December 29, 2016

Goodbye, 2016

I think it's safe to say 2016 was my hardest year yet.  It was filled with a lot of stress, worry, guilt, and way too many sleepless nights.  Of course it was also filled with many blessings too.  But when I look back and think about the year overall, it makes me sad.

It makes me sad that I spent so much time focusing on the things Kase can't do or won't ever do instead of the things he can do or will do.

It makes me sad that I spent time angry at myself for not switching therapy providers sooner.

It makes me sad that I spent so much time mourning the family I always envisioned in my head.

It makes me sad that I carried so much guilt with me.

It makes me sad to think about all the time I wasted.

It makes me sad that I wasn't the mom I want to be.  The wife I want to be.  The daughter, sister, friend I want to be.

Good riddance, 2016.  BE PRESENT is my motto for 2017.  I'm ready to start letting go of the past, not worrying about the future and just start focusing on the present.  I'm ready for you, 2017.

December 9, 2016

Ruby Recap (Elf on the Shelf)

Last week I introduced you all to our elf, Ruby.  She has been busy this past week so I thought I'd share what she's been up to!

On Thursday, December 1st, she arrived with donuts from the North Pole, the Elf on the Shelf book, a chocolate Christmas countdown (the best kind) and a note.

Kyla was very excited for her to be back.  Thursday night she left a pillow and blanket (towel) out for her so would have a comfy bed to sleep on.  We woke up Friday morning and found her sleeping with a friend.

Saturday morning Ruby replaced all of our stockings with our (clean) underwear.

Sunday morning she brought the kids some new pajamas (and returned our stockings)!

We made some muffins on Sunday and Ruby helped herself Monday morning!

Tuesday morning was a little crazy.  Ruby brought a "pretend elf" for Kyla.  One that she can touch, play with, snuggle with.  She was SO excited... until Kase came over to her bed and grabbed the real Ruby.  She was devastated and certain that she lost all her magic.

That night before we went to bed, we researched how to make her magic come back.  Thanks to Google and a random mom who made a YouTube video, we found the perfect cure.  We made her a comfy bed and sprinkled cinnamon all around her.  Kyla felt much better and reminded Ruby that she should be more careful about where she hangs out because Kase doesn't understand the whole "don't touch the elf" thing.

We woke up Wednesday morning and found Ruby in her robe and slippers.  She wrote a note saying she wasn't feeling well, but thanked us for taking such good care of her.

Apparently she was feeling better by yesterday because she was up to no good.  She decorated our Christmas tree with toilet paper!

Stay tuned to see what she's up to next week! :)

December 7, 2016

Currently (December 2016)

Today I'm linking up with Anne and Kellie for their "Currently" series that they host on the first Wednesday of each month.

Doing - Etsy orders!  I usually try to set aside two days a week where I sit down and complete orders. Today is one of those days and I'm hoping to get them all done and see that number down to 0!

Enjoying - Picking this boy up every day from therapy and hearing he had a great day.  Things had been very hard at drop off and pick up, but since Tyler and I met with his team of therapists last Wednesday, he's done awesome.  He's been walking right in on his own, putting his things in his cubby, saying "Bye Mom" and off he goes.  He now understands that when I pick him up in the afternoon if he walks to the van and holds my hand and gets right up in his seat, he gets the iPad for the ride home.  That iPad is good motivation, I tell ya!

Cooking - We made homemade chicken noodle soup on Sunday and it was SO good.  I need to make another batch and freeze some. Our family loves it!

Wrapping - Little by little.  I am not a fan of wrapping presents at all.  Sitting and having all the presents to wrap at once is not my idea of fun.  So this year I'm trying to get things done as I buy them or as they're delivered (because I've done a lot of online shopping this year).

Playing - Lots of Christmas music in the van!  Kyla and I love Christmas music and she gets so excited when a song comes on that she knows.  Her favorites are Frosty and Jingle Bells. :)

What are you up to currently?

December 5, 2016

Back on Track

After four brutal losses in a row, the Packers are (knock on wood) back on track now with two straight wins.  There's still a lot of work to be done, but at least we're not officially out of the playoff picture.

