My Parents Bought A Pop-Up

We used to go camping all the time when we were kids. So many summers were spent in a tent or in the pop-up trailer we had that my mom decorated and made more amazing than any pop-up I’d ever seen. Camping was our jam! And we loved it.

There were so many memories made sitting around a campfire, sleeping in a tent, riding rollerblades around the campground and watching my dad wipe out, making cookies over a campfire, having to evacuate to a Dairy Queen while a bad, bad storm rolled through. Those are all memories we still talk about today.

But I have a confession…my kids have never been camping!! I cannot believe that I have a ten year old, nine year old and three year old and they have never been camping. One of my absolute most favorite things to do as a kid and I haven’t made those memories with them.

I plan on changing that because my parents bought a pop-up!! Now I have to admit I was pretty excited when I found out. And even though it isn’t exactly like the one we had it still brought back so many memories. But to see my kids walk into this pop-up and just make it their home made me realize that it’s time.

Matthew was blown away by the fact that there was a stove in it and he just kept showing all the things he had no idea were in a pop-up…like how you can zip the windows up when it rains. Gracie was immediately obsessed with the beds. She had to go into Ma and Pa’s house and get some toys. All three kids sat on/by the bed and played with toys just like my brothers and I did when we were little. It was so awesome to watch.

So now we must go camping!! It might start out just in the yard down at the lake but that start is better than nothing at all.

Moral of the story: Make the memories. Stop coming up with excuses or putting it off and just go out and make the memories!

High Five to Special Needs Moms

Yea that’s right! I mean you!

To you, the mom who just took your kiddo (or kiddos) to the store and barely survived the breakdowns of your special needs kid. You, who made it through the rude stares and tisks from those “perfect” moms who have no clue what your day looks like. High five to you!!

To you, the mom whose child has never said a word. You, the mom who has never heard “Mom” or “I love you” or “thank you, Mom.” To you, the mom who, even though your child can’t speak, you know exactly what he’s saying, or needs, or wants. To the mom who has a thousand conversations with your nonverbal child. High five to you!!

To you, the mom who sits here and reads this as your eyes get heavy and you want so badly to sleep but you know that’s not happening yet again tonight. To the mom who is running on so little sleep that your body is literally exhausted. To the mom who doesn’t know if you can make it through another sleepless night but yet you continue to night after night. High five to you!!

To you, the mom who has become a taxi and whose whole life is consumed with driving to therapy and doctors appointments. High five to you!!

To you, the mom who spends more time on the phone than any human should have to. Calling insurance to fight for that piece of equipment that your child DOES need to have a good quality of life. To you, the mom who has to call and schedule all those therapy and doctors appointments. Who has to repeat your child’s information and life story so many times you could say it in your sleep. High five to you!!

To you, the mom who is sitting in a hospital room, in a stiff hospital chair beside your child’s bed as you pray for God to protect your baby!! You, the mom who doesn’t know what the next moment will bring. You, the mom who the hospital staff knows by name. High five to you!!

To you, the mom who just watched your child accomplish a HUGE milestone. Whose smile is so big people would think you won the lottery. To you, the mom who is so filled with pride right now that you literally feel like you might explode! High five to you!!

To you, the mom who is about to enter yet another IEP meeting only to be beat up and torn down hearing everything your child can’t do. You, the mom who gets in the car after the meeting and the tears fall. You, the mom who has to fight to get the services your child needs from the school. High five to you!!

To you, the mom who stands in the shower and let’s the tears fall and silently cries because this life is hard. This life isn’t fair for your child. This life is a constant uphill struggle. It’s a marathon that doesn’t end. High five to you!!

Moral of the story: This special needs mom life is not easy. Most days it’s hard…very hard! But you’re not in this alone! We’ve all got this! Some days it may not feel like it. Some days It may feel like the world is falling down around us. But there are those days that we feel like we are walking on the clouds. Use those days to push through the tough ones. Because when life knocks us down to our knees we always come out of it standing tall! So high five to that!!

