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Mental Health, Mom and Baby

Download These Apps Now to Organize Your Life + Save Your Sanity

June 23, 2017

I feel like I’m constantly on the hunt for the best apps to help organize my life. There’s literally an app for everything you need and even an app for the things you didn’t think you needed. Since I received my diagnosis of adult ADHD, I have been searching out the best apps to help me stay on track and remember the playdate schedule, our meal plans and even when to take my medications…the list goes on. Basically, my phone is my lifeline!

Here are the apps I use every single day to help keep me focused and organized. It’s easy for me to forget to remember, which has been something I’ve struggled with my whole life:

You can read more about my ADHD diagnosis here.

Medisafe

I can usually keep track of my medications without an alarm or an app, but why I chose to start using an app to track my medications was the ability to enter how many pills I have and then the app reminds me when I reach a predetermined threshold to make a doctors appointment or call in a renewal. I also have the ability to track any side effects and make all kinds of notes. This app also has the ability to add other people and their medications (maybe your spouse or your kids) as well as gives you the option of adding a Medfriend which is someone who will also get the alerts when you’ve missed a dose and can help remind you to take your medication.

Bliss

A simple journal-like app that I use to help stop and reflect on my life. I’ve found it really has helped me stop and look on the bright side and really see the positive in situations that I previously would have been upset by. The app is based on the notion that positive focus = happier and more motivated. It includes really great prompts to help you get started and you can save all your entries so you can go back and read them.

HabitHub

I use HabitHub to help keep me on track with my healthy habits. If you’re working towards a goal or wanting to make a healthy lifestyle choice become a routine, this app is a great tool for helping keep track of those positive choices. You can organize your habits according to different aspects of your life, for example, relationships, health, work, family, etc. You can set reminders for your habits so you get a little alert. At the end of the day, I get a little reminder to check in my habits and make sure I’ve checked them off if I’ve done them that day.

FitBit

I got myself a FitBit after my first son was born because I really wanted to motivate myself to reach my step goal every day. What I didn’t expect was the motivation I would find in the Challenge groups. FitBit has several challenges you can invite your friends to join you on. I find I am much more likely to go out for a run or take the kids for a walk when there’s the added element of competition!

TD MySpend

Do you remember the good old days when you would take a bill to the bank to pay it? Now that I have all my monthly bills and transactions automated, I find I don’t watch my transactions the way I once did, which is one way to slowly spiral into debt. I use the regular TD Banking App to manage my accounts but I also use the TD MySpend App to track my transaction. I get an alert on my phone within seconds of a transaction, which I have found to be super helpful with helping me track my spending and be more mindful with my debit card. It almost harkens back to the days of using cash when you’d actually physically see and feel the money leaving you.

Keep by Google

Like a notepad but way better. You can quickly jot down a note, write a to-do list, draw a picture, record a quick audio note or even capture a picture. I think of it kind of like my digital notebook. I can keep all kinds of records or notes and access them from my computer or on my phone while I’m out and about. I can even “add a collaborator” so my husband and I can have a running shopping list on the go or even a place to share funny memes or videos!

Calm

I started using this app toward the end of my pregnancy to try and meditate. I love the guided meditations! They help me fall asleep when I’m having trouble doing so on my own. I have a reminder set for 12:00 noon every single day (usually the kids have just gone down for naps at this time) and that’s my reminder for some me time. I throw on a guided meditation or just listen to one of the pre-loaded background soundtracks like rain on a tin roof or ocean waves and I just take a little quiet time for myself and really concentrate on my breathing. It’s amazing what a few moments of quiet can do for your mood and energy level for the rest of the day! Meditating feels weird at first but I promise if you stick with it, you’ll come to look forward to it.

Calendar by Google

I have a Google phone so my user experience with the Google apps might be a little different than if you aren’t on a Google operating system. Basically, this Calendar saves my butt constantly. My husband and I created a calendar together and sat down and plugged all our withdrawals, deposits, and contributions into the calendar and their amounts. We also color coded them so we knew whose account the money was set to come out of. It was a lot of work up front but now I’m able to quickly glance at my calendar when I have a question. It’s these sort of little details that I’ve never been able to remember, so instead of wasting my brain power on trying to remember these things, I outsource it to the Google calendar!

I wish there was one super app that could just help me do everything. I guess that would be my own robot, huh? Do you use any of these regularly? Did you discover some new ones?

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: This post contains affiliate links. Read full disclosure statement.

