COVID-19 has wrecked havoc on so much of my life, as I am sure it has to so many others as well! When COVID first started my husband was overseas for a quick turn around TDY. I remember dropping him off at the airport and by the time I picked him back up just days later, the boy’s school had been cancelled, grocery stores were out of toilet paper, and COVID had taken over the news.

When he was gone he didn’t have internet or phone, so by the time he had service again he couldn’t believe what I was telling him. Fast forward to today and it has been very hard to transform into the life we have been forced to call our new “normal.” I am now at home 24/7 with two boys that are 15 months apart. I went 6 weeks without therapy for my oldest, and over two months without ANY help at all from outside sources. I have had to learn to let the small stuff go around the house, and let the boys do a little bit more than I used to.

So how has all of this been positive? Well…. I have spent more time bonding with my boys. Finding time to spend one on one time with both my boys in ways that is fine tuned to their own likes and needs. I have also spent a lot more time finding me time to allow myself to decompress. I have been going outdoors ALONE to exercise, bought a row machine for inside exercise, and have found time for a glass of wine and a hot bath.

Things aren’t always easy right now, in fact there are a couple days a week where I feel like I am COMPLETELY falling apart and inevitably break down in tears. But for the first time in my life I am NOT beating myself up for my shortcomings! It has taken COVID to finally open my eyes to see the person,mom, and wife I am and to see just how amazing I am. I don’t say this in a bragging or conceited way, I say it to encourage other moms to know that what you are doing is enough. You will never be perfect, or do everything correct, but you are enough!!

Getting started again

So I almost lost my blog domain by accident and luckily that didn’t happen, so now I am back and am trying to be on top of things this time around. What I want to do is get started on a more focused approach to my blog style! I know my blog site is parenting on the cheap and I still do love all things clever cheap parenting, but I also love special needs parenting posts, military life posts, married life posts, mom on the run posts, and humor posts.

I would like to get feedback from ANYONE Out there still reading this blog on what kind of poo you would still like to read to pass your days while stuck at home. I try to be uplifting and encouraging when I can so if I can get some feedback on interesting ideas that would be awesome.

Think of me as that person sitting in front of you with your beverage of choice talking about whatever you would like to talk about, that will not correct you on commas or grammar because let’s face it I don’t care about that when it comes to my writing at all. Honestly I just want to lift spirits, spread ideas and encouragement, and maybe see a LITTLE more red bell notification signs on my icon since this covid stuff has me all sorts of lonely hahah. But seriously let’s figure this out 😉

Stay safe and please reach out if you would like to talk!!! 🙂

Loving From a Far!!

Right now the world is changing. All around us people are finding new ways to work, educate their children, get groceries, and communicate with loved ones. When all of the Covid-19 stuff started around the world I wasn’t sure how it would affect us here in the US but I am certain I didn’t imagine it becoming such a mental and emotional drain on my family and I as it has.

What started out as just school being cancelled for a few weeks turned into the school year being cancelled. Then my son lost his therapies for over a month and when therapies started again it was only a few hours a day. We lost respite services for months at a time which was understandable but made it hard to recharge after long days alone with the kids. While other families had both parents home during this time I was left on my own with Jordan working the Covid testing site. So instead of having more help I had less.

All of this has been pretty rough and has left me mentally, physically, and emotionally drained but it has been nothing compared to what I have felt the last three days. Months of being alone isolated and dealing with two young boys I can handle. It’s exhausting and tough sure but I’m a mother and can handle it. But the last three days my mother had a health scare 14 hours away from me leaving here in the hospital alone having to have back to back surgeries. She spent days in the hospital alone because Covid has made it impossible for even my dad to be allowed to stay with her. Being so far away from my mother and not being able to be there when she needs me most is a change in this world that I can’t handle.

I want to be able to pack up my kids and fly to my mom and dad and be there for my family whenever there is a need. The world has changed and we don’t know what the “new normal” will look like. I can handle change. I can handle cooking at home instead of going out, waiting on lines for stuff, distancing from strangers. I can’t handle not being able to safely get to my loved ones when they need me. This is something that has mentally and emotionally drained me faster in three days than all of the Covid has in months. I am thankful for technology and being able to talk to my family, but it would be much nicer to hug my momma!! ❤️❤️

Real Talk!

Real talk…….

