Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lisa Leonard Designs Giveaway!

Raise your hand if you were terribly sad to see the weekend go away. Hand raised high right here. This was the first weekend where we were not working in one form or another; either working on that blasted garage or working on throwing a party. We've waved our white flag and have decided to have someone come and paint the garage for us so Art was able to take the weekend off and it was much needed and deserved. For the first time in a while we spent time together just moseying around, not having to rush from place to place.  It was glorious, which is why I was so sad to see the weekend go away.  BUT!  There's always a bright spot right?  I'm excited to be hosting a Lisa Leonard giveaway today for a $50 shop credit to her beautiful store.  
I personally can't get enough of my teenie tiny initials necklace and have been wearing it pretty much everyday.  On the days I'm not wearing the initial necklace I'm wearing the tiny twig necklace below.  I admire Lisa and her collection so much.  Great business woman, beautiful and simple designs and fantastic quality.  You really can't go wrong with anything in her shop.  Here are a few of my favorites. 
left to right top to bottom: tiny twig necklace, we love dad key chain, through my lens necklace, thin sterling cuff, leaf earrings, high in the sky necklace

To enter this giveaway, please visit the Lisa Leonard Designs site and leave a comment letting us know which item you'd order with your $50 shop credit.  For additional entries sign up for her newsletter and Like the Four Flights of Fancy Facebook page.  That's a total of 3 entries.  Giveaway will close on Saturday June 2nd at 11:59 pm PST.  Good luck!

Also, I'll announce the Rags to Stitches giveaway winner tomorrow!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Granny Smith Cheeseburgers

Most of my favorite recipes I make over and over again, including the ones that I've featured here, harken back to my childhood in one way or another.  Whether it be trying to recreate something my grandma made or just using an ingredient that my mom always used to make, my cooking usually goes back to my childhood roots.  I'm guessing if food was a big part of your childhood, it does for you too.  When I was given the opportunity to create a recipe post using Kraft Singles I jumped at the chance because I've been eating and cooking with Kraft Singles for as long as I can remember.  Not one single grilled cheese sandwich or cheeseburger in this house is made with something other than good ol' American.  I think I may even have responded to the opportunity with the statement "Are you kidding me?  I have the Costco size box of Kraft Singles!"  I may have even offered up pictures as proof.  You know, just in case they thought I was lying ;)

This cheeseburger recipe I'm sharing today is ridiculously easy and is one we've made several times when we wanted something just a tad different than the usual.  It's Americana mixed with a tinge of fanciful novelty.  You'll both impress and delight your guests if you grill these babies up at your next BBQ, I promise you that.  My father in law is a tough critic and he admitted to me last night that these were in fact "dang good burgers."   
Granny Smith Cheeseburgers (makes 4 large size burgers):
1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey)
1 granny smith apple finely chopped + 1 thinly sliced for topping
Salt & Pepper
4 Kraft Singles & Buns

Mix up the ground beef and chopped granny smith apples, add salt and pepper to taste.  Shape into 4 1/4 lb patties and grill as desired, topping with a slice of Kraft Singles in the last minute of grilling.  Add your condiments on your bun (I prefer just mustard with this kind of cheeseburger), and add a slice or two of granny smith apple.   
The cheese melts perfectly on the patty and the sharpness of the cheese mixed with the tartness of the apple and savory meat is quite possibly the perfect combination.  I especially love that I don't have to worry about messing with slicing up tomatoes, lettuce, onions and all that.  This burger really does taste best nice and simple with just the sliced apple serving as your only topping.

As always, please let me know if you give these a try.  It would be the perfect new cheeseburger to try for Memorial Day tomorrow. 

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a coupon for free Kraft Singles and a stipend.  The opinions expressed here are my own.

Friday, May 25, 2012


(Family - because talking about them never gets old)
I've started this post 10 different times and 10 different ways, trying to find the right way to say it, without saying "I have a big announcement", but sometimes you just have to state the obvious so here goes: Guys, I have a big announcement!  And since I'm already pregnant we know that that big announcement has already been covered, so what could it be?  Well I've recently signed on to be a regular contributor at Disney Baby, and I honestly couldn't be more excited, honored and ahem, nervous.  It's an actual job guys ;) 

What is Disney Baby you ask?  Well it's going to be a space where myself, and some other really amazing bloggers will talk about everyday parenting and family moments.  I'll be writing about pretty much the things that us moms all experience and do with our kids and families.  I'll be sharing practical tips as a mother of 2, soon to be 3 (yikes!).  Talking about life with the new baby, sharing craft and activities I do with the kids.  When they told me the list of topics I could cover it seemed like a natural extension of what I'm already doing here.  So of course I said "Dude, sign me up!" (dude added to emphasize my California roots).  

