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Benjamin’s Diagnosis

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So I know within the last few months I’ve written about how Baby B is always sick, throwing up, being congested, etc., well we finally know what’s going on!

I know it may not seem like a big deal to most, but for the last half of a year, Benjamin has spent it in our arms, struggling to breathe, choking on his milk, and being uncomfortable in most positions babies usually love. He has been passed on from family members for being too “cranky” or throwing up too much on everyone’s clothes.

For the last 6 months, I have barely slept for I would wake with every tiny sound he would make, scared he was no longer breathing. I was judged over and over again for cosleeping with my clearly sick child. I stopped breastfeeding because we thought he had an allergy to lactose, which was causing his “congestion.” We’ve kept him away from people, and inside, because his doctor told us ” it’s winter, babies get sick.” We got criticized for not clearing his nose enough, and for being overprotective when there was nothing wrong.

For the last few months I got told I was “baby-ing” my baby and was choosing a favourite child. That I was becoming the family member that nobody liked. I second guessed my judgment as a parent, and began to feel like I wasting the doctors time.

But here’s where I want to say “TRUST YOUR MAMA INSTINCTS!!” I knew something was off.

After many scans, xrays, scare of an abscess, checking for a heart murmur, and explaining the same story to countless doctors, we finally got some answers!

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After putting a camera up his nose, we were told that Benjamin has laryngomalacia. He doesn’t make the same noise that babies usually do with this condition so that is why they had such a hard time diagnosing him.

Laryngomalacia is when the tissue above the vocal cords is malformed and floppy, causing it to block the airway when inhaling. We were told that if they just looked at the video they took, Benjamin would for sure need surgery for how badly it is malformed, but because he is doing so well clinically (gaining weight etc,) and since this condition is known to improve during 6-8 months of age, we will wait to see if it continues to improve on its own. Benjamin also has reflux (which is common with laryngomalacia,) so he was put on medication for that too.

Even though he has stopped throwing up formula for the most part, we are still struggling with solids. He either throws them back up, gags/chokes, or his breathing gets really bad after. We may have to go for additional testing when we see his dr next week.

I am thrilled that we finally know what’s going on with our little man, but I still hate this waiting game. The whole bring him back if he “starts to turn blue” really freaks me out. I feel like I need to keep an eye on him 24/7 for we don’t know if/when it could turn for the worst. As much as I know that there are worse diagnosis’s, I hate seeing my little guy suffering and not being able to live his babyhood like he should be.

I will update after our appointment next week.

xo

Julie

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Anxiety – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Today is Bell Lets Talk day so I figured we would do just that. The last time I wrote more in depth about Anxiety would have been my post from last year! It was about being diagnosed, I included a link at the bottom of this post in case you guys want to check it out.

When my doctor recommended CBT to me I was very hesitant. How was I supposed to tell a total stranger about my life when I couldn’t even talk to the people around me? What was I supposed to talk about and how was I supposed to fit that in my schedule between work and school?

The place recommended to me was just a few stops away on the metro from my school so I went in between classes. I’d finish class in the morning, hop the metro and walk the rest of the way. Then I’d do the reverse and head back to school for more classes. It made for an extremely long day and I always felt so drained afterwards. I cried once a week in front of a woman that I knew nothing about and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

The process of starting was that you first go through an evaluation. I filled out so many forms filled with extremely personal questions. Then I sat down with two women, that read the forms and asked me even more questions. I cried during that too. They then determine what kind of anxiety you seem to have as there is more than one. Next they find a therapist or student therapist to match you with. They then set up an appointment for you and away you go.

I bawled my eyes out for almost every single appointment. I learned so much about myself and the people in my life. It sounds weird to say that but I saw them and their actions in a new light. I realized that I had some very toxic relationships that I either needed to fix or end because they were destroying me. I talked about so much and I said things that I would never have felt comfortable talking to the people around me about. I always worried that I wouldn’t have anything to say but after a couple of questions, I felt like I didn’t have time to talk about everything.

