Opening Day!

Today is a magical day! Today is a special day!

Happy opening day, Disneyland!! Today you open for…forever!!

I’m typing this with actual tears in my eyes. It has been so long…too long…since Disneyland Resort has been open and I’ve felt the sting of its absence so, so frequently. I’m not a California resident, so I’m still unsure of when exactly I can make it back to the happiest place on earth, but the fact that its OPEN has my heart fluttering non-stop today.

The world is right again. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be stalking all social media accounts of California residents who are in the park today!

Another Step in Speech

It is so beyond crazy to me, and a little bittersweet to be honest, that Harrison is about to close a big chapter in his Speech Therapy journey. He has been in Speech since he was newly two years old. At first, a wonderful Speech Therapist would come to our home frequently to meet with him and help teach him (and me) how to even begin speaking. When we started, Harrison ‘spoke’ through a mostly closed mouth and communicated with grunts. When he did speak, it was a jumble of vowels and very, very, very few people could ever even get close to figure out what he was trying to say. Our in-home therapist taught us so much and got him started on the right foot. He made great progress fairly quickly. There were set backs, there were frustrating days, but there were also glorious triumphs and really exciting milestones met. Its been a fascinating, exhilarating journey. More than anything, its shown me how resilient, dedicated and smart my Harrison is. He’s been setting goals and crushing them for years now, and its so inspiring to me. I’m so proud of him.

Harrison right about when this whole journey began! So tiny!
Buddy with some of his sensory activities that his in-home SLP had us get to help promote speech and sound!

His early intervention place (that provided us our in-home speech therapist) only takes little ones until they turn three. So a quick year later, we got Harrison transferred over to our local school districts speech therapy program. It started with an evaluation that was maybe one of the lowest, most frustrating times of this whole journey for me. The evaluation was long. Harrison didn’t want to cooperate at all, he didn’t connect with the woman giving the screening at all.. it was a train wreck. I sobbed the whole way home and throughout much of the day. It was frustrating. I wasn’t frustrated with Harrison, just with the process. We had to reschedule him to do the entire screening over again. I was terrified and dreaded it, but knew it needed to be done. I wanted my boy to keep progressing with his speech and sounds! So we went back to the second screening and thanks heavens, it went a billion times better. He was cooperative, he connected with the new screener. It was awesome. And honestly, its been awesome ever since.

Harrison’s first day of Speech School!

We got little three year-old Harrison into his little Speech Preschool class, and we have been doing that once a week ever since. I owe the SLP’s who’ve worked with him over these years so much thanks and gratitude. I will be eternally grateful for the work they put into Harrison’s speech and success. They are heaven sent humans. These classes have been fun, educational and have got Harrison to the point where he is now. And if you knew Harrison at the beginning of his speech process, then you know just how far he has come. Its amazing.

This Fall Harrison will start Kindergarten (what???) and with that, he will be closing the chapter we have both loved so much, of Speech Preschool. It’ll close the chapter of me being with him while he does speech. Its so bittersweet. Now he will be meeting with a SLP that works in the school he’ll attend who will pull him out of class once a week. He will still be setting goals and tackling them. He’ll still be practicing and learning. But I won’t be there. Thats weird to me. It feels so grown up on his part. How is my boy going into Elementary School!? Sheesh, time flies, but thats a post for another day.

Harrison surely still will be in the speech program for several more years. He’s doing incredible, but still has a ways to go. I love knowing he’s surrounded by a wonderful support system and teachers who are dedicated to helping him do his very best when it comes to something thats been so tricky for him his whole life.

Now, I’m obviously not a SLP or a professional on any of this, but I am Harrison’s mom, and have been very invested in this for most of his life. So I know a thing or two. I’m asked pretty frequently some of the same questions. I answer them occasionally on comments or instagram DM’s, but I’ve chosen to answer my most frequently asked speech-related questions here to make it easier on all of us! If your question isn’t here, message me or comment and I promise I’ll get back to you! This is something I’m passionate about and highly support, so I will most definitely respond.

FAQ About Harrison’s Speech Journey

Do you think Speech is worth it? One trillion percent, yes. Speech has taught us tricks, tips and techniques I never would have come up with in a million years. It has given us the tools to use at home to help Harrison progress. Its held him/me accountable in working with him. Its given Harrison confidence. Its given him classroom experience. Its provided comfort and calm. Its been incredible. I can’t imagine how much more behind Harrison would be if we didn’t choose to put him into speech.

How was he diagnosed with a speech delay? I’d been panicking about him for a while. I took my concerns to our wonderful pediatrician and he gave us the information for an early intervention company nearby us. If you’re concerned about your little ones speech, I’d suggest either asking your pediatrician for a referral, or calling your local school district and asking them what your school system suggests.

