Baby step by baby step . . . We are getting there!

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Looking back at my last post about our journey with SPD and speech apraxia I am so happy to say that we have come so far in just 4 months! Shortly after my last post we were able to get her in a school that provides a class for 3 year olds with speech problems once a week. Her teacher is very good with apraxia and also very familiar with SPD so it has been an amazing experience for all of us! She has made new friends and loves getting to go to school like her sister! Her speech has also completely blossomed! She speaks in sentences all of the time now. She still struggles with several sounds but she is able to be understood by more than just momma now!

We are finally established in OT and while it is a very slow process we are seeing tiny improvements each week/month. The amount of meltdowns has decreased a lot, we are learning new ways to both avoid and diffuse them, and we have started using stricter routines and essential oils. Her OT is also trying a listening therapy program with her that would help with both her speech and sensory challenges.

We have also seen amazing results from seeing our LPC. She has experience with our daughter’s challenges and has really helped equip me with ways to handle her and general family life.

All in all we still have a long journey but we have found the right roads to travel and we are already so far from where we started.

Baby Steps are Tiring

Back in February I wrote about my middle child and some of her sensory and speech problems (here and here). Although we are a little farther than we were then, I still feel like we are going nowhere fast. It took us almost 6 months to get an official OT evaluation and now we sit on a waiting list with no idea of how long we will be waiting. On a happy note, she is still getting speech once a week and we have seen a huge improvement since that started. She has gone from simple “mama” “dada” to 4+ word sentences in the past 6 months (Example- “Ma eep buh buh-ya” meaning that she wants to eat bread and butter). But some sentences are easier to understand than others so with that has come continued frustration when we don’t understand her and she is starting to get stuck on words and repeat them several times before continuing with her sentence. We saw a psychologist last month to rule out autism and she while she was cleared with no signs of autism at all she was diagnosed with unspecified disruptive behavior disorder on top of the SPD and apraxia. Now we go tonight to meet with a LPC about behavior therapy as well as parent therapy.  The psychologist who did the autism screening also recommended looking into a 3 year old pre-k program for developmental delay so we took the first step towards that this morning with a hearing and vision screening. She completely shut down so they were not able to complete either screening so I’m hoping we are still able to move forward smoothly. I know we are in fact moving forward on everything but sometimes it just really feels like we are doing nothing more than running in place.

Stay At Home Mom Dynamic

You always hear about how stay at home moms do nothing but lay on the couch all day or how being a stay at home mom is the hardest job or how working moms do everything a stay at home mom does and more.

Being a stay at home mom for 4.5 years now I have to say that I agree with every one of those statements . . . to a certain extent. Want to know why? Because every mom (whether they work inside the home, outside the home, or both) is different and has a different dynamic!

I have a friend who is a working mom but she is blessed with the ability to bring her son to work with her every day. Her husband is a firefighter on a department that works 48 hour shifts (and if you know a firefighter you know that when they are not on shift they are always busy working side projects) so she has her son most of the time. So in her case, she works outside of the home but still has the responsibility of primary care of her son and home like a stay at home mom.

I am a stay at home mom with three little ones at home full time but also work from home doing photography and spend a lot of time editing and advertising. I also handle all of the household things like cleaning and bills and laundry and caring for the kids and chauffeuring them on my own since my husband works a second job on his days off from the fire dept and is gone 90+ hours a week.

Another friend of mine is a stay at home mom with one in school and one at home. Her husband’s job is a normal M-F job so he shares in much of the household chores and chauffeuring.

Another friend has two young children but works a very demanding job and her husband has to travel for work so her little ones are in daycare during the day.

Another has split custody with her ex husband so her daughter spends time between her house, her ex’s house, and daycare.

I could go on and on but the point is . . .

Are any of us better moms than the other? NO! We are all hard working, loving, dedicated moms handling our own mommy dynamic the best we can! Comparing us to each other would be crazy because we all have different lives and responsibilities! So every one of those statements, while true to a certain extent at certain times, is false because no two moms are alike!

Weight Loss is CONFUSING!

So I have spent the last year and a half trying to reshape my body and while I have made tons of progress I am ready to quit starting over and trying new things. I am ready to get to my happy place and just maintain and continue to build muscle.

So after tons and tons of research I have come up with a plan I plan to follow for the next 3 weeks and most likely after we return from vacation.

My TDEE is somewhere between 1950 and 2050 so in order to create a 500 calorie deficit each day (1 lb=3500 calories so this should amount to a 1lb per week loss) I plan to aim for 1400-1500 calories a day.

