≡ Menu

A love note to the mom who feels weary

I wrote the following in my prayer journal recently:

Lord,

When I go places with my son, others see a “normal” looking child who misbehaves, who screams, who cries, and a mother who toggles between ignoring his behaviors and giving in to them. But what they don’t know, Lord, what they can’t see, are the dozens of battles I fight every day both with and for my son. They don’t see the countless phone calls I make to doctors and specialists and therapists and teachers in the margins between my son’s meltdowns and confusion, therapies and appointments. They don’t see that sometimes I need to ignore his behaviors some days, while I must give in to them on others. They don’t see how exhausting this journey is.

They don’t see.

And then, a few days later, my children and I met up with a dear friend and her two boys at the park. While we were there, our sons did beautifully. They played well both together and apart. They did not argue with us or have meltdowns. They played for three full hours, and for the first time in weeks, I saw joy on my son’s face.

As our family was leaving, a man walked up to me and told me that my friend and I were not good role models for our children. That we allowed our sons to leave toys (which belong to the park) in the park without putting them back exactly where they got them from. When I gently explained that our children have special needs, he claimed to work with children on the spectrum, turned up his nose, and informed me that we need to do better. Essentially he said that we are terrible parents.

And my weary heart was resurged. I looked him in the eye, smiled, and kindly thanked him for expressing his concerns, then pointed out that he did not know our families, our journey, or how hard we work each and every day for our children. That picking up the toys was not a battle we chose to fight among the many we had already throughout the day. That I would be happy to chat with him, to have a friendly, open discussion about my son’s needs, but to corner me and judge our families and our sons without knowing us or seeking to know us was inappropriate. When he tried to argue with me, I pointed out that extending a caring hand would have gone much farther than his judgment. In regard to his profession, I asked him if he addressed his clients or his clients’ parents in the manner in which he had spoken to me. He had no answer, and eventually walked away.

flourish

For the weary mom + a few words on courage | wonderfully-made.netTo the mom who feels weary, stay strong. I know you live fatigue in a way that can never be fully explained. You see pictures of friends who lead “normal” lives and long for what they have. You stand in the face of judgment from others who if they only got to know you, would come to understand you and the choices you must make. Stay courageous. Don’t back down from ignorance, but don’t give in to it either. Stay calm. Stay true. Smile, even when the world wants you to cower and cry. And, above all, let the love you have for your children radiate from all you say and do.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

{ 0 comments }

Happy Friday, friends! Last week’s post caused a bit of controversy, and Aprille and I want to speak to it here before sharing her continuation of the post, which includes allergy-friendly on-the-go options. Eating healthy, truly healthy, is a goal that we are both pursuing. Ultimately, we would both love to eat whole foods exclusively. Unfortunately, we also both have extenuating circumstances that keep us from always achieving that goal – such as severe food allergies, back-to-back therapies, and family members who experience frequent anxiety attacks.

We started this series for women like us, who find it difficult to eat 100% healthy 100% of the time. Women who find themselves constantly on-the-go rushing to and from therapies, appointments, play dates, and balancing various stressful realities that impact their daily lives.

For both of us, prepping healthy snacks ahead of time can be achieved some of the time, but not all of the time. And, in light of that, Katie shared with you some “healthy” fast food options for on-the-go families last week. Though those choices arguably may not be truly “healthy,” because, yes, they are fast food, they are still better choices than not caring at all. And that is what this series is all about. We moms all have many pressing priorities. Pursuing faithful fitness is one of those priorities, but we understand that there are many others as well. Sometimes, one priority has to give a little bit because other priorities in life and motherhood are more pressing. It is all a balancing act.

With that said, we honor and appreciate each family’s individual choices and hope that this series will provide you with a few friendly insights, exercises, and honesty based on our personal experiences. Thank you, as always, for reading and joining us along this journey. Without further ado, here is Aprille’s post that includes allergy-friendly foods for on-the-go families.

Love,

Aprille and Katie

Faithful Fitness: Allergy-Friendly Options for On-The-Go Families | wonderfully-made.net

Chick-Fil-A

We started going to Chick-Fil-A when my son was just a baby, long before either of us were diagnosed with food allergies. When he was old enough to get a kid’s meal (around the same time I got diagnosed with a wheat allergy), I started to realize how much more cost effective it was to eat a kid’s meal than to get a bun-less entree. Now, our standard order is to both get a kid’s meal.

