Posted in family, momlife, parenting

A Parents Quarantine Guide

Hi friends!

How are we all doing during Quarantine? 
Going insane? Kids eat all the snacks already? How many times have you watched Frozen II on Disney+ ? Running out of things to do with your kids? 

If you’re like me and answered yes to all of the above, let’s work it out together. 

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Dump screen time rules!

Honestly… when the kids are inside the house 24/7 for an undetermined amount of time, it’s unrealistic to slap a weak time limit on something that occupies our kids so well. Sure, we can put together a whole list of daily activities, but we all know that no matter how much you plan for your kids during the day, there’s always going to be a ton of boring downtime. So screw it. When we’ve exhausted all our other ideas… just let them go and enjoy your alone time. Look at it positively…. If your child gets down a Minecraft tutorial Youtube rabbit hole, you have time to watch an entire movie- uninterrupted. 

Does your family have any online streaming services? We made the switch a couple years ago to go from satellite TV to online streaming only. Currently, we have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Disney+. Basically the options for my kids are endless; which means, more distractions for them and more alone time for me (hopefully).

Forget the toilet paper… Get those chips!

No matter what age child you may be stuck at home with during this time (or even an adult manchild for that matter) snacks are a MUST. When kids are in school we pack only a snack and lunch for them, but for some reason when kids are home they need to eat every 30 minutes. Load up on everyone’s go-to snacks. Now I’m not saying be that asshole that goes and clears the shelves at Walmart or Meijer of all the bags of Lay’s potato chips… but feel free to get yourself a few bags. Both my kids are on big fruit kicks right now, which I love, but obviously fruit doesn’t have a long shelf life, so make sure to stock up on your kids favorite non-perishables because trust me, they’re going to eat them. 

Pinterest is your new best friend

Running out of ideas to keep the kids occupied? Prepare to get lost in a Pinterest Black Hole. Now, I’m not saying turn into a “Pinterest Mom” Well, by all means… do your thing. All I’m saying is, there is no better place out there to get inspiration for literally ANYTHING other than Pinterest. I set aside a good 30 minutes the other day and pinned a bunch of indoor activities for children and wrote down what supplies I would need. Now that I have all/most of my supplies I am going to start testing out all the ideas. Since we don’t know just how long this quarantine is going to last, I’m going to do one Pinterest activity a day. That way I don’t use up all my ideas in 1-2 days. 

Time consuming activities

Nothing fancy or creative here. Just good old fashion time-consuming fun. Line up some activities that will occupy your kids for longer than 30 minutes Yesterday I wanted to clean the house while my daughter was asleep so I told Eli to go in his room and make Batman town out of his Imaginext playsets. He took it one step further and said he will do an Imaginext town and a Lego town and have them Battle. He was in there for almost 2 hours. Win for me. I got 3 rooms cleaned and my car vacuumed in peace. 

Try these:

-100+ piece puzzles

– Lego Challenges: assign them certain designs to create, it will take longer than just tinkering

– Make a book: I have premade empty booklets (pictured below) or you can always DIY a book with paper and a stapler! If your child can’t write the words themselves yet have them draw the pictures and you can write the words for them!

– Outside Time: Spring is coming! Depending where you’re reading from, the weather may be starting to perk up. Sun is starting to shine a little more, the air is getting a little warmer, the snow is starting to melt, so kick those kids outside! Plan an outdoor nature walk, scavenger hunt, ANYTHING. Get them some fresh air and get yourself some space.

School is in session

Oh…that’s right…we’re supposed to be homeschooling our own kids during this quarantine. I almost forgot. The good news is, there are a lot of online options to help you out. 

ABC Mouse : New sign ups enjoy one month free. It seems after that it is $10/mo, cancel anytime. We have used this in the past and my son really did enjoy it. A lot of the activities are very play based but also have great educational bases

ABCYA : My son actually told me about this site. It is the one they use in computer class at his school. This website can be used for free, or you can upgrade to the PRO version for $10/mo
Teachers pay Teachers : If your child does better with pencil and paper learning, check this out. I saw some teachers recommend this to someone on facebook the other day so I checked it out. There is an endless amount of printable activities you can do with your kids. Certain items do require payment but there are also a lot of FREE options available too!
-Reading time: Whether your child is an independent reader, non-reader, or an inbetweener, try to set aside some reading time. When school was in session Eli had to read a new book for class every night (short easy stories) that we always did right before bed. To be honest we did slack off on this. After I was done spring cleaning and organizing his room I stocked his room with books so we can start back up with our nightly story times!

