Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Why Our Son's ADHD Diagnosis Didn't Surprise Us




My beautiful baby boy was born just like any other baby. He was healthy and just the most beautiful baby you'd ever seen with a full head of hair like Elvis. He behaved like any other child and my husband and I were doing our best to raise him to be an awesome little individual.



When he was almost three years old, I went back to work full time. Before then, I had been working part time, but between that job and my husband's full time job, we weren't making enough for us to buy groceries without some kind of assistance, so I wanted to get a full time job to help out.

That meant that my son and daughter would have to go to day care for the day. We chose one close to where we worked so they would only be there eight hours a day versus the ten they would be in if we had them somewhere close to home.

Things Began to Change

When my son turned three, he was kicked out of day care because he was still biting and at three, they expected all kids to stop at that moment. We were baffled that they expected him to change overnight, but we had him evaluated for preschool and my gracious grandma who had just retired said she would watch him for us and get him to and from preschool every day.



Guys- not all grandmas are the best, but mine really is. I don't know why she never went into teaching because she's always been good with us and my children. However, I suppose it's different when the children belong to you.  My grandma always encouraged my son to use his imagination. We'd come and pick him up and they'd be strapping on their "scuba gear" ready to do a deep sea dive in the kitchen or unrolling a treasure map and counting their paces to reach the buried treasure. She really kept his mind fueled all day with imagination and learning.


My son is so smart and we got compliments about his vocabulary, but we started to notice differences between him and other kids.

As a parent who went to church, I was wrangled into watching the preschool aged children. Most of the kids were just the sweetest and then there were the terrors and my son was right in the middle. He misbehaved the worst with me, probably because I'm mom, but when it was someone else's week to watch the kids, it was always my child that created the drama. He didn't want to sit still during story time or work on crafts with the other kids and when he didn't get his way, he'd bite or hit- things that he didn't do at home.

We'd tell the worker that we were sorry and that we'd work on his social skills with the other kids and we would, but it was always the same each week.

He began having problems in preschool. He didn't know how to judge personal space. He had no concept of it at all and kept getting in trouble with the other kids because he would be in their space and he also spoke loudly.

We Took Action


It really became an issue and we ended up having to have an in home meeting with his preschool teacher, one that we didn't want to schedule, but she had insisted. She watched my son interact with his sister and with us.

After the meeting, she suggested that we start him with speech and occupational therapy. While he was incredibly smart and had an amazing vocabulary, there were social cues that he was ignoring and most of it, she said, could be linked back to not being able to completely communicate his meanings because there were some speech barriers that we thought were age appropriate holding him back.

So, we agreed to get him into speech and occupational therapy, which they did at school. Things began to improve.

Triggered

Then we moved and then had another baby. Things that we thought were going well like him using the potty and his acknowledgement of personal space went right out the window.

My son had met another classmate, we'll call him Klaus, and meltdowns started to ensue and things were crazy. We learned that Klaus had a ton of social behavior issues. He was a bully. If Klaus wanted a toy and didn't get it, he'd hit my son. If Klaus was told not to do something, he'd start to throw chairs.

Unfortunately for us, my son picked up some of those behaviors and my husband and I had to learn a whole different way to approach parenting because things weren't going well the way they had before.

We were glad when my son began Kindergarten and Klaus and he were in different schools. Unfortunately, some of those behaviors that he had picked up the year before transferred over to the new school and it was so frustrating because my son didn't behave the same way at home as he did in school. It's not easy to correct a behavior when the behavior isn't always displayed.

By the grace of God, I got a phone call, one day from the social worker at the school. My son had been suspended on his very first day of Kindergarten because he stuck his tongue out at the principal in front of the other kids during lunch and there was the possibility of another one for him for disrupting the lunch room again and once again, embarrassing the principal. I was already angry, frustrated, and feeling a plethora of emotions, so the phone call wasn't welcomed and I know I was snarky, but the social worker was calm and understanding, the whole time.

Putting Together a Behavior Plan

For the first time, I felt like there was someone who was on my son's side. This social worker wanted to create a behavior plan and put it on file, so if some of my son's naughty behaviors emerged, he wouldn't be suspended or in as much trouble because different protocols would be in place.

If you don't know what a behavior plan is, it is a plan that is put together to help your child behave better. If something were to set him off, then the teacher or staff member who was with him at the time would follow the steps put in place for an easy transition. They were also protocols that needed to be followed before getting him in trouble or suspended.

For my son, this entailed seating him somewhere where there wasn't a window or a door to look through. It also meant that instead of calling him out for something, there would be visual cues.

Ex: When he was speaking loudly, the teacher would hold up two fingers so he knew to lower his voice. Another is when he's doing something he shouldn't, he'd have a stop sign taped to his desk and the teacher would discreetly walk over and point to it. His behavior wouldn't be brought forth to the whole class and he could easily correct it without being embarrassed for being called out.