What No One Tells You

When you get your child’s diagnosis you get a lot of the “your child will never” along with it.

Your child has Cerebral Palsy. He will never…

…walk

…talk

…feed himself

…have any quality of life (yes they tell you that!)

They tell you what to expect or what not to expect.

They tell you all of that. But what they don’t tell you is that there will be one phase from day one that will probably never change…

…sleep!

They don’t tell you to prepare yourself for the never ending newborn style sleep cycle and it’s exhausting. It’s something I was not prepared for!

I wasn’t prepared for my nine year old to only sleep two to three hours at a time at night. I wasn’t prepared for him to need a drink almost every time he wakes up whether it’s 10:30pm or 3:30am. I wasn’t prepared for then having to rock him back to sleep and so carefully put him back in his bed.

It’s been this way since day one. Grant has never been a good sleeper. There are so many things I attribute to his lack of sleep. If he gets hot, he can’t take the covers off. Same for if he gets cold, he can’t pull the covers up. He can only lay on his tummy and tries to get comfy but his body gets stiff and hurts after being stuck in the same position. He gets super stuffy at night and has no way to sit up and try to fix it. His tummy hurts from needing to go to the bathroom and laying on his tummy makes it worse.

I get it…I totally understand. I just wish someone had told me…prepared me. Because even though it’s been this way since day one, at times it gets truly exhausting doing it with no break night after night

But I do it…I sit here, knees curled up, arms falling asleep and neck hurting from sitting here with it cocked to the side…night after night because he deserves the world and while I can’t give that to him, what I can give him is comfort in knowing that even through the exhaustion and yes, sometimes tears, I’m always here to rock him back to sleep!

Moral of the story: keep pushing through. Fight the exhaustion. Fight the tired. Because he’s fighting an even harder battle and doing it with a smile on his face!

Have a blessed day!

Another Successful Party

I must confess, I absolutely go crazy over birthdays. My kids birthday’s are probably more exciting to me than to them. I love getting to celebrate the day they came into my life and changed my world!

So yesterday was no different when we came together to celebrate Grant turning 9! First of all, I do not even know how nine years has flown by since Grant came into our lives and rocked our world. But it has. My littlest boy is getting ready to enter his last year in single digits.

When I was talking to him about where to have his party I knew what his choice would be. He chose a roller skating party. He did this for his party last year too and he just loves it. We rent out the rink so it’s just his party there. He gets to get out in his chair and roll around and feel like he’s just like everyone else. It’s the absolute best!

This year I had a week from the time I had to schedule his party to party day. I was really worried that his friends wouldn’t be able to make it and was really concerned when I had no RSVP’s except for those that I was able to invite on Facebook but I figured it didn’t matter we would have fun anyway.

Of course I was worried for nothing!! Some of his absolute best friends showed up and he had a blast just like I knew he would. He was all smiles as friends skated by him smiling and laughing right along with him. He had kids surround him as he sat waiting to eat cake. His smile radiated as we all sang Happy Birthday and the smile on his face when he opened presents was priceless.

One of my biggest fears when I found out he would have CP and especially as the realization set in that he wouldn’t talk was would he have friends. I never have to worry about that because look at this group that showed up to celebrate him!!

He opened presents of Fortnite characters, Hot Wheels cars, and a super big pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups which are his favorite. His friends know him so well, a couple of them got him cars with buttons on top that he can push himself! They were all so incredibly thoughtful and so excited to watch him open their gift! He also got several gift cards and he’s so excited to go buy Xbox games that he can play with his adapted controller.

I do have to share this super special card from his best friend. I knew these two were close and I even told my mom that I really think they are best friends. This sweet card from his best friend, Jenna, confirmed that!

I always like to take time at each kiddos party to take a look around and soak it in. Last night, as I did that, my heart was so full of pride and love!!

