Our First Physical Therapy Session

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For those of you who have been following along, my littlest boy was born with a birth defect called Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum, which has made it so that he is reaching some of his physical milestones a little bit slower than what is expected. This is an outcome specific to my son, as this defect can come across in many different ways. When we took Finn to his two-month wellness appointment, his Doctor expressed a concern that Finn wasn’t holding his head up or using his gross motor skills as well as he should have been by that point. She suggested that we make a follow-up appointment with the neurologist, that we make an appointment with a neurosurgeon about his head shape, and that we get him into therapy. My head was spinning. Pro tip: take notes when you are taking your kiddo to the doctor, whether your child has a birth defect or not. I’m not the best at being organized, so I haven’t quite been on the ball with all of these appointments, but I am figuring it out.

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So we got in contact with First Steps and set up therapy sessions for once a month. Something I learned is that therapists are super busy and they already have full schedules. I guess there is an incredible need for therapists. I’ll remember that when my kids are thinking about what to be when they grow up. Anyway, they could only fit Finn in for once a month. So on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, our therapist came to our house to work with Finn. I was a little nervous to invite someone into my house and have them tell me what was wrong with my son, but he needs therapy so I got over it. Actually, she was incredible. She was so helpful and worked on some really fun things with Finn.

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He got to play with some new toys. He got to play in some Mr. Bubble foam soap (and she even made sure he didn’t eat it). She had him sit like a mermaid and hold himself up with one arm and use the other to play, then they switched sides. She worked on head control with him and she was really great about giving him breaks when he needed it. I mean he is only 4 months old so he has an attention span of about sixty seconds. She wrote out what they did during his session and gave some suggestions on things to work with him on between sessions. She also suggested that Finn be moved up to once a week therapy sessions.

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All in all, it was so laid back, and the fact that they came to my house to do his therapy session took a ton of pressure off of the whole thing. Finn’s therapist is a very kind woman and I felt very at ease with her. Therapy is turning out to be a super inspiring and wonderful experience, and I’m so proud of my baby boy. He is working so hard.

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My Favorite Games to Play with My Hubby

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Preston and I are parents. We don’t get to leave the house whenever we want to be able to go on a hot date. Sometimes, you’ve got to make do with what you have. As it happens, we have a lot of games. So, we end up putting the kids to bed a little early and we stay up and play games together. It’s really nice to be able to do that because games usually give you the opportunity to talk to each other while playing. Preston and I end up talking about some pretty important and/or interesting things while playing games. It’s one way we connect to each other. Here are some of my favorite games to play with my hubby.

 

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Scattergories

We have a Bible-themed version of it, which we like to play because it helps us both remember and learn more about the Bible. We both really like getting in-depth knowledge of the Bible and this is one way to test it/share it. But we have to get creative with answers sometimes and it proves to be a great laugh between us, and sometimes we get a few, good inside jokes. You can buy the Bible-themed version here or the regular version here. 

 

 

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Gin

This card game can be played with any regular deck of cards and I really like this game because it requires strategy and some reading of your opponent. It’s almost like a test of how well you know your spouse. Can you predict what they will do? If you can’t, this might be a good way to learn more about them. I love these cards. They feel like they belong to James Bond.

 

 

Farkle

I love dice games. I have no idea why, but Farkle is a game I truly get into. Honestly, it’s all about luck and knowing when to stop. I enjoy playing this game with my hubby because there’s something about pouring yourself a drink and rolling the dice that feels very adult and it lets us step outside of our parenting roles for a few minutes and we are simply us again. You can grab it here!

 

 

Chess

This game is difficult to play, which I think is awesome. I like learning and chess is one game I have to keep learning from over and over again. I like that it can be a long game, which gives me and my hubby a good amount of time to reconnect with each other. Seeing the different kinds of moves that he makes, watching his strategy progress, seeing his reaction to my moves, it’s all really eye-opening to me, and I like being able to impress him when I make some really complicated moves. I enjoy this chess set because its Super Mario themed.

