New Friend Friday: Meet Dina!

Today, I get to introduce you to a former coworker/friend of mine! Her name is Dina and her blog is My Un-Entitled Life. We met 6 years ago while teaching 2nd grade together. We bonded over student disciplinary problems and our principal’s unrealistic expectations. She was a great teacher to work with (hilarious), but she has also been a stay-at-home Mom, ran her own website, been an expert in cloth diapering (I have so much to learn!) and is a great blogger.

She wrote a piece for us all about living with anxiety, because well..isn’t it obvious? Check out her thoughts on parenting with anxiety…

Dina and her adorable daughter
Dina and her adorable daughter

When you are an anxious person anxiety is just a part of life. It makes you who you are and you just have to deal with it and manage it daily. But make no mistake it affects every decision you make with your children. As a mom of 3 I’ve learned a lot about managing anxiety where my kids are concerned. It’s not easy but it can be done. Here’s some ways that anxiety affects my decision making process with children and how I’ve learned to manage it.

We were young. Just a mere 29 with a toddler and we were looking to purchase a new to us home. We looked at lots of houses. Probably about 60 which if you’re a real estate agent you know that is a LOT. See the problem is I can find fault with each and every house that I looked at when using my parenting eyes. This one has a pool so my child can drown so it’s out. This one sits too close to the interstate so if someone was to snatch my child they’d be out of here before even I knew it. And the list goes on and on. Thank goodness for my hubby’s level head. But even with all the what ifs that run through my head we finally were able to make a decision that we could both agree on. Yes. House bought let’s move on with our life.

Then my oldest started school while I was pregnant with my second. I always thought I would homeschool my child. But he so desired to go to school. So after much anguish and deliberation I enrolled him in public school thinking that would be ok and if it didn’t work out I could pull him out later. We had 1 year out of 4 at this school that was a good year. The other 3 years drove me and my son insane. Finally one of his teachers sat me down and said look at his scores. He’s smart. He’s bored. So after a year from heck we decided to let him test to be in a magnet school. He got in with flying colors and had a really hard first year in. More agonizing ensured. But then it got better and he’s now a junior in high school and simply flying now.

My second son started school at the same magnet school. There were constant problems and I was always trying to figure out what was going on. I had a sleep study done because he was so angry. He had a compulsive need to finish any sentence he started. He couldn’t help himself. After dealing with this for 5 years we finally got a diagnosis. He has ADD. He’s on meds and is doing so well now. I’m so proud of all he’s overcome. He’s a rock star in my eyes. But it was not an easy process on an anxious mama to get him here. There was much hand twisting as I tried mostly on my own to figure out what was going on. The teachers missed all the signs too. He’s not the typical ADD kid but maybe none of them are typical. Being a parent is the hardest job. But it’s so worthwhile. Managing my anxiety now takes on different forms then it used too. I am able to make it work though. It helps to have a hubby who doesn’t have this problem. He makes sound decisions in a snap and probably often looks at me in wonder as I agonize over the smallest decisions. Parenting is a team process and that is a management tool in and of itself. If you are about to become a parent never fear that you will not be good enough. You will be. You just have to keep telling your anxious self that!

Thank you so much Dina for sharing with us! Everyone be sure to see what else Dina has to say on life with 3 kids, frugal living, crafts, reviews and much more!

Cheers!

New Friend Friday: Meet Sia!

I’m starting a new series today called “New Friend Friday”. I have a few friends who write their own great blogs, and feel like I’ve made a few virtual friends through other blogs I follow. That’s one of my favorite things about blogging… getting a look into others’ lives, learning from them and sharing stories and ideas. I love these blogs so much that I have decided to start sharing them with you. Every Friday, for the time being, I will be asking one of my blogger friends to write a special post for Positively Panicked. That way you can get a look into their blogs and maybe find a new blogger friend of your own.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Sia Cooper from Diary of a Fit Mommy. I found Sia through Pinterest when I first became pregnant. She was also pregnant and our due dates were about a week apart. Over the last 9 months I have loved reading about her workout tips, healthy eating ideas, baby product reviews and now seeing her adorable son. She is real and honest with her readers, works her butt off  in the gym (and it shows!) and is a motivation to fit Mommies everywhere. For us, she wants to share her tips for fighting off Morning Sickness.

sia
Here she is at 6 weeks postpartum…told she works hard!