We got our first snowfall of the year yesterday, which was super exciting for the kids at 6:30 in the morning when they looked out the window.  I could hear screaming, but I wasn't sure if the excitement was from the snow or Ruby (she brought them new pajamas yesterday, which were a big hit)!  Kase insisted on staying in his green and gold though.  That's a true fan! ;)

Sorry, blurry Snapchat picture is all he had time for!
Saturday I went out and tried to finish up my Christmas shopping.  I just have a couple random things to buy, but otherwise I am very happy with how ahead I am this year - with buying and wrapping!  Now the tricky part is keeping everything wrapped under the tree and the rest hidden away.  Each year with the kids I have to get a little bit smarter and think things through more.  Nothing gets past Kyla this year!

We're not going to talk about the Badger game Saturday night.  You know, how we blew a 28-7 lead.  Yeah, let's not talk about that.

How was your weekend?  Did you get snow where you're at?

December 2, 2016

Introducing...RUBY! (Elf on the Shelf)

I know some people have some strong feelings about the whole elf on the shelf thing.  I see a lot of my Facebook friends posting their arguments against it.  For the most part, I see two common themes.

1. They don't have the time and/or energy to move it every night or think of creative ideas.

2. They don't think kids should need an elf "watching them" to be good and well behaved.

Here are my thoughts and why our elf, Ruby, will continue making her appearance at our house.

1. Sometimes I do more time consuming things with her and some nights we just move her from one place and stick her somewhere random.  Some nights it takes 5 minutes and some nights it takes about 5 seconds.  Also, Tyler helps me with it so between the two of us, it's easy to keep track of for 24 days (she comes on December 1st and is gone Christmas morning).

2. Kenley is too young to understand and Kase doesn't care or understand the concept either.  So right now it's basically all for Kyla.  And those people are right, she doesn't need an elf to be well behaved.  She is a VERY good kid.  We don't use the elf as a discipline method or a scare tactic.

We have an elf on the shelf because it's FUN.  Kyla loves it (and I will admit, Tyler and I kinda do too)! :)  I love doing special things for my kids, having fun with them, surprising them, and just making fun memories as a family.  I wish I would have captured her reaction yesterday morning when she saw Ruby was back.  She put her hands over her mouth in total surprise and then told Tyler to "Come quick, Ruby's back!"  She then put her hands over her heart and said, "I almost didn't even recognize that she was there when I woke up this morning."  Before leaving for school she went back to the table and said, "Bye Ruby.  Thanks for coming back to our house.  You're so sweet."

The excitement she shows every morning is well worth the time it takes us to move her every night.  She still talks about two years ago when Ruby put her underwear all over our Christmas tree and last year when she drew silly faces (with dry erase marker) on a framed picture of her and Kase.  Sometimes Ruby is a little naughty! :)

While I certainly don't think everyone should have an elf, I just think people need to lighten up a little bit.  It's all in good holiday fun at our house.  If you choose not to do it, I completely understand.  But we love our Ruby and all her shenanigans!

December 1, 2016

Potty Training with Autism (Part 2)

If you missed Part 1, you can read that HERE.

Today I'm going to talk about how things are currently going.  Let's start with how things are going at therapy because it's less complicated. :)

Once Kase started back at therapy after being home those three days, he had a couple days where they only focused on toilet training.  I mean he would do things in between, but he didn't do the small group stuff that he usually does.  It was all one on one and focused on going to the bathroom every 15 minutes.  He did awesome!  They gradually increased the intervals and noticed he was doing a really good job holding it longer.  Before I knew it, they were only taking him every 30 minutes and he was staying dry pretty much all day.  By the end of that first week back they were ready to have him back in the small group classroom.  He does that four days a week from 9:00-11:30 (then the rest of his time there is one on one therapy).  He did great with the transitions.  He's now (as of this week) up to 45 minute intervals and staying dry for most of the days.  He will have very small accidents where it's like he starts to go and then realizes he has to hold it.  It's such a little amount that they aren't even considering it an accident.

At home things are a little trickier.  Kase does not yet have the ability to tell us when he needs to go potty.  So we have to set the timer and make sure we're taking him regularly, but also keep a close eye on him in between to see if he's showing signs of needing to go or if he had an accident before the timer went off.  Let me tell you, doing all of that, on top of taking care of my other two children, cooking, cleaning, etc., it is HARD.

