Thursday, February 19, 2015

A little less Action.. and a lot more talk.

So for those of you who have never had the pleasure of taking your kids to their 18 month 'well baby visit'.. here's some knowledge I'm about to drop on you..

Being that I have not had kids before.. I didn't really know what to expect as far as baby 'milestones' are concerned.. I mean I figured they eventually learned to crawl, walk, hold their bottle, talk, etc.. But I didn't really know there were hard limits on when they were supposed to do those things.. Everyone will tell you that there isn't hard limits on these things..BUT.. then when you say that your baby isn't walking by 12 months they will say "Oh really? Little Jimmy walked at 6 months".. Whatever.. Move past those people..

Anyway.. When you go into your 18 month appointment you will get the "Autism Screening".. Now, you may not know this is what this is.. for example, it might just seem like a normal questionnaire in which you are answering basic questions about your tot.. but its not. Its a screener for early signs of Autism. I think this is a fine practice.. I'm not mad at the questionnaire.. I think early detection is awesome, and a great idea.. But I will tell you, when I'm in the pediatrician's office with two HEALTHY babies.. trying to keep them from picking up stale puffs on the floor, running their hands all over germy toys, and trying to keep sick kids from hugging them and sneezing on them.. My mind isn't always in the right place to think about every single thing they are doing developmentally and physically..

So because I'm a dumb mom.. I answer truthfully to the questions.. I'm saying 'truthfully'.. because I did answer them to my knowledge.. but sometimes my knowledge is not that accurate.. I'm a mom of twins. I am sometimes losing my mind..and don't know if I'm coming or going.. So sometimes I have a hard time remembering If Crosslee does this, or Londyn does that.. I'm sure all of you moms and dads realize that if you aren't expecting something to be important, sometimes you don't remember it. So Jordan and I end up answering NO to 3 or 4 questions on the questionnaire.. and boom! Londyn has to go and be evaluated for Autism and learning disorders..

I guess the reason why this is annoying to me.. is because all of this is based on what I say.. Like not on what Londyn actually does.. So I felt like I had failed her.. Mainly because after we got home we realized that she does do a lot of the things we said "NO" too.. but oh well.. Now we have an appointment with Sooner Start for her to be evaluated.. I do think its better to be safe than sorry..its a free program, with really great specialists.. and if she does need help, then I want to help her for SURE.. So we go.. and we realize that you will get dinged if your kid doesn't do the following things by 18 months..

1) Eat with a spoon.. Well my bad on this one. My girls did baby led weaning, so they have always eaten with their hands and have never been spoon fed, so they had no concept..and I had no clue that they were supposed to be doing that. My bad. They know what a spoon is..they know what to do with it.. so I thought I was winning. I wasn't.

2) Take their shoes off.. Um, why would I want her to take her shoes off when I had just put them on?

3) Playing pretend.. Cross has played pretend since early on. Every morning she gets all her animals out and pretends to feed and water them.. But since I had never seen Londyn do that I assumed she wasn't 'pretending'.. Little did I know that pretending can be a lot of things..It can be taking your phone and pretending to talk.. it can be taking the tv remote and pointing it at the TV..So Keep that in mind. Londyn DOES do the remote thing..Again, My bad.

4) Pointing. Pointing is BIG to them.. They don't want them to just touch pictures, they want them to POINT at them.. They want them to POINT at their cups and ask for them. They can't just ask for them.. they must point. POINTY POINTY POINTY.. When we got home, we realized that Londyn also pointed..she points at her Pa in the hallway and says "PA".. but we didn't realize this because we didn't know it was such a big deal. It is.. so watch for them pointing. Woops. My bad.

5) Playing with other kids.. No. LL could care less about this. She's not anti-social.. but she's got better things to do in her mind.. like explore, or read a book, or build with blocks. She likes to go and check on the other kids..and sure, she and Cross chase each other from time to time, but Londyn is fiercely independent and likes to do her OWN thing. I don't think this is a weird thing..I just think she likes to do her own thing for now.