No matter what your plan is for this quarantine, you’re sure to go insane regardless. As much as we love our kids, my god… being trapped in the house with them day in day out is exhausting. Just remember to give yourself mental and physical breaks from your kids and your responsibilities. It’s fine if you’re not actively parenting or teaching every minute of the day. It’s fine if your living room looks like a bomb went off. The day isn’t ruined if the morning dishes are still in the sink. There are 24 hours in a day and we have no idea how long this quarantine could last, so as the flight attendants say- secure your own mask before assisting those around you. Your mental and physical health matters too!

Posted in family, momlife, motherhood, parenting

What Screens are teaching my kids

I’ve never admitted to being a perfect parent. In fact, I am far from it. My kids eat like crap (processed foods, chips, Mcdonalds, really whatever the hell I can get them to eat..), we don’t follow daily schedules, I forget to brush teeth some nights, and I do not have a screen time limit. I wish I were a more structured mom, but honestly…. Whatever. 

Has anyone heard the parenting tip: “Don’t let the TV be the babysitter?” Let’s all laugh together.. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that your kids shouldn’t be staring at a tv screen 18 hours a day. But isn’t parenting just easier when you can make dinner, take a shower, or clean the house uninterrupted because your kids are content and distracted? 

I will say that my children are learning things from their screens that I couldn’t teach them. Not that I haven’t tried to teach them certain things.. but often times with my kids I’m just the teacher from Charlie Brown 

Both of my kids have always had intense focus when it came to TV. Camille for instance, has learned so much from her favorite movies and shows. She had no desire to sit down and read books together. She did not take to using picture cards or sign language. One thing that she is doing, however, is watching shows and repeating words and phrases that she hears. I have heard her say SO MANY words, none of which are consistent or used for actual communication. She has memorized the lines and the songs from these movies and knows most of them by heart.

Just because she’s not actively trying to communicate with me, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that she doesn’t have an age appropriate vocabulary by now….. it’s just stuck in her head. Her favorite show, Word Party, just added a new season with a brand new character. A baby turtle who speaks mandarin. Camille is starting to say the words they say in Mandarin! 

As for my son, Eli, he has always been a lover of TV. We brought him to his first movie at a movie theater when he was a little over a year old and it was true love ever since. 

Now that he’s a little older, he’s let his love stretch across all different kinds of electronics. He watches shows and movies, watches Youtube videos, plays on his ipad, Nintendo switch, and WiiU.  At a glance it looks like he’s just wasting his time with his face in a screen… and maybe he is, but honestly he is learning a lot more than he is wasting. Let me explain.

What Minecraft is teaching my son:

  • Geology: One day he told me he was having a hard time finding more obsidian. I’m like….what? I had to google what he was talking about. He knows all the different kinds of rocks, stones, gems, and soils.
  • Agriculture: He’s learning how to start and maintain gardens, what foods grow in the ground and above of the ground, what certain animals eat, etc. 
  • Survival skills: when he plays this game in “Survival Mode” he has to keep track of his health and hunger levels. He has to keep his character out of danger, learn how to ward off things that can hurt him, he creates fire, makes shelter. He’s a regular boy scout!
  • Architecture: When Eli finishes a house, it honestly blows my mind. He can make the most elaborately designed houses. He makes secret passageways, hidden rooms, basements, attics, spare bedrooms. I’ve tinkered with the game in the past and I can tell you… this stuff is NOT easy.
  • Creativity: Watching him play this game is so mesmerizing. He gets so lost in this alternate universe. He creates scenarios and storylines; it’s truly great to see him in love with something so much. During his free time at school he creates Minecraft story books with hand drawn artwork and a story to match.

His love for Minecraft is insane. It’s an obsession, really. For his birthday this year, in lieu of a party I bought tickets for us to go to Minefaire in Indianapolis. He gets to meet all his favorite Youtubers, play the game on big screens and via virtual reality, watch stage shows, hang out with other Minecraft-obsessed kids his age. 