I grew up and live 15 minutes down the road from Disneyland.  Some of my best memories are truly from our once a year trip there as a kid, even if we did always bring our own sack lunch.  I honestly never had an inkling of a dream that someday I'd be writing content for them.  It goes without saying that after a few days of this news sinking in, I'm really excited and honored to be a a part of this. The contributors portion of the site launches June 22nd so expect to hear me mention it and ask you to come over and say hi :)  

As a side note, remember when I wrote this post just a few weeks ago?  Wow, sometimes it's just all about timing right?  Feeling very thankful right now.  Thanks for the continued support and encouragement. 

This post is sponsored by Disney Baby. I'll be joining the Disney Baby blogging team next month, and look forward to sharing these kinds of stories (projects/ideas/etc) with you over there! Stay tuned for more details!

P.S. Here's a list of the other bloggers I'll be contributing with over at Disney Baby.  Again, I feel honored to be in such good company.

Nadia Carriere of Child Mode
Melanie Edwards of Modern Mami
Amy Heinz of Using Our Words
Selena Burgess of La Petit Reve
Michelle Horton of Early Mama
Melanie Blodgett of You Are My Fave
Lauren Hartmann of The Little Things We Do
Janssen Bradshaw of Everyday Reading
Jacinda Boneau and Jamie Morrison Curtis of Prudent Baby
Rachel Faucett of Handmade Charlotte
Arianne Segerman of To Think Is to Create
Casey Mullins of Moosh in Indy
Natalie Holbrook of Nat the Fat Rat
Amber Doty of The Daily Doty
Meagan Francis of The Happiest Mom
Becka Robinson of Life as an Artistpreneur
John Cave Osborne of JohnCaveOsborne.com   

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fancy Face at 26 Weeks

(I'm wearing Fresh Produce dress c/o; Lisa Leonard necklace c/o; Sam Edelman shoes; 
Zara earrings; makeup by Sweet Emotions Makeup Artistry & Photos by M. Shanti Photo)

My friend Amber came over today to give me a little makeup lesson, because I really need some help! Great tips and makeup industry secrets soon to be forthcoming :)  Since my face was all fancy, Miranda took a few pictures of me.  So why not do a bit of a pregnancy update for baby bean #3?  I officially turn 26 weeks tomorrow and the time really is flying by.  My energy is for the most part high during the day, but I crash by about 6 pm.  Not the most convenient of times when I've got homework to do with a 1st grader and dinner to get on the table. But I'm thankful for my blessings and am really trying to enjoy this pregnancy so much knowing that it will be my last.  Some bullet points of this pregnancy if you will:
  • My worst pregnancy symptom is still insomnia.  Every 3-4 days I'll get one night of good solid sleep, but then back to the insomnia train the next day.  Considering heartburn, indigestion and all the other more complicated things that I could be experiencing, I'll take the insomnia.
  • This baby kicks a lot, all day long.  I usually don't feel him/her when I'm moving, but as soon as I slow down to sit or stand, I feel a lot of wiggling and kicking.  It's truly one of the most amazing feelings in the world.
  • I've already exceeded the 25 lb. weight gain mark.  Oops!  My doctor says I'm doing fine, so I'll just take her word for it ;)
  • Since this is my last, I want to feel good, and that means not dressing in sweats and maternity pants all day.  If I find a dress or pair of shorts here and there that are non-maternity and still fit (thank you elastic waistbands and empire waists), I've treated myself.  Attempting to look good when I get dressed in the morning has definitely helped my overall mood.  May sound superficial, but it works.  
  • I no longer have any weird cravings or have been craving junk food like I did in my 1st trimester and my eating habits are more back in line with my regular non pregnancy eating habits.  However, I do indulge myself a bit (okay a lot) more than I usually do, and I'm okay with that ;)
  • I'm not exercising as much as I'd like, but between walks and bike rides with the kids, I'm staying active enough so I don't feel like a lazy lop. 
  • My mood swings are still a bit up and down and I snap at Art a bit more than I should (especially during the whole garage fiasco, which is pretty much done btw!).  But, overall I feel happy you guys.  I feel at peace.  Maybe it's some crazy pregnancy hormone, but I'm not at all nervous about starting over anymore like I once was.  Thank you Lord.  
  • I still miss wine and sushi.  And I hate taking my prenatal vitamins and skip them more than I should (sorry!).  I haven't cracked a baby preparedness book, although I did download an app.  When it told me I should avoid caffeine all together I flipped it off and haven't opened it since.  And I still have to get my sister my guest list for my shower.  We don't have a name or know where the baby is going to sleep.  Ahh, lots to do!  But I feel like I actually for some crazy reason, have everything under control.  Wild right?  
It's been so fun having this space to share my 3rd and final pregnancy with you guys.  Thank you for all the love and support and advice along the way.  3rd trimester here I come!

