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Our Journey to a Diagnosis- Part 2

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You can read part 1 here if you want to be caught up.

Yesterday was my daughter’s first half of the screening for dyslexia/ADHD/delayed processing speed. I felt sick to my stomach all day. I had no idea what was going to happen and wasn’t sure how to fully prepare her. I didn’t know how she would feel about it. There were so many unknowns, and I HATE not knowing what’s going to happen. I like organization and planning to a fault.

When we got in the car to leave, my mind would not be quiet. I let my daughter pick the music we listened to, shifted it to the back of the van, and tried to let my brain work through all of the thoughts I had. I came so close to turning the car around. What am I doing? Why am I doing this to her? Does it really matter? Am I making a huge mistake?

I never expected to feel such a struggle. Part of it is that I know that I am on an island with homeschooling. It’s so hard to have so few people in your corner fighting WITH you instead of against you. I’m always questioning myself because of how often I get questioned by others. It’s a battle.

Anyway, we got to the office and I let my daughter bring in a couple of her favorite books and her stuffed animal that I didn’t see she brought. She told me that she was nervous. She didn’t know what to expect, and neither did I. I told her she was going to do great and the doctor is SO nice. She sat in the waiting room reading her books and clutching her stuffed animal. Dr. C came out and introduced herself to my daughter. “Are you ready to come back?” She gave a nervous laugh and said “yeah”. I asked Dr. C if she’d prefer the books and toy left out, and she said it was up to my daughter. She couldn’t make up her mind, so I told her she should take her stuffed animal with her to help her feel more calm. Back they went. When the door clicked shut, I had to fight tears. Again, WHY AM I DOING THIS TO HER?

I sat in the waiting room reading this book. I am so thankful that the two hours went by fairly quickly or it would have been torture. They say you don’t have to sit in the waiting room, but there was no way I was going to leave.

When Dr. C brought her out, she said they were able to get through quite a bit, and next week would only take one hour instead of two! My daughter came out with a huge smile on her face and skipping. My heart breathed a sigh of relief!

I wasn’t told anything about how it went. Zilch. Bummer. I set up an appointment for next week to finish up the screening.

When we left, I asked her if she had fun. She said she did. She told me that Dr. C held up a book and she would make pictures with blocks based off of the pages. They read some off of a paper. The blocks were her favorite part.

I am guessing that they won’t tell me anything next week. They will probably want to make a separate appointment so that we aren’t talking about my daughter in front of her. But, I could be wrong. My impatient self really hopes that I am wrong.

That’s not much of an update, but it’s where we are. I’ll have more to share next week.

Thank you to those of you who have reached out and offered your support and prayers. It means more than you know!

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The Wright Stuff Chics

I want to share a super fun company with you today. I am a huge fan of graphic t-shirts. I pretty much wear one every day during the summer. In the winter I wear one with a cardigan. I know, I’m so trendy. But, really, who doesn’t love a good graphic T?

The Wright Stuff Chics has the most fun screen printed graphic t-shirts. I have one (momma teacher blessed) that I have worn more times than I can count and it still looks new. Here are some of my favorites.

There are youth sized t-shirts, so you can snag one for your kids. The “Be the nice kid” one is my favorite. Size up in the shirt if you want it to have some room. (Men may want to size up twice because I feel like they may run a little small.)

 

I am hosting a virtual trunk sale with them. If you to go their website, you can browse through all of their great shirts. Be sure to use the code ashleypullen at checkout for your order to be included in my trunk sale!

 

Happy shopping!

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Our Favorite Bath Products- and a Discount

All three of my girls struggle with eczema. I always had super sensitive skin as a child, and still do as an adult. Addison has had it the worst. She used to be covered in dry, itchy patches of skin constantly. The other two would get patches here and there. I switched bath products and went on a quest to find a regimen that works well for all of the kids. Enter Tubby Todd. This post is 100% not sponsored at all– I am sharing because I genuinely love them and have been using only their products for YEARS. I do have a link to share that will give you 15% off your first order.

This is our current stash. It is worth every darn penny. If your child has eczema-prone skin, or you live in a cold climate you need to jump on this train. They have so many products that it can feel a little overwhelming, so I’ll help break it down for you.

All Over Ointment– This was my first purchase from Tubby Todd. It is a thick and creamy tub of goodness. This is really great to put on the dry patches of eczema. You will honestly start to see a difference overnight. If you live where the winter is bitter cold, put this on those chapped baby cheeks!

