Archive for the ‘Things I do for my sanity’ Category

I want a reset button

Recently I was asked to speak at a day of pampering for moms / wives of people with special needs.  One thing I shared that I wish I had a reset button when life gets crazy and I feel like an overloaded circuit.  Here’s my 10 ten ways that I  “reset” when life is just so stressful that I want to scream.

10. Chocolate!!!! Enough said!

9.  Eat an apple.  I can get good brain food, fiber for my body, keep the doctor away, and pretend I’m biting someone’s head off all at the same time!

8. Do 20 Jumping Jacks.  It gets my heart pumping, burns off anxiety adrenaline, and no one gets hurt in the process. May even help to burn off the chocolate.

7. Clean out a closet / drawer / cabinet.  Feels good to release the junk and see a clean space!

6. Retail therapy.  Using coupons and deals, of course! Great way to fill up that closet / drawer / cabinet I just cleaned out.

5.  Read a book.  Let me escape into someone else’s dysfunction for a while.  Makes my life not seem so bad.

4. Laugh!

3.  Call my mom.  She has to listen to me because I’m her daughter.  Plus she’s cheaper than therapy.

2.  Time alone with my husband.  Ooo lala!  Need I say more?

And number 1:

1. Take time to refresh, rejuvenate, and reconnect with God.  God provides the divine reset!

“Resetting” is important for everyone, especially those of us who deal with different abilities every day.  So how do you reset in your life?

Netflix addiction

Hello.  My name is Elizabeth.  And I am addicted to Netflix

Specifically, I am addicted to the show Bones.  It all started when I was enticed by a web ad for free Netflix.  I wanted access to movies for the class that I teach, so I subscribed.

And then the journey down, down, down began.  See, not having cable / sattelite/ dsl tv, I was enslaved to an old fashioned antenna for many years to satisfy my tv watching pleasure.  Netflix opened up a whole new world to me.

First, I watched two seasons of The Killing in 4 days.

Then, I found Hot in Cleveland and watched all the episodes in one week.

Now, I am addicted to the show Bones.  Supposedly it’s a big hit show in its 7th season or something.  But I am on Season 2 and working my way through each episode.  After I get my Wildtree calls done, I can watch up to 4 episodes… per day.

And you know what, dear reader?  I think Temperence Brennen has Asperger’s.  Just sayin’.  And she’s a hero.
So I have renewed hope here!  My boys are awesome!  And my girl can kick butt, even thought she’s not a spectrum kiddo!

And now, I must go… I have to find out if Brennen and Booth will solve the next case and admit they they love each other.  Shhhhh….. don’t tell me!!!!!!

Dramatic Thanksgiving in August

It’s only the beginning of August, and alreadyI am looking forward to the end of the summer.   It’s been quite a summer. I wrote on my facebook page that all I want is a life without “too much” drama.  Family and friends commented on that post, poking fun at me.

So how do you get through the drama?

One way  I get through the drama is listing what I’m thankful for despite the drama.  It’s also my way of answering the question, “WTH is God in all of this?” So here I go with my thankful list.  You might see why I haven’t blogged much lately.  Here I go:

1.  I’m thankful for the helpful woman who calmly and clearly told me what to do when I got a notice on August 1  that the boys’ medical assistance was being discontinued on August 6 because I didn’t reapply by May 31 (which I did so!!!  They lost it!!!  Great timing to notify me that something was screwed up!!!  And this was the first time that I didn’t photocopy everything prior to mailing… okay, deep breath. ).

2.  I’m thankful that my oldest son has a job that keeps him out of my hair the house.

3. I’m thankful for the job coach who is hanging in with my oldest son,  an employer who gives him 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chances when he messes up, and that he hasn’t gotten fired, even though he’s been in trouble at least three times this summer and was even suspended from his job for three days.  I’m thankful that he is having to learn the tough lessons of accepting someone else’s authority and how to stick with a job even when it’s hot and he doesn’t feel like it.

And I’m thankful that someone else is teaching him this.

