Fun Easter Traditions to Start with Your Family

EASTER IS ALMOST HERE! Let us celebrate the reason for the season- our Almighty God & His only begotten son! This time of year always fills my heart with so much joy, it’s overflowing. Easter is my second favorite holiday of the year- Christmas being the 1st :). Mostly because we get to rejoice in the realization the He has risen from the dead after making the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. But also because it truly brings families together. Holding traditions is such a precious and simple way to spend quality time with your families. Seize these moments as they probably don’t come along very often in the midst of our busy and chaotic lives.

Being a relatively new and young family ourselves, sometimes it’s hard to start our own traditions. I’ve come up with a list of really fun traditions you can start doing with your family tomorrow on this joyous day!

Coloring eggs

I believe most families include this in their Easter traditions some way or another. Probably a “given”, but so much fun! Even if you don’t have kids, this is a great way to get everyone together and get those creative juices going. I like to boil the eggs the night before and have the kids color them on Easter. There are so many ways you can do these, it’s crazy! I found this really fun way to color eggs with shaving cream and food coloring by The Crafty Morning blog that looks so fun. And it’s a great sensory activity for the kiddos if you’re wanting to stray away from the typical store bought egg coloring kits. I also found some ADORABLE decorating ideas for older kiddos and adults on the Homesteading blog! From glitter eggs to mini flower holders, they have 32 super creative ideas. Go check them out!

Easter Morning Church Service

The best way you can start your Easter festivities to wake up, get dressed up in your flowery dress & ironed polos and praise the One who made it all possible! Easter services are always to fun, too. My family and I attend Baptist churches where praise and worship are held at the beginning of each service. It’s so fun and uplifting to praise Him and lift up His name on this glorious morning in particular. Everyone is so happy and each heart is filled with the Holy Spirit, you can just feel it! A wonderful tradition to start if you are religious.

Take Pictures

Taking pictures is probably my favorite hobby. I am ALWAYS taking pictures of EVERYTHING. Just ask my husband. I’m always looking for a good photo op. What better time than when everyone is dressed up in their spiffy Easter outfits?! These do not have to be taken by a professional. But capture the moments. Take a picture of your kiddos with their Easter baskets full of eggs every year and see how they grow. They always say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” But I say, “A picture holds a thousand memories.” They are so special to have and I encourage all of you to never stop snapping those pics! We started this tradition for Paislee’s first Easter. We actually got professional ones done that year by the wonderful Olguta with Oh My Goddard Photography [I highly recommend her if you’re in the San Diego area, she takes beautiful pictures!] and last year just took some ourselves. But, c’mon! Look how adorable! Such sweet pictures I will always love and hold dear.

Paislee’s 1st Easter

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Noah’s 1st Easter, & 1st of us as a family of four

Have a Picnic & Easter Egg Hunt

Easter is usually paired with some beautiful weather, so take advantage of it! Find a nice park around your neighborhood, or even the beach and have yourself a picnic! This would be a perfect time to talk & laugh with your family while the kiddos go on an Easter egg hunt. My family does do an annual Easter egg hunt at the house, but I think a picnic would be so much fun. Enjoying the sun, letting the kids play and just soaking up that quality time. Pack some finger sandwiches, fruit, and maybe some mimosas and you’ve got yourself a low-key Easter brunch on the lawn! How perfect.

Dinner & The Passion

This is one that I would love to start this year with my family. It will probably just be me and my husband watching it since our babies are still really little. But I think it’s so important to remember the reason we celebrate this day. I know a lot of families like to make a ham and all the yummy fixins that go along with it. After your tummies are full and happy, what a wonderful way to end the day by watching The Passion of the Christ. An amazing illustration of the purest love we will ever experience. Watching the story of Jesus unfold is something I will never get tired of. It makes me cry every time. I’ve just bought it on iTunes and can’t wait to watch it with my family tomorrow 🙂

I hope you can start some of these traditions with your family & I pray that you all have a beautiful Easter 🙏🏻

And as always, God Bless †

Brittany

 

Rev It Up! Preparing Your Toddler for Their First NASCAR Race

This last Sunday will be one that my husband and I will always remember! We took our girl to her first NASCAR race. If y’all aren’t familiar with the sport, NASCAR stands for National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. It is so much fun to watch and my husband is a diehard fan. He is a huge Brad Keslowski fan. I was [and always will be] a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan, but since he retired last year, I am now a full-fledged Brad fan right alongside my hubby! This was our fourth year to attend the race at Fontana’s Auto Club Speedway, and the best year to date!!