The easy way out has been to put pull ups on him.  We've tried to still keep up with the timer and the intervals, but keep the pull up on, just in case.  And even though there are times when I felt like I had no other choice, I think it's setting him back.  I think he is very aware of the difference between underwear and a pull up and he knows it's OK to pee in the pull up.

This past weekend (and all of this week so far) we have been back to him being in underwear at all times except at night.  It's been really hard.  He's had accidents and he has been fighting it a little more to go to the bathroom.  After meeting with his lead therapists yesterday, I think I just am worrying about the accidents too much.  They are only taking him every 45 minutes there and he doesn't have accidents and goes potty each time.  At home, I need to stick to the 45 minutes or close to it.  My problem is when I get home from picking the kids up, I'm not sure when he's gone last so I take him every 10ish minutes so he doesn't have an accident.  Most times he doesn't go and then he gets irritated that I'm taking him so often.  If I stick to the 45 minutes, I think he will go more willingly and if he happens to have an accident in between, it's not the end of the world.  His therapists told me sometimes having accidents is the best way for him to end up being fully trained because he won't want to do that in the future and will hopefully start telling us he has to go.

They also told us yesterday in our meeting that in the morning during group circle time he said, "I need potty."  They took him to the bathroom and he went!  Yay!  Hopefully more of that is to come! :)

I know every kid is different, but I thought me sharing our story might be valuable to someone.  Although we're not completely there yet, I am confident that we are going to make a ton more progress in the next couple of weeks.

And because I like pictures and these two posts have been boring or irrelevant to many, I thought a cute picture of my boy was necessary!

November 30, 2016

Potty Training with Autism (Part 1)

Let me start off by saying I do not consider Kase potty trained.  We are still right smack in the middle of the training process.  However, he's making some great progress.  I've had a couple people comment on my social media asking how it's going, what we've been doing, etc. so I thought I would share how things are going for us.

I believe in waiting to potty train until the child is ready.  And yes, I think you will know when they are ready.  With Kyla, I actually thought she was ready before we started, but we had two weddings in two weeks.  She was the flower girl for both and there was some traveling/hotels involved.  So we decided to wait until those were over.  The next weekend we started and she was trained pretty much immediately.  She was 2 years and 8 months old.  She had maybe two or three accidents and hasn't had one since.  She was ready and we didn't push it on her.

With Kase, things are obviously different.  I've been wanting to start for awhile now, but his previous therapy provider kept asking us to wait so they had time to build a rapport with him.  Long story short, that never happened.  Soon after we started with the new provider in August, they agreed that it was time and he was ready.  The best part was they were going to help us with every step.  I realize that not everyone has this kind of help.  So if you're a parent with a child on the spectrum and you're wondering how to start the potty training process, you can see here how the professionals helped us.  Even if you only take one thing away from my blog, I'll feel happy about sharing! :)

The first thing we did was take all diaper changes from the living room floor (or wherever else we plopped down and did it) to the bathroom.  All potty business happened in the bathroom.  We'd take his diaper off, put him on the potty for 10 seconds, put his new diaper on (while standing up) and put his pants back on.  He helped with the diaper by holding the back and bringing the straps forward.  He also quickly learned how to pull up his own pants.  A lot of times he'd count down from 10 and say "All done!" and sometimes he'd sit for longer.  We didn't demand he sit longer.  He never actually went potty, but he got used to sitting and being in the bathroom.

Side note - we use this seat that goes on top of the toilet.  It's nice and comfy!
We did that for about a month until his therapists were ready to start the intense training.  We met with his lead therapist on a Monday and then started on Wednesday, November 9th.

Normally, Kase goes to the clinic for therapy 5 days a week.  But they decided to start the intense training at home.  We had a therapist here for three days from about 9:30 am to 3:00 pm (they were both here for a lot of the time).  I am incredibly grateful for their help.  They hung out with him downstairs the whole time for three days.  We have a finished basement with a bathroom, toy room, living room, etc.  So it was really nice that Kenley and I weren't around to district him, but yet they had access to everything they needed.

I wasn't sure how it was going to go.  Actually, I was very nervous.  In those three days though, he didn't cry or fight being down there one time.  I think it helped that it was his two favorite therapists.  We truly are so lucky!

