Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's Not Too Late

Hi Friends I thought I'd check in here just to see if there had been any activity in recent weeks and it appears that many of you are still visiting the site via Pinterest and other referrals, and some of you are new to subscribing over here. Welcome and thank you for your interest in the site. In case you hadn't clicked on the home page, you may have missed the announcement that I am no longer maintaining this site, and all new posts are being published over at For the Love Of.

Beginning this week, I am also pulling my most popular DIY tutorials and recipes from this site and republishing them over on my other site.  So if you click on a DIY and see that the full tutorial is missing, simply click on the referral link and it will take you straight over to the full tutorial on my other site.

I'd love for you to join me over at For The Love Of.  You can subscribe via Bloglovin or RSS Feeds and also join my Facebook page to stay in touch.  

Thanks so much and I hope to see you around!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Announcement - Raising the White Flag & Anthro Giveaway

Good morning friends.  This announcement is one that I've felt I've needed to make for a few weeks now, and the time has finally come.  After over three years of writing here at Four Flights of Fancy, I have decided to stop writing and adding new posts here.  Since I started my new site For the Love Of, I felt that it was very necessary and important to keep this blog, focusing on life and family, and that blog, focusing on style, completely separate.  But the longer I kept the two spaces separate, the more I realized that I can't separate the two. 

My family is the most important thing to me, next to my faith, and it started to feel wrong that I never talked about the kids over on the other site.  It also felt wrong to only talk about the kids here since I never intended to have just a family blog.  The two started to feel like they needed to intersect more and in the past few weeks I've finally figured out how to do that.  And in reality, there was just no time to keep all these balls in the air juggling, in a way I could feel good about.  There just aren't enough hours in the day.   

So I have decided to focus on melding the two over on For the Love Of for a couple of reasons.  First, it's a Wordpress site that has a lot more capabilities and functionality than this Blogger site.  Second, I felt it was time to just continue with the fresh start I had made over there back in March, and just add the layers of family and our home life over on that site. 

So for those of you that aren't interested in a Style site?  Well, the other site will be focused on Style, Beauty and DIY for about 3 posts a week, and the rest will be mixes of family life, some recipes or posts about our house remodel, and just other thoughts, posted closer to the weekend.  Monday-Wednesday will focus on Style and Beauty and DIY's.  You'll definitely see my voice over there, just mixed with a bit more Style ;)  For starters I wrote about my birth story with Hayden last week and was so happy to see the response.  I'm working on adding in some of my post popular recipe and DIY posts over on the other site, and eventually you will no longer be able to get the full posts here.

So now is the part where I try to entice some of you to move over with a giveaway!  I'm giving away 2 Anthropologie gift cards (valued at $50 and $25) to 2 readers.  I hope I'll see some of you over there :)
Thank you so very much for those of you that have read for the past three years, for your prayers, comments, advice, and for just listening.  I do not say it lightly, but you guys helped me through some rough patches and I can't thank you enough for that.

It's been an honor and a pleasure to write for you all, and have this community.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I sincerely hope this isn't goodbye.  You all know where you can find me :)

Please visit my other site to enter to win 1 of 2 Anthro gift cards.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Four Weeks - Life Updated