By the way, this dress has been worn more times than I can count.  I have to say I've never owned anything from Fresh Produce before but I was pleasantly surprised when I received this dress and saw just how lovely it was.  The quality of the fabric is just gorgeous and it drapes over my body really well, skimming over lumps here and there instead of hugging them ;)  And this lovely necklace hasn't left my neck for the past week.  I can't believe I've been a mother for 7 years and have never owned one of these name plate necklaces.  Stay tuned for a Lisa Leonard giveaway next week!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Baby Gear Checklist - 3rd Time Around

(this is what both of our babies did anytime we put them in one of those darn swings)

It hit me square in the face last night that I'm now 26 weeks pregnant, which still sounds like I have loads of time before this baby enters the world, but really I'm just 1 week shy of my 3rd trimester.  3rd trimester!?!  How did that happen so fast guys?  I swear it was just 3 weeks ago I announced our news.  

Since the gender of baby #3 is a surprise and we aren't going to do much in the way of planning names and a nursery and all that, ahead of time, I at least want to get a bit organized.  Several of our close friends and family are still in or have just left the baby stage and have generously offered to loan or give us items we are in need of, because we got rid of just about everything.  And I mean everything, even my breast pump.  In my mind we were done having kids remember?  So I need to start figuring out what we will be able to borrow, and what we will need to plan on buying.  And by the looks of all the babies out there in the world today, baby gear has changed quite a bit in the last 5 years!  I feel like my mother saying "we didn't have fancy things like that when you were a baby!", but it's kinda true.  Strollers look more high tech and modern, swings are like rides at Disneyland, even baby bath tubs are all sleek and aerodynamic.  I need help guys!  I thought I'd make a list of some of the items I know we'll want in our baby arsenal, and ask for some guidance from you all.  Sound good?  Great, let's get started...

Baby Gear We Definitely Need:
- Stroller (I think this is deserving of its own post, no?  Wow, the options out there!)
- Bassinet (do I just use the Pack N Play or get an actual bassinet?)
- Body carrier (do I go wrap or actual strap in carrier?)  
- Baby bathtub (sleek and modern or just go with the standard tub in sink basin?)
- Bouncy seat (this is a MUST, as it was the only way I was ever to eat dinner those first 3-4 months)
- Baby monitor (when we first had Taylor video monitors were just hitting the scene and the picture was all grainy and fuzzy and they cost about $300.  We went with the standard sound monitor, but now everyone's telling us we HAVE to go video.  Really?)    
- Crib mobile (we had one of the battery operated ones that pretty much puts on a disco show for the baby and it worked really well.  Now there are so many pretty handmade, non electrical options that just float above babies head and whisper to them.  Do we go old school and get the one that cranks the sound and moving parts, or do I make one myself?)
- Breast pump (not debatable right?)

Baby Gear That's a Question Mark?:
- Swing (both of our babies hated the swing, let the picture above be my evidence.  But some friends have said that the ones now a days that twist and turn and go left to right, back and forth, are quite sensational.  Should we go for it or save some space and money?)
- Play Gym (I think that's what they're called.  They're the mats you lie the baby underneath and are supposed to help with tummy time.  I'm thinking since we really only used them for about 4 months with both the previous kids this is a scrap item.  But will I miss not having one?)
- Jumperoos (what are these called again?  The things you put the baby in when they're a few months old to keep them occupied.  They sit in it and it's got all sorts of things to look around at and play with.  See, I'm so out of it I'm completely drawing a blank.  Are those still used?  We had one with both kids and I think they were quite helpful for occupying a bit of their attention).

So this is my list so far.  I know I've got to be missing something vitally important here!  I don't dare look at the recommended must haves from Babies R Us because then my head will really start spinning.  So advice please from any of you out there that have recently been in the thick of it with having babies.  What can I axe from this list, or definitely keep on?  What do I need to add?  I would really appreciate any advice because you guys always have the best advice to give.  Thanks for helping a girl out.  Slowly creeping into quasi panic mode over here ;)

This post is sponsored by Disney Baby. I'll be joining the Disney Baby blogging team next month, and look forward to sharing these kinds of stories (projects/ideas/etc) with you over there! Stay tuned for more details!
p.s. the commenting system on the blog the last few weeks has been quite messed up, deleting comments sporadically.  I'm not the best at responding to comments as it is, but this new development has made it even harder since I'll go to respond to a comment and then it's deleted.  So my apologies.  I'm working on uninstalling the current system so I shouldn't have any more problems and we can resume business as usual.  Thanks for your understanding and patience :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Rags to Stitches Neon Clutch Giveaway!

