Wednesday, May 27, 2015

It's Okay to Grieve

I love my children more than anything in the world, both of them. Let's be real for a minute that boys have a special place in their momma's hearts, my boy is no different. He is a momma's boy, I am  wrapped around his finger!!

There are some truths about that boy of mine.

He was born in 2010, and is 5 years old.

He spent 3 days in the hospital because he was jaundice.

He was a fussy baby, cried a LOT, only slept in the car, and wanted to be held all the time.

He did not hit his milestones like everyone else.

He laughs a LOT (not always appropriately!)

He smiles all the time.

He has lots of words now, but doesn't use them all appropriately.

He can say his ABC's and count to 20 (just not when you ask him to)


He is the light of my life.

But he struggles with a lot. He struggles to communicate, he struggles with focus, he struggles with needing constant stimulation, he struggles to understand.

My little man has made big gains in his life so don't get me wrong with what I am about to say.

When you get the diagnosis of autism, some people tell you  that it is okay to grieve, that it is normal to grieve the dreams you had that are gone now. Some people tell you not to grieve, because you don't know what your future holds. They are both a little right. It is okay to grieve, because you did lose the life you thought you would have AND even if you make it to a great place someday it is going to take a massive amount of work and sacrifice to get there. You also don't want to let go of all your dreams because then life seems hopeless and ITS NOT!!! The thing about grieving because of autism is that it doesn't happen just one time. When you first get the diagnosis you grieve your big goals and dreams, but you don't know (especially if it is your first child) the little things that you will get to in life that might cause some sadness. I feel like I have handled C's autism pretty well. Sure it took me a little while to get help after I realized, but once we got help we jumped in with both feet and got him everything we possible could. But I recently hit one of those milestones that we won't get to do, one that never occurred to me would hurt, but it did!

I am a kindergarten teacher. In March we started registering and screening the kiddos that will be in K starting in August. I input all these kiddos into a spreadsheet for our team. As I am doing that this year I start seeing all these birthdays that are close to C's. All my friends that were pregnant when I was are posting on Facebook about  Pre-K graduation and registering for K. My little man will not go to kindergarten this year, like he should. I am not sure if he will ever go to a traditional kindergarten class. Last night we went to the end of year celebration for his class. A group of those children are moving on either to traditional kindergarten or to a self contained classroom setting, BUT they get to move on. I watched as the children, all of them no matter age or placement for next year, but also all with special needs in some form, walk to the teacher for their certificate with no help from mommy, they posed for pictures or hid behind their teacher just like my kindergartners do. Not my little fella. He had to sit in my lap and be held, tight, just to keep him from running out of the room. When they called his name I had to walk him up to his teacher, where he proceeded to meltdown and cry, while trying to lay on the ground. It was heartbreaking.

So I am grieving the loss of my kindergartener. I am grieving the fact that I won't have my little boy in  a room down the hall from me with one of my two best friends in the world teaching him. I am grieving the fact that I won't get to share the kindergarten experience with him like my other K teachers have done with their children. YES, I do get to celebrate all his achievements and NO I don't take those lightly or for granted. YES, I am so glad it is just autism and not something far worse and NO I don't wish I could wave a wand and change him. BUT I AM GRIEVING AND  THAT IS OKAY!!!!

It won't last long.

Please if you know me or another parent that is going through any time in their life with a child with a special need that might cause them to grieve, let them. Don't tell them "it's okay" or point out all the things their child can do. Believe me they know and all those  things and have celebrated them in crazy kinds of ways!!! Do tell them you love them. Do support them.

So today I am sitting and grieving the loss of my kindergartner, while I hold and love my amazing, wonderful, bright 5 year old boy. And tomorrow is another day!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Does It Work?

Okay so I posted about our oily plan the other day!! Here is our results so far!!!!!

We started on Tuesday night with a bath and oil, no nap- asleep by 9:30 and slept all night

Wednesday night bath and oil, no nap- asleep by 10:00 and slept all night

Thursday night bath, no oil, no nap- asleep by 9:00, up at 4 AM!!!!

Friday night no bath, no oil, napped- asleep by 12:00, up at 7 AM!!!