So let's talk about the plan they put together.  The first thing we needed was some reinforcers, some things he would be motivated by.  I knew he'd love this sound machine because he used it with his previous provider and hadn't seen it for awhile.

We also used puppy chow, bubbles (they brought a really fun bubble machine from the clinic), and some other little light up toys that he likes (Target dollar spot for the win!).  We had a visual schedule that showed him potty, wash hands, get reinforcer bin (after he went potty, he got to choose which one he wanted from a bin).

They put him in underwear and pants and set a visual timer for 10 minutes.  They took him to the potty either when the timer went off or if/when he had an accident, whichever came first.  When he had an accident, they did not use any negative language.  Nothing about "that's naughty" or anything like that.  They said, "Kase, you had an accident. Let's go clean up."  Then they took him to the bathroom, made him sit for 10 seconds, and put new underwear on.  Then they went back to playing or doing whatever activity they were doing and set the timer again for 10 minutes.  After about 2-3 minutes (in between the 10 minute intervals), they would do a "dry pants check".  They would ask him, "Kase, are your pants dry?" and they would do a visual check to make sure he was still dry.  If he was, they cheered and said, "Good job keeping your pants dry!"

He started the first day with an accident (which we expected because at this point he had never peed on the toilet), but you could tell he did not like the feeling of having wet pants.  The first day he peed on the toilet a few times and had a few accidents.  I can't remember the exact numbers, but we were all very happy with how it went.  My biggest worry was how his behavior would be during it all, but he did great!  Plus he had some successes on the toilet, which they worried may take several days.

The second day I think they moved it up to 15 minutes in between based on their data from the first day.  For example, after a 10 minute interval, he would sit, but wouldn't go.  Then in between the next interval, he'd have an accident.  So they felt good about 15 minute intervals.  They also really pushed liquids, but documented everything he was drinking.  Day two was similar to the first day, but with a few more successes and less accidents.  AND!  He had a bowel movement on the toilet.  We were all shocked yet so excited!

One thing I forgot to mention.  What if he sat, but didn't go.  They didn't want to make him sit on there forever, but those first few days they did allow him to have an iPad while he sat.  Basically to get him comfortable sitting on there.  But if he didn't go after a couple minutes, they took him off and reset the timer.

The third day was much of the same.  I think he had two minor accidents that day and several successes.  He was very motivated by the bubbles, sound machine and puppy chow.  And he loved cheering for himself when he had success.  I would be upstairs and I'd hear them cheering down there and it was such an awesome feeling.  Not only to know he was doing so well, but knowing he was in such good hands and those two therapists truly care about him.

Another aspect of all this was the language part.  The first few times they asked him if his pants were dry, he would say yes, but I don't know that he really knew what that meant.  So when he had an accident, they'd ask him about his pants (even though they could tell he had an accident), and sometimes he'd say yes.  So they explained that to him that he had an accident and that his pants weren't dry.  Then they'd ask him the question again, "Are your pants dry?" and he would say no.  Also, while he'd be sitting on the toilet, they'd sometimes ask if he went potty and he'd say yes, even if he didn't go.  So they taught him how to answer all of those questions correctly.

I think I'm going to leave off there for today.  This post is already really long!  Thanks for reading if you've made it this far! :)  Tomorrow I will talk about what we did after those three days of having his therapists in our home, how we're doing at home now, how he's doing at the clinic (hint - he's doing really well there) and our plan going forward.

Please leave me a comment if you have any questions or if I left anything out!  Also, let me know if you're a fellow autism parent, even if you're not currently potty training.  I'd love to connect!

See you back here tomorrow!

November 28, 2016

Long Overdue Life Update

Here we are again, five months since my last blog post. I truly love blogging and really wish I could keep up with it consistently. I'm not going to give you a bunch of excuses or make any promises for the future, but I felt the urge to get on today and write.

What's happened since I posted last?  Well, a lot!  Let's break it down in list form because list making is something I do best! :)

~Kyla started Kindergarten and LOVES it.  She's doing very well and has an amazing teacher. I'm able to volunteer in her classroom once a month, which we both really enjoy.

~Kyla lost (aka pulled out) her first tooth.  There should be more coming out very soon!

~Kase started with a new therapy provider August 1st.  He's no longer receiving therapy at home, but instead goes into the clinic.  It's very much like a preschool, but obviously he's getting the intense treatment that he needs.