Now.. I will say..Londyn does not, and has not ever said many words.. she chatters all the time.. speaks weird languages we don't understand.. but she only has a few words.. Mainly "Mama, dada, Pa, Oh, Wow, and Hey".. Other than that..she doesn't say that many words. LL is not a demanding child, so she has never really asked for things.. We usually just give her something when Cross is asking for
it b/c we figure she will want it eventually anyway.. But she never throws a fit for treats, a drink, a toy, etc.. She's just a pretty mellow girl, like her daddy.

But either way.. Sooner Start came over.. and they are amazing. Sooner Start is a free program provided by the state for early Intervention.. They are great. Its a great program. They had a speech pathologist and a Physical therapist evaluate Londyn and they did a great job. Londyn is not autistic.. She is extremely independent, and strong willed though.. We found out that Londyn was behind in her speech so they setup a person to come out to the house and work with her whenever we requested. (We decided to do every other week).. A lot of parents would feel threatened by this.. but listen, if someone offers your kiddo free help.. take it. LL has her first session this evening and I'm excited to see how it goes. We agreed on 3 goals for her progress:
1) To learn 25 new words or phrases
2) To engage in group play
3) To complete simple tasks upon request.

We thought those were great goals..and I'm excited to see how it goes this evening..

The moral of the story is.. 1) Don't freak out if your kid has to be evaluated.. 2) Don't freak out if someone offers assistance to help you parent or teach your kid how to learn. I'm smart enough to know I don't know much about parenting.. so if someone smarter and more qualified than me agrees to come help..thats awesome.. and they are coming to my house to help? Even more amazing.. So don't worry too much about things. At this stage they are little people and everyone catches up.. Its hard to learn how to be a little human! So give them a break..they will catch up..

If other parents are telling you how "Advanced" their kids are.. its just to make themselves feel better.. Because I'm pretty sure the other Toddlers aren't judging each other for not knowing their multiplication tables at this age..

Friday, February 6, 2015

Master this.. Do that.. and quit doing this.. Blog

So I came across this post that everyone was pinning on Facebook..and I thought it was pretty good. It talks about 10 Life Lessons to Master in your 30's.. Master is a pretty strong word.. but Here's the list..

1) Start saving money for retirement now, not later..
   Ok, for me, this one was easy.. Why? Because my mom's a stock broker and has drilled this into my head from a young age. Anytime I have been offered a 401k at my job, I've contributed. I usually try to contribute up to what my employer will match.. except for at CHK.. because Big Aubs matched 15%.. which is amazing, but I couldn't do 15% at that time.. but it is important. Saving is also important.. because you never know whats going to happen.. especially when you are a home-owner.. Heat and Air System, giant hospital bills, Car dies.. etc.. So Save. Here were a few other things listed:
  • Make it your top priority to pay down all of your debt as soon as possible.
  • Keep an “emergency fund”—there were tons of horror stories about people getting financially ruined by health issues, lawsuits, divorces, bad business deals, etc.
  • Stash away a portion of every paycheck, preferably into a 401k, an IRA or at the least, a savings account.
  • Don’t spend frivolously. Don’t buy a home unless you can afford to get a good mortgage with good rates.
  • Don’t invest in anything you don’t understand. Don’t trust stockbrokers.

2) Start taking care of your health now, not later.. (I'm also going to add SKIN to this one too for the ladies)
This one is hard for me.. because I. Hate. Exercise. And when I say exercise, I mean like going to the gym, jogging, lifting weights, that kind of crap. I just hate it.. However, I've found that by having 2 toddlers I don't have to work too hard for exercise. For example, yesterday I earned 6 activity points (I'm currently on weight watchers and wearing an Active sync tracker) by just walking around at work, and chasing the girls.. I can handle that kind of exercise.. So I think its mainly about just moving.. I dance at my desk (My Co-workers love the Milli Vanilli Channel with me) and try to just keep moving.

