It’s been a while! Like two and a half months since I’ve even looked at my blog. I have so much I should be doing around the house right now since I am home, but it will be good for me to get everything typed out and give everyone an update on life. I know I don’t see family and friends near as often as I’d like to, and you all show us so much love, you deserve to hear what’s going on, too.

Augustus and I are logging 1000+ miles a week going back and forth to therapies at LifeScape in Rapid City and at the school in Philip. As the title of this blog implies, it’s worth it. It’s not easy and not always a lot of fun, but worth it.

Gus does ABA therapy at LifeScape five days a week, and also does speech, OT, and PT there once weekly each. He has speech at the school once weekly, too, and also spends some time with the special education provider at the school once weekly.

ADA

Miss Ada is in preschool three days a week, and ends up going to daycare four days of the week. Since Augustus and I are out of town and Dane is at work (not in town), Grandma Lisa and Aunt Emily are our saving grace with this. They make sure Ada gets picked up from preschool and taken to daycare each day. She loves preschool, and loves everything about daycare except nap time. Gus and I have to leave before preschool starts a couple of days a week, so Dane has to stick around to be able to get her to preschool (Again, must praise his employers on being accommodating.)

Ada comes to LifeScape with Augustus and I once weekly on Fridays. At first it was really hard (on her and me), because she felt left out having to be quiet or wait in the waiting room while Gus was working. I can see how what Gus is doing and learning looks like a lot of fun to her. Fortunately, the therapists are great, and we have found ways to incorporate Ada into things and to allow her to have some fun, too. Gus has lunch as part of his therapy, so Ada has lunch with him. She also gets to come along for sensory breaks in the sensory room, which is a lot of fun for both of the kids. She has gotten better and understands better now that she’s been tagging along for several months now.

I can’t believe she will be five in just over a month. She is a fan of everything superhero right now. Her Skye “pups” are her favorites. She is super into “Sam Sandwich” (a Disney short) and has a newfound love for “Ben & Holly” (a show on Nick Jr.) She has also been into the Power Puff Girls, which I can get behind, as they were something I watched as a kid. She can write her name and most numbers, although tends to get a few of the numbers backwards. Her drawing skills seem to improve all the time. She is still talking more than anyone I’ve ever met. She is crazy articulate and clever. I love when she makes up songs to sing to us.

We work hard to make sure Ada has plenty of attention along with alone time and fun with mom & dad.

She is becoming such a good helper. Her tender heart and fierce attitude are seriously an inspiration to me. When her brother is having a hard time, she is the first one to try to comfort him. She will bring him her tablet and turn on some nursery rhymes for him, or find him a blanket, or ask “Alexa” to play him “Wheels on the Bus”, his favorite. She has also come a long way in understanding some of the harder things that we have to deal with regarding Augustus’ behavior. He sometimes lashes out at her, and she has really learned not to take it personally and that most likely he is trying to tell us something and is frustrated about it and does not know how to relay that other than lashing out. My mommy heart aches in the times she says “But Gus can’t talk!” or “Gus doesn’t play right!” Fortunately, most of the time, she is patient with him. One of their favorite games to play is when Ada follows Gus around and acts and plays like he does; jumping, wrestling, squealing, etc. Personally, I think they are perfect for each other as siblings.

Ada saw a dentist for the first time this month. She has always been pretty good about brushing her teeth. Unfortunately, she has such a petite and tiny mouth that all of her teeth are very, very crowded in there. Her teeth look pretty healthy, but on x-ray it turns out she has a lot of cavities and decay between her teeth, especially her back teeth. The dentist told her that: Number one, her teeth are so crowded in her mouth that even brushing and flossing could only do so much, and that number two, a lot of dental stuff is actually hereditary. I was never sure if that was true or not. It sounds like it most definitely is. Dane has a family history of “bad teeth” and has “bad teeth” himself. Poor Ada has been blessed with her mama’s eyesight and her daddy’s teeth. I am shaking in my boots a bit, as Ada is going to undergo a dental procedure this next week at the Same Day Surgery Center in Rapid City. They are going to put her all the way under, as in IV anesthesia. She is so tiny, and it just scares me. While this route was not necessarily totally necessary, it was our best option. She would have had to have 4+ appointments at the dentist to take care of everything that needs done, and the dentist and I felt that would be fairly traumatizing for her. Plus, with the way her teeth are looking now, she will have plenty of appointments in the future. We don’t want her terrified so early in the game. I am of the opinion that if they are baby teeth “Oh well, they will fall out anyway.” BUT the teeth Ada needs fixed are her molars, which she has many years left with. Wish us luck, say a prayer, send us good vibes.