Mom, Mom and Baby

That Time I Put My Health First

August 17, 2015

That Time I Put My Health First | Mommyzoid

Making the decision to start taking an antidepressant is usually not an easy one. For me, it took weeks of soul-searching before I actually got my prescription filled. I was met with resistance from family members about my need for medication and told I was taking the easy way out. It was a struggle to take the plunge and start taking Cipralex (escitalopram), a common SSRI, but I eventually found the strength to do so.

About two years after beginning treatment my husband and I began planning for a family. With my doctor’s guidance, I wanted to lower my dose. He advised me that the dose I was on wouldn’t harm the fetus and my ob/gyn assured me she’d delivered many healthy babies from mothers who’d taken much stronger medication and in higher doses.

But there was a maternal instinct inside me already that wanted to keep my baby safe and as far away from medication as possible. Over the course of several months, my doctors and I were able to lower my dose by half. I was very proud of myself and felt I was finally ready to start trying for a family.

Mothering MyselfWe conceived within three months and about five months into my pregnancy my anxiety attacks came back, with a vengeance. I’d managed to stave them off pretty well up until then, but my hormones were running wild and it was starting to have an effect on my day-to-day life. I could only push the negative self-talk down for so long until it came out of me like vomit. My anxiety was manifesting itself in the middle of the night; I’d lie in bed thinking about work for hours on end and how my expanding belly was starting to slow me down. I pride myself on my work ethic, so the thought of not giving 110% because of my pregnancy, especially in the cut-throat world of media, was starting to take a real toll on me.

One night, my thoughts began to turn suicidal. I started sobbing and hyperventilating; I was so nervous I would do something irrational and harmful to myself and my unborn child. I clung to the mattress, knowing that if I got out of bed I would go to the kitchen, grab a knife and hurt myself. I couldn’t stop visualizing what I would do to myself if I got out of my bed. I woke my husband and told him how I was feeling and laid there crying in his arms, unsure of what to do.

In the morning I called in sick to work and went straight to see my ob/gyn, with my husband beside me. She told me, “babies are born in wartime,” and that the stress I was feeling would have no effect on the baby, but she put me off work for the week. I left the office even more upset than when I’d come in; it felt like my doctor was telling me that the way I was feeling wasn’t legitimate. I could see where she was coming from, but surely a dead mom is going to have some effect on the growing baby, right?

I immediately made an appointment with my family doctor. He’d been following me from the start of my depression and anxiety. He assured me everything was going to be OK and that he’d get me help. We came up with a plan to start increasing my dose of Cipralex slowly, to better manage my symptoms. My doctor also told me that it was in my best interest to stop working and take a sick leave. That was a tough pill to swallow; I had to put my pride aside and put my health first. I knew I was letting down everyone at work. I worked for a local radio station and we were weeks away from a ratings period and had just had company-wide spree of lay-offs. The last thing anyone needed was my absence. But I knew that it was either that they’d need to endure that or, possibly, my funeral.

It was in that moment that I decided to put myself first, not just for my unborn child but for my sake. I knew that I needed to stop worrying about whether or not I was letting anyone down and start treating myself with grace and make my health a priority. That’s hard enough for many of us to do when we’re just taking care of ourselves, but it’s even more important when you’re carrying another little life inside of you.

Eventually, medication lifted that heavy blanket of depression so I could get out of bed in the morning and take positive steps toward a happier, healthier pregnancy. For the rest of my pregnancy I spent my days practicing self-love, for the sake of myself and my son. I gave myself permission to start enjoying my pregnancy. The shift in my physical and mental attitude — made possible by my medication — quickly transformed my pregnancy from the lowest point in my life to the highest. Now I look back at the last half of my pregnancy and think of all the great memories I made with my unborn son while I was focusing only on taking care of both of us.


This post was originally published on Addiction.com, a website dedicated to recovery from addictions. I’m so proud to share my story on such a wonderful platform.

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

 

PS: I’ll be sharing this post on these phenomenal blogs!

Baby, Family, Mom and Baby

Universal Child Care Benefit – Vote Buying?

July 19, 2015

Universal Child Care Benefit - Vote Buying? | Mommyzoid

Canadian families all across our great land are waking up to inflated bank accounts this week, thanks to the federal government of Canada. But I’m really worried. I’m worried the federal Conservative government is using the parents who need this money the most to buy some votes.

What would I like to see? A national childcare program so women can financially justify their return to work. Now that would be money well spent! It’s hard for a mom to justify forking over apx. $1600 a month for childcare for two kids when she would gladly take care of them her self!

