Monday, October 5, 2015

Back to school!

What an adventure we have been having! 
We have been go go go. I just tried to find our most recent pictures and realized I haven't been taking very many. Which is exactly what I wanted! It means I am enjoying the moment more. 

Today I am so excited because Adam only has 7 working days left and then we have a break before school starts!!! 
We went to the children's museum today in phoenix and it's right by his school which means that some days maybe we will carpool and drop dad off at school and go to the museum. It's a super fun thought and it might just happen since it is getting so hot. 

I took the kids to their first water park. Thayne couldn't believe how big the rides are. Our friends have season passes and get coupons for discounts and let us come for cheap. That's another season pass we are thinking about for next year. 

Joslyn wasn't quite tall enough to do any of the rides so I am glad we didn't get them this year she was sad she couldn't go on a slide. 

She loves to dress herself and wear moms sunglasses. She is turning into such a lady. We both wear skirts all the time because it is way cooler than shorts... No seriously way cooler. 

We love arizona and plan to stay awhile. Even in the heat. 

we survived June!

What a crazy fun month. Full of ups and downs. Tears and pure joy! 

I say survive because our routine is totally off (remember how much I need routine), Adam works nights and every other weekend (kills social life which I also need), and of course we have our first world trials. 

But we made it! I learned so much about myself his past month and have been dying to share what I have been learning but I have to wait. My mind is still healing. I have felt therapy will help me with my anxiety and depression. More on that as it progresses. Thayne celebrated his 4th birthday. We are so grateful to have him apart of the family. I had a very real depressive episode (floor day longest one so far) the day before. Translating that no birthday party things were done. However I have a great husband who understands parenting is a two way deal and he totally helped me get this party together. Totally spaced the forks but it turned out into a super fun way to eat the cake. And we did pizza instead of a complicated lunch I had planned. Smiles were shared all around. Thank goodness kids don't care about all that stuff. 

I've had a few people tell me that they can't even believe I get depressed, to be honest I have a hard time understanding that I get depressed. It sounds weird to explain my thoughts that I think in those very dark moments outloud. But they do happen and so do very good moments. The happiest of happy moments also happen and I am learning to hang onto those. 

These pictures capture just a few of those happiest of happy moments that happened last month. Here's to july and Adam about to start school next month! 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

"Life ain't always beautiful but its a beautiful life"

"Mama I'm the prince dancing with the princess Elsa"

Our castle has been readjusting the past couple of weeks.
Adam has been working nights and I've been in a dark place in my soul.
Adam has been holding everything together and I've just been present. 
It's not something I choose or wanted it just happened.
As Josie Thompson calls it.. I had a 'floor day' or two or three...

 floor day= not being being able to get up off the floor

It's not that my life isn't wonderful and its not that I don't know that. 
In fact part of my depressive moments are knowing my life is so good so why am I sad?
With my routine completely off I broke down. 

While my loving husband works, does dishes, gets food ready for everyone and my children ask "Is mama feeling better?" 
My sweet babies worry about me. 

I couldn't have asked for a better family or life. 
During one of my 'floor days' I managed to get on the computer and buy a gym membership.
Exercise literally has saved my life. 
It keeps me sane and keeps me going. 

But I wouldn't have even thought to buy one if I hadn't felt a feeling in my soul that it would solve 
many of my problems. 
My husband also wouldn't be the way he is without help.
Somehow even in my darkest moments my most horrible thoughts 
God is still there. 

He has reminded me time and time again to notice His tender mercies. 
The above picture is one of those tender mercies. 
When I am doing my part (reading my scriptures, praying, serving, etc.)
my kids have moments like this. They play together, they giggle, and they have fun.
You can call it random or whatever you will but I know its very real.
Of course they fight everyday, but somehow its lesser. The fighting, crying, screaming, hitting, throwing doesn't last as long. 

It may not seem like a miracle but to this tired mother this is 
a great miracle. 

