Happenings! + Pics

Who wants to see pictures of Emmy Grace?!
I do! I do!
As you can see from the photo below, we are still behind in the hair department 😉 I promise it’s there–it’s just very light and fair. But man, all those pretty flowers and bows are collecting quite a bit  of dust on her dresser… 
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People, we have a walker runner! & there’s no stopping this chick. She loves to explore! I sincerely  love that about her.
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Just my daily routine… updating Emmalyn’s life in my “Mom’s Calendar”
{while Indy hopelessly barks at every.single.breathing.thing. outside}
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With Mimo, Papo, & cousin Lucas at Daddy’s basketball game. It’s heartfelt to hear Emmy cheer, “Go, Daddy, Go!” & clap those cute little baby hands.
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& just so Indy doesn’t feel left out…
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Emmy L-O-V-E-S her weekly music class! The first couple of times she cried and wouldn’t leave my side, but now–she goes up to the other kids and is obsessed with the instruments. Still working on getting her to sing the songs AT music class, instead of just at home.
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Play date with her favorite cousin. She simply adores him! Seeing the two of them interact is what life is all about!
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Emmy’s newest (& favorite) expression: “The Cheese Face”
No complaints here.
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Before her 15-month shots… I love this chick!
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Said in conga-line fashion: “Pee pee in the potty! Pee pee in the potty!”
For the last few days now, Emmy has gone pee pee in the potty 3 times! {& one #2!}
I’ve been introducing the potty to Emmy before bath time, and after lunch/whenever I get the feeling she needs to go. I figured I’d test the water (–er, pee?) to see if she’s interested before going gung ho.
*Question for Mommies: How did you potty-train your kid(s)? Please share!!
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Impromptu date night with The Hubs!
Dinner & Put-Put
 He won by 2 strokes, BUT I found all the hidden items in the scavenger hunt. Go me! 🙂
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Sleeping Beauty, always with a book. Everyone knows Target shopping wears a girl out, yo!
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The love of my life…
So there you have it, folks! I hope that puts a smile on your face.
Stay tuned for Emmy’s 1st video blog!
Loyally,
Katie

Not Just Another Whitney Post

Like many others, I was stunned and sadden to hear about the sudden loss of a musical icon. I don’t disagree that it’s a tremendous tragedy–especially for her daughter, family, and friends. I can’t imagine how her loved ones are feeling.

However, a radio show got me thinking…

The DJ’s were talking about how Whitney’s untimely death has been in bright lights all over the media. It’s understandable, considering she was a vocal icon.

But what about the men and women who throw themselves in front of terrorists to protect our country? What about the everyday heroes living right next door? Do we hear about them?

Occasionally, yes.

Most often you just see a snapshot of them on a grid with other fallen heroes on the nightly news.

Then that’s it.

I don’t want to take away Whitney’s legacy, by any means.

But why the obsession?

In the past, she did a lot of humanitarian work–notoriously lending her voice to philanthropic galas and events. She has even created her own foundation for children who are sick and/or homeless–caring for and educating them. However, why are we holding her higher above our soldiers? Someone who has infamously abused drugs and alcohol for numerous years? I’m not trying to bash Whitney or down-play her tragedy–after all, I Will Always Love You is one of my all-time favorite songs…

But, it really irks me that people who are sacrificing their lives for others… people who cure illnesses… people who are completely selfless… are not getting the honor, recognition, or praise that they truly deserve.

Tell me, what is wrong with our society?

Does anyone else feel this way, too?

You Are What You Eat.

If you are what you eat, then I must be bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. {i seriously cannot say ‘bananas’ without singing it a la Gwen Stefani} Any way… Emmy must be bananas, too, because this girl is o.b.s.e.s.s.e.d with the yellow fruit. If you try to take one away from her, she will go ape-shit. pun. intended. But seriously. This chick would eat bananas all day long if I let her. “Nana! Nana! Nana!” {Back when Emmy had a hard time pronouncing, “GG” I told my mom she should have named herself ‘Nana’ instead.}


But I digress.


Are we really what we eat?


