Friday, February 24, 2017

Camp No Limits

Camp No Limits has changed their logo and just finished their first camp of the year.  Every time I see pictures from camp, I wish we were there. I KNOW that the people are loving it. The families, parents, kids, siblings, volunteers are all experiencing a life changing event. Seriously, each camp bring something different.

Florida camp is our "home". It's the first camp we experienced, it was also the second. A part of my heart lives at that camp. The families that we grew to love and get excited to see were there. I've watched the siblings and campers grow from that camp. I've watched their families change, experience moves, try new things, add a sibling, adopt... you name it!

Today, I'm feeling a little sad that we missed Florida camp. If it were up to me and I had the money, we'd attend every camp they offer (except sNOw camp because well, snow isn't my thing!). There's something to be learned at every camp. There's friends to be made, there's family to build, there's growth, there's love and there's bonding.

Find them on Facebook here

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Adaptive bike fair update

We were the first two people to arrive and the fine folks of Emery's were still setting up. I was greeted by Brent one of the owners and then later by Ben another owner. They happen to be brothers and work together to make the adaptations possible. I really enjoyed meeting both of them. Ben reminded me SO much of my dad. He's tall and built like my dad. His personality is much like my dad too. He's crafty in a mechanical way, I was blown away about his resemblance to my dad. I told Bella in front of him that he reminded me of Papa John.

Both Ben and Brent were awesome, they make custom bikes to meet the needs of their customers. I was seriously blown away by some of the bikes they've made for customers. They are incredible. Every child and adult should have the opportunity to do things that so many of us take for granted... like bike riding! Look at all of these amazing bikes, seriously incredibly!

I can't believe such a resource exists and I had no idea it was so close. It's unfortunate that when you go to your appointments with your pediatrician or even to the ortho clinic at Children's that these resources are not given to families. This is the stuff we as parents NEED to know about!

This is similar to the adaptation they would make. The black piece at the top would be curled more to hold her hand steady in place. 

This is Brent working with Bella to show her the adaptation that they were thinking who would for her.  She said that she liked that it was comfortable on her left hand and she thinks it would make a difference. 

How can you not just open your wallet and hand over your credit card. It's tough. I told her that we had to come home and show Daddy and talk to him too. It's hard because I want to give her the world on a silver platter. It's also hard because if we spend the money, I want her to use it. I love the idea of supporting a smaller, local bike shop that does incredible work and truly cares about creating the best fit for their customers.

So what's the cost? For the complete set up on her current bike, it would be about $500. That's a hard number to swallow. It's not a need, it's for sure a want. Or is it a need when you only have one hand? How can we not give her the same opportunity that other kids have? How can we not help her to feel more comfortable and confident on the bike? Are we terrible parents for not just plunking down the credit card? Are we thinking too much into it? Is it truly necessary? Can we help her for a more reasonable cost? What are some other things that we could do? Do you drop any amount of money on your kids for things that you think are necessary? Are they truly necessary? What amount of money is reasonable? Those are all things we'll have to discuss tonight. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Adaptive Bike Fair

Today, I'm pulling Bella from school a bit to attend Emery's Adaptive Bike Fair. Sometimes you have to treat things like this like they are as important as a doctor or dentist appointment. They don't happen every day... actually there's NEVER been one in the 7 1/2 years of Bella's life. I sent her to school in the morning, I'll pull her around 10:30 and we'll head down there. We'll spend some time with all of the kind folks who have donated their time and learn a thing (or ten!) on how we can help her.

Bella is SO nervous on the bike even with her training wheels. We tried to push her at Camp No Limits this summer to try and she was absolutely against it. Now that the weather has been nice here (what the heck, in February!) the boys have wanted to ride bikes. She rides along, usually screaming at me to slow down and not walk so fast. Yes, I said walk. Why do I walk? Have you ever tried to ride a bike with 3 kids? Luca likes to look at everything in site and occasionally run off into the grass or into a mailbox. Grayson speeds like a lightening bolt. Bella freaks out at EVERYONE to slow down... so yes I walk! Currently, it's far from enjoyable. It's like having someone throw balls at you and you are trying to dodge them but you can't, they just keep hitting you. What can I say? I'm honest!

See that stubborn face? 

So full of personality!

Date day with mom... and clearly a mind of her own!

