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!