Unique Valentines Day Ideas

Whether you are married, dating or single, here are some ideas for what to do and a few gift ideas as well.

Getting Out

  • Have a bonfire – snuggle up with your loved one and enjoy relaxing together.
  • Sign up for chocolate tasting – better than chocolate in a box.
  • Take a dance class – have fun learning a new dance together. Exciting swing dancing or romantic salsa.
  • Roller skating – really brings out the kid in each of us and you can enjoy the music too.
  • Tandem bike riding – enjoy the cool breeze and the funny moments you’re bound to have trying to ride on one bike

Staying Indoors

  • Plan a themed dinner and movie – it can be any theme to fit your unique relationship
  • Create a scavenger hunt – this could be as simple or elaborate as you would like
  • Have a board game night – pull out your favorite board game and let the games begin
  • Have a nerf gun war – how fun to act like kids again, sneaking around the house
  • Have a spa night – bubble bath, massage, anything else to pamper each other.


Gift Ideas

  • Personalize candy or drinks – make a custom label
  • Map of your love – cut out a heart in a map with the center being where you met, had your first date, or got married
  • Make a flip book – you can draw pictures or actually take pictures of yourself
  • Get cooking – if your loved one enjoys food, make something heart-shaped to eat together (pizza, cake)
  • Message board – you can turn a picture frame into a dry eraser board or get a letter board. You can send each other cute messages each day
  • A five senses gift – see (movie), hear (music, concert tickets), touch (massage oil, lingerie), taste (food, candy), and smell (cologne).

These are all ideas and can be completely customizable to you and your loved one.

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Life: Then and Now – 10 Year Challenge

Everyone has been doing the 10 year challenge on social media this past week. I don’t feel like a picture of 2009 self vs 2019 self does justice of all that has changed in my life over the past 10 years. I figured a bit more detail would really show how much life for me has evolved.


2009

  • I was going to college, taking GE
  • I was single
  • I was working at a restaurant as a server
  • Enjoyed staying out late
  • Living at home
  • Shy and trying to find myself

2019

  • I have 3 Associates Degrees, still working on my BA and eventually my MA
  • I’m married with three wonderful little ones
  • I am currently a stay at home mom
  • Enjoy my early evenings
  • Looking to buy our first house
  • Confident in who I am

I am so happy with how my life has gone. In these past 10 years, I have married the funniest, most loyal man and had three crazy and sweet kids. There is nothing I would change. The good, the bad; it all made me the person I am today and I would love it all again if it meant being right where I am now.

New Years Resolutions

  • Workout
  • Eat Better
  • Better Our Faith
  • Write More
  • Read More
  • Travel
  • More Family Time VS Media
  • More Organization and Time Management


Workout

This last year, I never worked out. I was so focused on a new baby and school for the kids that I neglected my own health.

This year, I’m hoping to go on walks with the kids and do yoga at home with the kids. Not anything big, just better.


Eat Better

Last year, I was so busy I didn’t do much cooking. We ate quick fix meals most days and they were ok but I want to do better.

I am hoping to make meals ahead of time for the next couple days so I don’t feel like I’m always cooking. I think adding more veggies would be best too!


Better Our Faith

We already go to church, but….if we are tired or just not feeling like getting out, we sometimes skip.

I want my family to be committed to going EVERY Sunday and possibly doing some small events too. I want church to become a bigger part of our daily lives.

I would also, like the kids to have a better understanding and to have my husband and myself as role models.


Write More

I always tell myself I’m going to write in my journal all the time. I think I wrote maybe 8 times this past year.

I have wanted to write a book for almost 4 years now and I just keep procrastinating.

I hope to write at least monthly in my journal and try to get a rough draft for a book done this year.


Read More

I love reading but I feel like I have put that on the back burner and started watching more tv.

For the kids, we read bedtime books about twice a week. That definitely needs to change.

Hopefully I can read more and watch less tv. I’m hoping to starting having a solid bedtime reading with the kids. I feel reading is so important for young minds.


Travel

It’s difficult to travel with kids but I think if we start small and work our way up to big adventures, it is possible. I’d like to just explore more with the kids and make some wonderful family memories together.