People in my life know my kids and my husband! But most people in my life don’t truly understand my families struggles which are mostly my oldest sons struggles! Balancing a life with two boys 15 months apart would be hard for anyone right? But balancing a life with a 5 year old son with Autism and a 4 year old son without, is a completely different ball game. How do you structure your household when you need to congratulate your youngest for achievements that your oldest has yet to achieve? How do you punish your youngest for behaviors that your oldest child does out of sensory irregularities? How do you balance the need to be everything for your children and still be enough for your spouse and your marriage?

These all are just some of my daily to day struggles! Right now ABA therapy is here working with my son to understand basic words, while my youngest is trying to be apart of what he thinks is fun. While my youngest just wants to be involved with therapy, I know that it disrupts the process my oldest could make if he could concentrate without his brother. To watch your child struggle with understanding that “table” is a word that can be used for many kinds of tables and not just the kitchen table, is unbearable.

I am fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with my boys and be a mom in two very different worlds. But some days I struggle knowing if I am doing the right thing. Will my oldest be held back in his progress because he always has his mother to protect him and love him? Or will he thrive because he is able to do therapy in a very loving environment? Will my youngest resent me for all the attention given to his brother? Or will he focus on every little time he was able to have individual time with his mommy playing trains and Toy Story?

When it comes down to the basic fibers of my families lives, there is no one way suits all lifestyle. My husband and I make DAILY decisions that will impact both of our boys lives everyday. That struggle to make the right one will never go away, but we try to live day to day focusing on our family and our love. Some people have success with one form of lifestyle-while others succeed in the opposite way. I am constantly struggling with my disappointment in what I thought I would be able to do for my children, and the sheer joy of celebrating the little accomplishments as they come to us.

Who am I?

My name is Patricia Lee Cisna! I am a Christian! I am a mother of two boys! I am a mother to a child with Autism! I am a wife of an active duty airman! And I am struggling!

Do you ever feel like as a mother and wife that you have completely lost your identity and who you are? How about feeling like you can move mountains to accommodate your children’s or spouse’s schedules and needs down to the very minute, however, when it comes to squeezing in something for yourself in that same schedule you just can’t make it work? Or the fact that you look in your sock drawer and see that you have thrown away just ONE holy sock so many times that you almost don’t even have anything me matching pair?

Ok seriously all jokes aside, I have been lost this year! I have had the worst days of my life, followed by the most stressful days of my life, and ending with the most fulfilling days of my life. All of this has taught me two very important things! It has taught me about FAITH and it has taught me about MY STRENGTH!

My faith has been there since as far back as I can remember, but the thin about faith is you don’t really have to see Gods power and the faith you have in him until you are at your knees BEGGING for relief. Begging for the pain and crazy in your life to go away! Begging for answers and praying for his word! But faith is what has made me hold on to all things fear in my life this year. Faith is what has kept me striving to be the best I can be and heal from my pain in order to live the life God intended for me. And because of my faith I have found my strength!

When people see you cry, or get angry a lot of times they don’t see the sheer pain behind these actions and they assume weakness. But it is the people who truly hold onto all they love in life no matter the pain or anger, that have all the true strength! Whatever you are fighting for in life just believe that your faith and strength can get you through all of it.

How to rebuild after disappearing for 6 months

So you have fallen down. Life has thrown EVERYTHING possible at you and you have handled it the best you can but in the process you have alienated everyone you know. You have neglected your friends, family, and social media accounts in attempt to heal from life. And now you are trying to move forward and rebuild the relationships you once had. So how do you do this when it’s been weeks, months or maybe even years since you have reached out to anyone?

Well I can tell you from experience that it is possible to reconnect and rebuild the life you once had. I am coming off of almost 6 months of being MIA from friends and family and am finding away to rebuild my life. This year has been by far the toughest year of my over 30 yearS of life and I have spent months isolating myself from everyone thinking it would help me heal faster. I now know that I didn’t make the right choices in doing this because it has only made things harder in my life. By trying to manage all my pain and frustration alone I have made it harder to heal and process. I am finally at a point where I realize I’m NOT alone and that I do have people who love me and want me in their lives.