When it was time to switch from one activity to another, he would get a five minute warning, then two, and then time's up.

If he were to begin to feel anxious or argumentative, he was also allowed to leave the classroom to visit the social worker or put himself in a timeout somewhere that was designated for that reason.

Things Got Better, Again

Things got so much better and when it came time for Kindergarten graduation, cheers from the staff members rang out when they called his name. It was very emotional.

After the graduation, the social worker wanted a picture with my son. He was getting married and was moving away and wanted something to remember him by.  He told me that of all of the students he's ever worked with, my son was his favorite. He also said that normally, the staff wouldn't all show up, but they wanted to cheer for my son when it was his turn.

It was a very emotional day. We were stopped by the janitorial staff who told us that my son is the sweetest boy they'd ever met who helps them when he sees paper on the floor and lets them know if someone makes a mess. On our short walk home, a lunch lady who was retiring, pulled over her truck and started crying. She told us that my son was her favorite part of her mornings because he would sit with her and tell her stories. She said she would miss him.

It was amazing to see the transformation; to know that others were seeing my sweet baby for who he is and not for what he had done.


First grade went well and it was almost smooth sailing until he entered the second grade.

Chaos 

It was like a light switch had flipped at school and at home. It was becoming harder and harder to get my son to listen. He'd get in trouble at school, and then even more trouble at home. 

We had been giving my son time outs when he was in trouble. It usually worked when we would set a timer that he'd get to see, but those time outs wouldn't work. It was a very difficult time. 

I had tried to send him to his room when he'd get into trouble, but he'd scream that he had to go to the bathroom and then one time, he looked at me through his door (our bedroom doors all have windows covered by curtains) and wet himself... on purpose... I cried.

The homework that he had would take him up to two hours to do each night, mostly because he didn't want to start it or work on it. 

I made a time out chart and hung it up on the wall. That began to work better because I included his brother in sister on it and put an x next to their names every time one of them had a time out and he soon realized that those xs would show whenever grandma came over for dinner. 

I tried to enforce a positivity chart where after they did so many good, positive things, I would reward them with a piece of candy or something else that they liked at the time. Movie rentals on the weekend were a huge hit.

Getting the Diagnosis

As things got better at home, they were sill getting worse at school. My son was getting sent home almost every other day for disruptive and dangerous behavior. The last time it happened, I was fed up.

I had gotten my son to behave better at home, why wasn't the school able to do it, too? I marched into that office and demanded a meeting. With only 15 minutes of the school day left, the awesome librarian that my daughter thought was a fairy princess was kind enough to take all three of my kids to the library to hang out while I hashed things out.

The principal was just like Professor Umbridge in Harry Potter. Sickly sweet and passive aggressive with nothing worth while to pitch in. When she left the meeting, I looked right at the newer social worker and asked, "Do you think it's possible that my son has ADHD?" and he basically said, "yeah".

Right away, he got things put in order for us. He gave me the name and number of a doctor who specialized in ADHD, convened a panel with the school psychologist, school nurse, first grade teacher, second grade teacher, the case worker from the year before and the case worker from that year, and together, we all filled out a questionaire and after the psychologist tallied it all up, the results, although staggering in some places, all agreed that he had ADHD with anxiety and aggressive behaviors. 

Treatment

There are many different ways that we could have used to treat him, but we started off with medication.

Related- Why We Chose to Medicate Our Son

After a few trials and errors, we came up with a dosage that worked best for him.

In just a few short weeks, that loving, caring, creative boy came back.

I never knew how far behind he was in his academics until I saw that my daughter was expected to do the same things and more than what my son was doing at home. 

My son was having difficulties in school because he didn't know how to read like he should. I didn't know that. I thought he was just being difficult.

If you could see how much his learning has skyrocketed, you'd be floored.

Today

Today, you wouldn't know that he has ADHD or that he was so far behind. He is reading where he should and he's amazing at math. He can add and subtract faster in his mind than I can. 

The frustrations and behavior issues that he had was because he couldn't comprehend what he was supposed to do. His mind was moving too fast to remember sight words or to remember how to do a certain problem. It caused him to become embarrassed and act out. Now he's not. 

Getting him to do his homework has never been easier. In fact, he sits down and does all of his homework for the whole week on Monday and then just does the corrections for the rest of the week. 

About the only thing he struggles with is social cues when he's off of his medicine. Since it's a time release and we only give it to him once a day, it's practically worn off by the time we get home. 

When we don't give it to him over the weekends or on break, he likes to go overboard on wrestling with his brother and sister and doesn't know when too much is too much, but that is something that he'll learn to do one day. 

