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!

May 31, 2017

Our Trip to Colorado

My cousin, who is 9 years younger than me, got married over the weekend. Her and her husband (so weird saying that!) live in Colorado so that's where the wedding was. We've always been really close and I was thrilled to be her matron of honor. Just for fun, here she was as my maid of honor almost 11 years ago! :)

We left right after school last Tuesday and drove an hour to my mom's house where we met my aunt and Grandma. We then drove another six hours, which got us on the other side of Omaha around 10:30 pm. We stopped and slept at a hotel for the night.

Wednesday morning we got up at 7:30, ate some breakfast and headed out for the day. It took us about seven more hours to get to Boulder. My aunt has a DVD player in her van so we watched three movies in the two days of traveling. I also had printed out a fun travel scavenger hunt and a map to keep track of all the states we saw on license plates. Kyla loved that!

We stayed in a five bedroom air b&b, which was really nice. After we got there we ordered some pizza and had it delivered and got all our stuff unpacked. Later that night we went over to the church to drop some things off. We didn't end up getting to bed until about 10:30, which was actually 11:30 our time.

Thursday morning was spent at the church getting things ready. Then in the afternoon the bridal party went and got our nails done. Kyla came with us and thought she was so special getting her fingernails and toenails painted. :)

My mom and step dad had gotten into town that day so they took Kyla for the night because we were having a bachelorette party for my cousin. It was pretty low key - dinner, drinks and back to her apartment. The food was awesome and it was nice to be able to visit with everyone. We all had to travel to get to Colorado so everyone was pretty tired so a low key night was perfect!

How gorgeous is she?! Kyla gets her love of unicorns from Kirsten! :)

Friday was a busy day. The wedding was outdoors so we had tents set up and spent most of Friday getting tables and chairs set up and then getting all the other little details finalized. Friday night was the rehearsal and then dinner.

Saturday was wedding day! It ended up raining during the ceremony so we moved it under the tent, which we were expecting and planning for anyway. But shortly after the ceremony was over it stopped raining and it was beautiful out so we got some awesome pictures with the mountains in the background. There was karaoke and yard games. It was the perfect day!

I didn't get many pictures of the wedding day, but I had to share this one of the bride and groom heading off on their honeymoon. She was seriously the most gorgeous bride I've ever seen!

(Picture credit to another bridesmaid, Bekah.)
We headed out for home bright and early Sunday morning at 6:00 am. We drove the entire way that day and got home at 10:00 pm (lost an hour on the way). I did not sleep well at all while we were gone so I was excited to be in my own bed!

All that driving and Kyla did not complain once. Not one time! She handled all the traveling, the late nights, all the time spent getting things ready for the wedding, like a champ. Oh, and she rocked the whole flower girl thing. She took the whole "throw the flowers" thing literally. She threw those flowers and it was the cutest thing I've ever seen. Then she sat through the entire ceremony like this...

I need to take her out and get her something special because she was awesome the entire trip!

We're very happy to be home, but we miss Kirsten and Brad (and those beautiful mountains) already. We hope to go back and visit as a family soon!

May 16, 2017

Life Lately

It's been almost two weeks since my last post and ironically, that post was about how I'm handling my anxiety. Now here I am in some kind of funk. I hate taking blog breaks, but I just didn't have anything worth posting.

Please forgive me as today is just going to be a completely random life update with no order to it whatsoever.

Let's start with Mother's Day because I feel like there's some blogger rule that you have to share about your Mother's Day. Mine was low key and pretty much like any other Sunday. While I was getting Kase dressed in the morning he said, "No school today? I stay home?" It kind of broke my heart, but I was really happy I could tell him yes, you get to stay home with mommy and daddy today. He loves his "school" and his therapists, but the sweet boy needed a day off. I can't blame him! Kyla and I went out and did some shopping, which was really nice. After dinner we all hopped in the van and went out for some ice cream. It was the first time Kenley got her own ice cream and not just a bite of her brother or sister's so she thought she was pretty cool. And in true #bloggerfail fashion, I didn't take a picture of this momentous occasion.

Although I'm not proud to admit it, it was one of those weekends where I felt really, really sad. I was wishing we could do something, go somewhere, get a family picture like everyone else in social media world. Don't get me wrong, we could have done something or gone somewhere. But it would have been really hard. And a hard, stressful time wasn't really what I was hoping for. Remember how I told you once in awhile that jealousy comes creeping back? Yeah, that happened.

Like I said, I'm not proud of having those feelings, but it's reality. We all have bad days, right? I've snapped out of it and am having a great week so far!

Yesterday the weather was beautiful and Kenley and I had so much fun together. It was another reminder of how lucky I am to be home with her every day.

Let's see, what else is going on...

We are (not so) patiently waiting to hear if Kase gets accepted into the school district that Kyla is in. We should find out in a couple weeks. I really hope it's just an easy "yes" because if not, we're in for some big decisions.

