Let’s Talk about ADHD and Motherhood. Why I’m Not JUST a Hot Mess.

hiding out with some chocolate in the laundry room… just escaping the “overwhelm”

So today is Bell’s Let’s Talk Day – a day where people can be open and honest about their mental health struggles – which really SHOULD be every day but it’s another positive step towards the ending of mental health stigmas and the stigmas surrounding invisible illnesses.

I’m so proud to see friends of mine and people I follow stepping up and being real about the struggles they face and are facing.

I have my own struggles I’ve been trying to figure out for over the past year or so. I’m still figuring it all out. But let me rewind for a moment. Back in high school I was diagnosed with ADHD after extensive meetings with a doctor.

Wait, what?
But I’m not hyper. I’m not a 6 year old boy. I’m not a class clown.

No. You’re right. I was, however, a daydreamer. A procrastinator, a “Forgetful Jones” as my family called me from basically as far back as I can remember. I was flakey and lost things I was supposed to be responsible for. But – I also got basically straight A’s, was always afraid of getting in trouble, a “goody-goody” – definitely not disruptive or a troublemaker.

These stereotypes – and really, some of the stigmas – are why many girls are not diagnosed as frequently as boys. They simply don’t call as much attention to themselves in a lot of ways.

Back when I was diagnosed they still referred to ADHD as both that and ADD – which was the “inattentive” variety, not hyper. Now they actually refer to the entire thing as ADHD which can be broken into 3 types – Hyperactive, Inattentive, or Combination.

I was put on medication for a short time and through it I actually learned what it felt like to be able to focus wholly on one task that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the interest to. See, the name ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – is a little misleading. It’s not always a DEFICIT of attention, or lack of attention. Honestly it can be a surplus of attention – the ability to “hyperfocus” is a superpower those with ADHD are actually blessed with. But there’s a catch to our superpower – it’s only with things we really want to focus on, or have interest in. If we don’t really want to do that thing it’s nearly physically impossible to get focused on it.
So anyways, fast forward a good 10 … ok fine 15+ years later, and here I am, a Mama of 3 beautiful children. They are joy in my life. But I’m a gigantic hot mess. And I start recognizing some behaviours in my kids that I’ve seen in myself in the past. At this point, I felt like I have “grown out of my ADHD” because that was just “a kid thing” and now I am a grown up and don’t deal with that. Except…

Maybe I do?

I’ve been doing a ton of reading this past year and realized that no, ADHD is not something that is “grown out of” … it’s literally the way my brain is wired. Yes – being a mom can result in becoming a hot mess in an otherwise normal* woman. But it can also exacerbate the symptoms. Lack of sleep? Makes it worse. Stress? Makes it worse. ADHD can be the root cause of anxiety and depression. And you know what? Women (especially adults) are WAY more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety and depression rather than the root cause of ADHD.
*I like the saying “normal is a setting on a laundry machine”… there is no “normal” but you know what I mean here*

So here I am a year into this, trying to figure myself out. Afraid to say anything because while we’re making strides to end the stigmas on many many mental health issues, I still hear and read things like “ADHD is made up” and “ADHD is just an excuse for bad parenting” – not to mention all the “SQUIRREL!” jokes and ADHD jokes that get thrown around as though there is no one at the butt end of them. People still think of ADHD as something an elementary school boy has. Just recently a mama in a facebook group I am in got a nasty noise complaint letter telling her to put her children on ritalin because they were too noisy for them in their condo. So that stigma is still very much real.

But I’m going to add my tiny voice to the few speaking up to say I’m here, “This is Me” (thank you Greatest Showman!) and I may be a hot mess but it’s ok to be. I know for sure I’m not alone in this.

*** If you want to watch an AMAZING Ted Talk on this topic given by a woman with ADHD please please watch this one – it’s amazing and really explains so much of this topic.