Could this just be done at home without intervention? I mean, yes. But in my honest opinion, not as well. There are resources online and so many YouTube videos, etc., but I just know Harrison has learned so much better from SLP’s in person, who really know what they’re doing. Even though parents are awesome and can learn so much, I still 1,000% recommend going to a SLP.

Is Speech Therapy expensive? Not at all. We have been in this about three and a half years. Guess how much we have paid? $0. I love that they’ve truly made this accessible for everyone.

How did you know he was behind in speech? He wasn’t talking as well as kids his age, which at first didn’t concern me. But then I notice he wasn’t talking nearly as well as kids 6+ months younger than him. So then I started to be mindful of it and worry. Trust your gut though!! Testing is free, too! So if you’re worried, I say test. You’d rather know for sure instead of sitting in the scary unknown.

Progress is Progress!

In January, I decided enough was enough. I was going to make my health a priority. Healthy eating. Daily exercise. Mindfulness. Taking control of my mental health. Nurturing my spiritual health. I knew it would take a lot of self control and discipline, and truth be told, I was nervous that I’d start this goal out strong, then eventually it’d fade out and I’d go back to my past ways.

But I promised myself I’d do my best. I’d hold myself accountable. I’d believe in myself and I’d push myself.

And now I am three and a half months in and still going strong and I am freaking proud of myself!

I’ve never had a goal weight or clothing size in mind. I just wanted to feel healthy, strong, confident and empowered. I’m happy to say that I’m doing so well and 100% doing exactly what I know I should be doing right now. My self confidence is higher than it’s been in so long, I feel good, I feel strong, I feel empowered and confident and my mental health is doing leaps and bounds better.

Like I anticipated, it really has taken a lot of accountability and discipline, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come and that I’m doing it in a healthy way. No foods are off limits, I’m giving myself grace and I’m being realistic. It feels good to get fit and healthy while also keeping a healthy, happy mindset! I can’t wait to see how I’ll feel months from now!

Easy Entertainment

I feel like the internet is full of ways to entertain and promote curiosity and learning for toddlers and young children, but something I struggle to find are ways to do the same for the little ones even younger than the toddler stage. Don’t you agree? Well, a while ago I found the idea to use painters tape and tape some of Flora’s smaller toys to the wall and let her go at it trying to free the toys. It sounds simple, maybe too simple, but she honestly loves it!

I tape the toys in various heights and she is so proud of herself as she removes each toy from its tape jail. Its adorable. Simple as ever, cheap, promotes learning, coordination and curiosity and so stinkin’ to watch!

Happiest of Easters!

Happy Easter, my beautiful friends!!

I love this day, and this specific week, so very much! If you didn’t already know, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints. I believe in Christ. I believe that Jesus Christ died for all of us, even little old me, so we could all live again even after death, and that we can be eternally with our families. That knowledge I have has got me through so many anxiety attacks, stressors and worries of mine. Knowing that Christ has paved the way for me and is always there to help me…there aren’t words to adequately express the gratitude and hope that gives me.

This weekend is our church General Conference. Thats when our church leaders and our beloved Prophet speak to us. Its absolutely one of my favorite weekends of the whole year. I feel so uplifted, inspired and excited to start a ‘new’ life. Its a beautiful weekend with beautiful, inspired words.

I hope this Easter Sunday is a lovely one for you. I hope you find joy, love and peace, weather you’re a religious person or not, you deserve a great day.

Love to you all!

Better with Time

I’ve been on my healthy lifestyle journey for about two and a half months now. In two and a half months, I’ve learned so much and a lot has changed.

Did you know I enjoy exercise now?

I don’t crave Diet Coke as powerfully anymore.

I eat so much fresh fruits and veggies, and I like it!

My mental health is feeling so much more in check and my anxiety is a little less crazy.

I’m more confident in my body image!

I believe in myself more and have learned I can be powerful and self-motivated and reach the goals I set for myself.

I’m just feeling so good. I’m feeling empowered and excited. I’m proud of myself for deciding to make this lifestyle change a habit and for sticking to it. I didn’t realize just how much my body needed this. It wasn’t because I felt I needed to lose weight or look a certain way, it was because I wanted to make myself a priority and show my body that I love and respect it. I wanted to nurture the relationship I had with this body of mine. And it’s working!

If you’ve been on the fence about starting a similar journey for yourself, GO FOR IT!! I will cheer for you! I’ll be a member of your support system and I’ll be here if you need someone to chat with! We all deserve to treat ourselves with kindness and respect!

Love you all

Memory Keeping

Since having my first child five and a half years ago, I’ve been wondering just how I would store my kids important papers/documents/keepsakes. Everyone has their own method that they’re passionate about, and I listened to so many ideas, but ultimately I (finally) landed on this, my own, method. I’ve seen this same idea all over the internet, so I’m not at all claiming it as my own. I’m just super excited about it so I’m sharing it with you in case you’re on the hunt for a good storage idea too! And believe me, if I can do it, so can you. It was super simple and very satisfying.