Dream Cream– This is really good for when skin is starting to get dry, but isn’t quite terrible yet. To be honest, I use this as hand lotion a lot of times; or I did before they released their Mama line. It’s got a hint of peppermint, so it may cause a little irritation on some babes. I honestly almost always reach for the All Over Ointment. You just can’t go wrong.

Everyday Lotion– It is just that. Use this daily after baths to keep skin moisturized and smelling completely wonderful. Every scent is incredible, and I love their seasonal scents. My husband is obsessed with the cranberry orange scent, so I stocked up around Christmas. We keep a bottle in our room, in the bathroom; everywhere.

Hair and Body Wash– I honestly have used this on myself. I love the smell of this. I have three girls– which is proof that I know good hair care. I love simplifying our bath products and having less bottles in the shower. I bought the extra tubby pump bottle of this, and it has lasted forever. I think that this played a huge part in helping clear up the eczema. When your daily products are clean and free form the harsh ingredients, it makes a HUGE difference.

Hair Conditioner– I bought this for my tangly girl’s hair. It smells like lemon cake. I honestly don’t use it on my kids very often because the hair and body wash is just THAT GOOD. I’ve used it on myself also and really love it, and I am picky.

Hair Detangler– This. is. amazing. I’m going to share a before and after picture.

 

 

Addi’s hair often looks like this after playing, riding in the carseat, sleeping, etc. It gets tangled so easily. She SCREAMS when she gets her hair brushed because her head is super sensitive. When Tubby Todd came out with this last year (I believe it was last year) I could not order it fast enough. I have tried SO MANY detangling hair sprays. They all don’t work or leave a greasy and gross feeling behind. This one leaves hair feeling clean and fresh. Plus, in between these pictures, there were no tears. Life changing stuff here. I ran out, and didn’t order some for a while.

Mama hand cream– this smells SO good. I really really love this hand cream and have used it for body lotion as well. So good. The whole Mama line is so good, but the hand cream is my favorite.

Belly Oil– this is super moisturizing and good for helping reduce the look of stretch marks. (I am NOT pregnant.. just hoping to say buh-bye to my stretchies a little.)

Mama Freshening Spray– I love having this on hand to help me smell good after a lot of mommin’. Some jobs just stink– literally– and this helps me feel a little more alive. I have also used the Baby Fresh Spray on myself and the kids. It smells wonderful, but I only had it for a short time before Harper dumped THE WHOLE BOTTLE out on the floor. I almost cried.

They also just came out with sunscreen, but I haven’t tried it out just yet. I have it, but am finishing up my other container of sunscreen before opening a new one. Waste not.

If this post overwhelmed you, I’ll try to simplify. If your child has eczema, start with the all over ointment. It will clear up those miserable patches for your kiddos quickly so they have comfort. If your child just has sensitive and mildly dry skin, switch to Tubby Todd’s hair and body wash and grab some every day lotion. They even have some travel sized products if you want to test it out before committing to a full size product.

Do you want to know the best part? Andrea, the founder of Tubby Todd, went through the awful cycle of trying to find a product that worked for her kids. She created a line of her own, and Tubby Todd was born. Now for the best part- if your child has a reaction to Tubby Todd products and they don’t work for you, you can e-mail them and they will REFUND YOUR MONEY!!! Y’all. No other company is that good to you. Plus, you are supporting a family with a real face. Andrea is so sweet and wonderful, and her kids are adorable.

Be sure to shop through this link to get 15% off!!!  You will love them.

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Friday Favorites

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You guys. I can’t wait for fall. So, this picture is one of my favorites. When August arrives, I’m chomping at the bit to put pumpkins everywhere and pick apples.  Bring. It. On. I always wait until September to actually decorate for fall. My husband loves me for it.

This nail polish is my favorite. I especially love it for fall and winter, but wear it year round. It is also cheaper on Amazon than at Target. I’ve been obsessed with it for years. I want to find a cleaned up version. Maybe this one would do the trick?

I am so excited about the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Netflix movie. You can read my book review here. You NEED to read the books… ok, maybe not need. But, they are so good!!!!  I loved them, and I’m really happy that most of the characters look like what I pictured in my head.

Jessica’s kitchen renovation. I love seeing the magic that she comes up with in every kitchen. Here is her previous kitchen. Here is the original kitchen she shared. Seriously, so pretty.

