Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fave Five {Moms and Kids}

My Fave Five Finds for Mom's and kid's...

 I decided to follow up my Fave Five for Mommies and babies post with a post that showcases my top picks for kids who are a bit older. 

Two of my three are officially in the "kids" category at almost six and seven, and if your kids are out on spring break this week like mine are, you too may be desperate for anything that may give you five minutes of semi-quite. Here are a few of my recommended "necessities" for any mom.

Nikon Coolpix L810 digital camera

Buy yourself a good camera. I know that many of you may have done this the second your little bundle of joy arrived but if not, don't wait, do it now. I actually think it is more important to me now than when they were babies. They sat still a lot as little ones but now it takes a good camera to catch all those running, jumping, happy memories.


If you are ready to pull your hair out starting to feel the stress of an entire week of Easter candy fueled fun, this is a fab way to distract your kiddies while working out their imagination. There
is one for boys and one for girls and they are filled with pages
of prompts for kids to fill with their own masterpieces. 

The pages are fun 
things like this (for boys)

And this (for girls).


Get a membership to your local children's museum, zoo, or aquarium. This one might hurt a bit when you cut the check but trust me you will use it so often if you know you can go for just an hour or two because it's "free" and you can always come back another day to do the rest. Plus most memberships come with the added bonus of getting in most other children's museums around the country for free or for a discounted rate. This works out great when you are on business trips with the Hubbs or visiting Grandma.


Wish You Were Here (Toot and Puddle Series)

I read to my kids all the time and have since they were little. If you are looking for a good series for kids about age 3-8 I highly recommend the Toot and Puddle books. These piggy brothers are cousins to Opal the pig (maybe you've heard of her, she has a book series of her own) and they get into lots of fun and funny mishaps. (A little secret...I like these books as much as the kids).


If you can find the space (anywhere) make a playroom. 

This one is for little ones and moms alike. I was anti-playroom until about two years ago. I had this idea of the kids playing on hand woven rugs in their rooms and enjoying their own little part of the world. The reality was I was constantly stepping on little pieces of toys walking across those rugs on my way to tuck them in every night. Playrooms can be a bit messy and no one cares. Plus you can fill them up with storage and teach your kids to, at very least, stuff whatever they were playing with in a bin before moving on to the next activity.

Hope this list will help you survive spring break week and give you hope as we all move together towards that never ending heat stroke joyous free time with our kids that is summer.

Praying for patience ASAP
(As Southern As Possible)


Monday, April 9, 2012

I Have Something To Say...and it's hard to admit.

I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a child of God, a dreamer, an artist, 

I Am Bipolar.

How I found out: After the birth of my second child I was having a VERY hard time. 

{new mothers who have bipolar disorder are more likely to suffer a mood swing far more deep and devastating than simple "baby blues." Studies have found that women with bipolar disorder are more likely to have postpartum depression than either healthy women or women with major depression. The research indicates that anywhere from half to two-thirds of women with bipolar I or II disorder may face severe depression in the months after delivery.}

I assumed it was simply a case of postpartum 
(which in and of it self, is a real and difficult medical condition and should be taken seriously). 

I tried to imply that I thought something was not right but everyone thought I would "start feeling better soon". 

I reached out to my husband 
(who was only twenty-two at the time and completely unprepared for this type of thing) 
but he would only say things like "You need to just pull it together" or "Other Mom's are able to handle it"; which of course only made me feel more helpless and alone. 

Finally I became desperate enough that I stood in front of the door and physically blocked him from leaving the house until someone helped me.  

The Primary Care Physician Assumed also, that is was PPD and put me on the standard anti-depressant. 

Within about a week I had decided my marriage was over, kicked my husband out,  started drinking every night, was spending money I DID NOT have on things I DID NOT need, and then out of the blue decided to dump my kids with my husband and leave town without telling anyone where I was going or when I'd be back. 

I knew something was wrong when I finally came crawling home. I cried to my husband and for the first time voiced my concern that maybe we were dealing with something more complex than PPD. 

I was diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder in October 

of 2006.

How It feels to be bipolar: Even if I take my meds, stay away from what are for me, "dangerous" substances like certain cold medications, caffeine, and alcohol, even if I mind all the rules and do everything right...I am still bipolar and it still affects my life. 

That's the hardest part. The source of the most shame. People who don't know someone with bipolar or who are uneducated believe that it is something I should be able to "control" or that it will "get better". 

It took a long time 

(and SEVERAL times of me refusing my meds {which is still a source of tension at times as it is for most people who are BP}) 

for me to admit that I HAVE BIPOLAR DISORDER.

But, Bipolar is what I have, it is not

I have periods of deep depression when I cry for what feels like forever and it is everything I can do to get up in the morning and face a new day. Several Thanksgivings ago I had to go to the ER because I was dealing with thoughts of suicide.
 (That is still very hard and shameful to say) 

I don't want to talk to anyone when I feel this way and it makes it hard for me to trust people and let them in because I worry they won't understand when I don't call them back or skip out on plans that we had. 

I am not a good mom when I am depressed.
 My kids know more than they should have to about "Mommy being sick". 

That hurts my heart the worst.