 

 

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Trivia

Okay, so this one isn’t at home while the kids are asleep. Sometimes Preston and I go out to trivia nights, usually about something specific, like a T.V. show we both know. Getting out and away from the house and our kids to try and win something together, playing on the same team, it really helps me feel close to him.

 

 

Puzzles

Okay, okay, maybe technically these aren’t games, but they are so difficult and again, they take us a while to complete. We usually put on a good movie and sit at the coffee table together. We get to help each other and it’s interesting to see the different parts of the puzzle that we each put together, the things that are easier for us to visualize. This puzzle appeals to the Harry Potter fan in both of us.

Of course, we are always on the lookout for some new (and sometimes ridiculous) two-person games so we are always open to suggestions! What do you like to play?

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Too Many Appointments, Not Enough Sanity

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My son Finn has a ton of appointments. Pediatrician, neurologist, neurosurgeon, ophthalmologist. On top of the fact that he is six months old and has a bunch of appointments just for being a baby, he has an older sister and brother who have their own appointments and things to do, I’m drowning.

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It has taken a lot of driving. We have to drive 25-90 minutes for each appointment, which gets expensive and tiring. Honestly, it’s a good thing we bought a minivan in January or we wouldn’t be able to do any of this. Our last car was going to disintegrate around us. But it gives us a lot of time in the car. Sometimes the kids are with us, sometimes it’s just us and Finn. Finn likes to sleep in the car so long car rides aren’t so much of a problem with him. My other two are older and know the intangible idea of boredom. When Mamaw and Papaw aren’t watching them, just getting to an appointment can be a test of my humanity, let alone getting through the appointment itself and then driving home.

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I feel like we need our kids to be cared for quite often. Finn has a lot of stuff going on and Mamaw and Papaw are seriously some incredible blessings from God. The problem is, Preston and I haven’t gotten out of the house for a date in a looooooong time, but I feel guilty asking the in-laws to babysit yet again, not because they are mean or make us feel bad, I just feel like we are constantly asking them to rearrange their schedules for us and that makes me feel guilty. On the other side, the kids are with them quite a lot and I want to make sure they spend time with us, you know, their parents.

I have got to figure this out. It’s bugging the crap out of me! So, to help me out, I’ve gotten really diligent about putting every event in a shared calendar with my husband. It helps me that he knows every appointment or event our family has and can send up an alarm if he hears me talking about double-booked slots I haven’t caught in our schedule.

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I also have my phone alert me twice before each event, so I don’t forget. On top of that, I have a paper and pen planner. I know it sounds old-fashioned but I like to color. Plus, writing down each event helps me remember what’s going on. I use it to plan my blog, to plan my time volunteering for my church, to plan out my priorities for the day, and just to help me think through my day. Then I color code and use my pretty highlighters and scented markers to make it pretty and it actually gets me pretty excited to start another day!

 

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Next, I’m going to pack a “go bag” with entertainment and snacks for the kids. It will go with us everywhere, even if I don’t think I’ll need it. The time you’ll need it is always the day you think it will be just a quick trip to the store and back that turns into making a last minute trip to the church because you forgot the Sunday Slides aren’t finished. After all, the bag can always stay in the car. At least I will have it with me.

Lastly, I think it’s time to plan out date nights. Like on my calendar of events. That way, we can have regular dates that the in-laws can count on and hopefully we won’t have to worry about what dates work and what dates don’t. And I won’t feel guilty about asking them over and over to watch the kids each time we want to go on a date.

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Do any of you have kids with special needs and a lot of appointments? How do you deal? Please, I could use some tips!

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Happy Home Challenge: Indoor Plants

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Ya’ll winter can be brutal. Being cooped up inside is the worst when you have at least one high energy kid, which I do. We’ve been trying to get outside, even when it’s cold, but I am only an outdoor person when it is 75 degrees and slightly cloudy with a breeze. Right? There is one thing I do love about being outside though, and it is the plants. Guys, I bought a plant to put inside my house.