I knew my sessions were coming to an end when I was able to go once every two weeks… That and I wasn’t crying my way through the whole session! That was a huge improvement for me. I still have the tools my therapist taught me and I can’t thank her enough. I don’t know what I would have done without her.

I also got homework to do from my therapist and it was actually super helpful. I still use some of the techniques now, even though I no longer attend sessions. CBT is one of the most effective treatments for anxiety. I learned what triggered my anxiety, how to stop from spiraling, and how to cope with it. It is usually done over a shorter time period, it can also be done in groups but I was not up for that.

Sometimes I think about finding another therapist, a bit closer to home, because it helped me immensely. Unfortunately, it can also be very expensive. It helps to talk about things and I am so glad my doctor convinced me to go. I don’t regret it for a minute.

So now I’ll wrap this up by telling you to please talk about it. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone in your life, an outsider can be so much easier. I still struggle to talk about how I feel but I’m better than I used to be and I hope I can improve even more. Don’t suffer in silence anymore, and you are always welcome to contact me through the contact us page if you just need to talk to someone that doesn’t know you, with no judgment.

Talk about it and help end the stigma.

xo

Brittany

Link to the diagnoses:

https://beautyandbrainsxo.ca/2018/01/28/anxiety-the-diagnoses/

Nora + Benjamin Update 🖤

So it’s been a while. Like most of the world, I’ve been living in a bubble, in my own world. Just sitting around, waiting. A lot has and continues to go on, and as much as I’d like to touch up on all of it, this is not the place. Everyone knows and everyone has their own opinions, so let’s talk about my little family for a second. I have come to realize it has been a while since I updated on either one of my children. I have missed writing and sharing all about them. They have changed so much within the last few months!

I feel like within the last few months they have become whole new little people. Nora will be 3 in just over two months and I can’t believe it. My little baby has turned into a sassy, smart, hilarious child. I don’t feel as though she is a toddler anymore. She speaks in coherent, full sentences, and carries a conversation like you and I. She says things like ” the wind is picking up,” approriately. She has memorized her first book- I Love You Through and Through, and is working on her next one. Her current favorite shape is a Hexagon, she loves rainbows, Paw Patrol and a new movie every week. She still has very big feelings but can identify them and most of the time knows how or what she needs to do to feel better. Two weeks ago she decided she wanted to be potty trained and it been going amazing so far! It is just another reminder of how big she is getting. She is still Daddy’s little girl, and has been more than happy to have him working from home the last few months. Nora loves to sing and dance, and play with little characters and animals. She has such an imagination. The floor has been called a river for as long as I can remember. She is my best friend and I love the little girl she is becoming.

Benjamin is now 21 months old, he will be 2 in three months. Everyone is amazed at how much he has changed. Now that he is feeling better, he has become this funny little social butterfly. He is the first to run up to all the children (and parents) at the park, he speaks in full sentences, can count to 12, knows his abcs, as well as identify some letters and numbers. He loves to sing, is obsessed with trains and tractors, or anything that has wheels. He loves Cocomelon, Paw Patrol and Number Blocks, and has almost memorized the same book as his sister. He is constantly asking questions and wondering how things work. I love seeing his little mind go. Benjamin has started to have big feelings too, but he is very good at voicing them. He rarely hits but he loves to yell and tell us off. He is still a mommys boy, but has started sleeping in his own bed for the whole night. He is still in our bedroom but we plan on putting him with his sister soon. He tells Nora and I he loves us multiple times a day and he loves to hug and cuddle. I hope that part of him never changes.

