Parum Pum Pum Pum.

I love that song.  I love Christmas time.  

I am one of those annoying people that starts listening to Christmas music the day after Halloween.  Just kidding, I totally start listening to it earlier than that.  If a cold rainy day comes in August, you can bet if you see me jamming in my car, I'm probably enjoying a little *nsync or Straight No Chaser Christmas music.  



Giving Tuesday really got me into the Christmas spirit this week.  At work, we gave over 2,000 headbands to deserving kids at hospitals around the country.  It's such a high knowing you're doing a little bit to make someone smile.  

After Blake got out of school Tuesday, we hit up the giving tree and picked out a couple ornaments with gift suggestions for a group here in town.  


We hit up Target today and picked out some educational games and building blocks to donate to the program.  It was hard for Blake to understand that we weren't there to buy these toys for him and that he wasn't going to get to play with them, but he did a great job at trying.  I hope that when he gets older he has a giving spirit and that it makes him feel the way it makes me feel.  


Later we got home and decided to celebrate by making some holiday Rice Krispies treats, and I'm going to share the recipe with you because they were so. very. good.


Ingredients:
6 cups Cocoa Rice Krispies
1 1/2 bags of Miniature Marshmallows
1/2 stick plus 1 Tbsp. Butter
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 pinch of salt
Sprinkles

Directions:
Using 1 Tbsp of butter, grease a 9x13 glass dish or pan well.  
Pour 6 cups of Cocoa Rice Krispies, and set aside.
In a large pan, melt the 1/2 stick of butter with vanilla over low heat.  Once the butter is melted, add one bag of marshmallows and salt.
Once all that is melted, add the Cocoa Rice Krispies and the other half bag of marshmallows and mix well.
Pour the mixture into the greased dish or pan, and use a the back of a spoon, greased with more butter to mash it down.
Top with sprinkles (this was Blake's job), let it cool for at least an hour if you like it really gooey, and a couple hours if you want it to be more firm.



Next week, I'll be joining my dear friend Maddie from The Whimsy One for a cookie exchange.  She requests that I bring my snickerdoodles each year, so I will have that recipe to share soon, too.  

Typically over the course of the Christmas season, I make sugar cookies and snicker doodles.  Do you traditionally make and certain sweets for the holidays?  

The Baseball Wife


Lately, I've been struggling a lot with my postpartum depression.  I thought I was doing better and I spoke with my doctor about decreasing my dosage.  I even have a blog post all written up I wanted to share when I finally got to a balance at a lower dose.

I ran into a few triggers, though, in the last few weeks.  Triggers that reminded me of the stress of the twins birth, and triggers that reminded me of the stress I felt over the spring and summer.  I added back to my dose this week.  

I don't know if bouncing back and forth like this is normal or not.  I've been thinking lately, though, about those that I have felt supported by, and those I have not felt supported by in this journey.  I thought it would be a great time to share some things that many people do without thinking.

What NOT to Say or Do to a Mother Struggling with Postpartum Depression.

1. "You just need a glass of wine."  Because she hasn't tried "conventional" ways of relaxing already.  

2.  "Life goes on." My personal favorite is when people tell me that there is life after twins.  No $hit.  Doesn't make what I'm going through any easier though.  

3.  "You're just having a bad day."  Anyone would feel upset after being thrown up on by 2 kids while the 3rd kid made a mess of the entire downstairs.  That deep down feeling, though, the one that makes you want to hide in your closet and ugly cry?  They don't understand that one.  

4. "Have you tried (insert supplement here)?"  Bonus points if you sell it through some home-based business marketing venture.  Nope, I never tried working out, or supplements, or anything else that would be more natural than the drugs the doctor has me on.  Obviously, I wanted to take the "easy way out."

5. "How is your attitude today?"  Obviously her feelings aren't valid, and it's all really just that she has a bad attitude toward parenting.  

6. "You're the one that wanted kids."  She chose to have these kids, now she has to deal with the consequences, right?  How could she possibly not consider that she may have to deal with depression while her husband is away at work and she is left for weeks at a time with her kids after her husband already missed their birth (just me?)

7. "You look tired."  Don't offer her any help, don't offer to bring her a meal or watch her kids while she takes a much needed nap after months without a full night's sleep.  

8. "Do you feel better now?"  After listening to her complain for a good 30 minutes, ask her if her problem is solved and don't be understanding when she still feels just as bad.  I mean, you've listened to her complain about her wretched life for thirty whole minutes!  On that note....

9. "It could be worse."  What does she have to complain about anyway?  Her husband has a job, she lives in a house, she has kids and a dog.  What could be so bad about washing all those clothes she bought for all those kids she has anyway?  She could have it much worse, so maybe she should just stop complaining.

10. "Do you have a timeline for when you plan on getting off those meds?"  Seriously lady, your kids are 1 year old now, why do you still need meds?  Isn't it about time you weened off those things yet?  You don't want to be all medicated forever, do you?  I know you feel much more balanced with them and all, but when are you going to toughen up and just deal with life?  Obviously, she just wants to take the easy way out and stay on medication forever.

