Pushing past the clouds

Pushing past the clouds


Is anyone still out there?

If so, thanks for still checking in every once in a while! It has been too long. There’s been a lot happening, but I think maybe, just maybe, I might be able to resurface now. *Ducks before life throws yet another curveball at me.*

By May this year, I knew my postpartum depression wasn’t going to go away on its own, and I had done everything in my power to make it better. It was time to get reinforcements.  I went to the doctor… and I am back on a new medication.

I know there is no shame in this, but I really wanted to give it my all before resorting to medication. Especially because the last time I was on medication, while it helped with the lows, I really struggled to feel any highs, as well. I think this new medication has done a good job of finding a balance, for which I am grateful.

The last several months have been devoted to the basics. Taking care of my family. Taking care of ME. My goal for last year was to be the best me possible, and I have been working hard on it this year.


Physically, I have significantly improved my health. Literally, I have lost 1/3 of my weight from where I was just before JD was born last year. ONE THIRD! That is pretty amazing. I am so very proud of that.

One of the biggest benefits is that when I went to the doctor for help, I knew the first two things they would ask me would be 1) How often do you exercise? and 2) What are your eating habits like? I could answer, very truthfully, that I have been ROCKING those out in the healthiest way possible. When the doctor looked me in the eyes, and told me, “You have done everything we would have asked you to do on your own. You have done your best.” …while I was sad that I still had to resort to medication now, I could be proud of myself for doing everything in my power to take care of myself mentally and physically.


I am still constantly trying my best to be happy. I try to focus on the positive. I continue my healthy habits. I, for the most part, eat a well balanced diet with good portion control. I work out nearly every single day. I drink my Shakeology.  Several people who know me in person were surprised when I mentioned that I was still fighting this particular demon… and I guess I should take it is a mild success. That I am doing a good job of trying to be a source of positivity instead of a negative one. Now adding the medication, hopefully continuing all of this will help me truly find the balance I need.

I do have so much I want to share with you all. My babies are growing up so quickly!

This handsome little guy just recently turned ONE!


This darling girl just turned THREE!

DSC_6210 hires


(We also had an awesome Pirate Fairy themed party for the two of them to celebrate…. I will have to devote a post to that preparation soon, too!)

We got to visit Utah and had a lovely vacation, but we weren’t sure if that was going to happen after our Bonnie developed a very serious autoimmune disease. (I’m happy to report she continues to do amazingly well.)



One of my new goals is to devote more time to blogging again, and trying to enjoy some of those things I used to do before the depression got too much for me to bear. I will be updating here on more of these topics above soon, so keep checking back for more updates!

With love,




What is Shakeology?

What is Shakeology?

I have mentioned in the past in passing how part of my success in getting healthier has been through using Shakeology.

Since I started mentioning it, I have had a lot of people ask me about exactly what IS this Shakeology? Is it a protein shake? A meal replacement? What makes it so special or different?

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 5.43.57 PM(My personal favorite recipe to date with Shakeology… no feeling deprived here!)

I have a hard time answering, not because I don’t know what to say, but because there is so MUCH I to say about all the benefits of Shakeology! Shakeology does have a lot of protein in it, but there is so much more. Here are some of the highlights!

There are protein and essential amino acids to help build muscle and reduce food cravings*

  • These help build and repair muscles, reduce hunger and food craving, and promote healthy skin, hair, and nails. So, it does have a good amount of protein in it, but for straight up muscle building, there are actually other products Beachbody has that focus primarily on that.


Shakeology contains prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes, which aid in improving digestion, regularity, and nutrient absorption*

  • Prebiotics, natural components of certain plants, help support the “friendly” bacteria in your digestive tract.
  • Probiotics are strains of live good bacteria that help with the digestive process. They assist the body in absorbing nutrients and minerals, bring an overall balance to the digestive tract, and help support the immune system.
  • Digestive enzymes, from sources such as pineapples and papayas, help your body break down food into its individual components, making the nutrients easier to absorb.

Shakeology has a total of 9 adaptogens

  • Adaptogens help promote a strong immune system, increase energy, protect the body from stress, and balance endocrine hormones and the immune system
  • Adaptogens are special herbs that grow in harsh climates and conditions, at high elevations, atop mountains where the soil is rocky and oxygen in the air is thin. Because these plants have to adapt to harsh conditions, they have highly concentrated nutrients that can help your body cope with stress, provide energy, and maintain a strong immune system.

Shakeology contains antioxidants and phytonutrients (plant-sourced ingredients) may help maintain health*

  • These help neutralize harmful free radicals, decrease inflammation, maintain the immune system, and potentially decrease the risk of degenerative diseases
  • Many of Shakeology’s fruit and vegetable sources have been chosen for their high concentration of healthy natural substances known as phytonutrients.

