God is in the Dumpster

I wrote this when we lived in the apartment, but I am just now sharing it. It wasn’t that long ago though, so I’ll just leave the words as they were originally written.

God is in the dumpster

It feels offensive to even type that title. I am not in anyway trying to imply that my precious Savior belongs in the garbage. It’s an amazing paradox though. To think about how our awesome creator can be so holy, so sovereign and royal, and yet He sent His Son to come down to where we are and meet humanity in the depths of their desperation. How often did the Pharisees disapprove of who Christ was hanging out with or where he was hanging out because it seemed unclean to them? This has been on my mind a lot lately.

We live in an apartment where some of our neighbors are abusive alcoholics, drug addicts, and  thieves living in poverty. Our other neighbors are just normal clean-cut people like us. It’s probably just like your neighborhood really. Except people here don’t pretend as much. There is no dressing it up.

We live in a big complex and our building happens to be closest to the dumpster. It’s convenient actually. Whenever the trash can is full I don’t have to far to go to dispose of it. Plus my kids love it when they can catch a glimpse of the enormous trash truck that picks up the larger than life Rumpke bins. They watch in amazement as the robotic vehicle hoists each metal box up in the air to dump out all of it junk and smash it down into bits. 

I’m thankful for the dumpsters. Of all the things I won’t miss about being in this place I’m going to miss the dumpster. I know that sounds strange. It’s ugly and it’s smelly, but God has used it to provide for our family in ways that are actually quite miraculous. I shared the story on Facebook the other day about how I had sorted through a bunch of clutter in my room and had separated what was left into three bags. I wanted a better storage system for my scarves, gloves, and winter hats, but I couldn’t come up with anything so I just put the items into plastic bags for the time.

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Later that night I saw these three bins sitting outside of one of the dumpsters. Two of them still had tags on them! Stuff like that isn’t that uncommon for me. I really can’t remember all of the items I have found, but some things include Christmas decorations like this mat that I found at Christmas time when we didn’t have anything to decorate with. It certainly brought Holiday cheer to the kids faces each time they came home.


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Or this North Face Jacket in perfect condition.
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SJ loved it when I found this folding play hut.
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And then there is the umbrella stroller we have gotten so much use out of.
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That’s not even half of it. Most of the time the decent stuff is left outside of the dumpster, but every once in a while it’s actually inside, but sitting on top of the trash with a bunch of other home goods. For those worried about germs a little scrub down and some lysol is all you need and I have never taken anything that looked nasty or that was worthless to me.

My friends have questioned me on why there is so much “nice” trash around and my theory is that some people are evicted or move in a hurry and when the clean up crew comes through they just throw everything out. Maybe some people purposefully leave stuff outside of the dumpster knowing that their trash will be a treasure picked up by someone else?

You can try to explain it however you want, but the fact of the matter is I have collected a lot of useful things out of those dumpsters and I share this story as a testimony. In one of our lowest times God has provided in the most unlikely of ways. Even just little things. Why wouldn’t he? I mean when you think about some of the miracles in the Bible with pulling coins out of a fishes mouth, or spitting in the mud and putting it on a blind man’s eye? Yuck.

Maybe God wants you to step out of your comfort zone and get a little bit dirty this week. Not just to do it for the heck of it, but out of obedience.  Perhaps He wants you to seek him in some of those dark and smelly places where you usually don’t venture. It could be physical or it could be totally spiritual. I have no idea, but I do know that sometimes we miss out on the blessing because we are in our clean safe holy place. I am not convinced we need to stay there.

In your own way and by His leading I challenge you to look for God in the dumpster.

By | October 5th, 2015|My Life, Simple Living|27 Comments

Taking a Break From the 31 Day Challenge

In 2013 I joined up with a large group of bloggers who committed to write on one topic everyday for 31 days in October. It was an amazing experience. I did again last year. So much good has come out of both of these series.

The first was Lots of Hope in a Little Home which was about our family of 5 living in less than 800 square feet.