So how did I get here? How did I choose to start over and bring people back into my life? Well it started with a text. All it took was one text to a friend to meet up for ONE hour and just hangout! After that one hour I was feeling somewhat in a very small way, myself again. And from there I ran with it, or sort of walked fast with it. I decided after that hour that I needed and wanted people back in my life. So I sent another text, and then a phone call, and even a Facebook message. And even though I am still currently sitting on my couch binge watching reruns of the Vampire Diaries, I am feeling confident and strong.

After months of putting myself in a bubble and not seeing or talking to anyone, I am finally feeling like a small piece of this amazing world again! So whether I know you personally or I only know you from my page, I want you to know that you are NOT alone! You are loved! And if you need anything I am here! I am back and will be stronger and happier then ever!!! ❤️❤️❤️

Is military life worth it with Autism?

Schedule, routine, structure, all are words that relate directly to the military lifestyle right? Well if you really look at it he answer would be yes, for the actual service member! Yes the service member has many rules and structured daily lives. But what about the family members? Well I can tell you that it’s not the same.

My husband for instance can work a number of different jobs in his area of the medical field. And each base we have been to he has worked two or more throughout the years we were at the base. He has worked 24 hour shifts, he has worked the “easier” 730-430, and also the get to work at 6am to get work done and still not get home until 630pm shift. All of this makes it hard to have any consistency with meal times and family time.

So what about when you throw Autism into the military world? What about when the service member is up and gone for weeks, months at a time? Or home for dinner for two nights and then not again for weeks? We know that Children with Autism thrive on routine and structure so is the military life the best choice?

Well my opinion is that it’s great for them. Don’t get me wrong there are downfalls but we would find that in any career choice. But what I can say in our family is that the military has been amazing. We have the most important thing which is an insurance that takes care of both of our children’s individual needs. It’s not always easy to get those things, sometimes it’s pulling your hair out just to get someone on the phone who knows what you are talking about. But I’m the end they are taken care of.

I also feel like the moving, TDYs, missed meals or late meals, and the constant unknown has helped our child with Autism. His whole like has been military so it’s all he knows. It allows us not to have to be so strict on routine. It allows us to be like hey grab your coat and put down your toy we are going to get daddy early from the airport, without some big meltdown over the change.

I know both my boys are still very young and sometimes don’t even notice the changes, but I am confident that if we keep living the life we are living it will be their “normal.” I know that was the case for my husband and myself with all 4 of our parents serving in the military. It’s all we have known so it’s what we know to do for our kids. I can just say I’m thankful!! Thankful for a career that provides a roof over our heads, food on our table, and all the therapy and doctors my kiddos need. We will never be rich in money but we can be rich in security!

Toys for the win

Christmas is over and of course the boys were spoiled nicely from family and friends. This year the toys that really were a hit were from the company Fat Brain Toys.

A couple months before Christmas their catalog arrived at my house and I started looking through it for toy ideas. I found a bunch that I loved for the kids and as family asked for gift ideas I pointed them towards these toys.

For Jase I picked the wooden Ice cream set since he is obsessed with fake licking the cones. I wasn’t sure what to expect for quality but when my grandma sent them I was overly impressed! It came in a cute little carrying box (which he loves to empty and hide random stuff in) and there was 25 pieces total. The quality of the wood and paint is amazing. The boys can be rough on toys and nothin has chipped or broken. We have have tons of fun serving ice cream and naming colors with this set.

For Brodyn my first pick was the giant silicone suction spinners. When these arrived and we opened them I placed them at the breakfast counter while I was trying to get him to stay seated and eat. It did the trick and he played with them the whole time until he finished eating. We plan to use these only for this purpose so he will want to sit and eat. They come in a set of three and are great quality.

We also picked out Squigs because the boys love building and have so many different building materials that this would be fun and new. They do have some smaller pieces so if you are worried about mouthing or chocking I would remove these ones from the container for later. They suction to each other as well as surfaces. In our therapy room we mounted some dollar store pizza pans to the walls for magnetically and these suction to them nicely.

Finally we ordered some fidget type toys. One is a keychain that we can carry around with us to appts and car rides and the other is bigger but is purse size to allow carrying it around. It’s almost like popping bubble wrap but is endless since the buttons just pop to the other side. Not only do my boys love them but my husband and myself find them entertaining as well.

Fat Brain Toys can be purchased from their site or Amazon and regularly go on sale. We have added a bunch more to our wish lists and plan to get them in the future. If you use ebates you can also get cash back on purchases. This company has toys for all ages and them are educational and sensory. It’s nice to find products that are affordable even with the sensory label on them.