Ladies and Gentlemen, here is 5 Foods to Fight Morning Sickness By: Diary of a Fit Mommy

At one month postpartum, morning sickness seems like something in the distant past. Fortunately, I never suffered from a strong case of morning sickness, but I did experience frequent cases of nausea at times throughout the day. These are five foods that have helped me to fight my nausea and that may help alleviate your morning sickness as well.

Pretzels

Pretzels help ease morning sickness in the same way that crackers do. The dry & salty flavor soothes your taste buds and your belly. The high content of starch also binds with the excess stomach acid to bring some relief from your morning sickness. You can keep a zip-lock bag filled with pretzels on your nightstand and have a few before you get out of bed or during the night. They also make a great snack, are easy to digest, and are portable to carry around with you to relieve any bouts of nausea during the day.

Multigrain Toast

Toast is a great breakfast option for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness. You can lightly spread one tablespoon of peanut butter for added protein, as peanut butter is said to help relieve nausea as well. Avoid putting any butter on your toast as greasy foods and extra oils will exacerbate your morning sickness. Cold cut sandwiches using multigrain toast makes a great lunch for women who are nauseous around the afternoon hours.

Dairy

Dairy helps ease morning sickness because it neutralizes your stomach acids! A small cup of Greek yogurt, a glass of milk, low fat cottage cheese, or a piece of string cheese makes the perfect snack for when you are feeling queasy. My favorite snack in particular were a few wholegrain crackers with cheese slices to help curb my nausea. However, dairy products may not be suitable for every woman.

Ginger

Ginger is the most popular and widely known remedy for morning sickness and digestive issues in general. You can drink it in the form of a tea or soda, you can suck on it as a hard candy, and you can even eat ginger as a gingersnap cookie or in gingerbread. If you cannot stomach the taste of ginger, it also comes in the form of a capsule that can be purchased at your local drug store. Ginger is thought to be a powerful herb and the go-to option for women suffering from morning sickness. I personally loved pure ginger tea which can be purchased from any local drug store or GNC.

Lemon

Lemons are said to help alleviate morning sickness because they have a natural calming effect that eases nausea. My favorite way to use lemons is in my water first thing in the morning. Also, lemon flavored hard candies, such as Lemon Heads, are also a great way to soothe nausea because of the sour taste. Most hard candies or lollipops should help, no matter the flavor.

Thanks for the tips Sia! Be sure to check her and her story out over at Diary of a Fit Mommy!

Cheers!

She Works (kinda) Hard for the (not very much) Money

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou

I am a very indecisive pregnant lady. When I found out I was expecting my decision-making process disappeared and I became incapable of deciding what I want for dinner, what to wear, when to sleep and any big life decision is just too much to handle. One of these big life decisions included my career.

In the last 6 years I have taught public elementary school, coached middle school dance and drama, tutored kids, taught overseas for an international elementary school, nannied, coached gymnastics, dance and yoga for fancy Manhattan preschoolers and managed social media for the same fancy pants preschool. Clearly, I like working with kids and being active, but cannot really decide what I “want to be when I grow up”. Six months ago, we decided to leave NYC for the country life in Tennessee AND discovered I was pregnant.

Being pregnant and not clear of what career path I want had me taking 400 different paths… I decided I definitely 100% wanted to be a stay home blogger… for exactly 4 minutes. Then, I applied for some public school teaching jobs…then, some private school jobs…preschool jobs…daycare…coaching…social media… Pretty much anything that sounded half-interesting was worth filling out an application. Two hours later, I made the final decision to work on the house, have a calm relaxing pregnancy, learn to cook and garden and prepare to be an awesome stay-at-home Mom. That lasted for a day. See the pattern?