Hayden turned 4 weeks old yesterday and it seems strange that time is moving so fast.  The last two times I had a newborn I can recall with stunning accuracy how slow I felt time moved.  I ticked off the hours, willing, praying myself to get through the days.  That sounds terribly depressing doesn't it?  It's not meant to be, just the truth.  Life is so busy now between taking care of baby, house and the big kid and their activities and homework. 
The first time I was a mom I didn't have a clue what I was doing, so I relied on books to tell me what to do and in turn drove myself crazy.  The other day a memory was recalled of me actually setting my alarm in the middle of the night to go off every 3 hours so I could feed Taylor.  Can you believe that?  I was certain that if I didn't feed her every three hours on the nose, she would surely wither away.  The sad thing was that I remember having to actually wake her each time at 2am or 5 am to feed her.  Who knows how many countless hours of sleep I deprived myself of.
With Syd it was the actual daytime that I struggled with because the poor baby was so miserable due to his reflux and torticollis, and his ensuing physical therapy we had to perform daily because of it.  On top of that I had a sweet and curious little 2 year old to keep happy and busy.  I'm glad we had the two so close together, but gosh it was hard.  Now, I'm so glad we waited and have the gap that we do.  7 years later and I have learned so, so much.
Gosh times are sure different now and if I ever had any fears or doubts about "starting all over", now that both of the big kids were going to school full time, those doubts have quickly vanished.  Yes, it's hard work and yes, I'm exhausted.  But I continue to be in love and delighted by this sweet little guy every single day.  He has been such a blessing to our family and I can now say we are complete.
Four weeks sounds like a long time, and in many ways I feel like I need to start waking up from my little baby moon coma and get back down to business.  But it's gonna be hard to do that.  I hate to keep beating a dead horse, but for someone who never experienced that feeling of just wanting to sit on the couch all day holding my baby, it's a truly glorious feeling that I don't want to leave, but I know eventually it will be time to get back to normal.  I've already let  a few things fall through the cracks because I've been in a daze.  I've come to the realization that I'm going to need at least 2 days a week to write for my blogs and Disney, and so starting next week, when I'm due to return to writing at Disney, I'll start having my mom and MIL help a bit more.  I guess it will be good to get back to somewhat of a routine.

I'm also trying to walk with Hayden a couple of mornings a week because after a visit to the doctor's to get a TB test, I was weighed and I have over 20 pounds to still lose.  I know it's not a lot, but it's the most I've had to lose yet and more than anything it makes me frustrated that I can't button a single pair of shorts or jeans from pre-pregnancy yet.  I really don't want to have to buy all new bottoms for Fall when the weather turns cold.  A small price to pay for Hayden, but I guess I'm trying to be practical ;)  I will say though that I look in the mirror and I feel like I look fine, which makes me want to slap myself for ever having any issues with my body before.  I try on a pair of jeans and I think "how was I so thin, because I don't feel particularly much bigger than before?"  Body image is a trip.  In the mean time I've been posting weekly Postpartum Style updates on my other blog, and talking about how I'm dressing for the body I have now, using what I have in my closet.  Hint, dressing relies heavily on elastic waistbands ;)
Healing wise I finally feel like I'm heading back to normal.  I stopped bleeding just  couple of days ago, thank goodness!  Apologies if this is too much information, but the bleeding this time around was really heavy and long lasting.  My stitches healed up a couple of weeks ago and for the most part I think I'm almost back to normal, although I don't dare hold a mirror down there.  Does anyone really do that?  I never have and I don't think I ever will ;)

Breast feeding is going well and I'm still trying to work through some pain on my right breast.  My let down on my right side is much slower so he tugs and pulls a lot to get more milk out, leaving me quite sore and feeling mistreated ;)  I take an extra strength Motrin once a day and it seems to help get through the worst of it.  Gosh I love breast feeding, but it is such a tedious thing isn't it, on top of pumping?  I forgot just how much time it does in fact take up. 

I'm pumping once a day to get a bottle so Art can give him his midnight feeding.  I then take his 3/4 am feeding so we both get about 5-6 hours of straight sleep in a row, so it's not terrible.  My pediatrician suggested we start the bottle this time around, after Hayden was just week 1 old, and it's the best advice I've been given yet.  It's been a true life saver to have the help of my husband so early on.

Other than that, life is busy but good.  The older kids have adjusted quite well (minus a couple of rough weeks for Syd in the beginning).  Taylor continues with swim, horse riding lessons and jazz.  Syd is in swim and baseball, and Art is the coach, which has been really good for both of them to spend so much time together.  Syd will always need a bit more encouragement and hand holding than Taylor I think, a little more self-esteem pumping, so it's been really good for him to see Art dedicating so much time to him and the team.