So I know this is only a few days but I can see the difference in each night! I am going to try my best for no nap today and he will be having a bath WITH oil tonight! Ready to start week two with this and see how it goes!!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

An Oily Plan

One of our big struggles with C is sleep! He HATES it! He doesn't want to stop, no matter how tired he is! This causes many meltdowns at night, frequent nights up past midnight, only to wake up by 6:30 the next morning! He can do it, but this mommy was STRUGGLING!!! I knew we had to do something about this sleep issue, so I went to our doctor! The doctor said MEDICINE! We were looking at the very least melatonin and possibly something stronger!!!!!! I have had kids in my class that have used melatonin, one with some complications. I am not sure why but this makes me nervous and I JUST DON'T WANT TO!!!!! So now what?!?!?!

Well I had to come up with a new plan! It started with 2 weeks of SNOW!! Okay so I didn't plan that but it gave me LOTS of time where I couldn't leave my house, where we had no structure, no therapy, no school. We did have time for computer research and LOTS of play!!!! So the kids played, all day, and I worked on my Jamberry business and spent lots of time on Pinterest! During those two weeks C did not nap, not one single day and every night we were asleep before midnight, yes that meant 11:59 some nights, but that is before midnight and I will take that over 2 AM anytime!!!! That was step one of the new plan NO MORE NAPS!!!! Step two has been in the works for some time. A few months back I was at a vendor event and met a Doterra rep (please keep in mind I am not using Doterra or YoungLiving and so this is not an advertisement for either!!!). She gave me a blend called Peaceful Child (Ylang Ylang, Vetiver, Frankincense, and Clary Sage)  I would put it on his neck when a meltdown would start and the results were AMAZING!!! He would be calm in just minutes, but being me I started researching and discovered this was a STRONG blend! I never like to start with STRONG! He is only 4 and if we do STRONG now then where will we be in a couple of years?!?!?! My dad use to be in the spa industry, his company sold essential oils (before they were huge in the direct sales industry and everyone was using them!) He reached out to the distributer they used, who connected me to an expert. She and I exchanged several emails and she gave me lots of suggestions for things to use! Sleep was the top of my list!! So I placed my order, took a little while to get here, since they are in England, but it arrived yesterday!!


So last night I placed two drops of Roman Chamomile into warm milk and then poured the milk into his bath water. Now bath time is never good for us and last night was no real exception, but improved bath time was not my goal! Now he has not been napping much (they still have naptime at school so he just rests, but does not sleep unless they just can' keep him up, an then only let him sleep a little less than an hour) and yesterday there was no nap. After a day of no nap and our new Chamomile bath he was in bed at 9:30!!!!! Holy WOW!!!!!! And here is the best news, frequently when we are in bed this early it is because of no nap and he wakes up at 3 AM, not last night! I woke him at 6:45 for his medicine and to get ready for school!!!

Today I am mixing my new version, or my own version of Peaceful Child. It is a mix suggested by the oil expert. I will be mixing Frakincense, Mandarin, and  Benzion with a coconut oil carrier. I am going today to get roller bottles so I can put this on his feet and neck.

I am excited to see how this goes. I will let you know both about our bath time mix and meltdown mix! Check out all the links at the end of this post, as I said I don't use Doterra or Youngliving, but know LOTS of people that do so feel free to follow my journey and use your favorite brand!

Doterra

Youngliving

Absolute Aromas -- This is the one I am using, so all my results can be directly attributed to this company.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Week 1

So I have decided to join in with the people that share their planning each week (personal planner-so this is more the mom side of things). I don't do a whole lot of decorating. I would like to do a little more, but I want to keep it functional and not just decorating for decorating sake. I thought about doing a video but I wasn't sure how I want to share my planning yet. I do my planning on Sunday but I don't plan on sharing until the following Saturday (just don't want the internet knowing my coming week- call me paranoid) So tomorrow when I plan I may do a video and share it next week but for today you get a picture and description!