If you haven’t guessed, I don’t have a great track record with plants or gardening, but I want to try again. So I have one single plant and actually, I think I’m in love with it. My daughter Sadie has been helping me water it and she is all about it. It’s a reward for her to be able to water the plant. Maybe she will be a great botanist one day and it will all have started with this plant. My plant is a Pothos plant but we should definitely name it. Kermit. I’m calling it Kermit because it’s green. Why not?

It is so nice to come into my living and see a bit of green life that is just… calm. This life isn’t running around, it isn’t constantly begging me for things, it doesn’t whine. It is just there to be with me and all it needs is a little water and sunlight here and there. Maybe I’m becoming a plant lady. I can’t be a cat lady, or really a pet lady, so maybe I’ll be a plant lady.

I think a plant is a great way to put some calm life into your house in the winter. I highly recommend it. And from what I understand, this plant is supposed to be an easy one to take care of, so if you are like me and just learning about plants and gardening, or maybe you’re just not too good at it, I would look into a Pothos plant. Here’s a book that can help you look into and decide what kind of plants you want in your house.

I have big goals for the plants in my house. My next one will be an Aloe Vera plant, I think. I want to make another blog post about taking care of a few easy-to-care-for plants so I will be adding some to my collection (can I call it a collection if it is just one plant?) over the next several weeks.

I want to know what kinds of plants you like to keep in your house and any tips you might have for me as I try to take care of this one!

Newbie Parent’s Guide to Beginner Ballet

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My daughter is getting old enough now that she is really wanting to participate in group activities (ughhhhh, now I have to talk to other parents), such as ballet. But, because I am someone who doesn’t always put two and two together, I dropped the ball on a few things and quite frankly, it was embarrassing. I thought I would write down my tips for parents who are going through ballet for the first time because I wish I had known these things myself but let’s be honest, it’s because I didn’t do my research. Sherlock would not be proud.

 

1. Get a pair of ballet shoes! This is actually a big deal because ballet classes are held in studios (i.e. rooms with mirrors all over the walls and wood floors that they do NOT want you to walk on in your regular shoes that have gone through the mud and snow and rain and dog poop). This is a must and probably the first thing you should do after registering your child for ballet, or any other kind of dance class (but get the right shoes for the right kind of class). I know the first thing everyone thinks of is the pair of ballet shoes with the flat toes that professional ballerinas wear, but that’s not for your beginner. Your newbie needs beginner shoes that are not flat on the toes. They are just ballet slippers that look like ballet flats you would buy for yourself except the bottom isn’t hard, it’s soft. I bought these for my little girl and they have been working great! You might think, “well, my kid can just wear socks for a bit.” No. Just go ahead and get the shoes. Your child will need them and socks usually are not appropriate unless your child’s teacher is willing to cut you some slack, but don’t be that parent. I know money can be tight, but ballet shoes really aren’t expensive, especially compared to shoes for other sports (looking at you, soccer). Of course, if you truly can’t afford them before your child begins class, speak to the teacher and be honest. No one has any right to judge you or your child, but be prepared, you will need to buy more than just shoes before the season is over. My kiddo wore socks during her first practice because I didn’t have any information about what she needed to start class, just the date and time. I was that parent and I was the only one who was unprepared.

 

 

2. Most or all of the other children in the class will be wearing a ballet leotard (this one is adorable!) and tights (buy multiples here), if not a skirt with it (I love this one!). Some dance schools have requirements on what children wear during rehearsals so it might be necessary for you to buy some ballet attire. The school we are at now does not require children to wear anything specific, they just need to be able to move freely, but still, everyone wears ballet attire. I have seen the occasional child wear a gymnastics leotard or some boyshorts (like for hip-hop) but really its all dance attire. So if you and your kid are cool with her wearing a Hello Kitty shirt and leggings during practice and her teacher doesn’t mind, go for it. I just wish someone had prepared me for the fact my kid would be the only one.

