Category: facts about me (Page 1 of 17)

PPD & The Working Mom

PPDHeads up, this is an old post I wrote years ago when Ollie was an infant. It is no longer online so I am reposting it to help new moms. 

Hi. I’m Brandy and I have suffered from postpartum depression/anxiety…twice. I had no idea how to start this post so lets just shine light on the elephant in the room right off the bat (holy cliche sentence, Batman).

Being a mom is hard…working or not. We can all agree there. I can gladly state that the newborn phase of my children is the hardest (so far). While I don’t doubt my ability to mom or how good a mom I am, I know I have struggled with both Landon and Oliver as new babies. I also had great support to help me…and I know not everyone has that. As I stated in other posts, life at home isn’t for me. The colic. The crying. The long days of getting nothing done. The second time around was a little better knowing that it was a finite thing until I went back to work but still very isolating and scary at times. It wore me down.

I am willing to admit all this but I think some moms struggle with that. Sometimes that struggle is just a small nagging but sometimes it is more. Sometimes the long days with little sleep and so much frustration build and build. As hard as you want to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it is really faint. You get angry over little things and no amount of deep breaths help. You break one day and scream at your kid and then bawl your eyes out at what you did. People telling you “it gets better” mean nothing because while you know they are right, you want it better NOW.

What made it better for me? Going back to work.

As insane as that sounds, it has done so twice. With 6 years of self reflection, I know this is because of how I am wired. I thrive on achievement, if not over-achievement, and meeting goals. I have my dream job where I get to create and discover every day. So to go from that to a shower being my biggest accomplishment for the day? SUCKS! I thrive at work. I get to do what I love…create and help people. I get to work with amazing people. And? I GET TO SIT DOWN. I get to go to the bathroom without someone crying. I don’t have to put some one to nap and then wait to see if they actually will. There is routine that HAS to happen. We have to be at work at X…so crying or not, it will happen. Once we get home, I have X amount of time until I can drink relax. Everything is calculated out and predictable(ish). Yes, I have more on my plate with a full time job but I can think about something other than sleep schedules and poop colors. It gives me balance.

A few weeks after I went back to work, I went to see my therapist. She could see the difference when I walked in the door. She was pretty amazed. I no longer needed my anxiety meds.There are still the calls from daycare you dread but it is part of the gig. The next day brings something new…not just more of the same.

This post was spurred by this post on Huffington Post that I related to instantly. Another mom who found relief in the working world. I wanted her to know she wasn’t alone. I write this to show it is possible, as crazy as it sounds, to add more to your plate to make it better.

Have you dealt with PPD/PPA? If so, how did going back to work affect you? Better? Worse?

PSA: If you are struggling after your baby is born, even later on, please talk to your doctor. It is nothing to be ashamed of and completely normal. You may just have a case of baby blues but it could be more. Take care of yourself.  If you want to read other stores, please check out Postpartum Progress. I am also happy to answer any emails, tweets, etc if you need help. – Brandy

Why Daycare is More Than OK

It is no secret I love daycare. They have taken great care of my boys. They teach them tons of things in ways I couldn’t dream of. They teach sharing where I can’t really do the same peer to peer lessons at home. They make best friends and I have even made mom friends myself. I could, of course, go on but that’s not my point here. My point is that I don’t view daycare as something I had to settle for. Sometimes readers will ask “how did you make the decision to go back to work and send them to daycare?” or the more abrasive “How do you send your kids to get looked after by a stranger?”And after I flip a table at the later, I say, “I never really considered the other, honestly.”

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Welcome to Brandy’s House of Medical Mysteries!

rp_IMG_2213-1024x768.jpegHi. New here? Yesterday Ollie and I appeared on ABC 11 here in Raleigh to talk about his bout with Periorbital Cellulitis . Also in the story, the anchor teased that this blog chronicled my parenting adventures and how this isn’t my first weird medical diagnosis. She was right. For whatever reason, I seem to be the resident “oh my friend had that” spokesperson. I choose to write about these thing because a)I cope by laughing at myself and b) I figure I might as well calm people down in their Google searches. So I thought I would take the time to highlight all the wonderful things that I have experienced.

