Life With a Three Year Old: This Week’s Tantrums

Meltdown

Hello, remember me?  Sorry I haven’t updated in awhile, life has been crazy and the blog got put on the back burner.  However, I now have a full fledged three year old and I couldn’t resist hopping on for a few minutes and sharing some of this week’s tantrums.  What he doesn’t realize is that he is the third child and I have a bit of experience now.  I can walk away and laugh now instead of stress out and try to figure out how to calm him.  Here are just a few of the meltdowns this week.

  1. He wanted a McDonald’s cheeseburger for breakfast.  We rarely eat there anymore but decided he needed one right then.
  2. He wanted Santa Claus to come this morning.  He was mad I couldn’t make Santa magically appear.
  3. For some reason he needed to touch the ceiling in his room and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
  4. Dinner.  Do I need to say more?  It could be his favorite meal but suddenly he wants nothing to do with it.
  5.  I wouldn’t completely take apart his Mickey Mouse Clubhouse toy.  It isn’t designed to be taken apart but he has discovered the ears and slide come off so apparently every other piece on it should too.

I’m sure next week will provide more entertainment as he melts down on more random things.  Anyone have a funny toddler meltdown story to share?

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From Survive to Thrive

Thrive

I asked last week on my personal Facebook page about how moms go from living in survival mode to thriving in life.  I received a ton of great input.  I started outlining a series to cover all of the comments, plus some of my own thoughts, but after writing the first post I realized it was a bit overwhelming.  In reality, most of the ideas fell into four main points.  I will briefly discuss them today and then over the next few weeks I will probably add some more detailed articles about how I make this reality.

Too many of us are living daily in survival mode when God didn’t create us this way.  He created us to thrive.  If you are living in survival mode daily (guilty here so I’m going to practice what I preach) it is time to sit back, re-evaluate and figure out how to get out of survival mode.  It is an evil necessary every now and then but not how daily life should be.

Daily time in the Word. I know that if I don’t spend time in my Bible, my day seems more off and I try to do way too much on my own.  Being in a super busy phase of life, I do not put pressure on myself to spend a lot of time on a deep Bible study.  Some days it may be as little as opening the Bible app on my phone and focusing on the verse of the day.

Many people will say their best time to spend in the Word is early of a morning before their kids get up.  I’ve tried that before and my kids are usually up sometime in the 5 am hour.  My body doesn’t function well with me getting up any earlier so the first thing in the morning plan does not work for me.  When I had little kids and was nursing through the night, I kept a devotional book or my phone nearby and did my quiet time in the middle of the night while nursing.  I now have a toddler who only takes a tiny part of his nap on how own and needs someone to hold him or snuggle with him for the rest of the time.  That is when I usually do my Bible time now.  Find what time works for you and stick with it.  Do not feel it needs to be something in depth or lengthy but do spend some time with God each day and many times your priorities will then fall in line.

Take time for yourself. As moms, we many times find it hard to take time for ourselves.  The to do list will never be done so please stop trying for a few minutes each week and focus on yourself.  Your body and your family will thank you for it.  This will look different for everyone.  Some people need to be alone so time in a good book or a hot bath are all they need.  I tend to want out of my house where the to do list is staring me down so “me” time looks more like meeting a friend for coffee, shopping for a few minutes alone, or using the free WiFi and surfing Facebook while drinking coffee at a the Y or a coffee shop guilt free.  Schedule at least a few minutes into each week, even when it seems impossible to find that time.  You will probably find you are more productive and much happier after a few minutes of down time.

Limit activities.  It is so easy to say yes to every activity available.   Piano lessons, swim team, soccer, baseball, art classes, etc are all good things but too much isn’t a good thing.  We value family time and thrive on being home a few nights a week.  In our family we have allowed our kids to be in one activity at a time.  We do have therapy after school three days a week which is just as busy or busier than one activity but it is a non-negotiable at this point in time.  For a few years that is all we did but as our kids get older we want them to have some time to just be a kid and not have their one and only activity be therapy.  We allow them to pick their activity and that is currently Cub Scouts for our two oldest.  If your schedule is overwhelming, write down all of your commitments and see what can be cut.  Make sure all of the activities are in line with your family goals and needs.  Yes, they may all be good but are they worth the added stress?

