Parenting

How to Heal After Infidelity

How to Heal After Infidelity - Ways to cope, take care of yourself, and learning how to forgive on this journey to healing a broken heart.

 

Dear Friends,

 

I am always so touched by the messages and comments I receive here on the blog. I can’t tell you how much hearing from you has meant to me, and I am so honored to spend a little part of your day with you!

 

Today I’m sharing from my heart about a question that I hear pretty often… How do you heal after infidelity?

 

Each one of the messages that I receive about this pulls at my heart. I want to reach out and give each of you a giant hug. I would fix us some comforting tea, and then I would sit down next to you and share the ways that helped to heal my broken heart.

 

Just breathe.

 

When I found out about his unfaithfulness, my heart raced, my veins turned to ice, my stomach revolted, and I couldn’t breathe. Every time I discovered a new aspect of the betrayal, feared for my safety, or relived the hurt – it felt as if an elephant were sitting on my chest. I purposely let myself slow down enough to concentrate on breathing in for five slow counts, (1…2…3…4…5…), and then out for five slow counts, (1…2…3…4…5…), until the feeling passed. My world was crumbling and spinning around me, but when I spent a few minutes throughout the day on my breathing, I felt a little more in control of my situation.

 

Do the next thing.

 

Write out a list of routine activities you need to do today, and just concentrate on one thing at a time. Walk the dog. Read your little one a bedtime story. Take out the trash. Go to the grocery store. Pay the electric bill. Try not to focus so much on the unknown future – but continue on the little normal tasks in front of you. These might feel small and nearly impossible at the same time. You may feel easily distracted, but these will help to keep your body busy and your mind on track.

 

Take care of yourself.

 

Sometimes the best thing a mom can do for her family is to give herself grace. ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

Shower. Brush your teeth. Fix your hair. Go for a walk at sunset with a friend. Eat something, even if you don’t fee like it. These might sound simple, but when you are truly wrestling with such devastating news, it can be hard to gather enough focus and energy for even something as routine as shaving your legs.

 

I know it doesn’t feel like it, but each time you do something to take care of yourself, it’s another step forward on your journey to healing.

 

Make an appointment to see your doctor.

 

I hate this part, Friend, but I can’t stress how important this step is in your healing. You need to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Call your doctor’s office and set up a time for you to be seen. Take a supportive friend with you, if you can. I was so lucky to have a friend there holding my hand, and a caring doctor who got me in that same day for a whole panel of tests.

 

Once you have the results, a large weight will be lifted off your weary shoulders. If the tests are negative, you can move forward. If something does turn up, you can be treated as early as possible, and then continue moving forward.

 

*I would also highly recommend requesting that your partner be tested for the same large panel of STDs, and have the results printed out for you to see. They may not like it, but you have every right to know if they brought anything concerning into your bed.

 

Allow yourself to grieve.

 

Be still and heal.

 

You’ve just been through so much, Friend. The news that your spouse has been unfaithful is one of the most devastating betrayals that you could ever experience. Take the time that you need to process what has happened. There will be so many moments when you will need to be strong, but it is okay for you to let yourself crumble sometimes. Just don’t stay down. Allow the tears to fall, but then get back up again. You really will smile again. You will get through this… I promise.

 

Explore healthy ways to vent your anger and frustration.

 

 

No good can come from taking, “a Louisville slugger to both headlights,” like the country song. As much as you might want to hurl obscenities or your wedding China at your spouse, I promise that it won’t help.

 

This is the time to remain calm – almost businesslike – around him. There are other ways to release some of the frustration, anger, and hurt that you are feeling. Write in a journal, write a letter to your husband or to the other woman, talk to a friend, go for a run, or join a kickboxing class. Lock yourself in a room and scream into your pillow. This way you won’t do something that you will later regret.

 

Surround yourself with love and support.

 

Seek out family and loving friends right now. Find a support group through a church. This is not the time to shut yourself off from the world. It’s hard to let down your guard and say the words out loud, but I think you will be surprised at the love and understanding that you will find. I will be forever grateful for the support of my family and friends. I couldn’t have done it without them.

 

Keep things as normal as possible for yourself and your kids.

 

Whether or not you talk to your kids about what is going on, they need stability. Keep your routine as normal as possible, and it will help you and them as you process and heal.  If your children know about the betrayal, please consider having them go to counseling where they can express and work through their confusion and hurt as well.

 

Chapter 5

 

See a counselor by yourself.

 

I’ve shared before how important therapy was in my healing. I grew so much during my time in counseling. Having someone comfort, guide, and challenge me on this journey was incredibly helpful.

 

I’ve also recently learned about peer counseling. Infidelity Counseling Network is a wonderful FREE resource for women who need to talk over the phone to someone who has been through it, too.

 

Attend counseling together.

 

Making an appointment for marriage counseling was one of the best things that I could have done, even though our marriage didn’t survive. A good couple’s therapist will listen, see through the hurt, and identify ways that the two of you can start to heal.