Kyla and I leave next week for my cousin's wedding in Colorado. I've been busy getting everything ready and making way too many to-do lists. Tyler will be staying home with Kase and Kenley. It was going to be way too stressful (and expensive) for us all to go. I'm the matron of honor and Kyla is a flower girl. I want to be able to focus on my cousin and being there for her, which means I wouldn't be much help to Tyler with the kids. Plus Kase would miss several days of therapy, which would have had a big impact on his awesome progress lately. We all agreed that this was best. Plus they're having a reception back here in September so we can all go to that.

Speaking of Kase and his progress, he is doing so well right now. Transitions in and out of both clinics are going well, he's cruising through different programs they are working on with him, he's compliant, interacting with peers (although this continues to be one of his biggest weaknesses), and doing great with his feeding program. His team has been digging deeper into his feeding issues and found that he's definitely lacking some oral skills that kids have at this age. He doesn't know how to move food around in his mouth correctly. Also, he has some real sensory issues with certain foods and textures. It's been hard to know what is attention seeking and what is truly hard for him. It's nice to get some professional advice and have a plan on how we can help him.

Some new foods that he's eating - grapes, strawberries, pretzels, goldfish, yogurt & applesauce in cups with a spoon (he used to only eat them out of the pouches), string cheese, chicken nuggets, toast, apples, fruit snacks, graham crackers. All of these things he would not touch a couple weeks ago. He's doing awesome at the clinic so now we are working on getting him to eat these foods at home too. He thinks at home he can still always have his pop tarts and chips. We will give him a choice of two things that we know he's been eating at therapy and he will choose one. We don't deprive him of pop tarts and chips, but he doesn't get them for every meal/snack like he would prefer. We document everything, like they do at therapy, so we can start to see which items are preferred. Eventually we will be able to tell what things he doesn't like because it's okay to not like foods. This week they are starting carrots, summer sausage, hot dogs and waffles. Yesterday he did awesome. Tyler picked him up at the end of the day and he said Kase's therapist was so excited to share how he did. For lunch he ate a whole piece of toast with butter, applesauce in a cup (he's had a hard time using a spoon, but is doing great with it!), grapes and chips. During the actual feeding therapy he ate 6 bites of string cheese, 8 bites of carrots, 1 whole chicken nugget and 2 bites of the sausage. She said he seemed to really like the carrots. Yay!

We're trying to get a few things in different food groups, but keeping them pretty kid friendly. He has a hard time when foods have different textures. For example, he has had some oranges, but they noticed that he had a really hard time with the chewy stuff, the stringy stuff and the juice that all come with one bite of an orange. He also has a hard time with apple slices that have the skin on them. He will chew the skin for several minutes and just not know what to do with it. All of this just takes more practice and therapy, but for now, they want to focus on foods that, for the most part, just have one texture and taste.

Kyla only has a couple weeks left of school. She is sad because she LOVES her teacher, but she's excited for summer and I'm excited to have her home! Kenley is going to love having her here every day too! She is starting softball soon and has a volleyball camp with the Badgers in a couple weeks. She's also doing two summer school classes for a couple weeks, just for fun. I'm sure the summer is going to fly by and soon we will have a 1st grader!

Kenley continues to make us laugh on a daily basis. She reminds me so much of Kyla when she was this age. So sweet, but so much sass and a little temper for good measure. She's still a great eater. She loves to sing in the van and knows way too many words to the Trolls songs. She knows her basic colors and is starting to sing her abc's a little bit. She still loves to color and take baths. I'm excited to see how she will like Uncle Mark's pool this summer.

This ended up being way longer than I anticipated so thanks for reading until the end. We're supposed to have a high of 86 today so we're going to get outside this morning before it gets too hot!

May 3, 2017

Dealing With Anxiety

Disclaimer - This post is a little personal, but it's part of my journey and I am not ashamed of it. Since I started sharing our story on this blog and on Facebook, I have had so many people reach out to me and thank me for being open and honest. I get messages on a weekly basis from people telling me that they can relate to something I wrote. It was one specific message I got last week that helped me decide to share this.

It's no secret that 2016 was a hard year for me. I'm not going to go into a ton of detail because it's honestly really hard to explain. I guess it's just that the autism diagnosis was still very new, the in-home therapy was extremely stressful, we were dealing with insurance headaches and I often just felt extremely overwhelmed. I worried about everything (still do). I worried about the future. I had an insane amount of guilt. Guilt about the autism. Guilt that our family couldn't go out and do a lot of things that we'd like to. Guilt for my girls and what they were missing out on. I was having a hard time with the day to day struggles that come along with autism - the behaviors, the extreme food issues that made mealtimes stressful for everyone. It all consumed me.

In August of 2016, after fighting it for too long, I decided to go to my doctor and talk to her about it. She prescribed me with an anxiety medication that I could take just when I felt like I needed it because we agreed that I didn't need something every day. For the first few months I would take it once or twice a week on the days when I felt like I was drowning from the worry and stress. There were days when I'd get home from picking the kids up after school and therapy and we'd still have a couple hours before Tyler would be home from work and I would think to myself, "How am I going to make it until bedtime?" I would feel myself losing patience with my kids and I hated that. Although I didn't feel a dramatic difference after taking the medication, I would make it to bedtime and think to myself, "I did it!" So although I didn't really feel different after taking it, I believe it helped me get through those tough few hours.