So the Harper government is clearly trying to swindle us families by giving us some money. Heck, us Canadian families deserve that money. But we also deserve to have a national childcare plan. That would be super sweet.

And if you do the math, cheaper childcare vs cheques from the government end up saving more families more money in the long run.

This fall I urge you to exercise your right to vote and research the issues that matter most to parents, families & kids.

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

 

PS: I’ll be sharing this post on here blogs!

 

Giveaway, Mom and Baby, Review

Improving Your Breast Milk Supply – Review & Giveaway

December 19, 2014

[Snappy Snacks sent me each of its packages of dry mixes to review but my opinions on and obsession with these lactation products are all min. The items in the giveaway have also been provided by Snappy Snacks]eat your way logo

Every mom has their own breast feeding journey and no two journeys are exactly the same. One thing they all seem to have in common is an element of struggle for some reason or another, whether its a tongue or lip tie, lack of support, or a supply issue.

When it came to breast feeding my son, I thought everything was going on. It hurt really badly but he was latching on and seemed happy. I was thrilled! But week after week he wasn’t gaining any weight. At a month I was told I had two options: 1) I could get a prescription for a drug that ups your supply or 2) we could supplement here and there while I work on my supply. After a quick search, my doctor realized the prescription would have a really bad reaction with my medication i was already on. So there I was sitting in the doctors office with my can of formula: angry, sad, defeated, relieved… too many emotions.

Fast forward 5 months and I am exclusively pumping. Talk about supply issues! Keeping up my supply is a constant challenge and I need all the help I can get.

That’s where Snappy Snacks comes in — a line of dry mixes to naturally increase your breast milk supply. The company was started by Bridget after she attended some mom-focused markets with her healthy snacks and lactation treats but after missing one week, women were trying to track her down! She realized she had a following and discovered there was a need for lactation products for breast feeding women.

Snappy Snacks Lactation Cookies are based on five lactogenic super foods: Oats, Ginger, Flax and Sesame Seeds, and Fenugreek. All these ingredients are blended seamlessly to create a delicious treat that will naturally increase breast milk supply. Snappy Snacks aims to make all its products healthier than the average baked treat, easy to use, and highly effective.

snappy snacks 2 logo

She developed a line of dry mixes that can be bought and stored for up to a year. All you need at home is a half a cup of butter and an egg to add to the mix. At the moment Snappy Snacks sells Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix, Raisin Spice Mix, and Double Chocolate Brownie Mix.

Chocolate Chip Cookies:

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So. Good. I’m a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies so I was very impressed with these cookies. I love the oatmeal in the cookies. It gives it an extra hardiness that is so wonderful. There’s also some subtle spiciness to the cookies that is so cookies. It was hard to not eat them all in one sitting! These were also insanely easy to make and I’m usually awful at following directions.

 

Raisin Spice Cookies:

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Amazingly spiced! These cookies are superb and highly addictive. With flax and sesame seeds in the mix, they are as much filling as they are delicious. They go perfect with a cup of tea, a cozy blanket, and your favourite shows.

 

Double Chocolate Brownies:

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These brownies are absolutely amazing. Definatly the best brownies I’ve ever eaten. I’ve never made brownies before but I’d imagine this is the simplest set of directions to follow. Even with my mom-brain turned up to high, I was able to whip these up in less than 5 minutes +baking time.

My results

After eating about 5 Chocolate Chip Cookies one night, the next day I noticed a significant difference in my supply. I was able to pump an extra 6 ounces through out the whole day. That’s a whole extra bottle of breast milk I was able to feed my son instead of having to supplement with formula. I think that’s amazing results!

I honestly can’t think of a better gift to give to an expecting mom. Sometime within those first 10 days of breastfeeding, supply will begin to be an issue. Having a bag or two of dry mixes in the pantry could go a long way to help a new mom on her breastfeeding journey.

Looking to buy Snappy Snacks? Here’s where you can find all the retailers in Canada that stock the dry mixes.

Now it’s your turn to try out Snappy Snacks line of Lactation Dry Mixes. You have until January 2nd, 2015 to enter! GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: I’ll be sharing this post with these fabulous blogs!

Family, Mental Health, Mom and Baby

Our little blue bundle of joy

January 1, 2014

Before I got pregnant and even in the first few weeks of pregnancy, I thought I understood what it felt like to already love my baby. I knew no matter what it looked like, no matter the gender, I knew I would love him or her more than anything. And I thought I already did!

