Day by Day

I have taken a HUGE hiatus from the blog.  First it started as just the need to put my laptop down and focus on my family, myself, and my household.  Later my laptop actually took its own hiatus and I had to send it to get repaired. Well, its back, and I am back too!  I missed this little place to share my heart and my thoughts.

Some of ya’ll who know me well, will know that I struggle with post partum depression.  Even saying it is hard.  I think sometimes there is a stereotype associated with it.  And as a mom, there is the guilt that you shouldn’t have it because it’ll somehow hinder your kids.  I wanted to share my story.  Perhaps it will helps someone else.

IMG_1003I have gotten post partum depression (PPD) after each of my girls were born.  It doesn’t hit until they are around 5 months old.  Don’t ask me why, I am not an expert… but what I think happens is that around 5 months my girls begin to eat solids, and nurse less.  So something hormonally changes as they nurse less that puts me into a season of PPD.  For me, my biggest symptoms aren’t crying, sadness, etc… my symptoms include memory loss, not being able to focus, easily overwhelmed, and more along those lines.  Brandon usually is the first to notice it.  Having his support through this all has been crucial.  His love and gentleness amazes me.

IMG_0973Yea, I have bad days, days that are hard to function normally.  After Shiloh was born, it was the worst.  I didn’t understand what was happening, didn’t reach out for help, and didn’t know how common PPD was.  When Capri turned 5 months old, I was more self-aware and when the PPD hit, I tried for 2 months to use some natural remedies and lifestyle changes.  They didn’t help (probably didn’t hurt it though).  So, after a lot of prayer, and against my stubbornness, I saw a doctor.  He was great.  He used some kind of screening tests… I wish I could remember more about them…  Anyways, I scored super high for PPD despite the fact that I wasn’t showing the more “depression-style” symptoms.  He prescribed me some medication to help bring my body back into balance.  Now after Leilani’s birth, the medication has helped enormously.  When she was 5 months old, my scatter brain, 2 second memory symptoms arrived, but this time, I was prepared.  Now I am managing them, making sure I get through this season of life.  Handling the PPD.  It doesn’t scare me anymore.  I don’t feel guilty like I used to.  I don’t stress over it.  I take it day by day.  And I know this won’t last forever.

IMG_0776So after all my rambling.  I am thankful to get to share this story here… haha, and hopefully it can help someone else who has had, has, will have PPD.  I can honestly say that I am being the best mommy I can be for my daughters.  Through the failures, through the hard times, they are getting the best of me.  God has shown me a lot through these past 5 years.  I have learned a lot as I trusted Him and sought after wisdom, grace, healing, and patience.  Day by day I need Him.  More than anything else, I need Him.  He lifts my spirit, and He encourages me.  He reminds me to not let my flesh get the best of me.

“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17

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Update:  If you are a mommy (or not) and feel like you might have PPD, anxiety, or any other kind of mental/physical/emotional struggle, please, PLEASE, reach out to someone.  Tell your husband, a close friend, call your doctor.  Its not shameful.  A good doctor will know how to treat your symptoms.  Sometimes your symptoms might look like mine, sometimes they will be different.  If you feel like the walls are closing in around you, hopeless, unmotivated, angry, anxious, snippy, exhausted, reclusive… then I urge you to get help.  I felt those all at one point or another.  And keeping them to myself only made things worse.  Opening up to my husband helped me feel like I wasn’t alone.  Eventually it was Brandon that made me get help.  He even called and made the appointment for me.  He drove me there.  He supported me through the whole thing.  Emotionally, I needed that support system.  If you feel like you can’t do it yourself, ask someone to make you get help.   You deserve it.  Trust me, you really deserve it!   

Little Ekstrom Conversations- {Capri Edition}

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Or otherwise referred to in our house as Caprisms…

Conversation 1.
Capri:  Jesus, thank you for…. (pauses to look at Shiloh)…. Hey!  Close your eyes!

Conversation 2.
Mommy:  Capri, what did you dream about?
Capri:  I dream about… um… tooties.

Conversation 3.
Mommy:  Thank you for doing my hair.  Does Mommy look pretty?
Capri:  No.  Not yet.

Conversation 4.
Capri:  You are the best mommy ever!  And I am the best Capri ever.

Conversation 5.
Daddy:  Capri, you need to get back in the kitchen.
Capri:  Oh, haha, sorry.  I forgive you.

Conversation 6.
Daddy:  Well hi Miss Diva!
Capri:  I am not Miss Diva, I am Capri.

Today I Needed It…

IMG_9708I do not lie when I tell people that EVERY SINGLE time I take the girls into town to run an errand we get stopped by someone who comments about my kids.  Every time.  I don’t know why.  Maybe its having three girls, or maybe because I have a baby with me… not sure why either of those stand out.  Most of the days, I actually get annoyed.  I know, I know, I shouldn’t.  But I do.  The comments like, “Oh wow, THREE girls?  You poor thing.” get old.  So because of those comments, it makes me dread when anybody says anything.

Fast forward to today.

It took me 55 minutes to get out the door.  FIFTY FIVE minutes.  That is just crazy.

