Shifting Gears Used to Be Easier

So I guess one sign of old age is slowing down, right?  Or maybe that’s just me.  I have kinda always been “fast-paced” in general, but am noticing that more time is required of late to shift with the inevitable changes in life.  Shifting gears used to be easier for sure.  I feel like things have been shifting faster than I could handle for the past 6 weeks or so.  Here’s the latest…

Health Update:  I was on my Vitamin D regimen for several weeks, and honestly I really noticed a difference.  I definitely had more energy, my hair grew like crazy (?), and I slept so much better.  Having run out of the prescription and having followup blood work  done- I am waiting to hear what the results show.  I will definitely be working to improve my Vitamin D intake with or without another prescription!

THM Update:  I have been on-again off-again with Trim Healthy Mama. Visiting family in Louisiana, I was NOT going to miss out on the barbecue or fried catfish & hushpuppies, y’all!  I will tell you that I stayed on plan for some meals, and completely avoided it with others.  Returning home I have stayed on 50-75% of the time.  I am definitely noticing how much sugar affects me (headaches, crankiness, aches & pains, etc.), and am getting back to more meals & snacks on plan every day.  I got out of the habit of making my drinks every day, but am getting back to where my body is actually craving them again.

I have been able to fit into some smaller size clothing that had been on a shelf in my closet, so even with NOT being 100% gung ho, I am seeing success – and it has inspired me to really commit to going less off plan than I have been.  Truly, I love the flexibility that this particular plan offers, and am anxious to get back to my doctor’s office to see how much weight I have actually lost.  Smaller clothing is a huge success!  Trying some new recipes has been fun, too.

Family Updates:  School is in full swing.  Homework is NOT my favorite thing.  ’nuff said!  Just after school started, I visited my son & his wife (Mikhael & Kendra), and my still-new grandson at the beginning of September.  It was heavenly!  It was the first time in 30 years that I had my son to myself in a sense (LOTS of “feels” here), and I reveled in visiting with him, talking, playing, laughing, and enjoying time with his beautiful family.  I am so blessed and honored that they pursue a relationship with my and my family and we look forward to all of us getting together again in the spring!

Greg & his mom held down the fort while I was gone and I am so thankful they did.  The night before I came home, a tornado ripped through our county – within half a mile of our home – causing significant damage to several homes & properties (even shifting a home off it’s foundation – within walking distance of our house!!!)   For the most part, my family slept in an upstairs bedroom while it happened. We had significant tree damage, but really nothing compared to several others in the county. Power was restored just before we got home from the airport.   I am grateful for their safety and protection!

My mom came for a short visit and it was so nice to catch up with her.  We got to enjoy some yummy coffee and she (like my mother-in-law) does dishes which is like one of the BIGGEST blessings to me ever…  We visited the Harvest Festival and played cards with the kids and enjoyed a nice time.

Financial Updates:  Following several financial bloggers, my attitude about money has been changing for some time.  Through some really great employee benefits with my husband’s job, I have been able to participate in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace program, and that just really kinda helped me get some things settled.  We worked on setting some financial priorities and getting some plans made.

And then his car engine died on the way to work one day.  We didn’t have any money set aside yet for an emergency fund, but thankfully were able to get financing for a replacement vehicle.  We are now driving a 2005 Honda Odyssey EX and LOVING it!  I will share more about this in another post – but I am grateful for in-laws who are willing to drive me to work and help cart kids around til we got the van!

Needless to say, we are having to reset some financial stuff, but it is coming together again.  Talk about shifting gears!  Making a plan to prepare for this kind of situation is totally different from having the means to deal with it, am I right?  One day at a time, and we will get there!

Do you find as you get older you are better or worse at shifting gears with life’s changes???

Sometimes I Just Don’t Get It!

So I have been working on a post or two, but have run into something I can’t quite figure out!  (FYI – Blogging used to be so much easier, before it became a “thing” and some of the advancements have only complicated the process…)  I have a post with multiple links – only when I want to post it, the links don’t look like LINKS!  It’s hard to know what to click when the link isn’t obvious, right?

I have been a little bit frustrated and haven’t figured out the problem.  I have googled.  I have checked with my blog theme source.  I am still researching.  So I have been a little bit bummed cuz I can’t post what I want to post!

We did spend most of the weekend working on our yard.  We have a house sitting on just about one acre of land, and most of it is yard – not wooded, no brush, etc.  Although if I want to be honest, about half of it could be considered “field” which I think means it does NOT have to be mowed, but my husband differs in his opinion on this, so we have typically kept it mowed.  The field area is a runoff for a neighbor’s pond, so it generally stays somewhat wet until mid-Summer when things get hot and sunny.  Riding a mower through a wet field, while trying to mow wet knee high grass is just not pretty.  On top of that, our riding mower is having some issues with starting – so it is a bit wild right now.