Overall, Nora and Benjamin get along great. They often play together and love to make each other laugh. Our lives can get a little crazy sometimes but they make it so much fun. They amaze me every day with how kind and smart they are. I love this age, and I wish they could stay toddlers forever. As they get older I see how they need me less and less and now that I am no longer in that newbown fog, I am starting to miss certain things. I feel lost without the constant need to provide to one of them, and I know that I need to start figuring out who I am besides a stay at home mom. It is the greatest job in the world, but unfortunately most days it doesn’t take up all my time like it used to. They are becoming little independent beings and I’m not ready. But are we ever?

xo,

Julie

Mandy’s Gourmet Salad Restaurant Review

Could it be?! A restaurant review? Oh how I have missed going out to eat! I still don’t go often and when I do I try to either do takeout or sit outside to eat. In this case we got our food to go and sat outside to eat it.

Mandy’s Salad is a Montreal based restaurant and they now have 8 locations around Montreal. Including the Laval location that I went to! I wanted to try this for so long but I thought they only had like two locations in the city and didn’t want to trek all the way out there so I was excited to see they expanded!

A little back story to Mandy’s! It was started by two sisters. One, Mandy handled the food aspect of it and her sister Rebecca designed the interior. They started out in the back of a store and they’ve grown so much! They’ve even released a cookbook which I absolutely can’t wait to buy! The inside of they restaurants are amazing. I love the ascetic of it. I’ve only seen the Laval one in person but there are pictures of the others online. They even have some merchandise in house that you can get! Their bowls are sooo cute.

So far I’ve tried three of their salads and I’m pretty sure I’m going to try all of them. They use fresh, in season ingredients. I tried the Asian Salad, Superfood Salad, and Mexi Salad. So far I think the Superfood one is my favourite. You can see the breakdown of all their salads on their site. You can also create your own gourmet salad! You can also get smoothies, bowls, and coffees.

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There is no doubt in my mind that I’ll be going back! I’m definitely looking forward to it. Oh and if you live in the area and don’t want to leave the house.. they are on Uber eats!

xo

Brittany

Project Pan 2020 – New Project

I’m finally starting a new project! It’s been a long time but I’m moving in a month so I figured now would be a good time to try to finish off some samples, small products, and face masks!

My goal is to finish all the products above. It should be easy to do. I have morning and night face cream samples, a mask, two nose strips, eye cream, hand cream, lip balm, and a coffee scrub! The last three products are almost done so I should have an issue finishing them off. I’m moving in about a month, five or take a few days and just don’t want to bring these with me.

I do have some empties that I’ve been putting in my bin this year. I finally took a picture of them all and cleared them out! There’s barely any makeup but I did manage to finish a foundation sample. The ziplocks were bathbombs from Lush! I had them in there for my move to my parents place. It actually looks like a decent amount of empties but then I realize they’re all from this year and not the last month or so!

I’ll be posting my update in October but here’s hoping I finish everything.. and maybe some extras too! On the bright side, I’ve definitely been on a no buy and haven’t gotten any new beauty products in quite a while.

How have your projects been going?

xo

Brittany

Butter Bronzer Review

I feel like it’s been a hot minute since I’ve reviewed any beauty products! Obviously I haven’t been wearing much makeup since I barely leave the house anymore but I used this recently and realized I want to start using it more often!

I got this Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer on my one, and only, trip to Ulta in Florida! That feels like it was forever ago. I think the shade is a bit too dark for me but it works for the summer! This does come in a few different shades though and is available at places like Ulta and Walmart.

I love this packaging. When you open it, there’s the product obviously. But there is also a mirror and application sponge in it too. Plus the colours are nice!

It smells kind of like coconut! It applies so smoothly and is ridiculously buttery. The shade is a little dark for me but it blends out so easily. You can wear it with a full face of makeup obviously, but I have just been using it with mascara and brows. I use it to do a quick light contour (is there such thing as quick contour?). I find it looks good for an easy summer look! It looks smooth and natural.

Unfortunately Physicians Formula is not cruelty free which I didn’t realize. I’m pretty sure it will last me a while but I don’t think I’ll end up buying it again. At least not unless they switch.

Have you guys tried any of their products?

xo

Brittany

Girls in White Dresses Book Review

I love when you pick up a book and realize that this was definitely the book I needed to be reading right now. Does that make sense? Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close was the easy read I needed. I totally related to this book. Or at least the women in it! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one feeling lost while it seems like everyone else is getting their lives together.