These bowls. I love them. I have wanted them forever and just haven’t bought them. One day.

I am making this recipe very soon. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

I hope that your weekend is wonderful. Soak up these last days before the kids start back to school! Our year starts in just over a week, and I not only feel sad that we will be back at it already, but also relieved to be back on a schedule of sorts.

 

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Life Lately and a Big to-do List

I’m alive! Sorry for the blog silence over the last week. My mom had surgery on Wednesday, and we have been a little busy. Mom’s surgery went well, and we are praising God for that. She is not allowed to bend or twist for two weeks. She can walk though, so she was able to go for short walks and enjoy the nice weather when it wasn’t raining.

We had a week of fall-weather here. It was beautiful! The windows were open every day with a cool breeze in the mornings. We loaded up the wagon and walked to my parent’s house last Friday. I was regretting my light-weight long sleeved shirt because it wasn’t THAT cool when hoofing it with a heavy wagon and backpack. Hindsight. Living 2 miles from my parents is a blessing that I won’t take for granted in this season.

The kids have VBS this week and have loved it so far. Believe it or not, this is their first year ever of going to Vacation Bible School! We’ve never been at a church that does it. It’s filling all of our free time, but it’s so fun to see how excited they are every day. Even little Harper is in class, which blows my mind. Scott and I get a little alone time each night while they are in class, which is an added bonus. I turned down working VBS this year, and I’m really thankful I did. I think I would have run myself ragged.

Between my month+ long sickness and everything else going on, I feel like I have accomplished NOTHING at home. I spent yesterday cleaning my house because it was like a really dirty tornado came through. There was a mountain of clean laundry to fold, gross bathrooms to clean, floors that needed swept and vacuumed, and meals to plan. I started cleaning up our school room and Addi’s desk broke. It was cheap, and it’s not wanting to go back together. The girls have already trashed the school room again today, so I’m not sure why I tried yesterday.

Here’s what needs to get done over the next couple of weeks. Maybe putting it on the blog will be more accountability for me to accomplish it all.

-clean school room
-find a school table to replace the desk that broke
-organize school books for this year
-sell 2nd grad curriculum (it is changing, or I would save it for next school year)
-yard sale– I don’t know how we have so much STUFF, but I’m overwhelmed by it
-plan Chloe’s lego themed birthday party
– clean out garage– we still have boxes from moving in last year
– Pull the weeds in the garden
– organize girls’ clothes– pull out what doesn’t fit, is torn, not in season
-get the last of school supplies

 

I know there is so much more to do, but my brain is feeling fried. Hopefully the fog clears soon and I will get back to blogging on the regular. Thanks for being patient.

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Our Journey to a Diagnosis- part 1

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Hi, friends. It’s been a whirlwind of a week.

Monday, we had a pre-screening appointment for one of our children. She has been battling some struggles with learning. We have been concerned about possible dyslexia and delayed processing speed. I tried reaching out to a place in Oklahoma, and they never got back to me. So, I put it on hold once we knew we’d be moving. Her doctor here referred us to a child psychologist, and that is who will diagnose anything.

We will be starting school in less than a month, so the timing of this is perfect. I want to learn how to help her best learn and realize her full potential– because she is so incredibly bright and talented.

Now, I am hoping to keep the specific child anonymous, but am afraid I may slip on her name at some point. If you see it, please let me know as soon as possible so that I can correct it. I do not want her to feel singled out. But, I also wish that I had someone else’s experience that I could read and know what to expect. That is why I share. I know that I have many other homeschooling parents that read my blog, and I want you to see the reality and the struggles. I also want you to see the successes and mountain tops!

We told the doctor (Dr. C) what our concerns were, and where our daughter struggles. Dr. C asked a lot of questions about her– how she does in other subjects outside of reading and phonics. Behavioral questions. Based upon what we talked about, we will be doing screening for dyslexia, processing speed, and ADHD. I never once felt like I was being looked down on or judged. Dr. C came from a place of complete understanding and judgement free, which was so refreshing.

I was afraid that I would get nothing but eye rolls as soon as I mentioned that we homeschool. I’m so tired of the dang judgement. WHY do people feel like it is their place to say that my kids should be in public school.. WHY is it such an issue?! When I was a teacher, no one thought I was unqualified or shouldn’t be doing it. But, now that I have a “classroom” in my home, I am doing all the wrong things. That is not the point, but my head honestly could explode because I am SO SICK OF IT.