AUGUSTUS

The biggest thing we are working on now with Gus is potty training, and oh boy, it’s an adventure. I must sing my own praises about potty training Ada. I started very early, in fact, too early, and had to wait a bit and had great success when it was time. Gus, now that’s a very different story. First of all, he’s a boy. I don’t care what anyone says, boys are harder to potty train. Then you add in very limited communication, sensory processing disorder, developmental delays, and autism and it’s straight insanity, in my opinion. Plus, he’s a big kid, so a little kid potty just isn’t an option, so we are kind of tied to the bathroom a lot. Truth be told, my bathroom looks like a war zone.

I do have to say, that while I am entirely overwhelmed and somewhat discouraged with the process, I am thankful it is even an option to try at this point in the game. I was not sure if he would be 3 or 5 or 10 or if he would never be ready to try potty training. I am at a point in the process where I am not entirely sure if we are making progress or not. I am confident that one day he will be potty trained, though.

Right now, it’s basically me taking him to a toilet and sitting him there every 40-ish minutes. I put him in underwear right away in hopes he would dislike being wet/dirty. He seemed to dislike it, at first, but now I have kind of been sticking to Pull-Ups because I am beginning to think he just really does not care, and in part because all of his underwear are dirty and I haven’t had a chance to wash them. Ha.

I show him a PECS card with a picture and the word potty on it. I then take him to the bathroom, and before walking in, I show him the card again and get him to look at it and either hand it to me or say something (anything, truly) to acknowledge that we are going potty. Why? Because the real trick in this whole process is going to be getting him to let someone know when he needs to use the bathroom. I was told he could catch on quickly or that it may take many, many years.

Positive reinforcement is HUGE for Gus. His favorite food ever is fruit, especially blueberries. Therefore, I use blueberries for positive reinforcement. He gets one for trying and a few for peeing on the potty. I tell him all the time that if he poops on the potty he gets the entire container of blueberries. Silver lining – blueberries are better than candy.

It’s also hard, because a lot of it is on ME. I have to get him to the bathroom, work with him to try to teach him to help me get his pants and underwear down, and then I physically have to sit his 40+ pound body on the toilet. Surprisingly, he sits on the toilet fairly well most of the time, which I was definitely not expecting. Getting him to keep his hands on his lap and not in the toilet, or flushing the toilet, or playing with anything he can reach is another story. I am also supposed to keep data of every potty experience we have and if he was wet/soiled/dry and if he went and the time, etc. etc. While this will be helpful information, it’s a lot of freaking work and time out of the day. I did a pretty solid job the first couple of weeks, but weekends I tend to give up for two reasons. One, I just want a freaking break. Two, I need to get things done!

He has had some success with peeing in the potty. I have yet to get him to go #2 on the potty.

Like I said, I cannot decide if he is really ready. I know I said I was ready, but at this point I’m not sure that I am either.

The older Gus gets, and the more therapy he receives, the more aware he is. Hallelujah! BUT the more aware he becomes, the more frustrated he becomes in regard to communicating. Therefore, we have had some behavioral type issues regarding this, as well as some behavior we (as in our family and his therapists) truly cannot figure out.

It was recommended I take him to the doctor to rule out any type of health concern that may not be obvious to us. This included a trip to the dentist, which actually went over phenomenally well. They told us with him liking to chew on things and using chewelry that they were surprised how straight and healthy his teeth were. They chose not to do x-rays or a cleaning or anything as not to totally traumatize him, especially since things looked good and he is only 3. Baby steps. He was cleared of any underlying health or dental concerns.

Just take a minute to think about this…Can you imagine how hard and frustrating it would be to be a small child and be in pain or discomfort and not be able to find a way to let an adult, parent, or someone that could help you know? It’s heartbreaking to me. Whenever he get’s sick or seems to be not himself I really worry. Thankfully, I am his person and spend basically all of my time with him so no one knows him as well as I do.