Moral of the story: Never underestimate children and their ability to see past the disability and accept exceptional children for who they are…even to the point of being best friends!

Have a blessed day!

Tonight Hurt

There’s no denying it…

Being a special needs mom is hard…like almost all the time it’s hard. But tonight was truly, hands down one of the hardest so far.

Let me start by saying that’s Grant’s school is absolutely amazing! Everyone from principal, to teachers, to staff, to lunch ladies and students. Amazing!! I have never once felt like Grant was ever overlooked or left out…until tonight!

Tonight was the 3rd Grade Shining Star night. One of my favorite nights next to S.T.E.M. Night. We get to go and see what the kids are doing in each of their specials. We participate in an activity in PE. Tonight was a fun basketball Make It, Take It game. Grant loved it as did all his other classmates, the parents and siblings. We were all smiles!

Next we went to the classroom to do a fun activity. We were one of the last to walk in. Each child is crowded around their desk with their loved ones doing a paper about their favorite things. Grant’s desktop was empty. I thought maybe I missed something and we have to get the paper from somewhere. I asked his sub (his amazing teacher had a baby early February so she’s on maternity leave…but we did get to see her and the baby tonight!) if Grant had a paper. Her response was “No he wasn’t in the room when we did them.” Now I completely understand Grant is not always in the classroom. But when all the other kids do a paper that is going to be done on a special night then make sure EVERY kid has one. If a kid was sick that day did they not have one? Grant’s desk was the only empty desk I saw. It’s not Grant’s fault. My heart shattered into a million pieces right there in that classroom (for the second time in less than three weeks but that’s a whole different story). We left the room because if I stayed in there the tears would’ve flowed.

We headed from there into the commons area and ran into the art teacher and got a sneak peek of the mask he made and the art work on display which again broke my heart because not one bit of it was done by him. The theme was baseball which I have no doubt in my mind he did choose. But that coloring and artwork was not his. So again a big tug at my momma heart.

Then we went to music…my heart was happy in music! His amazing (do you see a theme here 😁) music teacher wanted him front and center so he could interact with Grant. And he did just that!! Grant looked at him with such pride. Also a proud mom moment…I had him sitting cross cross applesauce and he was doing so so great! I was so proud! Even his teacher noticed and commented on how great he was doing sitting! Made me smile especially that she noticed!

Again, his school is amazing and I couldn’t imagine him being anywhere else! He walked in and was greeted by several of his friends. He even had one of his good friends tell him he looked nice tonight. I cannot stress that enough. But some transitions this year have not been as smooth as I had hoped and I think it’s getting to Grant.

Like I said being a special needs parent is hard enough. I’m reminded everyday…several times…of all the things Grant can’t do. I watch him watching his peers and wonder what is going on in the brilliant brain. I watch him long to do what other almost 9 year olds are doing wanting so badly to do that. But I also know all the amazing things he can do and we keep those on our hearts and try not to think about the negative. But tonight punched me in the gut and I just feel defeated! The tears streaming down my face show the pain in my heart.

Tonight hurt!

Moral of the story: this is a tough one tonight…even when life gets you down always find a reason to smile.

Have a blessed day!

Sometimes I Get Angry

Tonight…tonight I’m angry!!!

I’m angry that my little boy has to fight and struggle when it comes to every aspect of his life.

I’m angry that things that come so easy to everyone else doesn’t to him.

I’m angry that I have to wipe tears that shouldn’t be shed.

I’m angry that he has to have days where he can’t control his slobber and he is on edge all day because his tummy hurts

I’m angry that every week sometimes a couple times a week I have to do the thing he hates most to help him just go to the bathroom.

I’m angry that he has to sit on the potty forever and sometimes still gets nothing out.

I’m angry that he pushes with all his might…so hard he throws up… over and over…but still nothing.

I’m angry we can be sitting here almost two and a half hours after bedtime and he still can’t stay asleep.

