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2 Years Sober

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2 years ago today I took my last drink. My last sip of red wine. Two days later I took a pregnancy test and it was 100% positive! The next 9 months I didn’t drink because I was carrying our unborn son. But during those months I did a lot of soul searching. That 9 months of sobriety made me realize so many things about myself and what I wanted for my life and for my unborn son.

I don’t share these things to be preachy or tell you that alcohol is the root of all evil. But in my world alcohol truly has been the root of all evil. You can read more about that here.

I’m sharing my milestone today to show that it’s possible to make lasting lifestyle changes. Changes that you can look back on and be so insanely proud of whether it’s fitness, financial or what have you.

Whenever I meet a challenge in life I always remind myself that I’ve been through some battles both physically (giving birth) and mentally (staying sober) and that basically I can get through ANYTHING if I want it bad enough.

My birthday is the day I was born but it’s also the day I was re-born.

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

Baby, Mom

September Is The New January

September is the new January

September is the new January, wouldn’t you agree? The season of change will soon be upon us and what better time to reevaluate our goals! Any New Year Resolutions that may have been forgotten by mid-February, it’s a new opportunity to dust ourselves off, pull up our socks and get going again. I mean, why wait until next January to make big changes, right?

Here are some of my New Years Resolutions I’m re-igniting this fall!

Make my health a priority

I’ve really stepped it up and started making my health a priority by scheduling workouts into my planner. Every Sunday I sit down with my husband and we figure out what nights of the weeks are going to work for me to go to the gym. I try to go to classes at the gym after my son is asleep so I don’t miss our bedtime routine. I also go for a quick 3-5 km jog on my lunch break. I’ve also stepped up my meal prep and making good choices and NOT eating muffins and baked goods. Those are my weakness. I’ve been using Iso Protein 100 after my workouts and making shakes like this one.

Give 110% at work and on my blog

I had 5 weeks off while my sons daycare was closed and had a blast recharging my batteries for whats sure to be a busy fall season with my day-job. I’m going to be on the road and travelling lots which will be a really cool experience but also tiring so I’ll need to keep my energy up throughout. In terms of my blog, I’ve taken over the creation of the weekly Ladies Collective Linkup which will keep me busy and I’ve also connected with some amazing WAHMs to offer some really cool giveaways over the next little bit. I’m excited to share what’s in the works!

Make time for my husband

My family means everything to me and without them I’d have nothing. My goal is to spend as much of my spare time with them as possible. That’s why I like to go to the gym after the bed time routine is over. But even still, then I’m missing out on alone time with my husband. Having alone time with just him is so important to me. It’s fun to just joke around and be with him the way it was before our baby. We haven’t found a baby sitter and I don’t really have a desire to leave him with anyone to go out with just my husband. Not yet, anyway!

Spend quality time with my family

I’ve signed my son up for swimming lessons (parents & tot) and Kindermusik on the weekends and my husband and I will alternate taking him so we both get to go to the classes. This will be not only really great for our son but so wonderful for us to have activities and a chance to bond on the weekends through out the fall and winter. It was so easy to just go to the water park or go for a walk at the water front during the summer but over the next few months we will need to be more thoughtful with our planning for activities and the weather will become a huge consideration.

How are you making September the new January? Are you setting any goals or making any changes?

Stephanie @ MommyzoidPS: I’ll be sharing this post on these blogs!

Mom

Protein Shake That Tastes Like a Frosty!

Chocolate & Banana Protein Shake

Guys, I have to confess something. I’ve been eating the most delicious protein shake each morning after my run. It’s legit the gold at the end of the tunnel that gets me out of bed and into my workout gear.

Here’s what you need:

Throw it all into a blender and go until it’s smooth, creamy, and there’s no chunks of banana or ice. It should be the consistency of a Frosty from Wendy’s. And you know what? It should TASTE like one too. YUM!

My little one approves, too. Whenever he hears the blender start up after our run he gets so excited for a sip of mommy’s protein shake!