Plan ahead. I cannot thrive when I’m flying by the seat of my pants.  The best thing ever for me has been to take a few minutes each week and plan for the week ahead.  I used to do this on Sunday afternoons but then felt I was never really getting a break from everything so I moved it to Fridays and that has really helped.  I menu plan, discuss the schedule with my husband so we are both on the same page, and figure out what has to be accomplished for the week.

This week, find one thing you can do to change from simply surviving to actually thriving. Feel free to comment here or on the Facebook page with the one thing you are going to change this week.

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Sometimes All You Need Is a Box To turn a Day Around

Last week we were having ROUGH day.  As in, “count down the minutes until daddy gets home from work and he only left the house an hour ago” kind of day.  I was at my wit’s end and ready to call it a day but I knew there was a lot of day left.

I run an online business and all boxes and packing material that come into our house are saved and reused for the business. I had a huge Amazon Prime Pantry box sitting to the side of the living room as I had just unpacked it.  One of the boys asked if they could use it as a rocket ship.  We were having such an awful day that I decided sacrificing one box was minor for my business but could go a long way towards entertaining my kids.

After playing in it for a few minutes they decided it needed decoration so I gave them a container of crayons and let them have at it.  Between art and pretend play it entertained the two youngest for a good hour and really changed the attitude of our house. In fact, it is almost a week later and they still are playing with that box.

Sometimes we just need a change of direction on those rough days.

What helps change rough days in your house?  Feel free to share ideas as we all have rough days from time to time.

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Musings from the Gym

Sweat Smile Repeat

I love to people watch and the gym is a great place for that.  I workout a few days a week at our local YMCA.  I always said I would not work out in front of others but my husband suggested we try it several years ago.  I went along with it so I could encourage him to exercise.  I quickly learned that the 2 hours of free childcare each day was something to savor on the rough days so I became a fan of the gym.  The funny part of it all is that my husband now comes about twice a year and I’m there weekly.

One thing that immediately caught my attention those first few weeks was that all shapes, sizes, and abilities come here.  I’ve always pictured a gym as a place for athletes to come work out and that the rest of us just don’t fit in.  I’ve had plenty of intimidating experiences over the years from elite athletes but I’ve had way more encounters with regular people who are just here to be healthy.

Since I love people watching, here are just a few of the people that stick out in my mind from the past several years I’ve been here.

1. The Old Couple.  When I first started I hung out on the elliptical because it was against the back wall and I could blend in.  The track goes all the way around the upstairs which is where the equipment, classes, and weights are.  Towards the end of my workout, almost every day, an older couple would come and slowly walk the track.  They were always in their sweats and holding hands.  You could tell they were still in love after all those years and they were doing what they could to still be active.

2. The Beginners. There are so many people in this category that I’ve watched over the years.  They come in, just like me, intimated by the equipment.  They are overweight and do not feel comfortable in a gym but want to do something about their health.  Some I have watched go through grand transformations, some I have never seen again.  This could be to varying schedules or they decided it just wasn’t their thing.  I was silently cheering them on though because I was one of them once.

3. The Fashionistas. I’ve wondered if a few of these people actually come to workout or put on a show.  There are a few that come with full make up, hair done, and in the latest fashion in workout gear.  After their workout they still look just as great.  Um, this would not be me.  I wear clothes from the clearance section of Old Navy and Target and when I’m done I look like I’ve run a marathon even though I’ve come nowhere close to that feat.

4. The Retired. There are two groups that come almost every morning just for socialization.  They usually are split into a men’s table and a women’s table but sometimes the groups merge.  Most of them do senior yoga but I think they really come to visit. We have an open area with free coffee and many times I work from the tables and listen in on their conversations.  This week they were discussing their “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” buttons.  It was hilarious.

5. The Just Don’t Care What Others Think of Me People. Next to the Old Couple, these are my favorites to watch because they beat to their own drum and are proud of it.  My current favorite guy in this category has been dance walking around the indoor track.  He is horribly out of shape and not a great dancer but is a blast to watch.  He only does a few laps before moving on to other forms of exercise.  The staff has caught on and now starts asking him what he is listening to each day while dancing. Silently I’m cheering him on because he is doing what works for him to get fit.

There are so many more people I could talk about but I will leave it at that.  Just know that when I’m at the gym and people watching, I’m silently cheering everyone on.  Anything done to get more fit and healthy is worth it and it doesn’t matter what size or shape you are or what you wear. I entered the gym years ago intimated and trying to hide but once I started running I gained the confidence to run the track and there is no hiding there.  I’m still not up to swimming laps with everyone but working on that confidence right now.