4.  I’m thankful that my husband understands when I fly off the handle because the drama gets to me.

5.  I’m thankful for an understanding woman who “bent the rules” and made sure we got a full refund when the reading program that I was so excited about and was sure would help my son was nothing like the sales pitch expert  enrollment counselor said and we had to pick him up early from the first session.

6.  I’m thankful for an opening in a camp for my youngest son, paid for by said refund.

7. I’m thankful that my daughter has found an outlet in her new gymnastics class and that we will get “girl time” while her brothers are at work / camp.

8. I’m thankful that I could get in to the urgent care center quickly and that my nine stitches in my knee are still holding.

9.  I’m thankful that I haven’t had a nervous breakdown.

10.  I’m thankful for friends who put up with my excitement over my Wildtree business and for others who are as excited that I am that gfcf options are available this fall.

11. I’m thankful that my son is no longer on the gfcf diet.

12.  I’m thankful that I lost my vacation weight.

13.  I’m thankful that I have a teaching job starting in January.

Okay, that’s it for now.  Thanks for reading my thankful list.

How do you get through the drama???

Vacation

I haven’t posted in a while because we’ve been on vacation! Woo hoo!

We went to Branson, MO.  We had a great time vacationing with my parents and celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.  My parents have a time share in Branson and have been wanting my family and my brother’s family to meet up there and spend a week together. We finally managed to make it work, and this vacation was our gift to my parents.

We swam everyday, saw several shows, went “go karting” for the first, second, and third times, and slept in.  We used the jacuzzi tubs in the condo and really really enjoyed that for the first time we didn’t have to pack our own gfcf food! (Ice cream and bbq, anyone?)  My hubby and I were able to “spoil” our 3 year old nephew (who later complained that Aunt Elizabeth got him in trouble too many times– I’m an equal opportunity time-out-giver). 

I used to consider time shares to be too extravagant and a waste of money.  However, now I, along with my hubby, am reconsidering.  We enjoyed have free activities at the resort for the whole family to do.  Having unrestricted access to  a washer / dryer and full kitchen actually saved time and money for us.  The extra space– much more than one motel / hotel room– was great for the quiet time that the boys needed. 

The road trip itself went really well.  I was very proud of my kiddos.  We drove about 6 hours each day, and stopped to do fun things along the way– a children’s museum, the St. Louis Arch, and picnics. 

The guys have gone home now, and my daughter and I are taking an extra week of “girls only” vacation time.  We’re visiting my grandmother and my aunts.  I’m looking forward to this time with her, and hope it will ease those “sibling woes.”

I plan to reflect and process our experience in order to pass along to all you parents out there what worked for us.  Three days on the road was easier than expected.  I can’t wait to hear about my husband’s drive home with the boys.  Should be interesting.   More later!

When I grow up….

I am still deciding what I want to be when I grow up.  I never thought I would grow up to be a stay at home mom.  I never thought I’d like it.

Wrong!  I do like it!  However, I’m beginning to feel antsy.

I love music.  So, when I was a teenager,  I thought I’d be a band director.

Nope, felt more “called” to the church.  So I thought I’d be a church music director.

Nope, liked speaking more than conducting.  So I became a pastor.  Turns out that pastors work a lot more than 2 hours on Sundays.  Some weeks I did 50+ hours.  It was fine until…

Family came along,  autism entered in, and I took a leave of absence, called “Family leave.”

During family leave, I’ve pondered many times about what may come next.  Teaching in the public school?  With those politics?  No way!

How about a special needs consultant for churches and non profits?  Well… sounds fun but hard to be taken seriously when I don’t have a credential in that field.

I began teaching clarinet lessons, which I love!  I love my students!  I may even get more this summer.

I found Wildtree and love the products and the company.  That’s going well.  There’s still something missing for me, though…

So I applied for a teaching position at a local college and am still waiting to hear if I got the job or not.  It would be very part time– I’d only be out one evening each week.

