Monday, February 24, 2014

Do you BlogLovin?

Well, now that Google Friend Connect has been retired for a while now... Do you use another 'reader' to organize and read your blogs? What do you use? Feedly? Bloglovin? Something else?
I use Bloglovin and really like it. I think it's very easy to import the blogs you follow, add new ones to your list, and you can easily see any new posts from everyone. The Bloglovin iPhone App is very easy to use as well. If you would like to follow me on Bloglovin, please click below:
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Thursday, February 20, 2014

10 things about me lately

1. I feel like a failed mom more often than not. I am way to hard on myself. However I will pat myself on the back for the fact my daughter snacks on fruit, veggies, yogurt and a variety of other healthy foods! Yay us! We were strict from day one about healthy food and stuck to it with the best outcome for her! Tyler will follow in her footsteps.

2. I pray that when my kids are older and they thank someone for being their life's inspiration, that the 'someone' they thank is me. Nothing would make my life more complete.

3. Counting down the days to baseball season - pitchers & catchers have reported. Spring training is here, even though New Jersey is buried in 2 feet of snow & ice and hasn't gotten above 15 degrees in what seems like weeks.

4. I am really working on having as much happiness and positivity in my life (even though some days it is difficult to focus).

5. I have made a mental commitment to photograph more this year and expand my horizons with my camera. I don't pick up my camera much in the winter time - I prefer to photograph outdoors and nature. None of which we are able to do right now due to this horrible winter.

6. Have I mentioned I really hate winter? Sorry, but 2 feet of snow & ice is not beautiful or breathtaking. It doesn't sparkle in the sunlight - it's cold & frozen. It is ugly, cold, slippery and annoying. (Can you tell how I really feel?) I can't even begin to imagine when my boat sitting under the nice white protective shrink wrap in my driveway will thaw out for spring. I used to like winter when I skied. I haven't skied in quite a few years, so I haven't liked winter in quite a few years.

7. I would love to volunteer for the Congenital Heart Coalition here in NJ. I wish I had the time to commit to something like that - I would like to put my time & effort to helping other congenital heart defect families. Maybe once the kids are older and I have 3 minutes to myself. (HAHAHAHA!!!! Will that ever happen?!)

8. I love taking a bath with my babies & they love taking a bath with me or my husband. It's a fun time for them and us!

9. I love my children more than life, but I will be the first to admit I look forward to 8pm every night (their bed time).

10. Brian and I are really focusing on eating healthier and even though we ate a lot of organic before, we are adding even more organic & pure foods to our diet. We are really taking the time to read ingredients on everything and cutting out most things with chemicals of any kind.

Here are some pictures I took outside of our house. It's a very common scene here in the Northeast-

Monday, February 10, 2014

#RockYourScar <> Congenital Heart Defect Awareness <>

This past week was National Congenital Heart Awareness week.
I decided to take a few pictures of Tyler to enter in the Rock Your Scar contest. #RockYourScar
I like to make as many people possible aware of Tyler's CHD called TAPVR. Roughly 1 in 100 babies are born with a CHD. Of those 100, about 25% need open heart surgery. Tyler was one of those 25%.

Please take a few seconds to vote for Tyler or share my entry on your facebook page or blog. We need to get awareness out there if we hope to make progress on Congenital Heart Defect cause, treatment and/or prevention.

Please vote for Tyler's #RockYourScar entry HERE 

Here are the photos that I took of Tyler and narrowed down to the 2nd one for the contest.

Just playing... 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

10 things about Tyler lately

In accordance with being back to blogging - here's an update on Tyler. My little boy is getting so big! Tyler is almost 9 months old, and so many things are changing daily for us and him.

