Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Battling the Blues

There have been times in my life that I've been very down...like maybe depressed.
The first time I noticed it was when I had Madilyn. She was colicky, I was so exhausted. I never got on medication, because sleep seemed to work, but wow. Feeling down is no good.
The next time I felt that down was the first winter we spent in Erie. First off, the sun doesn't come out for weeks at a time. Second, I was lonely. And, I learned that I had to be proactive to battle the blues before they hit me.
Seriously, take a girl who's been raised for 29 years of her life in sunny, blue skies and bring her to a place that 3/4 of the year is raining, snowing and/or overcast. They don't call it "Dreary Erie" for no reason. I wasn't prepared for how the weather might affect my mood/outlook, but when you don't see the sunshine for days on end, it can really start to mess with you.
I have been reading this book called: "Desperate: Hope for the Mom who Needs to Breathe," by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. The book addresses lots of issues that moms go through. It's a young mom of small children writing letters to an older mentor, who has already raised her children. The advice is timeless and priceless.
In the chapter I just read, it discussed feeling down or depressed*. I have a few friends that have voiced to me over the years that they, too, have had moments of feeling down. It's more common than most people ever discuss.
I found the advice in the book to be GOLDEN, so I thought I'd pass it along just in case someone else might need the tips.
Here are the questions they list as things to ask yourself when you're feeling down from "Desperate" (which is so good, you should really buy it yourself!):
1. Do I need sleep? (this can really change your outlook!)
2. Have I been reading my Bible? (we all need to hear from God)
3. Do I feel alone? (if so, call a friend)
4. Am I watching my health? (exercise is a great stress reliever)
5. How can I get help? (don't be afraid to ask friends and family for relief from daily duties for an hour or two)
6.What do I need to do to invest in the joy factor in my life? (As women, we like to make things beautiful. Should you light a candle, turn on your favorite music or get some fresh flowers?)

During the gloomy winters here, there are times that I turn on the lamps, light a nice candle, play some Frank Sinatra and bake cookies. To each his own :)

These are all such basic principles, but they really seem to change the environment around you if you apply them. As women, we must stick together, encourage each other and not be afraid to ask for help. We are all in this walk together.

If you struggle and want me to remember you in my prayers, just let me know. As I fight to keep myself from being discouraged, I will fight for you, too.

*This in no way means that medications are not needed in some cases. This is more or less referring to times of feeling down, not clinical depression.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

We are bad at vacations.

 So, we left on Monday morning for our trip to Philadelphia. We were all excited to get out of Erie for a few days so Cameron could take his Physical Evaluation of Step 2 of the Boards. We reserved a hotel room in King of Prussia, PA (strange name, right?), and off we went. We even brought the dogs.

 Here we are. Happy Campers. Happy, unsuspecting campers.
Little did we know, this would not be what we were anticipating.
 It all started when we realized our GPS had taken us to the Toll Roads...and Toll Roads in Pennsylvania are NOT cheap. It cost us nearly $30 in tolls just to make it one way of our destination. The only positive of this was that we got to tunnel through three different mountains. The tunnels were pretty cool. Madilyn loved them.
 So, we finally made it Monday night, met Cameron's Aunt Julie and Uncle Ike for dinner at Outback, and then headed off to our motel. It was Motel 6. Now, I've stayed at my share of Motel 6's, and for the most part, they're just fine. Nothing too fancy, but usually clean and stocked with all of the usual motel amenities. This one, was NOT.
For starters, the our room door looked like someone had pryed it open a time or two. Trashy. The carpet was dirty and stained, the countertops looked like someone had dyed their hair in there, and there was no shampoo. None. We walked in and said, "Oh...........no." Madilyn walked in and said, "Oh.........YES! This is amazing!" haha It's all in your perspective, I guess.
The next day, while Cameron took his test, Madilyn and I met up with Aunt Julie to see some sights. We just did free things since we were trying to save money...but next time, I'm buying the City Pass and seeing all of the historical sights. I was disappointed we weren't able to this time. But, oh well. So....we ate cheesesteaks and pizza at Jerry's Pizza Pie (it was DELICIOUS!) and we drove out to Herr's Potato Chip factory (Make Herr's Yours--haha). On the way, Madilyn threw up in the car. We had been driving a lot, and I thought she might have been carsick. So, we went inside Herr's and bought her a new, clean t-shirt before we took the tour.
Here she is, in her new t-shirt, talking to Aunt Julie.
During the tour, we got to eat fresh, hot potato chips. They were delicious!
 After the tour, we headed off to Longwood Gardens. Aunt Julie volunteers there, so we got free tickets to see the plants and flowers. Most of the flowers were still not out yet (it was cold), but we went in the Arboretum, and it was springtime! The smell was glorious. I could live in there all year long.

 Here are Madilyn and Aunt Julie on the "Whispering Bench."
You sit on one end and whisper...and the person at the other end
can hear what you're saying. Kinda cool.
 So, after Longwood Gardens, we went back to the hotel, grabbed Cameron for dinner and headed out. On the way to dinner, we got stuck in traffic, Madilyn threw up again, and we went back to the junky motel. Cameron got us take out and brought it back. We ate and went to bed.
About 30 minutes after we were all asleep, Madilyn threw up in bed. We cleaned her up, went back to sleep, and 20 minutes later, she threw up again. This continued every 20 minutes for 2 hours. Poor baby couldn't stop! We had to take her to the ER. She was sad. She just wanted to go back to the "show and tell" (aka motel).
 They gave her some Zofran and monitored her for a while. She finally fell asleep and we waited to get the discharge papers from the ER dr.

Finally, no more throwing up. So, we were discharged, went to our car, got her hooked in the car seat, and she threw up again. We made it back to the motel room, got her in bed, and she threw up again. Oh, it was so sad and exhausting. By this time, I think it was 3:30 a.m. Thankfully, that was the last of the throwing up. Praise Jesus!

The next morning, we headed back to Erie. As we drove through Lancaster, PA (aka land of the Amish), we saw a few horses and buggies, but honestly by the time I realized it, we were too far away to get a good picture. They do have these road signs, though.
 And, we saw this sweet dad and son walking together through town. So adorable.

 Here is a buggy in the corner of the parking lot.
 Then, as we drove through State College, there were signs to drive two dots apart, and they actually painted the road all the way through town with dots. I've never seen anything like this before.
 We kept our "two dot" distance.
We stopped in Harrisburg, PA at Sonic Drive-in, and I got my favorite--a Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper! I've missed Sonic SO MUCH!!!
Other than that, the drive home was pretty uneventful. Poor Madilyn! Traveling when you're sick is NO FUN, but she was a trooper. Then, we drove through lots of snow the whole way to Erie. I am ready for warm weather!!!
We hope our next vacation is a little more uneventful and a little more relaxing. But through it all, I could feel God's presence. He is an ever-present help in time of need.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Zoo is OPEN!

The Erie Zoo opened again today!
The high was 28 degrees, and yes, it was snowing.
And yes, we went to the zoo :)

 Daddy and Madilyn seeing the polar bear.
 The half-frozen pond.
 Madilyn HAD to bring May Giraffe and Baby Horse
so they could see the zoo. She knew they would love it :)
 The ducks were all underneath the bird feeders eating the fallen bird seed.
 The mighty Mill Creek.
Most of the animals were still indoors, but it was so nice to have family time 
and get some fresh air. And afterwards, we took Madilyn to her favorite fro-yo place--Menchies!
Maybe if we pretend that it's Spring, it will start to feel like it?