Over the weekend we had our 3D ultrasound at 3D Miracles in Halifax. Nothing can really prepare you for the explosion of emotion one feels when that ultrasound thingy slides across your tummy for the first time, revealing your little baby that you’ve been carefully nurturing and protecting for 5 months. We haven’t had any ultrasounds during the pregnancy so this was the first time seeing the little baby. I had googled 3D ultrasounds to see what kind of detail we’d see and look at pictures of other babies but I was completely blown away when I saw baby MOVING! It was the most surreal experience the two of us have ever had.

3dm_29

And oh my god, it’s a boy! My tiny little baby boy was moving his head and arms and little legs. We even got to see him PEE! Though I haven’t really been able to feel major kicks yet, I know he’s moving around but to SEE him move around…WOW! Talk about instantly falling in love. There was nothing better than watching my husband watch his tiny little son — it was so moving!

I was fully prepared for a girl or a boy! We knew we just wanted a baby and gender wasn’t a big deal at all. Of course as a woman, I’d always dreamed of dressing a tiny little girl in dresses and doing her hair but to be completely honest, I couldn’t be happier to have a little miniature version of my husband! We’ve already got plans to get him mini Sperry Topsiders just like his daddy!

One of the most exciting things about having a little boy is raising him to be the kind of man I would want my daughter to marry — respectful, kind, and loving. Just like his father!

For most of the pregnancy, I’ve just been going about my business while my body carries out the extraordinary task of creating life. I definatly forget just how amazing it all really is and to have that glimpse inside my body and see that everything is just fine and dandy and there’s a little baby boy just in there kickin’ it was the greatest reminder of how incredible my body (and every other female body) really is. It’s nice to know all the nausea, back aches, and sleepless nights are all just a tiny sacrifice for my little boo. It also does wonders to help me accept my growing and changing body.

baby-boy

I’m now very noticeably pregnant and none of my pre-pregnancy pants fit anymore but you know what? It’s OK! I know I always knew it was all for a good reason and perfectly natural but to see that little baby boy and to know he’s doing just fine really does make it that much easier to admire my new body in the mirror.

OK enough rambling!

xoxoxox

Family, Mom and Baby

Body Anxiety: My Changing Pregnant Body

December 7, 2013

There’s a lot other women and doctors don’t tell you about pregnancy. I think if they did tell women all the gory details, no one would dare have a baby. Also the list of unpleasant body changes and emotional turmoil a woman experiences is far too long.

By far the most challenging thing I’ve had to endure so far is weight gain. I’m sure it makes me sound like a terrible mom and an awful woman but the weight gain has got to be the most depressing thing on the planet. I understand it’s for a good cause, but it’s still painful. I’ve lived my whole life trying to stave off weight gain and in one fell swoop I’m supposed to just embrace my ever-expanding waistline.

Within the first two months of pregnancy, I ballooned like a damn beached whale and I was getting comments like, “I’ve never seen someone show so soon” and “You must be having twins”, but then my waistline miraculously shrunk back down. After much googling, I realized it was completely normal for bloating within the first trimester and then for it to subside.

As of now though, none of my pre-pregnancy jeans fit and any tight t-shirts are insanely mid-drift barring. OH, and all my workout clothes look like sausage casings, so that makes it challenging to look at myself in the mirror at the gym. But it’s all for a good cause, right?

Not to mention the fact that in 2 weeks, I’m suppose to fit into my WEDDING DRESS for our second wedding party in Cuba this Christmas. All the while my mom is in my ear about her vegan, clean-eating, challenge and all the weight she’s loosing. I told her how it must being coming off her and on to me and she lectured me about how it’s going to be hard to lose the baby weight once junior is born.

When I first began this beautiful pregnancy journey, I was constantly nauseous and couldn’t stomach being in the kitchen, eating vegetables, or eating anything other than carbs without dry heaving. Now that I’m able to stomach a wider variety of things, I’m actually doing a lot better with the weight gain and I’m starting to feel it even out a bit more and stabilize. For a few weeks there I could only stomach bagels and cream cheese, popcorn, eggs on toast, and salt and vinegar chips but now my day looks like: Eggs on toast, frozen fruit and soy milk smoothies and stir fries and veggie filled pastas. I’m still not able to stomach too much meat which is fine by me. I’m taking lots of vitamins to supplement the lack of protein in my diet.

All these feelings I’ve been having have been teaching me about selflessness. This is the first time in my life I’ve been making major sacrifices for someone else. I’m very much ready for all these changes but it still doesn’t make the blow any less shocking and depressing.

PS: if I didn’t make it absolutely clear, I’m very much in love with my beautiful bundle of baby love and I wouldn’t change any of this for the world.