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.

Mommy makeup

Let’s talk makeup, specifically MOMMY MAKEUP. You know what I’m talking about if your a mommy with her hands full right?

Either you are so into the latest and best makeup that you spend your time after the kids go to bed watching (and maybe filming) how to videos. Or you are like me and you love what makeup does for you but you go for the quickest and most affordable process possible!

I love makeup! I actually went to school while in Germany to do professional makeup. I learned how to airbrush and put on eyelash extensions. But after al the schooling was done I was welcomed with and infant instead of a new found career. Lol

But here is what I have learned since becoming a mom when it comes to makeup…..

BB cream is one of your best friends! A good lightweight coverage that can hide some eye baggage but not make you look dumb if you don’t do your whole face, is an amazing tool to not look like the walking dead. Also if all else fails MASCARA!!! I mean it do not leave home without it because a good mascara can make people focus on your eyes instead of the heavy black moon shapes underneath that tell everyone you haven’t slept in decades.

Also while it is nice to buy those $50+ pallets of eyeshadow, if you are a mom buying diapers and can only afford the. BOGO 50% off sale at Ulta do that. I mean after all having flaky eyeshadow is far less worrisome then having a baby shitting all over his clothes because you are cheating on diapers.

My main goal in my daily makeup routine is to try and put on a face while standing at my kitchen island with coffee in my one hand and a child pulling at my leg. I mean many times have I left the house with eyeliner steamed because one of my children has pulled me while applying, but if we are being honest it will only draw the attention away from my hot mess hair style.

So I guess what I’m saying here is I have PLENTY of tips for cheap but GOOD QUALITY makeup application. Now what I mean by this is, is if you want to look like a mom who has slept for 6+ hours when really you only slept 2+ hours then get at me and I will tell you my tricks.

If you watched my daily makeup routine and compared it to one of the MANY makeup videos you would be like umm that’s not right! Lol You would probably notice how my blending technique is more about time and less about proper procedure. You would also notice how I use brushes that may or may not be the intended use.

But if I must say so I end up with the same (if not good enough) results as some of those makeup practicing pros! I am not in any way bashing on what they do I’m just saying I have found a comfortable and affordable way to get the same results as a momma of two young boys who need so much in the mornings! Haha

Autism and Sleep (or lack there of)

Whenever you hear someone mention Autism what do you think about? Do you think about the hand flapping some kids do, or behavior problems in public? Well since Brodyn’s diagnosis we have learned a lot about Autism and it’s different forms, but most of all we have learned to live without sleep. When I hear someone new in my life has a child with Autism I think “are you sleeping?”

Many kids in the spectrum have problems sleeping in one way or another. Some take forever to fall asleep, some wake super early, some wake all night long and are a danger to themselves if they can get it if their room.

So what sleep issues do with deal with you ask? Well the first time it because a real problem it was Brodyn taking HOURS to fall asleep. No matter what we tried or changed he would just lay there flipping and flopping missing hours of sleep he needed every night. When worked and worked to make a schedule that would get him ready for bed to be able to sleep early enough and after months we finally locked it in.

But then came the waking up 3-4 times a night for hours leaving him exhausted every morning for therapy and school. When your child is tired it’s hard for them to learn and grow and when they can’t control their lack of sleep it makes for long data for the whole house.

After months of waking 3-4 times a might we changed some things, bought some things, and worked out a good flow again. But we only had like 5 days of good enough sleep and then he started waking up at 2-3am for the rest of the day.

Now I know we aren’t the WORST case as far as sleep and Autism goes, but we aren’t the best either. We try and hold on to what we do get and be thankful. But I’m going to show some pictures of Brodyn’s bed and explain a little of what we have tried and where we are now. I know a lot of parents already do these things but when I was searching for help and ideas I ran across some I didn’t know about.

So first picture is what we call “mommy pillow” Brodyn has always been attached to me and I am his comfort so when I was getting ready for a surgery that would prevent me from being able to pick him up or lay with him for weeks I decided to make this. I bought a wig close enough to my hair at the time and sewed it onto a body pillow. Then I added rice to socks and made arms for weight since he likes my hand on his back to fall asleep. And finally I used one of my shirts and periodically I spray it with my perfume. This worked wonders for Brodyn and he still sleeps with it every night.

This is a picture of his bed! He has a bed tent that makes the room feel smaller as well as keep it darker. We also bought a special sheet for his bed so he couldn’t kick the covers off and get cold. He has a weighted blanket, special pad for his bed to be perfect for him, stuffed animals to fill some space and his bed set.

What you don’t see in the room are things like his iPod with special song mix that he has used everyday since he was a baby. He has a humidifier to keep moisture as well as block out noise. His dresser is in his closet for safety reasons and he has locks on the doors so he can’t open the closet and get hurt. He also has a baby gate on the door so when he wakes in the night he can’t get out and escape.

There was no ONE thing that helped Brodyn when it came to sleep. He still has really bad nights of sleep and every once in awhile I think he gets so exhausted that he sleeps good. But with all of these things combined we have been able to get him some sleep and most nights for him it seems to be enough. But as parents it’s not enough for us since we can’t just go to bed when he does every night.

So if you are struggling right now with your child and lack of sleep just keep trying to find the combination of things that will work best for your child. It may seem impossible but it will click if you just keep working it. And most importantly know you aren’t alone in this. There are others just like you that are going through the same thing every night! ❤️❤️

You do what you have to do.