Have you tried North Coast Naturals yet?

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

Mom

Back To Cool

I have always loved September…fresh new clothes, brand new binders and a fresh new slate. I have been out of school for several years now but that doesn’t stop be from stocking up on fresh new pens and paper every August. I was in the US last week for a quick Target fix and felt so much nostalgia while wondering the stationary. I mean, how can a pencil case make me so happy?? I’ll never know.

My son’s daycare is closed for a few weeks and re-opens when the school year kicks off so I do feel like I’m heading back to school, just a little bit. So that means I need a whole new wardrobe, right? A girl can dream…

Here are a few of my faves for the fall! I’m obsessed with gold right now, if you can’t tell. Fall also means my organization game is A-1! I got my Day Designer last week and it’s seriously the FIRST planner I’ve had that functions like my brain. I love lists and order and this planner gets that. Just amazing is that Ju-Ju-Be bag? Right now my work bag is by Ju-Ju-Be and I get soooo many compliments on it. I love that I can fit my workout gear and lunch all in the same bag. I used to always look like a bag lady coming into the office. Life Factory makes this amazing water bottle with a flexible straw and I don’t know about you but I tend to drink my water faster from a straw than if I had to gulp it down. How amazing is that turquoise!? Those kate Spade pens are soooo chic! I’d die to sign my name with one of those!

Back To Cool | Mommyzoid

Kate Spade Gold Pens // Arrow Pencil Case //Gold Stripe Day Designer// Life Factory Water Bottle //“Oh So Lovely” Paperweight //Be Right Back by Ju-Ju-Be

Do you love back to school season as much as me? Are you long since graduated like me? Let me know in the comments!!

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

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

Mom, Mom and Baby

That Time I Put My Health First

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!

Mom

A Summer With No Expectations

A Summer With No Expectations

Summer is almost here and after the winter we’ve had on the east coast of Canada, it can’t arrive soon enough. With the warmer weather comes, of course, summer holidays, family vacations and the chance to make some happy memories. And, sometimes, failed expectations.

My experience with family vacations has always been that of disappointment. Since I was a little girl I dreamed of a perfect family holiday where everyone got along and there were no alcohol­fueled fights. On more than one occasion camping trips have been cut short, plans cancelled and dreams dashed because of alcohol and addictions.

When those vacations didn’t live up to my expectations, I felt resentful. I began to resent my parents for not giving me happy memories on our family vacations. What I hadn’t realized yet was that I was doing this to myself. By building up these unrealistic expectations I was setting us all up for failure; no one could live up to those dreams.

With the birth of our son in early June 2014, we had the chance to spend last summer — a full four months! — at our family cottage, located on a private island in Ontario’s 1000 Island region, accessible only by boat and surrounded by doting family. For anyone from an alcoholic home, this may sound like an absolute nightmare. But last summer would actually prove to be very different.
I should back up and explain that within my immediate family there are five people who are in 12­step programs, including my husband and myself. This means that trips to our family cottage can feel a lot like a meeting. Most mornings that summer I spent cuddling my brand-new baby on the sweeping front porch of the cottage, drinking coffee and chatting with my mother-in-law about the program. In the afternoons, my husband and I would walk through the meadow hand-in-hand while red-winged blackbirds flitted through the walnut trees; we’d discuss our desire to break the cycle of addiction.

This idyllic experience was far different than any other summer we’d had at the cottage. Why? With the program in each of our lives, we were all finally on the same page. We knew that each of us was healthy enough and in the right space to be honest with each other and ourselves. Instead of a four-month nightmare, what we’d all learned in 12-step programs made it not only bearable but extremely enjoyable. That was because instead of setting up expectations, we set boundaries. From the get-go, my mother-in-law told us that if my husband and I needed our own space, we should ask for it. And the opposite was true, too: If we needed help with our newborn, we should know we could ask for that as well. If we hadn’t laid the groundwork for healthy boundaries at the start of summer, things would have gone a lot differently.