Dr. C told us that we would bring our child in, and the whole screening process would be done without us in the room. It takes 3-4 hours, which is just crazy long. You do not have to do this all at once, so we will be splitting it up so that she does not get overwhelmed. Once we have a diagnosis, we will know how to move forward.

I am honestly not entirely sure how to prepare her for this screening. It is something that I am praying about and seeking advice from other moms who have walked this road before. Please say a prayer that we will have loads of wisdom and discernment as we walk into this unknown.

To those of you who support and cheer me on- Thank you. I cannot even say how much it means to me to know that I have a few people in my corner.

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Weekending

Happy (groan) Monday, friends!

This weekend was part jam-packed and part miserable.

Saturday was Harper’s birthday party. We had invited our families to come over for cake and ice cream. I decorated the house on her actual birthday and thankfully left everything up. Scott worked until 1 while I cleaned the house and got things ready. Chloe had been saying that her ear was hurting some the past couple of days, but nothing terrible. By Saturday, her ear was really tender. As soon as Scott got home, I took her to urgent care to make sure it wasn’t an ear infection. Thankfully it’s just swimmer’s ear. I got home and family started arriving.

I didn’t get a single picture because my hands were full of baby nephew! My younger sister came down to see my mom, and was able to be here for the party with her whole family. My older sister had a house full of teenage girls for my niece’s party and was unable to come. Don’t worry. She filled a card full of confetti for Harper’s birthday, so we still have some remnants of that. She was here in spirit. 😉 I think that Harper had a blast with her cousins and sisters.

By the time everyone left, I was completely sucked of all energy.

I’ve been sick for over a month, and by last week I was struggling to breathe. My allergies turned respiratory infection. The PA said “Usually people come in after one day, not one month!” Thursday I was put on an antibiotic and strong cough medicine, but it wasn’t helping my lung/chest pain and shallow breathing. I couldn’t get through more than a few words without taking a breath. I am so thankful for my husband and his willingness to tell me to go lay down while he cleaned up, got dinner, and got the girls ready for bed.

Sunday morning, I once again went to urgent care. My lungs were hurting, I was really struggling to breathe, and I was coughing more than before. I wanted to make sure I didn’t have pneumonia. My lungs still sound bad, so I was given a strong breathing treatment that made me shake so bad. The nurse had me walk the halls with her while wearing a pulse ox monitor. My oxygen saturation dropped while walking, so she said she MAY transfer me to the ER to check for a blood clot in my lung if the chest x-ray was clear. (cue mini heart attack) My x-ray was clear, so she had me walk with her once again. This time, my oxygen stayed up, so she said a clot wasn’t very likely. I am on a strong dose of prednisone and have to use an inhalor 3 times a day plus finishing the antibiotic and taking cough meds when needed.

I went back home and crawled right back in bed because I was already exhausted. But, I had a date to keep. Early last month, maybe even in May, my niece called me and asked if I wanted to go see a production of High School Musical with her in July. If you don’t know, I’m a ridiculous HSM fan. It came out my senior year of high school. I did show choir. It was just the best. I got out of bed long enough to go to the show with her. There was no way I was missing that.

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She had a slumber party the night before, and looks more tired than her “old” aunt. haha! It was a really good show, and we laughed and talked about her starting junior high soon. I can’t believe that she is so grown up now. She is seriously an incredible young woman, and I love spending time with her.

I spent the rest of the day in bed, and thankfully am feeling slightly better this morning. My mom is having back surgery on Wednesday, and I HAVE to get better fast so that I can help her any way that she needs. Please pray that I kick this and regain strength and energy fast. Pray that my mom’s surgery goes well and FINALLY removes her pain. She’s been suffering for a LONG time and is ready to get back to living.

There is so much happening this week. Ready, set, go!

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Family Friendly Things to do in Central Illinois

Family Friendly Central Illinois

If you find yourself in Central Illinois wondering what there is to do aside from look at corn and soybean fields, look no further. There are some hidden gems sprinkled throughout the area. There are many state parks perfect for hiking and exploring. They are all pretty kid friendly since the land is so flat!

I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite places to visit; some are just on our list to see.