  • Tyler has a Congenital Heart Defect and had Open Heart Surgery when he was 8 days old on May 24th, 2013. Before May 23rd of last year, I never knew anything about Congenital Heart Defects. By May 24th, we got a crash course in Pediatric Congenital Heart Defects, more specifically, Infra-diaphragmatic TAPVR (Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return). Please GO HERE for Tyler's CHD story. As of Monday 2/3/2014, he is off of his Digoxin heart medication, which was regulating his heart beat and helped it to heal. His cardiologist wanted him off Digoxin for a week before his appointment next week, where he will have an echocardiogram and EKG along with a full checkup; and then return home for 24 hours with a halter monitor which will record all heart activity. If all goes well, he will be off of heart medication (praying forever!!!). There isn't a crystal ball for what the future will hold and we can only pray he never has any other complications from his Heart Defect. The rest of his updates will be less critical the #1
  • Tyler is doing great on solid foods. He loves all vegetables & fruits so far, with the exception of peas. Can't say I blame him. He has cereal and a jar of fruit in the morning, then cereal and a jar of vegetables for lunch. Dinner time (6:30) we just moved up to cereal, a full jar of veggies and half jar of fruit. He has a bottle 4x a day - 7am, 11am, 3pm and right before bedtime around 7:30. He is taking less formula to about 20-24 ounces a day now since he's increasing his solid food intake, which is normal.
  • Tyler is sleeping 11 hours at night. He goes to sleep at 8pm - the same time as Julianna. They both wake up around 7am... and sleep in the same room. What a pain in the you know what that has been, but they are finally OK sleeping together where one doesn't wake the other up. I'm writing a post about kids sharing their room. It's been challenging.
  • Tyler is in 12 month clothes and size 4 diapers. He's so much wider & chunkier than my daughter was at this age. I know they say not to compare, but I love comparing the 2 at each stage of their life to see who was wearing what and what they are doing. He takes 2 naps a day, one around 9:30 to 11am, and the second one around 1:30 to 3pm. He has a slight witching hour some nights around dinner time but not nearly as bad as when he was an infant. 
  • He's not crawling yet, but wants to stand up ALL of the time! He is not happy unless he is standing with us holding him. He sits on the floor and plays nicely with his toys, but he really needs attention. He is not like Julianna, where we could leave her on the floor with a toy and she would entertain herself. Tyler will play but then whine for someone to come play with him or hold him. He is sooo very needy. He likes playing on his belly and is just about pushing himself up on his knees and can push himself backwards. He'll be crawling soon.
  • He just has his first Gerber Puff and first sip of water out of a sippy cup this week.
  • Tyler has become a bigtime belly sleeper. About a month ago, he decided to roll onto his belly in his crib to sleep and hasn't gone back since. I put him on his back, and he can't flip fast enough to his belly. He loves sleeping on his belly! Since he's almost 9 months old, the SIDS risk is almost none or zero. It's fine - and besides, good luck trying to get him not to sleep on his belly all night! He slept on his back through 8 months old. That is still very good.
  • He loves playing with light-up toys and toys tat make noise- he also likes turning the toys over to see the underneath, as if he's inspecting it. He also loves peek-a-boo and loves when big sister plays with him. He loves her and watches her every move when she's in the room. She often tries to comfort him with a toy or talking softly to him when he's crying or upset.
  • When me or Brian hold Tyler, he often tries to twist and roll off our laps, and then whines & complains. He only wants to stand or play on the floor. I can not wait for him to walk so he can go do his own thing haha! He won't be so needy then! He also gets his hands on everything and anything he can. My hair, my earrings, my glasses, paper, stuff on the fridge, my laptop or phone, anything on the table, my coffee.... etc! I can't drink coffee or eat while holding him because he lunges at everything. It's a 2-handed job holding him. Multi-tasking is not an option.
  • Tyler says Mama and Dada. That's about it for talking so far. He does a ton of talking in his own language and it's hysterical. Julianna often says he talks too much, although she talks an awful lot too! Little does she realize! Tyler does know his name and laughs at the dog. He laughs at everything now- it's great!
I just love my little boy so much. It's so very true what they say about mama's and their little boys! I love holding him and nuzzling his fuzzy head. When he looks at me and says "Mama Mama Mama" and gives me a big smile, it melts my heart! Oh how this little boy owns me!
There is a part of me that never wants him to get bigger, but then there is a part of me that wants him to get bigger & more independent. Since I came off of a few bad months, I have been trying to take in each day, almost as if I need to make up the time I blew when I was going through my 'crazy' stage. Go HERE to read about why I was MIA for a while. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

After a long {much needed} break...