Another tender mercy is that
my children who normally take 1/2 an hour to get ready to go anywhere 
are ready in minutes to head to the gym. 
And they LOVE being there. 
It's so much nicer than trying to workout at home.

Our routine is still evolving but what we have going on right now is wonderful. 
I'm glad I have these tender mercies even with my trials. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Chalk Paint Desk Makeover

Hurray for pinterest right?

I bought this thrifted desk for a decent price ($15? It was awhile ago) and have been waiting for the right time to paint it.

The time finally came! I wanted to do a fun bright blue but decided that maybe next year I won't be so crazy about the blue color. 
Then we found these super cool knobs from home depot with the exact blue I love! 
I settled on white it makes the room more open and is easier on my already crazy brain. 



Close up of the knobs

I love how it turned out. 
I  bought all the paint from Lowes. 
The guys there mixing paint knew what I was trying to do and mixed up my gray to the exact color I wanted. In fact I used the recipe right off the Lowes website for the chalk paint.

I bought a book at the goodwill to use as a mousepad so not to scratch the paint. 

I read many reviews of newbies saying chalk paint was really hard and they had problems of clumping but I had ZERO problems and enjoyed the project. I did hand sand a few spots after painting to make sure it was smooth. It was my first time chalk painting and now I want to paint everything. 

oh and if you notice I have a piece of hardware missing. Apparently older furniture uses sizes that are not found just anywhere. I can't find any hardware for under $15 same amount as I paid for the whole desk... so I am saving up for one since I spent all my money on paint and the other knobs. 

what do you think? 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

10 ways to destress and to be happy naturally

Since I have opened up about having depression and anxiety I have had a lot of messages asking me about how I fight it. I currently do not take any medication and I haven't seen a doctor for it. Its such a personal choice and a sensitive matter I hope you understand what works or doesn't work for me may not ring true for you. Depression runs in my family. I've taken the quiz at the doctors to  see if you have depression and of course according to medical records I'm fine. Thats because I know what answers to say. I lied to my doctor about post-pardom it was easy to me. I was lying to myself about my feelings it was easy to lie to the doctor. Someday I hope to be able to afford going to a therapist. For now my husband, family, and friends serve in that capacity. I had a tender mercy of getting to go to a church activity and listen to a professional counselor speak about loving ourselves and letting go of negative thoughts. Just that one activity has helped me so much. I can't even imagine what more could do. Maybe in a few years. Again remember this is what works for ME, and I do recommend talking to a doctor/therapist if you can.

1. Being creative- this doesn't come naturally to me. I used to sew, now it stresses me out. I recently have discovered I love to paint. Painting doesn't have to be perfect, and it can be whatever I want it to be. I recently read that patients from a mental hospital wished so deperately that they had a painting room. I thought that was interesting people with mental health issues share this common interest. Try PAINTING.

2. Having a clean house- sounds easy enough... unless you have kids. To achieve this the best that I can with my two cuties has been to get rid of stuff. If you are interested in learning where to start visit becoming If you think minimalism is too extreme for you I recommend Unstuff Your Life! by Andrew J. Mellen click here to see his book. I borrowed that book from the library. Not only does he help you cut clutter he helps you organize it. Many times I felt like I was having actual conversations with him while reading the book. Only of course to realize I was talking to a book in my backyard.

3. Get outdoors. For me this is many things and usually my go to especially when a clean house is not happening. Things that destress me and make me happy are: hiking, running, snowboarding, boating, kayaking, racquetball, tennis, soccer, anything athletic, also.... tanning. Now before you go all skin cancer crazy on me, I lay out in my backyard for about 1/2 an hour. Yes I realize skin cancer is a risk. Having depression and anxiety also makes me suicidal. Its lose lose. I love laying out in the sun. If you find something else that makes you very happy and you can avoid skin cancer by all means go ahead. For me laying out in the sun get a tan makes me happy.

Even in the snow I was outside :)

4. Exercise. This is a tricky one because something that stresses me out is healthiness, weight, muscle tone, blah blah blah. I try not to (at least for now) train for anything in particular. I exercise simply because it brings me joy. I stay in shape but I try not to compete with anyone but myself. I hope that makes sense. If competing brings you joy do it. For me it brings more negative thoughts about myself when I don't make my "goal".