It’s also very hard when your child physically harms you. It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe. I don’t mean when a toddler or small child tests the waters and slaps or hits you. I am talking about when Gus is in a mood and struggling and hits me in what seems to be anger or frustration. I have been slapped, scratched, kicked, hit, and often get my hair pulled. He will sometimes grab my glasses and seemingly try to crush them in his hands. It is very hard not to take it personally. He is not mad at me or hurting me out of spite, he is trying to communicate.

When this happens, he often grinds his teeth and puts his hands into fists and makes a lot of not so happy sounding noises. Sometimes, it is pretty easy to figure out what’s going on. Perhaps he is being denied access to something he wants. Perhaps, he wants something or needs something and cannot tell someone. The other confusing “perhaps” is that perhaps it is an automatic behavior.

As you are probably aware, persons with autism almost always have “stims”, or things they do that just make them feel normal or “regulated”. For instance, Gus flaps his hands and does a lot of jumping. Those are stims. When a behavior continues to happen and there is no obvious trigger, one starts to wonder if it could be automatic behavior, kind of like a stim.

We are in the process of working on figuring a lot of that out. There are certain tests/experiments (one being a “functional analysis”) we will go through to try to see if we can address some of the “problem behaviors” that we cannot link to denied access or a want or need.

ME

I have a full-time job in being a mom (as all moms do), but I also feel like I have a full-time job in traveling and working in therapies with Gus. I am gone from home a very minimum of five hours a day, most often longer, and spend money in doing so, not make any. I have to have beyond amazing organization skills just to remember to bring everything we need to therapy (double the things now that we are potty training), as well as keeping appointment times straight, and everyone in the family’s schedules running smoothly without conflict. Thankfully, I have always been organized. All along I was being prepared for this life, I say.

I really struggle to keep up at home. While we aren’t home but some late afternoons and most evenings, it takes no time for the house to be in total disarray. We have a sensory seeker up in this bish. He lives for messes and to play in them. He gets into absolutely anything and everything he can. Disorganizing and throwing things on the floor are a favorite pastime of his. The bigger and more able bodied he gets the crazier it gets. I am not talking about regular “kid getting into stuff” business. I am talking sensory seeking full body involvement havoc, here. I am talking a literal curtain climber! Anyone that has been over to our house for any length of time or watched him for a bit will understand this to an extent. It’s seriously 24/7 other than when he sleeps, and he only sleeps when he passes out from absolute exhaustion. I have to keep an eye on him or have him in hearing distance at all times or deal with the consequences.

As I mentioned, I have always been huge on organization, and having a clean and organized home really helps my morale, but I have had to chill on this aspect more than I want or would have ever expected to.

People, I am straight exhausted both mentally and physically basically the majority of the time. But you know what? I’m okay. Do I have some really bad days? Hell yes. Do I have some really good days? Absolutely. I’ve got this. I can truly say that I have more good days than bad.

Shout out to those of you I vent to when I need it.

Shout out to those of you always in our corner.

Shout out to anyone who reads this.

Peace & Love,
– Me

I Would Drive 1000 Miles, and I Would Drive 1000 More

Ada & Augustus decorating eggs at their grandparent’s house for Easter.

Decorating Eggs

We started our Easter festivities by decorating and dying hard boiled eggs at my parent’s house. Ada has the process down and speeds through her decorating. Augustus usually has little interest in the process and would prefer to eat the eggs; shell and all. While he did try to take a few bites, I was very proud of him, as he sat on his dad’s lap and later my lap and really paid attention and even drew on some eggs himself.

After decorating, they (we) got to find our Easter baskets from Grandma & Grandpa hidden throughout the house.

The kids received lots of candy, some outfits, shoes, and lots of other goodies. Ada’s favorite is always the candy. She only spilled her box of nerds twice. Ugh. Augustus’ favorites were probably the bubbles and a light up ball. (We work with bubbles a lot in speech therapy.)

Ada & Augustus popping bubbles at their grandparent’s house.

Easter Sunday

Augustus was happy and awake and ready to take on the day when I woke up Easter morning. He always wakes up happy, and I love that.

Now, Ada is a completely different story. First of all, I had to wake her up. She has been going through a phase with sleep. She will sleep very well a few nights in a row, and then for whatever reason, will fight sleep, tooth and nail, for a few nights. She fell asleep very late Saturday night, so wake up this morning was not easy.