On the other hand sometimes I feel alive and elated with life no matter what the circumstance. 

This is the easier of the two for me because it seems to interfere less with day to day life but it is still disruptive. 

I take on new projects and big endeavors I later loose all interest in. 

I don't suffer from a drug or alcohol dependence 
(which  I am thankful for because a lot of people with BPD try to self medicate it away) 
but I do get the urge to go out all night and drink like I am at a fraternity kegger. 

I call my friends and family A MILLION times a day and I talk about 45 billion miles an hour jumping from thought to thought and topic to topic with out pausing for breath. 

Sometimes I get really irritable and enraged for no good reason
(which is a lesser known symptom but very common of mania)

My husband usually ends up taking the brunt of it, which I hate. 

It makes me afraid that one day he will get tired of it all and simply walk out the door, the divorce rate for couples where one person is bipolar is over 90%, so it's a legitimate worry. 

He assures me he is going nowhere. 

What type of treatment do I use: I am a rapid cycling Bipolar I patient with mixed episodes. 

That is pretty much a fancy way of saying I have pretty severe bipolar with either manic or depressive episodes happening more than four times a year and I sometimes go through times where I experience symptoms of both M/D at the same time. 

Dr's have several drugs they use to treat bipolar and I think the secret is just finding a combo that works for you. If you are bipolar and don't feel like your meds are the right fit for you then talk to your Dr. about trying another route DON'T JUST QUIT YOUR MEDS ALTOGETHER. 

I am currently on a combo of seizure meds that seems to work pretty well for me. 
( Seizure medication is commonly used to treat bipolar disease and seems to help a lot though they aren't totally sure why.) 

I was previously on an anti psychotic medicine but that didn't work for me. 

There are also a variety of other things I do to stay healthy as long and as much as possible. 

I try and stay away from any mood altering substances (previously mentioned) that may start the pattern up or down. I try and stay on a regular sleep schedule which helps those with bipolar and allows me to have some of my first "red flags" that something isn't right when that pattern drastically changes. I try to eat well and make my best effort to stay on my meds.
 (Although this is a hard one at times...I can't offer an explanation as to why 
other than that it is very common occurrence of people with BPD)

 Why now...why am I sharing all of this: This is something I have been thinking about doing and discussing with my husband for sometime now. 

This is something that almost know one who is not in my inner circle knows, and even then I don't open up much about what it is really like. 

I felt like I could express my self better if I had the chance to write it all out. 

I don't want to live in secret anymore because I need support and prayer and good thoughts sent to me and especially my family when things are hard. 

I want others, and particularly other moms dealing with this to know they are not alone and it is possible although hard. 

I am not a professional but here's some of what I have learned: 
If someone you know is dealing with BDP, or you believe they may have BPD be vigilant, be kind, be understanding, see this for what it is, an illness, and let them know they are loved 

Seek help because it can't be done alone.

If you are living with BPD talk about how it feels with your family and support people. 


Don't be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. 
You need support when you are "sick" but you are responsible for staying well as much and as long as possible by doing everything in your power to manage your bipolar.

If someone threatens suicide or asks for help 
(even if it is only hinted at) 
get help. 

Thoughts of suicide are a difficult and sometimes shameful things to talk about. You don't want to ignore a chance to help someone in need.

Living Open & Honest ASAP
(As Southern As Possible)


Post Script: These photos were taken by my six year old who said 
"Let me take your picture momma cause I love when your happy".

Update: During my pregnancy & since the birth of our fourth child  my symptoms have decreased and I have had an easier time managing the symptoms that persist. 

I am still seeing my psychiatrist and we are working together on a plan we are all comfortable with. 

(that plan does not currently include medications due to my lessened symptoms, close and honest relationship with my support people and Dr's, and the fact that I am nursing)

Please don't consider ANY change in your medications if you have BPD without consulting your Dr. 

I don't know yet how this will all work it self out, but I am enjoying and thanking God for this time of clarity and rest, for me and our family.

Thank you all so much for the support and love I have received since this post was originally written. 


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thankful for Dust Faeries

I love the magic of childhood...

Anything is possible to kids and I so admire that innocent faith. 

Last week while I was painting on the porch Bella began to tell me about Dust Faeries. She told me how they are so tiny most people think they are merely a speck of dust, but how sometimes you see a special little sparkle that lets you know they are really a tiny faerie. 

She told me all of this with such detail and confidence that I asked her where she learned about Dust Faeries. Did you read about them in a book or hear about them at school I probed?

"I think I must of just known about them since I was three cause I always knew they were there" came the response.
(I laughed with both amusement and admiration at her explanation.)

So, yesterday we went on a picnic at the park to look for Dust Faeries.

We drew a sign on the sidewalk so the faeries knew we were friends to all faerie kind.

We made a faerie home in a Mason jar with clover and Cherry Blossoms.
(Yet another use for those sweet southern jars, you can see some other ideas {Here})

 Bella said she caught "about two faeries"...I took their picture before we let them go.

I'm so Thankful for my Bella and these precious days of childhood.

Clapping my hands ASAP
(As Southern As Possible)


Linking up to Thankful Thursdays Everyday
{Click the pic to link up too!}
a punk, a pumpkin and a peanut