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This series has encouraged and impacted more people than I could have ever possibly imagined! I give glory to God for using what could have been a very rotten time in our life and turning it into something to help so many.

The next series was Teachable Parenting.

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Thanks to this series I have been able to connect with many other women for networking, prayer, and encouragement. I still hear wonderful feedback about Teachable Parenting and I plan to make a book based off of it one day.

I know I sound like I am being overly dramatic, but if it were not for the 31 day challenge my blog and therefor my life would be different than what it is today. That’s the truth.

This year I had a topic. I had written down many ideas and started drafting and outlining. I signed up and was ready to go. Then I started to pray and consider whether or not that is what I was supposed to be doing right now. It’s a lot of work you guys! In response I felt like the Lord started leading me in another direction and focus for October and since then I have just had a peace about not participating in 31 Days. So as much as I love everything about 31 Days, I called it quits for this year.

That doesn’t mean that it’s going to be totally quiet around here though . I will be sharing my Bella Gravida maternity outfits for What I Wore Wednesday and I have another really awesome guest post opportunity. I also still plan to share a couple posts about Taming the Sugar Monster (which is what my series would have been) along with a mini series (probably a week long) called  Things I Want to Teach My Children Sooner. I am super pumped about that series and I think you’ll be inspired too.

There are still over a thousand women (and maybe a few men) writing for 31 days on some really cool topics. You can see all the categories and bloggers HERE. I encourage you to look around. There really is something for everybody.

Even though I am bowing out this year I am still excited about October and looking forward to these next 31 days!

By | October 1st, 2015|My Life, Uncategorized|11 Comments

Update on Baby #4


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Yesterday I was trying to remember how many weeks pregnant I am.

Thirty-two. The answer is THIRTY-TWO! I feel like everything is hitting me all at once. I really want to meet and hold my baby. I can’t wait to see the excitement and joy of my other three children to get to meet their sister.

I am also nervous though. There is still so much left to do and even though this will be my 4th natural birth I am also a little scared about the labor and the post partum period. I love pregnancy and babies and all the emotional miraculous stuff that goes along with it, but it’s hard work. I always compare it to running a marathon, which for the record I have never done. You train, you prepare, you have great expectations. You love running (again this is just hypothetical none of this applies to me) and there is nothing that compares to the feeling you get when your first foot crosses over that finish line, but there are times of exhaustion that make you think you are crazy for trying. Times you need a cheerleader and a second wind.

Things are moving along though. J and I went to an orientation class at the birth center.  I was amazed at how geared toward natural birth it is. It’s actually within a hospital so I expected it to be a little bit more mainstream, but it wasn’t. Which I liked. The one thing I was shocked about was that they don’t allow video during births! I don’t know if it’s a legal issue or what. This was the one birth I was going to video tape and it’s the one birth where it is not allowed! Out of all the things to be frustrated about though, that isn’t really a big deal.

After the orientation we explored the city and made a date out of it. The last time we went on a date was in March when we took the pregnancy test so we were long overdue.

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All of these photos are ones that J took that day. So these are the most current pics I have of my belly which is getting huge.

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I am feeling really great. Lots of fetal movement. We have a name and it’s really hard for me not to say anything, but with only 7 weeks to go I’m going to hold off. I get the normal braxton hicks. Call me a weirdo, but I’ve always liked braxton hicks. It’s an empowering feeling to me, but as I already mentioned this time around they scare me just a little because my mind starts racing with the reality of it all. The baby is already head down so as long as she doesn’t flip that’s one thing less to worry about.

My iron is still really low and I do not want to give too much info, but if you don’t like to hear about gory pregnancy details you can stop here.

I have been trying to be good about taking my perscribed iron supplements (which they have now doubled the dosage on), but they make me constipated so that is really annoying. I asked my midwife what I could do and there was a range of answers, none of which I wrote down or have yet to try so I guess I can’t complain.

I should be getting my Bella Gravida maternity clothes in the mail soon and then I am going to bombard you all with tons of baby bump pictures because before you know it the baby bump will be gone and I’ll be able to bend down and pick stuff up again. I know most women can’t wait to be done with pregnancy, but it’s bittersweet. I am just trying to take it all in.

