Thursday, August 25, 2016

Finding Me... Pt 2

Over the last several days, my mind has been reverting back to my original 'Finding Me' post. As much as I would love to share that post, or even read it again - due to some, yet still, outstanding circumstances, I thought it best to delete the post. Regretting that decision now...

In April of this year, as many of you many know, Evan and I separated. While details of that major life change are not necessary, I do think it is important to share that aspect, because that is me, in this moment. 

In this moment, I am a full time student, I work a 40 hour a week job, do training for a second job, and most importantly, I am a MOM! Luckily for me, my full time job is at the boys school!! I am so blessed to have the opportunity to work along side amazing men & women at our beloved school. 

While all of these changes, improvements - if you will, unfolded at once, I have struggled this week. I have multiple things due for school, multiple things due for my training per my second job, the boys and I both started school on the same day - I started 2 schools, I started college, again, & my first day at my full time job, was the first day of school. This week has been killer. I have not worked outside of the home in 5 years, so although we have been getting up going to school for the last several years, me staying away from home and those chores being pushed back until after school, or even this weekend is a major change for me. My personality strives on a schedule, a routine. I have a check list of all of my check lists, I enjoy knowing what is to come and what to except.  With that being said, I opened my planner for the first time today, all week. That is an insane statement!!! Seriously, my Granny buys me a planner for my birthday, in November, every year. I look forward to that planner more than anything! I am so serious!! 

While Evan and I are living separately, his schedule has not really changed. In the beginning, he stayed home most of the summer, we were able to stick to a fairly good schedule with the boys. Well, that wasn't able to stick. His job is demanding, that is something that I have always known. But now, I am still living by his work schedule. Don't get me wrong, any extra time I get with the boys is amazing!! The problem is in my head, on my planner... I am crazy!!! A change in my schedule or not knowing what my schedule will be like drives me bonkers. I need to know. So now, while trying to plan which days I can do school work, have study group conference calls, make appointments, etc - naturally I only want to work on all of that 'fun' stuff while the boys are away. It has become too much for my brain. We are only 4 days in... 

But, if I sit here and let the schedule get to me as much as it has over the last few days, I will fall behind. I refuse to fall behind when I know all of this hard work, all of this time, will be beneficial to the boys and I in the future. I am positive we will have a few nights when I have to be on a call and I will let them eat ice cream out of the container just to appease them and keep them quiet for me. That may or may not have already happened ;) 

The other part of my struggle is still trying to figure out who I am... Am I this person who feels such a strong pull to help children with special needs? When I decided to go back to college, I planned on dental hygiene. It is what I have always wanted to do. However, each time a conversation came up with a friend, I caught myself leaning towards kids and development/behaviors. I am currently enrolled as a psychology major and in 99485793 years, I will have my masters degree and be an BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analysis). Long term goals!!  My second job is with CARE, they provide ABA therapy to individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Right up my ally... I was so excited when I was offered the job - while my boys did not participate in ABA, I knew what it entailed, and it has always intrigued me. I do have to be board certified to work with these kiddos, and I will be finishing up my training this week!! Yay, crossing one thing off my list! Next week, I have a competency assessment to do and then I will apply for my board exam. I report directly to a BCBA and will be gaining tons of experience for my future j.o.b. ;) I plan to do this part time, on the nights I do not have the boys... then full time during the summer since I do work at the school, I have the same days off as the boys. 

My full time job is at the boys school, in their pre-k program. In the morning we have a collaborative group of kids for 3 hours and in the afternoon we have 5 special needs kids, ages 3-4. While being in the room with those 5 kids for just a few hours everyday is so demanding, it is amazing to see their potential. And yes, day 4, I can already see it. I had one of my sweet boys say a 5 word phrase yesterday!!! I was blown away! Although, the phrase was an unwilling result of his house he built being bulldozed down, it was still an amazing thing to hear!! But that is where it gets difficult, I want to praise my little talker for speaking aloud, but then not reinforce bad behavior of my construction worker ripping the town apart. So by the end of the day I am spent... 