My indecisive-self kept me from completing most applications or following through with interviews (“Mrs. Positively Panicked we’d like to interview you!” Ummm…yeah, I ‘ve changed my mind, thanks anyways.) All of the non-decision making and busy life stuff lead me to where I am now…blogging (read: making nothing), tutoring and substituting. So, basically I work randomly, have no schedule and I am kind of loving it.

I love schedules, being busy and especially adore deadlines (I need structure!), but I must say that choosing whether I not I want to go into work kind of rocks. For example, this morning it was raining/snowing, freezing outside and I slept for a total of 30 minutes last night. So, when the phone rang at 5am and I was asked nicely to come in and sub for 8 hours I said, “yeah, no thanks.” Coffee, pj’s, a big blanket, my laptop and Good Morning America just sound SO much better.

Then on days when I feel like I need some structure and motivation I get up at 4:45am, take a sub job, teach all day, tutor all night and come home feeling productive. So productive that after working 14 hours yesterday I came home, did the Asylum and made dinner! BAM. Badass.

AND, I’ve been keeping a secret from you guys, with all my time off the last few months I have actually began learning to cook (gasp!). Like, real meals not just frozen pizzas and grilled cheese, though we still eat our fair share of both. I want to transition to full-time stay-at-home Mom when Luna arrives. I want to cook healthy food for her, sew costumes, do Pinteresty crafty things and grow vegetables in the backyard, but who knows what I’ll actually do. I think that maybe all my life decisions and job changes have led  up to my biggest role yet (world’s most awesome Mom), but I can’t rule out the realistic possibility that I might want to re-enter the work force at some point.

Honestly, my indecisiveness stems from all the labels and judging I keep reading about. Every single person and their Mother seem to have very strong opinions about whether Moms should stay home or work, and I just don’t want to be labeled or a part of that argument AT ALL. Recently, I realized that I’m not judging the other women and Moms, no matter their career choice, so why am I being so hard on myself? I just need to do what’s right for us, my family, and right now, things feel good, really good.

What about all your Mom’s and Mom’s to be out there? Do you work? Stay home? Wish you were doing the opposite? Have a good combo of both? Are you even decided yet?

Either way, I just feel so very very lucky to have these options, a Husband that supports me either way and part-time job with VERY flexible hours.

Or am I? The wind may change tomorrow.

Cheers!

A Grandmother’s Legacy

Me and my MawMaw
Me and my MawMaw

I should preface this post by saying it may be a little sad, but it’s mostly happy and uplifting. It’s a story worth reading and a little comfort and closure for myself.

My Grandmother passed away last week. I just got home from Texas where I spent time with my family and dealt with all the unpleasant funeral stuff. I could write a book on how much losing a loved one sucks and the crazy roller coaster of emotions I have been on this week, but I have something much more special to share.

My Grandmother, we call her MawMaw, turned out to be keeping a secret from us the past 88 years. After she passed, my Mom found a journal, and a lot of other random writings, hidden around the house. We knew my MawMaw wrote every once in a while, but she always kept her writings private and told us she was a horrible boring writer. I assumed she wrote about gardening, building puzzles and watching TV dramas…regular Grandma life stuff.

What a liar my MawMaw turned out to be. Not only was her writing smart and entertaining, but every journal entry reads like a beautiful poem. Some parts are sad and hard to read… She wrote about caring for my bed-ridden PawPaw, losing 2 of her sons, dealing with another son’s cancer, losing a grandchild and many other hardships. However, in the midst of her depression she wrote about every beautiful aspect of her life, what she was thankful for and how she truly saw the world around her.

