A weekend in review: ‘You’re boring’

Sometimes I feel as if my weekends are more exhausting than my weekdays… and this past weekend was no exception.

I always try to cram as much as possible into the 48 or so hours a week that I get to exclusively dedicate to my family and my house… while also getting a chance to socialize a bit. I think most working moms would agree that something usually falls to the wayside. That something for me happens to be my social life. But more on that later.

Since the husband went out on Thursday night after work with a few of his work buddies, we made a deal that he would stay home with the babe and let me do a few hours of shopping…BY MYSELF. It was as glorious as it sounds. I got to Target and picked up a few things, including a Christmas gift for the baby and a ½ Birthday gift too (we celebrated 6 months of cuteness on Sunday). Then I hit up the mall and perused through the department stores, got my eyebrows done and took my time in Baby Gap. Ahhhhhh.

As usual, we had nearly every hour booked so Saturday morning rolled around and we were out the door before 9 a.m. to get our flu shots – which inevitably means we’ll get the ONE strain of flu that the shot doesn’t protect you against.

Nonetheless, the waiting room was filled with people who were complaining of flu-like symptoms, so get your flu shots people. There’s a reason why doctors recommend it and since I don’t have a Ph.D in medicine, I’ll shut up and listen (even though my arm STILL hurts).

After that I squeezed in some laundry and house cleaning before we were out the door to the pumpkin patch.  Here’s a couple photos from our adventure.

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The weather was less than perfect, but we tried to make the best of it. I think the little one was a bit overwhelmed by all of the sights and sounds…that or she was just unimpressed.

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My little cutie is wearing a custom-made onesie and leg warmers from this Etsy shop. Her name is embroidered on the onesie, but I whited it out for privacy purposes.

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(ps. I LOVE Etsy. If you’re not familiar, just go to Etsy.com and search for something you want. It’s there and it’s most likely handmade. I plan on doing an Etsy post later, stay tuned.)

The little one’s adorable cousins had a lot of fun and we had some awesome apple cider, so all and all it was a good day.

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As I mentioned earlier in the week, we made dinner reservations for our anniversary. After getting home from the pumpkin patch, I got myself cleaned up, fed the baby dinner and did a little more cleaning around the house before rushing out the door.

We ate at a restaurant that claims to be the best seafood restaurant in Pittsburgh. It was delicious; don’t get me wrong… but the best? Probably not. It’s called Penn Avenue Fish Company and they have two locations – one in downtown Pittsburgh, the other in the Strip District. I’m in no way a “foodie,” but I love food. Mine was delicious (lobster risotto) and my husband’s was good too (Chilean sea bass). But for the price we would have rather visited a restaurant with better atmosphere. The downtown location is small, loud and dark. But, at any rate, the food was good. We usually go to a restaurant called Joseph Tambellini’s in Hyland Park. If you want a fantastic meal and awesome atmosphere, go here. We’re sorry we didn’t go to our ol’ faithful and promise to be back for Valentine’s Day Mr. Tambellini!

We didn’t get any photos of us together on our night out, but here’s one he snapped of me while waiting for our check.

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(In full disclosure, we “unplugged” for the entire meal…but of course checked our phones when we were done. Sometimes I despise my addiction to social media.)

Following dinner we planned on getting a drink at a nearby bar. But here’s where my body decided otherwise. I was exhausted. We walked to a Starbucks a couple of blocks away to get me jolt of caffeine, which helped for a little while. But one drink into our after-dinner cocktails, I had it.  This resulted in a disgruntled husband who called me “boring.” But if fitting all of the aforementioned activities into one day makes me “boring” – then consider me guilty.

Sunday was just as crazy – in a nutshell, I did my usual Sunday morning routine: Peruse Pinterest for recipes, meal plan, coupon clip, make grocery list, grocery shop. After that we had family photos/baby’s 6 month birthday pics scheduled with a photographer at a beautiful park near our home. We brought the gentle giant to be included in some of the photos…and both the babe and the fur-babe were amazing. Rooney – who is usually freaked by the little one – let her sit in between his legs for a few photos. I cannot wait to see them!