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By | September 30th, 2015|My Life, Pregnancy & Birth|9 Comments

I Dream of Pig Parties

“I think I’ll combine the boys birthday this year and just keep it really simple because it’s going to be so close to when the baby is due.”

I distinctly remember having that conversation with my family. Z and Ezie’s birthdays are less than a month apart and I DO have a lot going on, but what can I say? I love to party!

Here are some behind the scenes details about the Ezie’s third birthday this weekend.

The original idea was Three Little Pigs theme which I thought of last year (these are the kind of things I think about when I can’t sleep). Since Ezie is turning three it seemed fitting, but the idea has evolved into more of a full blown farm theme with some 3 Little Pig touches.

First I inquired amongst friends and family for hay, costumes, decorations… anything farm related that I could borrow (trying to keep costs low here). It was looking pretty bleak, until I called my aunt who is not on Facebook and she had so many awesome things that I will be integrating.

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Not to mention I got to visit her in the country while the leaves were falling AHHHH, and Ezie got to feed a horse and pony and pet some other animals. It was like a mini surprise before his birthday even started.

Next I looked everywhere for farm theme party stuff. I spent the day going from Party City to numerous craft stores with Ezie in tow and I was exhausted. I made one final stop at a random Dollar Store and JACKPOT! I found farm theme party paper goods and for $1. I was stoked.

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One of the 3 Little Pigs idea I had was to have a “House Building Contest” where families team up using cardboard boxes. So I called up my local Kroger which really came through for me when I needed free boxes for packing. This round was a little small than I had hoped, but I was grateful and hauled a load home. Then J told me they have tons of huge boxes where he works (the place he started this week) and he brought some home yesterday.What are the odds!?

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Lastly, my aunt had an old saddle that she just wanted to give to us. So J joined in with his creativity by crafting a wooden “saw horse” so that the kids can sit on the saddle.

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Needless to say I did not keep things simple this year, but it’s all coming together and I feel great about it. Ezie didn’t have a party last year and he is about to loose his status as baby of the family so what better time to celebrate him. Not to mention I just love autumn and farms, so this is very therapeutic for me. I am just really looking forward to the family time. I think it’s going to be fun for all ages. After this I’ll be ready to get down to business because before you know it our latest addition will be arriving!

By | September 25th, 2015|Frugal Living, My Life, Parties|5 Comments

Mini Van!? Help!

What is significant about September 24th? For me it’s that my due date is November 24th and that means 2 months from now I will more than likely be holding my baby girl. So things are starting to get real and now that J has a job, getting a mini van is our next priority.

I love my Toyota Highlander, but we cannot legally pack one more child into my car. 

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So it’s time to upgrade! We haven’t even started the hunt yet, but we have some ideas in mind. 

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We bought J’s 2000 Toyota 4Runner in 2007. It’s hard to believe we weren’t even parents yet in this photo, but I was pregnant with Z. J just recently hit the 300,00 mile mark on his car and we’ve been very happy with it. Out of our two vehicles it’s the only one with a tow package and we own a trailer, so this is our truck and we do not intend to trade it in anytime soon.

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About a year after falling in love with the 4Runner we bought my 2002 Toyota Highlander, which my husband refers to as the “glorified minivan”. That’s what he calls any SUV that isn’t really sport utility material.
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All though it’s seen better days aesthetically (thanks to my messy clan) I have loved this little gem we found on Craig’s List 8 years ago.

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Needless to say we are Toyota fans and so we would like to stay in the Toyota family for this next upgrade. We also have had success with purchasing USED, but staying around 6 or 7 years old. So we are thinking about a 2008ish Toyota Sienna minivan. We aren’t set on that though! A Honda would probably be our next choice in make, and it doesn’t have to be a minivan, but you would really have to talk me out it. I look forward to the day the doors slide open and I don’t have to panic about my children leaving dents in the unfortunate cars parked next to us. Also, gas milage and safety rating are things I definitely like to consider.