We seriously thought about taking Paislee last year, but she still seemed a bit little and we were’t sure how she was going to react to the cars. Let me tell ya…those cars get LOUD. Thirty-six cars traveling over 200 miles an hour, zooming around in an oval….yeah it gets pretty loud. Most of the adults sitting in the stands have headphones on. So yeah, needless to say we decided not to bring her with us last year. And same thing with our son this year. He’s now 1 1/2 and there’s no way he would last all day  and not be able to nap or run around all day. We actually saw lots of kiddos younger than Paislee there on Sunday. We even saw a newborn! She was so tiny! So it’s really up to your discretion. Whenever you feel comfortable enough to take your little one, go for it!

You definitely need to be prepared for this little outing. I will say, for our first time with her, we did a great job, but we did forget a couple things. I’ll get into that a little later!

MUST-HAVES

Snacks

This track, along with all other NASCAR tracks [I believe], allow you to bring in snack for your littles and sippies. We stocked up on some basic snacks and made sure we had plenty of water. We packed crackers, fruit, applesauce, gummies [can’t ever leave the house without these!], & granola bars. Everything is easy on-the-go and didn’t make a big fuss. I also decided to pack some chicken nuggets just in case she got really hungry inside and the lines were too long to buy her something. I recently bought these cute little thermoses on amazon & it worked like a charm for those chicken nugs. It kept them pretty warm most of the day too! Plus, most of the time when we buy her food somewhere she doesn’t even eat half of it. I’m sure y’all can relate!

Blanket

It was pretty chilly here on Sunday so I packed a couple of blankets to have in the car & take inside the track with us. It’s also just a comfort thing for her so I wanted to make sure I brought it inside in case she got scared or tired. As you can see, it came in handy :).

Sunscreen & Hat or Hooded Jacket

I lathered her up with sunscreen. If theres one thing I remember from the three years prior is that I got so sunburnt. It was cold, but that sun was bright and beaming down during the entire race. I would also highly suggest to bring a hat for your little one to wear so their little heads don’t get sunburnt. Silly me forgot one, but luckily Paislee had on a hooded jacket and I had her hood up most of the race.

Headphones

These are pretty essential if you are taking any aged child to the races. Thankfully, Paislee wasn’t scared of the cars or the loud sound at all. But her ears are still so tiny and the sound those cars make are so BIG. So they need the protection regardless. She did eventually get tired of wearing them a little more than half-way through the race, so I had to improvise and use my hands or the padding of her hood from her jacket to cover her ears. Aren’t they so cute, though?! I just can’t. We ordered these on amazon for super cheap and they worked like a charm. You can also rent them at the track. And they even have special ones you can get that let you listen to your driver’s radio and such. Might be cooler for older kiddos who have a favorite driver.

Shoes

Obviously your kiddo is going to wear shoes, but make sure they are shoes you wouldn’t mind getting dirty & they’re comfortable to walk in. Paislee didn’t do a whole lot of walking, but her shoes got super dirty from the bleachers. Drinks get spilled, food gets stepped on…it’s just good to put on some shoes that you don’t mind a mess on!

Fun Stuff

If you plan on showing up early [which I would highly suggest] to tailgate a little before the race, make sure you bring some fun stuff for your little[s] to do. We brought Paislee’s bike so she could ride around and get some energy out. We bought this balance bike for her for Christmas & she has done SO WELL with it! She was going to be sitting for quite awhile during the race, so we wanted her to have something active to do beforehand. But you can bring whatever your kiddo is into. There’s all kinds of fun tailgating games you can buy at any store or on amazon.

I WISHES

Throughout the day my husband and I would use the phrase, “Oh I wish we would’ve brought that”. There were mainly a couple things that I wanted to share with y’all!

Chair for Paislee

She didn’t necessarily need this, but it would have been nice to have while we were tailgating. We did her up a little cozy spot on the back of my husband’s truck, but a chair for her would have been nice to have too!