Boy, if I didn't know better, I'd say I think you guys are pretty special and deserving of another giveaway!  Spoiling you all much?  I'd say so.  You work hard and need something to look forward to in the form of unexpected gifts, right?  Today I'm sharing some Alissa of Rags to Stitches love with you all, and giving away one of her newest items, a neon clutch in coral!
These clutches have been a hit already in the short week since she's listed them in her shop and are lined in matching neon fabric, and include a back zipper pocket for holding extra items like cash and a lip gloss. 
My clutch enjoyed an evening bike ride last week and was the perfect size to take along with me up to the yogurt shop.
To enter to win, please visit Alissa's shop and let us know what your favorite color of neon clutch is.  For an additional entry, follow Four Flights of Fancy via GFC, RSS Feeds or Bloglovin.  For a 3rd a final entry, follow Alissa's blog Rags to Stitches.  3 total entries!  Giveaway closes on Friday 5/25 at 11:59 PST.  Good luck ladies!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What's Going On Over There

Each week I do a little recap of my writing on my other blog For the Love Of. If you see anything that peeks your interest, please go check it out. Thank you!
Monday I wore a skirt as a dress.  The comments were encouraging, but it's admittedly hard to look at yourself wearing the same thing in your old body...
 Tuesday I did a little DIY for this simple and sweet gold bracelet.  It's been a hit, so go check it out!
Wednesday, with the help of my husband, I did my first animated gif!  I'm kind of addicted now and am trying to figure out how I can turn every post into a gif ;)  Also, I'm giving away the necklace I'm wearing, so if you'd like to enter, hurry, the giveaway closes tonight!
Friday I wrote a post about How To Shop at Forever 21, as a grown woman. I'm so glad I finally got around to writing it because it was as I suspected, many women want to go in and shop there because of the great price points, but get overwhelmed.  I share 5 easy tips to keep in mind to make your trips as easy and painless as possible.

Enjoy!  Today's my boy's 5th birthday.  Can't wait to share pictures from the party!

Saturday, May 19, 2012


I've read every comment on my post from Thursday and I'm continually taken aback at how thoughtful and caring complete strangers can be, to offer support, advice, and just hugs to someone they've never met.  Thank you so much.  As I continue with this pregnancy I'll let you all know what I decide.  Thank you, thank you again a 1000 times over. 

In that post I talked about my relationship with my son and how sometimes I blame myself for why we're not as close as I 'think' we should be, or why he prefers my husband over myself most of the time.  Well the funny thing about writing out your own thoughts and feelings, is that sometimes it helps you realize where your logic and thinking are kind of wrong or warped.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, writing is truly one of the best forms of therapy, whether you do it in public or not. 

Syd turns 5 tomorrow, a milestone of a birthday indeed.  I swore that this year for his birthday post it was going to be all positive.  If you look back at the last two years, you can definitely detect a bit of frustration on my part...but this year I wanted to write something different, because things are different. 

It's no secret that things were tough with Syd for the first four years.  Did I ever mention we hired a night nurse after he was born because he slept so little?  Who does that except for rich Housewives and royalty, right?  Well we did.  Because we were at our wits end.  But that's for another post.  After we got past sleeping we entered phases of tantrums and stubbornness, and picky eating and hitting and well, just every rotten stage you can think of a toddler going through, we hit.  My husband, God bless him, always the optimist, would say to me every few months, "Just wait, he's going to be a great kid, I just know it."  I admittedly didn't always share his positive outlook.

I'm getting to the positive part, I swear.  This year things did start to change.  I guess the best way to put it is he started to mature so that we could start to see his true personality every day, consistently.  We put him in Speech Therapy, and his confidence started to build.  He was frustrated less because we could understand him more, and he felt more comfortable talking to us.  He opened up, he blossomed.  Right before our eyes in the last year.

It's funny because the more of his personality that I see shine through, the more I realize that many of the battles we have as mother and son are really because we are so much alike.  He's stubborn, just like me, he's tenacious, just like me.  He's a perfectionist, extremely sensitive and harder on himself than we could ever be on him.  All like me.  They say that when two people are so much alike, it often leads to clashing rather than harmony.  I guess they're right.  Now that I can finally see how much we are so alike, it's changed my perspective.  But aside from all those tendencies he gets from me, he also has the most incredible sense of humor, just like his father.  He's creative and imaginative and inquisitive and a born engineer.  All traits from his amazing father.  He's a perfect mix of the both of us and I thank God that I can finally see that.  Our relationship in this past year, even past 6 months has grown more than it had in the last 4 years.
Yesterday Syd was "sprinkled" at his preschool, a tradition they have on each child's birthday.  They put a crown and cape on him, brought him flowers and sang, and then at the end they sprinkled him with confetti.  Art was able to come and of course he wanted him standing right next to him.  For a long time that would have made me jealous a bit.  Why him and not me?  But my perspective has changed, and writing that post the other day helped.  Now instead of being jealous, I'm working on being thankful he has a father that understands him, like he understands me, and is patient with him and caring, loving and playful.  It's no surprise why he should naturally gravitate towards his father.  I did after all.  And I guess that's what building a functional family is all about; combining different strengths, personalities and interests and striving to have them work together instead of fight each other.
So, happy birthday Syd.  This year more than any previous year, I am so excited to celebrate you, and the little boy you have become.  I feel like I know who you really are, now more than ever, and that you is awesome.  Truly, truly awesome.  With every bit of my love, Momma.          