So I would love any and all feedback about vans, brands, amenities, you name it. Both of our cars are paid off and we like it that way so we’re definitely wanting to keep things somewhat simple while still upgrading. Because if things continue the way they’ve been going for us we won’t be thinking about another car for a close to a decade. It’s such a big decision! Alright, let me hear your thoughts and I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

By | September 24th, 2015|My Life, Simple Living|11 Comments

Breakthrough!

I have a major announcement that has been years in the making. Today is a big day for our family and it makes me so happy to get to share this with all of you.

I know that most of you have already heard our story probably 10 times over, but I also have so many new readers and subscribers so I’ll try to get everyone caught up with a tiny little nutshell version of the past 4 years.

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In 2011 we felt the Lord laying it on our hearts to move across the country to Kentucky which is where I am originally from. J left his job as a worship pastor and we said goodbye to our church family that had been there for us since we got married in 2000! It was a HUGE leap of faith unlike anything we had ever experienced. We sold our house and many of our belongings and at the beginning of 2012 the four of us moved in with my parents almost a thousand miles away from what we had always known as home.

The next month we found out about our surprise pregnancy (with Ezie), and the month after that we learned that SJ was deaf. Fast forward to 2013 where we moved in with my brother and his wife in Northern Kentucky so that SJ could go to a special school. Not long after that we moved to Ohio.

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Through all of this J did what he could to provide for our family. He worked many different freelance or temp jobs over the years, but nothing substantial. Nothing that was going to be a long term solution for our growing family. So J went back to school for his computer programming degree and it has been a very intense season, but he really flourished in all of his technical classes and aside from some co-op hours he recently completed his degree.

It’s been a James 1 season of trials and testing. I think back over the past 4 years and I could just about pass out because it’s so overwhelming, BUT GOD. He has been so faithful and I could tell endless stories of provision. Just one of many example is how J had the opportunity to be an interim worship leader at a time when we really needed that job while J was in school full time. It looked like it was coming to close at the absolute perfect time because J was finishing school. Except then a couple months went by without getting any legitimate job offers.

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So J met with his professor who is a christian and asked for guidance. His professor told him to hold out for just one more month. He said to J, Maybe God is giving you this chance to have a break in-between school and work to be able to make up for some lost time that you need to reconnect with your family. You could trust Him and enjoy this or waste it all panicking and taking matters into your own hands. 

During that season, all of the kids school fees, clothes, backpacks etc. have been miraculously provided and we got a free months rent for chopping down a tree in the backyard and a relative sent a check in the mail not knowing any of what we are going through! We also have been able to spend time together as a family and I’ve seen some really positive effects in Z’s life thanks to getting some much overdue father-son time. It has been AMAZING!

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Then on Friday J did a follow up meeting with a company that was hiring a web developer and they offered him a job!

When he told me the news there was some jumping up and down. There were some happy tears. There was some Praise You Jesus being lifted up! So today J took off to go to work with some amazing people that we know were divinely placed in our lives.

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There have been so many times throughout the past 4 years that I have blogged about our situation and I have reached out for prayer and encouragement. I have repeatedly cried We need a miracle. It’s hard to take anything for granted when you go through what we’ve been through and my heart is full of gratitude.

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Of course there is a lot more to it. It’s not like that’s a wrap. The end. We’re all set! But it is a big breakthrough and I can’t go on without declaring His goodness.

 

By | September 21st, 2015|My Life|23 Comments

More Laundry Headed My Way

With a family 5 I do my fair share of laundry, and I am about to do even more.

First of all I’ve got these itty bitty baby girl clothes to wash.

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Aside from the items I got from Carter’s all of this stuff came from a yard sale I went to last weekend. They had a two year old girl that was born in the winter so the stuff was perfect for our baby. The deal was all you could stuff in a grocery sack for $5. Well, call me Doc McSTUFFINS. I was all over it and now we should be set for the first 3 months of clothes.