Shakeology contains 23 Vitamins and Minerals
Most of us don’t get the complete range of essential vitamins and minerals in our daily diets. Some important vitamins, such as vitamin C and the B vitamins, are water-soluble, meaning they’re flushed out of your body after a short time and need to be replenished regularly. Others, like vitamin E, can be difficult to get enough of in food. (Tropical Strawberry and Vegan Chocolate do not have the vitamin and mineral ingredients added.)


So, when the ads talk about Shakeology being your “Daily Dose of Dense Nutrition”, aside from my appreciation for that alliteration, they really mean it. There’s a lot of great things packed into that scoop to make your body happy!

All of those don’t cover that all these superfoods mixed together actually taste pretty good (especially chocolate mixed with vanilla almond milk and a banana… yum!) and manage to keep me full like an actual meal would when I have it for breakfast, unlike many of the products I have tried in the past. It’s also doesn’t have a lot of controversial ingredients that you can find in some products out there, which means I feel comfortable drinking it while breastfeeding my baby, or letting Evie take a sip when she begs for some of my special “chocolate milk”.

There’s a reason my heart is so happy when I see these boxes delivered every month to my door. It’s totally worth the investment in myself. I love it even more that my husband, who has been super skeptical and loves to research everything, actually now requests me to make him Shakeology every morning that he can have on his way to work. His support means the world to me.



So, in summary, Shakeology is pretty dang awesome, and I love this stuff. There’s a good reason I am making the changes in my life necessary to continue using this to be as healthy as I can be!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

PPD Round 2

PPD Round 2

I wrote this several months ago, and never got around to posting. I have never really hidden the fact that I have struggled, sometimes more mightily than others, with depression. It has been a part of me for a long time. I try to focus my best on the positive on my social media and to other people, mostly not because I am ashamed of my depression, but I feel it combats those horrible thoughts when I try to focus on all the good I have around me.

But depression is incredibly draining. I have been focusing on my mental and physical health, and just keeping the day-to-day needs going (like caring for two children). So things, like this blog, have gone on the way side. I am hoping that I am turning a corner, that things will change, and I will be able to take joy again in my crafts and cooking and all those extra things. Since I have been focusing so much on my physical health, I think that has helped with my mental mindset a little. I am hoping that shift will continue to change towards the positive so I can be more active on here again. 🙂

Anyways, without futher ado, writing from the Elisabeth of 7 months ago:


As I sit here with a sweet, tiny, little baby boy on my chest, I have a dark secret. The soft puffs of my 4-week-old son’s baby breath tickle my neck, while my toddler sits on my lap, engaged by the TV. It’s a rare peaceful moment, a moment of beauty; the kind other mothers are constantly telling you to cherish because you’ll blink, and then suddenly the kids are off to college.

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 12.50.00 PM

But it’s not always possible to enjoy and cherish every moment, especially with postpartum depression.

Today is a pretty good day so far. The depression is more of a haze. It lightly lingers in the air; you can see it is there, but it doesn’t dramatically alter your course. We will go play outside before it gets too hot, and then I will try a few other tricks to keep the toddler entertained until nap time. After nap time, it’s only a few more hours before my husband makes it home and I won’t be so alone anymore. I feel the haze in my impatience with my toddler; the ease which my irritability rises, but I can check it. I can recognize it for what it is.

It’s not always this good. Some days, it’s a thick, heavy fog. The kind of dark storm where you can hardly see your own fingers raised inches in front of your face. I have never personally tried swimming in syrup, but I image the sensation would be the same; the extra exertion just to move your limbs, desperation to keep your head afloat, while everything around you sticks to you and feels a hundred times heavier than they should. Every negative thing said to you in the last week reverberates through your skull, and you beat yourself up for every action you could have handled better.

Some days, as my baby cries, I sob right along with him. I apologize that my kids are stuck with ME. So flawed, so imperfect. I apologize that I just don’t know what else to do as they cry in my arms; how much better things would be if they had somebody, anyone, really, better than me to care for them.

Every thought is distorted and twisted so far that I truly feel like my family would be better off if I just disappeared, or stopped existing.

That’s ridiculous, of course. On a day like today, it’s easy to see. My family needs me. They want me here. They love me, despite all my flaws. My daughter doesn’t understand why Mommy is so sad, and does her best to deal with the emotions that emanate from me, even when I try so hard to hide them to protect her. My husband does understand, and tries to help where he can.

It hasn’t been such a shock like the first time; a time that according to the textbooks, the parenting websites, and Facebook, should be the happiest, was one of the darkest six months of my life as I dealt with a baby who hardly slept, and when she was awake, she screamed and cried endlessly, even with rocking, feeding, changing, swinging. (She happened to find the best time to do this was from about 10PM-2AM every night. For months.) Even with treatment for her acid reflux, she still was a very vocal baby. This was all on top of my own recovery, which did not go as smoothly as I would have hoped.