After the holidays, I found myself taking it less, maybe twice a month. I track in my planner which days I take it so I can look back and see exactly when I took it and what was going on those days. Looking back now, I didn't take it at all in April (or May so far). I got thinking about it and I have to believe the fact that I'm exercising more and completed the 30 miles in 30 days with Erin isn't just a coincidence. I mean it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that exercising is good for you, not only physically but mentally as well. I didn't realize it as the month was going on, but now looking back, I think it played a big role. I'm also going to the gym once in awhile (hopefully will start to be more now that my wrist is feeling better).

There are a couple other things that I think are contributing to me feeling better lately. Kase is doing well at therapy and his team is amazing. I don't have to stress every day and worry if we're doing what's best for him. I am 100% certain that where he's at now is the absolute best thing for him.

Erin and I decided to take a break from our Etsy shop. We are both busy moms and it was going from being a fun outlet for us both to being too stressful.

My brother recently started his second new business and I am helping him part time. I'm really excited about this. Being a stay at home mom is a huge blessing for our family. When Kyla was 2 1/2 and Kase was 1, I went back to teaching 3rd grade because I thought it was time. It didn't take long for me to realize that my kids needed me at home and this is where I'm meant to be right now. With that being said, being home every day is hard in a totally different way. I love it and I'm grateful, but having this part time work with my brother is having a very positive effect on my life. It's hard to explain and may sound silly, but I feel part of something, part of a team. I feel like I'm contributing (in a small way right now). It also gives my mind a break from all the worries that go along with being a special needs mom. I'm very thankful for my brother for trusting me and giving me this opportunity.

I don't like taking medications, which is why I fought going to the doctor for so long. But there came a point where I had to admit that I needed some help. And that was okay.

I'm not saying I won't ever need the medication again because I just don't know. I have good days and bad days. However, I do feel like I have turned a huge corner in 2017. I feel like I spent last year grieving and feeling sad that our life may not be exactly what I had planned. I definitely still have my moments where I let jealousy or guilt or worry take over, but it's MUCH less than it used to be.

I apologize if this post was all over the place. I started writing this last week and finally decided to hit the publish button this morning. This blog is like therapy for me a lot of times. I'm not sure who reads it, but I always feel better after I publish a post. Dealing with anxiety is just a small part of my journey and talking about it is one way that helps me keep it under control.

Thanks for reading!

May 2, 2017

Boy's Summer Clothing Haul {Carter's}

I recently bought Kase some clothes for this summer and thought I'd share what I got. All the shorts and shirts were either $6 or $7 and then I had a coupon for 20% off my entire purchase.

I only buy shorts and pants with the elastic band. With him being newly potty trained, we like for him to be able to be completely independent going to the bathroom. We will tackle buckles and zippers later!

He is in size 5 right now. Carter's has 5T, 5 and then 6. He can still wear some 5T stuff and other stuff he has outgrown. There isn't a huge difference between 5T and 5, but 6 would be too big so I went with 5 for this stuff, which should fit him through the summer.

I love little tank tops in the summer. This was the only one they had, but I will be getting a few more because I just love seeing his cute little arms! :)

I usually shop at Target, Old Navy and Carter's for my kids. Sometimes Gymboree when they have sales and I have coupons. Where do you all shop for kids clothes? Leave me a comment and let me know! :)

April 28, 2017

April 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.

My April favorites might just be the most random assortment of things you've ever seen, but they're all things we've been enjoying so I thought I'd share!

Home Decor - I love decorating our house for every holiday, but there's just something very calming about going back to the neutral, every day decor. Everything on this little table is from Hobby Lobby.

Trolls Soundtrack - There are so many fun songs on this CD and it's been a nice break from Moana! :)

Snuggle the Baby book - Kenley got this for her birthday and it's so cute. It's interactive so you feed, change and swaddle the baby. Then there's a baby to take out of the book and then put to bed at the end. Kyla and Kenley both really love this book.
Original Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow - I complained about my cheap pillows for way too long. I had a couple people suggest these bamboo pillows so one day after a terrible night of sleep I pulled the trigger and ordered two. So far Tyler and I are happy with these. I think I need to take a little of the stuffing out, but I just haven't taken the time to do that yet.
Let's Learn Disposable Placemats - Kenley loves to eat so I figured at the table was the best place to teach her things. These stick to the table and are super easy to remove. I don't keep them on the table all the time, but when I do use them I will sometimes leave them on there for a few days. Kyla loves to test Kenley and see which colors she knows.

Counting Bears with Cups - I blogged about these in November 2012 when Kyla was not quite two, but she loved them. It was fun going back and reading that post. Kenley loves them just as much and I still think everyone should have these. They are great for learning colors, counting, sorting, patterns and also a great tool to work on cleaning up!

Lately I have been giving Kenley just two colors to see if she can sort them into the correct cups. She ends up getting bored of that and always asks for the rest of the colors.

Lastly, because I was eating one while typing this post, Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs - I know they make these for almost every holiday, but the eggs for Easter are just SO good. Thank you Easter Bunny for bringing extra for me this year!

If you missed my March favorites you can read about those here.