I am back. Yes, you can now sleep at night.

OK for real. I had to take some time off from my blog and put some things on hold for a while.
I was going through some really rough times getting adjusted to 2 children and mentally trying to adjust. In the back of my mind, I kept saying "I Need to go back to blogging" and I just couldn't do it. I had zero time to do anything for me and I'm slowly trying to work that back into my life - me time. I had barely picked up my camera (which isn't me!) and had no time to blog even though I had so many topics swirling around. I knew I would probably come back - but just wasn't sure when I could. I even thought about just shutting this down, however I enjoy doing this too much to not come back. It was a tough choice.

I went through an unpleasant few months and was dealing with my own internal demons. I felt very overwhelmed, frantic, anxious, spinning, crying & crazy just to name a few emotions. I was always feeling angry and would snap for no reason at all. I was becoming that mom that is forever yelling at their kids. Ugh! My poor daughter was undoubtedly traumatized by me. Thank God my husband was so understanding during this whole time, and knew I just had to get through some bad stuff. I was going from one day to the next in a fog. I was in a bad place - like really bad- a few times. It was terrible. I felt overwhelmed & would snap so easily at the littlest thing. The smallest task for me was too overwhelming for me to do and would stress me out so bad - even something as little as making dinner.
I really thought I was losing my mind & I figured it must be post-partum depression even though I felt OK for the first few months after I had Tyler. I thought maybe it could even be a little bit of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome from Tyler's Open Heart Surgery. That is common apparently. This 'bad stuff' all really kicked in around September and got worse. I talked about it to my husband and some friends. I even tried to go on daily medication to 'right the ship', which did not work out due to some severe side effects. I was able to, however, take Xanax XR for the bad days luckily & that helped tremendously once I got over the stigma of taking something to help me.

What made me see the light {big time!} is when I visited my Mid-Wife for my yearly exam. She sat down with me, listened to me, looked at me and said unequivocally that I am most likely starting PRE-MENOPAUSE. What?! No way! But it made sense I suppose. All my symptoms fit and I hadn't gotten my monthly friend in 3 months either to top it off.  Fun stuff. She said my symptoms are close to post-partum depression (and can mimic that) but she felt it was very much pre-menopause. Pre-Menopause. I said it over and over. Wow. Doesn't that happen to .. um... older women? Surely not me. But yeah, guess what, it is happening. Terrific. At 43, I guess that's the next stage of my life. She suspected that before I had Tyler, my body was probably ready to go into pre-menopause but then I got pregnant which most likely threw everything off. Then after having Tyler, my body just needed some time to catch up to where it left off ... and here I am. Pre-menopause. Yay me. For now, there is not much to do other than she started me on a vitamin regimen and suggested I work on losing weight, which was next on my to-do list anyhow. So for now, we'll see how this goes and she said she thinks this off-kilter stuff I am feeling should even out a bit once my body gets used to this new change it's going through.

She also told me it's still OK to take my Xanax XR as needed (this is one thing I did start taking that worked well for me when I was having a bad day). Xanax XR scared me at first but then I realized it just makes you able to cope better - it does not make you feel drugged or dopey. And you can take it when you are having a bad day. It's not meant for daily use. SO far, just the simple change in diet and taking vitamins has done wonders. I feel like a new person in the past 3 weeks. I will say, ever since this revelation, I have been feeling pretty good somewhat consistently, even my husband noticed. I have been so patient and loving with the kids (most days!). It's a feeling I missed and did not have often for a few months. A true weight has been lifted. No more massive ups & downs. I felt like I was the only one going through this stuff but I know I am not alone anymore. Truthfully, it was Christmas that put me over the top. That was my breaking point and low point. Too much going on in too little time and crazy me in the mix - it made for a very difficult Holiday season. I'm glad that's over with.
Anyway so that's it - that's all about my 'crazy' in a nutshell. I hope your life has been better lately! HA!

Back to blogging. So I decided when I do come back, it would have to be in full force. It would have to be with some good topics and make sure to be consistent with my blogging. Oh yeah, and make sure to pick up my camera again too!

Welcome back ME. It feels good.


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