Ada is always excited about church, and still was this morning, but she was weepy about everything. She REFUSED to wear her pretty Easter dress from grandma, or any dress for that matter. She wanted a shirt “with just one thing on it”. Okay… Dresses are “too itchy”. She could not be forced, bribed, or convinced in any manner, and we were out of time. “Pick your battles.”, as they say. She cried because her dad offered her some money to take to church for the collection plate. She cried because her dad asked her if he should try to catch the Easter Bunny for her while she was at church so she could see him. A morning of tears all around. Gah!

The United Church in Philip, SD, Easter Sunday 2019.

Church

Grandma, my sister, and my sister’s daughter picked us up for church. It was a great sermon, and the church was beautifully decorated. Ada was tired and very clingy. Half of the sermon I was trying to hold both kids. Eventually, Gus migrated over to grandma for the latter half of the service. He was shoeless. They fell off. Oh well.

Augustus at church.

Holy Communion

As grandma & Augustus arrived at the table to take communion, Augustus decided to grab the remaining half loaf of bread off of the table and attempt to eat it. Thankfully, Aunt Emily’s reflexes were top notch, and she got it from him before he took a bite. (Emily was behind grandma & Gus and I was behind grandma & Gus and Emily & Harley.) Gus was mad, he wanted some bread. I didn’t pack a snack, either. Normally I do! Grandma got him calmed down, and he was good other than getting a little wild towards the end of service and giggling up a storm.

Grandma, Ada, and Harley at church.

Easter Fun

When we got out of the car to head inside the house, one of Augustus’ shoes fell off again. The moment we got into the house and up the stairs he faceplanted. He hit the ground hard with a very loud “thud” there was blood on the floor when I picked him up. He had a bad nosebleed. He got blood all over his outfit and me and himself and the floor. My poor boy! Of course, the Easter Bunny had stopped by while we were at church, and Ada could see eggs he had hidden. So, we had to slow her down and have her wait until Gus was done bleeding and feeling better. It was stressful, and I may have shed a few tears myself from the stress and because I was being selfish and feeling bad for myself because Gus doesn’t enjoy the usual festivities and excitement of holidays… Pity party over!

Gus wanted to calm down and relax and watch TV. Ada went and found the eggs the Easter Bunny hid, as well as her Easter basket.

We gave Gus his Easter basket, which had a soccer ball, and he was VERY excited about that ball.

Augustus and his new soccer ball.

Ada was all about the candy!

Ada and her M&Ms in her “not itchy dress” and shirt “with only one thing on it”.

Happy Easter to all who celebrate.

He is risen. Alleluia!

Celebrating Easter

Ghosting – the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.

I haven’t written a blog post in almost a month now; not because I don’t have anything to say (type), but because I have so much I want to say (type), and just don’t know where to start.

I want to start by thanking friends, family, acquaintances for reaching out, attempting to keep me involved, the invites, the updates, the small talk.

While I am still present on social media, I have not really been “present”. I’ve been bad about staying in touch. I’ve been bad about responding to text messages, social media messages, etc.

It’s Not You, It’s me

Seriously, it’s me, and I’m sorry. I’m still learning and adjusting. I’m still consumed by all of the phone calls, paperwork, and appointments; a new way of life completely. My mind is always going. I dream almost every single night about Augustus. My thoughts are consumed. Maybe you’ve seen me out. I still end up going out sometimes after the kids are in bed and my husband is home. Sadly, it’s not so much about socializing as it is about forgetting. It’s about having a few drinks and trying to make things numb. It hasn’t gotten out of hand by any means, but it’s still something I’m doing that I know isn’t useful, but it’s what I’m doing. I’m stressed out. I’m overwhelmed. While I often talk (type) about all of the ways I KNOW are right to deal with stress and being overwhelmed; it is much easier said than done. I admit that. This is all new territory for me, and a territory few enter. I feel different. I find it hard to relate to others. I find myself reading blog posts from others in similar situations and crying. I don’t really know what I’m doing other than that I’m doing my best in not knowing what I’m doing. I know I’m being honest and hope that resonates with someone.