Ball

Surprisingly there are some nice grassy patches around the tailgating parking lots. And we were also by some train track that Paislee liked biking by. It would have been fun to just have a ball to thrown around and play with on the grass!

Seat cushions

Every year I tell my husband how uncomfortable the bleachers are. And yet again, we forgot to bring some cushions for our little tushes. I guess we didn’t really need one for Paislee because she sat on our laps most of the time, but that just adds more wait on your booty. We ended up buying one for me at the haulers! My hiney couldn’t take the agony!

We had a wonderful & memorable time on Sunday. The mountains in the background were so beautiful too! I made the mistake of telling Paislee that Elsa’s castle was up there *face palm*. She almost had a breakdown because she kept talking about it and insisted on going up there to see her. But all was good and we really enjoyed ourselves. She never got scared and was so genuinely excited to see the race cars. A day I will never forget.

I just had to share this…the left is the very first year we went and I was pregnant with Paislee. And the right is from Sunday! My husband found this photo and thought it was so cool that we have a picture with the same car! I’d have to agree 🙂

Here was Paislee’s reaction when the race first started. The video doesn’t do the cars justice. They are so loud. But she didn’t even flinch!

Here are some more snapshots of our fun-filled day!

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As always, God bless †

-Brittany

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Spring Cleaning: 16 Things & Places You Might Not Think to Clean

Spring has hit us here in SoCal. The rain is upon us, & the cool spring breeze is flowing through my home. One of the best parts of spring [in my humble opinion] is spring cleaning! I LOVE spring cleaning time. I don’t know what it is, but I get such satisfaction out of really scrubbing and cleaning everything in my house. Anyone else?! It’s a little weird, I know. Spring time is my favorite time of the year. The house always feels so airy and the temperature is just right. It makes everything seem so peaceful & motivates me even more to get my house squeaky clean!

I sat down the other day to make my “spring cleaning” list & started thinking about our move a couple of months ago. There were so many things that I stumbled across while packing that were so dirty! Things you would never think to clean. It sparked some inspiration for this post. I thought, “I bet most people wouldn’t think to clean that either [or at least I hope I’m not the only one!]”.  I was able to scramble up a list of 16 things and places in your home you might not normally think to clean a few times a year [some of these could even use a good cleaning once a week/month].

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Shower & Window Curtains

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I never even think about washing my curtains! If you think about it, so much dirt and dust collects on them. And if you have little hands touching every surface of your house, they have lots of other stuff stuck to them too! It’s always good to throw them in the wash. I would wash them on ‘delicate’ mode if you have that option. Or just read the tag on them to see the washing directions, because I’m sure they are all different!

Bath Toys

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Okay so these guys get so gross. Any kind of bath toy that your kiddos have that allow water to get inside of them NEED to be washed regularly [here’s one of the ones that not just for spring cleaning!]. If water sits in them for too long they get mildew all inside of them. They look cute & my kids love to squirt each other with them, but they get super nasty. I mean look…

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It just makes me cringe looking at it. Anyways, my suggestion would be to squirt out all of the water from them every night. If your kiddos are older and don’t put them in their mouths, you can soak them in some cleaning bleach every now and then, fill them up with the cleaning bleach [you can dilute it with some water as well], and squirt it out. It will help get more of that yucky stuff out and prevent it from building up as fast in the future. Or another thing you could do is throw them away all together! Problem solved! We have slowly start buying our kids bath toys that don’t have holes in them. Saves everybody some unneeded stress!

Underneath Carseats and/or Carseat Covers

Wanna know where all the cheerios & gummies went? Yep, they’re under the carseat. All you need here is a good ol’ vacuum cleaner & possibly some stain remover depending on the color of your seats!

Shoes

Shoes get so smelly & discolored if you don’t wash them properly! I have a little secret for those little stains, too! This Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover is heaven on this earth y’all. It will get any stain out! Literally. I used it in combination with some hand sanitizer to get black ink pen off of my couch cushions [I bet you can guess who did that] just last week and it came right out. A little bit of that on there, let it sit for a few minutes and throw your shoes in the wash. Good as new!