More Family Time vs Media

Sometimes we get so caught up in tv, social media, game and we forget to focus on what’s right in front of us.

I want to spend more time with the kids making memories instead of relaxing and just watching movies. Time passes us by and we can never get that time back – there are no redos.

So I want to make the most of the time I have with the people I love the most – my family!


More Organization and Time Management

This covers all the other goals I’ve set for 2019. More organization of tasks and time management will allow all the previous to become a reality. Plus, who doesn’t need to be organized and manage their time better.


I hope you all had a wonderful and memorable New Year!!!

Let me know what your resolutions are! 😊

Mama Motivation

Life as a parent comes with joy, humor, excitement and love; but it also comes with frustration, exhaustion, stress and sadness.

In those low moments as a parent, finding a silver lining can make a world of difference to your outlook on life and family.

Being a mom of three is crazy; being a mom of three and two have special needs – insane! However, I always find a positive outlook to all the negative that comes with disabilities.

Just this past week, I had an early IEP (Individualized Education Program), scheduled a 3 day EEG and scheduled an audiology appointment (daughter might need a hearing aid). To top it all off, I took my daughter to the ER for a severely infected ingrown toenail, which they had to scalpel open. This is not including our regular schedule of therapy and preschool.

When I tell anyone about all this craziness, they always have some of the same questions for me. How do you do it all? Doesn’t this stress you out? Don’t you get worn out? Honestly, motivation is all that keeps me going.

My motivation is my children. I have to push past my stress of all I need to do, push past my sadness for what my children are going to have to endure; and give them reassurance that everything is under control and they will be okay with anything that comes our way. I show them that just because something bad happens, it doesn’t mean I give up or break down. That doesn’t mean I don’t take small moments to deal with my emotions but I get my feelings out and then get back to work.

The silver linings I found in the possibility that my daughter might be partially deaf in one ear – she can still hear with her right ear and once we get a hearing aid for her, her speech with improve as well!

The silver lining in going to the ER today – I was forced to make all my calls and schedule appointments since there was nothing else to do. Plus, some focused time on how my daughter felt while my son spent some quality time with grandma.

In all that happens in our life, we can learn from the struggles and help others in the same situation. Be thankful for what you have and realize that there is so much more to be thankful for than we give credit.

Hope this gave you a more positive outlook and some ideas for your own motivation in life!

In Honor of our Veterans

Over the weekend, the Marine Corps celebrated their 243rd birthday and we celebrated Veterans day.

Since my husband was in the Marines, he always celebrates the Marine Corps birthday by calling all his buddies he served with to just catching up and reminisce on the memories they share.

For Veterans Day, we usually will go somewhere significant to veterans (memorials or monuments) and just enjoy our time there.

I feel like in today’s political climate, veterans are neglected and forgotten. Not as many people talk about Veterans Day or actually “thank” a veteran at all.

So I would just like to say thank you to all service members – past, present and future – for the time and effort you put towards protecting this great country and all our freedoms. Without your sacrifice, none of the luxuries we have could be enjoyed. Thank you!!

Long Lost Family, Finally Found

My father was never a part of my life growing up. My mom told me about him and always said that once I was older she would help me contact him and reconnect if I ever wanted.

Through the years, my mom tried to keep as much current information on my father available for when the time came. In her searching, she found out he had another child. I had a half brother and we were close in age.

My mom contacted his mother and told her the situation. She did not want us to tell her son until he was 18 years old. So, we played the waiting game and when he turned 18 we started the search for him. After a couple weeks of sorting through what must have been hundreds of Facebook accounts, we found him!

I sent him a message explaining everything and it took a bit to finally confirm that we were related. He is in the Air Force so it was difficult to set up a time and place to meet. So over the next 6 years we kept in touch and finally, over this last summer, we met face-to-face.

My half brother spent a little over a week at our place, spending quality time with me and the kids. We share so much in common that I don’t share with the siblings I grew up around. He got to celebrate Lexi’s birthday and we surprised him on his birthday. Also, we got matching tattoos together. It is in Japanese and means family – he got it on his left chest area and mine is on my left shoulder blade area. We chose Japanese since that is the strongest shared ethnicity between us.