Okay so starting at the top I have an empty box that I couldn't decide what I wanted to put there. I am thinking next week I may put a verse from this weeks Bible study. Then I have my One Little Word for the month of January (I may keep it all year or change it if I feel I need a new focus!) I have an inspirational quote (this one just so happens to relate to my OLW). The note to self box is empty, I left it that way so if I needed to make a note or reminder to myself I could write it in, I may do another quote in the future since I have so much space other places!

Moving down on the left side is a place for two checklists. The top one I have listed some things I need to pick up when I go out. The bottom one I have listed my color code. I picked my color code for specific reasons like C's favorite color is orange, Jamberry's color is purple so I don't really need this to remind me! 

Each day is divided into three sections and I can label them however I want. I picked Family, School, Jamberry. I may end up giving C his own section and combine Family and School, since he has the busiest schedule of us all. You can see the color code in effect here. I am going to have to add a doggy color because with Happy coming there will be even more grooming, vet, and training visits. I am thinking of doing dog related stickers to mark the things for Happy and Cooper instead of a specific color.

At the bottom I used washi tape to cover the label boxes above each section, because I am using each line of that for something different. I wrote on it the things that I am putting down there, but I didn't use a good pen for washi so I need to get a new one for that. So in this section in the first box I wrote what we will be having for dinner each night. This is important because I have started doing freezer meals and need to remember to thaw them!! They only work if you remember to thaw them!!! Second I have my team retail volume for Jamberry. I check it in the morning during breakfast and write it in. I am really wanting to promote and earn a trip to Hawaii in 2016 so I am monitoring this closely this year! On the 3rd line I have whatever I read in my Bible study for that day. That is another goal for this year, to be faithful in Bible study. The last line I am writing in my calorie count for the day. A couple years ago I had a friend use one of those fancy scales and tell me what calorie count I needed to eat per day to lose weight. I did  that and I ran a good amount and LOST weight. Then life got crazy, I quit counting, I quit running, and the weight came back!! SOOO I want my healthy lifestyle back. It wasn't a diet. I didn't change what stuff I ate, I just watched my portion sizes and made a few better choices (like skipping dessert or running that day if I wanted dessert). I use My Fitness Pal on my phone to keep track of my calories but I find it helpful to write down that final number each night. 

That is pretty much it. This week was a little boring because the kids and I didn't have school and C is on a break from all his therapy (which has meant lots of meltdowns!!!) I am excited to go back to a regular schedule next week for all of us!

Please share with me your planners and how you stay organized! See you next Saturday for Week 2!!!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy is Real

I have posted a few times about getting C's service dog, Happy. I shared that on December 24 we got "the call" about Happy being selected! Today I got an even better gift, we received pictures of Happy. Actually we got to join his Facebook page!!! Want to see??!
Isn't he BEAUTIFUL!!! Oh I can't wait to meet him! He is currently living with his foster family, but will be joining us soon! Want to see more about him you can here

Want to know about our journey with Carter, you can find that here. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Fourteen in '14

It has been SOOOOO long since I did a linky!! This is so exciting for my. My 3 year old is sitting beside me and she thinks I have lost it a little!!! Anyway I am linking up with the ladies from A Teeny Tiny Teacher, Funky First Grade Fun, and Miss Kindergarten to share fourteen memories from 2014! Here goes!!!

I was born to be the mother to my children. C and E came into this world to do something amazing and I know that. It is my job to set an example and lead them. 2014 has taught me LOTS of lessons but the greatest of which is that my job above all others is being their mother! 


I love this purple stripe shirt from The Gap! I wear it all the time. This particular picture came from March 26 (Epilepsy Awareness Day). This was our first year spreading awareness, since C was diagnosed with a seizure disorder in January.

First I don't go see movies. If I have a sitter than I am most likely working or have an errand that has to be done. I did go see Frozen this year, it was the first movie I ever took E to see. I almost picked that one, but I didn't. This Christmas E was really starting to get it. The whole thing, she understood Christmas was Jesus' birthday and that it was a time for family. She also understood the BoBo (our elf) was traveling to the North Pole to check in and that Santa would visit. She got super into our book/movie advent and LOVED the Santa Clause movies. We have watched them nonstop since we opened them earlier in December. In fact Santa Clause 2 is playing while I type this. 