Is that not the cutest "Cheese" face you've ever seen?
~Kase turned 4 in August and he got a bouncy house at his party and this awesome riding toy as a gift.  He isn't interested in driving it yet, but he loves when his big sister takes him around the yard.

~Kenley is growing up way too fast.  She has a hilarious personality.  I love spending every day with her!

I couldn't find a recent picture of just her that isn't a blur.  I will work on that!
~The Packers have been a disappointment so far this season, but hopefully the Badgers can make up for it by winning the Big Ten championship game and get into the 4-team playoff.  We love football around here, in case you were wondering! :)

~We've done parades, zoos, pumpkin patches, carved pumpkins, went trick-or-treating, had two Thanksgiving get-togethers with family, decorated for Christmas, and probably a bunch in between that I'm leaving out.

~We love Snapchat and have WAY too much fun on it.

What have you all been up to?

June 15, 2016

Autism Diagnosis - My Husband's Thoughts

Today I am sharing what my husband had to say about our son's autism diagnosis.  He wrote this post back on March 9, 2016.

A good part of me refuses to believe my boy, my son won't be able to achieve all the dreams I'vehad for his future. Every man wants a son to be his little prodigy, and to teach him all that he knows along with something he doesn't know (but pretends to). But, after an autism diagnosis, I wonder what his future holds, and struggle to reconcile what I want for him and what is realistic.

I've never been someone who will say they can't do something, and I think that's a big reason why I can't bring myself to say that my son can't either. To me, this diagnosis is a new challenge to be overcome with therapy so he'll be just like me. That's really it too- I want him to be like I was as a kid growing up because I know how to talk to (a version of) myself. I know what I did/didn't want or need to hear growing up, and I can use that knowledge in teaching my son. But, how can I do that now? How can I know what's going on between his ears? How do I know the best way to talk to him, to play with him, work with him, teach him? The fact is I don't. In reality, I would never know what's between his ears, regardless of whether he was autistic or not. Everything I think I can teach him in his life; pitfalls to avoid or opportunities to take advantage of seems less likely to be of value now, even though that potential value would have been questionable regardless. As a result, I suppose I feel less valuable now. I have an amazing wife who's an unbelivable mother. I've always said that my job is to not screw up- Amy will raise amazing kids. My role was to be someone they could always count on for counsel or have a fun time with. But, is that what my son is going to want or need? A child isn't going to come to a parent for counsel until they're older with more "adult-like" questions or concerns. What if he never has those concerns? What if he's like the 80% of autistic kids that end up living with Mom & Dad and never moving out? What use is any advice on renting an apartment or buying car insurance or a bunch of other silly things that are necessary in life, if they're not applicable to him?

Typing this up, it's becoming clear that the real problem here lies between my own two ears. I value myself based on what I can give to my children for their lives- not the material stuff, but knowledge and experience that they can recall someday when they're older and be thankful I was around to share what I know. I'm not saying I know a lot; its the scarcity of knowledge that makes the little I do know even more important for me to share with my kids.

Amy asked me to write about my experience with my boy and his diagnosis, and all I talked about was me. I guess that's the real moral of the story: his autism has become my problem, not his. I'll love my son forever & always, autistic or not.

June 14, 2016

Autism - The Signs

I mentioned in this post that after Kase was diagnosed with autism in September I started a private blog.  I had so much going on that I just needed a place to get things off my chest.  I've since stopped writing over on that blog and (obviously) started up again on this one.  I don't want this blog to be all about autism, but because it is a big part of our lives, I do want to feel like I can talk about it and share things.  I think it's important for parents to continue to share their stories because most people that do not have a loved one with autism have no idea what it's like.  I think if we want understanding and acceptance in this crazy world that we need to share our experiences, good and bad.  I also want people to know that we are not embarrassed or ashamed of it.  I have no problem telling people that my son has autism.  I know a lot of people like to keep it to themselves, which is fine.  But I am so incredibly proud to call this amazing boy my son.

Which leads me to this post...

I am going to just be copying and pasting some of my posts from my other blog over here.  I just want to have everything all in one place.  These are my raw emotions right after his diagnosis.

I also have a Facebook page where I share stories about us, but also share lots of other autism related things.  I love having that page because I don't feel like I am blasting my personal page with autism stuff.  If people "like" my page, they know what they're going to get with my posts.  If you're interested in following along over on Facebook, you can "like" my page here.