I believe this to be so. & lately I’ve been putting more thought into what I put in my belly. & my daughter’s. But trying to eat healthier is easier said than done. For me, at least. I really wish there was such a thing as a Food Fairy, who would magically deliver healthy food to my fridge and tell me what meals to prepare. {In a perfect world, the Food Fairy would also do all the cooking for me, too!} I get overwhelmed with trying to eat perfectly healthy. There’s too much to remember: Nitrates are toxic. Organic fruits are a must. The bigger the difference between carbs and sugar, the better. {head explodes right about now}


Since I’d really like to keep my head intact, I’ve decided to focus on making one change at a time. Emmy and I went to Whole Foods last week and my goal was to make sure none of my deli picks had nitrates/nitrites, artificial coloring, and were not ‘mechanically separated’ (ew!gag!) While roaming the narrow aisles (seriously WF, you need to expand the width of your aisles!) I used what I already knew about making healthy choices, but didn’t beat myself up if I wasn’t the *perfect* health nut.


I love the people in WF’s though. They’re so much nicer than the folks at other marketplaces. Probably because they’re hyped up on organic superfoods & coconut water instead of toxic processed crap. & I know it may sound weird, but I truly believe Emmy loved being at WF’s. She was so chipper and friendly, smiling and laughing throughout the store. Plus, she L O V E D all the yummy samples.

It’s been over a week since I’ve decided to take baby steps to eating healthier, instead of trying to flip my entire kitchen upside-down, and I must say that it’s going well. Are there times when I don’t eat *perfectly*? Of course! But I don’t beat myself up about it any longer. If I did, I would drive myself bananas!

So what about you? Are you psycho cautious about what you eat? What tricks or tips have you learned to make eating healthier easier?

Loyally,
Katie

PPD: JUST DO IT!

The following was written exactly one year ago today…

January 19, 2011

I’m really trying to have a positive outlook on this whole situation. My group therapist really said some insightful words to live by. He said that just because we lack the motivation doesn’t mean we can’t do it. In other words, just because I may not feel like doing something, it doesn’t mean I can’t. I have to make the decision to get my BUTT UP!

He also shared that driven people do what’s best regardless of their feelings. I know that getting up and doing the things that make me feel good, are what’s best for me. I need to try to do better in order to feel better.

It’s going to take time and practice, but my mood WILL catch up and get better. And most importantly, in order to gain momentum in my recovery, I have to GET MOVING!!!

My group therapist asked me today about how I can turn my struggle into a positive thing/outcome…

My hope is to be able to help other women going through Postpartum Depression. I don’t think women are well-enough informed; are confused, lost, and/or ashamed. Often times they’re alone, too. After I come out of this, my plan and goal is to write an article about my experience and send it out to parent/family magazines in hope that someone will publish it.

I’d also really love to be able to talk to expectant mothers at their prenatal classes. I think raising awareness is highly important. I wish there had been a woman to do that for me. I might have gotten help sooner.

I think there’s a big stigma about PPD. Women don’t want to talk about it because they feel ashamed, and like they’re crazy for these illogical, but very scary thoughts. If gone untreated, PPD can worsen and become dangerous. most of the time, women with PPD need medication and psychotherapy [talk therapy]. There is no shame in this treatment.

My current state is kind of an oxymoron–I’m hopeful, but frustrated. I have read and heard that this will pass and get better, but I have a hard time believing it some days. I’m having a difficult time accepting that it’s going to take time. Normally I’m very patient, but not with this. I keep telling myself this is happening for a reason–I just need to keep moving to get there. And just like car headlights only show us what’s 160 feet in front of us, somehow we always make it to our destination. Safely. 

What that means to me is: just because I can’t see the end result (my destination), doesn’t mean I won’t get there. I just have to keep driving.


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To read about my postpartum depression from the beginning, click here.

Update.

Let’s just get the elephant in the room out of the way:
I’m not a very good blogger
Phew! That felt better.
 
Now I can move along to what’s been happening in our lives…
 
In December, we took Emmalyn to her first theme park–Sea World. She loved it!
 