I ordered file folder boxes and files. The boxes I ordered came in a pack of 4, so I even have one ready for my next baby! Then I ordered a pack of files for each box – the packs I ordered came with 25 (I think) and there are several extra folders in each box, should we decide we need them for something in the kids future. I put the folders in the box and labeled them (in this order):

Baby

Toddler

Preschool

Kindergarten

1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd Grade

4th Grade

5th Grade

6th Grade

7th Grade

8th Grade

9th Grade

10th Grade

11th Grade

12th Grade

Stats

Medical

Keepsakes

Documents

Then, with my cricut machine, I cut out their first initials in vinyl and applied them to the front and voila! Told you it was easy!

I don’t plan on keeping every single paper from school or piece of art they create (like adorable scribbles on scraps of paper, you know?) But I’m going to mindfully keep the papers that my kids worked extra hard on or are extra proud of. The papers that have a funny story behind them or are particularly adorable. The ones I think they’d be happy to see someday when they’re adults showing their own children their memories.

I have put the bracelets we wore in the hospitals for their births in the Baby folder, along with ultrasound pictures, etc. In the boys Toddler folders, I put the bag of clippings from their first haircuts. Things like that. I also knew I had to have a folder dedicated to their stats from doctors appointments. I’m obsessed with my kids stats so I wanted them readily available.

What else would you add?!

Not Defined

“If someone judges you harshly or talks behind your back, that is more of an indication of their own negativity, not of who you are.”

I wish I could remember where I heard this, but I wrote it down years ago and have never forgotten it. When it comes to my mental health, my anxiety and especially my postpartum journeys, I get so caught up in what people think about me, their judgements, and what they’re saying when I’m not around. I get obsessively hung up over it until I start to feel sick. But I try so hard to remember that people judging other people – thats negativity being spread. Its nothing that should concern me. What people have to say about the and the way I’m navigating my own life doesn’t define who I am. There’s also the possibility that this is all just my inner dialogue saying, “what if?” I don’t even know for certain there are people judging me or saying negative things I fear, but its always a thought in the back of my mind. But I do my best to not allow my mind to travel there.

This mindset is so much easier said than done, but I’m getting better at remembering I am not what others think of me. Mental health is such a rollercoaster, isn’t it?

What things are you working on remembering and implementing into your lives?! Let me know! I want to support you – especially in your mental health journey!

The Year We Never Saw Coming

Around this time last year, the world as we knew it, changed. There is no way that at the end of 2019 we could’ve ever imagined that 2020 would look the way it did. Its all so crazy and surreal to look back at a whole year later. Remember when the world ‘shut down’ and it was supposed to only last a couple of weeks to flatten the curve? Even then, when everything was first shut down, I don’t think we truly had any idea what was in store for us. Did anyone look at this and think we’d still be in a very similar spot a year later?

I’m grateful for the progress. There is more knowledge and security. There is more peace and hope. I’m very, very thankful for that. But its still hard to grasp. I’m still in a sort of denial that this is the new normal we thought would only have to last a few weeks.

Us, right at the beginning of quarantine

In the space of this crazy year, a lot of big changes have happened in our family.

We added our sweet little Flora to the family, thus having a pandemic baby which is the wildest of rides, and the thing that definitely rocked me the most in all of this. When I found out I was pregnant in October 2019, I truly had no idea that during much of my pregnancy I’d be stressed out about my health and a scary new virus taking over the world. I had no idea how much fear would be instilled in me about the health of my baby. I had no idea how overwhelming it would be to have a baby in the smack middle of a global pandemic. However, there were silver linings, too. Craig was working from home around this time still, so it felt like extended paternity leave. He got to help so much with the boys and the new baby. We didn’t see extended family quite as much as we would have liked to, but it forced us to really rely on one another in a way we’d never done before. It also helped me find my voice and be confident in my gut feelings, when it came to having difficult or awkward conversations with other people when it came to visitors, outings, etc.

We also moved, which is another thing we just didn’t see coming. Our new home has been such a blessing. It all happened so fast and was a lot like a whirlwind while it happened, so now that we are settled and comfortable here in our new place, I’m really seeing how great of a decision this was for our family. Our new home has space to grow and continue to build our family. This is where our kids will grow up and I’m so thankful we are in this place.

I’ve also learned a lot about myself in this year. We opted not to put Harrison in preschool this year and chose to do homeschool. Since Emmett is just two years behind him, I decided to do preschool at home with them both. I wasn’t sure how it would all go. I know I’m capable of teaching preschool level curriculum, but I wasn’t sure if I’d be an exciting ‘teacher,’ or if I’d be able to teach things in a way that my kids would be able to internalize. But thanks to online resources and approximately 8 billion prayers on my part, I found that not only can I do this, but I can be really good at it. The kids and I have had so much fun doing preschool together. I’ll admit, I’m a little bit sad that next year Harrison will go off to Kindergarten and Emmett will officially start in a real preschool.