Have any great people watching stories from the gym to share?  Feel free to talk about it in the comments or on the Facebook page.

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Supermom Is Back!

Knock, knock.  Hello.  Anyone out there?

Sorry it has been so quiet around here the last month.  I had some great posts planned but no time to finish them.  I was working on a huge project for my online business and I ran into almost every pitfall I could during that month long process.  The good news is that the next time around it should take about half the time because I figured out most of the kinks.

That project ran into end of the year chaos.  Anyone else find end of the school year to be overwhelming?!  I never feel prepared for summer because I fill those last few weeks of school trying to keep up with all of the extra projects, field trips, field day, teacher gifts, etc.  By the time the last day hits we are all ready to just crash.

And that is exactly what we did.  We completely crashed for two days.  I let the kids have all the electronics they wanted and we just took it easy.  Then, I shipped them off to the grandparents and my husband and I took a vacation alone.  We went to Canton, TX for their First Monday Trade Days.  It is a huge outdoor flea market that takes days to go through.  We have been several times before but the last time was when my oldest (who is now 9) was a toddler.  We had a blast!  I didn’t buy as much as I expected but that didn’t matter.  I was shopping at my own pace and just enjoyed being with my husband and taking a break from the insanity of parenting.

We were gone a week but we didn’t spend that entire time in Canton.  We purposely stayed in a small town instead of Dallas and visited nearby small town flea markets.  We slept in, spent hours watching mindless TV, saw a movie at the theater (a rare event) and just overall enjoyed relaxing and taking things at a slower pace.  It was a great week and I came back refreshed.

It has been crazy busy since being back and I’m not sure how I’m going to survive the next 2 1/2 months of summer, but we will get there one day at a time.

Stay tuned as I will start posting with more regularity next week.  My summer plan is two posts per week.  I know we are all busy in summer and therefore have less online time available so I will keep it simple around here.  In the meantime, like the Facebook page, subscribe to this blog, and invite friends to follow along.

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How To Track Medicine Doses Without Losing Your Mind

Medicine

We are frequent flyers at the doctor’s office.  Can anyone else relate? We actually joke with our pediatrician that they need to create a frequent flyer card for us.  Case in point.  Eli went to the doctor Wednesday late afternoon for a routine med check.  All was fine and it was a quick and easy appointment.  At lunchtime on Thursday I received a call from the school nurse that Eli was complaining his ear was hurting and it was really red.  Back to the doctor we went and sure enough he had an ear infection.  We didn’t even make it 24 hours between appointments!  Thank goodness we love our pediatrician and his office.  It is actually like visiting with friends when we are there.

While meds are not always needed for an ear infection, we felt we needed them this time because it came on fast and was pretty bad by the time we got there.  He has had two patients with ruptured ear drums this month and we would like to avoid that.

I learned a little trick a few years ago to keep track of medicine doses.  When they need to take a certain number, simply write them on the bottle and mark out as they are given.  For instance, he needs to take this twice a day for 10 days.  I wrote 1-10 on this bottle and 11-20 on the second bottle.  After each dose I mark that number off.  This way my husband and I don’t have to wonder if we missed a dose while in our sleep deprived state of exhaustion.

Another trick is to add it to your phone or calendar.  Silas takes a daily inhaler and until recently it did not have a counter on it.  I knew how many puffs a day he took and how many were in the inhaler so I would always put a note in my phone calendar as to when it was time to change inhalers.  It saved so much headache in trying to remember.  I first wrote the date in a sharpie on the inhaler but quickly learned it wipes off too easily.

Do you have any tricks to share on how to keep track of medicine?

 

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How I Get It All Done Part 2

Juggling Mom

In part 1 I talked about some of the things I don’t do.  Today I want to share some of the things I have implemented to survive this crazy life.

1. Routine. My kids thrive on routine and I can accomplish more when I have a routine and a plan for my day.  My kids can tell you that at 8 am we shut down electronics and TV and put on socks/shoes and brush our teeth.  While that will take seconds in an average house, it can take up to 30 minutes in ours.  We get in the van at 8:30 to head to school.  At night, they know what time meds happen, when the bedtime routine starts, etc.  It saves some of the fight and it helps us exhausted parents remember to get everything done.

2. Plan, plan, plan.  When I fail to do this, my week is less than efficient.  Sunday afternoons are planning time for me.  I create a meal plan, coordinate appointments and childcare with my husband, and create a master to do list for the week.  Each day, I write down my must do items for the day and then other items I hope to accomplish.  I will soon share more details on my planning habits so stay tuned.