That is when I found myself in my car in tears... I have so much going on, many of the things I do not have any control over, and for once I found myself needed reassurance... I do not think I have ever been the person who wanted/needed a life cheerleader - I have had life cheerleaders, I cannot even imagine where I would be without my grandparents, they are amazing! - but just someone cheering me on telling me to suck it up and get my butt home because I have work to do. At that moment, I realized I am most definitely still figuring out who I am... at almost 30 years old. I don't feel like I was ever given the opportunity to learn who I am. 

What I do know... Being a mom is difficult yet rewarding, I am extremely sensitive, I lack major self confidence, I have a love/dislike relationship with people, I am a crier, I only like to sing in the car when the boys are in there with me ;), I love smiling, I love checking in with people and letting them know I did remember their 'event', I enjoy helping others, I do not like it when someone messes with my schedule, I lack patience at times, I require at least 8 hours of sleep, I need a good 20+ minutes to talk myself into getting out of bed every morning, I am a giver, I have multiple arguments in my head daily, my brain never ever stops, I am extremely hard on myself, I get annoyed when someone doesn't stick to their word, I could eat Fruit Loops for every meal for the rest of my life, there are some days I just need a hug, and I know there is a whole lot more of me in there waiting to be discovered... and I cannot wait for that! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Helping hands

Over the last several months I have discovered, deep down, I have a servant heart. I have a special place right smack in the middle of my heart for kids. I have always cared for and enjoyed being around kiddos, but this feeling has been different. It all seems to go back to my surgery (12/2013) and continue to expand since then. While I have been baby obsessed forever - I have taken a stronger connection to older kids, lately. This school year, that is almost over!?, How is that even possible?, I became a mentor for a program at our school. The program is available for children that are behind academically, have family struggles, foster care, failed STAAR, etc. We meet with our mentee's once a week for 30 min to an hour. Our goal is to form a relationship, not to counsel, to give the kiddos something to look forward to every week - a positive. Could you imagine?! All the things that we take for granted each and every day? These kids are amazing overcomers.
I was assigned a 4th grade boy... the boy part I could handle (#boymom - I strongly believe there is a special lounge in heaven for mommas of boys) it was the 4th grade part that made me super nervous!! I remember meeting my sweet 4th grader the first time. Seriously, I wish I could have reached across the table and squeezed him!! He is a boy, so of course, I had to pull words out of him. I could tell he was excited to have someone interested in HIM! Though learning the few things I did on that first meeting were difficult for me to hear - I knew he was the most appropriate match for my very first mentee. Who ever would have thought a random Tuesday (such a boring day of the week) would be the day I started looking forward to, as well. We would end every session with a game of Connect 4. He's moved on to Jenga now. He's taught me to play multiple card games (some I may have already known about, but it was a good way to get him talking and boost his confidence a bit). 
There is one specific Tuesday I remember getting him and asking how class was going, if there were any projects coming up, how his grades were doing, if he needed help with anything. He told me there was a big project due that very day! Of course, I asked how it turned out - much to my dismay, he said he hadn't started... (y'all! my heart dropped!) We talked some more about the project and I decided to offer my time to help him... I am so grateful his teacher gave me the opportunity!! I met with him every morning for the rest of the week - we worked on his project each day for 1-2 hours, depending on what his class schedule looked like. Not only was I able to help him, show him different things on the computer, writing samples, build a tee-pee (yeah, so the project was on Indians... I slept thru Social Studies in school - I guess this was my payback ;) ),  I was able to witness our school as a community. We walked around to multiple classrooms asking for supplies - without question, we had everything we needed just a few minutes later. It was amazing, y'all. I really wish I could put it into words. I am forever grateful to the teachers who helped me lend a hand for my 4th grader. 
A few days after he turned his project one of his teachers stopped me in the hall and told me she noticed him just smiling at his project the day they were able to bring them home. She said he was proud of what he accomplished. Seriously, the best compliment! 
Several weeks later, he started missing school. A lot. This tore me apart... It is difficult to be on the outside and not be able to do anything. I still do not know why he missed so much school, I'm talking several full weeks, then more weeks of only coming to class 1-3 days a week. His teacher is amazing, and let me meet with him whenever he was at school. Lots of make up work and talks later, I am still unaware of the reason he wasn't at school, but I can say - I know he has touched my heart. I can only wish I have done the same for him. 
It is so hard for me to imagine how children his age already face so many challenging times and events in their life. Makes me think about many other children are in need of a mentor, that positive relationship and influence... 
If you have time to spare, regardless if you have children or not, I urge you to check with the local elementary & middle schools to see if they have similar programs available. Our school opens this program up to anyone, as long as you pass a background check. Yes, you will be providing a service to those children, but I promise you will gain more from them. My heart is changed because of these kids.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Aaden is SEVEN!!

