Soup As a Cure for Monotony

Do you ever have moments of monotony?

Surely, I can’t be the only one. It’s those moments when nothing is wrong, but there is nothing really spectacular about the day or week. Just living.

Interestingly, I’ve come to expect and sometimes rely on that monotony as refuge. But this summer, after a long bout of clouds and rain, I wanted something to dazzle our week; like adding an accessory.

I still don’t know how I pulled this off and the idea came to me at the last minute.

“Jessa, we’re doing something fun tonight at dinner,” I said with my big surprise voice. “Today, you and me are gonna make silly hats for everybody and then we’ll wear them tonight at dinner. Fun, huh?”

“Oh yeah, that sounds like fun! When do we start?” “Let me get the supplies and we’ll get ready,” I said.

Thus began our week of breaking through the clouds of monotony. I just wanted something different and while I hadn’t planned on it, this is what our week of monotony-breaking looked like:

Monday: Soup and silly hats and dinner in Daddy’s man cave

Tuesday: Indoor picnic in the living room

Wednesday: Breakfast in bed (yes, we all got in bed, ate breakfast and watched tv shows)

Thursday: A day at the beach, picnic style in Jessa’s room

Friday:  Popcorn, sweet treats & movie night in Juliana’s room

Saturday & Sunday: Normal–’cause mommy was tired of planning:).

When the beginning of the week started, I had no plans to have a theme week of meals and fun. I just thought we’d do something different.

But I couldn’t resist continuing the fun plans when Jessa asked where we would be having dinner on Tuesday night. As the week went on, everyone got a kick out of discovering where we would be eating our next meal.

Soup and silly hats may not be what you need. But the next time monotony hits, think around the box and do something different.

Let creativity be your guide to treating yourself or your family to something to make the day or week a little more special.

This Post is a Teacher Rant!

I don’t normally rant here, but today I’m making an exception.

If people can go on Facebook rants for all kinds of crazy things, I can rant on my own blog. The other morning on a local radio station, one of the hosts ranted about her husband’s ex who kept friending and unfriending her on Facebook. Okay, I guess that’s important. But I can go one better!

This story started last Wednesday night. I was beyond tired after a day of work, grocery shopping, kid wrangling and lunch making. The day just kept on giving because we had Bingo night at Jessa’s school that evening. Of course, this event fell on the same night that Lamar had a three-hour meeting after work. I had already told Jessa we would go.

I loaded the girls into the car and we headed to Chick-fila to get a bingo-essential dinner. Can you really play bingo well without Chick-fila?

As we were pulling into Jessa’s school, I tried to ignore the nervous feeling in my stomach. I normally don’t do this—solo outings with both girls for scheduled events. It can be challenging because Juliana might sit for small amounts of time and then she’s ready to move on or get into something. When we are out as a family, I keep Juliana occupied and settled while Lamar hangs with Jessa.

“We’re staying 45 minutes,” I announced to Jessa as we got out of the car. I whispered a little prayer and braved myself for the worse.

The worse never came.

Once inside, I quickly got the girls seated and prepped their meals. Juliana’s hands were kept to herself. There was no attack on the waffle fries or my eye glasses that usually occurs. Who is this kid? I wondered.

Bad bingo selfie

Jessa busied herself with her food and focused on the game as Bingo started. I glanced at Juliana on my right. Smiles. Patience. Again, I thought, when is the meltdown coming?

Dinner passed, so I pulled out the iPad so Juliana could watch her favorite movie. And guess what she did? She sat and watched her favorite movie. I was still in awe, and the night continued like this with her smiling and even playing with the Chick-Fila cow.

This same type of behavior happened at dinner the other night. When we were seated to eat, I placed Juliana’s food in front of her and said, “Okay, eat one chip.” And that’s what she did. She ate one tortilla chip and didn’t try to frantically grab and stuff food which is usually her preferred action.

“Get out your phone,” I told Lamar. “Take a picture and send it to Mrs. Fagan.”

The text read: Happy Sunday. It’s Sabrina. Just wanted to tell you thank you for being such an amazing teacher. We are at dinner and Juliana’s table manners are so impressive. She is sitting with her own basket of chips. Eating them one at a time. This is HUGE!