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Formula AND Pumping, Not OR

formulaHappy World Breastfeeding Week, everyone! With the celebration this year, the healthcare center at SAS asked me to participate. I went on camera and talked about my journey a little. When I was contacted about doing it, I jumped at it and asked if I could speak to a specific issue: formula and pumping. I did both with both my kids and while I don’t regret a thing, I always felt kind of alone. I felt like I was forging my own journey. There was little out there for support.  You are usually sifting through info from 2 vastly different sides. Either you exclusively breastfeed or just give formula and while neither is bad, it isn’t your only choice. The biggest group of moms this seems to effect is working moms. You go down a VERY common path. You start work and quickly see how hard it is to make those bottles. You pump and pump. You take from your maternity leave stash. You are living pump to pump. Then? Daycare says “he could use bigger bottles” and you heart sinks. How?

So a few years ago, while I was in the throws of this for the second time, I wrote a post I am reviving below. It is still relevant for new moms struggling to figure out that magical machine in a bag. Here ya go, mama…

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Operation: Sugar GTFO

About 2 years ago, while delaying with my hobo, I binge watched food documentaries. I learned a lot. Ever since, I watch more of what I eat. We eat way more vegetables. We choose simple lean meats for the majority of our meals. Progress!

I watched quite a few of these. Even some all about the sugar industry. Yikes. I am trying to find Fed Up in a Red Box currently but I think I already know. WE ALL EAT WAY TOO MUCH SUGAR. Unlike some of the other things people find intolerances and allergies too (gluten, dairy, soy, etc), sugar is in freaking everything. It’s not cutting back on the knowns of soda and cake…it’s ketchup…salad dressing…bread. Here is my coworker Kelly to tell you more about Hidden Sugar!

Note Kelly blogs for our company blog about nutrition. There are some great reads on there. I’m not just saying that because I work with the blogging program, promise.  There is even a recipe for homemade ketchup!

10 Day Sugar Challenge

Around the end of last year, the Whole 30(no dairy, no grains, no sugar, no soy, no legumes, etc.) buzz started. We saw people making dramatic changes to their diets and they were feeling amazing. By doing drastic food elimination, people were finding drastic things that they had no idea. This wasn’t fitting into jeans better. This was sleeping better. Chronic pain gone. SO MUCH ENERGY. Skin issues disappeared. Those people are now on the hunt to figure out which food is their trigger but they KNOW.

I watched all this with fascination. A lot of folks writing about it approached it from a “do you constantly feel tired? do you struggle to get out of bed? do you have chronic pain?” informercial type stance. I have to say no to all those things actually. I actually seem to have a lot of energy relative to other mother’s of 2 young children. But that doesn’t mean I don’t need to look at my eating habits. So in December our healthcare center here at work put out a registration for a 10 day sugar free challenge. The basic rules are:

  • No added sugar for 10 days ( no sweeteners*. Real or fake)
  • Only 2 servings of fruit max
  • *You are allowed a small allotment of sugar for honey or maple syrup only

To go along with it, our cafes will be offering more “no sugar added” foods every day for lunch (one entree, soup, sides, etc). So if all else fails I can just get takeout from work for dinner 🙂

So Kevin and I embarked on it this morning for 10 days of less sugar (the kids will get less by proxy). We have already been pregaming, if you will, this month. Eggs and fruit at breakfast. Kevin has cut back on sodas and candy. I’ve steered my snacking to nuts, popcorn and some dried fruit bars. I think we will be alright. I am curious to see how we feel in 10 days but even more excited to see us engrain some new staples in the routine to lower our sugar overall.

So this weekend I went shopping for the week like usual and found I could just skip entire aisles. I am going to live off sweet potatoes, avocados, kale and popcorn.  And with that, I give you week 1 of dinners for sugar free week!

Week1BTW I got a noodler the other weekend at Bed Bath and Beyond (remember those coupons don’t really expire!) and I am LOVING zoodles(zucchini noodles). I really could care less about spaghetti noodles and I can get a giant plate of them for like 80 calories. I also used it to shred sweet potatoes and made myself some great sweet potato hash-browns with just a touch of cinnamon!

P.S. I am really being tested out the gate as I woke up on day one with a scratchy throat and I can’t have cough drops. So whiskey, it is. Sorry, boss lady. JK


My Top 8 Albums of 2014

This year I felt like I’ve gotten some groove back. I am finding myself experimenting with new stations on my streaming services and finding great new sounds and groups. There are a ton of tracks I have liked (you can see those here) but I thought I would narrow down my top 58 albums of 2014.

And if you aren’t feeling the albums, here is my list of my top singles of 2014.

Album Favorite Single Comments

Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso


 Could I Be This album is just plain smooth. It varies in style including some Applachian folk sounds on a few tracks.

You’ve probably heard the single…Coffee.