What Super Mario Maker (Nintendo Switch) is teaching my son:

  • Creativity: If you’re unfamiliar with this game, you are creating your own levels from all versions of Mario Bros. he’s taught himself (I was no help) how to use all the features and how to make a new functioning and achievable level. Each level he makes is completely different from other ones he has done before. 
  • Problem solving: Once you make your level you can then play the level. If he goes to play a level that he had just made and realizes that it is not achievable, he goes back and adjusts the problem areas.
  • Hand-eye coordination: Playing games like this is really helping him in this area. Holding the remote in his hands while concentrating on the screen is actually a great thing (in small doses, of course!)

How can Youtube possibly be helping my child?:

*Just a preface- this is based entirely on my son’s personal watch history on his kids Youtube account. I am fully aware of how much pointless, and often, inappropriate crap is on Youtube, even kids Youtube!*

            – Minecraft: He knows all the top Minecraft Youtubers. He pays attention so well to these videos and is actually learning from them. He remembers different things these people make in the game and tries them on his own later. I would love to add that this is improving his listening skills when it comes to listening to his mother, alas it just appears to be for the TV.

            – Life Hacks: The new craze Eli has been into on Youtube is Lifehacks. One day he came barreling out of his room asking me for solo cups and an empty paper towel roll. He watched a video on how to make a DIY speaker for a phone or Ipad and he wanted to make a speaker so he could “hear his games louder”

Listen… I know sitting in front of a screen all day is no way for a child to live. Kids need to be kids. I want my kids to be with friends, run around outside, play sports, make mud soup after a rainstorm. But let me be honest, if I’m busy, we have no plans, the weather is crappy out, or I’m just honest-to-God too tired to parent… my kids will be watching tv, playing games, or whatever. The whole “don’t let the TV be the babysitter” thing is not my style at all. As long as you are monitoring WHAT your kids are watching and HOW LONG they are watching screens for, it can actually be a great learning resource for them. 

NEVER let people guilt you for your parenting choices. If your children are loved, clothed, and fed you are doing just fine. 

Posted in autism, family, parenting

The Cost of Autism

In January we finally got to do Camille’s autism evaluation.

Now, I could go on and on about the inner workings of the four hour appointment, but that is not going to be the meat of this blog, so let’s just go with an overview.

We started the eval process in about July 2019. We had to go to their regular pediatrician for an appt and to get a referral. We went on the waitlist for the developmental clinic and finally got our appointment in the middle of January 2020. The day comes, and we get to the pediatric specialty clinic and we spent about an hour with each specialty. One hour with a developmental pediatrician, one hour with speech therapy, and a shared hour with both an occupational therapist AND a physical therapist at the same time. The time with all three specialists were pretty much all the same: mostly asking me questions and having me fill out scantron-style forms, watching Camille, and trying to get her to do certain tasks. I would say about 75% of each session was spent mostly just talking with me.

The evaluation is not even finished. We still have to get Camille evaluated by a behavioral therapist, who’s waitlist is six months long. WHY we were not put on their waitlist back when we got on the waitlist for the developmental clinic is BEYOND ME. Now, by the time we get in with the behavioral therapist, Camille’s autism evaluation will have taken one year to complete. Although I could write a whole blog about that and my annoyance with it, this isn’t the topic of the blog either.

This week, about 6ish weeks after Camille’s appointment, we got a statement from the evaluation appointment, along with the bill for the remaining balance. YA’LL….. The total for this *partial* autism evaluation was $1,846.48. 

Let me break the bill down for you:
Clinic (developmental pediatrician): $773.65 <—for ONE HOUR
Occupational Therapy evaluation: $305.61
Physical Therapy evaluation: $342.28
Speech Pathology evaluation: $424.94

Total: $1,846.48
Tricare Insurance covered 98% of the total costs
My remaining balance: $33

…Thank GOD for decent insurance! Who could afford that otherwise? I don’t know much about Autism coverage with insurances (outside of my own experience), but I did read once that a lot of states now are requiring major insurance companies to now cover some autism services, as it is becoming much more common (or should I say, more diagnosed/recognized). 

We have been very blessed with our Tricare coverage when it comes to autism services. When my son was two years old and diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, we became eligible for a supplemental coverage within Tricare called the ECHO program. This program covers additional medical supplies, therapy tools, and specialty therapies that are not available with the general Tricare plans: you must have a medical diagnosis of some type to qualify for this program.