I LOVE this show!!!! I mean LOVE!!!!!! So much of it hit home with me. Family struggles, marriage struggles, parenting struggles!! I could relate so much. One particular episode sticks out to me. Adam and Kristine and talking about Hank and that he could be autistic. Adam says "It is wrong of me to wish he is". I GET THAT!!!! I see people with autism that are successful and that gives me hope. If I met a successful photographer that had been able to marry and have children and they told me they thought they might be autistic, I can't lie I would wish for it too!!!

We live about 1.5 hours from the one in Asheville and it was so worth the drive, but then they opened one just 30 minutes away!!! YAY!! They have the best chicken and biscuits and gravy! I can't have pork (random allergy) so biscuits and gravy out anywhere is almost always a NO, but since they use chicken for the grease I can have theirs and it is so YUMMY!!!!

I tried Jamberry nail wraps for the first time and loved it so much I joined and started selling. I know this is a shameless plug (http://markeeta.jamberrynails.net). I really do love them though. I used to keep my nails done all the time, then I had kids. That meant no time and no money. These are super cheap compared to salon visits, they last forever compared to nail polish, and I can do them in my living room after the kids go to bed!


Okay so I technically bought this for myself, but that is how my husband and I do gifts. We just buy what we want and tell the other about it. Neither of us have the time to hint, snoop, or shop so this is just better! Want to know more about it check out this post.

I haven't been as good about it lately but I am a runner! BUT this shirt is SOOOOO true about my running ability!!

In May I wrote a post about the journey we were starting to raise money to get my son an autism service dog. It was an open letter asking for help. It definitely drew some traffic to our fundraising site! 


This relates back to the previous one! My favorite accomplishment is that we have raised $19,447 toward our $25,000 goal! We have 3 years to raise this money and we are only 8 months in!! I can't believe how many people have supported us and all the hard work we have put in that has PAId off big!!




I work at this school where we are more FAMILY than faculty. When one of us is down or in need we pull together. Just yesterday we had a prayer meeting to pray for one of our teachers in the hospital. This picture came from this summer when they surprised me with a Cold Water Challenge for C's Autism Dog! They all got together at a fourth grade teachers pool. They had one of my K friends trick me into going with her to drop off her kids to swim. There they all were ready to take the plunge and give me a donation. It meant so much to me. I love being part of this family!


This year has brought so much growth and change for E! She amazes me each and every day with her energy, personality, and love!



Pretty simple!


This past year I struggled a lot with focusing on the past, what I could have done different. There is nothing I could have done different because it was all part of God's bigger plan. It all happened as it should have so I just need to look FORWARD!

Cant' wait to read everyone else's Fourteen in '14!!! GO link up!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Happy and Autism

In May we started the process of getting a service dog for C. We have raised $19,444 of our $25,000 so far.  I am really amazed at that honestly! If you are interested in learning more about this please check out this WEBSITE. On December 24 we received our phone call that Happy (C calls dogs happy horses, so we decided to name him Happy) had been selected and we could expect delivery in early 2015! We are so excited about what is to come for us with this dog! I can't wait to share more about our training and progress with you!

That being said C is on break from school and we are having meltdown city! He is skipping his naps and getting overly tired each evening. I KNOW we need to be more scheduled in the evening (even during school) so that is my goal for this weekend and next week. We have a great morning routine, so now we need an afternoon routine. My plan is to create visual schedules for both a morning and evening routine. I figure we already have the morning routine down so it will help in teaching him to use the visual schedule. I also wanted to create the visual schedule to help my husband. Most nights I am the one at home and I am in charge of all things children. He helps by doing what I ask! With my new Jamberry business I have the occasional evening party that takes me away from home. It will help him keep our routine and hopefully avoid any meltdowns. So I found these pictures HERE


I am going to print these and put them together in this fashion:
I found this on Pinterest. We will start using it in the morning. Tonight I am going to start trying to find a routine that really works for us. Once I do I will create a evening routine visual for us. I don't want to make it until I find one that really works for us, so it will be at least one week because I need to do one run with each of the different type of evening appointment we have. 

So do you use visual schedules at home or in your classroom? Share your ideas, failures, or success below!!!