It’s been a year, we’re going to make it

January 1st 2018

We came to your house and shared a meal of black eyed peas and cabbage with sausage, for dessert we had homemade figgy pudding. We sat and visited, you seemed tired but you enjoyed us being there. I remember sitting with you at your round red table that you were so proud of and just having a good conversation.

The kids ran and played, they gave you hugs and kisses as we headed out the door. I told you I loved you and hoped this year would be good!

I didn’t know then that this would be the “normal” visit to your home. I didn’t know how much I’d cherish getting to start the first day our New Year with you! I didn’t know how hard this year would get so soon….

February 28th 2018

I sat on the stairs with my oldest son just beyond the curtain that divided us from you. I listened as your breathing became more labored and your adult children and husband whispered softly and sweetly to you that it was ok. That you could go. I held my son as we both cried when the sounds stopped.

We cried as we went to tell the others that you’d left us. The house became more crowded, people came to say their goodbyes. People wept so hard because you were gone.

We went home and tried to process how quickly you went from the main source of strength for our family to passing away in just a few short months.

I don’t have the pictures with you that others have but that’s ok. (I actually had to steal this one from my sisters post) But what I do have is so many memories and stories to pass onto my kids when they ask about you. I always play up the dramatic side like you always did.

I spent so much of my adult life getting to be more then your granddaughter and I’m so grateful for our friendship.

There aren’t enough words to describe how much I miss you!

You were so strong and wise. You gave more of yourself to others then you could ever realize. You were so beautiful and so stubborn. You were so kind yet so blunt sometimes it was almost hard to hear. But your love never failed to come through.

I wish you were here to see how much I’ve grown and how much the kids have grown over the past year! I wish you were here to share in all the happy times and tell me to put my big girl panties on when I’m feeling down on myself.

I still can’t believe it’s been a year, I can’t believe we’ve made it this long without talking to you everyday!

I know things will get easier as more time passes but I’m not sure the moments of grief won’t ever truly go away, that it won’t hit me when I accidentally write your name as an emergency contact. That it won’t hit me when I see your name in my phone because I just can’t take your number out. That when I’m alone in my car and the overwhelming feeling of wanting to call you and talk to you won’t leaving me in tears.

I miss you Granny, but I know you are in a far better place and someday we will all rejoice in our reunion. Until then I will live my life, take care of my babies, be there for our family, and know that you’re proud of all of us!

When God calls you out of your comfort zone…

Have you ever had that stirring in your heart and you knew it came from God? You knew with every bit of belief that He was calling you to make a move…… but you didn’t do anything because you were too scared?

Or maybe you wanted to do something about it but the path wasn’t clear and you were a little confused?

Another option is you actually did everything YOU thought He was telling you to do, but in reality that’s not what He was calling you to do at all!

Let me tell you I’m a pro and getting it all wrong, being too scared, or being so confused about what He was calling me to do!

I wanted to share how we’ve wound up small house living……. A year and a half ago I read an article posted about a family who was putting their tiny home and homestead up as prize for an essay contest. As I sat in my living room surrounded by all my kids, in my huge home that I didn’t own, and that was quite honestly a mess 90% of the time; I started to feel it. God was calling me to start preparing my mind for tiny house living.

Months went by and I just kept praying we’d be in the tiny house someday. We finally made it to their last open house at the beginning of October and I was able to take the kids to it only by the luck of all of our soccer games getting rained out. The kids and I instantly fell in love the the property, the kids loved the house, the animals, the garden, and the pond! I thought I knew that this was God’s plan for us. The contest went until middle of October and I of course waited until the last possible moment to write my essay. I was worried about the contest entry fee since it was $100, but my mom loaned me the money. So on the very last day of the contest I had planned on dropping my entry off at the post office after getting the youngest two kiddos from school.

As I was pulling out of the school entrance my car died! The kids and I were able to push it across the street and down to my cousins house who lived right across from the school.

After a few trial and error situations it was determined that my alternator had gone bad! Guess how much it cost? I’m sure you probably guessed……. just shy of $100. My other cousin was able to put go purchase the new alternator and put it in for me in just a couple of hours. I was so grateful to her and her amazing ability to work on my car, but I was also so sad that I didn’t get to enter the contest and that I had to “waste” my entry fee money on new alternator. I know it may seem silly to some, but thinking God had a plan for your life and feeling like you both were on the same path, only to find out you weren’t, was extremely disheartening.