I think its also hard for us to eat Healthy.. Especially in Oklahoma where Steaks, Chicken FRIED Steak, and fast food are dominant. I love food. My whole family loves food.. we celebrate around food.. and that food does not include tofu, radish burgers, and quinoa.. Sorry. That sucks. Even on Weight Watchers, I don't think I eat "healthy".. I just eat "less" crappy foods. I mean I know that's not a great answer.. but I'm trying to make little changes day by day.. For example, I've started ordering a Bountiful Basket 2 or 3 times a month.. It has a TON of fresh fruit and Vegetables in it.. and then I make Smoothies for us every morning. I have to force MJ to drink them, even though they are delicious..he eats VERY few fruits, vegetables and never drinks water.. So I'm working on him too. The girls, thankfully, are really pretty great at eating a good variety of foods, and healthy foods at that..

I also mentioned skin.. because I think if you wait TOO long to start taking care of your skin.. your skin doesn't forgive you. I've always been pretty good at this.. although my 'regimen' is not that impressive.. I wash my face at night in the bathtub.. take my makeup off with Vaseline.. and usually rub some essential oils on my face at night with Primrose oil, or a Giant tub of Vitamin E Cream from Sams. Its been good to me so far. I think I look pretty good..and I think (for the most part) I look younger than I actually am.. I think its just important to at least put some kind of moisture back into your skin.. It will appreciate it.. Plus you won't look 60 when you are 30. So there you go. You're welcome.

3)  Don't spend time with People who don't treat you well.
Sometimes you just have to step back and realize that you are not going to tolerate people who don't treat you well, or bring joy to your life. If you constantly hang out with negative, miserable people, you will eventually also start to feel negative and miserable..

You want to surround yourself with people that make you better, make you happy, and that love you. Learn how to say NO to people, activities, and obligations that don't bring joy to your life. I know people struggle with boundaries because sometimes its hard to say NO, or you are afraid of hurting someone's feelings.. but if you keep hanging out with people who always hurt your feelings, there's really no payoff. I really liked this quote
         "By our 30's we've learned that good relationships are hard to come by, that there's no shortage of people to meet and friends to be made, and that there is not reason to waste our time with people who don't help us on our life's path"

4) Be Good to the People you care about.
This one had some really good points.. Be the Person others can count on. Be the person others look up to for guidance, help, support, etc. I remember when I found out my grandma Leona had cancer that I wanted to make sure those last 6 months I had with her were completely full of HER. Me just being with her, waiting on her, loving her.. because that is what she had done for me my whole life. And I loved those last 6 months we had together. So now I really try to show the people that are important to me that I love them, I'm there for them, and I support them. I hope I can always be that for my girls. Every night before they go to bed MJ and I pray for them, and we say "If you get scared, sad, or sick, just call us and we'll always be here" and we mean that. Forever. We have friends that are going through tough life circumstances and we always let them know we are here. And even if we don't see them everyday, we'll always be here.

5) You can't have everything, so focus on doing a few things really good.
This was a hard lesson for me in my 30's.. because I did exactly what I loved in my 20's.. and into my 30's.. Radio. When that career was taken from me, I had to accept the fact that I could find appreciation in other things.. Now that is my family, but it took a bit to change that mind-set. But I've also realized I cannot be all things to all people. Sometimes I don't make it to Women's bible study because I'm home with the girls. Sometimes I don't make it to co-worker happy hour, because I have to cook dinner. Sometimes, my house looks like crap because I don't have the will, or want-to to clean it! Such is life. It was hard to take the risk of getting OUT of radio.. getting married.. having babies.. But it was a risk worth taking. I once had a friend tell me that your life is in 3's.. Your Family Life, Your work Life, Your Social Life.. Very rarely do all 3 stack up. Usually one is lacking.. but 2 outta 3... ain't bad... (thank you Meatloaf).. So its a trade off.

6) Don't be afraid of taking risks, You can still change.
I'm not a big risk taker.. Well I say that.. then remember I moved to Corpus Christi for a radio job where I knew nothing and no one.. but USUALLY.. I am not.. I do think one benefit of being in your 30's is you are pretty good at knowing who you are.. what you like.. what you don't.. and what you want to do.. What MJ and I consider a 'risk' is sitting at a different table at Sunday School! But I get what the article is saying.. You have to be ok with change.. you have to be ok with not having all the pieces in place.. Lord knows when I found out I was having twins, we were ROLLING THE DICE and hoping for the best! I had no clue about parenting, parenting twins, babies, feeding babies, keeping babies alive.. etc.. But I read, talked to people, joined groups, and we were just winging it for the first 6 months.. Like most new parents.. But thats ok.. the babies are ok. We all are ok.. So don't be afraid to roll the dice.

