Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Migraines: How to Avoid the Gateway to Hell

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Migraines are a special kind of misery. As Forrest Gump once said, "Migraines are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get and they are probably a trigger, so don't eat them."

Though I'm one of the lucky ones who only gets a migraine every few months, they still shut me down to a standstill. Last week, I was slammed in the skull with a migraine of the worst severity I have ever had. I left work wondering if I was going to be able to see the road through the aura that was streaking across my vision from the right side of my face. A fever of 101 kicked in as I forced my shivering body into bed, too hot to put my standard pillow across my eyes, too sensitive to handle the light without it. Eyes shut tight, I waited it out in agony.

Having a migraine is like being trapped inside of your own head. With eyes closed, I'm still awake due to pain and the caffeine in Excedrin Migraine, leaving me with nothing but my own thoughts. For some reason, all of the worst, most terrible thoughts I could possibly have seem to come rushing through some flood gate in the back of my brain that the migraine has swiftly opened. I imagine far-fetched scenarios, like my kids running into traffic and I can't get there quick enough, or what will I do when Turbo passes away? I ask myself why I'm thinking about these things and open my eyes to remove the images, only to hiss at the light like a vampire climbing out of a coffin before dusk.

My arms feel heavy. My right eye feels droopy. My speech feels disconnected. Am I having a stroke? (Again with the dark, ridiculous thoughts.) And then comes the Mommy guilt. My husband is now left to fend for himself with a toddler and a baby while I lay dormant in bed, wishing I could help and wishing I could fall into a deep, dark cave, simultaneously. I want to be with them, but the idea of sitting up is excruciating.

Everyone has their best advice on how to deal with a migraine. These days, I hear people share that Botox in the head and neck is the answer, but I don't think I can go that route just yet (however, talk to me again when I'm in pain and I'll probably offer to inject it myself). There are all kinds of drugs to take - consult your doctor, not your local blogger on that one. Today, I'll lay out advice on how to recover because it is advice I also need to adhere to in the future to reduce down time:
  1. Take meds early. The minute you feel that migraine feeling coming on - dull ache, slight nausea, light and sound sensitivity - even to the most minor degree, pop an Excedrin Migraine. I've fought off a few by simply being timely with the meds.

  2. Lie down. Stop worrying about the stuff you need to do. Don't feel guilty about bailing on friends or family. Work will wait. Lie down, shut up and try to sleep.

  3. Darkness is your friend. Bathe in it. Pretend you are a bat in a cave and revel in the dark. Bundle yourself into a blanket and a sleep mask and keep things light tight.

  4. Hydrate. Drink water like you are taking a journey through the Sahara. Once you think you have drank enough water, drink some more. 

  5. Pay attention to your triggers and write them down. Seriously, don't just log it to memory. Put any factors from the few days before into a journal. That time of the month? Too much red wine? Were you stressed out? Are you dehydrated? Writing it down each time allows you to establish a pattern that you can take to the doctor for some better examination. 
To all my fellow migraine sufferers out there, I salute you and I wish for you to have quick recoveries.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Teal In Motion: An Update On Life

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Oh, hi. Remember me? My name is Teal and I used to blog all the time. I'm going to try to pick back up where I left off. I've missed you.

It is not surprising that my last post back in April was all about making choices in life to find balance. With my life seriously out of balance, one choice I had to make was to take a step back from Teal In Motion. There simply weren't enough hours in the day to write. I was out the door before I could snap outfit photos and quite frankly, I wasn't loving how I was looking on four hours of sleep. Every time I would think of something I wanted to say, I would lose it to the vortex of rambling thoughts about all the other things I needed to do first, like laundry or bills or perhaps taking a shower. I decided to listen to my own advice and make some choices and changes on which way to lean in my life. Allow me to catch you up on what I've been up to in the past three months:

I got a new job.

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Thanks to the power and support of my husband, my network of friends and my former colleagues, who gave me the encouragement I needed to make a change and even tipped me in the exact direction of my new job, my new desk is all set up. And the best news? My new desk is just a fifteen minute commute away from home. I found a role that is challenging and inspiring in addition to fulfilling my cravings for work/life balance.

I cut my hair.