Afterward I did MORE cleaning/laundry and then prepped dinner for Monday. I know it’s going to be a busy day, which includes shots for my little pumpkin. (It never gets easier, does it?).

We tired.

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Friday Recipe Roundup

There is nothing more annoying than receiving a text from my husband during the work day with the words: “What’s for dinner?”

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So in order to rid this annoyance from my life, I recently started meal planning. I post the menu in our kitchen so he has no questions about that night’s dinner.

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(I just got this awesome chalkboard for $20 at a craft show. I had intentions of making my own, but couldn’t resist just buying it. Here’s a tutorial on how to make your own chalkboard)

My goal is always to cook 4 meals during the week (Monday-Thursday) and one meal on the weekend, usually on Sundays.

I hope to do a weekly roundup of what I’ve made each week: the good, the bad and the ugly. I am in NO WAY a cook. In fact, I’m pretty bad at it. But thanks to Pinterest (follow me here) I’ve been able to make a few decent meals… when I don’t screw up and forget an ingredient or fail to read the instructions all the way through.

My hope is to make this a regular Friday post and since this is the first one (and I skewed off the menu a bit this week) This is a general recap of some of the meals I’ve made over the past few weeks. Happy cooking.

Chicken parm casserole: This one was simple and quick. I didn’t screw it up, but would add more croutons next time.

http://ourpinterestingsummer.com/2012/06/16/chicken-parmesan-casserole-holy-crap/

chick parm casserole

Crock pot corn chowder: I’ll be using this recipe for years and year to come. I prepped it the night before and let it cook all day while at work. I (of course) didn’t follow the directions properly and added the half/half in at the beginning. While the cream didn’t break, it did thin out. So I added a handful of flour and a bunch of shredded cheddar cheese. The portion size is large, so if you’re not interested in making a lot I would cut the ingredients in half. I just froze the leftovers and used it for another meal a week later. I paired the soup up with turkey meatloaf the first time and baked chicken the second time.

http://www.diypinterest.com/crockpot-corn-chowder/

corn chowder

 

Crock pot cheese tortellini: We both were not fans of this one. Since the recipe calls for tomatoes and we both hate tomatoes, I omitted them. Big mistake. The tomatoes (that are required for this specific recipe) add seasoning. So without them I was left with a tasteless tortellini in a thin sauce. Not to mention the cook time is only 4 hours on low. I thought it would be OK on low for 8+ hours while at work. I was wrong.

http://littlefellows.blogspot.com/2011/11/best-crockpot-meal-ive-tried-yet.html

cheese tortellini

Oven tacos: LOVE. Simply LOVE. This recipe is the perfect change-up for your taco night.

http://mommyimhungry.blogspot.com/2012/11/oven-tacos.html

oven tacos

Monte Crisco sammys: These are little more time consuming than I prefer for a weeknight meal, so I made them on Sunday, paired with French onion soup (below). While delicious, they were very filling. Do not make too many. I was able to feed the husband, my brother, husband’s best friend, sis-in-law and myself with 4 sandwiches sliced in half – throwing away 1 of the halves.

http://www.simply-gourmet.com/2011/07/28-monte-cristo-sandwiches.html

monte crisco sammys

French Onion soup: This soup is another one I’ll be making a lot in the future. It takes a little more prep than the corn chowder, but it’s well worth it.

http://diethood.com/2012/11/02/slow-cooker-french-onion-soup/

french onion soup

Cheesy chicken rollups: These are my go to meal when I can’t think of anything else to make. I sometimes even crave them. My 15-year-old niece made this meal when she came to visit me this past summer. It’s very easy and tasty.

http://www.plainchicken.com/2009/08/chicken-rollups-2.html

cheesy chicken rollups

Crock pot pork chops: No link for this one, but it’s easy. Throw a couple pork chops in the crock pot on low for 8 or so hours with this Campbell’s sauce (this is a new item, so look for coupons). They turned out delicious and I paired the chops up with baked potato and a pasta side.

pork chops

Chipotle chicken and rice: Another simple recipe using this Campbell’s skillet sauce. It’s filling, it’s delicious, it’s different. The recipe is right on the package.