Did the Diagnosis Surprise Us?

No! Absolutely not. There were warning signs the whole time he was growing up. In fact, his diagnosis was a relief because if he didn't get it, I would have believed that I was just a bad parent. If it weren't for my very well behaved daughter, I would have believed that all the bad was because I didn't know how to discipline my son. After all, I sometimes had temper tantrums when I got anxious. All of the bad behaviors my son had were similar to the ones that I had as a kid. 

Now I know that it wasn't my fault. Things are so much easier now. (Knock on wood)

Fortunately and unfortunately, ADHD is hereditary. If you know that you or someone in your family has ADHD, it's easier to get the diagnosis and to start early prevention whether it be medication or some other way like oils or healthy diet.

Unfortunately, more than one child can have it and one child may display it differently from another one. My youngest leans towards ADHD, too, but he's only four. We are on watch for him, since he can't be officially diagnosed until he's older because kids do change. 

It's just once you know about ADHD, you see ADHD everywhere. Try not to become too paranoid.

For more information, read this related post- Signs Your Child Might Have ADHD

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Spiderman's a Poopin'


When you're a mommy, sometimes you do things that you'd never thought you'd do.

One of those things for me was making up song parodies for my children.

With two younger boys, bathroom humor is hilarious, so should I be surprised that I rewrote Winter Wonderland to Spiderman's a Poopin'? No, not really. After all, they love Jingle Bells, Batman Smells.

For those who are interested, here is the song. I hope it doesn't get stuck in your head like it did for my kids and I.


If you like this song, please feel free to share it and sing it to all your friends!



Wednesday, December 19, 2018

A New Baby Changes Everything- A Letter of Encouragement


A friend of ours just became a first time daddy, last night.

He and his wife are so excited, as they should be, but they are unaware that things will change from now on

Maybe they're starting to realize it, maybe they aren't.

You see, when a new baby comes, the world looks at you differently.

You're no longer Martha or Joe. Now you're mom and dad.

You've been waiting for this baby for 9 months or 40 weeks, give or take a few days. Until the birth of this baby, you were never able to fully fathom what it would be like to be a mom or dad. You thought you knew, but you couldn't comprehend.



I remember when I had my first born. I started crying right before I was to push. Things were going to change. There was no turning back. A baby wasn't just a hypothetical idea, it was real.


I was going to be in charge of a small human being. The implications were surreal. The responsibilities to come were unfathomable. The doubt was overwhelming.

"How will I be able to take care of him when I can't take care of myself?" I had bills to pay and things to do. Now I had that and more.

The day I had my son, I changed from a care-free, youthful twenty-two year old to an anxious, old soul, twenty-two year old mother.

The single and child-less friends that I had stopped calling and making plans with me... Maybe it was because I turned them down too many times to be with my baby. It happens, you know.

Not only that, I was no longer me. I had changed. The things that I once liked to do, no longer were things that I like to do.

As my son got older and we were blessed with a daughter for our second child, suddenly, everything I saw looked dangerous. Even worse when my youngest came around.

"Why are there holes for the kids to hang out of and fall off of on the play ground set!?!?! Why are they so high?" My husband just tells me that I'm overreacting. How did I survive childhood? I climbed and did more dangerous things than that.

I hate this contraption and yet, it's one of my kid's most favorite things to play on. I can't even count the amount of times I've had to catch them while they were dangling from this or how many times they've been crotched. Ugh!

But parenthood isn't all scary. There's joy in it, too. There's laughter and silliness. The love that you feel is unconditional. You thought that you had loved before, but a parent's love is unlike anything that you could ever experience.

These little people that you and your loved one created grow before your eyes. They're precious and you know them and they know you. Their trust in you is a huge responsibility. What you do and how you do it matters.



Like molding clay or chocolates, you're raising your babies to be extraordinary and that is extroardinary!!!!

They are the future and the future is in your hands.

So a new baby changes everything! It changes you, your spouse, your kids, your pets, your neighbors, and the world.

Like Uncle Ben said in Spiderman,"With great power comes great responsibility"

Are you ready for it?

You're going to have to be because it's already happening.

You know what? You've got this! This change doesn't happen overnight. It's a learning process and no one knows what we're doing or what really works. That's why there are so many parenting books that all contradict themselves. Nobody's perfect.

You CAN do it!


Related Post: 

What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Sleep
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Love
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Hair
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Foot Size
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy-Eyes
How to Prepare For Motherhood- Get a Cat

Monday, December 17, 2018

Signs That Your Child Might Have ADHD

Medical Disclaimer- This article is not meant for diagnosing purposes. If you suspect your child may have ADHD talk to your child's pediatrician before self diagnosing and treating your child. Only a medical professional can give a diagnosis.
Disclaimer- This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you purchase something from a link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help to keep this blog running. Thanks for stopping by today!
Having a child with ADHD has become more recognized in the last few years, but still seems to have negative connotations around it.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, doesn't have to have the negative impact that it has. In fact, getting a diagnosis for my son had changed our lives for the better because my husband and I were able to understand what my son was going through and were able to make a game plan.