This book follows a few women, who are all connected. They’re either friends from school or work but their main group of girls are all meeting men, getting married, and popping out babies. The more of them that get married off, the harder it is on the ones that are still single and trying to figure out what to do with their life.

It mainly takes place in New York City and not only are they trying to find love but they’re also trying to figure out their careers too. They go through lay offs, trying to decide if a huge career change would be worth it, and so much more.

I know I read this book years ago and when I picked it up recently I couldn’t for the life of me remember it and I’m so thankful for that. I definitely reread it at the perfect time for me. I’ve definitely been feeling lost and not sure what my next moves should be and I’m so grateful to know that I’m definitely not alone in that.

I recommend checking it out and I hope you like it!

xo

Brittany

Someone We Know Book Review

I have a huge stack of books to read and an even longer list of books I want to get! I figure that now is the best time to get some serious reading done.

I just finished reading Someone We Know by Shari Lapena. She also wrote The Couple Next Door which I read and reviewed a couple of years ago.

I wasn’t too sure what to expect this this one had it all! We’ve got family drama, murder, affairs, and small town gossip. What I especially like is that it’s not just the parents that have drama, but the teenagers are included in there too. Basically a teenager has been breaking into people’s houses but he hasn’t been stealing things.. just snooping through their computer and learning some interesting secrets! This definitely starts making the residents paranoid and it all goes downhill from there.

The point of view changes around throughout the book so you get more information and an insight into the different characters. You also find out more gossip that way too. I was pretty surprised by the ending! This is one of the few books where I didn’t work it out before hand. I thought it was one thing and though I was somewhat close, I was still totally off! I got a couple of the details right but I never would have figured it out which I love! I hate when the ending is going to be super obvious.

Have you guys read this one yet? If so, did you know what was going to happen at the end?

xo

Brittany

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

I feel like it has been so long since I’ve posted anything! More than ever I feel like people are looking for more recipes since they can’t go out to eat so I’ve got a yummy crockpot one which is just ridiculously easy. I saw a few recipes that were similar and this is the version I made. I changed a couple of things to accommodate what I had.

Of course I chose this recipe because it’s Taco Tuesday and I’m having this for supper tonight! Plus it’s Cinco de Mayo so I figured it would be perfect timing!

Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time is 4 hours on high or about 8 hours on low.

You can also swap out taco seasoning for burrito seasoning if that’s what you have on hand. I’ve made this a few times now and have found three different ways to eat it. As tacos, obviously.

You can have it over rice. Or you can turn it into a taco salad!


It is super easy to make and tastes sooo good! Check it out and let me know what you think!

xo

Brittany

Ink is Thicker Than Water Book Review

I have definitely had more time on my hands lately. Between everything shutting down and moving back to my parents place, I’ve been reading more. I went through my bookshelf and got rid of a big box of books! I still have a lot that I don’t remember or I just never read so I’m going through those.

I know I read this book before but I couldn’t remember it so I read it again and figured I’d do a review on it! I’m sure more and more people will be looking for new books to read. This one is a YA book that I’ve had for a while.

This is all about our main girl, Kellie, and her crazy family. Her mom and stepfather run a tattoo shop, her dad is a lawyer, and she has an older adopted sibling as well as a younger half brother. She adopted sister ends up meeting her bio mom which causes some issues in the family. She also unexpectedly reunites with the boy she almost lost her virginity to and her best friend stops talking to her. As a teenager that can all be extremely overwhelming! Plenty of family drama and finding yourself and your place in that family.

t this point in life, I found it too young for me but it would make a great read for a younger audience. I’m going to pass it on to my cousins that’s are the perfect age for it. They’re in high school now so I think they’ll relate to it much more than I did. I’d recommend getting it for that age range but if you’re older you can definitely skip it. Unless you’re looking for a super easy read!

