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!!!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Come on 2015

 I am ready for 2015 and here is why!!!!
One thing I have learned over the last year is I must have a PLAN and stick to it! I also have to write down EVERYTHING!!!! One of my biggest stresses were "surprise" appointments. They weren't really surprises I just had forgotten about them. With a child with special needs and seizure disorder and another child with trouble with her kidneys, and two jobs I have A LOT of appointments. C has a case manager from the state, two therapists, school, three doctors, and just general 4 year old stuff. E has two doctors, school, and general 3 year old stuff. I have faculty meetings, conferences, IEPs, Then with Jamberry I have parties, vendor events, and deliveries. Last year I just a Mead planner I got at Target. It had a two page spread for each month and a bunch of note pages in the back. I made it work but it would get cluttered and the boxes were to small for all I needed. See!!!
You can see this was a mess! Drove me crazy and even though we weren't missing things or as surprised I was still struggling a little with it!! I knew I would need a better planner so the research began!! I watched YouTube videos, read blog posts, and searched Pinterest. I had no idea all the people who blog about their planners, how they plan each week and the decoration! I don't think I can get that into my planner because I don't have time to decorate really, but I do plan to start including my planning on my blog. All my research led me here... http://intheleafytreetops.com/mom-planner/
Now I am not Mormon, so I purchased the non-Mormon version and it is perfect. There are a ton of extras in the planner and I will go through them in planning posts in the future for today I just want to share the basic planning pages I will be using. You can see we have already started adding stuff in 2015!! 
Monthly spreed is two pages with a notes column on the side and the next two months in small boxes. The boxes are a good size. I plan to use this for quick adds. Basic information about appointments, then I will transfer them to the weekly spread with more details! (And yes I color code my planners, I am green, my husband is blue, C is orange, E is pink, School is red, Jamberry is purple and anything else is black) 

This is the weekly spread. Check out the up close of each side for more info!

The Sunday-Tuesday side. There are a couple of empty boxes at the top for quotes, reminders, big dates really whatever you want) There is also a section called "It's the everyday things" This is a check box where you can check off things you need to do daily. Meditation is already listed. I have added dishes and water, and still have one more section.
Down the side there are two list sections, both with blank headings! Each day is divided into three sections. I am choosing to use these as Family, School, Jamberry. Although this may change since C has the most appointments of all of us! The bottom has a whole other section, in most planners this would probably be labeled as meal planning. That is one of the things I LOVE about this planner there are a lot of ways to customize it. No  heading is filled in, it is all up to you!

This is the Wednesday-Saturday side. The only difference is at the top it has a Remember This box and a Note To Self box!  

In case you can't tell I am LOVING my new planner!! I look forward to sharing with you the rest of the great stuff in it and all the ways I use it! 

Share with me your favorite planner in the comments! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Name Change

I must say I miss my blog. I miss having the ability to share my teaching ideas and having a place for reflection. The problem is I went through a LONG phase of not wanting to be a teacher anymore. I am sure we all go through this at some point in our career (maybe not as long as mine was), but thankful it is over (somewhat). Why my animosity toward teaching?!?! Well it started with a year that was rather rough. It was the year that I had several special needs friends in my classroom for the first time. That was one of the biggest blessing ever, because on VERY special friend helped me to realize (come to terms with, accept, admit) my son had autism. On the teaching side of things it was very hard on me, because I realized I was not trained, prepared, or supported for having these special friends in my class. I went back to school myself to become the teacher they needed. The next year only got worse. My son hit more struggles than ever before including being diagnosed with a seizure disorder. My daughter started having trouble with her kidneys. My class was the HARDEST of my career. I was finished. I could not handle the stress of my family and my class. I felt like I couldn’t be the mother I needed to be because my class was draining me. I felt like I couldn’t be the teacher I needed to be because I was constantly out or worried over my children. It wasn’t fair to anyone. I just wanted out!! It came to the end of the year and I felt certain my kiddos in my class and their families were not my biggest fans! I was wrong, you see we had loved each other through that year. And those little ones had learned in spite of my life situation. I was so stressed/blinded by life I was missing the changes they were making, the progress in front of my. Two days before the last day of school my parents found out we were raising money to get C an autism service dog, and in those two days they decided to pull together money to donate as my gift. This was by far the greatest gift I have EVER received from a class! And in an instant I realized what I thought was the hardest class of my career was the most important and impactful class I had ever had. They were no different than any other class, it was me. I was letting life get in my way. I learned a HUGE lesson from them. SOOO I came back this year with a different outlook on teaching. I am not going to lie I have totally different career goals now than I did, but they are still education related.
You may have noticed my blog changed names. Through my crisis of teaching faith last year I came to realize that my problem was my family and being a mother was coming first (that is not a real problem and continues to be the case). I just wasn’t sure how to balance everything and my type A personality melted down. I kept trying to put it all first and that wasn’t good for any one!  So I got my priorities straight. Now life is not perfect and I still have A LOT of stress! I am just handling it better. I being mommy comes first (hence the name change) and being a teacher comes second and honestly it has made me a BETTER teacher!!

So this blog is changing too! I still plan on posting teacher posts, but I am SO much more than that! I am a wife, a mother, a parent of a special needs child, an advocate, a Jamberry consultant, a friend, a sister, a daughter, and a Christian. This is one more thing on my plate so I can’t promise I will be faithful to it as I hope to be, but I will try because it was good for me as a teacher and I think it will be even better for me as a whole person!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A letter to anyone who will help...

Dear whoever you may be,

My name is Markeeta. I am a mother of two beautiful children. My oldest child, Carter, is 4 and has severe autism and a seizure disorder. He has been through a lot in his short 4 years of life. He struggles with communication and this causes frequent meltdowns. These can be scary for all of us, especially his two year old sister, which is where a lot of his aggression is directed. Carter also has no sense of danger and has on more than one occasion has run from me toward traffic, barbed wire fences, and drop offs. Our family lives in fear that he will hurt himself or someone else without meaning to. He is the cutest sweetest little boy that gives hugs and kisses all the time. He deserves a little peace. You can help us by supporting Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers. They are an organization that trains and places dogs with families in need of extra support, like ours. A  dog for Carter would provide help in calming his aggression, protecting both himself and his sister. It would stay with him at all times, making getting away and running very difficult. If he was able to get away his dog would be trained to track him. His dog would be trained to recognize and alert an adult if a seizure occurs . These dogs are huge emotional supports for their children as well as a support to the family. I am asking for your support to raise this money and more for this organization that is making a difference in so many families lives, including ours.

Find our personal campaign and read Carter's full story here:

Thank you for helping me take the best care of my little boy!

Markeeta and Carter's entire family!