I will not be copying all of my posts over here, but there are a couple that I just wanted to have saved on here.  This first one is "The Signs", where I share what things led us to get Kase tested.

(Written on October 10, 2015)

Let me start by saying this blog is a place for me to share my feelings and my son's story.  I may not always have the right terms for things or say things in a way that everyone agrees with.  I am not an autism expert.  Far, FAR from it actually.  I am just a mom who's son was diagnosed with autism just over a month ago.  I don't know why I feel the need to say that, but just please know that I am not perfect, I have a lot to learn, and I am just here to share my honest feelings.

Now, what made us decide to have him tested?

He was always a very happy baby and was always right on with all of the major milestones.  He did not have any signs at all from his infant days.  When he turned two, he wasn't talking much.  His big sister, who is now 4 1/2 was a late talker as well.  We were worried about her for awhile, but one day it's like it just clicked for her and she started talking really well.  She is now thriving and is advanced in many areas academically.

So with my son, we were worried but we kept saying that he'd be fine and his speech would come, just like his sister's did.  But the closer to 3 he got, we started noticing new things that he was doing that eventually led us to be concerned enough to talk to our pediatrician.

The biggest thing was he started arm flapping.  I noticed it awhile ago too, but really only once in a great while.  But then it started to be a lot more, mostly when he gets really excited.  He loves to play with balls, balloons and bubbles and those things are what cause the most arm flapping.  This is something that we felt like he should have been doing less, but instead it got much more frequent.

He also recently started walking closely to walls (or our vehicles when he's playing outside).  He will put his face close to the wall and look out of the corner of his eye.  I now know that this is called "Stimming", something I had never heard of before.

Those two things, along with the delayed speech, concerned us.  I was at the pediatrician for my baby's 4 month appointment and I brought it up to the doctor.  She told me she would put in a referral for him to see a pediatric neuropsychologist.  She didn't think we'd get in for 4-6 months.  Thankfully we were able to get in a few weeks later.

His first appointment was on August 19th, five days shy of his 3rd birthday.  It was considered a consultation, but the doctor evaluated him playing and interacting with us.  He told us that day that he thought our son seemed like he had one foot in/on the spectrum and one foot out, which is exactly how we felt.  There are so many classic autistic behaviors that he DOES NOT do.  He interacts with us, his big sister, other family members SO well.  He makes eye contact (although I learned it's not always "meaningful eye contact").  He sleeps awesome.  He doesn't have sensory issues with noises, water, certain clothing.  He likes to snuggle.  He doesn't really obsess over certain things like wheels on toys or anything.

But the few that he does do, are concerning.  We then scheduled the actual eval to be done on September 3rd.

We went from feeling pretty good about the first appointment to feeling completely overwhelmed after the second appointment.  To the point that I was crying in the office.  Although my husband and I kind of expected the diagnosis, getting it confirmed and hearing that he should have intense in-home therapy 25-30 hours a week, was a lot to handle.

Just in the last month we have noticed more things that he's doing.  But how do I know if it's something that 3 year old boys do or if it's something that we should be worried about?  Little boys do weird things, ya know?

I will do a separate post with some more detail about the evaluations and the diagnosis.  I do have to say though quickly, we are fine with the diagnosis.  The "A" word is a scary thing.  He definitely has some things that he needs help with.  And if it takes a diagnosis for him to get that help, so be it!  Thinking about the future is the hardest thing for me.  I try to take things one day at a time, but I am guilty of crying in my bed at night when I think about the hopes and dreams we had for him and his future.  Then I force myself to remember that he's only 3 and there is so much research out there showing that early intervention is key.  So although sometimes I let my mind wander, we refuse to accept a different future for our son.  We will do anything and sacrifice anything for him.

Tomorrow I will be sharing a post that my husband wrote about his feelings about our son's diagnosis.

June 8, 2016

What's In My (Mom) Bag

Although it does have diapers in it, I just don't feel like I can really call it a diaper bag anymore.  I use it all the time, whether I have the kids or not, except when I run out real quick to the store.  Then I usually just grab my wallet or small little crossbody purse.

But anywayyyy...