Doorknobs

All those leftover germs and sickies from the winter season are just sittin’ on these bad boys waiting to be picked up again. When your kiddos are sleeping or you have a little downtime when you won’t have any hands on them, go around & spray all [ALL] of your doorknobs with some disinfecting spray. Then just leave them until they are completely dry! You could probably be okay with just leaving them after they are dry, but I like to be extra & wipe them down with some Clorox wipes. Good to go!

Picture Frames/Canvases

These Swiffer dusters are great for dusting off your picture frames and canvases. The dust sticks well to them & doesn’t get too much in the air around you. For glass frames I use Windex on them as well.

Shower Heads

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This is my go-to guy for pretty much anything in the bathroom. I honestly forget about the shower head all the time. I’m short so anything above my head gets unnoticed about 80 percent of the time! I spray a moderate amount of this stuff on there & let it sit for about a minute [it doesn’t take long to start it’s magic]. Now, I know it says “scrub free” but I just use the sponge to wipe it down. you don’t have to scrub it at all. It gets everything off. Here’s my before [top] & afters [bottom]

It makes everything so shiny! And it smells really lemon-y & clean. Good stuff y’all.

Light Fixtures/Lamps & Lamp Shades

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These are an easy clean! Depending on if they are glass or plastic will determine what cleaning supplies you use. I start with the Swiffer dusters and then wipe them down with some Clorox wipes. Viola! All clean!

Cabinets [on the outside]

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Down low, up high. Clean all the cabinets! Everywhere in the house is good, but I’m really emphasizing the ones in the kitchen. Again with the little hands touching everything! When you’re cooking, oils and sauces splatter everywhere. Steam gets in the air and sticks to those cabinets! This was one of the many things I was talking about when we were moving. Our cabinets were not the cleanest. Whip out those cleaning wipes & get to scrubbin’!

Hood of Stove

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This would be one of those things above my head that I forget about! One of those out of sight, out of mind things I guess! The more dust that collects in your house, the more prone everyone is to sickness & allergies. Getting all of that dust picked up is essential!

Outside, Behind & Underneath the Refrigerator

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This one counts as two & goes along with the cabinets. It’s just good to wipe these big appliances and stuff down at least a few times a year. And get those handles wiped down really well! Kill those germs! After you wipe it down, drag it out a bit, unplug it & sweep the area it sits on and blocks really well. I can’t tell you how many of these little play magnets we found under our last refrigerator. This is probably more of a once or twice a year thing, but always good to put on that spring cleaning list!

Underneath Furniture

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I started this one the other day & cleared out our playroom. I feel like most people don’t typically think of this one [or maybe don’t want to do it]. It makes the carpet seem almost brand new, & I even decided to rearrange some things in there! If you have furniture like our entertainment center in the first picture, it’s so easy for anything to get underneath there! And those vacuum lines…I mean who doesn’t love those right?!

Your Phone & it’s Case

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This is something that we use the most & touch the most in our day-to-day lives [at least in most cases]. There’s actually been articles and research conducted that states, phones are the most germ-contaminated item in your home. I take mine off about once every couple of weeks or so and give it a good cleaning.

Trash Cans

Round up all the trash cans in your home. Might be best to do it on “trash day” because you already have to empty them out! Line them up outside, throw some bleach, vinegar & get your hose ready. Spray them out really good. I feel like most people, including myself, just think of trash cans as things that are “supposed” to be dirty. They smell. They get sticky. Anything & everything gets thrown in them. They need to be cleaned! The vinegar is a good bug repellant & the bleach with kill anything in its path- germs, bugs, you name it. Let them air dry & that’s that.

Behind & Underneath Washer & Dryer

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Same thing you did with your refrigerator. Unplug them, sweep & mop if needed, then put them back. Lint from that lint catcher in your dryer flies everywhere and eventually lands on that floor! The air will feel cleaner in there, trust me!

I have officially started my “not-so-typical’ spring cleaning list! I have put together a 4 day challenge, if you will, of all 16!

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I hope this is helpful for you during your spring cleaning adventures! Happy cleaning & God bless!

-Brittany

 

The Tiniest Topknot

I love to do my daughter’s hair. That’s one of the many things that I was looking forward to when I found out we were having a girl. But of course, she was born totally bald! It was the cutest little bald head, I will admit.