7) You must Continue to Grow and Develop Yourself.
I always firmly believe this. I think there is always a 'better' version of me that I can be working on.. A better mom.. a better Christian.. better wife.. a better friend.. I am always working on myself and trying to be better. Trying to be more patient.. trying to show more grace. I feel like you should always try to be better.

8) Nobody (still) knows what they are doing.. get used to it.
I watch people make dumb decisions everyday and think to myself.. man.. we learned nothing there did we? But no.. the answer is you cannot convince people to do the right thing.. you cannot convince others to be better.. You cannot convince someone to make better choices.. So just do what you can do.. offer help when you can.. and be ok with that. But realize that people around you are going to continue to do stupid stuff and there's going to be nothing you can do about it 98% of the time. People like to make their own mistakes and you just have to let them. I've also learned that not everyone is on the same path. Especially moms.. you will have to listen to moms who think they know everything and try to make you feel like boot if you don't do certain things a certain way.. Its very much like this commercial:
There's always going to be a kid that knows more than yours.. says more than yours.. has cuter clothes than yours.. Was breastfed till they were 6.. Potty trained at 9 months.. So just get ready for it..And realize that they are probably full of it.. and then look at your own kid, watch their face light up, and pat yourself on the back for being awesome.

9) Invest in your Family.. Its worth it. 
I've realized the funny thing about having kids.. is that my parents want to see the kids all the time.. but they also still want to see me.. Sure, they like seeing the girls MORE.. but they do still like seeing me.. I do miss doing things "just with my mom" because now that I have the girls we both want to take them with us.. But having kids changes the relationship with your parents.. but in a good way.. so still spend time with your parents. Plus, you are past the point of thinking your parents are fool, and realize that they have pretty good sense about stuff.. so now is the time to pick their brains about things you've always wanted to know. One of the other really cool things about having kids is watching your own parents LOVE your kids.. form relationships with them.. say their name for the first time.. and watch how they both light up when they see each other.

The other cool thing is that now I have my own little family to spend time with.. and I love it. I love our time with the girls, the dogs, and just us.. We can get excited about the "Seek a Boo" game.. or a silly puzzle.. Play Dough is also huge right now. But its fun to just go home, and be with my family. Every day its something new with the girls.. (Yesterday Cross was Bokking like a chicken) and I don't want to miss any of those moments. I also really love my husband and going home to him.. So I enjoy the lame-ness of my little family life.

10) Be Kind to yourself.. Respect Yourself.. 
I also add Forgiving yourself to this one.. yeah, I'm not a stay at home mom.. yeah I don't weigh 100lbs.. yeah I didn't get married till later.. Yeah, my kids eat Cheetos sometimes.. Forgive yourself. Don't Sweat the small stuff.. or.. Don't sweat the Petty stuff, and don't pet the Sweaty Stuff.. lol.. Either way. Its all going to work out. So don't beat yourself up because all the other kids are saying their ABC's and your kid isn't even talking.. When I look at my girls, they are full of joy, so I know I am doing something right.. None of that is going to matter to you in 50 years, so just enjoy your time and be kind and forgiving to yourself..

Here's the full article if you want to read all the comments, etc.. 

We are headed to the farm this weekend. And we get to meet my new nephew, Luke.. Grant & Jenny's new baby. The girls will get to play with Cousin Ava & Joe.. it will be like a giant circus.. but fun.. I'm excited for the girls to have cousins their age that they can run around and have fun with. Its a special time.

Oh, and if you are looking for a delicious Valentines Idea.. Get One Smart Cookies. I know we are supposed to eat 'better'.. but these are worth the calories, and worth the exercise. Dang good cookies..and they are doing a valentine special.. and they are on groupon. Boom. You're welcome.