The Stings

As time goes on, it’s going to get better, and dare I say some things easier (?). I have a lot of friends and acquaintances with children around the same age as Augustus. I love seeing messages, videos, and posts about them. Even more, I love the rare chance we get to see each other in person, our children in tow. Although, I have to be honest and admit that it often stings. Something as simple as a friend’s little boy waving goodbye stings. Seeing a friend’s son start to say words stings. Some comments and questions sting. I know that no one person I have come across means any harm by anything they say or ask, but sometimes it stings. I have heard more than once now “Is this something he’s going to grow out of or get over?” No. No it’s not. This is permanent. It’s not something he can grow out of. It’s okay to not understand, but it’s not okay to keep asking this same question when I keep giving you the same answer. If I have to accept this, so do you if you are a part of my/Augustus’ life.

DON’T STOP!!!

I do fear posting that last paragraph. I fear because I don’t want you to think that I don’t want you to keep reaching out and sharing your little ones’ milestones and achievements with me. I need them. I need you. I need you to keep me connected; to keep reaching out; to keep inviting me. I need you to help me stay out of Those Dark & Scary Places. Keep asking me questions! The only way to help spread awareness and acceptance is to answer questions. I want to answer anything you want to know about things personally or in general. Ask! Ask away. Nothing is off limits, except not accepting my answer. (Ha, but seriously…)

I share what’s hard in hopes that it will help you to understand why it might take me a few days to respond to that text or why I may choose not to attend an event, why I may seem distant. I’m trying. I really am. Adding to the mental confusion, overwhelm, and sting is the fact that I’m exhausted. I’m kind of just exhausted in every way. Trust me, communication is not the only thing I’m lacking in. I’ve been wearing my husband’s socks for two days because I don’t have any clean socks. I am busy, very busy, but it’s not that I don’t have time to do laundry, it’s just that sometimes I get in the place where all I want to do is relax and try to forget for a while. This would go back to the whole going out thing. Lately, though, I find myself trying to lose myself in a good book. I think that’s okay, although I know I’d be better off getting lost in THE Good Book.

Asking for Help

I know a lot of times people wonder why I don’t ask for help. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a very independent and prideful person. That’s still true, but I very quickly realized with life as it is currently, I have to overcome all that and ask for help, and I do. At the same time, it’s hard to ask for help because I don’t really know what I need help with because I don’t really even know what I’m doing. Does that even make sense? It does to me, but I would totally get it if it didn’t to you. Ha.

Why I Share

I kind of hit on this before, but I want to make it crystal clear that the reason I share is to HELP and to raise AWARENESS and ACCEPTANCE. I am not looking for pity or for you to feel sorry for me. We all live differently and are dealt different hands. The more we can all accept and advocate for one another the happier we will all be. All anyone wants is to be loved and accepted for who they are.

In Conclusion…

I still love you. I still cherish and appreciate our relationship. I need you to keep me present and reach out. That’s how you can help if you’d like to.

xoxo, 

– AMom’sFaithUnbroken

PS There will be a Gus update to come. We are in the middle of a lot of things right now, and redoing our IFSP and starting some new therapy. I’ll share all of the details at a later date once we get it all figured out.

Low-Key Ghosting

30 Things I’ve Learned in 30 Years

These are in no particular order or sequence.

1. Take care of your skin.

First of all, wear sunscreen! I learned this the hard way and have plenty of skin discoloration and issues to show for it. Also, it’s never too early for anti-aging products. I only wish I would have cared more about my skin in my teens and 20s. Wash your face!

2. Alcohol has never done me any favors.

This is a quote taken from my dad. I’m not saying I don’t and won’t drink. I’m saying that I am well aware of how stupid it is. I finally seem to be at an age where I know my limits; not to say that I don’t sometimes still exceed them. I’ve had a lot of fun drinking, but no, it has never done me any favors.

3. Share your story, to include the good and the bad.

Now that I’m 30, I’m finally at an age where I know who my real friends are. That being said, I know who i can really open up to. Having those few you can really open up to is priceless. It’s freeing. From a religious standpoint, it’s nice to be able to share the good and the bad and know I’m not being judged and am being prayed for. As you may have noticed, I’m an open book for the most part. I share a lot. Why? Because you just never know who you might be helping by sharing your story.

4. Smoking is bad.

This one seems obvious, because it is! Now that I’m older, though, it’s a whole lot easier to see just how bad it is for a person. When we’re younger old age seems so far away – we don’t worry about it. Now I’m like “Okay, you’re pushing your luck!” Did I want to quit? No. Did I feel I needed to quit? Yes. I’m 72 hours without a cigarette right now. It was time. I’m always going to miss it. My advice is not to start in the first place.

