Summer Fun List!

It’s the second week of summer and my kids are so bored. So we sat down and came up with a list of fun, local things to do. We are going to try Jake and Scout’s Berry Farm to pick raspberries, blueberries and cherries. We also might try Boys-N-Berries Farm (especially this Fall to see giant pumpkins!)

I get my Farmer’s Market information from this site. We haven’t been to one yet, but there’s one just up the highway every Friday. The drive-in movie will be a little more challenging to plan, since it’s a bit of a drive, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do since I found out about it many years ago.

From a few weeks ago…

Avery has already been to the local zoo with her friend, and Lauren went with her class. Just poor Hannah got left out! We are planning to go there one of these weekends with all the kids (and maybe the Significant Other)! We also want to get to the Pine Grove Zoo in Little Falls because their otter exhibit is now open! Can’t resist cute little otters!

As for the rest of the stuff, that can be done here or at Gramma’s (except for the bonfire – that’s strictly done at Gramma’s!)

What are you and your kids doing this summer?

First Week of Summer Semester

It’s been a long week. But I’ve almost finished all of my homework that was assigned this week. I’m taking 9 credits (which is three 16-week courses all crammed into 8 weeks), and they all require different paper styles (MLA, APA, none??), they all have several different requirements for the discussion boards, and I even have to write a paper this week. Nothing like jumping right in! (I’m in the process of writing that paper now, but kinda, sorta procrastinating a little, since it’s kinda, sorta tough.) I understand the purpose of the discussion boards, but sometimes I just have literally nothing to add to the topic, so I lose points.

I’m taking Sociology of the Family, Intercultural Communication since everything in the Child Development classes emphasize culture and Positive Psychology. It will be my second time taking this class. I took it last summer when I was in a very different place, mental health-wise. I’m curious to see if that affects it in any way.

I’ve got to get a little creative in when I actually do my homework since it’s summer now and the kids are home full-time. Lauren and I head to the library a few times a week just to get out of the house. I don’t get a lot done there, but it’s better than nothing. I’m still trying to set an excellent example regarding school and homework, so I’m really trying not to complain about how much I have to get done each week.

I’m using Google Calendar and my inkWELL Press Daily Undated planner to keep track of homework and due dates. All of my due dates are set a day before they are actually due, to trick me into working harder and procrastinating less. I’ll let you know if it works… I love GoogleCal because it will send reminders to my phone. I sometimes use good ol’ Post-Its and Sharpies too, it just depends on the day, my mood, and how many assignments I need to get done.

In addition to my first week of summer classes, I had my first psychiatrist appointment and first therapist appointment in over a month. It’s been closer to a month and a half for the therapist. I wrote about that here. So, yeah, it’s been a busy week!

Pediatric Podiatrist Visit

Lauren has Down syndrome, for those of who who did not know that. She has always had a little trouble walking since her ankles turn in, and I think it’s starting to cause her pain. She doesn’t seem to want to play on the playground as much, or run around with her sisters. I am concerned that her ankles will only get worse, and cause future problems with her hips, walking, and moving.

I finally got an appointment with a pediatric podiatrist who has experience with children with special needs, even though we had to drive all the way to St. Paul to see him.

My mom came with Lauren and I, since I am unfamiliar with the Twin Cities, and my mom has been there several times over the past six years for my brother’s cancer treatments (all is well now, thank goodness!).

We started out kind of early, since we weren’t quite sure where to go. We had donuts and banana bread for breakfast, and hit the road. Traffic was a little nuts going out of town since it was rush hour but we made it. It was a beautiful day, weatherwise. We went to Cabela’s before the appointment to stretch our legs and check out some animals.

Lauren was not happy that she had to go to the doctor, because doctor visits usually mean shots. But today, she didn’t need shots thankfully. She did really well at the appointment, and as usual, everyone loved her. She clung to Gramma most of the time, since mom is old news when Gramma is around (and I’m okay with that, since Gramma is awesome!)

We met Silas the Therapy Dog. Lauren really loved him. He sat with her for a few minutes while we waited to get her brace molds made and she gave him a few cheese treats.