Chick-Fil-A’s grilled chicken nuggets are gluten free and come in a set of four or six (which is nice, because my hunger levels vary). You can get fruit, fries, or applesauce as a side. Contrary to a lot of hype, Chick-Fil-A’s fries are NOT fried in peanut oil* (while some of their other products are), but rather canola oil. I personally do not use canola oil for my personal cooking at home, but while we are out, sometimes having a few fries is a fun cheat.

So, the order for myself and my son looks like this:

Me: Kid’s Meal, grilled, six count, with fries and a water

Him: Kid’s Meal, grilled, four count, with fruit and an apple juice.

Cost? $8-9

Then, we split the fries and the fruit – so we are both getting maybe 2-3 bites of fries and a little bit of fruit. This meal could be made more healthy by excluding the fries and choosing the fruit.

{**My son’s peanut allergy and my wheat allergy are not so severe that I am worried about cross-contamination. We had both eaten at CFA countless times before being diagnosed with absolutely no allergic reaction. Obviously, if you have a more severe allergy or gluten sensitivity in your family, this is something you would have to determine risk factors and make the best choice for your family.}

Chick-Fil-A has a whole section on their website with allergen, gluten, and diabetic information about their options.

McDonald’s

I truly do avoid going to McDonald’s, but sometimes it happens. I find myself there more often for breakfast, if I’m out unusually early. McDonalds does not have a gluten-free menu and even their hash browns have wheat in them (unlike CFA’s hash browns).

But what you can get, that maybe you didn’t know about, is bacon à la carte. You can ask for a side of bacon and walk out with three slices in a container. Normally, when I go to McDonalds in the morning I’ll ask for bacon and a Strawberry Banana Smoothie. There’s still a lot of sugar in the smoothie, but no HFCS, so a better option than other things I could choose.

Starbucks

Starbucks is definitely a more costly option, but their ingredients tend far more toward natural and whole foods than the other fast food chains. You can order classic oatmeal and fresh fruit. Some Starbucks have offered “protein platters” with hardboiled eggs, cheese, peanut butter and fruit. {The peanut butter comes in a separate container that can easily be tossed.} They offer a much better yogurt parfait than McDonald’s as well as a nice line of breakfast sandwiches. Unfortunately, they will not give you bacon à la carte (tried that) because their sandwiches come pre-made.

Subway

At Subway you can also order à la carte high protein meat and cheese options. While these meats are not nitrate-free, I would rather have simple meat, provolone cheese, and vegetables than some other options. Deli meat is also very easy to pass to the backseat to hungry littles.

Subway has never given me any trouble for ordering à la carte – but this also isn’t something they are accustomed to handling, so they might look at you strangely at first. Remember to be patient with the people working.

The more people with allergies ask for allergy-friendly options, the more awareness will be raised and hopefully the more changes to restaurant menus we will see.

flourish

View More: http://kimdeloachphoto.pass.us/allumeheadshotscutTo read more about my journey into physical and mental health, check out the Health and Wellness section of my blog or start here on this post about my weight-loss journey.

Also, be sure to follow our Faithful Fitness board on Pinterest where we share great workouts, exercises, health and nutrition tips, and more!

~Aprille

{ 0 comments }

Faithful Fitness: Healthy Fast Food Choices for Families On-The-Go | wonderfully-made.net

Life is busy, isn’t it friends? I feel like our family is constantly on the go. We are in and out of therapies, the hospital, the emergency room, the pediatrician, and various specialist appointments on a weekly basis, and as much as I would love to be able to cook every meal from home, it simply is not possible for us and more often than not leaves us with, you guessed it, fast food.

For a long time, I was really down on myself about the fast food we were eating, but was not sure how to make a positive change, so, with the help and encouragement of Aprille, I began doing some research and taste-testing healthier fast food items for our family and yours!