So here it is October and the big holidays of the year are coming up. So we all know that means tons of money to be spent on food, gifts, activities, and maybe even travel. As parents we want to give our kids what they want and need but sometimes it can be hard to budget everything in with all of the day to day expenses. We are planning a family vacation for July of next year and because of our families needs it will be a very costly trip. We have never done a big trip as a family so we are very excited about it and want to make sure we have enough money saved up to allow us freedom to enjoy our first trip.

The last thing you want when you finally do get a vacation is to have to pinch pennies while you are on it. So we always plan way ahead and save so we can have a nice travel fund. So what happens when life happens? Well we recently we to the dentist to get both boys cleaned as well as check on a tooth that Jase has hit months ago while jumping on the trampoline. And while there we were told we need to pull Jase’s tooth and if we want we can put a fake tooth there for the next 4 years or so. Of course him only being two we want the replacement tooth because it’s his front tooth and we don’t want him toothless for years lol. So this whole thing is going to cost us $1300 out of pocket AFTER insurance.

Now most people would probably freak out at the words of that kind of money, and although we were not happy to hear we would have to spend our money on an accident like that, we were thankful we wouldn’t have to open a credit card or take out a loan to provide for our child. So how can we pay in full for such costly procedures like this even though we just spent more than $1300 a couple months ago on my dentist trip?

Well it’s easy. We do what we have to do to provide all of our kids needs. Jordan and I love our lives NOT keeping up with the Jones! We always have lived this way even before kids. We don’t need the newest products or the “coolest cars.” We live life comfortable while still having money set aside for things like this. We also make sure to have some side hustles going on so we can bring in extra money.

We were taught growing up that now job is beneath us and that you do what you have to do. I remember as a kid when money was tight one year for Christmas my dad painted a neighborhood ladies whole house for a little extra money and two pairs of rollerblades because that’s what my sister and I wanted for Christmas that year. My dad worked full time and then came home and worked more until it was done to provide for us.

And that is what I want to teach my kids. I want them to have pride in what they do even if it’s flipping burgers because it means you are providing. I try to use what little spare time I have to make, build, sew, or paint items that I can sell to make some extra spending money and it has always been a good thing for our family. So I suggest when times get tough or you need some more finds, find your skills that you can use to make money.

Sleepless nights!!

Here it is 6:00am and Brodyn has been awake since 2:45am!! This is the 3rd night in a row of him waking up between 2:45-3:45am and he is worn out and fussy. I was finally able to get him to fall asleep on my lap around 6:00am!

So now I’m trapped! No morning coffee! No sleeping! No peeing! I just get to sit here with my back hurting while he sleeps! But I am perfect! I’m perfect because I’m allowing my son the safe comfortable space he needs to sleep and get the rest he needs. I’m perfect because even though I’m the only one awake in the house I know my boys are sleeping. And I’m perfect because God not only blessed me with two amazing boys but he also blessed me with an amazing husband who helps me in every way.

With Autism comes so many ups and downs but if you focus on the ups you can love a life of happiness. For me I’m staying focused on the lack of sleep Turing into a positive thing. Have you heard of leaps? Like the first years of your child’s life you can follow their leaps and predict when they are growing and developing and there for more fussy or not sleeping as well.

Well I would like to think that these nights of little to no sleep are leading us to a leap forward in Brodyn’s development! That he is sleeping less because his brain is trying to focus on what he is learning and it’s replaying it over and over while he is trying to sleep.

As a mom I will always do my best to focus on the positive and provide a safe and comforting place for my children. I will gladly sacrifice anything to allow them to succeed in life. And I will forever be grateful God blesses me the way he did.

Wishing star farm

Today went to a place called Wishing Star Farm! Per the norm I researched before going to figure out price, activities, safety, and any info I could to make sure our time was amazing. This place looked to be family owned and operated and every person that we talked to there was so helpful and very kind.

When we first arrived we saw animals immediately while walking to pay. They offered a military discount so it was $32 for our family of 4. As soon as we got there I started gettin a little worried about how the boys would react. Would they cry or run away, would we need the stroller like normal to keep them safe and contained? But we didn’t need the stroller and the farm was set up VERY kid friendly.

The boys were able to walk freely, pet and feed the animals, and get in the corals with them. You could tell the animals were all well cared for and used to playing with kids. They were very tame and I didn’t fear for my kids safety.

Now here is where it gets fun and personal for our family. Jase loves the animals we knew he would they have a camel so he was extra excited. But Brodyn tends to be more timid and gets overwhelmed easily. But at this place they both had smiles on their faces the whole time. It’s normally impossible to get a smiling photo of Brodyn because he is usually staring or he is moving but we were able to capture the perfect photo of him playing in the little kid sized hay maze.

Jase loves the little tractor pulled train ride and wanted to go on it so many times! And of course we allowed it lol.

With special needs it can be really hard to go out of the house and pay for activities that you may not be able to enjoy, but this place was a win like huge win and we will be going back for sure!

Some of the things they have are, hay rides, hay maze, giant jumping blimp, petting farm, pedal carts, large slide, food, gift shop, pony rides and a pumpkin patch. General admission pays for everything except food, pony rides, and pumpkin take home. The price and experience was well worth the drive and the price. To see the sheer happiness of my boys was priceless!