MawMaw was a Mother to MANY, a passionate Christian (possibly the most Godly person I have ever known), a strong-willed, not afraid to speak her very opinionated mind, kind of woman. She grew up in the south in a time when women were not seen as equals and should hide their real feelings. Depression and anxiety were shameful. She lived an honorable life and did her best to keep her sadness and anxiety to herself, which is why she wrote.

(Much of MawMaw’s words stem from her relationship with God. You may have a relationship with a different God, or no God at all. That’s okay. I believe there is a message in her words for each of us.)

The following words are bits and pieces of her daily thoughts over the last 19 years. (My favorite quotes) It’s the hills and valleys of her final years and a glimpse into the mind of a secretive and brilliant woman.

The family at Thanksgiving 2013 (She had 9 children, 19 grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren, 2 on the way and 4 great great grandchildren).
The family at Thanksgiving 2012 (She had 9 children, 19 grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren, 2 on the way and 4 great great grandchildren).

Life can be harsh and sorrowful. God, sometimes I need a little childish fantasy.

Joy and love and the awesome wonder of God are absolutely fantastic. It can’t be so hard to slip from the fantasy of elves, Santa Claus and fairies sitting on toadstools into the belief of God and all his angels, Fantastic!

Dec. 2, 1994 and it is almost sunrise- I venture out into a day of something.  I do not know what is around the corner, but God grant, courage will be with me. Each thing I do will be new; each daily duty will not be a repeat of what was done yesterday but an adventure anew in itself. We shall see.

It seems some people think they have reason to be miserable. They pick up on every word or happening to analyze it and extract all the misery like squeezing a dishrag and seeing only dirty dishwater instead of the clean dishes in the drainer. I want to enjoy life now; all the good, happy and beautiful things now so when I get to Heaven the transition won’t be so jolting.  From joy to joy will be like sliding on a satin ribbon. Poor miserable Christian what a jolt you will have. There was joy all through life and you missed it.

When I reach 80 I want to remember ten years of feeling the wind in my face, rain so refreshing, blue skies and stormy nights. I will find the big dipper; enjoy things that grow and children at play. Sad times will only be remembered as that by which good times are measured.

Right now there is just one thing I know of that makes sense and that is simplicity.

When bad times come it is hard to bear; but when it is past, replace sorrow with beautiful thoughts just like God said, “whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are beautiful, think on these things.” What a wonderfully easy way to cover yourself with His love and comfort. And it doesn’t cost anything; cheaper than a nerve pill.

As I grow older music touches me deeper to elate emotions that were always stifled by others but now I really feel the beauty of melody and movement.

Just imagine to what melody the limbs of trees sway in the breeze; unheard by the ear but felt in the heart.

(Her thoughts on depression and healing. She often wrote about “moving up the ladder” and reaching that “second step”) I’m convinced that I will never be without problems of all sorts, but still I must never see the dark pit again. Only an idiot is continually happy, joyous and has no problems; but stupidity is another thing. A stupid person hangs onto that first step and enjoys all that muck he is in. Boy, this second step feels better all the time.

The only good I see from this anxiety and stress is that it gives me understanding of others in similar situations.

I feel like a little girl going around and around a tree with one hand touching the tree trunk. Going nowhere but so tired of just going around and around. Depression is real. It’s a dark place, which seems so hopeless, no way out.

[My MawMaw’s 10 Steps to lead a successful life]

I.               Never be satisfied; for therein is danger, you may rust like a tin can in the rain and the weeds will grow over you.  The only time to be still is when you listen to God to receive His instructions for moving on. 

II.              Never take criticism at face value.  Examine the critics’ remarks closely.  Look in the “mirror” for a true picture of yourself.  If need be, correct yourself then smile and go forward.

III.            Pick a goal that seems a little more than you think you can attain.  You will work harder to get there.  Put lots of prayer into choosing a goal.

IV.            Don’t wait to be chosen.  Volunteer.  Choose your own friends and associates.  The only way to be ahead is to step out and move.  Go with God always. 