3. Laundry daily. This kind of goes along with the routine point but since most moms struggle in this area I felt it needed more explanation.  Every morning, I start one load of laundry.  After I get home from our morning activities I move the load over to the dryer.  If I’m on my game that load actually gets folded at some point in the day.  If I’m not on my game, whatever needs to be hung up is taken care of sometime that day and the rest goes in the laundry basket.  When the basket is to the point of overflowing then we have a folding party and everyone pitches in to get it done.  By doing at least one load a day my laundry never gets too out of hand.  We have a tiny laundry room so sometimes I have the kids gather laundry and throw it in the doorway to the laundry room.  This forces me to get it done that day as we have to walk through that pile to get to the garage.

4. Take care of me.  As moms, we tend to go go go all day long and never take a few minutes for ourselves.  When we are worn down, we are not as effective as we could be.  One way I take care of me is through sending my youngest to a Parent’s Day Out program one day a week.  It is five hours where I can run errands, finish a project, work, or spend time with friends.  I’m also a member of our local YMCA.  Working out keeps me sane.  While I am not able to work out much right now due to my foot, I still take my child there because he loves the playtime and I work.  We both are happier afterwards.

5. Learn to say no. Ok, this is a tough one for me.  I want to do it ALL.  Every time I take those personality tests, I land smack dab in the middle of every personality.  I love to learn and be busy.  However, being too busy isn’t healthy.  Having special needs kids who require a lot of therapy and doctor’s appointments has taught me how to say no.  There were two years in there that were so jam packed that I dropped pretty much any other commitment I had and just focused on my kids and surviving.  It was so worth it and as we’ve dropped a few therapies, we have intentionally not filled up that space.

6. Lower expectations. I touched on this in part 1, but I do not keep a perfect house and probably never will.  I really want a house a bit more organized and we are working on that, but I’ve had to learn to let some of my expectations go.  Instead, we are focusing on improving one habit at a time.  That can be anything from keeping the kitchen table cleaned off all the time, teaching children to put away toys before getting more out, or everything having a home and keeping that home from gathering too much that doesn’t belong.  Once a habit seems to be sticking for all of us, we move on to something else.  Remember, this is just a season of life and eventually you will be able to keep your house clean for more than 2.5 seconds.

Feel free to comment with tips that have helped you survive the craziness of motherhood.  We can all learn from the great tips that others share.

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Our Autism Journey And Why It Took So Long To Find An Answer

Samuel showing off his temporary tattoo at the class Valentine's party this year.

Samuel showing off his temporary tattoo at the class Valentine’s party this year.

April is Autism Awareness Month and today, April 2, is World Autism Day.  As most of you know, my oldest son has autism.  We are often asked about our journey so I figured I would start from the beginning and tell the whole story. Warning, this is very long but I felt it all needed to be there to show the true story.

Samuel was born at 41 weeks with a very fast, very easy birth.  The pregnancy was a dream pregnancy – very little aches and pains, no complications, etc. (my other two pregnancies are an entirely different story and I will save that for a different post).

Easy ended at that point and we were quickly thrown into reality.  We were first time parents so we didn’t realize that his first year was really more difficult than it should have been.  Samuel rarely slept, he was around 14 months before he slept through the night and then it was many more months before that was consistent.  Naps were 30-45 minutes and many times they were while I was holding him.  He would only play if I was nearby and constantly needed my attention.

IMG_0023

As he got older, his behavior was out of control.  I’m pretty sure some of the church nursery workers cringed when they saw him coming.  His behavior was much worse for me than others though so many didn’t see the worst of it.  It wasn’t until his fourth birthday that reality started sinking in.  He hit his Sunday School teacher and the behavior started escalating from there.  The preschool director at church was finally seeing what I had been telling her for years and agreed to help us any way we could with getting him help.

Our pediatrician at the time was completely worthless. Every time we had asked for help over the previous year he always told us Samuel was just a boy and we were first time parents so give it time.  I had worked in the church nursery long enough to know something was different with my child but I had no clue what that was.  We finally pushed hard enough with the doctor that he gave us a referral to some counseling.