After seeing the cost of this evaluation (especially being in a rural location in Michigan vs an Urban city like San Diego) it got me thinking…what is the average cost of Autism in the U.S.? Are other people struggling like me? What if people don’t have good insurance like my family does?

*Disclaimer, this information came from about an hour of web searches, so I cannot confirm the validity of this data. If you have knowledge of more accurate data PLEASE let me know!*

The total cost of Autism Spectrum Disorder in the United States is $126 billion. The average cost for providing care to one person with ASD throughout their lifetime is $2.3 million (compared to $1.4 million for a healthy average functioning person). So what is this cost for? Obviously a bunch of different things that can vary for each individual person… that was a boring answer, so here are some of the main factors:

  • Regular doctor appointments
  • Specialty / developmental doctor appointments
  • Speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy
  • Applied Behavior Analysis therapy
  • Medication
  • Childcare (some children with more difficulties can require specially trained childcare)
  • Parent’s loss off income for taking time off for therapies, frequent appointments, IEP meetings, etc

It’s safe to say that life in general is just so much more expensive these days. Medical costs for EVERYONE are insane. We all know that pharmaceutical companies make so much money off their horribly overpriced medications, but don’t let that overshadow all the other overpriced medical treatments in the healthcare field. 

When we were in San Diego and my son started Applied Behavior Analysis therapy (ABA), we were blessed to never have to pay a cent for the service. I did however receive the monthly statements showing me the hours, costs, and confirmation of payment. All I can say is… HOT DAMN. It was around $5,000 a month for ABA therapy in San Diego. (Because we are in Michigan at the moment, I do not have the physical records with me to give you an exact cost of this therapy, but that amount of money is not easily forgotten.)

Eli had two separate therapists (rotated days) that came M-F 8am-12pm and a case manager that came maybe about once a month. One of his daily therapists told me that they didn’t need any certain degree for their job and only made around $12-$15 an hour (in southern California!) Meanwhile, the case manager that came once a month for an hour would drive up in a nice BMW… So why the insane costs??? What is all this money going to? The actual therapists who get screamed at, hit, kicked, and are the ones actually doing the work aren’t getting the money they deserve, so who is getting it? The supervisors who have never met my child?

I think it’s worth mentioning that more often than not, families with a child with some type of disability usually have one of the parents leaving the workforce to become a full time caregiver to the family member, thus leaving the entire family to rely on one income. This, if you’ve followed my blog or know me personally, is the case for my family. I have been a stay at home mom for pretty much 7 years. Between in-home speech therapy, in-home ABA therapy, 3 hour special education preschool days, in-office therapy sessions, I would either need to have a costly full time nanny that I trust to transport my kids around all day or we need to take the loss of an income. What is a solution for this?

 This blog isn’t going to end with my grand solution to this ridiculous high medical costs dilemma. Honestly, I don’t really have any solid ideas at all. Could the government step up and create a solution? Doubtful seeing as how far in debt we are already… What we need is someone or some powerful agency/group and get a control on overpriced healthcare costs. Insurance companies should cover more specialty services. There should be more free state and federal resources for families with disabilities. Until a solution comes to light, all we can do is spread awareness and bring more light to the struggles that SO MANY families are dealing with on a daily basis.

https://www.autismspeaks.org/press-release/new-research-finds-annual-cost-autism-has-more-tripled-126-billion-us-and-reached

Posted in family, momlife, motherhood

Not-That-Hacky, Mom Hacks

This was the longest Christmas Break of my life. My son missed the last two days of school before break for high fever. He ended up laid up in bed for 5 days straight with a constant headache and fever. At night he was hallucinating to the point where I was almost convinced he was convinced and I swear I almost kicked him out of this house. This mama does not play with angry spirits. No thank you. He cleaned up just in time for Christmas, however, immediately after baby #2 got sick. She was laid up in bed for 5 days with no solid food during that time. She was admitted into the hospital for IV and tests (which came back pos for influenza B).

Alas… a week into January, my son is back in school, and my daughter is feeling better and back to normal. Time for mama to get back to her pre-crapchristmas routine. I am back on the phentermine, working out, and drinking smoothies. The house is cleaned, de-christmased, and sanitized. So let’s get back to work. Let’s talk mom-hacks. I’m sure we’ve all seen the cute no talking, hand demonstration life-hack videos on social media. Spoiler alert, these are not as good as those videos.