Related Post- Does Your Child Have ADHD? It Isn't the End of the World

How Does ADHD Present Itself?

One of the reasons why it seems that ADHD seems to be getting diagnosed more regularly is because it's being more and more understood. It also doesn't present itself in the way that people more commonly associate it with, which is hyperactivity and lost attention. 

This scene is from the movie "Up"



So what are the symptoms that you should look for? 


  • Hyperactivity- While not all kids with ADHD show this sign, this one is the biggest indicator. Kids are going to be fidgety and want to play, but if your child is constantly bouncing off the walls and can't sit still for more than five minutes constantly and seems to do this more than other children, your child might have ADHD. In this scenario, though, a teacher, doctor, or someone who knows kids with ADHD, probably have already approached you.
  • Inattentive- Do they pay attention to things? My preschooler is expected to be able to follow three step instructions. Children who are older and have ADHD, have trouble doing all of those steps because they didn't pay enough attention when given the instructions. Also, children who are inattentive may not always present this behavior. If there is something that they really enjoy, they can focus on that for as long as they want. It's more common in school work. Things to look out for are:
    • You need to ask them several times to do something.
    • When you talk to them face-to-face, you might see their eyes glaze over or shift their attention to something else.
Unfortunately, many of the signs of inattentiveness are also part of being a child.

  • Forgetfulness- Children with ADHD might forget things more often. Part of this is because they can be inattentive and didn't pay attention enough to remember. Clues are:
    • How often do they leave homework at school?
    • Do you have to tell them something more than once?
    • Do they lose things?
    • Even though they've grown up with rules, they still seem to not follow them.
  • Excessive Talking or Fast Talking- Girls get accused of this all of the time, especially when we're excited, mad, or have something that we think is important to say. However, it eventually evens itself out and we speak at normal speeds from time to time. What makes it different for kids with ADHD is:
    • Not knowing when is a good time to talk. Does your child interrupt you or others all of the time?
    • Does your child talk so fast that you can't understand them?
    • Does your child take longer than other to tell you story? Do they tell you the story straight through or does it always take twists and side courses before you get to the end.
Part of this is just because they're kids, but if it seems like its more than usual, you might have a child with ADHD.
  • Excessive Volume- Sometimes this gets mistaken as your child yelling. Both my son and I got in trouble a lot for this because we weren't aware that we were talking louder. Now that I know and understand, it's easier to stop and think, "Is he being loud because he's yelling and being disrespectful or is he being loud because he can't help it or doesn't realize he's yelling. One thing that helped us out is visual cues. We asked him if there was a hand gesture that we could do to help him realize that he needs to lower his volume. The peace sign is what he chose. So when he starts to get loud, we just flash the "We're number two" sign and he knows to adjust his volume. 

  • Aggressiveness- Does your child get into fights at school or is just unruly at home?
    • A child with ADHD can also have anxiety and depressive disorders. Many times when they get in trouble for fighting or arguing, they just can't help it because they have all of these feelings and emotions that they can't process and just eventually have melt downs and explosions. Ways to stop that:
      • One way to really help your child is to have a schedule or order of things in the house. Changing things up can confuse the child and they need to have consistency.
      • Avoid distractions- If you have a child with ADHD in a classroom, don't sit them next to the window or a door way.
      • Give a warning if something will change. Examples:
        • Give a 5 or 10 minute warning if you're going to go from tablet time to dinner. That way, they aren't surprised when the tablet has to go off. 
        • If you're going to time something, let them know the new time every three minutes or so. So if you start with 10 minutes, then announce when it's 7 minutes, then 4 minutes, and then one minute left.
        • Include them in making plans. If you have to run to the store that day and have to take them along, tell them earlier rather than later. When kids are caught off guard, that's when their moods can change. 
  • Compulsive- This is again, very characteristic of kids, especially young ones. However, children eventually learn that if I do this, then this other thing will happen. Children with ADHD don't always learn from their mistakes and will do it again. Example:
    • Does your child cross streets without looking?
    • Do they always say whatever is on their mind?
    • Do they take things without asking?
    • Do they tend to follow the kids in class who misbehave?
    • Do they tend to not follow the rules?
  • Messy or extreme cleanliness- Did you know that OCD, Hoarding, and ADHD all have similarities? Some of these orders can actually be treated with similar medications. Messiness or even cleanliness can be contributed to compulsiveness and are the result to how each person has been able to channel it. 
  • Learning difficulties- Children who have ADHD can be behind in other subjects that children their age are average in. Some things may include:
    • Reading- Does your child have a difficult time reading?
    • Speech- Is your child difficult to understand? Part of it is because they may speak to quickly or that their mind is moving so fast that they don't realize they aren't putting the emphasis on the correct annunciation of words.
    • Motor Development- Is your child's handwriting atrocious? Can they pedal a bike?
    • Socializing- Does your child play well with others? Are they always dictating what others do or miss social cues? Do they play with other kids at all?