And guys, I'm happy.  I continue to feel good and so far haven't seen anymore PPD symptoms, which I am beyond thankful for.  I don't consider myself out of the woods just yet, but to have made it 4 weeks feeling good is a blessing I'm truly grateful for.  Thank you for your encouragement and kind words, thoughts and prayers.  I hope to not be such a strange in the next few weeks but will do the best I can.

Take care everyone, and God Bless :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Let's Talk About Those Placenta Pills

When I initially wrote my first post about my PPD, I tried my best to accurately describe what I was feeling 5 and 7 years ago after giving birth to my first two.  But living in the thick of the newborn stage the last two weeks, and having my experience this time around be so startlingly different than the previous 2 times, I've been able to pinpoint just exactly what PPD felt like for me several years ago.

Simply put, I felt like an entirely different person, a stranger living in my body, looking in on my life.  I know that seems and sounds so out there and ridiculous, and perhaps unless you've experienced depression on some level, you can't fathom what that means.  But I literally felt like I was living another person's life, which is why it was so hard for me to bond with my newborns at first.  They were in a nutshell, little strangers.  I knew I loved my babies because they were born from me, but I felt no real connection for the first couple of months, other than what I knew I was supposed to feel.  There was no instant falling in love, no baby moon that I witnessed others experience and talk about.  They were my babies and I would love and protect them and care for them because I was supposed to, but it took me months to actually feel that (and have no doubt, I did eventually feel that way, it just took a little while), more than just believe it as a rote response to nature calling.

And the only reason I can differentiate the two feelings, is because this time around, I feel that love with every bone of my body, down to my core.  And it's beautiful and refreshing and awe-inspiring, and it also sucks because I feel on some level, a form of guilt for my other two, because I wasn't able to experience those feelings and that connection immediately with them.  My greatest fear is that one day my 2 older kids would read this and believe that I didn't love them at first, and that couldn't be further from the truth.  Rather, I did not bond with them at first, and that's an entirely different thing. Perhaps I will eventually pull this post to prevent those questions from even coming up, but for now I think it's vital to note the differences between the different postpartum periods. 

The good news is that I feel blessed to finally feel that intense love that I've always heard about, and I know that I am capable of feeling that love, which will serve as a reminder to me if the PPD does sneak up on me in the next few weeks.  But for now I'm hoping that this feeling doesn't leave me.  It's not so much a feeling of elation or even happiness, but just contentment, which might be even better than happiness.  I feel at ease, relaxed, and in love.  I guess maybe it is happiness.

So let's talk about those placenta pills, and how much of this contentment has to actually do with them.  First off, I want to set the record straight and, think it's worth mentioning, that I am not "eating" my placenta, I am "ingesting" it.  There is a difference.  Eating implies chewing, which I am doing none of.  Rather, the placenta was taken by a certified and trained doula and dehydrated, then ground into a fine powder and encapsulated into a pill format.  I take 2 pills a day, just as you would a vitamin, and the pills are odorless and don't really taste like anything.  I haven't felt any "side effects".  The doula delivered 250+ pills to me, so they should last me for a few months, but she suggested I save about 40-50 for when my period returns and/or I stop nursing.

I've had a few people, including friends, mention how gross they think it is that I'm doing this.  And while I can certainly understand people getting a little freaked out by the thought of it, let me also put something out there.  With both previous bouts of PPD, I took Zoloft, a pill baked up in a lab consisting of who knows what type of chemicals, additives, and overall unknown ingredients.  Now this is not a statement against anti-depressants, and both times these pills helped me.  But when you really think about it, what's more bizarre and gross, taking a pill that you have no idea what it is really made out of, and where the ingredients came from, or taking a pill that is a completely natural byproduct of YOU?