Swimsuit Shopping

Swimsuit shopping. Ugh, I know.  Have you ever had to go swimsuit shopping while pregnant?  I'm sure many of you have.  It's not fun and can even be a bit humiliating.  Well I decided this year to skip the store and just do some online shopping and just keep my fingers crossed that something would work after it arrived in the mail.

I have one maternity tankini that I could already use, but since I'm going to be hugely pregnant during most of summer, and we have a pool, I wanted to have one more option to get me through.  Macy's offered my the opportunity to select a piece of swimwear for the season so I jumped on the opportunity.

Even though Macy's Online doesn't offer maternity swimwear, I was able to find a one piece that works perfectly, and bought the one pictured above.  I bought one size up and the midsection isn't restricting like some swimwear can be, so it will grow and stretch with me.  The swimsuit arrived in just a couple of days and I've already worn it twice.  Thanks Macy's for making swimsuit shopping for this pregnant lady a bit easier.

For this post I received a complimentary swimsuit by Macy's, but the opinions are entirely my own.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Down Came the Rain

(4 weeks postpartum with Syd, forced smile, tired eyes.  
This was right before I went on medication for the treatment of PPD.  Looking at this picture makes me want to cry.)
It's been about a week since I've written a true post here, I know.  There's been a few topics I could write about in the past few days, talking about the pregnancy, the kids, prepping for Syd's Boba Fett party.  But it's like I'm stuck in this zone where I can't move forward in talking about anything else until I write about the thing I most don't want to write about; my fears of PPD resurfacing after I have this baby.  I've let go of the notion that I can write this post with any sort of beauty or message to it, or whatever, and just need to write, especially since a few of you have reached out to me offline about different options.

I had a check up on Monday with my OB.  We did a quick ultrasound and Art and I both looked away when she told us to so we wouldn't see any baby parts.  We still feel so good about not finding out the sex of this baby by the way.  Excited, but not the least bit anxious at all.  I guess people can change after 36 years ;)  Anyhow, after the ultrasound, as she's typing in this or that into her computer screen, I ask her about placenta encapsulation.  She did a double take so hard and fast she almost fell out of her chair.  She sort of just smirked and chuckled and asked "Why on Earth are you asking about placenta encapsulation?  You're my last patient I ever thought would be interested in that."  She made claim to the fact that I'm so into fashion and don't even wear Birkenstocks or anything.  I realize at this point this makes her sound a bit dumb, but it was said in a very friendly banter type of way.  She's been my doctor for 8 years and has seen me through 3 pregnancies now, and I like her a lot.   We joke together at every appointment and I appreciate her ability to be serious and be silly, and even say sort of stupid things. 

Well doctor, clothing choices aside, I'm interested in it for the treatment of PPD is what I went on to explain to her.  After she got over her shock, she recovered and said she'd support me with whatever choice I wanted to make to treat this, but the fact remains that placenta encapsulation is not proven to be effective in the treatment of PPD, and I could be wasting time and money taking chances on something that wasn't a sure thing.  The zoloft worked the first two times, it would surely work this time as well.  It was a sure thing.  She always knows just how to say things to strike fear into me the most.  The thought of suffering through weeks of PPD to see if the placenta pills would work, was in fact enough to put me into tears right then and there.  I don't know if the third time around I have the strength or will to take chances.  Unfortunately, since I've had PPD with both previous pregnancies, medically speaking it's pretty much guaranteed I'll get it with this baby.

At this point some of you may be grimacing thinking seriously, eating your own placenta? I'd rather eat worms!  But if you've had PPD, you'd know that you'd be willing to try just about anything to prevent it or treat it.

When Taylor was born it didn't take long for the PPD to set in.  For me it happened within a day.  The second night I was in the hospital I had for the first time in my life, what I would describe as a panic attack.  I felt dizzy and overwhelmed, and literally like there was a huge blanket of fog over me.  I had a baby now, how was I going to take care of it?  It hit me that there was no turning back.  I chalked that night up to just being tired and overwhelmed after the trauma that is labor and delivery.  When I went home and within a few days I was crying for everything, I knew it was something more.  I had never, ever felt so sad or lonely as I did those first few weeks after Taylor was born.  I knew that deep down I loved her, but I didn't feel any of the euphoria or goodness that comes with love.

Everything was systematic and rote-like; changing diapers, nursing, smiling at her.  I did them out of instinct and because I knew that was what I was supposed to do, but most of the time I just wanted to run away.  I remember feeling true anger at my sister and sisters in law, who had all just had babies in the last year.  Why didn't they tell me it was like this, why didn't they warn me I'd feel like this?  I was truly mad at them.  One day about 3 weeks postpartum I started to pump and we began her on 1 bottle a day.  I left the house for 2 hours and just cried because I knew that it wasn't really freedom, just faux freedom in a way.  My life was no longer my own.  Suddenly every single thing reminded me of our old life and how we were never going to go back to that again.