I’m already moving on to the next book on my list! Stay tuned because there will definitely be more book reviews coming your way!

xo

Brittany

Easy St.Patrick’s Day Sensory Bin

I did this sensory bin on a whim because I was looking for something else in my pantry and came across 3 bags of fettuccine noodles. I don’t know why, I don’t even like fettuccine that much.

Usually this sort of bin is done using spaghetti noddles but I figured fettuccine was similar enough to give it a try!

I decided to dye the noodles green, in honour of St.Patrick’s Day , but you could dye them any colour!

For this activity you will need:

  • 1 package fettuccine (or spaghetti) noodles
  • Food colouring
  • Large ziploc bag
  • Strainer
  • Large bin

Start by cooking the noodles as directed on the package. After they are cooked, let them cool (or run under cold water if you are impatient like I was.)

Next, fill a large ziploc bag with half of the noodles. Add some water, and some food colouring.

Don’t be shy with the food colouring! I had to add more.

If you would like to do more than one colour, separate the noodles into a different bag for each colour.

After you’ve added the food colouring, close the bag up and mix! Shake, squish, flip upside down until all the noodles are covered.

Benjamin started but I finished mixing it up.

Once it is all mixed, place it back into the strainer to rinse the noodles off with water. This is important so that the dye doesn’t get on anything.

Place the noodles into a large bin once they have been rinsed and add extra stuff as desired! I used gold coins, and green beaded necklaces for the St.Patricks theme. I also added forks, spoons and popsicle sticks but you can pretty much add anything.

Nora wasn’t a fan of the texture of the noodles but she had fun playing with the beads.
Benjamin on the other hand…

What kind of sensory bin should we try next?

xo,

Julie

Ending a Long Term Relationship

I’ve sat down to write this post no less than 10 times. It is hard, everything about this is just so hard but it needed to be done. I was with my boyfriend for a little over seven years. Every step we take in this break up hits me like a fresh wave of grief. We have split up, we have told the family, and now I’m packing my bags and sorting through all of our stuff to see what stays with who. We are going through it together and I will always love him and consider him to be a great friend.

We got together when I was nineteen. He was my first ‘real’ boyfriend and now it is over. It is crazy to think that from here on out, things will not be the same. Our time came though, we were content and comfortable but we just weren’t happy anymore and we both deserve to find that happiness. I want nothing but the best for him and I 100% am still going to visit him and the dogs. He is going to keep all three, I couldn’t bear to separate them and this is their home. I’ll miss them like crazy but it helps to know that I can still see them.

We ended on good terms and believe me when I say we have been talking about our feelings a whole lot. I’ve cried a whole lot, I’ve had really bad anxiety but I know we are doing the right thing. I know people will ask why we didn’t end it sooner if we weren’t happy anymore but I’ve come to realize that you can’t let anyone force you to make those decisions. If you’re thinking of leaving a relationship, that right there might be a sign that you probably should but you will not do it, no matter what anyone says until you are absolutely ready. You have to take things one step at a time. It is hard to think that you could be so crazy in love with someone and then you aren’t anymore. The difference of loving someone and being in love with them has become a lot more clear to me now.

I’ll miss his company but I’ll also miss his family. The breakfasts and holiday get togethers, his nephews which are the friggin cutest. His sisters have always been warm and accepting and I absolutely loved shit talking with them. I loved watching one of his sisters become such an amazing mother. I know he is proud of her and so am I. I couldn’t have asked for a better family but especially his mom. She always gave him shit and I loved it! She’s outspoken and kind hearted. I hope we will always stay in touch.

So for now I move back in with my parents until I decide on what is next. I’m extremely lucky that I have that option and I really appreciate it.  I will have to get my own place at some point and live by myself for the first time ever. I need to love myself as my own person, not relying on anyone but myself.  I have a lot to learn and it will be really hard but I know that I will be stronger for it. That I will grow as a person.

So this is it for now, who knows what will happen next but I’ll be sure to start writing more often.

xo

Brittany