 

 

3. You will have to help your child practice at home. I don’t know why, but I did not put this together until the teacher was telling the girls that they needed to practice at home. My daughter is six so it’s not like I can just send her to her room and she will remember what she needs to practice and how to do things correctly. For us, ballet practice is once a week, so I take my phone and I take notes about words I will need to remember (pro tip: its all in French) and I record her dance routines, mainly focusing on the teacher so that my kiddo can watch and remember how her routine goes. Heaven knows I won’t remember. I found some beginner videos on YouTube and Sadie and I will be practicing to those this week. Next week, I will be asking her teacher for the names of the songs she uses during practice and the name of the song that they will perform during the recital.

 

 

4. If your kid is anything like mine, they will want to eat before and after practice. Bring snacks. Lots of them. You’re thinking, “oh it’s just an hour-long practice, she’ll be fine until we get home.” She. Will. Not.

 

 

5. Your child will more than likely need a new outfit for their recital, and accessories to go with it. For example, Sadie was a winter fairy in her recital, so we needed to buy a blue leotard, white tights, and blue fairy wings. Apparently, everyone and their dog bought all the blue fairy wings from every store ever, so we had to go old-fashioned and Mamaw made Sadie’s from wires and tulle and glue. Yeah, Mamaw is the best.

 

 

6. Buy extra tights!!!! You know you will need them.

 

 

7. In a pinch, you can cut the toes off of a sock and roll it up to make a sock bun/ballerina bun. You can find instructions here. You can also buy one here. It’s not required or anything, it’s just hella cute.

 

 

8. When it comes to beginning ballet, it isn’t like Dance Moms. Mostly everyone keeps to themselves and the parents just help each other out when it comes to finding blue fairy wings (seriously, there were none and we were pretty much screwed.) So don’t freak out if you are an introvert trying to give your kid a normal life. As for intermediate or advanced ballet classes, I’ll let you know if and when we get there.

 

 

9. Your kid might embarrass you. (What else is new?) Now that you are probably out of the grocery store tantrum stage (if you’re not, my condolences), your child has a whole new arena to embarrass you in. My kiddo is not too good at paying attention, so while the teacher was helping the children learn a ballet exercise, my daughter was twirling in the back and kept asking when they would do some leaps. She is behind in her ballet abilities, but I’m fairly sure these other kids have been ballet-ing since they were in the womb so we will just practice at home and work on her attention span. We will get there, and even if we don’t, who cares? Sadie is doing this because she wants to. When/if it stops being fun, we will move on to something else. No biggie.

 

 

10. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, do this for fun, do this for your child. If it causes your kiddo too much stress (a little stress is good) or she just simply doesn’t like it, there’s no need to keep going. I am a person who has a hard time being social so putting my daughter in a group activity is difficult for me because I feel like others are judging me and my girl or they expect me to be good at small talk. First of all, they probably aren’t judging you, second, it’s not your problem if they are, third, you can keep to yourself, you don’t have to be social. You do you, let your kid do your kid, and let others be others. When you learn to be at peace with that, you’ll be golden.

My Lenten Experience

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Something you should know about me is that I spend way too much time looking at screens and also, I am a follower of Jesus Christ. How do those two things have anything to do with each other? Well, if you compare the time I spend on devices for pleasure (Facebook, YouTube, etc.) vs. the amount of time I spend with God, it’s embarrassing.

Yes, I’m a Christian, but I am also human and messed up, so I’m not going to be a perfect person. I admit I haven’t been spending enough time with God, really, not any. I pray every once in a while, especially when I get scared, but otherwise, there’s not much I do to show God that I love him.

If you aren’t a Christian or a someone who’s been in church a lot, you might not know about Lent. Lent is the period of time, starting with Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter (excluding Sundays), of preparation and waiting for the resurrection of Jesus. We are not really waiting for a man to resurrect himself, but it’s symbolic of waiting for Jesus, who is already resurrected, to return and take us to heaven. Lent is supposed to be a time where you take a look at yourself and find your faults. You find what Jesus would have you fix about yourself and you really focus on that specifically during the 40 day period leading up to Easter. It’s why you hear about people “giving up something for Lent.” People don’t always give up something, sometimes people add a habit to their routine, such as regular prayer or maybe they spend time volunteering. It’s all about living as Jesus would have us live.