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FOLLOW ME ON PINTEREST: http://www.pinterest.com/shannonwaldo/boards/

The Gentle Giant

Meet Rooney, the Goldendoodle.

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He’s quite the conversation piece wherever he goes. He does, after all, look (and act) like a living, breathing cartoon character.

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My husband and I have recently come to the conclusion that we’ve created a monster in this fuzz ball…because we treat him as if he’s one of our children. I mean, he was our first born!

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But Roo Roo annoys the living shit out of me. He eats everything and anything (last night he ate a spider and a dryer sheet for dinner/dessert). He constantly barks as soon as the baby goes down for a nap. He licks every effing dish I put in the dishwasher. He steals dirty underwear from the hamper and tosses them around the house like toys.

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Roon is also one-of-a-kind. I’m not saying this because he’s my dog and we love him and all that good stuff. He is LITERALLY a 1 in a million dog.

Why, you ask? Well… as any good dog owner does we took him to get neutered as soon as he was old enough. The vet who performed the procedure called us afterward and told us that Rooney had some sort of blood disorder and he was bleeding a lot during the operation. She said she acted quickly and removed WHAT SHE THOUGHT were his balls, but she wanted us to have the… uh em… “Specimens” tested. So we did. Turns out she removed lymph nodes and not his testies.

So here’s where it gets real good. We had to pay for the unsuccessful operation and the testing of the non-balls. THEN a few months later we had to take him to see a specialist. Just walking through the doors of this “specialists” office costs $60 a pop. But knowing Roo may have had some sort of blood disorder we wanted him to have the best care. After a series of testing and multiple appointments, we scheduled the poor dog’s second neutering.

I was a nervous wreck. I was so scared something was going to happen to our furbaby while he was under the knife. Afterall, the first vet told us he had a blood disorder! (even though follow up testing showed nothing.) Two hours after dropping him off – my husband’s phone rings. I’m paraphrasing… but here’s how the conversation went:

Doctor: Rooney’s dad? We’re calling to tell you that he’s in recovery now. He’s doing fine…

Husband: Oh good.

Doctor: But we were unable to locate his testicles.

Husband: Excuse me?

Doctor: Your dog was born without balls. It’s very rare. In 20 years of performing neuterings on dogs this has never happened to me. I’ve read about it happening, but the chances are slim.

So there you have it folks. Roon Dog was born WITHOUT BALLS. The best question EVER (from my mom) was…”So WHAT is he?” Well, he does have a penis mom… so he’s still a boy.

We still love our ball-less baby just the way he is.

I love how he jumps up and actually hugs me when I get home from work. He’s massive, but thinks he’s a lap dog. And best of all… he loves his little sis and is incredibly gentle with her.

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So on the days when he grabs a dirty diaper and runs away or drinks out of a piss-filled toilet bowl (yes, that happened this week)… I watch this video.

We love you Roo Roo. 

Cotton

My husband and I just celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary on Monday.

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We both agreed that going out on a Monday night is 1. Stupid (for us) 2. Next to impossible. We always try to celebrate our special occasions with a delicious seafood meal. So instead of rushing home from work after picking up the baby from my mom’s house, getting ready and lugging all of us out the door (leaving our poor Goldendoodle home alone at night after being alone all day), we decided to wait until Saturday. We even got a sitter lined up so we can enjoy some alone adult time.

After scrolling through my old wedding photos online and reminiscing a bit, I kind of forgot about the significance of the day.  I went through the motions and worked a busy day and rushed home so I could enjoy the rest of my night with B, the babe and the goldendoodle. I knew he had something for me (and I honestly thought he bought me a new iPhone because I’ve been bitching about mine for a long time now). But what I got was SO much better.

Cotton.

I actually didn’t put much thought in to what I was going to get him, he said he wanted new golf shoes and that’s what he was going to get. Until the Pittsburgh Pirates made it to the playoffs and game 4 of the NLDS was at home. He managed to find tickets for himself and left work early the day of the game. I told him since it was a pretty pricey event, that the ticket/night out with friends was his gift from me. Even though they lost, he still had a great time and thanked me profusely for the spontaneous splurge. He’s been a Pirates fan his whole life, and honestly nothing makes him happier (well, beside his family) than sports. It was the perfect gift for him.

