June 16, 2017

Some Disappointing News

We got some news this week and although we knew it was a possibility, we were holding out hope that it would all work out. Unfortunately, the school district that Kyla is in denied Kase through the open enrollment process.

In case you're not familiar with open enrollment in public education, in Wisconsin you can apply for your kids to attend a school district other than the one you live in. We had no issues with getting Kyla accepted. But since Kase will need special education services, it's a trickier situation. We were told that as long as he will require speech and occupational therapy, they cannot accept him. They just don't have the space for him in those programs.

All of that leaves us with a few options. One option that probably seems like a simple solution for some people is to stay here and send the kids to the district we live in. We're obviously not going to have our kids go to two different school districts. Based on our experiences in dealing with them in the past with Kase, plus the knowledge I have as a teacher, plus talking to other families in the district, keeping the kids in this district that we live in is not an option we're willing to settle for. We are going to do what is best for our kids and staying here is not what's best for them.

So...we have to move.

We are very, very bummed about this. When we bought this house in 2014 we were aware of the school situation, but were confident that we'd have no problems getting into the other district close to us. At that time we had no idea that one of our kids would have special needs and be denied.

We fell in love with this house the moment we walked in and put an offer on it in the driveway as we were leaving the showing. We planned on raising our kids here. We have over two acres of yard for the kids to play in. We bought a large play set. We have had a basketball hoop installed. We planned on being in this house for a long, long time. So this news has hit us pretty hard.

We're still trying to figure out our plan as far as when to put our house up for sale. We will more than likely need to rent something for awhile so we're expecting to go from a 3,100 square foot house with 5 bedrooms to an apartment with 1,500 square feet and 3 bedrooms. We've started packing, purging and even started selling some things. It's a huge bummer to know that we can't take everything with us, especially things that the kids love.

That's all I'm going to say for now because I really just don't know what's going to happen and when. All I do know at this point is that we will be moving. It may or may not be in time for Kase to start 4K this fall. We have a meeting with his therapy team next week to discuss a plan if he doesn't go to 4K.

Kyla's taking the news pretty hard too. She has obviously seen us packing and has asked questions. We have been honest with her. All we can do is remind her how much we love them and that it does not matter where we live as long as we're together.

That's what I keep trying to tell myself too, but every box I pack it seems to get a little bit harder. We moved a lot when I was young because my mom was a single mom raising three kids and always did what was best for us. I've always dreamed of giving my kids a forever home and I really thought this was it.

June 12, 2017

Summer Schedule & School Activities

Today is our first official day of summer. Kyla is home from school and Kase starts his new, summer therapy schedule. It will take some getting used to with him being at two different clinics at different times every day. We won't have a daily schedule at home since the girls and I will spend a lot of time coming and going to take Kase. But there are things that I want to make sure we do every day.

I made this super simple chore chart for Kyla. It's all things that she can do independently and it will give her some responsibility this summer. I put it in a plastic sleeve so she can check things off with a dry erase marker and erase it all at the end of the week.

I also made this reading challenge for her. When she reads 100 (different) books, we are going to go to a water park. This includes books she reads independently and books that we read to her. We are going to go to the public library once a week too so she can get some different books and they have fun activities going on through the summer too.

She was going to color in the boxes as she reads a book, but she decided to cover the numbers up with a sticker instead. She loves stickers like her mama! :)

I also got this workbook for her from Amazon, which she's really excited about. She loves this kind of stuff! When she's bored and looking for something to do she can pull this out and do a page or two.

We picked up this little notebook to use as our summer journal. She loves writing and I know she'll love writing little notes back and forth to each other.

So far she's really excited about these little school activities. I'll check back in a month and see if that excitement wore off. :)

I just think it's important for her to have responsibilities, but also to have some kind of structure in our days. I will still let her have iPad time, but making these types of things a normal part of our day will make her less bored and ask for the iPad less.