I am also excited about pulling out the cloth diapers again. Every time you use a cloth diaper the cost per wear goes down and that makes the pay off for the initial investment even better. My cloth diaper stash paid for themselves a long time ago so now it’s just the cost of soap, water, and electricity.

And get this, the cost of soap and dryer time is even lower now since I’ve discovered Eco Nuts.

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I had never heard of this unique product before, but they sent me some stuff to try and it’s perfect timing for me! I’m not going to lie I normally just pick up whatever is on sale when I’m grocery shopping. The one time I am picky about my detergent is when I have baby. I don’t want to ruin the absorbency of my cloth diapers and I don’t want to irritate the delicate newborn skin so I have always been particular about what I use with a newborn.

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Despite the name and the appearance of Eco Nuts they are not really nuts. Though they are called soap nuts they are actually berries from a Sapindus mukorossi (Soap Berry) tree in the Himalayas. Inside the shell of these berries is something called saponin which is a natural cleaning agent that truly does work as a laundry detergent. I have been trying it for a couple months now and I don’t know if I am still used to how out of the ordinary it is, but it does get clothes clean.

You just put 4 or 5 berries in the little sack that is provided and you use the same berries up to ten times.

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They have a guide on their website that is more specific. Don’t worry you don’t have to keep a chalk board and tally each time you use one, you will be able to tell by the way the berries look.

I also got to try out their liquid detergent and wool dryer balls.

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I LOVE the dryer balls because I am pretty much a fan of anything reusable. Also the kids have gotten a kick out of helping with the laundry since I’ve incorporated balls and soap nuts.

Now for the downsides. I know it’s natural and all, but I do miss that artificial perfumy smell that comes with liquid soap and dryer sheets, but I would have gone perfume free when the baby came anyway.I always do.

I also don’t particularly like the hassle of having to make sure I don’t throw the berries in the dryer. HOWEVER, there is a solution to both of these legitimate complaints.

  1. You can add essential oils to the dryer balls if you want fragrance and then you get to pick exactly what scent you want!
  2. The bags usually fall to the bottom of the load on their own making them easy to find (like coins). However it is possible that they could get tangled in with the clothes especially if you are like me and toss your wet clothes into the dryer by the arm full. If you do accidentally dry your soap nuts it’s not going to hurt anything. I have only done it twice. So out of all the benefits of Eco Nuts that really is a small inconvenience.

There is so much more I could say about these products and if you are like me you probably have some questions. The Eco Nuts website is full of information. They have videos, savings comparison chart, cloth diaper details, and local retailers (which makes even more savings when you don’t have to pay shipping). Speaking of savings, right now there is a offer that allows you to get 10% off with the coupon code EcoFall2015 .

If you want to know more go to econutsoap.com . It’s all very fascinating and worth looking into even if you don’t decide to go the organic soap nut route. I am looking forward to see how it works with the baby clothes and cloth diapers and I’ll be sure to keep you posted.IMG_4800

By | September 18th, 2015|Babies, Babies & Toddlers, Frugal Living, Natural Living, Parenting Tips|2 Comments

My #1 Son

 

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There really isn’t anything significant about turning 8 and yet somehow Z is changing so much all of the sudden! It really snuck up on me, but I first noticed it when I did my run down of asking each of the kids to go potty before we let the house and Z requested that I NOT use the word potty with him. He says it’s embarrassing. Since then I have caught myself several times, but I am working on it.

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We were at Ikea recently. J and I have always waited with great anticipation for each one of our children to be tall enough to get into small land. This last time as Z stood in front of the height marker I noticed that he is closer to being TOO TALL to get in than he is to being to small. When did that happen?

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This photo is from last year when he turned 7.

Similarly, I asked him to pull up a stool to help with dishes the other night and he informed me he didn’t need a stool. I honestly did not believe him. I figured he’d be reaching on his tippy toes, but nope. He can stand at the sink and wash dishes perfectly fine without a stool.

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There are tons of little things like this. For example I am glad Carter’s offers size eight now but this is a recent extension of their children’s selection. There are lots of stores that lump the size 8 in with the preteen clothes. So even shopping has made me realize what a big boy he is.