Of course there were difficult times. My husband and I have been living away from home for quite a number of years now, so fitting into someone else’s daily routine and sharing a space with two other adults who are also in recovery was sometimes tough. For instance when you come in from a swim in the lake and are starving for lunch, sometimes you’ll have to wait while someone else finishes up, say, preparing a dish for the island potluck that evening. But the fact that we were all making similar, healthy changes in our lives meant we were all easier to live with.

Now, with the anticipation starting to build for another vacation at the family cottage this summer, the only expectations I have are that I won’t make unrealistic expectations of myself or my family. I’ve learned it’s not worth making expectations for things that no one can live up to, including me.


 

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.

Baby, Mom

Finding Childcare

Finding Childcare | Mommyzoid

I began searching for daycares as soon as I found out I was pregnant, which is the norm in my city. It’s extremely difficult to find childcare downtown and close to my office. It was important to myself and my husband that we get accepted to a few different daycares and get the chance to select our favourite as opposed to settling for the only place we could get in to.

We learned a few things about childcare that always seem to amaze my childless friends so I’m going to share those with you on the off chance you are searching for daycare and are running into similar roadblocks.

So, what is the difference between a “Centre” and a “Day-Home”

Now when it comes to a “day home” or “in-home child care”, they won’t know until about a month before the opening will be available to you that there will even be an opening. This makes it extremely difficult to plan your return to work. There is a limit in Canada to the number of children being looked after by one child care provider (and I’m sure there is a limit in the US as well), so spots are difficult to find.

Centres are usually larger and offer more spots in a sort of school-like environment. They generally keep the kids in groups with their own age groups where a day-home is more of a family style and can have a range of ages.

1. Start your search early.

When you first get pregnant, start your hunt for child care. Start figuring out which places have a good reputation and which daycares you may want to stay away from. Ask around to your family and friends and find out which daycares come recommended. If you have any pregnancy or mom groups on Facebook, make a post looking for recommendations.

2. Get on every waiting list possible.

Majority of the waiting lists we put ourselves on still haven’t gotten back to us yet and it’s been 2+ year since we applied. That blows my mind! I found out day homes don’t generally take waiting lists and told me to call them a few months before I needed care to see if they had any openings. The only centre that has offered us a spot was through the Military which I was told was impossible to get a spot with, so go us!!

3. Know what you want out of your care provider.

We knew we wanted our son to be in a place he could continue wearing cloth diapers, drink pumped breast milk, and feel comfortable and safe. Essentially I wanted him to have all the comforts of home but with a loving care giver and other kids to learn and grow with. It’s important to start your search with an understanding of what is important for your families success with child care. I knew I was looking for someone who would take care of my son like I would, make him feel secure, and give him the room to try and learn on his own.

4. Location, location, location.

Where we live and work it is next to impossible to find child care. But as soon as you go outside the city about 20 minutes, you’ll find a whole bunch of child care providers. Our goal was to find childcare as close to where we work as possible because in the event of rush hour, I want to sit in traffic AFTER I’ve picked up my son because usually a contract stipulates that if the kid is not picked up by the cut off, you start paying per minute, which is completely fair! So if you live an hour away from work and your childcare provider is close to home, you are spending 2 hours of your day on the road while your kid is in childcare. Our childcare is close to work and close to our home because we live in a 10 minute radius of both of our jobs but we could move in the future and would still prefer to have childcare near work.

5. Site visit.

I figured out that a lot of the centres and child care providers didn’t give tours or site visits until they have an opening and they’ve contacted you for an interview. Bring your child along with you to the interview so they can meet one another and you can see if the child enjoys the environment and how the care giver interacts with your child.