My mom hacks may not be a fit for everyone, after all I’m working with a non-verbal autistic 2 year old over here. Honestly, who knows. Just scroll and find out!



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1. Toilet “lock” If you know me personally then you may know that I am broke and stingy. I hate spending money on things. My daughter had so much fun with her water table last summer, even though all she did was dunk her barbies in the water for 6 hours straight. Now that it’s winter guess where she dunks her barbies now….. For a while I had intentions of ordering a toilet lock so keep her barbies dry and sanitary. But because of who I am as a person, I just never ordered it. So when its time for me to get in the shower and she won’t allow me the luxury of a closed door, I grabbed a fresh roll of painters tape from the laundry room and threw a strip on a side of the toilet lid. Voila! Toilet lock. It’s also easier than a toilet lock for my 6 year old. Don’t need to show that guy how to unlock a piece of tape!


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2. Easy store Legos- My son has moved on from the nice and big Lego Duplos to the annoyingly small regular Legos and boy did we get a lot for Christmas. I’m too cheap to buy him a Lego table so finding an open hard service to work on was difficult. Not to mention, every single night when I come in to announce bed time the thing I always hear is “MOM IM BUILDING SOMETHING I CANT CLEAN IT UP” BAM- easy solution. I gave him my beloved bed tray. It gives him a hard flat work area, and when its time for bed, the pieces he wants to keep intact or the pieces that are works in progress stay on the bed tray, and the rest of the loose pieces go back into their storage bins. When we get back to business the next day he pulls out his tray and picks up right where he left off.


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3. This one isn’t exactly a DIY hack, but it is something that I highly recommend for our babies that struggle with language. If you’re a Netflix subscriber, I highly recommend the show “Word Party”. The main characters are baby animals, they speak in correct English and also some relatable baby talk since they are learning new words. Much like how Mickey Mouse and other characters ask children to answer questions, this show asks very early age appropriate questions. While watching this show, my non-verbal 2 year old had repeated words, answered questions, sang songs, and danced. All of which she does NOT do outside of watching this show. It honestly blows my mind. Today she sang Happy Birthday from memory of the b-day episode of Word Party, but still can’t call me mama. This show is some kind of magic for my daughter!



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4. Easy-Grab Bubbles- Ok I’m not gonna lie here…. I stole this one….but it’s genius. Fine motor activities can be challenging; not only for delayed children, but all kids in general. Plus whoever thought that putting a 2” too short stick inside a skinny bottle filled with soap was just asking for trouble. I saw a mom online open the bubbles for her kids, grab the wand, put a chip clip on the end, then put it back in the bottle for her kids. The stick stays inside the bottle to reach the soap, but the chip clip keeps it from going all the way back in the tube. Seriously. Genius.



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5. Subliminal toy selections- Now that Christmas is over…how much crap did y’all get? This year for my daughter I only picked out learning toys. You can’t feel guilty if the toys are teaching her something, right? She needs work on her fine motor skills, so I got a lot of toys to help her harness those abilities. Of course we still told people barbies too because hers are disgusting from being dunked in the water table and toilets every day. Plus a girl needs friends, ya know? Learning toys aren’t just Vtech toys, they can honestly be anything.  Examples: 

Toy Story 4 race track– During speech therapy we were working on actions and reactions (saying ready set go then then a reaction of tickling her) so I got the racetrack to give the ready, set, go idea to a new reaction. 
Chomp & count Dino– Equipped with light and sound buttons, a spinner on the top, and a pull string, this toy is great! The best part is it has a piggy bank style mouth where you feed the dino colored discs.
The Learn With Me Color Fun Fish Bowl. Cute, small, piggybank style fish tank. You insert the plastic fish into the slot at the top and once they’re pushed down into the bowl, it tells you what color the fish was! Perfect for fine motor and color identification. 




6. Car storage- Ever go somewhere and your toddler (who you don’t pack a diaper bag for anymore) shits through their pants? Maybe you think giving your kid strawberry donuts in the car is a good idea but when you get to your destination their entire shirt looks like puke. I keep a zip up tote bag in my back seat full of extra clothes, diapers, wipes. There are side pockets that I fill with my sons water bottles, an empty sippy cup, and extra snacks for both kids. After I use something I fill it up so it’s ready for the next disaster. Id like to say that this helps keep my car more clean and organized, but alas it still looks like a cheez-it bomb went off back there. 