5. Forgive yourself and others.

This is BIG. In my life, I have found it harder to forgive myself than to forgive others. And trust me, I’ve held a few grudges in my day. I now see just how toxic holding on to those negative feelings is. Holding a grudge and negative feelings doesn’t do anyone any good and does nothing but hurt you; eating you up on the inside. True and real forgiveness is hard and something you have to work on, but once you get there, it’s worth it. Forgiving yourself is an even harder feat. I still sometimes struggle with this, as I think everyone will throughout their life. BUT life goes on. There’s no reason to hold onto yesterday when today is lying ahead. I know I’m forgiven, so why not forgive myself!?

6. No one’s house is ever completely clean.

Oh man have I struggled with this one. I like clean. It makes me feel at ease. I’ve had to train myself to accept that there are two kinds of dirty. There is dirty (think cluttered), as in there are things strung out throughout the house and then there is dirty, as in things are grimy, stinky, dusty, rank, dirty-dirty. I have come to accept that messy is okay sometimes. I have to prioritize to keep my sanity.

7. You don’t always have to say what’s on your mind.

Really! It took me years and years and years to comprehend this concept. Honesty is absolutely always the best policy. I actually prefer blunt honesty, but not everyone else feels the same. It’s important to be honest but use some tact in how you portray and share things. I’m not even talking sugarcoating here. I’m just talking saying and sharing advice and things in a tactful un-brash (is that a word?) manner.

8. Ask for help.

Coming from Miss Independent herself…I’ve always taken pride in being extraordinarily independent in life. After graduating high school at the age of 18, I got my own place, car insurance, cell phone, you name it. I didn’t waste any time. I was all about being on my own. Well, on my own, with the exception of my husband (then boyfriend) being by my side.  My husband and I always kept this stance until lately. There were a lot of times in life I (or we) should have just asked for help and saved ourselves a lot of unnecessary grief and trouble. Now that I have young children, one with developmental delays, help is no longer an option, it’s an absolute necessity. Swallow your pride and ask for help when you need it.

9. Be kind to everyone.

This one is so easy. It takes so much time and energy to be negative and unkind. I can’t think of anyone at this point in my life that I wouldn’t be nice or kind to. First of all, everyone deserves kindness. Secondly, I’m just too tired to be anything but kind.

10. Take (calculated) risks.

I will include my husband in this one, as I have spent my whole adult life by his side. We have taken so many risks; so many big, scary, life altering risks. And boy have we crashed and burned a few times. The road-rash and burns heal, and we learn. There is not one risk we have taken that I wouldn’t take again in the same situations. Live a life of “oh wells” rather than a life of “what ifs”. Take chances, make mistakes!

11. Ask/Don’t fear “no”.

This is one I live by. Do you think you deserve a raise? Ask. Does something seem off? Ask about it. Guess what? The worst thing that’s going to happen if you ask is that you’re going to hear “no”. It’s just a word. Learn to be okay with hearing “no”.

12. Don’t be afraid to say “no”.

This relates back to #11. Not only do I not fear asking, I don’t fear saying “no” myself. There came a point in my life where I realized I didn’t have to do things solely to make others happy. In order to live a good life you need to be happy and rarely should someone else’s life come before yours.

13. Rid yourself of toxic people, relationships, and situations.

This relates back to #11 and #12. We all have to do things we don’t like, but if something is truly causing you emotional or mental harm quit doing it! It doesn’t matter if it makes sense to anyone else. You do not need an excuse to do what’s right for you. I learned this throughout my 20’s. There were a few situations in my life that I would literally dread and worry about to the point of them consuming me. Why? I don’t really know. All I know is that said situations were unhealthy for me, and that once I cut them out of my life a huge weight was lifted. Whether it’s a toxic person, a toxic relationship, or a toxic environment…let.it.go.

14. Drink water.

First of all, I feel so much better when I drink the recommended amount of water daily. Yes, it makes me have to make frequent bathroom breaks, but to me that is reassuring. The system is getting flushed out! I also learned long ago that there are so many hidden calories in beverages. I’d so much rather get my calories through food than a drink.