    My Child Doesn't Display All of These, Can They Still Have ADHD?

    Not everyone who has ADHD presents the same way. In fact, men and women display them all differently. 

    My son is hyper, lacks focus, talks loudly and quickly, is forgetful, is compulsive, and presented with aggression. However, before he was diagnosed, many of those signs also just seemed like regular childlike behavior.

    My daughter, on the other hand, is going to be screened for ADHD, this year for different symptoms. We never thought to have her screened for it because she always seemed to have her stuff together. Unfortunately, that's what happens many times with girls. 

    The reason's that she will be screened is as follows: 
    • Instead of having her eyes on her teacher, she's often found fidgeting and playing with things in her desk. However, if the teacher asks her a question, she can give her the correct response or repeat back to the teacher what she said.
    • Although my daughter knows what's going on in class and is learning, she has a difficult time getting started with her tasks. 
    • When asked to do something on their own without the help of the teacher, most kids can get things done within a few minutes, but my daughter can take twice as long. However, if she's working alongside the teacher, she can get it done if the same amount of time as others because she's constantly getting prompt to do so.
    • She's difficult to understand. We started off with just getting her speech intervention because she talks so quietly and mumbles, but really she's just talking too fast.

    So What Do You Do if You Suspect Your Child Might Have ADHD?


    If you suspect that your child may have ADHD, talk to your child's pediatrician.

    If you don't want to start off with them, talk with your child's teacher. If you suspect your child has ADHD, their teacher may have noticed the signs, too.

    The school was a big help in getting my son's diagnosis. 

    In his case, my husband, family, and I just thought that my son was behaving like any other child. In fact, if you read my older blog posts from when I first started blogging, you'll see that there were days when I thought that my son just like to play rough and was naughty from time to time. 

    When he started Kindergarten, he really began to get into trouble. Tablet time was a HUGE contributor to his outbursts. He didn't transition well and would throw things or slam chairs on the ground. It was actually something that we thought he had picked up from a student that he had class with in Preschool. We had talked with him and disciplined him, but nothing worked.

    Eventually, I got a call from the social worker at his school and together we had worked up a behavior plan and addressed other concerns like speech and Occupational therapy. That's when my son's Education Plan was made. ( A topic for another time) The behavior plan had worked for the rest of Kindergarten and First Grade. 

    Because we had that plan in place, I was able to talk to the new social worker when my son was in Second Grade. He was a huge help for us and put together a team to get this diagnosis. He contacted the school psychologist and she worked up a survey and it was determined that he had attention issues, hyperactivity, and even anxiety. We then showed those results to the doctor we switched to who worked with children with ADHD and that was that!




    My Child's Been Diagnosed With ADHD, Now What?

    If the verdict after speaking with the doctor is that your child has ADHD, don't be dismayed! One thing that my son's doctor recommended was to go to counseling. Learn what you can about ADHD and learn coping mechanisms. 

    Also- chances are, someone else in your family does, too. That's right, ADHD can be genetic. 

    Even though I haven't been formally diagnosed, I also have ADHD tendencies that were missed when I was a child. I was loud, fast talking child who often got in trouble for being mouthy or sassy when really, I was just passionate.  At school, I was a social butterfly and I also had a difficult time focusing, but it wasn't something that anyone took much concern over. 

    Guess what! I overcame it for he most part and I grew up to be a mostly functioning, well adjusted person, who could have her forgetfulness and fuzzy brain contributed as mom moments.

    Ok, so that was probably an unnecessary bunny trail brought to you by an ADHD "over explaining" tangent moment, when I could have gotten straight to the point. 

    If you're still reading, then know this- There are ways to get help:

    • You can teach your child to work through it. Teach them ways to learn to focus. There are fidget spinners and other different devices to work through hyperactivity and inattentiveness.
    • Exercise! There are many studies that show that exercise can eliminate ADHD. A school in Texas has tripled recess to test the theory. Read about it here. 
    • Diet Change- There have been studies that suggest that changing your child's diet can help them refocus and quite possibly help with ADHD. You can find books all about it online or at a book store.
    • Medication- Medication has a negative connotation about it because of how the drugs for it used to make children behave. Things have changed this day and age. My husband and I were very wary about having my son take the medication because of all of the horror stories that we heard about it, but we decided to have my son try it and the change in my son was miraculous. I can tell you about everything in a different post because there would be just too much to write about, but all of the negative side effects that we thought would happen, never did. We didn't lose him, he is still the same creative and happy boy he always is with or without the medication. 