6. Go with your gut.

My mother-in-law ran an in home daycare and she would have parents and children come through the door of her home and know instantly that it wasn’t going to be a good fit. She told me that you will just know when you’ve found the right child care provider. When we met the car giver we have decided to go with, we both just knew. I felt comfortable and at ease in her home. It felt cozy, I loved her wood toys, and really valued her thoughtfulness and the care and attention she puts into her programming. Her family and our family mesh well together in our parenting styles and I would feel comfortable in asking her for tips. We had the pleasure of meeting one of her daughters that our son would be in care with and if he turns out anything like her when he’s 3, I would be very happy!

Finding someone to look after your offspring is a very serious endeavour. Make sure you give it the time, planning, and consideration it deserves.

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

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






Baby, Mom

Back To Work After Baby

Back To Work After Baby | Mommyzoid

I’m officially a “work-outside-the-home-mom” and I’ve got to say it feels phenomenal.

But why does everyone expect me to feel guilty and sad about being back at work?

For the last year and a half I was at home doing the pregnancy and baby thing. It was amazing. It was a period in my life I will never forget and I will be eternally happy I was able to have that time with my little boy.

But a bit of the time it sucked.

From what people tell me, my son was a very easy baby right from the get go. He sleeps well, he’s a great eater, and he’s very sweet and gentle. He’s really such a doll. I know from the outside everything looks perfect.

But the parts the outside world didn’t see is that my days were mostly void of adult conversations or interaction, I spent hours on end hooked up to my breast pump, and I was always in food crusted yoga pants. Anything my baby needed, I was there 24/7 for him. I didn’t get lunch breaks, sick days, holidays… nothing. Most days I felt like I was just keeping my head above water. Especially during the winter months, there were days we never left the house.

When it came time for my son to start day care, I didn’t know what to do with myself. He started daycare a month before I went back to work so he could have a nice smooth transition and I was there if he needed me. I would take him in the morning to daycare and then I’d have a few hours to get some chores done. It’s amazing how quickly you can clean your home when you don’t have a little baby chasing after you or getting into things.

After a few weeks at daycare we started to notice him make leaps and bounds in his development. He loves being around the other kids at daycare. He is always so happy when we pick him up. And you know what? So am I!

The time we do get to spend together is so much more special after we’ve spent some time apart. Our family time is so valuable and important now. When my husband comes in the door I don’t immediately feel like handing him the baby and heading out the door for some alone time. Since going back to work I spend more time with my husband and son, if you can believe it.

All in all it’s going so well. But it’s really all thanks to having an amazing care giver who treats my son like he’s one of her own. If he wasn’t having a good time where he was things wouldn’t be going so swell.

I certainly miss our morning snuggles and falling asleep together at all hours of the day. But you know what? I still get lots of snuggles. Sometimes once he’s fast asleep I go in and pick him up and rock him in our chair and tell him how much I love him and how glad I am to have him in my world. It’s a lot like Robert Munsch’s “Love You Forever” except less tears.

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: I’ll be sharing this post HERE!






Baby, Giveaway, Mom

Back To Work After Baby – Dress That Post-Baby Body + H&M GIVEAWAY


Back To Work After Baby | www.Mommyzoid.ca |

It’s really no surprise your body is different after having a baby. You just spent 9+ months creating a HUMAN. Lets give ourselves a break, shall we? I’m 10 months postpartum and I’m feeling more and more like my pre baby self each and every day.

So here I am preparing to go back to work and I’m scrounging around in my closet to find something that fits my new [fabulously curvy] body! My body is just different now and it wouldn’t do it justice to try and make my old wardrobe work. Plus I’d look like I was stuffed into a sausage casing!

I was cruising the mall after christmas searching for good sales on blouses and work dresses and I stumbled into the H&M maternity section and was AMAZED. Not only was I able to find flowy and comfortable tops and dresses, they were easy on the wallet. I found two wrap dresses that are perfect for nursing or pumping at work.

