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This season of life has been HARD.

Most of you close to me know I’ve been struggling with severe depression + anxiety. Not to mention the swelling in my knee is worse than before surgery (which was operated on in Nov 2016). These three things combined, along with life itself, has created a constant cloud above my head – which never seems to fade, only darken.

Ry and I were laying in bed the other night, and he said to me “Babe, what happened to that go-getter I married?! The one thing I loved about you, is you fought for what you wanted in life, whether it be a new job, business, or child – and I feel like that fight is gone.”

His words have never rang more true, and they were just what I needed.

The past few months I’ve been sick. Mentally ill from stress compounded from the past year.

I’ve wanted to give into our financial pressure from finishing the house. Wanted to sell things that bring us so much joy… just so I didn’t have to feel this way anymore. I’ve hated myself, and resented my children. I’ve cried, asked God why, and felt worthless too many times to count. Mom guilt has been hitting HARD, and the internet sure doesn’t help.

So I stayed off, quiet for a while. I still posted on Instagram and Facebook… but was hiding the real feelings of my soul. Putting into words what I’ve been feeling has been too painful, or too confusing at times, so I’ve tried ignoring it.

However, it wasn’t until I asked for help, that things started to change.

A month ago I was given a stronger dose of depression meds from our family practitioner… and can I just say it takes balls to take a pill to “make you happy”?!

I hate it,

but it’s the only thing making me sane.

So here’s a shout out for all those Mama’s who fight for natural remedies, and stick it out during colds – but crumble in the face of mental illness. Of chemical imbalances, and neurotransmitters not working correctly.

It’s not YOU, its your body. Don’t ignore it.

Anxiety sweeps in, and like a rollercoaster I go from the peak of my day, to rock bottom in a matter of minutes. Thoughts start rushing through my brain like the Great Flood, taking my sanity and reasoning with it. Panic sets in, or sheer nervousness, and boom I need to lay down.

Sleeping for hours on end, never wanting to get out of bed. This was not me, this was anxieties evil twin – depression. No motivation for anything, lack of love for all you hold dear, and constant feelings of living behind a screen door. A socked in fog that doesn’t go away, and holds your emotions captive.

This is not normal.

But I wasn’t “sad”. I didn’t have any thoughts of suicide, or giving up completely. Everything just felt HARDER. More heavy than it should be. Making decisions was like breaking an arm, and I couldn’t bear the pressure. So I slept, and hoped time would pass – and like a storm this would all be over. A new day would always dawn, but along with it a feeling of hopelessness.

Friends, this is me… being real.

Me feeling like if I have the courage to share my story, maybe I can help another. Maybe I can even save a life. Talk to anyone you know, I’ve always been a happy-go-lucky woman & mother… until depression came along and swept me off my feet.

Thankfully I have a warrior tribe, people who love me and have courage to tell me I’m not myself. Individuals who I’ve spent hours upon hours talking with about frustrations, feelings, or faulty actions. Ryan was the first to say something, he knew I wasn’t myself… and that was the single step I needed to call the clinic for help.

After a month of being on medicine, going to an acupuncturist, getting my Mirena removed, adding Vitamin D, kelp, biotin, and sometimes Vitamin B12 to my diet – I’m happy to say I’m finally starting to get my groove back. 

** A special note for those of you on the Mirena, who suffer from depression. Not going to completely blame the Mirena for my ill feelings… HOWEVER, I started feeling depression after Isla’s birth, and have struggled ever since. Not to mention the steady weight gain (or inability to lose) that slowly compounded.

The mirena is the ONLY thing that’s been a constant in those years besides having small children… and after talking with my closest friends – and Ryan, we made the decision to have it removed.

BEST DECISION You guys!!

I was told it didn’t affect my hormones (although it releases Synthetic Progesterone), and really probably was the last thing that could worsen depression. I fought against the wishes of my highly regarded (and personally loved) midwife/obgyn – and had it removed.

It’s been two weeks, and this is the best I’ve EVER felt in a longgg time. Don’t let birth control off the hook if you aren’t feeling yourself friends.

And for those of you who want to know if we’re going to have another babe, the answer is a big fat NO… with a smile.

We went on a little shopping spree for other methods of preventing pregnancy, and felt like high-schoolers all over again… hah! 🙂

In light of this personal article filled with redemption from the darkness, depression is a SERIOUS condition. Please seek medical help, or talk to a friend if you think you may be struggling. Google “self depression screening” and take that stupid little quiz. It may change your life.