If we had a horse, it wouldn’t be an issue.  But that would require housing and fencing and we don’t have that just yet, either.  NOT that we want a horse.  I’m just sayin’.

Instead, we worked on the projects we COULD manage.  Greg & I spent time pushing mowers through the jungle, er grass, around our house.  Kids helped do some weeding and cleaning up.  We got some plants and started working on some landscaping around the front of our yard.  We bought 3 Lavender plants for the yard.  I also got my planter with Thyme, Lemon Balm and Chocolate Mint!   We got Curly a small rose bush to learn to take care of, as well.  In between rainstorms, we sat on our back deck and enjoyed watching the birds, bunnies, and squirrels in neighbor’s yards, while our kids played and had a water gun / water balloon fight.  We ate lots of watermelon, got together with friends and feel like summer has already come to stay!

This is the last week of school for the kids.  Mostly fun stuff for them, and my work schedule is shifting back to 2 days a week.  Greg is settling into his new schedule, and we look forward to some blooming fun!

What do you do to get ready for Summer?

Quick Family Updates

Hey all.  I have been working a part time 10-hr per week job since September.  My previous part-time job was 12-15 hours, and I hoped the extra few hours at home would be beneficial.  I think they have been and I appreciate the ability to work part-time at this point.

We have had a lot of ups and downs with Curly of late.  Is it puberty?  Is it tween angst?  Is it just that school is about to end and the major transition from regularly scheduled days to summer days is approaching?  Who knows.  This morning – she was all sunshine and rainbows, up at 5:30 a.m.   That is unusual for us, but very welcome for sure!  {Greg’s work schedule is changing from week to week as he moves to a 2nd shift schedule, and that has us in flux, which makes everybody a little testy – but in time we will smooth out.}  We are attempting to get Curly scheduled to meet with some Autism specialists to work on some issues with boundaries (both real and invisible), impulsivity, aggression and organization.  Difficulties with executive functioning make some days seem completely impossible – and I am hoping that we can find some new avenues to help her and us walk through these issues.

In the meantime, my parents called.  My dad recently started dialysis and thankfully can get his within 30 minutes of home 3x per week.  They just received a call to attend a “transplant class” – which is meant to be educational and informational.  It will tell them what qualifies for transplant, the ins and outs of transplant, etc.  They asked a family member to come, so my parents called me and asked if I could come.  Thankfully, my boss was able to flex with my hours, so I will be traveling to Fort Wayne to meet with them to attend the class and get the information firsthand.  My mother-in-law has experience with this, since my brother-in-law had a couple of transplants, so she is able to help us with rounding up kids after school while I am away for the day.

It is difficult to come to terms with my dad’s health some days.  And then my daughter’s challenges.  There have been days I have felt like a tug of war rope.  Not complaining about it, just being real.  I find that my quiet time is very much like an oasis in the desert.  My time with God is refreshing and comforting, and I am grateful for the time I get to spend with Him.  It is far too easy for me to let it slip some days – when it is so beneficial and strengthening to my relationship with Him – and to deal with life in general!  I am thankful for my phone apps to help me when I’m on the go, but still love sitting at my kitchen table with my Bible open, even reading through Leviticus…

Here’s hoping your Monday is lovely!

 

Autism and Gender

It used to be that the general thought was that Autism was a boy-only disorder.  In fact, because of the primary symptoms, the disorder was originally thought to be related to schizophrenia.  Before that, people with mutism and stimming were often put into asylums because they could not relate to “normal” society and obviously had difficulty with communication.  How incredibly unfortunate!

As research grew, the broad spectrum of identified symptoms also grew.  The idea that girls could exhibit features of autism was not entirely ignored, but it often appeared that the obvious social behaviors were more severe in boys.

Verbal delays.  Stimming.  Repetitive behavior. Restricted interests.

Girls were often given a different diagnosis because they didn’t exhibit these noticeable behaviors, even though they had very mild symptoms of autism.

One of the female pioneers of understanding autism is Temple Grandin, sometimes called “the most famous person with autism.” Many years ago when I was still taking courses online for Psychology, I watched a 20/20 video as part of my lesson.  It was an interview with Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University.  She discussed some of her symptoms – how her mother refused to give up when doctors told her to – and how she learned to deal with her own differently-able issues.  The thing that stands out to me was when she went under her desk, and put herself into a modified cow-chute.  She worked with cows and saw that when they were under stress, but moved into a confined chute, they became calm – so she adopted that for herself.  It was confined, dark, quiet – and it allowed her to center herself emotionally and mentally so that she could function again in the “normal” world.