Let's get into this thing.  It is the Around Town Tote from Thirty-One and I love it!  It's pretty big, but I like big purses.

Here is a look at the inside before I took anything out to take pictures.  This was a day I had been out with Kase for an appointment, but it's pretty much always the same.  When I get home from being out I will throw out any wrappers or random stuff that makes its way in here.

 Here is all the stuff that stays in the main part.

1. Extra set of clothes for Kenley
2. Wipes
3. Wallet
4. Planner
5. Three Orla Kiely bags from Target (more on these below)

I keep this separate Zipper Pouch in my van with an extra set of clothes for Kyla and Kase, which I have never had to use.  But you know the one time I didn't have extra clothes is when they'd spill all over themselves or something!

Since it's such a big purse, with only the one interior pocket, I have to use smaller bags inside.  It would drive me absolutely insane to just throw everything in the big section.

This first one just has some pens and note pads.  #plannernerd

This one is big enough for about four diapers so I usually keep two for Kase and two for Kenley (used one for Kase that day).  If I'm going to be away for the day or longer, I take a separate diaper bag.

 This last one has two sections.  One side has a few feminine products, a small tube of sunscreen, band-aids and a thermometer.  I sometimes have some baby Tylenol or some other medicines in this section too.

The other side is for the kids snacks.  Usually I keep some goldfish crackers, a couple suckers, and a fruit pouch.  Today for Kase I grabbed a fruit pouch and juice.

Here is a peek at the interior pocket, which does have a zipper, which is nice.

And everything that is inside currently...

1. Boogie Wipes (a must!)
2. Wet Ones (I go through SO many of these!)
3. Sunglasses
4. Hand sanitizer
5. Kleenex
6. Random hair tie
7. Lip gloss
8. Chapstick
9. A pacifier for Kenley

And that's it!  I'll be honest, at this point in our lives, we don't go out all that much.  It's mostly to the store, appointments and taking Kyla to and from school.  Come this fall, things will get a little crazier I'm sure.  And some day, we might even brave going out to eat as a family once in awhile! :)

Oh, and if you love this purse (or anything else from Thirty-One), email me and I'll hook you up with a nice little discount :)  (

June 6, 2016

Why Sunday's Are Hard

Before we talk about Sunday, let's talk about how I got to meet my new nephew on Saturday!

I now have two nieces on my side and three nephews on Tyler's side.  I absolutely LOVE being an aunt.  Cooper was born on Thursday and we got to see him and his big brother Trey on Saturday.  And as an added bonus, Tyler's other brother and his wife were there so we got to see our other nephew, Kellen, too!  He is only three months old.  It's going to be so fun watching all our kids grow up together!

I'll be honest, I do not miss that newborn baby stage, but I sure do love to snuggle them :)

Now, can we talk about Sunday's?  Do they stress anyone else out?  It seems like sometime in the afternoon, around 4:00, I get really anxious/depressed/sad.  I start to think about Tyler going back to work and everything going on for the week ahead.  I guess it's just that I'm in a stage of life right now that is really hard.  Each day seems so long and I count down the minutes until Tyler gets home from work.  He is usually gone one night a week traveling for work, which makes things just a little bit harder.  Most of my anxiety stems from Kase's therapy schedule and the fact that we have people coming in and out of our house multiple times a day (when they actually show up!).  I plan on doing another post sometime about how all of that is going, but it's just a lot to handle.

Thankfully my mom is amazingly supportive and comes up once a week to help me out.  Now that she is off for the summer it will be easier for her and she will be able to stay longer.  I'm seriously so thankful that she does this and I know the kids love it too!

I tried not to be too much of a downer yesterday and ended up being pretty productive.  I mowed the yard, did my first T25 workout in a long time, and even walked/jogged on the treadmill!

It felt really good and I'm hoping it is the jump start I need to get myself back on track with my exercising!

When I was done I realized that everyone in my house was napping so I pulled out this book that I recently bought myself.  I only got a few pages in before Kenley woke up, but I can already tell I'm going to enjoy it!

I spent some time working on Etsy orders last night and then crawled in bed and caught up on some TV shows.  I rarely watch TV anymore so I am way behind on some of the shows I watch.

I'm really hoping this is the week I get my butt in gear with exercising and eating better!

So tell me, do you get the Sunday blues like me?