I’m angry that I have to sit inches from his face and practically coach my 8 year old like a woman in labor every time he sits on the potty.

I’m angry that it’s only him and I in this every single time.

I’m angry that there are no breaks. That he and I, together, have to work through our frustrations not only with the situation but also with each other.

Tonight I’m just angry!! I don’t have these nights very often…I don’t allow it…but sometimes they creep in. I don’t want your pity and I don’t want any words of advice right now (I do so appreciate all the words of advice but not right now) ❤️

Tonight I just need to be angry. I need to feel it deep. I need to cry myself to sleep (or hopefully cry it out in the shower I still have to take before I can lay down and shut my eyes because I get no breaks to even shower!!).

Tonight CP…I’m angry at you!! Tonight…I hate you!! And that’s okay because I don’t often let you get the best of me and neither does Grant but tonight…as we sat on the toilet and both had tears running down our faces you won for just a split second.

Moral of the story: it’s okay to have bad days. It’s okay to scream and cry and want to punch something. Feel that and be in it. Then take a deep breath, stand up, hold your head high and keep on going!

Have a blessed day!

Yes I Am Sitting Here Again

Yes tears are in my eyes and slowly and silently overflowing down my cheeks.

Yes I am holding my eight year old son who has Cerebral Palsy and is nonverbal.

Yes I’m wondering how many times he will wake up tonight.

Yes my mind is racing with what could be wrong. Does his tummy hurt since he has barely eaten anything? Is his ear bothering him? Does he need to poop? Did he have a bad dream? Is he scared? All these thoughts and more are racing through my mind just trying to figure out how to help him.

Yes he got frustrated with me once again and yes I got frustrated with him.

Yes…once again…it’s just me and him to work it out on our own.

Nights are rough. Most of you know that from my previous posts. Some nights are easier than others but most nights are sleep deprived and frustration filled.

Night after night I do it on my own.

Being a special needs parent is hard. But being a special needs parent who carries the weight on my shoulders is that much harder. I very rarely get a break period…but at night it never happens.

I get him ready for bed, I fix his nighttime drink, I rock him, I lay him down in his bed. When he wakes up, I get him and do the cycle all over again.

Sometimes it takes everything I have to keep my eyes open. Sometimes we raise our voices at each other. And yes…sometimes there are tears.

Sometimes I would give anything for someone to say “Hey I got this!” when I hear him wake up and to just let me lay there.

But it’s in those moments of pure frustration and sleep deprivation that it allows me to take a deep breath, look into his big hazel eyes and talk just to him and no one else. It’s in these moments I get to truly remind him how much I love him and how if he will let me and help me then I can help him. It’s in these moments that I can feel him listening and hanging on to every word I say. And when I’m finished and ask if he’s ready to cuddle and go to sleep and he gives me his reassuring smile and nod, it’s in that moment that I can feel the weight shift.

As I feel him drift off to sleep and his little trapped body relax, it’s in that moment that I’m reminded why I am his Mom!

Moral of the story: even in the moments of feeling frustrated and alone there is still a reason to take a deep breath, find the good and shift the weight!

Have a blessed day!

Do You Ever Get Over It?

Grief is a funny thing.

Actually there is nothing funny about it…it freaking sucks!

It’s an awful thing. It brings out anger and confusion and questioning. It brings out a sadness from so far deep inside you and you never knew it existed.

It catches up with you when you least expect it and it’s like a punch in the gut every time.

The grief I talk about today comes from the loss of my Grandma. It’s been a little over 6 months since I got the phone call from my mom. Wondering why she was calling so early in the morning only to hear her tears and knowing it wasn’t good news. Hearing those words took my breath away.  I walked down the hall into my living room only to see my oldest sitting there looking at me with complete worry. I then had to sit and tell him that his Great-Grandma had passed away and I held him as he sobbed into my chest. I broke his heart in ways that I wish he could never feel.