    You're Doing Everything Right.

    Before my son's diagnosis, I felt like such a terrible parent. I felt like I was doing it all wrong and that's why he behaved the way he did. 

    I felt like a failure. I thought that he would purposely not listen to me or try to get into trouble, but it wasn't that at all. I thought that the way I had disciplined him, only made things worse.

    Once I had realized how far behind he was in school, I thought that I just wasn't doing a good enough job teaching him at home for him to move ahead. I also wanted to blame the school because how could he be so far behind if they weren't teaching him well?

    I was so wrong! Since his diagnosis and his medication, his learning growth has tripled and he's right where he needs to be on the learning curve. He's so sweet and helpful in school and a great pal to all of his friends. 

    Your friends and family may not understand. I still have to explain to my family why my baby needed the intervention. To them, he was just a normal boy, why would he need any extra help or medication? Once I explain to them and show them the results, they understand. 

    It's just that when people hear ADHD, they have a specific picture in their head about what it means to have it. They more often think of Dumb and Dumber, but really, many of the most well known masterminds of the times had some sort of disorder like ADHD, but they channeled it into their passions and were just brilliant about the things they loved.

    You're doing it right. You can breathe, you can relax. Things are going to change and everything will be alright.

    Has this post helped you in understanding ADHD? Did you or your child get diagnosed with it? What were some things that you learned? What did you have to adjust?

    Comment below and don't forget to share if you enjoyed what you read!


    Wednesday, December 12, 2018

    12 Gifts Ideas That Mom Won't Hate

    Disclaimer- this post contains Amazon Affiliate links which means that if you purchase one of the items below from the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 



    Finding the Perfect Gift


    Christmas is coming and sometimes finding the perfect gift for mom can be hard and mom may end up left out on receiving gifts. We want to get her something that she likes, but we don't always know what to get her.

    It happens, ya know. Mom has usually been in charge of getting all of the gifts and stocking stuffers, but sometimes we forget about mom. In some households, mom might not even receive anything except for that one gift that your child's teacher had the whole class do together in a chaotic crafting event.

    Some men, just don't know what to do. I remember my dad giving us girls some money and it was up to us to pick out the perfect thing.... Girls! Not women. So we'd get my mom something from Claire's because it's what we would like or we'd get her a candle. There was always some thought put into it, but now that I think about it as an adult, my mom probably didn't care too much about that gift, but she liked it because it came from us.

    Sometimes, we just don't know what to get mom, so we get her random things that we think she'll just love, and you know, she probably doesn't make it easy for you when you ask her what she wants. So the whole ordeal can be frustrating for the gift giver.

    Let me tell you a secret. If you mom isn't high maintenance, like me, then we're just glad to be getting things that we need. Also, chances are, what we really want are new vacuum cleaners and  refrigerators. Things to make the house run smoothly. Seriously, my favorite things in my house are my newer appliances. At some point, I became weird and those things delighted me. Now, actually using them may be a different story.

    So, I asked some moms, "What are some gifts that you wouldn't hate receiving?" The answers might surprise you because these answers also delighted them.

    Related- Let Mom Experience the Holidays, too



    The Winners Were-

    • Fuzzy Socks- Our toes get so cold and there is something comforting about fuzzy socks, especially those that are coated with aloe vera.
    • Blankets- Moms agreed that it didn't matter if we already had 10 fuzzy blankets, we still loved them.
    • Hot Cocoa/Coffee Mug- I don't drink coffee very much, but I love hot cocoa. If you get your mom a mug, get her some hot cocoa or her favorite coffee mix with it too!
    • Body Wash- Since I'm a mom with young kids, I don't find myself heading to Bath n Body Works often, so I don't get to try out those scented body washes except for when I'm gifted them. 
    • Bath Bombs- These are AMAZING! If you have a bath tub and mom likes taking baths to relax, these are perfect!
    • Books- I asked these moms, "Would you rather them gift you books or would you rather have a gift card?" The answers varied. Some moms said that they like to see what others would think they would like to read or they want to receive a book that means something to giver, while others said that they liked gift cards so they can pick them out.
    • Gift Cards- There may be something that mom has been wanting to get, but hasn't because the price has been high, so gift cards give them that extra push to get it and they don't have to ask for that expensive thing. You could do a generic visa so they can purchase whatever they want or you can do something more specific so you know that mom isn't just using her gift card for buying groceries.
    • Cleaning Supplies- I know that this may seem like a weird gift, but dish detergent or laundry soap is something that I often forget to pick up at the store and have to make a special trip to go back and get or it's just something that makes me happy. Some of my teacher friends said this.
    • Craft Supplies- If your mom is crafty, it's easy to be delighted in receiving ribbons or glitter. 
    • Chap Stick/Makeup- I love chapstick, especially this time of year, but mine always goes missing. I would always welcome chapstick. If you want to go the makeup route, see what your mom likes and get that brand or give her a gift card.
    • Handmade Items- We do like to receive that special potholder or ashtray/pen holder. It's a keepsake to see how you've grown and that you thought of us, even if your teacher forced you to do it. The thought really does count.
    • Laundry Baskets- This is number 1 on my list- I have a two story house with the laundry in the basement. My basket handles always break and I could always use more. The best part about this gift is that you can use it to hold any other gifts if you decide to do multiple gifts. 