Lauren was diagnosed with hip dysplasia today. She is getting braces for her ankles to help straighten them out so she can walk better. We’ll get the braces in about two weeks and she chose a butterfly design for the outside of them. All in all, it was a successful appointment (three hours start to finish) and we’re hoping these braces will help!

First Day of Summer

Today is the first day of summer. Lauren is already asking when she can go to school again (she misses her teachers and is 100% sick of me already). Yesterday after school, Lauren, Hannah and I made the world’s best cookies (and I ate too much dough…). We dropped Avery off at a friend’s house for pizza and a sleepover.

This morning, these two were up before 6am, playing in their room not so quietly. So we decided to head to Cub in our jammies for our favorite donuts while we waited for the library to open.

After we had donuts and smelled the flowering trees, we went to Walmart for some sandals for Lauren. She picked the same ones as Hannah, so they could “be best friends”.

Our library started their Summer Reading program today, so I registered all the kids. They can collect minutes by reading and turn them in at the end of July to win prizes. There are also some kid-friendly events going on in the next two months that we plan on attending.

Now we’re just hanging out, coloring with new crayons, running errands, and enjoying the cooler weather (since yesterday was 90*). We rented the Lego Movie 2 for the third time (time to think about buying it…) and we’ll probably read all of their new library books before Monday.

Have a great weekend!

33 Things

Post inspired by the wonderful LaShawn Wiltz at Everyday Eyecandy.

Today I am 33. It’s pretty much just another day. Except that I am spending it with my three kids and my parents. I told my mom all I wanted for my birthday was a big fire, BBQ, and chocolate chip meringue bars (since I can’t bake to save my life.

I have had a list of things I want to do since I was in therapy the first time in early 2017. Honestly, I kind of forgot about that list until about a month ago. I made some changes since I accomplished a few things already.

Go swimming with my kids

Take them to more social events

Make progress in therapy

Try new foods from the local Farmer’s Market

Go to an outdoor movie

Pick fruit this summer

Get back into consistent blogging

Take daily photos

Get in the photos with my kids

Take more selfies

Walk every single day

More deliberate self-care

Less Netflix, more nature

Use my planners more

Plan more self-care nights

Use my free time more wisely

Use my phone LESS

Pick a church

GO to church

Take a portrait of my kids each month

Get a haircut

Try Barre3 again

Get some sun (safely) this summer

Go see a movie alone

Word hard in therapy

Wear more makeup for fun

Journal daily

Get back into writing fiction

Focus on school and get my last year out of the way

Figure out who I am and be that.†

What I’m Currently Reading

I have a few weeks before the summer semester starts, so I thought I would do some reading. I found this series on an Instagram post from Barnes & Noble St. Cloud. I’m about six chapters into the first book, Three Dark Crowns, and so far, I’m loving it. The author mentioned that the fourth book in the series will come out in September.

Three Dark Crowns | Kendare Blake

Another series I stumbled upon was written by the guy who made the first two Harry Potter movies (The best ones.) A few chapters in and there was a huge twist, so it definitely hooked me.

House of Secrets | Chris Columbus

I watched this TV series a few years ago and saw this at the library last week, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

The Strain | Guillermo Del Toro

This book kept cropping up in my Facebook and Instagram ads, so I thought I would see what all the fuss is about. I even joined a book club and got the audio book, so we’ll see how it is, since it’s so different from the usual genre I read.

Girl Stop Apologizing | Rachel Hollis

Mother’s Day 2019

Mother’s Day was just another Sunday for us, except we could finally get outside. It has been cold, snowy and rainy for the past, well, eight months or so. We spent the day playing outside, going to the park, and two out of three kids rode their bikes. I bought myself some flowers and a bag of Reese’s Pieces (that I didn’t share).

I told the kids I only wanted one thing: to not have to do any housework. Well, I ended up doing two loads of dishes (why do they use so many cups?!) but that was about it. I put off laundry until Monday, because why not?

We’re looking forward to many more days outside in the sunshine!