While he was here, my mom was able to find and get in touch with our paternal uncle. We all met up and got to meet his daughters too, so our cousins. It was a crazy few weeks meeting all this new family.

A couple months passed and in that time, my mom got a hold of my biological father. We planned to meet for dinner and to make it less chaotic, my husband kept the kids while I went with just the baby. I was nervous to meet him and hoped things would go ok. When I got to the restaurant, it was like seeing an old friend. We hugged and just started talking right away about what our daily lives are like and about ourselves. We ended up having so much in common! It turned out to be a great meeting and we plan on more in the future.

He works a ton and usually is out of the country which means long periods of time between us seeing each other. But we keep in touch, by text and email. Another thing to look forward to, he visits Japan often and said he’d love for me and my family to go with him sometime so I could meet other relatives that live near Tokyo, Japan.

From all of this, I learned a lot about my family but also about myself and where I get certain characteristics. I now have even more family than before and am so thankful for each of them. I keep in touch with all of them and am looking forward to what the future may hold. I even learned about my extended family.

Some of the most interesting things I learned about my family and ancestors was that many were put into camps on Hawaii during World War II due to being Japanese. My grandmother also witnessed Hiroshima but was far enough away to not suffer the aftermath. My grandfather was close friends with Jimmy Hoffa and supposedly worked with him. All of these things amaze me and really strengthen my pride in each nationality.

I am so thankful to have been given this opportunity to meet them all and get along with each one. I am also very proud of where I came from and the journey to this point that has made me who I am. I never would want to be different than who I am today.

Autism: Different Therapy Options

April is Autism Awareness Month so I have decided to go into the different therapies that my son receives and just explain the purpose of each.

All of the following are my own personal experiences and understanding of each type of therapy. None of this should be taken for what you will experience. This is for informational purposes only.


ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis)

I feel this one is the most important for kids with autism. It is an in-home therapy that works on behavior, areas of developmental delays and almost any issue that your child is dealing with that is not age appropriate.

Right now, my son receives 10 hours a week of therapy and during those sessions, they work on:

  • Speech
  • Fine Motor Skills (Cutting, coloring)
  • Basic Social Skills (His name and age, turn taking)
  • Self Care (Washing hands, brushing teeth)

Speech

This one is a given since our biggest issue with my son is a speech delay. He has broken sentences and about 50 to 75 words but most people have a hard time understanding him since he has a mild slur as well.

He goes to individual speech twice a week for half and hour each time. Plus, an hour once a week as preschool.

Since he started speech, I’ve notice an improvement in his receptive speech, expressive speech and articulation.


OT (Occupational Therapy)

This one is helpful for some of my sons more mild challenges of sensory issues.

They help him with eating – he is a VERY picky eater and does not like too much variety. When I say this, I’m meaning he I’ll only eat a few things.

  • Chicken nuggets
  • Apple sauce pouches (only in the pouches)
  • Bananas, strawberries, apples
  • Muffins
  • Eggs
  • Nutella Sandwich
  • Chips

That is it. No other foods. So daily, this is all he will eat. He won’t try anything else.

So they help try to expose him to new foods and get him to at least taste the food. He goes to OT once a week for an hour.


Special Autism Preschool (IEP)

This may be my favorite therapy for Leo. He gets to go to a preschool, specific for kids with mild disabilities, for a little over two hours every day during the week.

I enjoy knowing Leo is getting social time with peers, he is out of the house and they work on things to prep him for kindergarten. Plus, they incorporate speech and OT into his learning to help reinforce what he is learning outside of the classroom.

I’ve notice a boost in Leo’s confidence and all other areas since he started preschool. Also, he loves school! He will get sad when I pick him up and is so excited when I drop him off. Knowing he loves school makes it easier to drop him off.


Well, that’s all the therapy Leo gets but I know there are a ton more out there for kids with different issues or more severity. Currently, Lexi is also taking part in all these therapies but for slightly different reasons, she does not have a diagnosis yet.

If you have any questions or would like to share a different therapy you, a family member or friend takes part in, feel free to share in the comments!

Thank you for reading!

Cloe 💋