Okay, so as a Floridian, I should know what to expect from the Shamu show, right
 
I mean, I should have the common sense not to sit in the “Splash Zone,” right
 
Ya, you’d think. 
 
But nope… not this girl
 
For some reason, I remember the splashes not being so bad, so we all thought we were safe in the last row of the Splash Zone.
Wrong!
The following is a picture of just before we were hit with a frigid tidal wave of icky killer whale water.
 We tried to cover ourselves under my sister-in-law’s jacket, but that was just a big, plain, major fail. Immediately, Emmy started crying from shock. I got all mama bear and stormed out of the stadium, stripped my child down to her birthday suit, and put on her change of clothes. I was furious for a solid five minutes, then decided I was not going to let this ruin the rest of the day. 
I knew then, that soon I’d look back at that catastrophe and laugh about it.
I was right 😉
 
We had a great time bringing Emmy with us to pick out a Christmas tree. Last year, since she was so tiny, we didn’t even bother picking one out–we just mooched off of my in-law’s tree!
 This was Emmalyn’s first encounter with Santa Claus. Classic right? 
I couldn’t stop laughing!
(I know, shame on me… sorry Em!)
But doesn’t every parent just have to have this picture?!
Emmy was completely fine if we were 2 feet or more away from the Big Man, and kept saying, “Ho Ho Ho.”
Also, in December, I turned the big 2-5!
I pretty much had the best birthday…
All I was told was to dress up 80’s style, and the rest would be taken care of!
Against my husband’s liking, I wore a true vintage getup… my mother’s Jazzercise outfit.
 
Yes. I went out like this.
 
I was whisked away by my girlfriends to a Drag Queen show! …something I’ve always wanted to do. & let me tell you… it exceeded my expectations!
I had the best time!!

Emmalyn has been growing so much!! Lately, she’s really been into going to kids’ play places, and story times.
I was so proud she knew what to do with a crayon in her hand. She didn’t even try to color on the floor!
(Like mother, like daughter)
Emmy also looooves playing outside! The cold doesn’t bother her one bit!
This pic cracks me up because I asked my nephew to “Hold onto Emmy.” I guess you can’t expect too much from a 3 year-old 😉
Lots of fun Christmas activities went down this season. We went Christmas trees & lights watching… we gathered family and close friends for caroling, & had a few different rounds of Secret Santa!
Christmas morning brought reindeer pancakes and mini snowmen.
& This little one had a blast opening up her gifts and testing them all out. I’m happy to say, that as a mom, I’m thoroughly pleased with the gifts people so graciously gave Emmalyn. We didn’t get a million-bazillion stuffed animals or super annoying toys!
Four generations, yo!
One of my favorite moments this season was bringing Emmalyn to West Virginia for the first time! She’s met my mom’s side of the family a couple of times, but this was the first time we headed up north to see them.
We (me, Blake, Emmy, Indy, my Mom, my Dad, & their dog, Joey) all hopped in one full-size SUV and drove 17 hours straight to WV.
Thankfully, I remembered to do my snow dance before we left! & I’m super glad I bought Emmy a $10 snow suit from a consignment shop. It was totally worth all ten Mr. Washington’s because this kid l.o.v.e.d. the show! It was so funny to watch her ride on the sled, saying “Weeeeeeee…” all the while.
 Emmy had a blast playing with her cousins Carter & Will on our way back, in North Carolina.
 & she had even more fun riding shotgun in Carter’s new Mustang!!
{daddy can’t believe he let her loose like that!}
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I still want to write about Emmalyn’s amazing first birthday party.
…I’ll get there someday! 😉
Loyally,
Katie

PPD: Journal Entry #3

Written on January 10, 2011 while being hospitalized for Postpartum Depression:

A woman told me I look much better today. It feels good that people can notice. I’m definitely feeling better than I was yesterday. Yesterday was so scary. I met with my doctor today. Basically, she told me this is going to pass, but in the meantime I’m going to up the dosage on my medication. If the medicine seems to be working, then I’ll probably only be here two more days. If I’m not liking the medication then the doctor will change the meds, but it should prolong my stay.