To do this I am planning to eat a 200 cal breakfast, 400 cal lunch, 400 cal dinner, and two 200 cal snacks. I’ve decided not to be too strict on this so that it doesn’t get old and becomes more of a lifestyle than a diet.

I am also planning to drink 60-100 oz of water each day and take my multivitamin, fiber, fish oil, and probiotic with breakfast or lunch each day.

I would like to stay around 30% protein, 45% carbs, and 25% fat and limit my sodium, sugar, fast food, soda and alcohol.
I would love to limit coffee but being a mommy to three little ones requires a good amount of coffee these days!

I will be using my fitbit and myfitnesspal along with a spiral notebook turned fitness journal to keep track of my progress and will be doing various crunchless ab excercises and running with C210K for my daily exercise.

Really hoping I have it right this time! Wish me luck!

Easter Cookies!

Every holiday my husband’s family gets together to celebrate and everyone brings a dish. I pretty much stick to desserts and lately I have been doing sugar cookies! The first time I did them was for Thanksgiving and went on a pinterest search for the best tutorials. I stumbled on a blog called The Sweet Adventures of  Sugarbelle and was so glad I did! Her tutorials are so fantastic that I saved them to my evernote and reference them every time I make cookies. You can view her delicious cookie recipe here and her wonderful icing recipe here. I also suggest reading her post on needed decorating supplies and her post on coloring and preparing royal icing! I am telling you she will make you feel like a cookie pro!

My Thanksgiving and Christmas cookies took me about three days to finish and I followed step by step instructions. This time I was able to browse pinterest for ideas, combine those ideas into my own ideas, and then create my own list of which colors and designs to do first, second, etc.

 

I made my dough according to the recipe linked above but I prefer to hand mix it. I have no reason and it may be wrong I just enjoy doing it!

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Then came rolling it out and cutting the cookies . . . and keeping my girls hands off of it!

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After a morning of baking I took the rest of the day off to take Miss Mae to her dance class.

The next morning I started the icing and mixed my colors . . . it’s so yummy even I can’t help licking the spoon!

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Then came the decorating! I didn’t show everything through my pictures but because I was making four different designs I wrote out my steps on paper. I started with the pink icing and did the bunny ears and egg shells but kept the pink for the bunny noses. I then did the white bunnies and sheep and a few white egg shells.

 

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I let that set for a little while and then came back through with the white to do the bunny cheeks and sheep swirls. Then came the first set of carrot leaves. After I had done the first set on each carrot cookie I went back through and added the next two leaves. Then I mixed up the yellow and orange icing and did the baby chicks and orange part of the carrots. After I finished the orange of the carrots I went back and did the orange beaks on the baby chicks. I guess I got so excited that I forgot to photograph that part!

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Then came time to do the sheep! I mixed up some black icing and made their little faces!

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The eyes and polka dots were sprinkles I have picked up here and there and decided to use last minute haha!

So here is my final product! Excuse the poor photography! Maybe I need to stick to photographing people . . . or maybe I need to read this post about photographing cookies! Haha!! 

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God Works In Mysterious Ways

I was browsing through my Facebook the other night while working on my photography blog and I saw that a friend of mine, who recently lost her husband in the war, had posted a video. I stopped and watched it and was in tears half way through. When I saw that the video was produced by Billy Graham I just smiled. I grew up with Billy Graham on my TV and always thought he was an amazing and admirable man of God. Even knowing that, this video just blew me away.

I am a Christian but not always a very good one. I want to read my Bible every day but rarely do, sometimes my nighttime prayers are sleepy and repetitive and I fall asleep before I finish them, I think and talk bad about people, I hold grudges and do spiteful things, I want to be heavily involved in my church  but can’t even make it to Sunday service more than 5 times a year. I guess you can say that I know and love my God but my dedication and follow through are a bit lacking.

Sitting in Easter service this past weekend really had me thinking about the fact that if we could manage to get to church that day on time and with a smooth morning we could probably do it almost every weekend. Our church offers a Saturday evening service as well so there is really no excuse short of being sick or out of town all weekend. The feeling of ending the last week and starting the new week in church is something that I have missed tremendously. Nothing can renew your spirit and get you ready to take on a new week like church can.

This video took those thoughts and drove them home. Our God is a great and wonderful and powerful God and did the unthinkable for us. I need to do what it takes to devote my life to him and his purpose for me and to show my children what it looks like to serve God faithfully.

God is who makes my imperfections perfect and who allows me to know that it is okay to be me and not a perfect wife, mother, or Christian. God loves the perfectly imperfect me unconditionally.