With my first pregnancy I found it hard to justify maternity clothing because I thought I’d be done with them right away after the baby popped out but the truth is, I wasn’t fitting my pre-pregnancy jeans after the baby, and nor would I have wanted to! A zipper and button on your jeans digging into your shrinking uterus doesn’t sound like a fun time to me. You will want flowy, loose, and comfy during and after your pregnancy, I guarantee it. Maternity clothes last a lot longer than you’d expect so one should never feel guilty getting a few staple pieces to get you through.

At first I was embarrassed that I was going to buy maternity clothing after having a baby but you know what? Maternity clothes fit the female body so perfectly, bump or not.

Here are a few of my favourite pieces from H&M right now:

Back To Work After Baby - Dress That Post-Baby Body + H&M GIVEAWAY

MAMA TopMAMA DressBag | MAMA Leggings |

Now it’s time for you to win a shopping spree at H&M! How would you like a brand new wardrobe just in time for spring? Enter below to win $250 to spend how ever you’d like! Good luck!!
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 GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Prize: $250 H&M Gift Card

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Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck! (Please email becky@ohmygoshbeck.com with any questions.)

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 4/30 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.

Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!

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Stephanie @ MommyzoidPS: I’ll be sharing this post on these blogs!

Baby, Family, Mom

5 Ways to Make Dinner Time Family Time

5 Ways to Make Dinner Tim Family Time | www.mommyzoid.ca |

Photo Credit

Before our son was born, we ate nearly every meal around the coffee table, soaking in the news and whatever else was on TV. It was our routine that helped us unwind from our days but we knew it was bad habit to get into. We decided once our son was able to sit up, we would get him a high chair and we would start forming some better dinner time traditions.

Here are some of the ways we are practicing making dinner time family time:

1. Get them involved

Our son either sits at the bar in his phil&teds Lobster Highchair*or I wear him on my back in a carrier while I cook. I show him what I’m cutting up, I give him bits to nibble on, and I tell him what I’m doing as I do it. He’s only 9 months old so he can’t help but he is certainly paying attention to everything I am doing and soaking it all in. If they are old enough, give them little age-appropriate tasks like setting the table, unloading the dishwasher, washing the veggies, etc.

2. Meal plan together

On Sunday we write out what meals we would like to make for each night. This makes grocery shopping a lot easier, too. I’m able to run in, grab what we will actually use, and get out. This also helps when it comes to budgeting. When you run into the store last minute to grab things, you usually end up spending way more money and getting items you otherwise wouldn’t have bought. Getting the whole family involved in the planning process also means everyone has a chance for input, so no complaining (ha ha)!

3. Make the table a screen-free zone

And that includes mom and dad! I am so guilty of checking my phone at the table. Having the TV on or my phone in hand means I’m not actually engaging my family. I mean, I haven’t seen my husband all day long and now is the time where we both have each others un-divided attention where we can discuss important family matters or just joke around. I miss all that if my nose is buried in my iPhone.

4. Engage each other

This is our opportunity to get to know what is going on in each others lives. Not such a mystery when it comes to our 9 month old as I’m pretty aware of what he’s got cookin’ in his world but as he grows up, this will be the time of day where he/they will share what he/they did at school and he/they will be able to ask us questions and learn from us and us from him/them.

5. Start early

It’s never too late to build healthy habits like this but it’s also never too early. From the time Oliver could sit up, he’s been sitting his phil&teds Lobster Highchair* at the table. At six months we began Baby Led Weening and he loves the time we spend at the table talking to him and teaching him how to eat his foods. I swear he was more confident with eating because he had been sitting there for 3 months watching us eat. It was as if he already knew exactly what to do!

Suppertime in our home will always be the time of the day the kids will be able to count on having either mom or dad (hopefully both, not always possible) to chat with, confide in, and vent to. It wont always be possible because of extra curricular activities and eventually jobs but I want them to know we are here for them when they need us.

Does your family have any suppertime traditions? How has it changed the family dynamic at supper hour?

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

 

PS: I’ll be sharing this post on these fantastic sites!

PPS: Asterisk denotes an affiliate link. See full disclaimer here.