Christmas in our house!

Christmas is a magical time of year and I truly believe that. Ever since being a child Christmas has always been the happiest time of year for me. When my husband and I got married we decided to pick traditions from each of our families to keep and the new ones we would start together.

We always crank up Reba’s original Christmas CD while decorating the tree and house. As a kid we would drink eggnog or cherry 7up out of wine glasses but now I tend to just drink wine. And let’s face it I need it with the way decorating goes now.

With two little ones you never know how Christmas decorating is going to workout or how many things will break in the month they are up. We have tons and tons of decorations but only put up the stuff that can be above cabinets and high up on shelves. Each year it seems we are able to put up a little more and the kids listen to us when told to leave it alone (well depending on the day lol)

When we have our second Christmas as parents our oldest was around 14 months so we decided to put one of those octogates for babies around our whole tree. It worked and my son couldn’t reach anything but it made me so sad because it was so ugly. The last two Christmas’s we have taken two large boxes and wrapped them like gifts and then wedged them under the tree so that all the presents underneath can’t be seen or destroyed. This has worked out perfectly for us especially with the tree being in the corner and protected.

Now you know when you think of your Christmas mornings as a kid you were so excited and just wanted to tear through gifts right? Well here is you overwhelm my oldest he shuts down. That is why we usually ask our family for some money instead of ALL the money going to toys. One our kids have tons of toys but two he hates being forced to open gifts. He usually finds one toy normally the first and then he runs away with it and that’s it. My youngest is ok but he still isn’t all into it yet either.

As an adult when you buy gifts for your kids you get so excited to see their faces Christmas morning as they open their toys and shine with excitement, but for us in this house we hold onto the happiness they show everyday and we don’t focus one the one day a year of excitement. We may never have that traditional Christmas mornin where the kids come wake us up wanting to open gifts but we won’t stop trying to build family traditions. We used to avoid so many things because of the fear of how things would go or the fact that doing them would be more about the traditions and not the kids having fun, but now we work hard to do these things anyways.

We are excited to drive around Christmas Eve lookin at lights (whether or not the kids fall asleep) Christmas dinner being more than chicken nuggets (at least for us) and watching Christmas movies (whether the kids sit for them or not) its an amazing time of year!

Daring? Or rude?

When Brodyn was first diagnosed with Autism I would hear all the time that he didn’t look like he had Autism or that he didn’t act like he did. He was only two and it didn’t stand out as much because he wasn’t really behind on a ton except language so people didn’t stop to stare or ask questions.

But not he is four and still unable to talk. When we go out to kid play areas or to stores he gets in his own world and will stim not stop while we are out. His stimming is him running around laughing and saying “eeeeee.” It makes people stare and look at him and then us. Most of the time I think people are just wondering if they can figure out if he is different or not. He doesn’t do things that bother other people or in an inappropriate place but his stimming shows others that he is special!!

Well for the first time ever we were out at a play place here and Brodyn was having a wonderful time with his brother and some of the kids actually 🙂 And a lady who was there with her two year old son and husband, came over to me so soft spoken and stumbled through asking me about Brodyn. She asked if he was on the spectrum and quickly continued by saying her son was. I told he was and we started talking while the kids played.

I could tell as a fellow mother of a special needs child, that this was VERY hard for her to come and ask me but she is at the beginning stages of the world of Autism and she needed someone to listen, ask questions, and just show some support.

Now many people would find her question rude seeing as she didn’t know us and there was a chance I could have said no or gotten upset. But now a couple years into this world I find her question BRAVE! It was brave of her to reach out and ask me. For herself and her son. But in the early stages I think it is best for the parent to find people going through the same things. I remember crying all the time, worrying nonstop (this one hasn’t hanged much) and also feeling lost.

I didn’t have anyone to talk to daily in person but I did have two amazing no BEYOND AMAZING mommas who let me talk their ears off about anything and everything. To this day I have been taking to one of them for two years and one for a year and a half, and I have NEVER met them in person. But being able to talk to someone who gets it has kept me sane. I am so thankful for those in my life that I can trust to talk to and not feel judged or that they are trying to fix everything or give advice. So if someone needs to talk just listen it’s the best gift of all.