Now don’t get me wrong. She’s not the first person to pass away in my life. I’ve lost both my grandparents on my dad’s side and yes they hurt just as bad and I think of them constantly. But this one…it just flat out broke.

I find myself wondering why? Why does it hurt so darn bad? And the only answer I have for that is…I didn’t get to say goodbye. We knew she wasn’t doing the greatest but she was far from done! Every other important person who has passed in my life I got to say goodbye. We knew it was nearing then end and I got that closure. My heart wasn’t ready for her to be gone and I don’t care how much they say time heals…I don’t think there is enough time in this world to heal my heart.

She was supposed to move in with my parents and be there every time we came over. She was supposed to sit out at the pool with us while the kids went swimming just talking and smiling at her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was supposed to be there for my oldest and youngest birthdays just a few months later. She was supposed to be sitting in her spot for Thanksgiving. And she should be here complaining about how much she hates Christmas when I know deep down inside she truly loved it! She should be here as I get older and go through things and need to talk to her only to hear her say “I tried to tell you!” She should be going to Gracie’s first dance performance and to Matthew’s 4th grade concert. She should be here to make Grant crack up in ways that only she knew how.

We always joked when we saw something we liked we’d say “I’m going to put my name on that so when you die I get it.” We’ve said that for as long as I can remember. Well last winter she had a coat that I absolutely loved. It looked so comfy and warm. From the first time I saw it and probably every time I saw her wear it I told her “I’m putting my name on that coat so when you die it’s mine or just when you get sick of it.” She just always smiled and said “Okay!” Well dang it Grandma I didn’t want to be wearing it a few months later!!!

It still smells like her. I only wear it in the house because as Matthew told me “Don’t even think about wearing that outside, Mom, because it will make Great Grandma’s smell go away.” I feel safe when I have it on. How stupid does that sound…35 years old and I feel safe wearing a jacket that smells like my Grandma.

There are so many things I want to tell her. So many things I wish she knew. I want to hear her laugh again…oh just to hear that laugh one more time. But for now I will close my eyes and let the tears roll down my cheeks and pray that she’s up there watching down on us with a smile.

Moral of the story: never take today, or the people you love, for granted!

Have a blessed day!

I Need A Time Out

I love being a mom!

I have wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember.

I love even more so being a stay at home mom.

I love being there when they open their eyes in the morning. I love seeing them off to school. I love spending the special time with just Grace while the boys are at school because I know before long she will be off to school all day also. I love seeing their smiling faces when I pick them up. I love tucking them into bed every night.

I love my kids fiercely! They are every breath I take. I spend every minute of my day for my kids.

But sometimes…I need a timeout! I need a second to breathe for myself. I need some time away from them. It’s okay to admit that. I’m not ashamed!

Because I spend every second of my day with my kids I get every second of them. Along with all the happiness and smiles I get the grumpiness and frowns. I get the attitude from my ten year old. I get the rolling of his eyes and stomping of his feet because he was in the middle of a Fortnite game when I told him it’s time to go to bed. I get the whines from my eight year old. I get his screaming moments he has because he wants me to spend every second of everyday sitting beside him on the couch while he watches his videos and I just can’t. I get the sassiness from my three year old as she screams at me for a cookie or candy when she hasn’t had good food. I get it all.

My day starts in the morning and honestly sometimes really never ends before it rolls into the next day.

And add into that having the life of a special needs mom. I have a child who cannot do anything for himself. He fully relies on me for everything!

And trying to balance my time between not only all the duties bestowed upon me as a stay at home mom but also between each kid. Somedays it’s all just hard!

Sometimes I just need a timeout! I need to step out of the house without carrying a kiddo and having to hold another’s hand and get on to the oldest for not having his shoes on when I’ve asked a hundred times. I need time to remember who I am!