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New job, new hair. Gone are the days where I pull my hair into a greasy ponytail and call it a style. I've revitalized myself with a simple slash of the scissors. Extra time in the morning has allowed me to amp up my cute factor and trust me when I say I haven't really felt cute in months. I'm grabbing back my mojo with two hands and a long bob.

I've watched my kids grow and thrive.

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I could spend a full day just watching my kids take on the world. Their sweet dispositions are a great match and there is no joy greater than watching the two of them play and interact, unprompted. Little Miss Sutton is nine months and on the move - talking, being silly, cruising furniture and laughing at everything her brother does. Her hair is out of control and I love every crazy strand. Keagan is the consummate entertainer; where there is an audience, he is testing out his comedic timing. He is currently obsessed with petting dogs, much to Turbo's pleasure and chagrin, depending on what day you catch the grumpy old man on. Turbo gets in the mix when it suits him and hides on the couch out of reach when their wild play hits a fevered pitch. Keagan and Sutton are little roaming balls of happy energy. Their smiles, laughter and strong personalities make every day a new adventure in parenthood.

I'm going on dates.

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Raising kids is hard work. Finding time for you and your husband alone is even more challenging - at least, that has been the case for Kevin and me. With Sutton so small (and so terrible at sleeping), we became big homebodies until we could find our footing again. As life has started to lend itself to a sweet, calm routine, we've pushed ourselves out the door. The biggest thrill for me has been playing golf again. For our 5-year anniversary in May, Kevin and I went out and played a nine-hole course and had Thai food. I couldn't have asked for a better celebration of a life with a true (and super handsome) partner.

So, there you have it. Lots of changes, all for the better - a life on the upswing. The Teal in Teal In Motion is back.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Vicious Cycle of the Mommy Track

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A parking lot. A beautiful bridge. Put the two together, and you have my 5 pm commute.

Lean in. Lean out. Lean on. Lean back. With so much directional leaning, I feel myself swaying out of control on my own axis. Working moms weeble and they wobble but they don't fall down.

Recently, I walked away from the opportunity to apply for a promotion. Never have I been one to pause at the middle of the ladder I am climbing. I pull my way enthusiastically up each rung. This time, this specific time in my life, things are different. I suddenly find myself on the dreaded Mommy Track and I'm not sure if I should blame society or blame myself.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Purple Khakis and a Smile

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This outfit of the day photo was taken by my three-year-old son. Apparently, the only way I'm going to get outfit photos lately is by happy accident.

Sweater: Ambience San Francisco
Tank: Target
Khakis: Gap
Flats: Steve Madden

I get dressed every morning with full intentions of taking outfit photos and it simply does not happen. I'm in a rush, I'm feeding a baby, it is dark outside and my tripod is broken. Excuses upon excuses. Fortunately, my aunt showed Keagan how to use a camera during our visit last weekend and I just happened to be wearing my current favorite pants when he clicked the button. My husband bought these vibrant purple Gap khakis for me on clearance for $3. He wins for finding the best deal ever and my son wins for saving my blog from its lack of style pics. I'm a bit disheveled in this photo but I'm wearing the brightest smile to match my radiant pants. Joyous weekend wear works for me.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Shopping Warby Parker Spring 2014

Did you know your eyesight can change after a pregnancy? I found that out during a recent eye exam. My vision has gotten worse. Ugh. I'm telling you - the wheels seem to be falling off of this train.

What better excuse do I need to go shopping for some sweet new frames? I've talked in the past about how I love Warby Parker's home try-on process so I thought I might give it another go. Their Spring 2014 line just came out and I'm digging the bright colors and modern shapes. Here are three frames that I'm considering:


Finch in Grenadine- I've been wanting a pair of red frames for a while. Think modern day Sally Jesse-Raphael. Oh man, did I just date myself with that reference?



Seymour in Whiskey Tortoise - I love a classic square shape and the tortoise color goes with everything.
 


Walker in Canton Blue - These are look-at-me glasses and I feel that they need to be on my face.

What frames are you loving from Warby Parker right now? They also have a new collection called Palm Canyon that brings a woodwork finish to some of their classic frames. I'm going to have to check that out next.

Disclosure: I was not compensated by Warby Parker for this post - I'm just a fan of the company.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Doing What Is Best For You and Your Family

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I've talked about how needy my little girl is in comparison to the independent, maintenance free experience I had with my son in his infant months. Despite the lack of sleep, she is beautiful. She is happy. She is healthy. But me? I was hitting a breaking point.