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It has taken her hair forever to grow. It’s finally at a decent length and I have started to experiment a little with it. It’s so much fun! I have made a small compilation of my favorite “dos” for my baby girl. These are all perfect if you’re in a rush, or if your girl has super thin and short hair like this one! Something a little different from the go-to pony tail.

BEFORE you do anything, go out and get these little rubber bands! They are amazing and you can buy a huge thing of them on amazon. They will last you forever. Perfect for tiny “dos”.

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Piggy Tails

The classic! This is my favorite “do”. And her hair has just gotten long enough to where I can put them down low too.

Just part her hair down the middle, wrap the rubber band around her hair, and repeat on the other side!

Piggy Buns

Repeat all the steps for regular piggy tails, but on the last wrap around, don’t pull her hair all the way through. These are so adorable. If you want to get a little more creative with it, add some cute little bows or make them into little messy buns.

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Twisty Bangs

All I do for this one is grab her bangs in the front, twist them around a couple times and snap it back with a cute clippy. Paislee’s bangs are always in her face [but I refuse to cut them]. We do this one A LOT when we are in a hurry to get somewhere, but I still want to do something with her hair.

[she was totally loving this little photoshoot as you can tell]

Tiny Topknot

This one might take the longest of the “dos” on this list, but it’s still a fast one. It gets the bangs out of the face and it’s just too darn sweet.

First comb back a decent amount of hair in the middle & tie it with a rubber band.

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Pull the hair in the rubber band up really tight and twist it around a few times.

Twirl the hair down in a circle or bun and tie another rubber band to make it stay.

 

& there you have it. The tiniest topknot there ever was. So fitting if your baby has a little hipster heart!

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[I told her to smile & this is what I got…sass]

These four little “dos” are so easy & are my favs! I usually always have a bow in my girl’s hair because that’s how we do it in Texas. I’m so excited for the day her hair is long enough for me to braid it! Until then, I hope these guys are helpful to all parents with little girls out there.

God Bless!

-Brittany

9 Fun Resources for Special Needs Families

Have I told y’all how much I LOVE my part-time job? I have mentioned it in previous posts, but I seriously love it with all my heart. I am an ABA therapist. I work with children with autism and other special needs. I work for the most amazing company, you may have heard of them, The Center for Autism and Related Disorders [CARD]. I have had nothing but wonderful experiences with them and the staff is phenomenal. I have learned so much working for this company, and have nothing but good things to say about them [as you can probably tell].

I get to work with the most awesome and smart kiddos. Some of you may be thinking it’s a little odd that I have such passion for these little guys when I don’t really have a personal connection with special needs myself. My children are not special needs, and I did not grow up with anyone in my family on the spectrum or with any other disabilities or disorders. I’ve just always had a passion for working with children. I didn’t know I wanted to work with kids with special needs until I got involved with a preschool for kids with Down Syndrome my senior year of college. I just fell in love and knew that I wanted to stay in that field of work with children. Fast-forward about 4.5 years and here I am! Finally doing what I love!

This past weekend I went on an outing with one of my awesome clients and it got me thinking about what all there is to do with a child of special needs. After doing some research, all kinds of companies around the U.S. host special events and have specific allotted times for our sensory sensitive friends. I found some great resources for families of children with special needs!

Chuck E. Cheese’s

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Property of Chuck E. Cheese’s

They host what is called “Sensory Sensitive Sundays“. The first Sunday of every month, they open the majority of their locations early. They dim the lights down a bit, lower the sounds of the games and music. It so much more sensory friendly for them! And what’s so cool about this is that my company [CARD] is the one who has partnered with them on this ongoing event! Such a great way to get your kiddos out, get some of that sensory input without being overloaded!

Theme Parks

Top left: Property of Disneyland.com; Bottom left: Property of SeaWorld; Right: Sixflags.com

These are the main three that I researched, but almost any theme park you wish to attend has some type of disabled access pass you can acquire before going to the park. The passes typically allow you to skip the lines to avoid any problem behaviors while waiting and making the experience more enjoyable for you and your kiddo! Disneyland has a great resource page to fill you in on great tips to navigate your day if you are with a child with special needs. Worth the read if it’s your first go-’round! Some parks even offer a discounted ticket for children and families with special needs! Good to do your research before you attend any of these fun attractions!