V.              Read much.

VI.            Be quick to give a compliment, especially to children.

VII.           First thing every morning look out the window and smile.  It’s all God’s world – rain or shine. Last thing at night smile even if it’s through tears for He can wash away tears.

VIII.         Don’t be overshadowed by fears, feeling of helplessness, guilty feelings.  Remember that you are a real person, better than some, and as good as most.  No one has the right to put you down or categorize you according to their ideas. Stand up and be counted.

IX.            Be straightforward.  When you are sure you are right, say so and don’t back down.  “Well if that is the way you want it” is out!  Especially if it affects you.

X.              Be kind, gentle, nice, clean and a real lady or gentleman.  Leave a legacy of good memories.

And, the very last line in her journal…

When all hope is gone heaven has been attained.

This wonderful woman will be very missed, but never forgotten. What a legacy she has left behind.

MawMaw trying on the Mouse Ears we sent her after our wedding.
MawMaw trying on the Mouse Ears we sent her after our wedding.

With all my love,

Hilarie

P.S. I want to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, kind words, flowers and food sent to the family. The amount of love shown to us has been incredible and I am oh so grateful. Thank you.

You like me! You really like me!

I’ve been writing a blog for a few months now (plus a year if you count Adventures of a Teacher). I am 99% sure that my biggest followers are related to me, or soon-to-be related to me, which has always been fine. It just feels good, therapeutic even, to come here each day (although I skipped yesterday…) and rant about a terrible flight,  or describe my panicky life, or just talk about a sunny day in the park.

It’s not so important to me to have lots of followers, or so I thought…

Yesterday, another great blogger, More Than Greens, sent me a blog award nomination!  Turns out I love having followers! It felt almost as good as what I imagine winning the mirror ball trophy feels like. The official name of the award is Food Stories Award for Excellent Storytelling.

I know what your thinking…food stories? Aside from my ability to have a wide variety of food delivered at the press of a button (Thanks seamless.com!), and my talent to coerce Fiance into cooking for me, I do not have a lot of “food stories.” I do eat out a lot, maybe that counts?

More Than Greens, explained this by simply saying she just really likes reading my blog, food-related or not! Well, that is the nicest thing anyone has said about my blog (anyone who isn’t related…)!

I don’t know if I am actually qualified to follow all the rules and regulations of Food Stories, so I won’t even bother. But, in lieu of nominating 5 more blogs, I will just tell you about 5 super awesome blogs that I follow.

Obviously, I follow New York Whimsy, not just because the amazing Zoey writes it, but because it’s funny, full of stupid cats, a few DIY projects, and some pretty cool stuff to do in NYC.

Next, I am absolutely obsessed with Momastery. If you are not a monkee or haven’t heard of Gretchen “G”, and her famous blog, and recent book deal, then you are seriously missing out. This lady says everything I’m thinking and feeling with such hilarity, wit, and compassion, it’s almost unbelievable. I laugh, cry, and feel inspired by so many of her posts. I would guarantee you’ll love her, but her “brutiful” openness will rub some of you the wrong way… which is too bad.

Another blog I love is Artful Anxiety. AA and I are share a special trait, and I can very often relate to her blogs about fear and panic. She is a strong person and writer, and I appreciate her honesty.

Fourthly, is Le Zoe Musings. This blog is written by a Mother who I am completely jealous of. She is BEAUTIFUL and so talented. Her blog is full of the most ridiculous pictures of her house, kid, family, clothes, plants, purses, you name it! She is a phenomenal decorator and photographer, and owns more designer bags than a Kardashian. She’s fabulous.

And, finally, I love Hella Sydney. This American girl living in Australia is hella funny, hella candid, and hella adventurous… a girl after my own heart!

I feel sad now for all the blogs that I didn’t post about… There’s just too many good writers out there! You all rock.

K, that’s all I can handle today. I am caffeine-free at the moment, and my eyelids are unable to hold themselves open any longer.

Thanks for reading!

Cheers!