For eight weeks - two whole months - I was averaging 4 1/2 hours of sleep per night. I did the math and it made me dizzy. She would wake up every 1 or 2 hours, desperate to nurse and I would quickly accommodate for two reasons: to get her back to bed so I could sleep and so she wouldn't cry and wake my son, leading to no one sleeping. Since she wasn't taking a bottle well, it would take me almost an hour to put her back down, only to have me shoot awake to her cries again an hour later.

Combine this with my return to work and I can honestly say I was feeling like I might be losing my mind. I would stare at coworkers I know very well and question whether I knew their names. That is the level of tired I was at. Mind-erasing exhaustion.

I threw out a couple of cries for help on Facebook and of course, my wonderful friends came forward with all kinds of suggestions. Books I should read. Methods I should try. Sympathy and empathy for our plight. None of it really lined up with one consistent method so I was left to pick and choose what the right course of action might be for us.

And that is the key point - what is right for US. We are over inundated with conflicting how-to advice and as moms, we are constantly pressured to do the right and perfect thing for our babies (i.e. breastfeeding, don't let them cry it out, attachment parenting, etc.). I'm the first person to drop everything for my kids, but how can you do that when your own health and sanity is compromised?

My husband and I came up with a plan.
  • Step one: I'm done breastfeeding. Now that I'm back to work, I simply can't keep up with her appetite, even with pumping. Plus, she is showing some signs of allergies and if I'm being realistic, I don't have the time or energy to truly commit to an elimination diet. We had one last goodbye nursing session this last weekend where I stroked her hair and cuddled her body curved against mine. I shed a small tear but I also patted myself on the back for trying my best.
  • Step two: She is sleeping in our bedroom, which is more removed from our son's room, and we are sleeping in the living room on air mattresses and the sofa. We are testing if she is crying for food or crying out of habit. Being out of the room allows us to sleep through initial cries to see if she will go back to sleep. If she cries while waiting for a bottle or if she cries when taking the bottle, our toddler won't spring awake at 3 a.m. We will deal with our own creaky backs and tossing and turning if it means we can get on a good schedule.
  • Step three: Now that the bottle is in play, I'm able to tag my husband into the ring each night to go head to head with our little sleepy girl. That buys me a couple extra hours of sleep.
We are on day four of this routine and it is working. We have leaped from four hours of sleep per night to almost ten hours - five hours, then three hours, then one and a half. I credit the switch to formula in helping this change. Turns out, my girl is HUNGRY. She takes down six ounces twice a night and there is no way that I was providing that much for her out of my own supply. For the first time in over two months, I woke up without that deep, bone-crushing ache that comes with exhaustion. I actually sang along with the radio during my commute today instead of blinking and turning on the A/C to stay awake.

What strikes me out of this is that regardless of the fact that we are working quickly towards a sleep solution, I still get judgmental comments from those I've talked to about our new method, particularly when it comes to breastfeeding. The furrowed brows that appear when I say that I'm weaning are obvious and they are annoying. I'd nurse more if I could, but now that I'm not, my girl is thriving! And just as importantly, so am I.  For each person that gives me a look of pity when saying, "Oh. I nursed my kids until they were at least one year old," I wish I had medals in my pocket that I could whip out and pin on them with a flourish. Apparently, they think they win the mommy race.

The point is that you won't find our crazy couch-sleeping method in a book. However, it is working for us and we will modify as we go to get us back into our rooms and our girl back into her crib. Nothing is static or rigid in parenting an infant. Everyone needs to be healthy and well. Do what works best for you and your family.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Exhaustion Is Not Productive

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Here is what I've learned about having two kids under 3 year old. It is exhausting.

Now that I've returned to work, I have been putting a lot of effort into getting dressed in the morning. I've been cultivating a work chic look that I'm feeling good about. I dyed my hair a few shades darker just to mix it up in the winter months. I'm currently scouting new glasses. And I would love to share all of this with you but I simply cannot get it together to take a picture. Why?

Because I feel just like Turbo looks. I'm wiped out to the point where I want to lay on my paws and snore all day.

But I'm working on it. I'm going to snap some photos this weekend of my new favorite Gap khakis and I'm going to write a couple things on the transition from maternity leave to hiring a nanny. Life has been a sleepless blur; bear with me.