Night to Shine

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http://www.cwcnewark.org/night-to-shine

This is apart of the Tim Tebow foundation. Basically it’s a prom night your child can attend if they have special needs! It is so wonderful and the mission of this foundation is truly genuine. He does so many things for other types of families too. From children who are suffering with a sickness, orphans & adoption. I just love it all so much! Anyways, they have Night to Shine in churches all around the U.S. You can even refer your church on their website! It gives your special kiddo a night dedicated just to them. What a blessing!

YMCA

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The Vail Voice

The Y has so many options and opportunities for children with special needs! Almost every client I’ve had is involved with them in some capacity. They provide special needs care & respite care for families who need extra support. They even have a specific page where you can search for special needs camps & classes at any location. They also provide extra support to families in the military who have kids with special needs. They were a huge help to my family when our son was in the NICU. It’s just a great resource all around! Check it out!

USA Gymnastics

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http://www.USAgym.org

This was one I hadn’t heard about before and was pleasantly surprised to stumble across it! I did gymnastics when I was younger and have a true love for it! USA Gymnastics provides a ton of resources & education on how gymnastics is super beneficial for children with special needs. They even have a place for you to search gyms around your area that follow their guidelines to provide classes and such for your child with special needs. Gymnastics is a great way to get your kiddos active. It also helps them work on those motor skills & social skills if they are in a small group. And who knows, they may go on to participate in the special olympics!

AMC Theatres

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http://www.amctheatres.com

This was also another one I didn’t know about! With my experience working with children with special needs, most of them are pretty obsessed and drawn to electronics. Mostly ipads and YouTube videos. So this would be a great way to get some of that same stimulation in a more public/socially interactive setting. They only show movies that are age appropriate and fun! They turn the lights up, the sound down and let everyone run around! Your kiddo doesn’t have to sit still for a 2 hour film. That’s hard enough with a 2 year old typically developing child! I really love this too because they do two separate movies for different age groups and audiences. The second and fourth Saturdays of the month they show “family friendly” films. Then Tuesday evenings are for more mature audiences with special needs. Not all special needs apply to kids! Adults have special needs too. My clients range from 3 years of age all the way up to 21!

Skyzone

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http://www.skyzone.com

What a fun place to take your kiddos to get all those wiggles out! They offer special sensory hours for those with special needs. They tone down the lights for a more sensory friendly environment! It’s all about that sensory input! Those with autism can be extremely sensitive to it and might not want to go out in public because of it. This would be perfect for those who have that sensitivity! They have foam pits, tumble tracks, and of course, trampolines galore! Fun for all ages! They also have locations all around the U.S. and you can search the closest location to you on their website!

Now these next two resources I have are more directed toward events that are going on close to your home! And they have a plethora of resources that are extremely helpful to parents of children with special needs.

Autism Speaks

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Family Pyschology Associates

Outstanding organization that provides help and resources to families all over the U.S. On their website they have a spot you can put in your zip code or city and they will give you a list of autism friendly events in your area. They also sponsor the Autism Speaks Walk that they hold all over the U.S. as well. You can sign up here! It’s a great way to connect with other families who know what it’s like to have a children with autism! Building a community!

& finally

CARD (Center for Autism & Related Disorders)

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http://www.centerforautism.com

CARD has events and resources posted on their website that are so helpful for those special families. Since I’ve worked there, we always host special events throughout the year that are totally open to the public. So if you don’t get services there, wish to begin services there, or already get services- YOU ARE WELCOME! We usually do lots of arts and crafts activities, sensory activities, and motor activities. They are so much fun! So contact your local office and see what they’ve got going on in the near future!

Although I don’t know it firsthand, I have worked with these kiddos and adults and know just a fraction of what it’s like to juggle a child with special needs. They are so fun and beautiful, every one of them, but I’m sure it’s incredibly hard sometimes to get them out of the house. I truly hope these resources will be of use to those families! Please comment below if any of you know other fun activities or organizations that make it a point to cater to families of kids with special needs!

God bless!

13 Months

Have you ever thought about how ironic it is that the things we don’t plan are still planned out? God makes things happen in our life just in the right time and place that He sees fit.