A few days passed before I was able to accept the fact that winning the tiny house contest was obviously not God’s plan for me and the kids. But I didn’t give up on the idea of tiny house living completely, instead I just shifted my thinking to the future and how I could eventually make our own tiny home.

This is where we fast forward a few more weeks, last year in early November we discovered a mold issue in our home and made decision to stay with my mom for a few weeks until a plan could be in place to get it fixed and we could return home. With each day that went by and the more we settled into a routine with my mom the more I realized this is what God was preparing me for; even though it took a few months for me to realize we wouldn’t be returning to our home and that my moms house would be our home for the next 2 years.

My moms house is about 900 sq, so not exactly “tiny house living” but with me, my mom, 5 kids, 2 cats, a dog, and a lizard I’d definitely say we a practicing “small house living”.

We’ve been here almost a year and I can’t believe how much has changed….. physically, emotionally, mentally! We’ve had some pretty big things happen to our family this past year and most of them have been so big that our lives will never ever be the same. We gave up so much to follow God’s plan for us and I wouldn’t change it for anything!!

While we are living somewhat unconventional to today’s standards, we are still living comfortably and way above our means. I know it’s weird to a lot people that my kids don’t have their own rooms and we don’t have extra space, but still some how we still have rooms with unused things and more clothes than anyone should have; these are things that we are constantly going through and we are always reevaluating what we NEED to keep verses what we WANT to keep.

I’m so grateful that we stumbled upon the tiny house contest last March and so grateful for the change that it created in my life. I’m so grateful that my car broke down, preventing me from entering the contest, and made me change my thinking. Our hearts and minds are continually being renewed by God’s love and the more we let go of both physically and emotionally the closer we are getting to Him and His plan for us! ❤️

What Sensory Processing Disorder is to our family…

So I’ve struggled on how to put into words what our family goes through on a daily basis with my 7 year old son.

When I think back, it’s been his whole life really…. from not being able to nurse with the bright lights of the hospital at not even 24 hours old…. not being able to take a bottle because he couldn’t find one he liked…. constantly chewing on my chin or putting his mouth on my chest just to feel comforted…. Crawling under his toddler bed or his brothers twin size bed to sleep at 18months old because he liked the tight space, which would scare the crap out of me when I’d go to check on him at nap time or in the middle of the night and could NOT find him.

Since confirming his diagnosis at age 3 we’ve been on a roller coaster of highs and lows… feeling like we take a step forward only to take 5 backwards. It’s been a struggle to find what works, especially now that he’s getting older and he doesn’t want to do things like “heavy work” or “brushing” as much. We still do occupational therapy to improve his hand strength and currently working on outburst control. He responds well to his therapist but when we come home he’s less responsive to me which is always hard. He’s finally eating a wider range of foods and thankfully the foods he enjoys are mostly healthy.

Sensory Processing Disorder for us is:

•knowing we can’t go a birthday party without the risk of a meltdown

•letting him perch on the back of the couch like a parrot just behind my shoulders

•laying with him during a meltdown and letting him watch cooking videos on Tasty’s Facebook page because it calms him down

•holding him and it not being enough

•putting a weighted lap bag in his backpack and letting him walk around with it before going into our homeschool co-op to decrease the anxiety of transition

•hearing him say really hurtful things to me and other loved ones because his emotions are completely out of control in the moment while he cries so hard

•putting my emotions aside to make sure I stay calm in a meltdown, with 4 other kids in the house this is honestly one of the hardest things

•losing shoes for months because he can’t keep them on for more than a few hours (most recently we found a shoe that’s mate had been at our house and left me thinking for sure it was somewhere on our property… he likes to take one off outside and one inside….. we found the other one finally at my grandfathers house)

•taking him out to swing because I know he’s overstimulated and needs that sensory input

•not fighting about socks

•giving as many reminders and as much information as I can when we leave to go do something so he’s prepared for changes in his routine

•reminding my 4 year old to put the play dough and Kinetic sand back exactly the way my 7 year old left it when he’s done playing with it

•realizing how smart, caring, and beautiful my child is through all the hard times!

Words will never be able to make someone understand the joy and heartbreak that you can feel when your child has SPD. While my son likely won’t outgrow it completely, everyday we find things that work and things that don’t….. things that are triggers and things that are comforts!

Him and my 9 year old brought me these “flowers” this afternoon and it made the hard time I’d been having inside melt away.

I want to say to any families out there that are learning how to navigate Sensory Processing Disorder to please keep going, don’t get discouraged…. Your beautiful child is still inside even when it feels like you don’t know how to handle things. Just take a deep breath and try as many things as you can until you find what works for you and your child.