5. Rest. Take a day to rest. For awhile I thought Sunday was my day off. I go to church, try to keep the sabbath day holy. I would always joke that this day was anything but rest. I've come to learn that resting from earthly cares is different than resting. On Thursdays I rest. If I don't feel like exercising I don't. If I want to lay in the tub while the kids nap I do it. I skip chores, I shut off my phone for hours sometimes almost all day. I learned this from another blogger who has 4 boys. She also said she writes thank you notes to people, or goes and does service, like play the piano at an assisted living home. Some Thursdays you need to pamper yourself and sometimes you have to go and forget yourself. Your day doesn't have to be Thursday and it might not even be all day. But set a time in your calendar to have time to yourself. I highly recommend shutting your phone off because that always seems the time when my phone is going off like crazy. Also lack of sleep is a huge problem setting off all my triggers. Get enough sleep as much as you can. If you have a baby and other kids don't be afraid to ask a friend to take your kids for a little bit so you can sleep. Trust me you'll be glad you did.

6. Do Service. It is easy to stay depressed and stressed out when you are only worried about yourself. Don't do anything crazy or big at first. Start small. Make the bed for your loved one, write a nice note, sing a song, say a prayer. I always thought it would be so neat to go and help in another country. While that is still a dream of mine, I realized that I can do so much here and now. It may not seem like you are making a big impact but a kind note goes a long way.

7. Give something away. There is nothing that brings joy to the heart than watching someone else joy over something you gave them. I cried tears of joy once because someone dropped brand new clothes off at our house that we couldn't afford for our toddler. They didn't get to see my face but I hope they know how much happiness it brought us. Even anonymous gifts can make you happy. I feel happiness every time I donate a box to the thrift store. Less for me to clean (win), they have things to sell (win), someone else can use the item (win)!

8. Routine. This is a hard one because I am young but I have quickly learned life is anything BUT routine. My mother suggested this to me as far as routine; make a list of things you need to do, make a list of things you would like to do, you don't have to have a set time but even when everything feels out of control this has helped. I try to have a semi schedule. For instance at our house I know we are going to have meals throughout the day I try to have them all generally at the same time each day, naps are about at the same time. I run errands in the afternoon now I do prefer morning but my husband now works swing shift (2:00pm-10:00pm) so I'd rather run errands while he isn't home unless I want to go alone which now I can do in the morning. When days aren't routine I have to tell myself routinely I need some NOT mundane everyday type of day. Sounds silly but if I feel like I "scheduled it" I handle it better. doesn't mean I don't ever do sporadic. Trust me if you ask anyone I hang out with they will probably tell you I planned a get together the day before or the day of. HA it works for now.

9. Eat healthy. Not what you wanted to hear I know. Changing my diet has been huge. There are so many food choices and sometimes its hard to know what is healthy and then you have to meal plan. For me I am on a green smoothie girl diet. I bought her books and blender. She has meal plans, shopping lists, tips and tricks on how to save money. Check out her website here I could rave about this forever and could spend a whole blog on how much I love green smoothie girl so for now I'll leave it at that. Feel free to email me if you have any questions about what I eat.

10. Be nice to yourself. Its easy to feel like you are a horrible person for having depression/anxiety. I listened to Josie Thompson speak one of the key things I learned from her is that you can still be full of light as you fight this darkness. She is a much better speaker than me and you should totally check out her blog here. I've learned that its ok to have panic attacks, depressive episodes, crying/screaming sessions. You aren't a bad person. God hasn't forgotten you. I wrote out an I am motto for me it goes something like this

I am happy
I am kind
I am beautiful
I am grateful
I am loved
I am a good mom
I am a daughter of God
I am excited about today

I hung it in my bathroom so I could see it. Negative talk is not helpful. I can feel my chemical imbalance go all nuts when I add things to my mind like... i hate my nose, i have no friends, I'm a horrible mother, blah blah blah... STOP. For every mean thing you say to yourself say 3 nice things. Seriously do it. It's life changing.