15. Wake up and makeup.

No, I don’t mean literally put makeup on. I mean put whatever amount of effort into your appearance makes you feel good. I was always the type that would roll out of bed ten minutes before I had to be somewhere. I didn’t feel self conscious about my appearance, but I found that I just felt tired and blah throughout the day. Just recently, I have started actually getting ready for my day; washing my face, dressing for the task, possibly putting on some makeup – whether it’s some under eye concealer or the whole shebang. Whatever I feel I need to do that day to feel my best is what I do. It has helped.

16. Invest in a good calendar and/or planner.

Just this year I invested in a Bloom daily planner (check them out). I made this investment even before my son was found to have some developmental delays and all of the phone calls, consults, and doctor visits began. Organization and calm go hand-in-hand.

17. Prioritize relationships. 

Love grows where you water it.

18. Be present.

In today’s world, this is more relevant than ever before. Put down your phone or tablet and close the laptop and live in the moment. This moment you will never get back. This moment you must be present in to remember later. Don’t mask your feelings. Feel all the feels.

19. Have genuine interest in others.

I truly have genuine interest in everyone I meet! I think this sometimes drives my husband crazy because I will talk to anyone and everyone. He seems to think I always single out the…how shall I put this…uh…his words aren’t appropriate…the seemingly lesser accepted people in society (?). That’s the best I can do. If you want to know what he thinks, ask him sometime. Anyway, his views are not mine, and I am interested in everyone’s story. I want to learn from them and they can learn from me. I don’t care who they are.

20. Get the haircut.

Not just the haircut: the piercing, the tattoo, the new hair color. Be bold. If you can’t stop thinking about it, just do it. Life is short and our bodies are temporary.

21. Slow down.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the routine and in the hustle and bustle of life. Slow down and don’t miss out on what’s really important.

22. Happiness comes from within.

Probably the greatest truth I have learned. Someone at work the other day called me “smiley” and said they had never seen me without a smile on my face. Those of you that know me and have known me probably think that sounds insane. I get it. I haven’t always been this way. At this stage in my life, I am happy with me which allows me to be happy and accepting of every other part of my life. Find out what it takes, and get happy and share that happiness. It’s contagious.

23. Focus on Him and study scripture.

I’ve known this my whole life, but have never applied it until recently. This is one thing I do wish I would have implemented a lot earlier in life. I have always been a believer but never put the time and effort into it that it deserves. It is so true that once you place your focus on God and put him first above all and actually study and apply yourself to His Word that everything starts making more sense and falling into place. My priorities have become more obvious. I am happier. I am saved.

24. Write it down.

It is a proven fact that if you write something down you are much more likely to do it. Whether it’s a to-do list or your goals, write it down!

25. Keep a hobby.

No matter how busy and all consuming a family, job, career, life in general gets, it’s so important to keep something just for you. Whether it’s gardening, reading, writing, exercising, hiking, crafts, scrapbooking, cooking, baking, you name it, keep it alive! It will keep you alive.

26. Family really is everything.

Everything I’ve faced in my adult life has brought me back to the simple fact that family really is everything. Family is probably the easiest thing to take for granted. Now I just try to even imagine where I’d be without my family, and I cannot even fathom it.

27. Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.

I am big on this! I’m glad you love cheese and sorry you hate eggs, but I’d so much rather hear about why you love and promote and advocate for cheese than all the reasons you hate eggs and why we all should, too. (I know, weird example, but that’s all I could come up with besides political crap.) To me this goes along with not complaining. We all need to vent at times, but just think how irritating it is when you talk to someone and all they do is complain.

28. Find a job you love (eventually).

We can’t graduate high school or college and then jump right into doing exactly what we know we’ve always wanted to do. Most of us don’t even know by that time exactly what it is we want to do. It takes time and patience, but with time and patience, it can and will all fall into place if you work hard for it. My dream was always to be a stay-at-home-mom. My husband made that dream come true, whether it was the best for us financially or not. It was definitely right for us as a family. I got to live my dream. Now I am out in the workforce, but only part-time. I may have went to school and got a degree in Medical Transcription, but I honestly like tending bar more at this point in my life. Life changes and we evolve. Guess what? If the job you find and love isn’t what you went to school for oh freaking well. We change. Life changes. You don’t have to know exactly what you want all the time and exactly what you want will most likely change as you age.

29. Learn from others.

There is nothing more valuable than being able to speak to someone who has been there and done that.

30. Time is the most valuable thing in life.

Time flies. The older we get, the faster it goes. Don’t take even one second for granted.

– AMomsFaithUnbroken