I'm proud that she's stubborn and passionate. Really she comes by all of that naturally, Ryan and I are both stubborn and super passionate about things. So for her, she's passionate about NOT riding the bike! Which I totally get, not every kid is a bike rider. I'm A-okay with that. What I don't want it to be about her limb difference. I want her to ride her bike if she wants! I want her to feel confident in her ability to get on the bike and go IF SHE WANTS! If she doesn't want to, then that's fine. I want to her to know that I'm stubborn and passionate about helping her in any way that I can. This bike fair, is one of those things. 

Yes, I'm that mom. I'll pull my kid out of school for a life experience. To me, it's worth it. It's worth the couple short hours she'll miss. It's worth it to help her be successful in other ways besides in the classroom. It's important that I give her every possibility that others have already. I have no idea what it's like to go through life with only five fingers. I can only hope that when she's older that she'll realize we did everything we could to help her. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Dinner struggles

If you are anything like me, the struggle for meal planning is real. Like really real, every single week when we make the grocery list. We honestly make a meal plan every Saturday or Sunday then grocery shop for the weekly dinner meals along with any extras we need/want. This week we planned more than usual, we planned a solid eight meals! What the heck! We usually plan five meals and then do leftovers one night and then a rummage the pantry another night or more leftovers based off what we have. I'm not sure we'll even eat 8 meals... I'll let ya know!

Here's our plan for the week
Chicken Taquitos I made the chicken in the crockpot so I added all the seasonings and cream cheese in the crockpot.

Bang Bang Shrimp we'll have this with rice and some raw broccoli

Crockpot chicken chili we usually have this with homemade cornbread

Breakfast for dinner- Grayson's request. It'll be bacon, eggs, waffles, crepes and yogurt

BLT's- also Grayson's request


Fish curry with rice

El Rey Tamales- Bella's request, she LOVES their tamales

So that's what our week looks like, a little mexican heavy but that's okay because we LOVE Mexican.  These will likely end up running into next week if we don't get to them all. The dinner is on task this week which is great.

The struggle with lunch and breakfast, that's a whole different post!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Please don't judge me

This mom thing is tough... like real tough. Sometimes I wish for five seconds that I could just be me and not struggle to meet everyone else's expectations. Let me just give you a little list of the things I've been judged for in my seven short years as a mom:

1. Feeding my kid homemade baby food
2. Letting Luca eat dog food (yes that happened... more than once)
3. Breastfeeding for "too" long... which by the way was only about 14 months for each kid
4. Pumping at work
5. Pumping in the car
6. Pumping in an airport bathroom
7. Not giving my kid soda
8. Giving my kid soda
9. Not going to church
10. Not eating out and giving my kids the "experience" of eating out... which btw is usually awful!
11. Taking my kids to do "too much"
12. Giving my kids "too many" experiences
13. Treating naps like gold
14. Skipping naps
15. An early bedtime (hello ME time!)
16. An early rise time... which btw doesn't change no matter what time we put them to bed
17. Camping so much
18. Not being a certain religion
19. Being "too" open with my kids
20. Using PROPER anatomical names for body parts, yes we call a penis a penis
21. Telling my kids about my period when they asked
22. Telling my kids babies are made when two people love each other
23. Explaining divorce to my kids when they asked
24. Explaining how family can sometimes be chosen and not blood (hello GG and Uncle!)
25. Having my kid sleep in a laundry basket (safe sleep people!)
26. Taking my kid to Hawaii when she was 10 weeks old
27. Letting my kids make messes
28. Not letting my kids make enough messes
29. Always wearing helmets when on bikes
30. Extended rear facing in the car seat
31. Extended 5 pt harness use
32. Expensive car seats
33. Not praying with my kids
34. Co-sleeping
35. Not co-sleeping
36. Spoiling my baby by baby wearing
37. Cloth diapering
38. Hand me down clothes
39. Not enough "new toys"
40. "So many" books
41. Teaching my kids OUR beliefs
42. Developing our own set of morals and values for our kids
43. letting Luca sleep on the floor
44. Throwing too much homework into the recycle bin (yep I sure did do that!)
45. Pulling the kids out of school for vacation (gasp, yes they really can learn from experiences too!)
46.  Do I really need more?

Here's the thing... I'm a mom. This parenting thing didn't come with a handbook. I'm doing the very best I can with the resources that I have available. Trust me, I google the shit out of stuff! Trust me, I collaborate with my variety of mom friends and other resources. Sometimes I fail miserably, like really bad... Sometimes, I rock the shit out of it! Sometimes I'm an amazon prime mom and sometimes I'm a pinterest mom. I'm a-okay with both. I'm being me and I'm being the best I can. Stop judging and start helping instead. Lift up instead of bring down. Please for the love of Pete! STOP JUDGING!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Some things are so taboo...