We learned a lot about respecting others. I think we can all agree that wearing masks is a pain. They’re sweaty, they cause acne, they make breathing seem trickier, but I do think they’re something just fine to enforce right now. I’m definitely not against them. But even more than my feelings on masks, I’ve learned to see that wearing a mask in public is very much a way to show that I and my family love and care for others. Me wearing a mask is an outward way to show that I respect you and your health and well-being. Its also been a nice way to teach my kids about respecting others.

I learned that I’m resourceful. There was the period of time when basic food items were hard to find. I learned to be resourceful with the food I had in my pantry. I learned how to make fun, educational things out of the seemingly mundane things around our house for the kids. I was able to dive back into my love of scrapbooking in all the time spent at home, and made our families own Quarantine Scrapbook, that I really think I’ll cherish and hopefully my posterity will, as well.

My testimony grew tremendously in this year. I’m a worrier. My dad is a high-risk person. I was pregnant for a long time during this and wasn’t sure what Covid could do to a pregnant or breastfeeding woman. I imagined terrible things happening to the health of those I love, especially the people who didn’t take it as seriously as I was. I just worried constantly. I feared the worst happening. I knew the virus didn’t typically have bad things happen to young children, but I still wondered if my children would be the acceptation if they got it. I was a ball of anxiety. Well, I always am. But I was an even bigger ball. I would pray so many times a day and just beg Heavenly Father for clarity and calm. I’d pour my heart out for the well-being of my family. I’d ask for peace of mind, because at times, my mental health struggled so much under all the fear and uncertainty. Sometimes I had to learn some lessons first, or search hard for answers, but I definitely was comforted and felt peaceful. I was strongly reminded that God is in all the details and he is stronger than any earthly person, even stronger than a global pandemic. I was reminded that His plan is truly the plan of happiness, and He knows what He’s doing. I trust Him. I know He has me and my family, and everyone, securely in His hands.

We are a year into this now. I’m not sure when things will be ‘norma,’ again, or if they ever will. But I’m happy to report, that though this has all been crazy and unexpected, I’ve found joy, happiness and learning in the year of quarantine.

Us a few weeks ago

Love you all. I hope you’re all doing ok. Life is weird right now. Life is crazy. Things can be uncertain. But we can do this!

Powerful in a Sweatsuit

Did you watch WandaVision? The series just finished on Disney+, but you can – and absolutely should – still watch it if you haven’t already. I give it all the stars and all the thumbs up. Wanda Maximoff, AKA, The Scarlet Witch, has always been one of my very favorite MCU (marvel cinematic universe) characters, but I think this show put her at #1 on my list.

Anyway, this post will have very small “spoilers,” if you’re worried about that. But mostly, I just want to talk about how…

MOMS ARE FREAKING POWERFUL

Here is why my brain is in this place, and here is how Wanda is also a part of this thought: In the last two episodes of WandaVision, Wanda is in a pretty intense ‘battle.’ She is kicking butt, defending herself and her sons and husband, protecting her loved ones and what she cares about, being super amazing and super powerful….ALL WHILE WEARING SWEATS!

I mean, let’s hear it for the queen!

It made me think of real life. I can’t speak for all of you, but I know I do a lot of my mommin’ while wearing a cozy sweat suit. I also know that sometimes it’s real easy for me to get down on myself because of not always getting ready or accomplishing everything on my to-do list. Or maybe I’m feeling a little guilty because I’m not the “perfect mom” I follow on Instagram. You know?

But then I watched Wanda, who was being awesome and so powerful. In sweats. I mean, will I ever shoot magic red orbs from my palms, be able to alter reality and control things with my mind? Unfortunately, no. But I CAN do amazing, awesome and powerful things in my sweats too!!

Toward the end of the final episode, Wanda turns into The Scarlet Witch, for real. It’s soooo cool – definitely still fan-girling about this. Then she dons her new superhero suit, which, might I add, is the best MCU costume I’ve yet to see. It’s an incredible scene, I won’t lie. But you know what? The new outfit isn’t what made her so cool. It was her and her actions. Sweatsuit Wanda is just as powerful as New Outfit Scarlet Witch.

The outfit, the situation, the location… that’s not what makes us powerful. We as moms, are doing powerful things every single day. And let’s be honest, we are probably in sweats. Our powers and things we balance, accomplish and work at are tremendous. We all have a little New-Outfit-Scarlet-Witch inside of us, we’re just doing it in our Wanda Sweats – and we are awesome! I hope you know that. I hope you believe that.