All these actions that I am describing might seem like nothing but I cannot begin to tell you how huge they are. In this post, I describe how we plan and prep for outings. Juliana doesn’t like being still for very long and patient is not a word you would use to describe her.

There’s some funny business at play here!

Someone is making my kid behave and have good table manners!

Someone is teaching Juliana patience and how to focus!

Yes, of course we work on these things at home; we’re supposed to.

But someone outside of our house is influencing our kid! 

That night when we got home, I wondered about all the changes. I think it’s her teacher!  And her school too!

(left to right) Mrs. Ling, Juliana’s teaching assistant and Mrs. Fagan, Juliana’s teacher

Juliana’s teacher is a person who wears a smile and writes me helpful progress reports each day. We collaborate on things to make Juliana’s school days better. The teaching assistant in Juliana’s class never complains about having to take Juliana to potty or clean her up when there is a potty accident. They are really working hard with Juliana to keep her hands to herself and exercise patience when she is eating.

To top all this off, there is a team of support staff and therapists who keep us informed and really work to stay on task for Juliana’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) goals. They take good care of her and help her thrive.

Can you believe this?

A group of people doing their jobs! A group of people who care enough about my kid to keep her on track?

This is CRAZY!

We live in a culture where there is so much to complain about. When our kids don’t do well, often the finger and blame is pointed to the teacher and school. I think if we’re going to rant about all the things that are wrong, we should just as easily rant about the things that are right.

This rant and post has gone long, but I won’t apologize since Facebook ranters don’t.

I hope you will follow my lead. If there is something good going on or someone in your life doing good–RANT! Please!

When you do, be sure to do it right, BE HAPPY about it and make it count!

Why a 4 a.m. Jammie Session Didn’t Ruin My Day

I had a big win a few weeks ago that simply must be shared.

For the first time that I can remember, I was able to stick to my workout plan after a rough night with Juliana.

This may seem like such a simple thing. But it is not. Angels (children with Angelman Syndrome) can have sporadic sleep patterns and lots of energy! Yes, even at 4:00 am. You see that toy saucer up top? Looks innocent enough right? Wrong!

That kiddie saucer becomes an instrument at night. Hard toys are now banned from her bed because we’ll get a banging, jam fest at odd hours of the night. Soft toys only in bed.

On the night of Juliana’s no-sleep-acrobatic-performance, I gave Lamar the “hey, please check on Juliana” nudge while half asleep. She needed a pull-up change, but even after Lamar got her settled, sleep was not on her agenda. Playing was!

I grabbed my blanket and headed to her room to calm her down, so she would get back to sleep. It didn’t really work. After what finally seemed like hours, she quieted down to snooze.

I dosed in and out of sleep while she made noises (that no one should make at 4 a.m.) and finally slipped out of her room at 6 a.m.

It was time to start the day with no more sleep to be had.

Our morning was already off to a different start, but I did what I was supposed to—put on my workout clothes. It would take some motivation, but I was determined to labor through.

But here’s the true reason why I wasn’t a zombie all day. In an odd defeat of not wanting to do one more thing the night before, I ditched my to-do list and climbed in bed at 8:30 p.m.

When Lamar stumbled to the coffee pot that morning and said how tired he was, I boasted, “Not me! Since I went to bed so early last night.” “I missed my workout this morning,” he grumbled “Well, I’m gonna do mine!” I said.

And I did. Now truthfully, I cheated with some of the jumping jacks and my arms didn’t go as high as they normally would. But the point of huffing and puffing through that workout was to prove I could power through. Yes, I got to bed early, but I was still tired.

Didn’t matter though because the plan is to do my workout no matter what. Even if I cheat a little. I’m on a mission to take better care of myself–not sometimes, but all the time. And a big part of that is sticking with my fitness plans—even when there has been a snag in our night or daily routine.

Can I pull this off all the time? I’m not sure. But what made this time different was the plan of action that I already had in place. My workout clothes are the first thing I put on in the morning. My weights stay near my workout spot in the family room.

It’s a challenge that I will keep working on, but I know that I could never be successful in this goal without a plan.

Is there something you’re hoping to have success with? Do you have a sure-fire plan in place to overcome the obstacles that will surely come?