand up for themselves at an early age. 

8. We are not helicopter parents. We are probably the opposite of helicopter family. The kids have parameters they have to follow but I don’t keep them attached to my apron strings…if I wore an apron. They can walk to their friends houses down the street, they can play in the front yard without me, they can have their privacy without me butting in every few minutes. I’m trying to raise adults, not needy kids. 

9. We don’t do homework. Mainly because I don’t understand their homework these days. But I’m not going to do their homework for them. I already did school. The little kids go to Tyler for help with math and to Maia for help with reading. It works out well for me. 

10. We don’t sweat the small stuff. I no longer care about little things- like matching outfits on Easter, or having perfect Easter baskets made, or having the perfect family picture. It’s the mis-matched outfits and the funny picture outtakes are what memories are made of in this family. 

I like being an old school parent. It works for us. And it works for our kids.

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5 Things Friday {4.14.17}

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We’ve had a seriously busy few weeks at our house. Time is just slipping past me and there are not enough hours in my day anymore. I miss writing here more often but 3 posts a week is about all I can do right now. So what’s been going on? 

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Poor Tyler has a serious staph infection with cellulitis on his inner thigh. It started as a cluster of cystic acne and got infected when the acne popped during weight training. He’s been on antibiotics for almost a week and it looks much better now. But it was scary bad. And being a man-baby all he told me was that he had a painful acne spot on his thigh. He said nothing about it being huge, red, swollen, hot to the touch, and oozing. Seriously kid? That is important information.

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Mason and Zoey are on Spring Break this week and the weather has been beautiful and amazing. We’ve spent hours at the park and playing in the yard. They’ve blown bubbles, made sidewalk chalk drawings, played basketball, run around with friends, had picnics a the park…as much as I’ve complained about having 3 different spring break’s this year it has been nice to have some time with the little kids.

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Tyler’s had quite a week. During wrestling with the football team he got popped in the nose. It bled and bled and bled. We thought it might be broken but waited to see if it was going to swell up. The next day at school it got worse and the bruise turned dark, both eyes got black underneath, and it kept bleeding. Luckily one of his good girl friends was nice enough to give him a tampon which he cut in half and shoved up his nose to stop the bleeding. This kid. Only my son would not think twice about walking around school with tampons shoved up his broken nose. 

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I am so tired of the paper clutter in this house. So I created my own little command center in the kitchen. It’s tucked in the little niche beside the fridge so it’s not visible unless you’re standing right in front of it. My life is so much easier now. Everything has a place and I know where to find the stuff I need quickly. Organization is my mecca. 

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We bought Tyler a car last night! Matt found a 2015 Toyota Corolla sport with only 800 miles on it for a steal! It’s a nice car, a really nice car. We kept it a secret and surprised him at the dealership. He is one happy teenager right now. 

Hope you all have a wonderful Easter with family and friends!

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