In a couple weeks she will start a couple summer school classes. She didn't need to take them, but I thought it would be good for her to get out of the house a little bit and meet some new friends. I picked a reading one and I let her choose one - she chose a cooking class.

Together we made a list of things we want to do this summer. Children's museum, zoo, fireworks, swimming, splash pad, parade, farm, etc. She also started softball and will have that one night a week this summer. She has her first game tomorrow night!

Kase will be in therapy five days a week so I don't have any school related activities planned for him. He does so much while he's there and they always tell me that he works really hard there so we should make sure home is relaxed and fun.

I will do things with Kenley to work on shapes, ABC's, counting, etc. She knows most of the colors and some shapes. With her I do a lot of reading books and puzzles, but we do most of her learning through play and just talking about what everything is. And honestly, I think she will just learn so much this summer having Kyla home with us.

I'm sure this summer is going to fly by and before I know it Kyla will be off to 1st grade and Kase will be heading to 4K. Yikes.

June 9, 2017

How We Make Time for Ourselves & Our Marriage

Several weeks ago I asked all of you if you had any questions for me. Apparently I was wrong about feeling like people maybe had some questions, lol. Elizabeth came through for me and asked two questions. Thanks, friend! :)

She asked about speech and OT for Kase, which I think I answered in this post.

She also asked...

My question is... how do you make time for YOU? Obviously you find time to blog, but I know you love to walk on the treadmill as well, and I assume you must like to take some time to yourself to either go to Target alone, get a manicure, or just plain, be alone with no little fingers tapping you and saying "Mommy!". How do you find time to do that? Do you just squeeze it in during any down time? Or make plans for it? I'd love to know because I struggle with that.

The short answer? I have an amazing, supportive husband. When he gets home from work every night, we eat dinner and then I usually sneak away and take some time for myself while he plays with the kids. Sometimes I take a hot bath. Sometimes I go downstairs on the treadmill. Sometimes I go to the gym. Sometimes I escape to Target. He understands that I have been home all day and I just need a little bit of time to relax and recharge. Just last night he could see I had a long day with Kenley. She was up at 5:20 am, didn't get a nap, and was just exhausting. Tyler encouraged me to go do something for myself and take a break so I went to the gym and did a class. He had been working all day and although he was tired too, playing with the kids is what he wanted to be doing. He's not the type of guy that just sits on the couch the moment he gets home. He gives the kids his attention from the moment he walks in the door until they go to bed. Once they're in bed, he will unwind and relax himself. I am very, very thankful for him.

After I take some time for myself, I usually feel like a whole new person. I have more patience and can help with baths and bedtime, get the kitchen cleaned up from dinner, without feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

I feel like Tyler and I really do make a great team. Both of our number one priorities is our kids, but we support each other and know that we each need time for ourselves too. Tyler enjoys hunting and fishing when he can get away for awhile. He also usually stays up a couple hours after the rest of us to relax.

Thankfully we have a really strong marriage because we don't spend much time focusing on each other. Having kids puts added stress on a marriage, but having a kid with special needs is a completely different ball game. There are times when we go days without feeling like we had a real conversation, just for the two of us. Everything is about the kids - how therapy went, did we get that paperwork completed, did Kyla do her homework, when did Kase go potty last. By the time they're in bed, we're both exhausted and I just want to go to bed and he just wants to relax and watch some TV in silence.

My mom comes over a lot to help us out, which we are extremely grateful for. It's usually so we can attend a meeting with Kase's therapists, go to Kyla's parent-teacher conferences or go to the dentist ourselves. We go out to eat by ourselves a couple times a year (usually just on our anniversary). We haven't gone away for a night without kids since 2013 when we went to Chicago for the Big Ten run with some friends.

We do play sand volleyball together once a week in the summer. The drive to and from is sometimes our only chance to have a real conversation for the week so we appreciate that time a lot.

I'm not saying all of this because I want people to feel sorry for us. We chose to have three kids and we choose to put them first. We absolutely love our lives. But that doesn't mean it's always easy. A week long vacation probably isn't in our future anytime soon, but it would be nice to get away, just the two of us, for a night or two. Maybe this summer!