11. "New subject!"  Do the old subject change.  Ask her how she's doing, and when she's actually honest and says she's kind of having a hard time right now, change the subject.  Talk about the weather, talk about yourself.  Anything but listening to her mope about her life.  


How can you help?  Understand that depression isn't a choice.  Understand that mothers facing postpartum depression are taking it one day at a time.  Don't think about yourself and how they aren't focused enough on you.  Here are some things that really do help.

Ways You Can Help a Mother Dealing with Postpartum Depression.

1. Offer help.  REAL help.  Text her and say you're going to the museum with your kid, offer to take her older kid along.  Don't ask how you can help, text her and tell her how you can help.  Show up on her doorstep and offer to take a baby off her hands.  

2. Listen.  Really listen.  Don't make any attempt to talk about yourself, just be there and be her friend and let her know that you're there for her.

3. Show up.  You know she's having a hard time.  You know she's lonely.  You may have had other plans, but you know she's really struggling right now, so drop some plans and just go hang out with her.

4. Let her sleep.  Come visit her and get up with her baby (or babies) for a night or two, or in the morning.  Moms are EXHAUSTED.  Especially moms taking care of twins and a 4 year old while her husband is away for work.

5. Just be there.  Sometimes (or in my case, often) she doesn't want to talk about it.  She doesn't want to talk at all.  Sometimes, she just wants quiet.  Be there and hang out with her and be in her presence without requiring her to be social.  

6. Support her treatment.  Even if you have never needed anti-depressants, that doesn't mean she doesn't need them.  Support her and her doctor in their choices to help her find a balance.  Understand that she wants what is best for herself, her children, and her spouse, and be on her side as she works toward the treatment that is best for her.  

The worst thing most of us feel is that we are alone in this battle.  Your words of discouragement can hurt mothers that are struggling, but your words of support can help.  
The Baseball Wife


After Blake's birthday, I whisked away to my hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana for a long weekend to celebrate a dear, dear friend of mine, Lisa.  I met Lisa when I was just 15 years old on our high school tennis team.  We became fast friends and got into more than our fair share of trouble together.  Yep, lots of trouble, and lots of fun.

We lived in neighboring subdivisions, just a walk away, which worked out really well the time I got grounded from my car and my dad disconnected the battery.  Seeing that I have no clue about cars or how to reconnect batteries, I walked to Lisa's house and rode in her car.  I know I was was little $hit, wasn't I?  If it's true that your kids give it back to you, I've got double trouble on my hands with Hazel and Skylar.

Anyway, Lisa was one of the first people I told when I found out I was pregnant with Blake.  She's seen me through my pregnancies, and she helped my mom and sister throw my baby shower when I was expecting Blake.  I was overjoyed when I found out she was pregnant this spring, and I knew I wanted to get to throw her a shower, too.  

I got in touch with our awesome friend Angela, and we got the party started.  


Lisa is having a boy, the name is yet to be determined.  She has some ideas, but she's not set, and I'm not going to be the one to announce it to the world, anyway.  That's her news to share when she's ready.  :)  She and her husband Corey are so excited to be expecting a boy, though.  

We had many of her friends and family come to my parents' house and we celebrated with yummy food and lots of presents!  The empty chafing dishes later held pizza dip that we pulled out of the oven right after our guests arrived.  


My awesome bestie, Maddie, came along with me to check out Fort Wayne and spend a girls weekend since I was traveling without Elliot and the kiddos.  She made the amazing pizza dip and this Apple Cider Sangria, for which you can find the recipe (and other amazzzing recipes) on her blog, The Whimsy One.  


Be careful with her drinks, though, she's super sneaky with her alcohol and you won't know how much you're drinking until it's too late.  Because of this, it's great to people watch at her get-togethers.

We also had yummy chocolate dipped pretzel sticks and oreos made by Lisa's sister-in-law, Kim.  I may have had 7 or 8 of those.  


We had a great time hosting Lisa's party, and I just love her and Angela.  They are family to me, and I'm so lucky to have known them longer in my life than I haven't.  


And what shower would be complete without knowing what some of the gifts were?  My mom, my sister and I threw down on a great set of gifts.  We went with a woodland animal theme, mostly because Lisa's husband Corey loves to hunt.  We got their little man these awesome gifts:

  

I personally love the Jellycat stuffed animals.  All three of my kids have the bashful bunny in a different color.  I love hooded towels, too, especially the ones that PBK makes.  They are super soft and maintain good condition even when washed.  I also know that our life would be a mess without sound machines, and we have them blaring wherever we go.  If you're a parent that travels, there are free apps you can download now as well for hotel room stays like the White Noise App.  We use that one whenever we're on the road.  

What are your favorite gifts to give at baby showers?  What are you go-to decorations?

The Baseball Wife