And that’s okay! I’m not at all saying I don’t love my children…because, like I said, they are literally every breath I take. But I would love a second to go to the bathroom without my daughter banging on the door shouting, “I WANT TO COME IN WITH YOU!!” (that is if she is not in there with me already). Or without my eight year old whining at me because I have to get up and go pee and leave his side. Or my ten year old bugging me over something that can absolutely wait until I am done.

I need a second to just stop and think. Some days I don’t even get a single second to think about…well…anything! I need my own space for a few seconds. I need room to move if only for a second. To not have someone sitting on my lap, or grabbing me by the hand or needing me to get up and get something.

Moral of the story: I need a time out!! But only for a second because even though they drive me crazy at times, I don’t know what I would do without the questions, and demands, and being needed!

Have a blessed day!

What’s For Dinner Wednesday…er…Thursday

So obviously Wednesday has come and gone. Being a mom put a damper on being able to get my blog up last night. But here it is…What’s for dinner Wednesday…only a day late!

For those of you that know me, I think this recipe will come as a big of a shock as it did for me. I have always despised veggies! UGH!! But wait for it…this week’s recipe is…Broccoli Fritters!

Now I was iffy to try these because broccoli is one of my least favorites (tied with about every other veggie) but I finally bit the bullet and these have quickly become my favorite fast fix side dish.

The recipe is originally from Low Carb Maven. I’m so happy I came across it. Now please forgive my less than par photos. I’m not used to taking pictures of food! I will get better I promise. So for beautiful pictures go ahead and check out the original recipe. If you don’t care about the pictures read on 🙂

SO LET’S GET STARTED:

I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how easy these are to make! Seriously! Very few ingredients and super easy and fast…my kind of recipe!

Now keep in mind this is a low carb recipe so where you would normally see flour and other higher carb ingredients this recipe involves replacements. You will need broccoli, almond flour, shredded cheese, eggs, homemade or store bought Cajun seasoning and your favorite oil.

You will want to cut or broccoli into small pieces…or even chop them. Steam them lightly…don’t let this scare you it’s so easy. Put the broccoli in a microwaveable dish, cover it with another microwaveable dish pop it in the microwave for 3 minutes. Careful when you take it out it will be HOT! If there is any excess water you can drain it or use paper towels to dab the excess water. Honestly I’ve never had to do this.

Once the broccoli is steamed you will want to add your almond flour (or you could use oat fiber or powdered pork rinds). I always use almond flour. And add your Cajun seasoning (google homemade Cajun recipes I’m sure you have all the spices in your pantry to make your own). You will simply add the flour and seasoning to the broccoli and stir it in to mix well.

Next take your eggs (make sure you beat them first). Add them to the broccoli and mix until well blended.

Last ingredient to add is the cheese. Pour it in and stir it up until all the broccoli is coated with cheese.

To cook the broccoli you will want to put the oil (I use EVOO) in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot you will scoop up the broccoli mixture and put it in the pan. I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup and don’t quite fill it all the way. Simply drop it in the pan. Let it cook for about 2-3 minutes until the bottom is starting to get a little crusty. Then flip it over until the other side is browned.

Prepare a plate with paper towels to soak up the excess oil. Put the broccoli fritters on the plate. Let cool just a bit then enjoy!

I do make a Remoulade Sauce to go with these and it’s delicious. Just google it you will find so many recipes!!

So here is my plate of my dinner. It was a simple night because I didn’t feel like going to the store so it was pulled pork wraps and broccoli fritters.

The pulled pork was from the pig meat my parents buy. I just fixed it in the Instant Pot (zero carbs for the pulled pork) but I do add the G. Hughes Sugar Free BBQ Sauce Honey which is 2 carbs per serving. The wrap is Mama Lupe’s Low Carb Fresh Tortillas and are only 3 carbs per wrap! A very delicious and filling low carb dinner!

This is definitely a recipe you want to try! If you do let me know what you think. Leave me a picture of yours and what you paired it with.

Have a blessed day!

cheer up 7