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He’s still a young though and he is not afraid to hold hands, which melts my heart. Holding my child’s hand has got to be one of my favorite parts of being a mom. Physical touch isn’t my love language so I am a little surprised at how much warmth and connection I feel with this small gesture. Even just walking across the parking lot (when they aren’t trying to pry away and dart off) holding hands is the best feeling in the world. At the end of the last school year we were walking on the sidewalk holding hands and I asked him if he would still hold my hand in 2nd grade and he said “Yes. I will hold your hand in all the grades”. I know that’s not true, that would be weird. It was still sweet to hear along with seeing drawings like this

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or school papers like this

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or a Lite-Brite with these words.

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Or notes in my pocket like this

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He was the one that started me on this motherhood assignment. I call him my #1 son. He knows what I mean by that. It doesn’t mean he is above all the rest, but he was the first. I know he often feels slighted due to his siblings getting more attention at times and I remind him of the special place he has in my heart as my #1 son. I feel exceedingly blessed to have this precious boy in my life. 
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By | September 4th, 2015|Motherhood, My Life|5 Comments

Thoughts From My 7 Year Old

Tomorrow Z turns 8. This will be the last time I do a post about the funny things he said through the year. He’s getting so mature I don’t want to embarrass him when he is in 3rd grade and says things that I think are cute. It’s still fun to look back though. If you haven’t seen my previous posts about the funny things Z says they are a must read.

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Laugh Out Loud Conversations with Z

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First off how precious is this “Valentime’s Day Cards, Box of Love”?


IMG_4141I love the way children have such a unique way of looking at things. When my computer went black Z panicked and I told him not to worry and explained that it just went into sleep mode. Then the screen saver slideshow popped up which was pictures of polar bears, hummingbirds, and pretty nature scenes and Z said “so is then is that what the computer is dreaming?” Such a cute way to think of it.

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I think we’ve all asked this question, but one night while laying in bed Z asked why does most of the stuff in America say Made in China? 

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If you know anything about Minecraft you will know why this was such a thoughtful card to make for your best bud’s birthday. 

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Z created a very sincere colorful heart felt card for when his grandpa was having surgery with the words “I hope you live” written on the front. I was careful with my response, but I made him redo it.

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I asked Z a bunch of questions that I saw online and one was “What was your mom like as a child?” His answer was “I have no idea. I wasn’t around in 1966”. For the record I was born in ’82!

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Z posted these signs on his door one day it says “Welcome to fun land. You can do whatever you want. Knock if you hear playing please!” I don’t know about the do whatever you want, but at least he said please. 

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Another creative project from the little dude was when he made “snail shells” out of reusable bags for himself and his siblings. 

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I know there were a ton of other moments I could have photographed or written down, but sometimes you just take life’s moment in the moment and enjoy it as it passes. I have been pretty emotional about this milestone for Z (probably pregnancy hormones). But I’ll save all the mushy stuff for tomorrow. I still have one more day with my seven year old.

By | September 3rd, 2015|Family, My Life, Uncategorized|2 Comments

Living in Holland (Thoughts From a Special Needs Mom)

If you have a  child diagnosed with some form of special needs then you have probably come across the “Welcome To Holland” essay by Emily Perl Kingsley. Basically it compares the shock of finding out your child has a disability to the feelings you would have if you planned a trip to Italy, but landed in Holland. The idea behind the whole analogy is that Holland isn’t BAD it’s just different and may take time to readjust your original plans and learn your way around.

The comparison applies to my situation well. I thought I was raising a perfectly “normal” (for lack of a better word) child the first two years of her life before I learned that SJ was deaf. I was speaking Italian, bought all the guide books for Italy, and really believed I was in Italy until that point which I consider my crash landing in Holland.

I have known about SJ’s hearing loss for 3 years now. The 2 1/2 year mark was a significant threshold for me because at that point I knew that my daughter was deaf longer than I knew her as (I thought) a hearing child.