I. Am. A. Planner.

Ask anybody who knows me. I can go with the flow as long as I can see where we are flowing. I make to-do lists for myself almost on a daily basis. If it’s possible to plan something out months ahead of time, I will do it. Ironic how military life is the total opposite, right? Try to plan anything out ahead of time if your spouse is in the military and let me know how that goes for ya! It’s almost impossible. But we make do!

Knowing this, you might be shocked to find out that neither of my pregnancies were planned. If you’ve been following along and reading my previous posts, I found out I was pregnant with Paislee two days after I graduated college! And seven months after she was born, we were surprised again with our Noah. Both the biggest blessings of my entire life, besides the hunk that helped me make ’em ;). But pretty scary right? For anyone who has been or is currently in a similar situation, let me assure you, it WILL be okay. It’s challenging, but it is very doable.

 

During one of my sessions last week with a client, I was talking with their momma and we were getting to know each other a bit. She asked me about my kids and how old they were and I watched as her eyes grew bigger and mouth gaping when I told her I had a 1 and a 2 year old. This is the typical reaction I get when I explain that my littles are only 13 months apart. And I totally get it. It definitely was not how I planned to have our kiddos. But there are a few things I want to share with you mommas that are like me. That have your babies close together on accident, or even on purpose. Some women want to have their babies close and it’s great! Here’s what I’ve learned so far, and excuse my bluntness but I’m keepin’ it real y’all…

Two surgeries are rough

I can’t speak on behalf of the awesome ladies that have done natural, vaginal deliveries because I had a cesarean with both kids. One being an emergency c-section. I knew that having a c-section with my first that the rest of my pregnancies would be delivered the same way. A v-back [or vaginal birth after c-section] was an option for my little guy until it got complicated toward the end. Having two c-sections so close together took a huge toll on my body. It has been a year and 5 months since my last surgery and I still feel pain and dont’ feel quite like my self. THIS ISN’T THE CASE FOR EVERYONE. Please know that. Don’t take my experience as the one and only. It has been a hard recovery for me and I will probably feel it for a long time.

Plus the mental state you have to be in just to have the surgery. I mean a big needle in your back and your insides being all exposed….you gotta mentally prepare yourself. Plus the disappointment of not being able to hold your baby right after they are born. That was the hardest part for me [your arms have to be strapped down]. You can most certainly request immediate skin-to-skin though after they deliver your baby. Even though both of my pregnancies were classified as “complicated” I was able to get some brief skin-to-skin after they were born and I got to kiss their little heads before the doctors had to do their thing. I follow an instagram, @bumpbabyandco , and they show some very real and honest pictures of women during the labor process, birthing experience and everything thereafter. One picture in particular, featured below, that just shows the rawness and realness of the entire experience in my opinion. I so wish I had a picture like this of myself just as a reminder of what it was like. You can visit the post here. Again, this isn’t to scare anyone, I just want to share my experiences.

Photo credit: Lemonade Lane x

NO, my babies are not twins

Although it feels that way sometimes because they are so close, no they are not twins. People ask us this all the time. Yes, they look alike and you can totally tell that they are siblings, but it’s pretty obvious that Noah is younger than Paislee. Maybe it’s easier for me to distinguish the characteristics because they are my kids, but I guess y’all can tell me what you think!

They are a a little younger in this pic than they are now, and looking back at it I guess I don’t blame people for making that accusation! They’re pretty identical!

There are so many diapers

You think one baby/toddler goes through a lot of diapers?! Double it. Costco for the win! Luckily, we are at the point now where they are both in the same size. Hallelujah! It was rough there for awhile. Paying for double the diapers AND formula. Talk about breaking the bank. Our oldest is slowly transitioning to full-on potty training. So hopefully only diapers for one soon!! Pray for us please!

And the last thing that I will share with you all about having your babies so close together is…

They will be best friends

I feel like this was the thing I heard the most when I was pregnant with Noah. And they weren’t lying. They already play so nicely together. They’ve started fighting nicely together too. Siblings fight no matter how close or far apart they are. I was the oldest of the two other sisters. They were very close in age too [about 14 months]. There was a 5-6 year difference between me and them. They were always so close growing up and apart of me was a little envious of that. I have a wonderful relationship with both of my sisters and wouldn’t change any of our lives, but I’m so blessed that our children will have that relationship as well. They could possibly even be in the same grade! How crazy is that?!