I know the question was more directed at me and not about our marriage, but I thought it all kind of goes together. And obviously I'm a stay at home mom. I imagine it's different for working mom's who aren't home with their kids all day. I think it's important for everyone to get some time just for themselves and I'm extremely thankful for the support I get from Tyler.

June 8, 2017

{Recipes} Crock pot Pork Tenderloin

I mentioned this recipe awhile ago and had a couple people say they wanted me to share it. We had it again the other night and I remembered that I hadn't posted it here yet.

It's our favorite meal right now. We were having it every other week, but now it's almost a once a week thing. Both girls love it and always ask for seconds (Kase hasn't tried it yet and we're not forcing him). We always have leftovers too and it's almost better the next day! It's so tender and full of flavor. I will admit, the first time I made it, the smell of the onion soup mix turned me off. I didn't think I was going to like it at all, but I was wrong. It's so good and super easy!

2 lbs. pork tenderloin
1 cup water
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 packet onion soup mix
3 tbsp. minced garlic

1. Put tenderloin in crockpot.
2. Add water, broth, soy sauce
3. Sprinkle onion soup mix over tenderloin
4. Add minced garlic and pepper
5. Cook on low for 4 hours

I found this recipe on She's In Her Apron on YouTube. She said the original recipe called for red wine, but she substitutes with chicken broth and that's what I like too.

You definitely need to try this! I will share my crock pot cheesy potatoes soon too because they go perfectly with the pork tenderloin!

June 7, 2017

Currently: June Edition

My friend Erin is co-hosting with Anne for this month's Currently link up and it's one of my favorite kind of posts so I thought I'd join in this morning.

PLANNING: Our summer! It always goes so fast, but I'm determined to make life slow down this summer. My one goal at the beginning of the year was to be present and that is something I'm hoping to focus on through the summer months. We aren't planning any vacations or anything, but I'm planning smaller things like going to the library once a week, going to the zoo, children's museum and LOTS of swimming.

WISHING: Kenley would go back to sleeping in. She started crawling out of her crib consistently when I was in Colorado so we took the front of it off last weekend so she can get out safely. Since then she has been waking up at all kinds of crazy hours. It should be an interesting day today with her being up at 5:00 and she won't get a nap due to Kase's schedule.

LEARNING: What it's like to have a sassy two year old again. Kyla went through a sassy stage, but holy cow. I think Kenley is going to give us a run for our money.

BROWSING: Pinterest for bedroom decor ideas. We will soon be moving Kenley in with Kyla and Kase will have his own room. I've talked about the bedroom situation before, but we have 5 bedrooms, but two are down in the basement. We don't feel comfortable putting any of the kids down there so they share (for now). I'm excited to get them switched and then redecorate both rooms!

GOING: to get back on track with exercising! Since I got back from Colorado I have been terrible and I can feel it (and see it on the scale). Since Kenley had me up early this morning I decided to go down on the treadmill and get some steps in. Why is it that working out first thing in the morning makes me feel so good afterwards, but yet I rarely do it? I would love to make that a consistent thing.

June 5, 2017

Weekend Recap & A Family First!

If you follow me on social media, you probably know about our weekend already, but I like documenting on this blog too!

Kyla went to her first Badger volleyball camp this weekend. It was just two hours on Saturday morning and two hours on Sunday morning, which I think is the perfect amount of time for this age. They made it fun, but really worked on skills too. Her coach was one of the players that came to her school to read so she was pretty excited about that! She loved it and we will definitely be doing it again next year!

Saturday night we did something we've never done before. We went out to eat as a family of 5! This is probably one of those things that seems so silly to most people, but this is a big deal for us. We certainly aren't going to make it a weekly thing, but it gave Tyler and I confidence that it is something we can do now. Kase has made such amazing progress in the last six months and he did so well. I'm sure there will be things in the future if we go out that are too much for him. This time we only went to Culver's. Next time we will try a sit down restaurant. It was just a really good feeling to be sitting there eating, out in public, as a family.

