Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Random, Miscellaneous Odds & Ends

I've been MIA from this blog for the month of March.  So here is a pic heavy but light on the words post of our (mostly Aurora's) happenings.
A braid in Aurora's hair and playing with one of her favorite toys.

Another of Lil A's favorites: Anything Pooh
I got this practically brand new, huge Pooh bear for $5 at Re-Kid!
(His original retail was probably about $50)! 
She loves it.  She talks to him and crawls all over him. 

This reminds me of one of my favorite lines from the classic movie Winnie the Pooh & Tigger Too:
Tigger: Hey, I know you. Your the one stuffed with fluff.
Pooh: Yes, and you're sitting on it.
Tigger: Yeah, it's comfy too! 

So while I'm at it, here is another deal I found at Re-Kid for $3...I just couldn't pass them up.  It's a cloth pirate bowling set, with the bowling balls being cannon balls.  I loved them immediately :)
(Their original retail is probably something like $30).

The next pictures were taken on a sunny Sunday afternoon.  I know the pic quality isn't great with all the glare but I love all the light and love in these pics.

I finally got a good shot of Aurora sleeping with her bum in the air.  This is her new favorite sleeping position: on her tummy or more like her knees, bum in the air, one arm wrapped around the bumper pad, and face smashed into too.

This one was taken on St. Patrick's day.
Note: If she isn't smiling then she's sucking on her upper lip.
The hairbow was made for her by her Aunt Jessie. So cute!

Jessie and I one night made her probably 10-15 hairbows.  She has tons & tons now.
Here is another:

"Mom, this huge flower is too heavy!"

Just love the look she's giving me here.

Talking about flowers...these just started popping up and blooming in my flower beds.

Now after a busy month, it's time to rest.

Hope your March has been spring filled and delightful!

Monday, March 1, 2010


I survived February!  

I can still remember the very first battle I had with the dreary month.
I was in 4th grade, sitting on the school bus and I thought
"Yuck! I hate February!"

Now many years later and a lot more education, I have realized that it isn't necessarily February that I struggle with but with Seasonal Affect Disorder or SAD.  As a therapist, I feel it is my responsibility to talk about this openly, although therapist or not, I tend to talk openly about almost anything anyways.
So what is SAD?

For me, it usually starts with a small gray cloud hovering over me in late November.  That cloud gets bigger, darker and heavier until in Febraury I feel it's weight resting on my shoulders. The cloud and it's weight starts to zap my energy and I sleep a lot more and struggle more to get out of bed. It makes everything rather gray and 'blah', even things that I enjoy. I will plan to do fun things like blogging, crafting etc...but just don't. Then I start feeling guilty about wasting my day and being so lazy which isn't motivating at all and just feeds the cloud. By February there is a knot in my stomach that makes me feel worse which feeds the cloud.  Can you see the vicious cycle and pattern SAD feeds on?

But one of the nastiest and cruelest symptons is SAD can cause you to believe that your not ill or struggling with a sickness but there is something inherently wrong with you, at your core.  So instead of getting help or trying to prevent, treat and cure SAD like I would if I had a cold or had cancer...  I thought thoughts such as "I should be able to do these things.  Everyone else seems to be doing them and doing them well.  How come it's so hard for me?  I must be stupid, lazy, unmotivated etc... I don't connect with other people. I must not be very likable. There must be something wrong with me."

Although many of the symptoms and causes for SAD are similar to Major Depression, they are different.  Lucky me, I have also fought an episode of Major Depression but I'll save that for a different post. SAD is predominately a vitaman deficiency, often Vitamin D because we are not exposed to as much sunlight in the winter.

Now after years of struggling with SAD, I have found many things that have helped me prevent SAD or lessen the symptoms. In early November, if I'm not already taking my vitamins regularly I start doing so. At some point when I feel gray consistently for several days I will start taking the herbal supplement St. John's Wort regularly.  The supplement seems to help me some but it may not help everyone.

I try to get as much light and sun as possible and expose my skin to it.  I do this by napping in the sun with my sleeves pushed up and my face uncovered. Also, there are special lights specifically to treat SAD and have been shown to be more effective for SAD than antidepressants. When I haven't been able to afford the SAD lights (because they can be expensive although with a prescription some insurances will cover them), I have at times slathered on the sunscreen and gone tanning.  It really does work for me although I don't recommend this professionally.  I don't want to be responsible for alleviating your SAD symptoms but then having you get cancer instead.

Then there is changing or balancing my thoughts.  By balancing, I mean making sure I'm not feeding myself and the cloud more negative thoughts than positive.  Also, making sure I don't believe or give more power to the negative thoughts than I do to the positive ones.  In therapy, we call this Automatic Thoughts and there is a good chapter about this technique in the book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy.  (Personal note: I don't really like the book as a whole because it's patronizing, discounting and rather cold... but the chapter on Automatic Thoughts is really good).
 Then there are the 3 sisters of good health: exercise, good sleep habits, and eating healthy. Sigh, why does it always come back to these?  But they really do help. Now when I start feeling the cloud getting heavy or the knot in my stomach is growing if I exercise it makes a world of difference!!!  I try to go to bed earlier instead of staying up late and try to get up early (the sun in the morning is supposed to be more beneficial to you than later in the day).  Eating green veggies is supposed to be the best for SAD, but I'm still working on making that a consistent habit.

Last but not least, I talk to my therapist and/or doctor.  Not always every year and sometimes I don't need more than a few sessions but it is truly helpful!  Please don't think this post can substitute talking to a professional.

In general, I did pretty good and felt pretty good this year but I'm still really glad February is over and in a couple of months I will be feeling 100% like my usual self.  I hope this post helps some of you!

Enough of this SAD stuff...here are some fun pics from Feb.
Child Prodigy

Usual sleeping position

Enjoying the heat wave.

Thrill Seeker: She loves going fast, high and upside-down.