When I had the idea for this blog I swear I had a lot more hacks than 6. haha. That’s it for today, they may not be much but hopefully I helped someone out there!

Posted in autism, family, momlife, motherhood, parenting

Parent Advocate

When we become parents, our roles as individuals shift. We no longer solely focus on ourselves; instead most of our efforts go towards our children. We feed them, change them, teach them, support them, love them. You are the one who shapes your child’s life the most; yet we cannot be with our children 24 hours a day. Do our parental duties end at our front door? What more can we do for them outside of our own homes? The main portion of our parental duties is 1 on 1, but what if we could push it farther than that? How can we reach our maximum level of parent? Well, we can move from a support role to an advocate role. 

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wish they did it like this..” or “Why don’t they do this?” If there is something out there that you think could not only benefit your own child more, but others as well, what’s holding you back from trying to make it happen? Our parenting duties are not confined to our houses. 

There are so many ways that we, as parents, can advocate for our children. Now I cannot attest to each individual state and their own unique opportunities, but I can tell you about what I am learning within Michigan. 

I was recently contacted to be a parent representative for the Michigan Home Visiting Network (HVN). This program supports all state funded home visiting programs, and has a growing coalition to help families across Michigan. HVN brings together hospitals, clinics, tribal health systems, health departments, mental health agencies, early childhood educators, home visitors, and most importantly, parents together to improve outcomes for all mothers and babies in Michigan. Our main objective is to team up and put our different ideas and experiences together to increase the involvement and satisfaction of these programs. 

I attended a training with other parents and state workers from all over the state of Michigan to learn about this program and what our roles are going to be. This is not only a new thing for me, this is an entirely new program to the state of Michigan also! 

One of the main focuses on this training was instilling the notion that we are not “just parents”, but rather that we are parent leaders. We were all there because we wanted to take the initiative to make things better for our children, our families, and our communities. We discussed our individual strengths and characteristics that made us leaders as well as our personal experiences of being an influential parent. Now listen, I’m never going to say that I am a great inspirational parent. In fact, I usually ride the mediocrity line when it comes to parenting. However, the training we went to made me realize that you don’t need to be the best to be able to help others. Given the right tools and resources, we are all able to invoke real change.

One of our exercises was to make a Pi symbol on our paper and write ways that we are parent leaders across the top, write some of our personal characteristics that help us be great parent leaders on the left, and things we could improve on to be better parent leaders on the right side. There is no set of characteristics or past experiences that can make someone a great parent advocate. If you have a child in your life that you care about and you want better for them…that is all you need. Not only was this a great exercise pertaining to the HVN program and our actual training but this was also a great personal exercise. What makes ME GREAT??

Take some time out of your day and look into what you can do for your family. What changes would you like to see? There are opportunities out there, you just have to summon up the drive to find them!  I will get some resources together to help people find advocating opportunities that would work for them, whether its with the health department, school system, or even your child’s daycare! Let me see what we can find and make our communities better for as many people as we can!

If you would like any information about the Michigan Home Visiting Network or their parent representative programs please do not hesitate to reach out to my team advisor- Jamie Rushford- jrushford@lmasdhd.org

Posted in depression, family, momlife, motherhood

Depression, Medication, and Nose jobs- Oh my!

You get to a point in your life where you need to step up and take control of everything that’s bothering you. 

I have been on antidepressants since I had my daughter in 2017. It has been a great thing for me. My depression started around the time I had my son 6 years ago. In retrospect, it probably started as post-partum depression that I never recognized. I had a new baby, I was recently married, and moved across the country to have my family all together. The depression I didn’t recognize, plus all of these other changes, really made me feel isolated. Despite the fact that I had my new family, we lived closer to my in-laws, and I made some of the best friends I’ve ever had (that I am still great friends with to this day) my outlook on life weighed heavy on me. By the time my daughter was born I finally broke through my fear of expressing my feelings and spoke up. I just finally realized it’s OK to tell people how you’re really feeling. It’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK to get on medication. After two years on my medication, my depression is controlled and I am back in love with my life. I appreciate all that I have, I strive to see the positive in situations, I have reasons to get out of bed in the morning. Sure, I still have bad days, but that’s just life!