    I wish I could tell you that all mom's would love these gifts, but realistically, there are some out there who can get whiny about what they receive. I hope that your mom isn't that way, but for us average moms, this is what made the list from all the moms I polled.

    But, let's remember that Christmas isn't just about receiving presents. It's about the birth of Jesus and spreading love and joy to those we know. So don't worry too much! Enjoy spending time with your family and friends and if you want to give your mom or the mom in your life something special and don't know what exactly to get her, try a few of these.

    What is something that you always like to receive? What is something that you enjoy giving away?

    Related Post- How to Let Mom Enjoy the Holidays

    Monday, December 10, 2018

    The Beginner's Bible

    Disclaimer- I received this Bible in exchange for an honest review. Although I was asked to review this product, all reviews are my honest opinion and I was not told what to write.


    My mom didn't take us to church when I was growing up, but she still said goodnight prayers with us when she remembered. At the time, those goodnight prayers were my first pictures of what Jesus was like.

    From time to time, I'd get other glimpses from the children's Bible that my grandma had in the toy room of her house.  She'd read it for us, but it wasn't something that I would pick up and read for myself because the paragraphs were long and not easy to understand. I always had to have my grandma translate it for me because I was just too young to really understand it.

    Thankfully, my mom allowed my grandma to take us to church. We started going to Sunday school and Wednesday night children's church where we began to have a Christian foundation taught to us. God wasn't a regular in our household and it wasn't until I was in high school that my mom started going to church. If my grandma didn't take us to church or read us that children's Bible, I wouldn't have known much about Jesus and how important that he and God are in my life. Those nightly prayers that my mom recited with us would have just been about a man that we didn't know who lived up in the sky.

    God, however, was working in our lives. I asked Jesus into my heart when I was younger and grew to know him as my Lord and Savior in my teens. I met my husband at a Christian college, so when we had kids, we really wanted them to learn about God and Jesus in ways that they could understand.

    When they were born, we attended the church that I grew up in, but we moved when my oldest was four years old. We struggled to find a church that we liked that had a good children's program, at first, so I did my best to teach them and raise them up with Christian values.

    One thing I did was download a children's devotional on my tablet and used that as a way to teach them. It worked, at first, but the app wouldn't go beyond a certain a point and my tablet eventually gave out, too.

    The children's Bibles that we had for them when they were babies were worn out and falling apart, so I was very glad when I came across a company who offered to send me two Beginner's Bible's for kids. One was for me to try out, and the other is to give away to someone else.

    Zondervan is the company who has printed many of the Christian Romance novels that I like to read and has branched out to make children's stories and bibles with their Zonderkidz brand and they are exceptional! The Beginner's Bibles that we received are very sturdy with their hard covers. The pictures are bright and colorful and easily attract kid's attention and also keep their focus.


    I love that the characters are cartoonish and not just flat, harsh characters. The Bible that I would look at with my grandma had pastel characters that seemed hash. They weren't very welcoming like these happy, smiling figures are.


    I really like that there is a table of contents. I'm sure most Bibles's have it, but look at how many wonderful stories are written in this Bible! Zonderkidz didn't skimp when they they did the final editing and printing of these books.




    My favorite thing about this Bible, though, is how easy it is to read. The words are large and the stories are written with words that kids understand. If my kids ask me to read them these stories, I will, but they are able to sit down and read them by themselves and I'm not plagued by vocabulary questions because each word is explained in the stories.

    My daughter likes to take it to her room and look and look at the pages. Whenever it's bedtime, they ask us if they can read before they go, and it warms my heart to seen my oldest read this book to his siblings.