Another super helpful website I’ve been reading is https://www.additudemag.com

Welcoming Christmas

I just said Welcoming Christmas.
On November 14.
When I was a kid we celebrated both Canadian and US Thanksgiving, I’m a dual citizen and my dad grew up in the US so we just always did both. And traditionally, US Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season – so we followed that and put up our decorations and fake tree the last weekend in November. And everyone in Canada said WE WERE SO EARLY. “Not until December 1st!!” people would say.
The clock strikes midnight on Halloween, and the page turns over into November and suddenly we’re all “GIMME MY EGGNOG LATTES!” and out comes the decor.
I mean, I’m not complaining. It’s my favourite time of year! I will definitely get my Christmas beverage from Starbucks when they are available, and bust out the Christmas playlist but in our family we usually wait until after Remembrance Day. And this year, our first Christmas event was literally the day after! I took my daughter to the Moscow Ballet’s Nutcracker performance at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver.
This was a bucket list thing for me. Not only to see such an impressive ballet, and one I’ve ALWAYS wanted to see live, but to take my little girl, who is starting to adore dance, and watch it together. We got all “fancy” and dressed up and went with our good friends Jenny and Isla for a girl’s night on the town.
I am sure I’ll sound ridiculously sappy when I say that I was grinning from ear to ear and actually teared up several times during the event just simply because it was happening. I would look over at Livvie, who was perched on the end of her seat, captivated by the dancers. She would look excitedly over at me when she recognized a song that she’d heard before, or to say “the ballerinas are on their TIPPY toes!!”, or just to comment on how beautiful the costumes were. It was magical.
The performers were absolutely incredible and the strength and power they demonstrated was astounding. There were children in the performance – Livvie was quite impressed with that – and when I looked up the company, I read about a program called “Dance With Us” that actually gives local dance students from each city the show is performed in the opportunity to dance alongside the professional ballerinas and danseurs in the ballet company. They go through the auditioning process and rehearsals leading up to the show and then get to perform on stage. WOW! What an amazing experience for those littles!
So, I am not in a position to critique or really “review” this performance as I have nothing to compare it to (yet!) but I will say, I left that theatre on cloud 9, absolutely thrilled to have experienced it and I am positive it won’t be our last time seeing this show!
Now. On to tidying up my house to get ready to pull out those decorations. I’m ready!

Silas is One!

How does time go so quickly?? I seriously feel like it was just yesterday that we met this little guy and now we’ve celebrated a whole year (plus a month) with him! The first year felt like it went by quicker than the first year with twins. I’m not sure if it’s because we had school and all the busy that goes with that, or if it was because with just one baby things were a lot easier. Either way, it flew.
First birthdays are so bittersweet. Marking the end of that true “baby” stage and opening the doors to toddler life and the adventures to come. Silas means “of the woods” so I wanted to celebrate this milestone using that as our theme! I didn’t want a woodland animal type theme and wanted to keep things fairly simple and true to our many adventures and walks in the woods together. Which meant moss, ferns, and mushrooms!                
I printed my square month to month shots to use as part of our backdrop. All the images have some sort of greenery incorporated in the shot even 🙂

This AWESOME cake topper was from Little Sprout Creations. I just love how the white pops against the greenery! I made the cake myself (just a box mix, it had to be easy!) and the “moss” on top of the cake is just sugar cookies dyed green and placed upside-down in layers. Sprinkle some green cookie crumbs on top for texture and voila! Moss-topper! Found the original idea via pinterest here!

These cupcakes were similar – I used graham cracker cookie crumbs (bought them in store – WAY easier that way!) and dyed them green. That part was a bit tricky in a ziplock for it to blend together but it worked out alright in the end! Just a bit of icing and dip them into the crumb mixture and you get another great texture for the table!

Every party I plan has so many ideas I want to get to but can’t – these macarons were an example. I definitely wanted more than just 5 but this was literally all I could find before the party for some reason! I painted the ferns with a gel food colour and almond extract mixture to create an edible watercolor on the actual macarons. I SOOO wish I could’ve done more of these, it was so much fun!

Ok seriously. These were the talk of the party. Teeny little mushroom meringues! SOOOO easy, and so adorable. Just make a simple meringue cookie mixture (egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, vanilla) and bake in two sets of shapes – a fat blob for the tops and a skinny “hershey’s kiss” blob for the bottoms (these are technical terms people!) Once cooked and cooled, you carefully, gently make a little hole in the underside of the fat blob and pipe a drop of melted chocolate in. Let cool upside-down so the chocolate hardens and you end up with these adorable little mushroom cookies. I sprinkled a bit of cocoa powder on top of them to make them look more authentic. It was my absolute favourite Pinterest-Win of this party! Original recipe here!

For the twins’ birthday I had a Dr. Seuss theme so I got the Happy Birthday To You book for guests to sign as a keepsake. I found this gorgeous book at Spruce Collective in Abbotsford and chose it to be our guestbook.

What’s a party without a photobooth area? I looooved these hoops from Posie & Pine – they were such a gorgeous addition to the party area!

Happy Birthday to our Little Bear, our Bubba, our smiley little guy. You bring so much joy to our family and I can’t wait for the adventures we will get to have together!

Party Location: Rolley Lake, BC
Custom Cake Topper: Little Sprout Creations
Floral Hoops: Posie & Pine
Guestbook: Children’s Book from Spruce Collective
Photography: Amanda Gregor Photography 

Berry Beat Festival – My debut into the market world!