FKA Twigs – LP1


 2 Weeks  This may be the weirdest one on the list. I have been listing to every single she has dropped for more than a year. Her style is very haunting and erotic. I’ve read this style coined as “indie R&B”. It seems every sound and word is heavily thought about and just fascinating to listen to. I encourage you to go back to her previous singles as well.

You’ve probably heard the single…2 Weeks? I know it is on BBC some but haven’t heard mainstream in the US anywhere.

Glass Animals – ZABA


 Hazey  Need an album to just put on on a lazy afternoon and chill out? Here ya go. Hell need an album to makeout to? This is also for you. Just smooth indie pop.

You’ve probably heard the single…Gooey.

Pharrell Williams – Girl


 Come Get It Bae  Good ole Pharrell. I’ve been loving him since Rump Shaker (yeah he did the beat). Fun poppy sound. I listened to this album a lot just playing with the kids and stuff. Some tracks made me dance and some made me want to sit and relax. Gust of Wind is another favorite but I chose Come Get It Bae because it never ceases to make me smile and clap.

You’ve probably heard the single…Happy. Duh.

Broods – Evergreen


 Never Gonna Change  Another indie breakout of 2014 here. A brother and sister combo from New Zealand with an electronic sound with very nice vocals. I saw someone coin this “trip hop” and I enjoyed that. Another album that I am pretty sure we be on Garden State if it came out today.

You’ve probably heard the single…Bridges.

SOHN – Tremors


 The Wheel  I might put this at #1 for me for the year. I love every freakin track. By their biography, it is a “melding of singer/songwriter fare with abstract electronic beats”. It basically encapsulates all things I like music wise. Every track is different but still the same

You’ve probably heard the single…Artifices.

St. Vincent – St. Vincent


Birth in Reverse Not sure how to describe St. Vincent but definitely in the indie pop category. Interesting lyrics and just good to put on your headphones and knock out some house work too.

You’ve probably heard the single…Digital Witness.

Great lyrics:

Digital witnesses, what’s the point of even sleeping?
If I can’t show it, if you can’t see me
What’s the point of doing anything?
This is no time for confessing

Banks – Goddess


This is What It Feels Like Banks has a high spot on my “I’d have sex to that” list (no that’s a real thing). Her low alto voice and sex lyrics remind me of Fiona Apple with a newer electronic sound. She did something similar as FKA Twigs with an EP late 2013 and then trickled tracks to a release this past fall. Hers fell short for me but still some great track to check out.

You’ve probably heard the single…Waiting Game.


For a complete list of them all together, you can check out this playlist on Spotify.


So what were your favorites?


5 Things You Didn’t Know You Wanted

Until Now! I don’t do gift guides (well I did one for 2 year olds years ago but I digress) but I have found some things lately from OTHER gift guides that I went “well damn, that’s awesome”. I’m not going to moan on and on in an intro paragraph…let’s just get to it:

  1. A Battery Charging device – So you updated to iOS8 and now your battery is pathetic. Yup…I’m with ya. I am CONSTANTLY charging anywhere I can. For Mother’s Day, Kevin actually got me a charging brick. It happens to be this one right here:
    I like it because it also double as a wall charger (the prongs fold down). I then just keep a USB cable in my purse when I need it. This came in really handy while traveling this summer and all The Thread girls used it at one point 🙂 But then this morning, my favorite photo gadget shop sent out their gift guide and LOOK IT!

    Buy the The Power Wallet at the Photojojo Store!
    t have the charge IN the wallet and it is so adorable and nice to just grab and go!

  2. A Funny Ass Necklace – I love quirky jewelry. Remember my woot necklace? Well I have a good number of different ones. I also really like giving personalized things for gifts and have been shopping Spiffing Jewelry for around 7 or so years. She can customize like a boss but she also has LOTS of ideas on her website (follow her on IG too).
    BONUS FOR DADS: Wanna seem super sweet? Check out these bird necklaces.
  3. Want a smooth way to play your tunes in the car and don’t have one of those fancy new models? No worries! I wrote about my system a few years ago but you can no longer get that specific device anymore but I did find this one by Belkin. This one is actually better because it does phone calls as well where mine doesn’t. There is no getting in and plugging your phone into something. Just get in, crank the car and hit play on your phone. Listen to audio books, podcasts, streaming music, etc.
  4. Jazz up your devices with a new skin. I have a skin on my MacBook Pro for work and I CONSTANTLY get compliments. Nuvango (used to be Gelaskins) uses a vinyl that is really easy on your devices and I have NEVER seen them tear. It still looks like the day I put it on there (years ago). And now I want this one:


  5. Did you know Stitch Fix has gift certificates? That’s right…a gift certificate for clothes you don’t have to fight the mall for or order blindly. Get it shipped to your house and BAM decide what you want. I did this once and have been clamoring to do this again (HINT HINT FAMILY). It could brighten up your post holiday January with a little fun!