So I didn’t know that, traditionally, you are supposed to give cotton as a second anniversary gift. But B did. He knew that because he took the time to look it up online. That act alone was enough of a gift for me… but who doesn’t love a little gift here and there? (I do! I do!). When I saw the package I didn’t know what to expect. It clearly wasn’t an iPhone. I was truly surprised when I pulled out a long, pastel pink, cozy bath robe – made of, you guessed it, cotton. Stuffed in the pockets were my favorite slipper socks and a gift certificate for a massage.

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He said he thought a bath robe was perfect because “I like to be comfortable and warm.” Plus, he said, he was sick of seeing me an old, beat up robe I have had since college. I had a hard time holding back the tears because he put so much thought into the gift, ensuring that the robe was made of 100% cotton. He also said he tried finding cotton slippers for me, but knew I liked fuzzy socks better. And even though they weren’t cotton, he bought them for me.

This man continues to prove his love for me day in and day out. He makes me my coffee every morning and brings the piping hot cup back to our bedroom when I’m getting ready for work. He steadfastly stood by my side through 36 hours of labor, holding my hand and gently wiping the sweat from my forehead. During my emergency c-section he showed no fear and told me that he was proud of me. This is the man that, after surgery, held me up in the shower when I couldn’t stand and dressed me when I couldn’t lift my legs. This man affectionately asks me every day, “Shan, do you love me?” and sends me texts throughout the day to let me know he’s thinking of me. This same man looks at a daughter with love so deep that it takes my breath away. He doesn’t flinch at changing a poopy diaper and tells our little girl how beautiful she is every. single. day. He still holds my hand and kisses me goodnight and tells me he loves me every day.

I knew I loved him on October 14, 2011. I just never knew how much more I could love someone I already love.

Baby approved of the robe too.

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Ready… Set… GO CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!

Since this is the first year I get to play Santa, I am overly hyped about the upcoming Christmas season. I have several presents stashed away for my little one already. My husband asked me why I was hiding them from a 5.5 month old… Well, I guess I’m just practicing? I know the babe will enjoy ripping up the paper and attempting to eat it WAY more than the actual presents this year…but just the thought of having my own child to watch open gifts makes me giddy with excitement. I always loved watching my nieces and nephews open up their presents with such joy and now I get to watch my own little one do the same!

OK, so now to the good stuff. Those of you with smaller children (ages 6 months to toddler) there are some AWESOME deals going on right now. So before you finish reading this go to coupons.com and print your Fisher Price coupons. They go away VERY fast. Here’s the link:

http://www.coupons.com/coupons/Toy-and-Game-Coupons-901/

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There are several great money-savers available today (10/15). I missed the last time these coupons were available (they only allow a limited number of prints…so again, go print them!). So after missing out a couple weeks ago I set up a Google Alert for “Fisher Price Coupons” and printed them after I received the alert at 1 a.m. this morning. (No, I didn’t wake up to check my email, it just so happens the baby thought 1 a.m. would be an awesome time to start a 2-hour playtime/choir performance. And no, she wasn’t crying…the little gal was singing. I actually didn’t even care that it was the middle of the night and I had to be up for work in 3 hours…she was so pleasant!)

The BEST part of this is that (thanks to the many money-saving blogs I follow) I learned there are Target coupons available for many of the same products! Those of you who aren’t savvy couponers… this, my friends, is just DREAMY. Dreamy because you can STACK them baby! There is also a 10% off coupon on Target Cartwheel. If you are a Target lover (like me) and you don’t have Cartwheel….GET IT NOW! It’s like a social media platform for all of us Target addicts – except you save money for using it! (More info below)

Here’s what I’m saying: You can use a manufacturer’s coupon, a Target coupon and the Target Cartwheel coupon ALL AT ONCE.