Here is what I’ve come up with:

McDonald’s

McDonald’s often gets a bad rap (and I do understand why) however, with thousands of locations nationwide, it is the most accessible fast food restaurant. So, I went through and found some menu items that are on the healthier side!

Yogurt Parfait: Made with low-fat vanilla yogurt layered with blueberries and strawberries, all topped with crunchy granola. 150 calories.

Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken Snack Wrap: Grilled chicken breast strips with tangy honey mustard sauce, lettuce, jack and cheddar cheeses, wrapped in a flour tortilla. 250 calories.

Chick-Fil-A

Predominantly available in the South (there are only four in MA), but if you have one in your area, they have some great options!

Chicken Soup:  Chicken noodle soup made with with carrots and celery. Delish! 130 calories.

Grilled Nuggets Kids Meal (6 count):  With a Buddy Fruit or mixed fruit cup and milk. 250 calories.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich: With unsweet tea (I sweeten with Splenda) or diet lemonade. 335 calories.

Wendy’s

Small Chili: Yum! I love their chili. It is great especially during cold winter months when I need something to warm me up! 180 calories.

Grilled Chicken Wrap Kids Meal: With apple slices and a bottle of water. 300 calories.

Subway

Sometimes, I just want a good old-fashioned sub. Here are a couple of great options for both you and the kids!

Turkey Breast Kids Meal: Small sub with turkey and veggies, served with apple slices and low fat milk. 180 calories.

Turkey Breast (6″ sub): Turkey breast with lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers with a bottle of water. 217 calories.

 

And this is just a start! Each of these fast food restaurants offer salads as well, I just find them a bit tricky to eat when I’m driving :)

 

How about you? What healthy fast food items does your family love? Please share in the comments below!

flourish

Faithful Fitness is a weekly series dedicated to getting fit faithfully, one step at a time. Whether you are a SAHM, working mom, struggle with a chronic illness, and/or have time constraints for fitness, this is the series for you! Be sure to check in here each Friday and to follow our Faithful Fitness board on Pinterest where we share great workouts, exercises, health and nutrition tips, and more!

{ 8 comments }

Two years ago, I woke up and told my husband something was wrong. I was 37 weeks pregnant and after months of medical complications, illness, and bedrest, I knew it was time for Baby #2 to come out. I called my OBGYN who said she could not deliver me, but to come into the office. After checking my blood pressure and other vital signs, I was rushed over to the hospital where I began prep for an emergency c-section. As the doctors were prepping me, Kristen’s heart rate plummeted and they had to begin surgery before I was fully anesthetized. When the surgeons pulled her out, she was not crying and subsequently, tears streamed down my own face. Pinned to a table, in a lot of pain, I could not hold my daughter and wondered, Is she alive, Lord? Please let her live. Please let her cry.

And then she did. And it was the most precious little cry I had ever heard. It sounded like a baby bird calling out for its mama. So much so, we called her Little Bird for months after she was born. My husband who was finally allowed in the room held her next to me so I could see her and I kissed all over her beautiful face. At 8 lbs, 15 oz she was a beautiful, healthy girl. Later that week, we brought her home and I thought my heart would burst with love for our precious daughter. In two years, it has not stopped bursting. Kristen has brought such joy, peace, beauty, caring, kindness, and love to our family. She is an extraordinary little girl and I cannot imagine what our family would be like without her!

Celebrating Kristen | wonderfully-made.net

(Less than a week old, waiting to meet her brother for the first time.)

jack and kristen newborn

(Best friends from the beginning.)

(little miss sunshine

(Little Miss Sunshine – 1 year old)

IMG_7241

(They cuddle and read like this every afternoon together. Melt my heart!)

Celebrating Kristen | wonderfully-made.net

Happy 2nd Birthday, baby girl. We love you more than words could ever express!

{ 1 comment }

Weathering the Storm

Weathering the Storm | wonderfully-made.net

“Jack, honey,” I call from the family room, “it’s time to go play with our friends. Pick out a pair of shorts, and I will help you put them on.”

He walks toward me saying, “No…no…NO…” I can feel his anxiety mounting.

“What’s the matter, honey? Tell mommy,” I say calmly.

“I want to wear pants! Not shorts!” he yells.

“Sweetie, it is just too hot out for pants today.”