There ya go. Something to get your mind working.


Want to make your family into the best gift givers ever? Lead the witness. I unveiled my “want” board years ago and now mindlessly update it throughout the year when I see something cool I like. Sometimes I buy for myself but most of the time I just forget about them honestly…so when my husband or mom buy them? SUPER SURPRISE. Read more about the want board.

The Want Pinterest Board

Why Girls Can Code Even If Mattel Doesn’t Think So

Earlier this week, the link started pouring in to me. Emails, Twitter, Facebook. “HAVE YOU SEEN THIS?!” Mattel came out with a book “I can be a computer engineer”*. If I saw this in a store before any of this, I would have snatched that bad boy up immediately. You CAN program and still have cute hair! Anyway, it did not turn out that way. You can read the great play by play here about the book but basically Barbie is NOT really a computer game programmer but basically she is the designer (no shame there but it is NOT the same…TRUST) and she gets the boys to help her do pretty much everything in the book.


barbieBeing a woman in engineering wasn’t super easy (and I think I had it pretty good) but my bigger worry has always been that there aren’t enough of us to be role models for young girls. First off in sheer numbers and then even in how the majority are introverted and don’t “get out there” to show girls it cane be done. Do girls even know they CAN be in engineering? So I half applaud Barbie for this PR shitstorm. Even with a badly written message, it is all awareness in the end. They were TRYING to do the right thing and for a 5 year old, they probably are not reading into it like we are. To them, they see Barbie going to computer science class and “making something cool” as a girl. They don’t know the specifics…thankfully. The editor should be punched in the face but they got the IDEA out there. So in a weird way, I am happy for this horrible book. It’s just bringing more light to the fact that we need more girls in engineering…period.

And to prove my point that even bad PR is good PR…

Then The Internet Rocked My Face Off

Just as the social media world is known to do,  the internets gave this outrage more fire (as it should) and the result is fantastic. Within days, we have programmers from around the world rewriting the book and you can too. Even the infamous @YourAnonNews got in to it:

See! More awareness…HAZA!

Someone Who Has Done It Right

::pulls out soapbox, steps right up:: Did you know that Dec 8-14th is the Hour of Code challenge? I wrote about it last year and now I feel like this is even more a reason to join. Take an hour and pick a tutorial of how to write some code. Make a Flappy bird game. Make an Angry birds game. You can even “code” offline on paper. It’s all about fundamentals of how to think like a programmer. Then any language is your oyster 🙂


Does your little girl LOVE Frozen? Do you want her to enjoy analytical thinking and learn more about computer science? Does this seem an impossible collision of worlds?



Thanks to Disney Interactive, Code.org’s signature tutorial for the 2014 Hour of Code features Disney Infinity versions of Disney’s “Frozen” heroines Anna and Elsa!

YUUUUSSSSSSSS!! As much as I hate Let It Go anymore, I will be showing this to Landon like whoa. I can tell he thinks more analytically like Kevin and I and I think he will rock this. Also the kid LOVES video games and is really freaking good at it. HOORAY.

So go check it out. the site says it should take around an hour. Screw Barbie and her ridiculously high arches and let your little girl(or boy) get a little closer to an ACTUAL computer engineer! High fives all around!


Many thanks to the lovely folks at code.org for sending me this last night and making my day. This was perfect timing to give purpose to my ranting 🙂

*To note, this book was published in 2010 and has since stopped production and Mattel has addressed the concerns.

Fun Fact Friday: Help me get my groove back

First fact, I need to blog more. If I am heading a blog program for a corporation, guess I should get back to my roots…errrr something.

But let’s face it, I am stupid busy so I am going to start small. Some facts, some questions for y’all and some things from the week.

IMG_0131Fun Facts About Me

  1. I am right-handed and left eye dominant. This week we found Landon is naturally batting left-handed even though he is right-handed. A left eye dominant trait. C’mon switch hitting.
  2. I love decorating for Halloween more than any other holiday.
  3. When I was 5, I threw a fit in a chair and got tangled in a phone cord and fell. I hit my eye on the corner and got a giant shiner. So clearly, I was the perfect 5 year old. #karma
  4. I used to call my Grandma Marie “Grandma Re”. Ollie has a teachers named Maria and he calls her “Ria” and it makes me smile.
  5. I love the feel of elastic. I used to love when it would fray on waistbands as a kid and I would just rub it as a comfort thing.