At this point I know it sounds like I was just mourning the loss of my old life, but for me that's just how the PPD manifested itself.  When after about 4 weeks I wasn't feeling any better, Art called my OB and explained my symptoms.  She immediately prescribed me Zoloft and within a few days I felt better.  Not 100% myself, but I could see glimmers of myself peeking through. I started to enjoy Taylor for the first time since giving birth.  At the time Brooke Shields had just come out with her autobiography about her journey with PPD and friends and family quickly bought me multiple copies.  I read it and felt at least somewhat thankful that my symptoms didn't seem as strong as hers were.  I never wanted to hurt myself or Taylor.  I just felt so, so sad.

Within 5 months I weaned myself off medication and felt as normal as a new, tired mom could feel.  It simply worked, almost like the snap of a finger.

After Syd was born my doctor warmed me that since I had suffered with PPD with Taylor, it might come back again.  For the first 3 weeks or so I felt fine and good, with no symptoms to speak of.  By week 5 postpartum, the symptoms had surfaced and were in full force, but this time it surfaced in an extreme form of resentment towards Syd, and how he was keeping me from my daughter.  My 2 year old, sweet, happy daughter that I wanted to be with as much as possible.  Syd cried, a lot.  He slept, very little.  He needed tons of attention that quite frankly, I would have rather been giving my daughter.  Life was tough with him and I grew very resentful of him for how he had changed our cozy little family of 3 dynamic. 

Again, I know it's common to feel a sense of loss for your first born when your 2nd is born.  But I knew it wasn't common to feel such resentment towards your 2nd born.  I still feel guilt over those first few weeks and wonder if my emotional detachment from him caused him in some deep down way to not feel as close to me.  To this day, he prefers Art to me any day, any time.  I try to not let it get to me, but some days I can't help feeling like I'm to blame.

By week 6 I was back on Zoloft and within a couple of days I felt better again.  I was mad at myself for waiting as long as I did but I wanted to try and prove that I was strong enough to tackle this thing.  Stupid, arrogant, I know.  This time I was off meds within 3 months postpartum, proving that my symptoms were in fact hormonal, and proving that meds did in fact help.

So now here I am pregnant with my 3rd and my doctor says I can pretty much count on PPD returning.  She's even offered to prescribe me meds as soon as I deliver while still in the hospital so that I can get ahead of the symptoms.  I don't know how comfortable I am with that, in all honesty.  Talk about putting the cart before the horse.

I know doctors like to try and fix things with drugs, but I also know that her reasons for wanting me to take the meds as opposed to trying placenta encapsulation first, make sense. And I really don't want to have to make myself suffer if I don't have to.  But there's just something gnawing at me that doesn't feel quite right giving up so easily.  Even the phrase "giving up" makes it sound like I have control of this thing, when really it's out of my control.  But how I treat it is in my control, and if I could treat it in a more natural way, then shouldn't I try to give it a chance?

Have any of you out there ever tried placenta encapsulation for PPD, and did it work?  I know it's still so uncommon, but there may be a few of you out there.  I would really love any feedback you may have to offer.  I have a couple of months to still make a decision, but this thing is what is making me most anxious over anything.  More than figuring out a name or where this baby is going to sleep.  It's figuring out how I can keep myself as healthy as possible for myself, my baby and my 2 very aware kids.  They're 5 and 7 now, and there's not a lot of hiding things from them.  More than anything, I don't want them to have to see me sad.  Thanks in advance for reading this novel, and for any input you may have.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

3 Photography Tips Worth Taking Note Of

Hi friends, I'm taking the day off to try and get some very important things done for Syd's upcoming 5th birthday party (think homemade lite sabers and print outs of Boba Fett, the most obscure Star Wars character in existence.  I'll be back tomorrow, but until then my friend Monica is sharing some photography tips with us all!  Please give her a warm welcome!

Hi everyone! I'm so excited to be guest posting today on Andrea's lovely blog. (Don't you just adore her style?)

As a photographer and owner of an online photo school, I feel like I'm constantly fielding questions about how to take better photos. This works out well, because I'm totally passionate about helping people master their digital cameras. Whether you're a mom who wants to take more impressive (or just plain printable!) photos of your kids, or a shop owner who wants to take better product photos (which always translates to higher sales), I hope these few tips will help!
Without further ado, here are three quick tips that you can utilize today to take better pictures. And the great news is that not a single one requires cracking open that frustrating camera manual!

1. Open a window.
Better yet, open a couple.
Photography, at its purest form, is the mastery of light. The more light you allow your camera to take in, the better your photos will be. If at all possible, shoot in a room with several windows, where the light is indirectly shining on the person or object you're photographing.
In the photo below, the camera's flash automatically turned on, due to the low light in the room. Notice how harsh the flash is, and how it creates lots of unflattering shadows. 

Ahh, much better! The only change was opening both windows in the room. The indirect light allowed the arrangement to really shine. If you write a blog, I think (hope!) it's rather obvious which photo would be more appealing to your readers.