History

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Lincoln Home National Historic Site

New Salem

Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Illinois State Capitol

 

Water

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Indoor Aquatic Center

Knights Action Park

Anderson Park and Aquatic Center

Clinton Lake

Lake Shelbyville

 

Farm Life

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Okaw Valley Orchard

Monticello Railway Museum

Prairie’s Edge Farm

 

Animal Fun

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Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch

Miller Park Zoo

Scovill Zoo

Henson Robinson Zoo

 

Eat

LaGondola Spaghetti House
Krekel’s
Monical’s Pizza

 

I’ll be sure to update as we explore and discover more fun.

If you have a favorite place that is not on this list, will you let me know? We’d love to explore more!

 

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Happy Birthday Harper

It is hard to believe that it has already been four years since this sweet girl was placed on my chest for the first time. She is our rainbow. The light that came from a lot of darkness and heartbreak.

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A birthday interview with the 4 year old

1. What is your favorite color?   blue, pink, and purple
2. What is your favorite toy?   hmm.. Skye
3. What is your favorite fruit?   hm marshmallows
4. What is your favorite tv show or movie?   hm I love the ninja one
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?   hm macaroni
6. What is your favorite game?   Harper
7. What is your favorite snack?   how about.. I do love yummy popcorn
8. What is your favorite animal?   a bunny hoppity
9. What is your favorite song?   a ninja song
10. What is your favorite book?   um ninja book
11. Who is your best friend?   hm Mommy and Daddy I love mommy and daddy
12. What is your favorite cereal?   um hm night night cereal
13. What is your favorite thing to do outside?   um go in the pool and sim (swim)
14. What is your favorite drink?   water
15. What is your favorite holiday?   ugh i don’t know
16. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?   my cute little skye
17. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?   don’t know
18. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?   hm my cake
19. What do you want to be when you grow up?   hm go sleep
20. What makes you feel happy?   hugging a star

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Harper is obsessed with ninjas and frequently asks “do you want to see my ninja moves?” She loves all things Paw Patrol and is obsessed with her baby cousin. She specializes in sneaking things out of the fridge and making crazy messes, all while being so adorable that it’s hard to be mad at her. She jumps and dances around so much that it’s hard to get a picture of her these days.

She gives the best hugs and kisses, and is still a mama’s girl. She doesn’t talk to many people. Her hair has gotten really curly, but those curls often get smooshed by her glasses. She would spend all day in the water if she could.

Harper Michelle, you are the sweetest little nugget and I couldn’t imagine our family without you in it. Happy 4th Birthday!! Now, stop growing up.

 

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Ice Cream Safari Save

We had a full weekend here. Saturday morning, my older sister and I did a “fun run/walk” that was to raise money for the St. Jude team of runners in our area. I had to shop and re-stock after having a pretty bare kitchen. We ate leftovers before we went to Michigan, and ate sandwiches for lunch every day. haha!

Sunday, there was an ice cream event at the zoo. We planned to go. We decided to pack a picnic lunch and just go to the zoo straight after church. When we got to church, I started getting a shooting pain through my neck. Every time I would sing, I’d feel all of the congestion in my sinuses vibrate, which is just miserable and weird.

We headed to the zoo after church. We decided to eat our picnic lunch outside of the zoo so the kids would eat. False. They still were too distracted. We went in the zoo, and things fell apart almost instantly.

All of us have had allergy issues, not just me. I’m not sure if things have progressed from just allergies to sinus infections, or if the exhaustion finally caught up with everyone. It was disastrous. Everyone was grouchy. Harper got really upset about us walking away without putting sprinkles on her ice cream. (None of us knew she wanted them, but we should have.) She was crying so hard and I could hear the sound in her voice.. croup was trying to weasel its way into her body. Really, I think she has asthma, but our doctor in Michigan has STILL yet to send her records. The doctor here won’t see her without them. Mama bear is about to roar.

We only made it to two of the ice cream stations and didn’t see many animals. We still had train tickets from months ago that the girls have looked forward to using. We decided to end on a good note, ride the train, and then bounce. I’m glad we ended that way instead of dragging screaming children out of the zoo.

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Everyone walked away with smiles on their faces. We stayed home since everyone felt so miserable. I spent a little time cleaning up the school room while the kids relaxed and Scott worked on a project.

Today, the kids are taking it easy and lounging on the couch.

I’m scoping out Amazon Prime Day deals, and will be sharing them over on my facebook deals page. I’d love to have you join and let me know what you are on the lookout for.

 

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