Mental Health Care

I’m sitting at my psychiatrist’s office right now, waiting for her to come in and give me a little bit of hope. I’ve been having a lot of anxiety and restlessness the past few weeks. Since I can’t get into my therapist until early June, I’m hoping that the things she prescribes will help at least a little. 

I have a 5-point plan for the next month. I will switch Abilify to bedtime, increase the Celexa to 40mg, take Gabapentin three times a day (for the anxiety), increase Vyvanse to 30mg and come back in a month. 

I like that my doctor writes my plan down so I can take it with me. It’s sometimes a lot to remember, and when I have my 5-year-old along, things don’t always register. 

I feel like I have a good team this time. My psychiatrist and therapist are both in the same practice, and genuinely seem to care about my mental health and about me getting better. Which makes me feel better. 

We’ll see how this helps, along with the @Headspace app for a few minutes a day, and a 30 minute walk. 

Mental Health Month

Last May, I had a post about Mental Health Month on my old blog. I was in a different place, mentally and emotionally. I had jumped dumped a guy for cheating on me, I quit therapy and medication wasn’t really helping.

Now I am in a great relationship (though it’s still early), I’m making plans for our future, Spring Semester is winding down (finally) and I gained a few new diagnoses. I do feel like a quote from last year’s post is still true, “It’s not depression so much anymore, just anxiety.” I’m anxious and restless and just overall all feel weird. I think this is due in part to a combination of the meds I am on and the new diagnosis.

I’m back in therapy for the third time. I really like this one, so I hope I can make some progress. She gave me an assignment, since I wasn’t able to make another appointment for a month. I am supposed to “feel my feelings” when I get anxious or restless. I’ll be honest – I am not doing this every single time. I would be doing nothing else than feeling my feelings. But I am trying to catch myself in the big moments and figure out why I’m feeling that way and to calm myself down. It’s a process.

I am also enrolled in Diabetes Education classes. Due to a combo of genetics, bad diet, anxiety and Binge Eating Disorder, I am “borderline pre-diabetic”. Obviously, I don’t want to become diabetic, so I will work hard in those 16 weeks of classes to learn and change and grow.

This month, I turn 33. I’m not nervous or scared or anything. Honestly, it’s just another day. It will be a little different this year, as I have a Significant Other who actually cares about me and my kids, so maybe it will even be fun.

The plan is to drive up to my parents’ house in the morning, have a BBQ bonfire with s’mores, take some photos, maybe do some sparklers, and head home to a clean, quiet house to relax after being with people all day. I’m an introverted introvert – people exhaust me – even if they’re family.

I’m hoping to blog more about mental health and our life here in Northern Minnesota. Stay Tuned!

Therapy Session 1

I went back to therapy recently, and in the first session, I told her that I want to stop using my phone as a coping mechanism for anxiety. We didn’t work out what I would do instead – that will come later – but I’ve been doing some research on my own since then.

I reach for my phone often. Like, all the time. I carry it with me in my pocket or in my bra (yes, I know that’s bad) when I don’t have pockets. A few weeks ago, I left my phone in the car while Hannah and I went into Walmart before school. It was an accident but I felt panicky and sweaty and nervous. I didn’t like not having my phone. I told Hannah my excuse – I needed to know what time it was so I could get her to school on time – but really, it felt like I was losing my mind.

I feel like maybe I am getting a little better sometimes, like when I’m at the park with the kids (it’s too sunny out to see the screen anyway) or watching a movie with my Significant Other (aka B). But I find that I am thinking about my phone during those times. It’s not like I’m getting a ton of messages or there’s so much to do on there. I don’t even have the Facebook app or Instagram app anymore. It’s just such a habit now that I need to have my phone, even if there’s nothing to do. It’s the first thing I reach for when I open my eyes at night, no matter what time. And I get annoyed with myself when my eyes are too blurry to see the screen.

There are some positives. It’s the only camera I have right now to take photos of my kids. I read a lot on my phone – I have hundreds of free and purchased Kindle books. I also keep track of my assignments on my phone.

My homework from that first session was to write down the times of day when I’m feeling anxious and restless, and try to figure out why – to just stop and feel the feelings. She said it won’t feel good, and it will be hard, but it’s a good first step.