2. Change your perspective.
If I had a nickel for every time I've seen a mom stand directly above her child and start snapping away ... Don't get me wrong, those could be great photos. But changing your perspective instantly adds a new dimension to your photography! Take the photos below for example. The first picture is one big yawn - just your everyday snapshot of a tree in my front yard. In the second photo, I've positioned myself underneath the tree (anything for a great shot!) and all of a sudden, I've got an interesting photo. Easy!
Just a tree ... 

And now the after ... 

3. Take a picture. 
And then do it again, and again, and again. Every day.

One of the many wonderful things about digital photography is how quick it is to snap a photo. Turn your camera on and you're ready to go! So grab that lovely DSLR and snap some photos! And don't give up when they don't all turn out fantastic. (Remember, it's basically free to take absolutely as many as you'd like.) Just like any other skill, the more you do it, the better you'll get.
I'm as guilty of this as anyone, if not more so. Because photography isn't just a hobby, but how I make my living, I can get caught up in shoots for clients and forget to capture memories of my own family! Now that I have a son, I'm trying hard to make sure we take photos on a really regular basis (how else will I embarrass him when he's dating?!).
Just a fun shot of my son ...

Have a photography related question? I'd love to help if I can! Leave a comment below or shoot me an email at monica@flyingphotoschool.com.
monica B.

(PS - Interested in taking an online course? Our classes are being featured today on Groupon, where you can get a 4-wk course for only $29! You can snag one here at Groupon)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What's Going On Over There & The Gussy Sews Winner!

Each week I do a little recap of my writing on my other blog For the Love Of. If you see anything that peeks your interest, please go check it out. Thank you!
On Monday I tried styling my beloved pleated skirt a different way with a layered top and flat sandals.  I like the way it turned out and am having fun getting a bit more creative with my closet as my belly goes.
On Tuesday I made myself a new keyfob to replace the one I received for Mother's Day 2 years ago.  DIY Tutorial included. 
Wednesday I let my hair air dry and wore a casual but comfortable outfit, with this cute pair of printed shorts from Target as the centerpiece of the outfit.
My latest contributor's post for Making It Lovely also came out on Wednesday, and I created a "Time to Create" box as a gift idea for Mother's Day (or any day). 
On Thursday I shared what my personal list of Accessories Worth Investing In is.  I already have a few of these items, and am waiting till the kids are done with college to get the rest ;)
Friday I wrote a little note about what I've learned about being a mother these past 7 years, and most importantly I've learned that the best kind mother I can be to my kids is me, flaws and all.

And the winner of the Gussy Sews giveaway is Miranda from One Little Minute!  Congrats!  Email me your contact info and we'll get you set up!

Happy Mother's Day to all you mommas out there!!  Lots of love to you!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Garage Project - Or the Devil That Has Consumed Our Lives

Oh wow, where do I begin this post?  I want to begin by moaning and groaning about this stupid never ending garage project.  But instead I will begin with the positive.  Because of this stupid garage project, we unearthed my old collection of Barbies.  And with that a whole lot of happy has been brought to my children's lives.

Shall I begin by saying that in looking at my old collection of Barbies and clothes, I was relieved to find that even 25+ years ago, Mattel was making scandalous and inappropriate outfits for my Barbies to wear.  Just take a look at this gold lame severe extreme cropped top, complete with matching skin tight sparkly leggins.  Here I thought the trampy outfits Barbies come with today were just a sign of the decline of our civilization.  Nice to see we've been on the decline for over 2 decades yet we're still hanging on.  Even Syd was dumbfounded by her choice in club wear.