The idea is that if you give something up, you should use the time you would have spent doing that activity and instead give it to God. Pray, read the Bible, worship, etc. Now, when the period of Lent is over, you can go back to the activity you gave up, or if that activity is pretty bad for you, maybe you never go back.

I am giving up screens for pleasure. I still have to use them for work, but other than that, I am going to turn them all off and spend that time on my relationship with God. This is my Lenten experience… or maybe my Lenten experiment. I wonder if I can do this. Screens are a huge part of my life. I really hope that I can cut down on my time and experience the real world more. I will update every week on how I am doing and any tips I discover along the way. Tomorrow is day 1!

Have any of you tried this before? What tips do you have for giving up your devices?

Forgiveness & Stuff

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There are days where everything is the worst. I wake up with a headache, my daughter is very emotional, my son is hungry every second, and my baby is needing all the attention that exists in the entire universe. Today is one of those days.

One of those days where the kids do their homeschooling all on the Kindles so that I can take a break. One of those days where I don’t shower and instead stay in my ducky robe and unwashed hair all day. Days where I bake an entire tray of ready-bake cookies and eat them for lunch. Ladies and gentlemen, these are the rough days.

These are the days when I mentally beat myself up for not cleaning the house or doing the laundry or going the extra mile for the kids’ education. What can I do when I reach the days when I am not enough?

Here’s the thing: Jesus talks a lot about forgiveness but as far as I know, he talks about forgiving others. What I want to know is what the Bible says about forgiving yourself. Honestly, on the specific topic of forgiving yourself, there’s nothing. But I think we can get a pretty good answer by following the Word of God to its natural conclusion.

The Bible tells us that God provided a perfect world. Adam and Eve condemned it because they were tricked and they doubted God, so the entirety of humankind was doomed to be separated from God for all eternity. But God wasn’t okay with that ending and spent hundreds and hundreds of years trying to help the people of the world, teaching them that they couldn’t work their way to a relationship with God. Then he sent his own child to be completely perfect, to live the way none of us ever could. Then he let us kill his son. God sent Jesus to save the people who would kill him. If that isn’t forgiveness, I don’t know what is. Despite the fact that we murdered God’s only son, God wanted to be with us and love us forever. Obviously, God has forgiven humankind and has moved past the whole murderer thing.

Each of us contributed to the murder of Jesus with every sin we commit. And God has forgiven each and every one of us. Literally, for every single thing. Things like yelling at our kids or thinking mean thoughts about the slow people in the grocery store, or putting your kids on a tablet all day because you aren’t capable of doing anything today. God has forgiven us for all the things, including being impatient with our spouses, not taking care of the homes he has given us, and not doing all we can to help others.

God has decided I deserve forgiveness. For me to refuse to forgive myself for the bad days, is to go against God. Right? Which is sinning. So, to refuse to forgive myself for sinning is a sin in itself and I’m so dizzy from all the spinning.

Not to mention, Jesus told us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, which I always took to mean, treat others the way you want to be treated. But really, I think he is also saying “love your neighbors while you love yourself” or “love your neighbors and at the same time, love yourself” and if you’re going to love your neighbors as much as you love yourself, yet you treat yourself like crap and refuse to give yourself a break, you’re not going to do a very good job of spreading the love of God.

See? God wants you to love yourself. He wants you to forgive yourself. He wants you to let go of your “notenoughness” and keep moving forward. Keep trying. Accept the forgiveness of God and give and accept forgiveness from yourself. Remember your mistakes in your mind so you can learn from them, but forget them in your heart to make your burden lighter.

I’m here if you need to vent or need someone to listen to you. Don’t forget, God always wants to hear from you, no matter what you have to say.

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