The best deals available are listed below (thanks to one of my favorite blogs: Totally Target):

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Love to Play Sis $15.19 (PC thru 10/19)
-$5 off Laugh & Learn Love to Play Sis Target Coupon x11/9
-10% Off Fisher-Price Baby Toys (excl.licensed) Target Cartwheel x11/2
-$5.00 off Laugh & Learn™ Love to Play Puppy or Sis
= $4.18 after triple stack, or almost 80% off regular price of $19.99!

There was also a couple new Price Cuts on Fisher Price Toys, as well as others that are still active to make for some nice deals with up to a triple stack on some them…

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn™ Crawl Around™ Car $49.99 (PC thru 10/26)
-10% Off Fisher-Price Baby Toys (excl.licensed) Target Cartwheel x11/2
$10.00 off Laugh & Learn™ Crawl Around™ Car
= $35 after stack & price cut, regularly $59.99

Fisher Price Imaginext Rescue City Center $44.99 (PC thru 10/26)
-$10 off Imaginext Rescue City Center Target Coupon x11/9
-$5.00 off Imaginext Rescue City Center
= $29.99 after stack, or 40% off regular price of $49.99

*Fisher-Price Imaginext Super Friends Batcave $34.99 (PC thru 10/26)
-$5 off Imaginext Batcave Target Coupon x11/9
-$5.00 off Imaginext DC Super Friends™ Batcave
= $24.99 after stack, or almost 40% off regular price of $39.99

Fisher-Price Rockin Tunes Giraffe $35.99 (PC thru 11/2)
-$5 off Rockin Tunes Giraffe Target Coupon x11/9
-10% Off Fisher-Price Baby Toys (excl.licensed) Target Cartwheel x11/2**
$5.00 off Rockin’ Tunes Giraffe
=$22.89 after triple stack, or over 40% off regular price of $39.99!

*Fisher-Price Little People Animal Sounds Farm $33.99 (PC thru 10/26)
-$5 off Little People Farm Target Coupon x11/9
-$5.00 off Little People Animal Sounds Farm
= $23.99 after triple stack, (regularly $38.99!)

Fisher-Price Little People Happy Sounds Home $32.99 (PC thru 10/26)
-$5.00 off Little People Happy Sounds Home
= $27.99 after coupon & price cut (regularly $39.99)

OTHER FISHER PRICE COUPONS AVAILABLE:

$5.00 off Discover ‘n Grow™ Kick & Play Piano Gym
$10.00 off Laugh and Learn™ Puppy and Pals Table
$3.00 off any Giggle Gang purchase
$5.00 off Laugh & Learn™ Singin’ Storytime Puppy
$5.00 off Imaginext Mega Apatosaurus
$5.00 off Laugh & Learn™ Smart Screen Laptop
$10.00 off Laugh & Learn™ Stride-to-Ride Puppy
$5.00 off Little People Disney Princess Palace
$5.00 off Brilliant Basics™ Corn Popper

Remember you can stack any of the baby toys with the 10% Off Fisher-Price Baby Toys (excl.licensed) Target Cartwheel x11/2to save even more!

 

NOT FAMILIAR WITH TARGET CARTWHEEL?
This savings program introduced by Target allows you to save even more when shopping in-store. Even better- these offers can be used with Target Coupons AND Manufacturer coupons for up to a triple stack! You can see my post HERE to help get you started.

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Postpartum: It’s time to speak up.

Message in a Bottle

I feel compelled to discuss postpartum depression and open up about my experiences with this all-too-common-but-goes-unspoken disease. I have recently learned about the death of a beautiful, young, new mother due to this disease. And yes, it is a DISEASE. Those of you who think otherwise are:

 a. Uneducated

b. Naive

c. Judgemental (and need not read on).

While I did not know this young woman at all, her recent death has inspired me to become involved in postpartum education and awareness.

First let’s start with my own personal experience. I gave birth to my beautiful daughter almost 6 months ago. She is the light of my life. She has given me purpose and meaning. She has made me a better person.

But in the weeks and early months following her birth I felt overwhelmed, alone, exhausted (yet unable to rest), panicked and unable to control my emotions. I am lucky enough to have a friend who shared her similar experiences with me and I was able to text her late at night or early in the morning asking her if “I was normal.”