Questions (pick one and comment)

  1. What is your favorite go-to YouTube video of all time?
  2. If you were one of the cast of The Office, who would you be?
  3. What’s something that made you laugh today already?
  4. Where do you hide your “adult paraphernalia” in your house with kids?

Things that Made Me Laugh this Week

 Down with the Bento-box Fad

Why haven’t you had kids yet?


How was your week?

Hola, Kindergarten

We are now a few weeks into Kindergarten and getting our feet under us. It hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns but I think we have weathered the transition pretty well. I worried about him going to a whole new environment…like more than I usually worry. I am a pretty confident person and even I get nervous in those situations.

The “Worries”

If you followed me on social media, you saw our issues with drop off anxiety. This was the only negative thing we heard about school. The first week I could walk him to his class. Then on that Friday, we got a message saying starting Monday, we couldn’t anymore. I totally understand why…I guess just a little more warning would have been nice. When I told Landon this Monday in the car pool line, he freaked out. So much so that I dropped him in the line and he cowered on the sidewalk. I hurried, parked and ran back to walk him in the door. I can walk him to his hall but he had to walk to the class alone. Phew…not good. I finally got the counselor to walk him and he just looked like a deer in the headlights. That week? It was awful. Every day he would start worrying about it the minute we got in the car. The more I tried to talk about it, the worse it got. So I ignored it. I got teachers to take him. It was rough. I polled Facebook and got a variety of ideas. He is a goal oriented kid…incentives are the name of the game. So my neighbor said she gave her daughter a piece of candy to hold. She was allowed to eat it once she got to the classroom (she is also in the same class. “Oh Lilah has candy too! You should ask her what kind!). So before school we stopped at the gas station and I bought a pack of skittles. I put 4 little skittles in his hand and he giggle-sprinted down the hall. WELP! It is still not perfect but I am slowly going to work my way out of the school at drop off. Baby steps.

But this has shown us a good bit of anxiety in him in general. It is a work in progress. I am reading books on how to help him cope without making it worse. Luckily it doesn’t seem to be about school academically but more just the social transition. Honestly hard to tell because he has a hard time explaining what he is worried about it. We are externalizing the anxiety to “worries” and I am going to work at teaching him how to “fight the worries” and learn to relax. Laura recommended this book and it is already helping me look at it differently.

The Spanish

The Spanish immersion is going REALLY well. This was my main worry…that he would get in there and just be overwhelmed but I really don’t see it. He is starting to get excited when he knows new words and whispers them to me when I get home. It’s so cute. I catch him singing the songs a lot and he even asks if we can read and watch things in Spanish. These first months it is a lot of gesturing and songs. His teacher has her masters in Dramatic Education so she uses song, dance and role play to convey concepts.

Different than standard kindergarten, they don’t learn the alphabet in order. They start with vowels because those are the harder things to understand since Spanish is so phonetic. They also don’t do like the “Letter land” that is the curriculum here in Wake county because…well they have a different alphabet.

His homework it pretty simple at this point. He alternates each day between language arts and math. The language arts is writing the words he sees and associating with the image. Also working on rhyming. The math is pretty standard counting of objects and such. He smokes the math in seconds every day. It’s not even a challenge. Lulz.

The New Routine

As for the routine, I prepared myself for much worse but I have to say I am loving our new little groove. I think in the grand scheme, this allowed us to give him the extra attention he needed. We have made the decision to drop off and pick up every day. Thankfully we work at a great place* that allows us the flexibility. I am working from home in the morning before school and doing drop off and Kevin goes in earlier with Ollie and leaves earlier to pick him up.  This allows us to actually spend MORE time with Landon that we were with him in daycare.  Kevin gets homework done, washes the lunch box stuff and starts dinner. THAT’S RIGHT!!!! I HAVE A HOUSE HUSBAND!!!! It’s the bee’s knees. I am planning the week’s meals on a board in the kitchen and buying the groceries. He makes it. BOOM. Ollie and I get home around 5:30 and dinner is usually ready or almost done. It’s the best. He gets to have some quiet time without boys fighting and can cook and I DON’T HAVE TO DO ALL THE FOOD THINGS!!!! I make Landon’s lunch at night and whamo.

I’m sure there is plenty to come but right now we are grinding along in our new lives and doing pretty well. Muy Bein!

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