I hope this helps. I am in no way paid by any of these awesome people I have talked about that have helped. My sole purpose in posting this is to help someone who suffers with anxiety/depression. If you have other tips please post them! Remember I'm not perfect at any of the above suggestions. I just noticed that these help me. Also if you have any other questions or want to know more details about anything please contact me.

my email is alysehassellATyahooDOTcom

Oh and bonus one... if you couldn't already tell I LOOOOOVEE reading, blogs, articles, books, newspapers. Whatever reading takes me a different state of mind. I need it.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Joslyn turns 2!!!

I love parties, I love celebrating, I love good moments that I never want to end. I'm learning to savor moments instead of worrying about the next thing I need to do. When something awesome is happening I need to be there. This past week I had the wonderful opportunity to have my family in town. 

We got to go to the zoo. Mum took Thayne on a camel ride. Joslyn chickened out last minute. 
I didn't take a lot of pictures at the zoo because honestly I was soaking it all in. My kids loved being with grandma and grandpa at the zoo. I even teared up there were so many beautiful moments. Happiness is truly beautiful. 

One of my favorite childhood memories of time spent with my mother is sewing with her. Which is why I wanted so desperately to be good at it. When Joslyn climbed on my mum's lap I couldn't help but savor this moment. It brought back a lot of fond memories.

Uncle Garett had a birthday on Friday so we celebrated by making a watermelon cake ours may not be pinterest worthy but I hear it tasted delicious. (I'm allergic) happiness here was seeing everyone enjoy the "cake" even though I couldn't share in the tastiness. I shared in the joy of celebrating a sweet Garett would eat and enjoy. Joslyn was sad about something here. I'm pretty sure it's because we wouldn't let her lick anymore whip cream off until we got a picture.

Spending time with Lauren is always a treat. She made the Olaf you see in the background and all the noses with it. Her and Garett were great entertainers for the kids!
Here's Olaf! Totally done free hand. I can't wait to see what she does when she becomes a mom. Step aside pinterest.

Here is Joslyn's new friend Brielle playing pin the nose on Olaf. We are so grateful they came.

The kids. Cousin Mayli is so sweet and knows how to strike a pose. She didn't even mind being at a toddler party :)
The cake that mum and Garett made.
Towards the end of the party Joslyn just wanted to hang out with cousin Ryan.
She was cracking us all up while she opened her gifts.

Joslyns party was so fun. I totally forgot to charge our camera but I had so much fun and was savoring the party I don't know if I would have gotten very much pictures anyway.  
It's so nice to have family in arizona. It was also so fun to have my family come. Now that I'm further away from home. I am treasuring this time together so much more

Thursday, February 26, 2015

My sickness

God understands all. 

Everything, and He understands it perfectly. Hence why as mortals it is impossible for us to judge eternal matters as He does. Of course we are required to judge things. For instance, we have to judge what is appropriate for our family. It always amazes me what is right for my family is not right for another. 

Already with my family I've noticed some differences from the home I grew up in. I believe my parents raised me the way they should have and did things the best they could. And did what was right for our family. With my own family I've been doing some things the same some things different. It's mind blowing seriously. 

And so it is that I want to get into what type of things I want to talk about that I have been afraid to open up about. I feel like God wants me to share my story. Even though my story sharing may only help one person. Me. 

I matter that much to Him. Through my struggles and trials He has always been there. But I am forgetful at times. Writing has become my memory bank. 

I can remember a particular day my freshman year of college where I just couldn't understand my dad. I was frustrated. Why was he the way he was? I found (and later figured out I was guided) a letter that my dad wrote to his dad. I won't share what was in the letter because it was so personal and hard for my dad to write. Why would writing a letter to your dad be so hard? 

Here is where things get emotional for me

I never met my grandfather, my dad didn't meet him either. My grandfather was a smart man. And helped many who struggled with math learn to love it. He also only had one arm. He climbed the Tetons despite physical limitations. 