The only place our insurance would take was a local behavioral health center that offers a ton of different services.  The initial evaluation was a joke and the only answer we received was that we didn’t know how to parent so we needed to enrolled in Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT).  We didn’t believe this to be true but willingly did it so that someone else could see what we were seeing.  By the second session the therapist was teaching us restraints for our child (a much later lesson) because it was clear he needed them.  At the end of that session, she told us we were doing everything right and were not the issue, Samuel was the one that needed more help.

Our therapist at the time was a semi-retired lady who almost felt like a grandma to us.  She could tell we were doing everything we could for our child and no one was listening.  She told us to keep coming to therapy once a week and she was going to ask around the building to see where Samuel needed to be.  Eventually he landed upstairs in the Autism Clinic for an OT evaluation.  It was at that evaluation that I learned all about mid-line crossing, core strength, the importance of tummy time, etc.  All brand new concepts to me and I wondered why no one ever told new parents these were things to be watching for.

Samuel and Eli playing on the floor.

Samuel and Eli playing on the floor.

We did OT for about a year, right up until our insurance changed.  We had an amazing OT who tried extremely hard to get us in with one of the doctor’s on staff for an evaluation.  He was the center of almost every therapy staff meeting because no one could pinpoint what was wrong but his behavior was so out of control that he needed help.  That evaluation never came though due to our insurance changing and wait lists.

With our new insurance, we knew of one doctor in town that was known for treating kids with ADHD and other issues.  We tried to get in with him and he thought we were drug seekers so he turned us down. We were devastated as we thought he was our answer.  We prayed about it and asked our OT if she had any suggestions.  She wasn’t familiar with our new hospital system but had the secretary go through files to see if any of their docs had referred to their behavior center.  Thankfully, a few had and one stood out the most.  After much prayer we felt he was the pediatrician we needed to try.

We were nervous at that first appointment because we had been through so much and were burned by the last pediatrician (by the way, he was our second pediatrician over the years as insurance previously changed – our first ped was amazing).  Turns out, this guy was the answer to our prayers.  Within minutes of meeting Samuel he asked if we had ever considered ADHD or Autism.  We hadn’t even brought up our concerns yet so we instantly felt at peace with this doctor. This hospital system just happened to be opening a new Autism clinic in their pediatric therapy area and this doctor was going to be the physician overseeing the clinic.  It wasn’t opened yet and since this system caters to the Medicaid crowd, they had planned to see Medicaid patients first.  The doctor went to the head of the hospital and pleaded for us to get in much quicker due to the fact that my husband is an employee of the system and Samuel clearly needed help.

In the meantime, his teacher and us filled out the Vanderbilt survey that is used to diagnose ADHD.  Usually the survey has to be scored but our doctor said before he even started scoring, he could tell just by looking at it that we had a problem.  At this point, we were exhausted parents with now two kids and had tried every option we could find to help our oldest.  We gladly accepted trying medication.  Samuel was 5 and in pre-k when we started him on medication.  Most doctors will not start this early but it was clear that he needed help.  The first few trials were rough because apparently Samuel has inherited my issue with meds where crazy weird reactions happen.  We ran out of liquid meds he could try and then set out to teach a barely five year old how to take pills.  He learned quicker than any of us thought he would so after a two week break from meds were were back on the journey to find the right combination for him.

Mommy & Samuel

Samuel and I on a field trip in pre-k.

Let me inject here with a quick note that Samuel’s preschool teacher at the time was amazing.  She fought for us to get services for him and kept us informed on how the meds were helping him at school.  She even caught his first reaction and let us know about it.  Our preschool minister at church was also a great support during all of this.  These two ladies believed in us and we appreciate their help getting us through those difficult year.

We started the medications in April.  That summer was probably my worst summer ever with him.  We switched one of his meds at the end of the school year and we thought his even worse behavior was due to being out of routine from school.  It didn’t hit us until almost the end of summer that it was the meds causing the issue.  We changed them and saw a much better behaved child.

Samuel's first time at a beach.  We were at Lake Michigan visiting his cousins.

Samuel’s first time at a beach. We were at Lake Michigan visiting his cousins.

Finally, during the first week of kindergarten, Samuel was able to go for his autism evaluation.  It was a two day process as the child sees the OT, PT, speech therapist, autism specialist, pediatrician (we were able to skip this one as he knew us well by then), and neuropsychologist.  The parents also had a session with the neuropsychologist.  At the end of the second day everyone takes a two hour break while the entire team gets together and discusses the evaluation. Then we came back and they gave us the diagnosis.  We were shocked to find that it was ADHD and anxiety, not autism.  Our pediatrician still whole-heartedly believed it was autism but according to the DSM at the time, Samuel did not meet the requirements.  He very much had some spectrum issues but not enough to qualify.  The neuropsychologist told us that some behaviors become much more clear over time as to weather they are due to age or something else.  She asked us to do another evaluation in 18 months to 2 year.