Having someone to simply call/text and discuss these  *embarrassing* emotions helped me cope and know that I was not alone. Most women DO NOT have someone to confide in like this – which is why I am ENCOURAGING those of us who have/had post-partum to SPEAK UP and let our fellow mommies know THEY ARE NOT ALONE.

After having several panic attacks and feeling simply overwhelmed, I hesitantly sought help (about 10 weeks after having my baby.) Before going to see a doctor I told my family members that I had a case of “baby blues.” But let me be clear – it was MORE than that. While I don’t recall having any kind of suicidal thoughts, I do remember thinking that I did not deserve this beautiful baby and that I was a horrible mother because I failed at breast feeding.

I was so embarrassed about my feelings/thoughts that I didn’t even call the doctor’s office to set up a visit. I instead found a way to make an appointment online so I didn’t have to discuss my issues with a living person. I knew I would have to once I saw the doctor, but that was something I thought I could work up the courage to do while waiting for the appointment.

Just two days later I was in a doctor’s office speaking with a female doctor who had just had a baby herself. It was almost liberating to be able to vocalize how I felt and have someone tell me that it’s something a lot of mom’s experience after birth. (and ANY doctor will tell you this. Not just female, recently pregnant ones). She asked me many questions, including how the baby was sleeping. My response was that the baby was sleeping wonderfully and, at that point, almost through the night. The doc then followed up with: “How are you sleeping?” I had never even thought about MY sleep. I pondered that question and realized that I had barely been sleeping at all. I was up every hour or less. Sometimes I would just stare at the baby making sure her tiny little chest was lifting, gasping in a breath of air. I told her I was beyond fearful of everyday things like driving and taking a walk. After a few more questions she explained to me that I undoubtedly had postpartum anxiety disorder, a disorder in the postpartum depression family.

Here’s a tid-bit about postpartum anxiety disorder from babycenter.com:

If you’re having recurrent feelings of intense worry or panic, you may have a postpartum anxiety disorder. Recent research has shown that about 10 percent of postpartum moms suffer from clinical anxiety.

Anxiety symptoms usually appear in the first two to three weeks after the birth of a baby, but may not reach a distressing level until several weeks later. There is some overlap between depression and anxiety, and some women have symptoms of both.

Symptoms of anxiety and panic may include:

  • Extreme anxiety or irritability
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pains or discomfort
  • Sensation of choking or smothering
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling in hands or feet
  • Trembling and shaking
  • Sweating
  • Faintness
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Fear of dying, of going crazy, or of losing control

Some women with postpartum anxiety have recurrent fears about harm coming to their children, other loved ones, or themselves.

I still struggle with my fears and worries from time-to-time, but thanks to a low-dose anti-anxiety medication and TIME, I have gotten better. That black cloud that seemingly followed me around for weeks and weeks has been lifted. I am able to smile, laugh and enjoy every smile, giggle, kick. But I truly don’t think I would have gotten better without the support from my friend and seeking help from a medical professional. My husband now understands the seriousness of this disease – something that he didn’t fully understand initially. I can talk to him about it and he is able to recognize when I’m not feeling myself. His support is what I lean on when I’m feeling particularly uneasy. Had I not spoken up and explained to him my feelings, he would have never understood and would have never been able to help.

I am writing this because I want to spread the message that suffering from any form of postpartum depression is NOTHING to be ashamed of. It is treatable and there are a ton of resources out there and a ton of people who love you and want to help.

Please please please pass this message on to any new moms. You NEVER know who may be suffering because of the stigma attached to depression in general. Let’s all speak up and not let another person lose their battle. We’re all in this together.

Post-partum depression help >>> http://www.postpartum.net/

I was wrong…

022Boy was I wrong.

I logged back onto this blog just one day after announcing our pregnancy to our parents and realized that nearly a month to the date I began to document my “quest.” In that post I wrote, “And who knows by August 14, 2012 maybe I’ll be prego.”

So here I am. 6 weeks pregnant. Exhausted. Craving broccoli cheese soup. Feeling like I’m literally busting out of my pants. And so incredibly thrilled, petrified, nervous.

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