“No no no mommy! No not the shorts! The PANTS!” He runs to his room, grabs a pair of pants and works diligently to put them on.

He’s grown so much in the past few weeks that the pants he has chosen to wear have become too small. He strains to clasp them, but the elastic won’t make it around his waist.

I point to his ankles, where the skin is bare and say gently, “look honey, they are too short. You have grown so much they just don’t fit.

“But here,” I encourage, “I have a pair of shorts for you right here, and I will help you put them on.”

His desire to wear his favorite pair of pants crushed, he concedes and walks over to me. The tension is still hanging in the room, though, heavy like a rain cloud about to burst.

Once his shorts are on, I say, “Here sweetie, you pick. The red shirt? Or the blue shirt?”

“No NO! I do not want any shirt!” And then the screaming begins. I tell myself to stay calm, to take the tirade of angry yells from my child who feels broken and confused and hurt by things beyond his understanding, beyond his control.

“Jack,” I say patiently. “I know you are angry, but if you yell at mommy, you will have to sit in timeout.”

“NO I WILL NOT HAVE TO SIT IN TIMEOUT YOU WILL HAVE TO SIT IN TIMEOUT!!” he screams at the top of his lungs, body rigid and red with anger.

I draw in a deep breath, then exhale. I lift his tense body and carry him to one of our kitchen table chairs. I set the two-minute visual timer on my phone and sit next to him, hands on his arms doing my best to keep him seated. And then he jumps out of the chair and his head accidentally bumps into my right cheekbone.

And then my own anger and frustration release, “Jack!” I yell. “SIT. DOWN!”

Tears pour down his face and his beautiful blue eyes are lost in a sea of anger and shame and disconnect from the world. From me. From anything but the frustration that autism is pumping through his body. And all I want to do is shout out, “Why God?! Why must my child go through this? I am so tired, Lord, and so angry with you!”

But instead I draw in another deep breath and exhale.  ”Jack, you have to apologize for yelling at me and for bumping me in the face, baby, even though it was an accident. You can do it,” I encourage. 

He pauses for a moment and then cries out, “I can’t, mommy! I am not ready to apologize.”

And the tension in the room releases. ”Ok, baby. I understand,” I tell him. I do understand, I really do. “When you’re ready, just let me know.”

Jack slips away to his favorite chair and rocks methodically. I walk away quietly to another part of the room. Still present, but offering him the space he needs.

After 15 minutes, I hear his breathing return to normal. I walk up to him and snuggle with him in the big, comfy armchair in our family room that he and I both love. I hold his beautiful face gently in my hands and look into his bright blue eyes. “Baby,” I tell him, “you know I will always forgive you, right? No matter what you do, I will always forgive you. I will always love you. There is nothing you can do that will make me not love you.”

His bottom lip quivers. “I’m sorry, mommy,” he says in a voice so genuine, so pure, my heart aches. He reaches his arms around me and says, “I love you,” and begins to cry. I hold my son, my precious, beautiful son who has been fighting against himself and the world and autism and me, and hold him tight.

“I forgive you, baby,” I say, and I feel the tension in his little body release. “I love you, Jack. You are my guy. And I will always love you.”

We stay that way for a moment, I take a deep breath and he does, too. “Are you ready to go to the park and play now, sweetie?”

“Yes mommy,” he says with a hint of a smile.

“Awesome!” I cheer. “Let’s go!” And my son who has experienced a gamut of emotions deeper than any 4-year-old should be burdened to bear, jumps from our favorite chair and runs to his sister’s room, calling, ”Kristen! Kristen! We are going to the park!” I can hear his bright beautiful smile return and all is right with the world again.

flourish

Autism often feels like a storm brewing in my son and there are many days when the weight of that storm feels so heavy it is as though we can’t take another step forward. But God inevitably quells each storm and pushes us along our journey. And though I often cry out to Him to draw out autism from my beautiful boy, to allow him to live a life that is not burdened by anger, anxiety, and confusion, I also know that He has great plans for him, whatever they may be. And I must continue to put one foot in front of the other for Jack and for Him.

Weathering the Storm | wonderfully-made.net

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
{ 4 comments }