I’m just trying to stay positive, which is pretty hard when you’re surrounded by depressed people. This morning was a little hard to get moving, but after getting dressed after breakfast, I was craving activity. Fortunately we were able to go to the gymnasium. And guess what? I played 3 on 3 basketball. B would be proud, and possibly a little jealous he missed it. Especially since he’s always trying to get me to play with him! I can’t wait to tell him.


The therapy here kind of sucks. Well, I’ve only been to one [group] session, but it wasn’t helpful. I’m here because of a hormonal issue–not abuse of any sorts. I just couldn’t really relate. Plus, I really would like to talk with someone about how to cope with the anxiety. And obviously, most importantly is to prevent the harmful thoughts. But I believe that will come with time… and meds.

Enchanted.

Here are a few teasers from  
Emmalyn’s Enchanted First Birthday Party
Let’s just say it was magical.

Photos taken by my cousin Steve, and friend Marissa.
More to Come!!

ONE YEAR.

On November 17, 2010 at 3:39pm, my world changed forever. God brought our daughter, Emmalyn Grace, safely into our lives. I knew nothing would ever be quite the same, but I don’t think anyone could prepare me for what lay ahead in my first year of being a mother. 

Having a child is the greatest life lesson you can receive. These tiny little beings, with ten bitty toes, and rosy cheeks, are the most important and influential teachers one can ever have. My once six pounds & 14 ounces little love, taught me so much about myself. Unbeknown to her, she has been my light, my angel. At 23 years-old, when I had Emmalyn, I thought I knew precisely what I was going to be like as a mother. I was strong and confident with my visions and opinions. 

Flash-forward one year… Ha! Silly Me

Things like cloth diapering, breastfeeding, forbidding Walmart, etcetera–all flew out the door like folks on Black Friday. What I’ve come to realize is that motherhood is SO unpredictable. No matter how many baby books you read, or people you talk to, there’s always going to be something to throw you off course. For me, it was the dreaded “P” word: Postpartum Depression. Although it ended up being a blessing in disguise, it was the worst time in my life. But it taught me so much. About myself, about being a mother. 


Having to be hospitalized for a week forced me to let go of my need for control. It taught me how to be more laid-back as a person, and that taking an infant to Walmart really isn’t as bad as you think. (There’s a lot worse.) I’ve heard mothers say numerous times. “I can’t even remember what life was like before baby.” I can. While I really miss some certain aspects of my non-maternal life, I am a much better person now. You would think that having a baby would make me even more controlling and up-tight, but through everything my PPD experience taught me, I am living a mentally healthier and more relaxed life. I made a new mom-friend last week, and she was kind enough to come over to help me make chocolate-covered pretzels for Emmy’s party this weekend. As we were talking and making a mess, she mentioned how nice it was that I wasn’t such a perfectionist about the appearance of the pretzels. I thought, Oh–if you only knew me before… Even one of my best friends has told me how proud she is of me for not sweating the small stuff. It makes me feel proud, too; to hear those compliments from someone who has known me for years, as well as someone who has come into my life only recently.


The first three months of Emmalyn’s life crept by so slowly for me. I kept thinking, When is this going to get better? This is so much harder than I ever thought it would be! And now, time is moving quickly. The proof is in the pictures, my friend. My baby girl is ONE–even though she gets mistaken for a six month-old. { It must run in the family, ‘cuz her momma got mistaken for a high school student last night ;p } My selfless husband, parents, in-laws, family, and dearest friends, have supported me through this tumultuous year. I don’t think I could have made it without them. Scratch that–I KNOW I couldn’t have made it without them. But I wouldn’t be who I am today, if it weren’t for one extraordinary being… my daughter, Emmalyn Grace. She has been my number one motivation. I have been touched by an angel….


There’s so much I want to say to so many people. & to most of you, I have. But I especially don’t want to leave out my blogger buddies. I can’t thank you all enough for your encouraging words. Not one single message goes unappreciated. There are many of you who have made such an impact on my life, which I will never forget. 

Thank you.