Why?  Because I had to specify each and every thing that Shiloh needed to do.  Capri got herself dressed, and then I turned around and she had undressed herself.  We started again.  She put her underwear on backwards.  We started again.  She couldn’t figure out her socks, so I had Shiloh help her…. that began a giggle-fest of chaos.  (Those are real, trust me).  I got Leilani ready.  She cried every time I put her down.  Hello separation-anxiety.  I had to intervene in the sock fiasco.  Then Capri finished getting herself ready, but put her jeans on backwards.  Now you probably wonder why I have her dress herself… because she is two and she wants to do everything “I do it”-style.  At this point, Shiloh decided that she would just lose all ability to listen to me and do anything I was telling her to do.  Two girls go potty…. separately, otherwise another giggle-fest of chaos would ensue.  I change Leilani’s diaper only to find that she has blown out and gotten her entire outfit dirty.  I have to then re-dress her as she wiggles and tries to flip over.  At this point I was about to give up and make the call to stay home.  But I realized I would still have to re-do this whole thing the next day if I didn’t go to town today.  So I finally get the baby in the car seat.  Have the big girls put their boots on and stand by the door.  I load them in the car.  Go back inside to spend 2 minutes on my hair/makeup/brushing teeth…. and 55 minutes later we are on our way to town.

Its a long drive to town.  I spent it shaking my head and laughing at how difficult the morning was.  I just couldn’t believe how they wore me out.  Little minions.  I felt like I was drowning… and I still had a shopping trip to tackle with them.

At the store, sure enough, the comments began.

“Oh look at them, so cute!”

“Wow, and you have a baby too!”

“Three girlies, how precious.”

“They are so cute, you have your hands full!”

“Great little helpers.”

Today, those comments felt good.  Today I needed them.  I needed to know that my 55 minute marathon paid off.  That although it took 55 minutes, my girls appeared “cute”.  That they were well-behaved while shopping.  The comments were like honey to my heart.  Today I need that honey.  Nobody made any of the annoying comments, somehow everyone had something sweet to say.  I almost hugged the little old lady who said they were great little helpers.  It was a little piece of evidence that I was doing something right.  These kind of days are the hardest for me, but as we checked out and walked back to the car, I felt so encouraged and had all my patience and sanity restored.

Now if I could only figure out how to never have another 55 minute morning again…

 

Teaching Her.

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Our decision to start homeschooling Shiloh wasn’t necessarily because of a public vs. homeschool education, although we do have our opinions on that.  It was more due to the fact that she was ready to learn and yet, wasn’t old enough to begin Kindergarten at any of the local schools.  She was ready, and we figured we would give her a chance to ‘do school’ at home and that way she would (1) be able to fulfill her desire to learn and (2) we could give homeschooling a try to see if it was something that could work for our family.

IMG_7414IMG_7445Turns out we LOVE it.  We chose this curriculum, thanks to several family and friends recommendations.  Initially I thought that with Shiloh only being 4 years old, we would have to omit some of the lessons that were too advanced for her age.  But it turns out that so far, we haven’t omitted a single thing.  Granted we are only 10 weeks in, but I really don’t think we will have to skip anything.  She loves it.  The curriculum pairs a letter of the alphabet with something that God has made in the world, and then a characteristic of God.  Mix that with the phonics, math concepts, science studies, and reading lessons and she ends up getting a great week of learning.  For instance we just completed W-week… which we learned about W-w-water, that Jesus gives our spirits living water to drink, and we studied the three phases of water: liquid, solid, and gas.  Each week builds upon the previous for phonics and blending letter sounds to eventually reading simple words.

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IMG_9842The best part is that she has so much fun.  I do too.  It really is my favorite part of the day.  Really!  No lies.  I adore seeing her eyes light up when I tell her to get her school stuff out and that its time to start.  I love hearing her voice sing the little songs we learn.  I love watching her brain think as she sounds out words.  And I love getting messy with her as we make a craft or do a little science project.  Capri usually tags along, which is chaotic, but extremely fun also.  Leilani is nice to us and usually is still sleeping or taking her morning nap.  Sometimes we are still in our jammies.  Sometimes my kitchen table and counter tops are covered in papers, scissors, glue, paint, and crayons.  Sometimes we ‘do school’ for 2 hours, and some days we are having so much fun, we keep going until lunchtime.  I have heard from other homeschooling moms who talk about how sweet it is to teach their kids, and I get it.  There is something very precious about the time I get to spend with Shiloh.  Its a great fit for our family right now.  I am thankful to have this opportunity and I am excited to start back up after our Christmas break.

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December 15, 2014 - 1:35 pm

Tyler Dean - Mannnn this made me miss y’all sooooo much! I think it means that it’s time for “Tiger” to come visit! :-)

And then we became five… {Leilani Cruz’s birth}

Be prepared to see a lot of photo-cuteness.

Sweet Leilani Cruz decided to make her arrival on Wednesday, August 13th.  After having a pre-term labor scare at 29 weeks, I was thrilled to make it to full term with her.  The week leading up to her birth, I had been experiencing early labor symptoms each evening and into the night.  No fun!  The morning of her birth, the girls helped water our newly planted landscaping with Daddy.  I knew at this time she was coming, but I wanted to wait as long as I could before going into the birthing center.

IMG_6407By 4pm my doctor’s office told me to come on in, but I was still taking my sweet time.  We were even planning on making a few stops in town to pick up some snacks before driving to the hospital.  However while in the car, my contractions picked up big time.  We skipped the snacks and went directly to get checked in.  When checking in I knew this would happen fairly quickly.  4 hours from arriving at the hospital, Leilani was in our arms.  Brandon once again helped deliver her, just like he did with Capri.  She came out calmly and quietly.  The nurses even said it was one of the most peaceful and beautiful births they had attended.

IMG_6414IMG_6497We spent less than 24 hours at the hospital and during that time, we had the girls come visit.  Shiloh and Capri were both really happy to have ‘their baby out’ and be able to hold her.  They are great big sisters.  At home, we have been enjoying time with our precious new girl.  Lots of holding her, lots of kisses, and lots of snuggles.  She really does complete our family!

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