She has provided incredible research opportunities, shares her own story with logic and reason, and opened up discussion and understanding of autism in a way that was really needed.  (This article about autism and adhd totally thrills this mama’s heart because I know someone who is JUST like this!!! )

Differences due to Gender

In general, girls are better able to mask their symptoms because they can mimic social norms.  Girls have different expectations, generally speaking, in society and are subjected to more social opportunities, where they can watch and learn how to behave.

THIS has been one of Curly’s greatest strengths, and why it took so long for her to be diagnosed.  She often appears to be engaged right in the middle of a gaggle of girls – but if you ask her what was going on, she doesn’t always understand the implications or interactions of the girls around her, doesn’t understand “mean” behavior even when it happens to her, and has little to no filter when communicating with others.

The statement in this article absolutely, spot-on describes my  girl:  The fact that girls with undiagnosed autism are painstakingly copying some behaviour tends not to be picked up and therefore any social and communication problems they may be having are also overlooked. This mimicking, and the repressing of their autistic behaviour, is exhausting, perhaps resulting in the high statistics of women with mental health problems (Dale Yaull-Smith, 2008).

School exhausts my girl.  The thing that helps her learn social skills is also the thing that wears her out.  It is why the transition to and from school is so challenging for her.  She has to gear herself up to go and it takes quite some time to recover from the energy she has had to spend just being there.  Smaller classrooms, more breaks, extensions on assignments and deadlines – all of these things help her manage school better.  It is why her IEP is so crucial for her success.

Understanding that autism is different in each child, and differs between boys and girls – is really important.  Awareness and Understanding go hand in hand with this disorder.  From the boy I met in high school who exhibited some of the very recognizable behaviors of autism, to the girl I am trying to raise well – awareness and understanding goes a long way to support research, build support systems and grow compassion in the world in which they live.

Free Printables for Your Daily Routines

We all want what’s best, don’t we?  The best food, the best service, the best internet speed (Oh.  Is that just me?).  Many of us try to be our best and do our best in what we accomplish.  But sometimes, I find myself at the end of the day, wondering if it was all enough.  Did I DO enough today?  Could I have done more?

This is one reason God gave me the word “Enough” for 2017…  He wants to be ENOUGH for me and to let me know that I am Enough for the life He has given to me…

Sometimes, my best comes down in the planning for each day.  It isn’t so much that I am rigidly adhering to a plan, but rather that I have an outline for the day, incorporate my short and long-term goals, and take time to be intentional about how I spend my time.  I can either kill myself trying to stick to my written list; I can just wake up and go with the flow every day, meandering aimlessly through life; or, I can set aside time to plan and prepare.  I am still learning, but I want to share with you some printables I made to create a daily sheet for my kids and their routines.

I shared what can happen when you start the night before.

I have also shared what you need to begin building an effective schedule.

For the general everyday routines, I hone in on the important stuff – reminders to brush teeth and pack lunches, but also include the motivator of “screen time” when some routines are completed.  The ability to build their schedule, print it on paper, and post it for my kids allows all of us to relax and enjoy each other in the morning.  I don’t have to nag – they don’t have to try to argue.  It helps eliminate the nasty power struggles we tend to have far too often!

One important aspect of scheduling for me is that I need tools that are both practical and pretty.  I love lists and charts.  LOVE THEM!  (I am sure it is some kind of sickness…)  But just making a list every day gets boring and frankly, I lose interest sometimes…  On the other hand, when my planner page is pretty but does not have checklists, lines, or sections that are useful to me – it ends up sitting on a shelf unused.  (In fact, I have to add lines to my Happy Planner boxes when I use a checklist or need to track anything.  Don’t worry – I use other boxes just for pretty stickers and things…)

So I created some new routine charts for my kids.  My goal is to get them working on automatic to get ready for school, know what they need to do when they get home and help them remember to, ahem, brush their teeth every night before bedtime, too.  I also knew that I needed to personalize each schedule for each child so they could claim their “own”.

As a matter of fact, I posted Curly’s schedule yesterday afternoon and didn’t even have to ask her to check her routine or chore chart – she came home, she saw it and SHE DID IT!!!  Woohoo!  (Yes, I realize it probably won’t be like this everyday – and Georgie completely acted like she didn’t see hers…  I’m just gonna take one victory at a time, okay?)

I am sharing a couple of versions of the same file I created for my kids with you today.  These are available to you free – just for visiting my blog.  I created a grayscale version for anyone who can’t or won’t print in color – and a “spring” version because we are finally in that glorious season of the year!  Just click the links below to get your download.  Enjoy!

Daily Routines – Grayscale

Daily Routines – Spring

I hope you like these – I have a couple ideas for more designs, so I may have more to share in future posts.  If you have any questions or problems let me know in the comments!!!