It really does get easier. I have an appreciation for Holland. I’ve met lots of new friends here and learned so much. I’ve got the Holland guide books and maps now. I might as well have a tshirt and bumper sticker declaring my loyalty to Holland! There are moments though. There are moments you remember this wasn’t your original destination. I am being candid because I know I am not the only special needs mom going through this.

For example I have never babied or coddled SJ for her disability. She can truly accomplish anything she wants to do. She has been learning to swim this summer and let me tell you she is a champ. She fearlessly tackles this mission with great passion and fervency. She does so without the use of her cochlear implants so she is completely without hearing the whole time. I try to sit by the pool for a little break and she will tug on me and sign  “Practice! Practice! Mom, practice.” I see her going after it with all she’s got and when she comes up for air with the splashes of water blurring her vision I scream “Good job. Take a breath. KICK! KICK! KICK! You’ve got this!” but I know she can’t hear me. She can’t even read my lips or see me with the conditions that we are working with in that moment and I have felt helpless. Similarly, when my three kids are going to sleep (they share a room for now) I lie there in the dark with them for a while and Ezie says he wants to pray. After he finishes he wants his sister to take a turn. I tell him SJ can’t hear us right now because she doesn’t have her implants. If it were light it would be different because she reads lips so well, and with her implants she is just communicating non stop, but the next night we went through the same thing and Ezie said SJ needed to get her implants. He’s two and just starting to verbalize more himself, so it’s kind of heart breaking to hear him process all of it for the first time. Add to some of these emotions that SJ is starting kindergarten and she can’t go to the same school or have the same opportunities as her brother and it’s just another layer of Oh yeah, I was supposed to be in Italy.

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I know I shouldn’t feel guilty sharing some of these stories, but I do because we are so blessed and I love SJ exactly as she is. We are to the point now that if I try to think of what life would be like if she weren’t deaf I absolutely can’t wrap my brain around it because it’s a part of who she is. It’s like trying to picture what she would be like if she had been a boy. That’s just not who she is and I don’t want to change a thing.

As far as the little bumps in the road, we can purchase special gear that she can wear in the water to swim with her cochlear implants on. We can make sure everyone takes a turn praying in bed before SJ takes her implants off. She goes to a phenomenal school, and will have tons of wonderful experiences this year in Kindergarten. These are really minor things, but as in the Holland analogy it’s different and it takes some getting used to.

I have a friend whose son just crossed the one year mark of being a double amputee and that family has the most incredible testimony.

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I have loved cheering them along as I have watched all that their little man has achieved and I can’t wait to see what comes next. They have a caring bridge site where they post updates about Jude’s progress. Reading some of their experience has been like reliving my own. Even though SJ has artificial hearing and Jude has artificial legs there are just TONS of similarities.

I don’t know it all (that’s for sure) but since I feel like I am a couple years ahead on this journey I shared with my friend what I have come to realize after being thrown into the world of special needs parenting. I wanted to encourage her that just because it’s been a year doesn’t mean that you should be completely adjusted and move on. It’s been 3 years since SJ’s diagnosis and we are still in the transition stage. I look at the timeline like this Old normal, shock, transition (or adjustment, or adaptation), and then new normal.

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We spent just over two years living in the old normal, there was probably a year of living in shock and just doing my best to stay afloat. The last two years have been transition and we’ll be here for a while. I feel pretty darn close to “New Normal” but we still have such a long way to go. I feel like for us that will be when she goes to main stream schooling. I’m sure it looks different for everyone and more experienced moms could give a lot more insight into all this and the multifaceted layers. I am just learning, but this is my message for those in similar situations. Don’t feel like you have to rush into coping or adjusting. It’s going to be uncomfortable at times for some more than others, and somedays you are in Holland with a map from Italy. That’s okay, you will get there. I will get there. Our precious babies will get there and boy will we have stories of all the adventures we’ve had!

By | August 31st, 2015|Motherhood, My Life, Parenting Tips, Special Needs, Uncategorized|6 Comments