By the way, can we take a moment for Syd's big boy haircut?  He looks so grown up with all his curls and waves chopped off!  The mowhawk and red tips are temporary; our tradition every time he gets his hair cut is to let the stylist do this.  He loves it and it gets him all excited to visit the salon.  I can't believe he'll be 5 in less than 2 weeks!     
But clothing choices aside, the bin of Barbies has brought the kids a lot of fun playtime over the last few days.  Look at our family breaking stereotypical gender roles, with Syd playing right along side Taylor.  Makes me proud.
My mom saved my Barbie Corvette!  Rad!
I had forgotten that I used to have a thing for chopping off all my Barbies hair.  Most of the time I gave her a very stylish and on trend asymmetrical bob.  But I went a little nuts with a couple and gave them more of a punk rock do.  You know what's scary?  In my box of Barbies we found a razor blade!  The kids picked it up and were all "what's this?!"  I guess I must have used the razor blade to give them their buzz cuts?
Whoa!  It's Michael Jackson!  I completely remember getting him for Christmas when I was about 9.  Neither of the kids were impressed.  Art was.  He suggested I list it on eBay.  Never.   
Makes me laugh hysterically, and makes me sad, all at the same time.  
I also used to have a thing for designing my Barbie her own clothes.  We found lots of strapless dresses, tube tops and maxi skirts I had made from old tube socks and stockings.  I thought that was pretty genius and resourceful on my part.  Talk about being ahead of my time with the upcycling.  Apparently, I also used to take a free hand to some clothes with a tube of glitter glue.  As you can see I was really into music and wanted my Barbies to show my love of new-wave.  KROQ, Rock of the 90's.  Their slogan back then was "I Rock with KROQ."    
So down to serious business.  Here is where we stand on the garage.  People, it's not perfect and it's not 100% done, but we are so close I can taste it.  This is what we've accomplished:
  • Floor is epoxyed
  • Entire garage was rewired and all new outlets and switches were installed
  • The drywall is complete  except for a small piece of ceiling
  • The cabinets are installed 
  • Every single bin and box in that garage has been gone through, thrown out or donated, cleaned up, organized, labeled and put in place. 
  • We've replaced every bit of cardboard with plastic air tight bins to keep critters out.
We still need to tie up some odds and ends including:
  • Finish drywall on one ceiling section (should take 1/2 day)
  • Paint the walls (we're putting up the white flag on this one and having it done)
  • Hang the wire grid that will run along side of the left wall and above work bench
  • Put final pieces in place (bikes, tools, etc.)
  • Sweep and clean up
  • Buy a ping pong table for backyard fun!
Every time we finish up a home project I always say "wow, that was a tough one".  But this one was. a. tough. one.  Probably one of the toughest.  Toughest in terms of stress level, time commitment, and overall tediousness. No one wants to spend hours upon hours going through boxes, bickering over what to keep and what to toss, making HUGE messes in the backyard in the mean time.  Sunday was the breaking point for both of us.  We were both tired and stressed and so cranky we snapped quite a bit at each other.  We were both mad at each other and disappointed in ourselves I think, for letting it get as far as it had.  I really don't think of ourselves as hoarders or pack rats at all.  Just since we've moved here we kept holding onto things "in case we remodeled", or "in case of this or that".  We had to finally be realistic with ourselves and let go of the " just in cases". 

We each narrowed down our childhood-memory type stuff to 1 bin each.  This included yearbooks, photo albums, toys, general memorabilia.  After seeing how much the kids are enjoying my Barbies, I'm convinced that some stuff from our childhoods has to be saved.  I feel good about this.  Things like craft stuff and old party decor that I had been holding on to "in case" we had another Hawaiian themed party, or a garden party, etc., all went bye bye.  Only toys we want the new baby to have were kept and spared.  We are saving each of their bikes in case we have a boy or a girl, then once we know we'll get rid of one or the other.  The old ride-on toys that had become really junky were sold at the garage sale.  I have no idea why we had so many ride on toys and push toys??  Most tools were kept, but Art is finally getting rid of his tile saw he used to tile both of our previous homes.  We don't foresee any tiling in this home's future, so good bye to a bulky piece of machinery.  Obviously things like the stroller, changing table and crib have to be saved.  

I wont bore you with the rest of the details and inventory, but as you can gather we thought about everything we kept and tossed/donated.  Whether we still have a lot of stuff or too much stuff is no longer up for debate.  Everything has been gone through and agreed upon, so what we now have, we know we have for a reason, and we know where it is, and this has been such a mind altering relief.

Our drop dead due date for completion is next weekend.  We'll see if we make it.  Wish us luck!  Linking up with my friend Jules for the William Morris Project.  Come on over, you should see what she did with some bookshelves!

Are you all working on any projects right, and are you ready to pull your hair out?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Welcome May Sponsors

Hi everyone!  I hope your week is off to a good start.  Ours is so far uneventful, but that is bound to change I'm sure.  I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to some of my May sponsors, whom I'm all excited to work with. 
 Lisa Leonard Designs creates gorgeous handmade jewelry and gifts out of their San Luis Obispo workshop.  In addition, Lisa is a wife to Steve and mommy to David, 9 and Matty, 7.  Stay tuned for a Lisa Leonard giveaway later in the month.   
Kate wanted to make partner in an accounting firm by the time she was 35.  Instead, she became a stay at home wife and momma with two amazing littles.  She uses her blog, Upside Down Kate, to share her adventures in domesticity while she tries to live with a little bit of humor and a whole lotta grace.  Kate has been a longtime reader of Four Flights of Fancy and I'm excited to have her on board this month. 
Monica created Flying Photo School, an online photo school, to help you use your SLR to its highest potential.  They're passionate about helping you learn to use your camera and additional tips can be picked up on their blog.  Lookout for a helpful photography post soon from Monica.
Ashley of House of Lovelock is married to the dashingly handsome Joel, with whom she shares four adorable children; Jude, Zara, Cruz & Ever.  Ashley will be guest posting for me later this month and I'm happy to be partnering with her. 

Please, if you have a chance stop by and visit these lovely sponsors.  It means so much to me that they believe in me and this blog and their sponsorship helps to keep this little machine going!

Did you enter the Gussy Sews Giveaway yet, btw???


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