There was one BIG physical limitation he couldn't shake. He had a chemical imbalance. Which made him fall into depression. Which helped him make choices that ultimately left him feeling like his only way out was to take his own life. 

I don't ever judge him. I pray that someday I get to meet him. Modern medicine is so much more advanced than it was when he was alive. Why do I tell you all this? 

Well if you understand my family history you'll understand where I am coming from a bit better. My parents have always been open with us kids about feelings and especially feelings of sorrow and depression. 

I have to admit I even found myself viewing depression as a weakness. A man made weakness. Then Elder Holland came out with a talk that blew my mind. What if we treated physical illnesses the way we treated mental illnesses? "Can't you just NOT have cancer?" "Just make the bleeding stop!" "Can't you just push through the throwing up?" 

Sounds silly doesn't it? 
I'm here to tell you that what I call the cancer of the mind is very real. And I have it. 

It's weird to say because depressed is not a word I would use to describe myself. In fact I consider myself a happy person. So how in the world do I have depression? I could go on and on about chemical imbalances in your mind but in short. Things that healthy minds could shake off in an hour, or a day. For a sick mind take so much longer and sometimes are impossible without medication. Imagine having a sickness that the only way to get over it was to have an antibiotic. Would you take it? 

That doesn't mean everyone with chemical imbalances need medicine all of the time or maybe not even ever if mild enough. 

Or that healthy minds can't ever get sick for a period of time. 

Now you might be thinking "well what kind of depressed are you talking about? Because everyone gets depressed." 

Very true. Everyone does, we lose a loved one, get a lifetime illness, or even go through relationship separations. These are all very depressing. And can take a very very very long time to heal from. 

The kind of depressed I'm talking about is something that despite all your efforts is there. Everyday could be a depressing day for me. I have learned about "triggers". Triggers being things that set off depression/anxiety. And I try my hardest to stay far away from them. 
Some of mine are

Not having a routine
Not having money
Anything that doesn't go according to plan
Frustrating people
Frustrating situations
Something breaking
Losing people
Not knowing what is happening next
Being away from loved ones

I'm sure there are more things I could add but sounds like life right? I have to talk myself out of freaking out over the smallest things. For instance today I took my kids to the park (part of our new routine ��) then my kids couldn't agree on which park to go to. Then once we came to an agreement on a park (we made a plan ��) my son threw the biggest fit in the middle of the road. Suddenly both kids were screaming saying they didn't want this park they wanted another one. Even after they specifically told me the park we were currently headed too. Frustrating people, frustrating situation, change of plans, change of routine. But I was able to handle it. I had to tell myself there was a solution and we would go to another park. Disaster diverted. Still had our routine. 

Now that one was easy but you can see how I have my triggers and some situations are easier for my sick mind to work out of. 

There is a very very sick part of my mind that does tell me life is not worth living. That is not me. In fact it feels weird saying it out loud but it happens. And I know I'm not the only one and that's why I want to share it. 

These moments are in my case rare but very serious. And I'm not a doctor but I would say this is a good time to go see one. Or even sooner if necessary. 

We knew we were moving, we thought we knew when, no job, no money, but we knew we were supposed to move. This is how we got to arizona. We thought we had a place lined up we thought we had a full time job lined up. So we made preparations to move. The house didn't work out. We weren't real sure on the job our lease was ending and to my sick mind everything spiraled out of control. Everything looked so hopeless even though we were moving so Adam could go to school. 

I'm going to call a chemical imbalance/depressed mind what it is, a sick mind. It is not me. Someone who has cancer doesn't say I am cancer. So therefore I am not depressed. I have a chemical imbalance that causing me to feel depression.  Got the difference? I am a happy person who gets sick.  When you see me you would probably never guess I struggle with feelings of hopelessness. 

Read that a couple of times^

Eek can you tell I'm nervous to share the rare instances? Maybe I'll save it for another day. This post is long enough.