Since starting my depression medication, although it makes me feel 100X better, It did start to hold me back a little, physically. My mind was great, but my body was sluggish. I could barely make it through the day without taking a nap, or laying down. My mind wanted to go out and do fun things with my kids, but my body was like “eh….” I started to gain weight. A lot of weight. So I started doing fresh smoothies in lieu of breakfast. My husband taught me how to work out in a gym (don’t judge me, these new machines are confusing.) Everything I was trying was not working. After being in a wedding this summer and seeing myself in that dress, I said ok enough is enough. What I’m doing is not working, my body is working against me, I need help. I went to the doctor, got a physical, full blood work, discussed all of our options and decided the best course of action was to take a stimulant medication. This medication is designed to increase energy levels while decreasing appetite. Let me tell you….WOW. I see such a difference in myself in this week and a half that I’ve been on it. I have energy that I haven’t had in years. I’m getting things done whereas before, I would procrastinate everything or just simply not do it. For example… I now put away the laundry as soon as I take it out of the dryer! THE MADDNESS! For this medication to really have a long-lasting effect, you really need to take this opportunity to create healthy habits, so that when you stop the medication you can still lose weight. I have started working out every morning and having fruit and spinach smoothies for breakfast, and keep myself moving throughout the day. I am actively trying to get myself into a healthy routine. I’m able to be more interactive with my kids, my house has never been cleaner, and I just overall, fell SO MUCH BETTER!!

Now that I have my mind in a better place and am working on getting my body back, there is only one more thing that I have put off for far too long. My damn nose. Unbeknownst to me, I am a loud and viscous snorer. …Who knew? I have thought for a long time (before my husband called me out for snoring) that my  breathing wasn’t as good as it should have been. I remember back in middle or high school that I noticed that I was only breathing out of one nostril sometimes. This sticks in my mind because I remember wondering if everyone only breathed out of one nostril, like maybe each nostril takes turns…. I know, I know… In the past few years I noticed my nostril airflow was getting worse. I don’t feel congested, imagine feeling like your airway is just too small to get enough air into it. I finally went to see an ENT doctor. After getting a 12” camera up my nose, we discover that my septum is severely deviated. In his words “almost completely plastered to the other side of my nose. I am set to get a septoplasty next month and I CANNOT WAIT. I’m not even thinking about the actual procedure, the feeling of being able to breathe again is all I can picture.

I turned 30 years old this summer, it is time to take back control over my life. I always used to keep everything to myself. I am definitely a keep-it-to-yourself type of person. When you finally become comfortable enough with yourself to ask others for help, your life will blossom. I want to be the best version of me that I can be, not only for myself, but for my kids too.  am so excited to see what my life will look like 6 months from now. 

Posted in family, momlife, motherhood

DIY Mario Bedroom

August is bringing a lot of changes! We moved houses, my mom is getting married, my husband is coming to visit! Not to mention, that in a few weeks my son will start 1st grade!!! Not only does all of this stress me out, but it can also be difficult on my children. Nobody is good with change, but us adults understand it at least, the same cannot be said for a 2 and 6 year old.

One thing I wanted to do to help my 6 year old to accept and enjoy some of these changes was to give him a room that he will LOVE! After many hours on Pinterest, I settled on a Mario Bros themed room. He has been really into Super Mario Maker and is actually saving up money to buy the new version. I knew this was the perfect choice.

I’m not a very crafty person….at all. My handwriting sucks, I can’t draw, even my straight lines could use work. But I figured….will my 6 year old REALLY KNOW if something isn’t exactly like I saw it on Pinterest? As long as I made it somewhere in the ballpark I knew it would be a hit. So I created my Pinterest board and went on my way!