 

I wouldn’t call these things “pros” and “cons”. I see my kids and everything that comes along with them as blessings. I would go through any kind of pain, lose as much sleep through the teething and growing spurts, and sacrifice anything I might want in order to provide them with what they need. It wasn’t in my “plan”. But was in His. And who can argue with that? 🙂

God Bless!

Brittany

Why I Keep My Kids Active

Ask about any child in elementary school what their favorite subject or class in school is. Nine times out of ten they will say recess or P.E. Most children LOVE to be outdoors. They get to socialize with their friends, play sports they like or some just like the fresh air. These are just some of the reasons I like to keep my littles active!

Luckily my kiddos love to play outside. Honestly, some days that’s all they do is play outside. And I think it’s so great. Playing outdoors and being active has so many benefits!

According to a study conducted at the University of Missouri in 2010, outside play has a huge impact on brain development. AND it can start as early as three months old! It helps with the development of baby’s senses and [fine and gross] motor development. I see this ALL THE TIME working as an ABA [Applied Behavior Analysis] therapist. I help teach my clients so many things through play. Play therapy is best thing, in my opinion. Helping children identify different senses of the body and playing socially with their peers is all apart of it! What kiddos might think is a super fun game of hopscotch is also a great way to work on those gross motor skills! I’m all about learning while having fun!

In the study they also pointed out that in addition to brain development, outdoor play helps increase children’s creativity and imagination as well! Playing pretend and running from the dragons to save the princess! Who doesn’t remember playing that when they were little?! So many other things- coordination, spatial awareness, learning abilities, increased blood flow, and countless other benefits are associated with outdoor play! You can visit and read the full study here. I highly suggest reading this! It has great ideas on outdoor play activities you can incorporate in your day-to-day routine with your littles and it’s very educating!

The study gives you awesome ideas, and I might have some of the same but here are a list of outdoor play activities I like to do with my kiddos:

  • Bubbles [I was at Wal-mart yesterday and they have A TON of bubble toys for super cheap!]
  • Chalk or chalk paint [amazon is my go-to for these, or Costco!]
    • You can draw roads and play with cars
    • Hopscotch
    • Practice writing or drawing shapes
  • Trampoline [sometimes I do my workouts around the trampoline while the kids jump]
    • Put water and bubbles on for some water play
    • Put balls on the trampoline for some sensory fun
  • Water play [lots of different ideas for this one]
    • Sprinklers
    • Kiddie pool [you can get these super cheap at Wal-mart]
    • Water buckets or water play tables [you can fill these up with bubbles and bath toys even]
    • Water beads [not gonna lie, these are fun for kids and adults!]
    • Slip-n-slides for older kids
    • Water guns [if your kiddo doesn’t like to get sprayed you could make some DIY targets and put them around your backyard and make it a game to see who can get the most points!]
  • Tag or hide-n-seek [would be fun to play somewhere out in the community or neighborhood if you don’t have a lot of hiding options in your yard]
  • Park [this is a big one for us and PERFECT for socializing with other peers]
  • Go for a walk or hike/ ride bikes or scooters
  • Ball play
    • For older kiddos- dodgeball, football, softball, basketball, etc.
    • For younger kiddos- rolling the ball, kicking the ball, bouncing, throwing, etc.
  • Dog park/beach
  • Beach/Lake
  • Building sandcastles
    • If you have really little ones you can bring along your kiddie pool and fill it with sand or water
    • Dig a big hole
  • Camping
  • Pick some flowers, search for sticks, pinecones, and rocks for painting [or make fairy wands!]
  • Make a fairy garden
  • Plant some flowers
  • If you get a group together to split one, you can have movie night in your backyard! Make popcorn, hand out glowsticks and watch a fun film!

The last thing I will add and some advice that I will give out from my experience is….LET THEM GET DIRTY! Let them play in the mud. And join them! Make some mudpies [actual mudpies not poop] with them. Let them experience that sensory input! It’s so good and healthy for them. A little dirt don’t hurt nobody 😉