    I'm so glad that we received this Bible when we did. Christmas is around the corner and my kid's are old enough now to understand that we celebrate Christmas to honor Jesus' birthday. My husband's family always had the tradition of having one of their kids read the Christmas story aloud, and I'm excited to have that tradition incorporated into our home and the Christmas story in this Beginner's Bible is so precious that even my four year old is engaged and enthralled by it.

    If you are in search of a Beginner's Bible for your children, I highly recommend this one. So don't forget to get The Beginner's Bible- Timeless Children's Stories!

    For more news and updates on book releases, visit Zonderkidz.com or follow Zonderkidz.Beginners.Bible on Facebook for more news!

    Do you remember your first Bible? Was it cute like this or was it hard to understand and uninteresting? What was it like?

    Wednesday, December 5, 2018

    A Mom's Morning Mayhem

    Disclaimer- This post may contain affiliate links which means that should you purchase something from one of them, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. 



    Every morning, the alarm on my husband's phone starts to go off at 7:00AM and a minute later, the alarm on my phone goes off at 7:00 AM. Our phones must be a minute apart. I sigh as I roll over to turn it off. My husband's is still going. Since I know that once my husband gets into the bathroom, being able to go to the bathroom will have to wait for another fifteen minutes. So I get out of bed and head to the bathroom to relieve myself, wash my hands, and then wake the kids up, telling them that if they don't get up and go now, they'll have to hold their bladder until later.



    As I try to sneak down the stairs to start the kid's breakfast, I hear little feet lazily shuffle to the bathroom. Sometimes there is an argument over who goes first, but usually there isn't. After I descend the first small flight, my youngest stands at the top and cries for me to come back; he wants me to give him a piggy back ride down the stairs. I groan and say, "Can't you walk down by yourself?" He cries some more and shakes his head. I turn around and walk down another step which ignites another scream from him. I give up and climb that step again, holding my arms out for him to jump. It's only four stairs to the top of that flight, so I know he'll make it. He shakes his head "no" and points to the step beneath him. I really should tell him to use his words, but I know that it's better to just sit down and let him climb on my shoulders, otherwise the whole morning will consist of meltdowns.



    That's usually how my mornings start. Sometimes I make it all the way down the stairs before my four-year-old notices I’m gone. I don't even have to ask anymore what everyone wants. It's usually the same; the oldest wants pancakes, the middle child wants toast with Nutella, and the youngest gets what I give him. To save time, I make a large batch of pancakes during the weekend and freeze the rest that we don't eat so I can microwave it throughout the week.

    Everything usually goes well until it's time for the kids to sit down and eat. We have a very specific seating arrangement... No one sits next to each other because when they are together, the kids either play or fight instead of eating. 

    I really should get up much earlier to prepare things because this has only gotten worse. Generally, I would give the kids their food in the dining room and then go to the kitchen to pack lunches and load the dishwasher. This was the plan that always worked last year, but now, I have to sit at the dining room table to make sure they are eating. 

    My oldest was diagnosed with ADHD last year. He's very social and when he hasn't taken his medicine, he doesn't follow directions. So, even when I'm sitting at the table with my kids, observing them eat, I am still constantly reminding them that they need to keep eating. Eventually, crazy mommy comes out, you know, the one who's voice is high pitched and words are jumbled because she's so frustrated, she can't speak correctly.



    I don't mean for her to come out. It's like once I became a mother, I suddenly became like Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde. I start out the morning tired, but sweet, then it's like after the tenth time of saying, "Leave your sister alone! Stop teasing your brother!" I turn into the evil witch that I play as when I'm playing with my kids... Although it's no longer funny, it's serious. My voice is raised and just when I think that I'm going to completely lose my mind, my husband swoops in from the bathroom, all showered and clean, like Mr. Darcy climbing out of the lake at his home in Pemberly and tells the kids, "Listen to your mother." And guess what! They listen to him. His voice isn't booming or particularly deep, but it contains some type authority that my voice somehow lacks. 

    Then, like magic, my kids suddenly know what to do with the food placed in front of them. They know how to put their uniforms on and how to brush their teeth. They even know how to put on their socks and shoes. I'm convinced that my husband is the Great and Powerful Oz. You do what he says! 
    Once he leaves for work, however, things fall apart all over again. The kids are either yelling at each other or they're playing together nicely, but they aren't listening to me when I say that it's time to grab book bags and head out the door. I shouldn't be surprised that the kids are tardy again for the twentieth time since school started a couple of months ago, but I walk outside and say with disbelief, "I can't believe we're late, again. Please get into the car. Hey! Get in the car, please. GET IN THE CAR!" It's really just the darndest thing.

    I think I read somewhere once, that kids behave the worst with their moms. Something about them feeling comfortable with them. I'm glad that I'm someone that they trust and feel comfortable with, but every once in a while, I would also be glad for no morning mayhem.

    Does anyone else have similar mornings? Ugh!



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