Well, the lead up was stressful but I did it! Or, I should say “we did it!” because I had some amazing help along the way. It pulled together and I was so proud of how it turned out, I had to share!

The view from outside my booth – with my Mama there to help me! 
Loved this letterboard from Letter Peddler – a Canadian letterboard company

You’ll see little critters my mom made – her little company is called Tunbridge Knits, and I will be carrying these adorable hand knit stuffed friends in my shop. They were a crowd favourite, people couldn’t stop talking about their detail and quality.

Shoutout to my amazing hubby who built my peg board wall for me. We were a little worried as we built it, the plywood was VERY splintery (so we may need an upgrade at some point) but it worked out in the end! I love that I can change the layout as I need! 
Samples on the table of my work! 
These were favourites too – the memory match games! Images were placed onto the wood and the outlines wood burned to finish. 
More cute little friends. My chair was tucked into the back corner there which seemed to work out great! And we were in a great spot that didn’t get too hot, especially on such a hot day like we had! 
Another favourite – Storytellers! These were scooped up by a few teachers actually, which made me feel pretty good! They encourage imagination by creating a story sequence based on whatever image is pulled from the bag! 
The Camping/Outdoor themed Storytellers! 
More setup shots.
I love this little mouse. I scooped up some of our wooden blocks that are decorating Silas’ room and waiting for him to be big enough to play with them! They made such a great little addition to the decor here! 

All in all it was a great experience. Since it was a 12 hour day I was absolutely EXHAUSTED by the end of it, and probably will feel the effects of it all week because I am not used to that much social interaction!! But I feel like I made some great connections, met some amazing people, and learned a little bit about prepping and running a booth at a market. It was a great debut, and I can’t wait to set this up again soon! (July 29/30 – mark your calendars!!)

HUGE THANK YOU again to my mom for bringing me last minute things I needed, bringing me lunch, and hanging out with me, to Erin for bringing me cold root beer treats and picking up our dinner and hanging out with me at my booth! To Bethany for watching my littles while I did some last minute running around the day before! To my hubby for the pegboard, the set up/tear down help, and support and encouragement of my little dreams. And to anyone who came, bought, or even just stopped by my booth to say hello, your support and encouragement means the world to me.

Stress, Worry, and Sunshine

So I guess if I’m going to have a blog, I should probably blog more, hey?
I don’t know about you but I often get in my own head too much. I analyze everything. I think “oh hey, I should blog about that!” and then I stop, because I think it’s not good enough to blog about. Or no one wants to hear it. But you know what? I love that people read this, but I didn’t actually create this space for anyone other than myself so I am just going to blog what I feel, as I feel it. Ok? Ok!

So this week I’ve been hustling HARD. Saturday is the Berry Beat Festival in Old Downtown Abbotsford and I signed up to be a vendor. I have had a few “What on earth was I thinking?” moments as I’ve been prepping for this. Firstly, it’s a 12 hour day. 12. Hours. How am I going to man a booth for 12 hours?! Will the baby come with me for a while? I’ve never been away from him for 12 hours so I’m hoping so. Also, it’s on my father in law’s birthday and I’m going to completely miss his party and the family gathering because I didn’t think that through at.all. Also – what if no one buys anything?! I’ve spent a lot on materials, a tent, a table, the vendor space … with absolutely zero experience. On the other hand, what if I sell out?? I can only make so much right now since everything is out of pocket, and being a 12 hour day that’s a long time to keep stock! I think that scenario is probably more wishful thinking, because selling out is a good problem to have, but I also don’t want my booth to look pathetic and empty!

I think I’m feeling the stress of these worries a bit more now that my maternity leave is officially over. I’ve chosen to stay home and work on this business and my photography business so I can be home with Silas and be available for my big kids – the cost of daycare just didn’t make sense with only working part time. But having no consistent, expected income is a scary thing. Props to all you entrepreneur mamas out there for sure! It’s hard work, and I’m leaning on God’s provision and working on separating wants from needs. This, my friends, is a difficult thing to do!

Anyways, it does kind of feel good to write out my worries. I know in the end it’s going to go whatever way it goes, but this hustle is real and it’s a tiny bit stressful! My big kids are currently at daycamp through the day, which helps me get some work done (though I wish so much I could have some peaceful time to myself in that comfy hammock on the patio!) and the sun is shining which is a real mood booster for sure! But the overwhelm is real and the to-do list long.

Anxiety is a bit of a beast. I’ve always struggled with this and I wish I could just snap my fingers and make it go away but for now I will take a break and a drink of ice cold water, breathe deeply, soak in the sunshine and remember that I am a child of God and I can cast my worries and anxiety on Him.

What do you do when you’re overcome with worry and anxiety?