I saw this quote today, and it gave me the courage to share my story… so I hope it inspires you, wherever you may be. Sending all the love. xo – Chels

“It’s OK if you fall down and lose your spark. Just make sure that when you get back up, you rise as the whole damn fire.” – Colette Werden

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Thoughts on Self.

This season of life has been HARD. Most of you close to me know I’ve been struggling with severe depression + anxiety. Not to mention the swelling in my knee is worse than before surgery (which was operated on in Nov 2016). These three things combined, along with life itself, has created a constant cloud above my head – which never seems to fade, only darken. Ry and I were laying in bed the other night, and he said to me “Babe, what happened to that go-getter I married?! The one thing I loved about you, is you fought for what…

Sunday Reflections.

The first week of January I found myself questioning all the things, and feeling this maddening, indivisible pressure to have my life goals and plans written out in a thousand page diary. Oh the pressure of a new year. You see, I have all these amazing changes I want to make, and so my wheels start to spin. Then I see something else I’d love to do… and jump on that train too. Before I knew it, my mind was spinning faster than a carnival ride, yet my spirit and body couldn’t quite make sense of what to do next.…

Homemade Marshmallows.

Every time my children ask for hot cocoa they MUST have their Marshmallows too… except my 100% organic, no refined sugar or corn syrup brain secretly despises purchasing them. Thanks to Danielle Walker of Against All Grain, Celebrations- we now have a Paleo/healthy version of these delectable puff balls. I’m sharing her recipe because #1… its awesome and #2… because I want my children to have a book of our favorite family recipes when they grow older, and this blog is a perfect way of keeping them all in one place. So without further ado, here’s our new favorite Marshmallow recipe.…

2016 in Review.

“Let your days teach and transform you. Let them leave you differently than they found you.” – unknown. This past year consisted of daily learning experiences, intertwined with blessings. In January, Ryan went full-time self employed with Backcountry Woodworking. He built some amazing pieces for his clientele, and picked up work from folks like Glacier Highline (the Aerial Adventure Park), Proof Research, Kalispell Brewing, EnVouge Salon, Walleyes Unlimited of Montana, Lake McDonald Lodge, Swift Current Café, Rising Sun Motor Inn, and custom work for local families. You can view most of his work by clicking HERE. I also hired a full-time seamstress in…

Almond Butter Buckeyes.

Tis the season for warm beverages + satisfying treats. Although I try to keep my Holiday indulgences to a minimum, these are still a traditional staple… not to mention they’re gluten free + delicious. Almond Butter Buckaroos : 1/2 cup almond butter 1/4 cup pure maple syrup 2 TBSP + 1 TSP coconut flour 2 TBSP arrowroot powder 1 TSP pure vanilla extract 4-5 oz of organic, fair-trade dark chocolate. In a bowl, mix almond butter, maple syrup, coconut flour, arrowroot powder, and vanilla extract. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then using a spoon, create 1 inch round…

Mentoring.

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” – Plutarch In 2017, I want to initiate changes + inspire others. Whether you’re following along with our family’s minimalism journey, or here to get a bigger in-depth look at how business, photography, and everyday life blends in our home… I’m happy to have you here. With that being said, I’ve also had a lot of requests for help or advice. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m an open book. I’ve been through many different arenas in life, and love to offer a helping hand to…

Business Reflection + Success.

As winter deepens, and the holiday buzz is nearly overwhelming – I find myself in a serious time of reflection. This past week I finished my last market of this year, and unfortunately had bigger expectations for the “final finale of 2016”.  Lets be honest, Vintage Whites is my baby and was Alpine Baby Co’s very FIRST market. So I’m used to having loads of support, and not a ton of competition. In 2016 however, I decided to expand my market love vending at The Whitefish Arts Festival, Vintage Whites, Handmade Holiday, and Holiday MADE fair. I love how each one…

Roasted Cinnamon + Honey Pear Slices.

We purchased some really beautiful + delicious looking pears at our local supermarket a week ago, and of course they were on their last leg by the time I remembered them in our produce basket. Not the right texture to eat fresh, I scoured around for a seasonal pear recipe. We changed up the suggested cooking time, because my kiddos love dehydrated foods vs. chips… so we made “slices” instead. Having a reason to fire the oven on a 5°F day made the process of this recipe extra special. Not to mention our home smelled amazing (once again) thanks to an…