After I applied and went through the “faculty assessment” I learned about a local company that goes into elementary schools and holds music classes.  At our local elementary school, the kids and leaders wrote a school song and made a cool “Growing Grads” video for the outgoing 5th graders.  They happen to be looking for people to join their team.  So, I inquired online.

I have no idea where any of this will lead.  What I do know is that…

1–I don’t want a full time job, just one that will get me out of my house and give me something to do once in a while and give me some extra pocket cash.

2– I don’t want a job that is crazy busy and filled with drama. I’ve already got enough drama and craziness here, thank you very much.

3. I have so many varied interests that it’s hard to narrow down what I’d like to do.

So, there we have it.  What are other parents out there doing?

Helicopter mom?

I’ve  been hearing about “helicopter parents” lately.

I don’t think I qualify.

As I write this, I feel guilty for not going to see my son compete in the local Special Olympics event.

Am I a bad mommy?

I don’t think so, although the mommy guilt disagrees. I’m tempted to engage in some self-flagellation.

I’ve reminded myself to lighten up.  I’ve asked myself, “What do I do?”

I do homework with the kids; shuttle them to all of their things, snuggle and hug and kiss them too much a lot; enjoy reading with them; listen to them; referee their arguments; attend all the award ceremonies, concerts, and recitals; have one on one time with them; meet with teachers and other school staff to advocate for them and plan their educations; sign up to be a room parent…

You get the idea.

Last time I went to the Special Olympics, my presence kind of messed him up.  Don’t get me wrong, really I loved watching and cheering him on. I think I even cried.

On the other hand, he could have actually won the race.

He thought I was on the sideline instead of waiting for him at the finish line.  So he kept looking to the side, and running in the direction he was looking.  So instead of running in a straight line, he ran in a diagonal line, and came in third. I bet if he ran in a straight line, he would have won.

I wish I could teleport myself to and from his event, without him knowing.

But I can’t.  And I need time to myself today, and don’t feel like dealing with the crowds. So I will say lots of prayers and cheer him on in spirit.

Run like the wind, son!!!

Epilogue: When he got home I asked him how it went.  He said, “Good!” Then he paused and said, “When I’m there can you come watch me mom?”  Mommy guilt is on full force now! Social story now about how to ask mommy ahead of time?  🙂

Write it down

I was going absolutely crazy with keeping the evening and morning routines going.  Getting the younger two kiddos to school on time was almost impossible and I was so stressed out when they walked in the building.

Not the way I want my morning to go.

I had asked my hubby to please please please help me get stuff ready the night before.  It seemed that when I went out for the evening (meetings, Zumba, etc.), the next morning was chaos.  Nothing changed.  I think dear hubby was very overwhelmed, too.

I finally took my own advice and made yet another schedule.  My husband and I brainstormed then decided where to hang a new schedule, what should be on it, how to make it not so overwhelming, etc.

We now have a simple schedule, hanging on the kitchen shelving unit, that is easy to follow.  It is really a to do list, since evenings are going crazy with new activities.Here’s what it looks like.  It’s amazing to me how much of a difference typing this and posting has made.  Making it a to do list allows our kiddos to adjust for evening activities, school delays, and unexpected things that come up.

daily routines by E. Givlerg activities, school delays, etc.

Recently, I started attending a Bible study based on the book Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food.  The idea is that we are all made to crave God,  but we fill that craving with food or other things that unhealthy for us.  (I can identify… stress and emotional eating is my downfall.)  We were challenged to write down our plans for eating– not simply keep a food diary, but plan the menu of meals and snacks, write it down, and shop accordingly.    I remembered that, last year when I lost 50+ pounds, menu planning and keeping a food diary were vital to my success.  Writing it down was very powerful.

I wonder what else I could accomplish just by writing it down.  Hmmm.  How about “breathe”? Or, “don’t wring any kid’s neck today.”  Or, “You are a sexy hot babe.” 🙂

Having a flexible plan and writing it down definitely lightens my load.  It also lightens, I remind myself, the loads of my kids and my family as a whole.