In the meantime, we began our journey through intense therapy.  Samuel began attending OT and speech twice a week, PT once a week, and behavior therapy every other week (it was with a different hospital system and that was all we could afford).  He had been doing speech through the schools since he was barely four (I started asking for help at 2 1/2, yet again another long journey) and was making very little progress so it made sense to add in the medical side instead of just the educational side of speech.  Our life suddenly revolved around therapy.  It was very tough but so worth it.

IMG_3003

Fast forward to 18 months later.  Our third child has just been born and we go back to the clinic and ask for an appointment for the re-evaluation.  We are told they are still trying to figure out how to get insurance to pay for it.  After months and months of this, we talk to his therapists and they all agree that it would be better to get an outside opinion.  All of them knew him too well and insurance was still causing issues so we agreed.  We paid out of pocket to go to an independent place that came very highly recommended.

By this time, Samuel was 7 and in 2nd grade.  Due to having an entire notebook full of evaluations, IEPS and progress reports, this time we only needed to spend a half day going through the evaluation.  This time we had to wait a week for the results so that they had enough time to grade all the evaluations and formulate a diagnosis.  By this time the DSM had also changed and there was no longer different spectrum disorders, it was all labeled simply as autism.  He clearly met the diagnosis this time.  I fully expected to be down about it but instead my husband and I saw it as a relief.  It had taken 3 1/2 years to get the diagnosis that we truly believe he had all along.  While it didn’t change who he was or how many of his therapies were performed, it did help us to get a glimpse into his world.  We could now understand more of his quirks and come up with some new tactics for behavior that work better with the autism brain than the the ADHD only brain.

First day of 2nd grade.

First day of 2nd grade.

We asked why it took so long to get a diagnosis.  Although this therapist did not know Samuel before that day, she explained that when he had his first evaluation, his ADHD was off the charts out of control.  Many things they attributed to that instead of autism.  One example is eye contact.  This is a common issue with children with autism.  However, Samuel’s eyes were darting all over the place instead of just looking away.  They felt this was ADHD, not autism.  In fact, at that first evaluation, I remember them telling me that Samuel medicated is more like a regular ADHD child not medicated.

Fast forward to now, a little over a year later.  We now have Samuel’s medication under control.  Due to the price, we can’t afford the meds that work the best for him all the time so the first two hours of every day are beyond rough.  Once they kick in, he is a wonderful child to be around.  He graduated from OT and speech this year, and PT last year.  He is still in behavior therapy and will probably have some form of this the rest of his life.  His social skills are behind, as is typical of a child with autism.  The funny thing is, this child barely said a word before age 3 and now he doesn’t stop talking.  Neither does his middle brother.  The poor third child can’t get a word in edge wise so he has chosen just to not talk.  He has big words when he does talk so we aren’t too worried about his speech just yet.

It was a long journey, but we believe God gave us every single roadblock along the way for a purpose.  My passion in all of this has been in helping other moms become the best mom they can be for their particular child.  I’m not sure I would have found that passion had I not gone through this journey.  All children are unique in their own way and we, as parents, need to advocate for them and do whatever it takes to help them on their journey towards adulthood.

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How I Get It All Done Part 1

Juggling Mom

Most people these days have too much on their plate and are always trying to figure out how to squeeze it all in to their week.  I get asked often how I get it all done because my life is crazy busy with three active boys with medical needs and I work from home.  Simply put, I don’t.  I let a lot a lot slide just to survive.  In this post I’ll share some of the things I don’t do.  Stay tuned for an updated post of tricks I’ve found to help things run more smoothly.

1. Keep a company ready house. I would love to have a clean house all the time but reality is, there just isn’t enough time in the day to keep up with it all.  My house is very much lived in and the kitchen counter is almost always full of junk.  If you stop by unexpectedly, please ignore the mess. I will not ever try to hide it as I want others to know it is ok to live life instead of spending all your moments cleaning.  We have been working for years to create systems to keep the clutter at bay but my house will never be perfect and I’m fine with that.