Guys... I have a 7 year old!!! How crazy does that sound? Last year, 6 just didn’t seem like a big deal... SEVEN though - well that’s a different story for me. Seven seems so old and mature. I’m not ready for Aaden not to ask for my arm to snuggle before he falls asleep. Or turn his face when I try to give him a kiss or hug bye at school. I’m not ready for him to be too cool for mom...

One of my favorite parts of the boys’ birthday is their ‘Birthday Interview’. So here it goes:

Color: Blue
Book: Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Movie: Star Wars The Force Awakens
Food: Star Wars Cookie Cake (so yeah, he may have been eating it for breakfast ;) )
Treat: Chocolate donuts
TV Show: Ninja Turtles
Toy: New Nerf Guns
Animal: Calvin 
Song: Flo Rida - My House (OMG, this made me giggle)
Sport: Soccer 
Day: Today (duh, mom!)
Holiday: Christmas
Number: 7
Cereal: Fruit Loops (He is my son...)
Store: Academy
Game: Playing with Nerf guns

What do you & Mom do together? Play and snuggle
What do you & Dad do together? Look at guns & fishing stuff
What makes you happy? Playing with Kingston
What is something scary? Nothing (y’all, this is such a lie, I could hardly keep a straight face)
What are you really good at? Soccer
Who is your best friend? Kingston
What do you want to be when you grow up? Famous Soccer Player
What is something new you’d like to try? Football 
What do you think about before you fall asleep? Food (bahaha, love my sweet cheeks)
Who is someone famous you’d like to meet? The First President of the USA 

Here's to another fun amazing year of my little cutie teaching me about life. I am so proud of A for the huge strides he has made- I know this year will be the best of all before. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Becoming a sports mom

Growing up, we were always playing some sort of a sport. From summer leagues in our little town to tournament ball, out of state every weekend type of thing. Naturally, when we had our first kiddo we could not get a ball and bat in his hands fast enough. He turned 2 and we were pumped up!!! Thinking only ONE more year!!! 
We signed A up the very first season we could. He turned 3 on the day of his first soccer game, he barely qualified!! Shortly after that, I regretfully had to accept the fact that he was not ready. This was a moment I realized sports was something I wanted for him. He had issues with the spectators, the yelling/cheering, the wet grass. Blah. I was let down, but only by my own expectations. 

Fast forward a bit...
We played our first season of tee-ball, with 'coach mom' (it is as fun as it sounds). Imagine 3 year olds playing tee-ball but it was the absolute cutest thing. My oh my it was an amazing test of my character, though. 
We are now in our 3rd soccer season, and only getting better!!! It has been so much fun watching A take control on the field and enjoy something so very much!!! Even if it is soccer (my apologies soccer fans- we are a baseball family). 
A kid-sport post wouldn't be complete without a little briefing on the kid-sport parents... They are one.of.a.kind. I proudly stand amongst the crazies. That loudmouth mom at the games I used to keep score for as a summer teenage job, I am that person now!!!! I coach from the sidelines. I embarrass my adorable little soccer player, I'm sure of it. I LOVE IT. 
I can say, with certainty, I have no idea where that loud voice comes from... Considering I barely speak up in a large group of people (yes, I am 29 and still bashful 😳). The only explanation could be the excitement I have for my little player!!! 

I enjoy being out at the park for practice and games. From temps 110-45 (it is currently 45 as I type this, at practice). 

There is nothing that compare to watching your quiet, bashful, timid kid enjoy something. If that means freezing my booty off - so be it (I count stand to lose some lbs anyway ;) ). 
The only possible thing better is watching BOTH of your kiddos on the same team!! 

If you have tried sports and it wasn't quite your kids thing, try again!! I promise you will enjoy it as much as they do!!!