The other thing I would say to those that think it's "gross", is that they must not have dealt with  Postpartum Depression, because if they had, they would be willing to try anything if they thought it would help, and/or prevent it from happening again.

So are the placenta pills really helping me this time around?  Well, I don't really know, and quite honestly I don't care.  I don't want the pills to work so that I can prove a point.  I want them to work because I want to feel good, and continue to bond with my baby, and experience happiness and peace during this time.

Beyond the placenta pills, I've been more devoted to taking care of myself and being mindful of what I need to stay content and rested.  I truly believe that chemically, PPD is out of a woman's control, but I do believe that we can do things to ourselves and put ourselves in situations that will add more stress to our lives and make our lives more taxing, which can prove to intensify the feelings of PPD.  It's pretty common knowledge that everything seems more insurmountable and bleak when exhausted, so I've been taking extra care to give myself rest.  Saying no to visitors if I'm tired, asking for help from family, taking a nap when I feel tired, not waiting for my next chance but taking it when I can get it.  We also introduced a bottle much sooner than we ever have with our other babies, and Hayden has been doing great with 1 feeding a day off the bottle and continues to breastfeed just fine.  Art has now taken the midnight feeding so I can get a good 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

So overall, I guess I feel pretty fantastic all things considered (lack of sleep, recovering body, sore nursing boobs and all).  I pray that I continue to feel this way, but if the other shoe drops and I start to feel the symptoms again, I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that I will get through it and so will the kids and my husband.  It just feels so good to be like this today though, and that's what I try to focus on.  One day at a time.  I'm sure it also helps that so far, Hayden is a pretty spectacularly easy baby.  I've never had one of those, so again, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop and don't want to get too excited since he is only 2 weeks.  But I've heard that easy babies do exist, and so maybe I got my baby unicorn this time ;)

Thank you all for your love and support and kind words.  If you have it in your heart, please continue to lift me up in prayer if you think about it, and pray that I continue to feel this good.  Because at this point, I don't ever want this feeling to go away.  It's pretty crazy, but finally, after all these years, I understand why people love newborn babies.  It does feel pretty fantastic to hold a sleeping baby on your chest and smell their heads while doing so.  Nothing really can compare, can it?

Thanks guys...I'll continue to keep you updated.        

Friday, September 7, 2012

I've Got A Speaking Gig Y'All!

In just couple of short weeks, I'll be speaking at the Penelope Lane Boutique and Blog Conference on September 29th.  I think I should be nervous and scared, but I think I'm too sleep deprived to feel those things, I'm kind of just numb at this point ;)   But in all honesty, I think that because the topic I'm speaking on is something I am passionate about, blogging, and something I've thought about for endless number of hours, I sort of already feel like I have my talk all laid out in my head.
So if you're local, I'd love for you to come out and support a great boutique, conference and lady (Sarah!).  There's about 10 spots left to attend the blog conference and there are 3 other amazing ladies speaking alongside me that day.  I personally will be speaking on finding your blog direction, and staying the course, even when you get frustrated and down.  It's taken me a looong time to finally feel successful at this blogging thing, yet I've stuck with it because I love it so much.  I'll be discussing how to find a direction you feel good about and feel passionate about, so that you continue to stick with it even when you feel like no one is listening.  It will be a feel good, keep your head up, tips and tricks, feel good type of talk and I'd love to see you there!

Sarah is giving away a pass to attend all the sessions of the conference on her blog through the weekend, so go check it out and enter to win.  If you don't win though, here's where you can grab your tickets!