2. Make everything from scratch. I’m a bit on the crunchy side and I’m a fan of saving money but over the years I have come to realize that I just can’t do it all.  I make what I can from scratch and then buy the rest.  Yes, you will find prepackaged items when you enter my house.  However, I try to keep it to more natural things and over the years I’ve drastically cut down on the junk.  If you entered my house today you would find store bought bread, jars of spaghetti sauce, and containers of yogurt.  Sometimes I do make our own gluten free bread but it is rare.  If I had all the time in the world I would gladly make more homemade items but I’ve had to come to a realization that there isn’t time for everything I want to do.

3. Exercise daily. Please do not read this as no exercise.  As you know, I love to run.  I struggled for ages with trying to get in the perfect amount of exercise.  I finally decided that something was much better than nothing.  A good week for me is running three times and a few days of strength training.  Many times that strength training comes right after a run and is only 10-15 minutes.  Again, something is better than nothing.

4. Create elaborate crafts with the kids. While I love seeing others make all kinds of fun things with their children, I’ve come to realize that just isn’t for me.  Yes, I love doing the occasional craft but you will not see me doing a Pinterest craft each week with my kids.  I have three very active boys so one craft lasts them about 5 minutes and then comes with 20 minutes of clean up, not to mention the prep time beforehand.  I’m a crafty person by nature but have let most of those hobbies slide by in this phase of life.  At some point I hope to be able to pull out the knitting needles and scrapbook items again but I’m lucky to do that once every few months right now.  This is just a season though and I’m glad I have those skills available for the future.

5. Coupon for groceries. I used to be one of those crazy couponers. I could save a fortune at the store through matching coupons with sales.  However, that took a lot of work and multiple trips to stores.  That was fine with one child but with three, I just do not have the time.  Not to mention, the coupons aren’t as great as they used to be.  I still keep a very minimal grocery budget but try to get by with using what I have and stocking up during great sales.  It took a lot for me to finally give up my beloved coupons but now I can finally shop guilt free without them.  I still keep a few around for dining out but that doesn’t really require a lot of time and energy to maintain.

These are just a few of the things I do not do in order to keep my sanity.  Please share in the comments or the Facebook page some of the things you let slide so that you can enjoy this phase of life instead of feel stressed.

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This Supermom is Exhausted!

You have probably noticed it has been a bit quiet around here lately.  It is because this whole foot saga is wearing me out.  Wearing a cast, trying to heal two very different injuries, and keep up with three kids is more than I can handle at the moment.  I had no idea breaking my ankle would wipe me out so much.  It was a minor break compared to what it could have been, however, it was still a break.

I guess I should back up a minute.  I never got a chance to post after getting my MRI results.  I had several minor issues going on but we did find the root cause of my running injury – I ruptured a ligament in the middle of my foot.  My doctor said by this point in time he would normally be doing surgery but he has never seen anyone tear a ligament in that spot and it would be difficult to repair.  Instead we are trying a cast for three weeks.  The boot I was originally put in after I broke my ankle was causing the two injuries to fight and I was miserable.  Now I’m in a walking cast and have a week and a half to go.  The ankle is just about healed but the ligament is another issue.  Some days it feel fantastic and other days I’m miserable.  Hopefully there will be more progress before the next doctor’s appointment so that there is a clear direction on which way to go.  It has been seven weeks since I last ran and I have a feeling it will be many, many more before I run again.

Last week was spring break so that didn’t help anything either.  The boys were crazy and really needed to be out doing something but I couldn’t chase all three of them while hobbling around so we spent most of the week at home.  However, this week I’ve been trying to get back on track.  I have a small Amazon business that I run from home and I didn’t even touch it for two weeks so this week I’ve been getting back in the groove with that.  Today I finally made it to the blog tasks.  Slowly I’m getting back in the groove but by middle afternoon each day I’m toast.  I’ve been napping with my toddler this week so that I have the energy to make it through the evening routine.

On the bright side, I read last week that healing a bone uses a lot of calories!  It probably doesn’t make up for the amount lost from lack of exercise or the junk I consumed while trying to survive spring break but I’ll live in denial a bit longer and pretend I’m burning a ton of calories carrying around this heavy cast.

I get asked often how I do it all.  This post clearly shows that I don’t.  I’ve had to let things slide so I can concentrate on healing me.  With that said, as I’ve been sitting around I’ve had time to outline several blog posts in my head.  My goal is to get some of those out next week so be looking for new posts soon.  Subscribe to keep up to date or “like” the Facebook page for the latest and greatest posts.

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