Today, I read a post on social media about another mama having a miscarriage and not knowing what to do. Her doctor gave her options and she was asking for help from anyone that had been in her situation.

While, I don't talk about it often, I've also experienced a miscarriage. When Bella was nine months old, we got pregnant again. Eight short weeks later, we went in for our first ultrasound and pregnancy staging. My mom was there and my husband. My mom was videoing the whole thing because she was so excited. I remember not seeing the little blip of the heartbeat on the monitor. I remember telling my mom to turn off the recording. I'm pretty sure I even said some profanities. I remember being taken to a small office to meet with my OB and her telling Ryan and I our options.

I remember sitting in that room in shock. While we had not "planned" that pregnancy, we were both excited. It was ours together. The joy of being pregnant was suddenly taken and the shock and sadness overcame me. There was nothing I could do to bring it back. The baby should have had a heart beat by then... but instead I was staring at an empty sac on a screen. The hopes for this baby were taken before I could even swallow the lump that sat in my throat.

Not only would I go through the stages of grief, my body would also have to experience this loss. It wasn't just over because the screen said so. My body had to do it's thing to absorb or expel what would have been our child. I was initially in denial that the heart beat wouldn't start.... as expected.

We spoke of our choices. I could let things happen naturally, have Cytotec inserted vaginally or have a D & C. Cytotec is a drug that would speed the process. A D&C meant a surgical procedure to have the tissue cleaned out. Being the hippie mama that I was, I wanted to do what was the easiest for my body and the least amount of stress. I also wanted to just take some time to soak in what was happening. I was still nursing Bella and didn't intend to quit. Under the guidance of our doctor, I opted initially to wait a few days to see what my body would do.

At follow up, nothing had happened. There was still no heart beat. No tissue had been expelled, instead my hormones and body still thought I was pregnant. We were literally at a stand still. I was shocked and in disbelief. What was wrong with my body that it wasn't doing anything! I was angry. I was angry that I was going through this. I was angry that I was sad. I was angry that my body wasn't working. After speaking again with my OB, we decided to Cytotec. After round one, nothing happened still. I bled a lot. Like couldn't leave the toilet a lot. Once again, at follow up, it was confirmed that the tissue was still there. The cramps were horrible. I was nauseous. I sat on the toilet, bleeding, as I held a trash can waiting to puke.

We opted for a second round of Cytotec "Sometimes the first one just gets things going and the second dose is what really gets the tissue to expel". Okay I thought, well I'm already going through hell so why not speed this whole thing up. I wanted to be over. I begged and pleaded with God, with my body, with any higher power that I thought might listen. Please just let my body work! In the meantime, I was still nursing Bella and trying drink as much as I could to produce the milk that her little body needed. She was the saving grace. She needed me and I needed to be needed. However, the second round was worse. The bleeding and nausea increased. The pain and cramping increased. I cried in the wee hours of the morning because I was so uncomfortable and my body felt like it was against me.

Back to the doctor a couple of days later and still nothing. It was confirmed that all the bleeding wasn't causing the tissue to expel. What the actual hell! I was even more angry. I remember wanting to punch something. Why did my body hate me? I just wanted to move passed the part of physical pain. I wanted to move forward with the emotional part and how could I with all of this still happening? At this point, I opted for the D&C. The part that gets me though is it is listed on your chart as an abortion. It pissed me off. I was NOT aborting my baby, I wasn't choosing for this to happen to me or to our family. Why must we as a society label EVERYTHING?! Whatever, I'd explain it when people read my chart if I must. I didn't want to be a stereotype of someone who made this decision... but society didn't care. That's a whole different post in itself! So I opted for the D&C and scheduled asap. 

The day came for the surgery. It was once again confirmed via internal ultrasound that the tissue was still there and no progress had been made. I was taken for surgery. I remember nursing Bella moments before then handing her off to Ryan. I remember waking up to a nurse asking me how I felt. I remember a volunteer handing me a little metal pin that had two foot prints on it, it had a little saying that said something about "we're sorry about your loss".  I remember thinking that was something that I would carry with me forever, I still have it. It sits hidden in a special spot. I remember being wheeled out of recovery and meeting Ryan and Bella. 

The physical journey had ended but the emotional journey had just begun. How do you deal with the loss of someone that you never even met but just loved just the same? You just do... you find your own way. I remember journaling. I remember wondering what the future of our family held, did we start trying for another baby soon, did we wait, what was the right thing to do? Looking back, there was no "right" choice... or wrong choice for that matter. I remember us making the decision to try again and getting pregnant shortly after. I remember the fear of possibly losing another baby. I remember trying not to emotionally attach and not to think about the future... until the heart beat was confirmed. 