Oh, and if you are interested in seeing how I've been dressing my postpartum body, and my philosophy on "losing the baby weight", please visit For The Love Of.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Getting Out Of the Lunch Rut

It's hard to believe, but we have already been back in school for 1 month, while the rest of you have probably just started back last week or possibly even today.  Sadly, only one month in and we have already hit a bit of a lunch rut, made even more sad by the fact that my girl is a foodie and will try almost everything.  Yet, we keep making her the same old boring turkey sandwich or nutella sandwich.   
I decided to challenge us a bit today as we head back to school after the holiday, and made her a lunch using leftovers from the weekend, and many ingredients so that she will have fun putting her meal together at the lunch table and won't die of boredom ;)

  Using our handy little Glad containers that help keep foods separate (very important to a 7 year old) and contained nicely, I decided to create her a "taco kit", resembling her favorite meal from Chipotle.  I love the smallest 4 oz. size of the Glad containers because I can fit up to 5 of the smallest containers into her lunchbox, along with her juice box.  Best part too is that they're BPA free, a big relief in fact.   
I started by shredding some chicken from a leftover roasted chicken my mother in law brought over the day we came home from the hospital.  I combined some diced tomatoes and leftover corn on the cob, cut off the cob, to make a pico de gallo type of mix, by adding some lime juice and salt and pepper.  I then included some shredded cheese and shredded lettuce, and warmed up a couple of corn tortillas and wrapped them in tin foil to help keep them warm.  And there you have it, taco kit on the go.
Taylor was beyond excited to get something a bit different than the usual in her lunch today, and I'm excited to use up some leftovers, and hopefully make a lunch that will actually get eaten today.  Syd on the other hand eats nothing but peanut butter and jelly, and I've learned to just not fight it anymore.  He gets some protein and eats a bit of veggies and/or fruit everyday, but other than that he's definitely a creature of habit.  At least Taylor is adventurous so I can experiment with her.
So do you guys have any other interesting food options for school lunches that I could try with Taylor, my foodie?  Or do you guys stick with the same lunch day in and day out like I do with Syd?

I have partnered with The Glad Products Company through DailyBuzz Moms to help promote their Food Storage products. I have been compensated for my time commitment to review this product. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments. Thank you GLAD! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Please Let Me Introduce To You...

Introducing Hayden Arthur Howe.  Born on Monday 8/27/2012 at 9:20 am, weighing in at an even 8 pounds and measuring 20 inches in length, he is healthy and handsome, and we are in love. 
We survived our first night at home last night.  After a beautiful and blissfully happy 2 days spent cuddling and holding baby more than I ever had held one of my other newborns, I hit a bit of a dark cloud last night.  What I can best describe as a panic attack, I suddenly got a very sad and overwhelmed feeling of the enormity of it all.  I talked it through with Art and came out feeling good, then spent a restless night with baby Hayden.  He nursed fine until his 3 am feeding and hasn't nursed since.  When my milk comes in I get incredibly engorged and I think he's just a bit frustrated.  We will press on and I'm sure it will work out.  I've faced different nursing challenges with each baby and we've always worked it out, so I pray this is no different.
Today we are just spending the day getting to know each other, as I deal with my new found DD's, and trying to accomplish my first bowel movement, always a scary thing right?  Life is beautiful and I see that, and truly know that, just praying no more dark clouds hit me tonight.  The doula is set to deliver my placenta capsules tomorrow afternoon, and while I have no real reason to believe this, I feel deep down that they will work on some level, even if it's just purely psychological.  I'm sorry to mix such a beautiful post with some sadness, but I feel on this matter it is beyond important to be honest.  Tuesday night I cried with such emotion of how happy I felt, how truly in love with this little boy I was.  And then to have such a rush of sadness the next night is nothing short of maddening and frustrating.  It's not right, and it certainly doesn't make much sense, but it's the truth and I want those of you that have been through the same thing to know you're not alone.

I'll be back over the next week or so to update you, and share the birth story with you.  I have to say, I kicked this labor's ass.  It was hard and painful and long, but I am certain of one thing, I am proud of how it all transpired and will forever have those memories in my heart.

Thanks for everything you guys.  For the well wishes, prayers and support.  They have meant the world to me, more than you could ever know.


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