Mystery Box Cabinet

What you need:
Cabinet (or whatever you’d like to turn into a mystery box… be creative!)
Yellow Spray Paint
Cut out a stencil of a Mystery Box
White paint
Sponge Brush

Clear coat spray paint
* you could very well use white spray paint if you prefer, I would just tape off so the paint doesn’t get outside of the stencil, and don’t spray too closely (if the spray paint drips its hard to clean it up for a clean finish)

I took an old white 2 shelf cabinet that we had in our old play room and cleaned it up (it did not need sanding but you do want to make sure you’re working with a smooth surface!) Paint the whole cabinet in a bright yellow. Let it dry, then cover with a clear top coat. Once it is dry, you will want to evenly fill in the stencil on every side. I chose a 2-story cabinet so I decide to make two levels of Mystery Blocks. Once white paint has dried, I spray it with another layer of top cover

Pipes

What you need:
Tall, circular garbage can, lid discarded
Different sized curved PVC pipes
Green spray paint
L brackets
Hinge brackets
Command Hooks

Gorilla glue

This idea started out very simple. Use one of my old tall circular kitchen garbage cans , paint it green and VOILA! A life-size Mario Pipe that doubles as a laundry hamper! the wall decoration pipes were a little trickier. After spray painting them (the most important, and easiest part) I had to figure out how to attach them to the wall. If this was my own house and not a rental I honestly probably would have just glued them to the wall. Since that was not an option for me… The large size pipe, I was able to use Gorilla Glue to secure an L shaped bracket going from in inside top of the pipe down the open end of the pipe. Because attaching it this way effectively hides the bracket, I attached only the sticky strip of a command hook to the exposed leg of the bracket and stuck it on the wall. Those command hooks hold everything. The smaller PVC pipes were too small for L brackets because they curve more than the larger size. This is where the small hinge brackets come on. Attach the same way at the L brackets. One side is glued along the top inside of the pipe end, and the other end of the bracket hangs down at a 90* angle down the open end of the pipe. I then used command strips to secure the bracket end to the wall. The remaining pipes that I painted, but didn’t want to hang, were scattered around the room for decoration.

Brick Cabinet Doors

What you need:
Bright Red spray paint
Burgundy Spray paint

Clear coat spray paint
Painters tape
* As my son so lovingly pointed out, the bricks in most Mario worlds is more brown than red. If you’d like more accurate colors, I’d go for a brown and tan. However my son’s 2 favorite colors are blue and red so I needed to switch it up.

once you remove the doors (or get whatever you are painting) make sure the area is cleaned and smooth. I spray painted the whole thing in a bright red. Let it dry then cover in a top coat. Once the top coat is dry you begin to lay your tape. Lay horizontal lines of tape across the width of the cabinet doors evenly down the length of the door. Once all of the horizontal lines are laid you will want to put down vertical lines. Try to space them out so they start to look like bricks. once you have placed all of your vertical lines it is time to spray again. Cover the whole door in the Burgundy spray paint. Let the paint dry slightly. When the paint is still tacky remove the painters tape. PRESTO! you have bricks. Once again, cover in a top coat, let dry, then reattach to wall.

Coins

What you need:
Coin Image
string
tape
Cardstock paper

This was a last minute project for me. I found some great google images of different styles of Mario coins. I took the pixelated coins, placed 4 large *and even* coins into a word document and printed 2 sheets onto contact paper. Once printed I cut out all 8 coins, glued them back to back. I poked a hole through the top of each newly double sided coins and weaved and tied a long string through each hole. Once each coin was secured onto the string, I attached it above my sons bed with only a piece of scotch tape. Of course, use anything you wish to attach it to the ceiling. Next I printed the basic looking coin. I found a black and white version of the coin and printed it on bright yellow/gold cardstock paper (same as the other coins- 4 large and even coins on a page X2). These coins, Since I was taping to the wall, they did not need to be double sided. Cut out coins and adhere scatterly as desired.

Pixelated Mario Wall Art

What you need:
pennies
super glue
poster board
finger paints (red, blue, brown, black)
frame, optional
*this design is not hung up in my son’s room yet. I am still working on something to frame the art. I will probably need to custom order a frame. The design is larger and more oblong than an 8X10

I actually found this design online. First you will want to paint your pennies.
Red- 38
Blue- 32
Brown- 23
Black- 6
Natural- 44
Once the pennies are painting and completely dry, lay them out in the pattern below. Once you can them all laid out, pick them up one by one, glue the back, and put back down in place and hold for a few seconds. Move through all of the pennies until they are all glued into place. Let them dry COMPLETELY and try to avoid bending the poster board that they are on. Once the project is complete you are ready to frame and hang!

Those are about all the major DIY’s that I did for this room. As you can see from the room photos, I also ordered Mario wall decals from Amazon. Find the ones I ordered here.