I love that he willingly holds Kyla's hand. They really do have a special bond.

One of the families from Kase's ABA clinic invited all the kids from their class over for a barbecue on Sunday. Tyler took Kase and Kenley and then Kyla and I met them there after her camp. We see the same people every day when we all drop our kids off and pick them up so it was really nice to get together and actually be able to visit. It was also nice getting the kids together with peers that they already know and are comfortable with. We had a great time. Here's Kase on the way home. Hot, sweaty and tired! It was almost 90 degrees this weekend!

This week will be a busy one and Thursday will be Kyla's last day of Kindergarten. We sat down last night and made a list of all the things we want to do this summer. I know it will go so fast so I'm excited to just enjoy these days with the kids.

I hope you all had a great weekend!

June 2, 2017

May Favorites

Some of my favorite blog posts and YouTube videos are ones where people share their favorite things. For the most part, I am not loyal to one certain brand or product so I enjoy seeing what other people are loving so I can try new things.

Here is my random collection of things I've been loving the last month.

Magic Treehouse books - Kyla and I have been enjoying reading these together. We got the first 28 books in the series through her scholastic book orders at school and we're on the third one currently. They're chapter books, but quick reads and she can read quite a bit herself. We love them!
Sand volleyball - Tyler and I are playing again this summer, which I'm really excited about. It started a few weeks ago. We have a couple people that we trust to watch the kids and my mom will help out too. By the time we drive there, play, and drive home, it will be two hours every Wednesday night for the summer. We used to play every summer when we were dating and married before kids. It's something we really enjoy doing together with friends.

Rimmel BB Cream - I love how light this stuff feels, but it's the perfect amount of coverage for just every day use. Plus it has sunscreen, which I love! I think I'm on my third tube of this.

The Bachelorette - I was really excited about Rachel's season, but the first two episodes have been pretty underwhelming. I read all the spoilers so I know what's going to happen, but I still love to watch!

YouTube - I've talked a few times on here about my love for YouTube so I thought with these monthly posts I would share a couple of my favorite channels. I watch these while I'm folding laundry, on the treadmill, in the bathtub, etc.

The Lettered Classroom - Bridget was a Kindergarten teacher in Alabama, but this year moved to Pennsylvania to teach 4th grade. Even though I'm not currently teaching, I love watching her videos. She helps me feel like I'm somewhat up to date with what's going on in schools.

Michelle Pearson - She was one of the first channels I followed and I love her. She's a stay at home mom in Utah and has 5 kids. She just recently had twins! She's just so real and honest and I can relate to her in so many ways.

Hayley Paige - Another stay at home mom, but her and her husband live in LA. I can't remember how I found her channel, but she's now one of my favorites!

I follow several others, but thought I'd just start with a couple.

Summer shoes - I get these every year for the kids. They're easy for them to slip on, they can be rinsed off easily and best of all, they're cheap! I usually get navy or gray for Kase, but they only had red in his size. His and Kenley's are from Old Navy and with a coupon I usually get them for around $10. They didn't have Kyla's size this year so hers are the Native brand from Nordstrom. They're more expensive, but she loves them and will definitely get tons of use out of them.

Target beauty box - This is the third month I've ordered it. It's only $10 and you get 8-10 sample size (some larger) products. I love trying new products and I also love getting packages. :) I'm not a face mask person, but I was excited to get a couple to try out. June's box is only $7 and still available to order. They also have a father's day box this month!
This was what was in May's box.
eBay selling - I've mentioned this before too, but now that the wedding is over and life is a little less crazy, I took the time to list some more stuff for sale. If you have stuff around your house that you want to get rid of and it has some decent value, sell it on eBay! It's easy and you get way more money than you would at a garage sale. I'm happy to answer your questions if you are interested but not sure what to do!