I’m lucky, in a way. I’ve suffered with depression and self-esteem issues for most of my life, so I knew I was a higher risk for PPD. Especially with my second baby, my husband and I have been taking extra precautions, extra care, trying extra natural solutions from early on to help fight back that heavy fog. This time, so far, this baby’s personality is much different, and I am getting more than a hour or two of sleep a day. It’s amazing how different their personalities are, and how much that has an affect on me (this time, making it a little easier).

PPD still lingers, though. You probably wouldn’t talk to me face to face and guess, unless you asked me outright. I know other moms that have suffered, and like me, they put on a good face to the world. They don’t want to force their pain on others, for whatever the reason may be.

You never know what trial another person is suffering as they try to go throughout their own day. You don’t know what sort of cross they have been asked to bear as they try to do the best they can for themselves and their loved ones.

So please, THINK. Be kind. Offer others the benefit of the doubt. Serve them with actions before words. It doesn’t have to be much. A kind smile, a treat, a hug, can be a huge blessing for somebody who is suffering from depression, just to let them know you remember them, that they matter in some way. The advice, or “words of wisdom” that you dish out to others may do more harm, cause more feelings of guilt for somebody who is already trying their best just to make it through a minute at a time.

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That time I lost a toddler from my body

That time I lost a toddler from my body

Confession time: I have lost 30 pounds in the last four months.

THIRTY. FLIPPING. POUNDS. No joke you guys.

March30lbs(Sorry it’s a bit blurry… Miss Persnickety wasn’t wanting to take a picture today, and this was the best out of 30.)

Do you see that sweet girl with me? Yeah. I apparently was carrying all THAT on my frame, because that is just about what she weighs right now.

Thirty pounds. That sounds like a high number. That was kind of my original goal. At least be back to my pre-kid weight. That was almost too good to hope to be true. I didn’t know if I worked, even for a year, if I could make that happen.

But I did, in a third of the time.

Thirty pounds… The size of my toddler. That just blows my mind. How was that even on my body?!

It’s pretty fitting that those numbers line up right now, because I now weigh what I was pre-kiddos. I am starting to pull shirts out that I haven’t seen in over 3 years because I just couldn’t fit in them. It’s almost better than going shopping outside the house for new clothes! I seriously pulled out a few shirts today that I had hidden away (including the one I am wearing in this picture!) because every time I saw it, I was sad. It reminded me of a body I didn’t think I could ever see again.

All of this doesn’t even compare to how much better I feel. Despite the fact I haven’t touched a caffeinated beverage for four months, and my baby loves to wake up during the night multiple times, I have more energy than ever. We are all eating better, doing more activities outside the house. And when I get frustrated with my own weaknesses, I know I am working harder than ever at overcoming them. This has changed my life, my perspective. Everything I have put in, I have gotten back.

I used primarily 21 Day Fix (based on the research that it takes 21 days to break those bad habits and reinstate healthy ones for eating and working out) and Shakeology for December and January. The second half of February, I played around with a lot of different programs that were available for Beachbody On Demand. Now I working on 21 Day Fix Extreme, which has more difficult workouts, but the eating plan is about the same, just no cheat days. It’s been tough, but I am so proud of myself for being able to keep up!

I’m gearing up for my challenge group for April. If you are ready for change, ready to feel better about yourself, wanting support, motivation, a friend to cheer you on, let me know.

More than anything, know this: You are worth the investment.


Happy Green Day!

Happy Green Day!



I’m not Irish, but I really enjoy St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe even more than a holiday like Valentine’s day, because there’s not a lot of pressure for gifts or dates, and you don’t even have be in a relationship to enjoy the holiday. And for some reason, Ireland has always been one of THOSE places I have been in crush with. I even got to spend 3 glorious days there in college. I wish I could go back and finish seeing all the places I want to there some day. 🙂

So, in honor of this great, green day, we donned our green and pretended to give our kids some “culture” today. Which included a stop by at the city aquarium. Not sure how that one fit in, but Evie did sit on a green mermaid, so that counts, right?)

We almost successfully took pictures –or not– to send to Grandma of the shirts she sent for the holidays. I tried super hard to get a cute pic of the kids together… and all of them turned out like this or worse. 


Also, it involved bribing the toddler. Which is why she looks so sweet in this one. Chocolate chips do the trick, people. Or saying you can go outside to play after nap time. Whatever works. She likes to change it up often.

I made our favorite St. Patrick’s Day Shepherds Pie recipe, which is a lot of work and not entirely clean-eating approved, but worth it for a once-a-year meal!

And of course, we watched most of “The Secret of Kells” together… I love the animation and storyline, and it’s totally worth checking out if you haven’t seen it yet. I first learned about The Book Of Kells in my senior year of high school thanks to my mythology teacher, and then I actually saw it on display at one of our stops to Trinity College in Ireland, which was pretty amazing. Google is your friend if you haven’t heard of it before. It’s worth a side trip to learn about that artifact! 🙂

kells(Do you see what they did here,  people?! This happens throughout the whole movie.)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Internet! Or as one of my favorite brothers would say: “Happy Green Day!”