Six and a half years later, here we sit. With three beautiful, healthy, spunky children. Our family is complete. Do I still think about that baby we lost? Yes, from time to time it comes up. I'm reminded often that Grayson is our rainbow baby, the one that came after our miscarriage. I'm also reminded the he saved my soul when my dad passed away and that our lives would be different had all of that not happened. I wear a necklace around my neck with a charm with each child's name... and a heart. The heart is the symbol of the baby we lost and the baby I loved. The others are a symbol of our life, the one we live, the one we love.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

This year is different

Every year between Christmas and Grayson's birthday, I hit a slump that's hard for me to kick. It was super hard for me to initially admit that but one night on a Florida vacation a few years ago, my husband got it out of me. It was true, every year since my dad passed away, I had struggled from December to mid-March. I just wanted that time to pass and I wanted to curl up in a hole in my bed and cry.

It was hard to admit that I was struggling. It was also hard to admit that I had a difficult time celebrating both of my son's birthdays because I was in a slump. I didn't want or chose to be sad and depressed, it just sort of happened. It wasn't something I could kick on my own. It just happened and then didnt go away until after March was gone. It always felt like January to March were just a blur in life.

(My dad had a wolf obsession, these leggings remind me of him... my middle son, also happens to have a wolf obsession)

After that Florida trip, some things changed. I talked to my doctor and actually told her how I was feeling... the first step in my mind was admitting to someone else that I had an issue. On her suggestion, I saw a therapist. I went for a few sessions and didn't love her. I'd seen a therapist in my past to talk through some things, like my parents divorce and a teenage broken heart. I decided after a few sessions that wasn't what I needed. A phone conversation with my best friend, who has also lost her dad, worked much better and made me feel better in the end. I started journaling, not consistently but when I felt like I had something I needed to get off my chest. I started being more open with my husband about my feelings about my dad passing away and just life in general. So I  changed some things in my life. I started taking better care of me, not physically but emotionally. So often we forget to take care of our emotional well being.

This year has been the first year that I haven't seriously hit that slump. That doesn't mean I don't miss my dad. That's far from the truth. I think of all of the little moments he's missing. I often think of the time I "butt dialed" him while reading to Bella. I remember him calling me after the book was over and telling me that I must've accidentally called him and that he heard me. I remember him telling me what an incredible mom I was. I remember the emotion that ran through me hearing my dad tell me I was a pretty good mom.

Yes I miss him, yes some days after better than others, yes some days are not so good, this year though, it's been the best so far mentally and emotionally for me. I think taking care of me is important. Filling my cup so that I can care for my kids, my husband, my friends, my career... I'm lucky to have a husband who is ultra supportive of me and encourages me.

While a day doesn't pass that I don't think about my dad and wish he was here, self care has worked. I'm proof. So be sure to take care of you too. Take the time that need to grieve, to fill your cup, to express your emotions. For me, that means its constantly a work in progress. I must be adaptable. I must also realize that the pain will never go away, I'll just continue to grow and deal with it in a way that's healthy for me.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Happy Birthday my littlest love

Our littlest love is turning FOUR today... How on God's green earth is that happening? He's a ball of energy at every minute of the day. He talks 24/7... no for real, he even talks when he's sleeping! He's a big time mama's boy. He prefers to sleep NEXT to someone, usually mama or Grayson. He missed "Hayson" and "bella" when they are at school. He loves milk, like really loves it, he'd prefer chocolate if his parents would let him. He loves cereal and oatmeal. He requested Daddy's homemade mac and cheese for his birthday dinner. He's obsessed with "policemans" (which were previously called "tops" aka cops). He's requested to take muffins and cookies to the police station for his birthday day date. He loves open gyms and burning energy. He's our only lefty and our only blue eyed babe. He's fierce, he's sassy, he's a cuddler and he's learning more every day! He loves to write his first name and color, especially with markers. 

Happy Birthday my babe, I can't believe you are four. I remember holding your nine pound four ounce body next to mine when you were born, I remember you nursing for hours on end. I remember looking at you and knowing that you completed our family. Happy Birthday my love, may all of your greatest dreams come true!

CAMP NO LIMITS all booked!

This picture was taken just last weekend while we were camping. Bella and I were walking around the camp ground just the girls. Dirty from...