 

Your spouse will learn how to begin earning back your trust – cutting off communication with their lover, calling you throughout the day, being home when they said they would be home, reading books with you about healing and marriage, attending a support group for men with a lust addiction, and living transparently before you. This isn’t about punishing him – it’s about him respecting what you need as he works toward restoring broken trust.

 

Don’t rush. Work through healing slowly and intentionally.

 

As hard as it is right now, try to be logical and reasonable in your decisions without letting emotions get the better of you.

 

Don’t rush.

 

Don’t rush things back to “normal.” So much healing needs to take place, and that will take time, patience, and hard work by both of you.

 

Don’t rush into seeking separation or divorce either. Only time will tell if your marriage will survive. It takes two to tango, and to be restored, but you can do everything in your power to facilitate reconciliation. There is no rush when it comes to ending a marriage. Getting a divorce will not suddenly make everything better. Only healing, time, and forgiveness can do that – whether or not you stay together.

 

Don’t seek to get even.

 

You might feel desperate for them to know the searing pain they are putting you through, but do not look for comfort or revenge in someone else’s arms. It’s not worth it to bring more devastation into the relationship.

 

Forgive.

 

I believe this the most important way that you can heal after such a devastating betrayal. You can go down the list and check everything else off, but if you do not forgive, you will not feel whole again. Forgiveness is not a gift that you give to them – it is a gift that you are giving to yourself. Forgiveness releases you from their power over you. It frees you from the pain that bound you to them. Once those chains fall away, your heart will be free to heal once more.

 

Sometimes forgiveness is a daily practice – every time he comes to pick up your kids, when you see him with another woman, or even if he blames you for his affair – you can take in another deep breath and remind yourself that the worst is over. You have come so far on this road to healing, and you should be deeply proud of yourself.

 

And you are not alone… I promise.

 

Forgiveness

 

What about you?

 

Do you have any advice for our friends? Can you think of other ways that we can heal after such a dark time? I’d love to hear all about them in the comments below!

 

Can I ask you for a big favor? Do you know anyone who might be encouraged by this blog post? Would you please consider sharing it with them? I want nothing more than to help others to know that they are not alone in this journey.

 

As always, thank you so much for spending a little bit of your day with me. Your encouragement and comments mean the world to me! You can also find me on FacebookInstagramPinterest, and Twitter. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Until next time,

*Hugs*

~ Ginger

 

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Dear Ginger… 7 Ways to Help Answer Your Kids’ Tough Questions About Divorce

Dear Ginger... Answering Your Kids' Tough Questions About Divorce

 

Dear Friends,

 

I am always so touched by the messages and comments I receive here on the blog. I can’t tell you how much hearing from you has meant to me, and I am so honored to spend a little part of your day with you!

 

Today I’m answering another question that I receive pretty often…

 

What should I say to my kids when they ask me why their daddy and I are divorced?

 

First of all, I wish that I could give you a great big hug right now. This situation can pierce a mommy’s heart. Each time our boys have looked up at me with their dark eyes and asked me this question, I had to swallow the lump in my throat and send up a quick prayer for help in how to help them understand.

 

My boys were only 5 months, 3, and 4 when our marriage fell apart, and 1, 3, and 5 years old when our divorce was finalized. Because they were so little, and because of the betrayal and hurt that led to the end of our marriage, I had to find a way to help them understand without putting the weight of our circumstances on their little shoulders.

 

My Littlest Gift - justoneoftheboys.com

 

I heard a story when I was growing up of when Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom was little girl, and she asked her father a deep question when she was still too young to understand the graveness of the answer. Her father’s analogy has stuck with me all these years, and I have used it when I talked to my own little ones about divorce in our family.

 

“Honey, I love you so much, and I know that you have so many questions. I wish that I could give you a better answer – but the truth is that the reason we are divorced is like holding a heavy suitcase. It’s just too heavy for you to carry right now, so I will carry this for you. And someday, when you’re bigger, if you really want to know, I will tell you more. Please know that I love you so much – to infinity and beyond! Thank you for coming to me. You can always ask me anything, and I will do my best to help you understand.”

 

Here are a few other tips in answering those hard questions:

 

  1. Take their questions seriously.

 

Look into their eyes and acknowledge their pain and wondering. As much as it hurts you, welcome their questions and keep that line of communication open between you both. This will help in your own growth, you can assess how your kids are coping, and help them with their own healing.

 

  1. Be honest, but guard your privacy and their little hearts.

 

boys

 

They don’t need to know all of the nitty-gritty details. They will never need to know ALL of the details that led to your divorce.

 

  1. Don’t bad-mouth your ex in front of your children.

 

Co-Parenting After Divorce

 

As much as you might be tempted to pull back the curtain on your ex’s character, please don’t. This is not the time to vent your frustration. Nothing good will come from it – only more hurt and confusion about loyalty to you both as parents. Instead, find a loving friend who will listen as you cry, yell, question, and process your own pain. And then you can be there for her when she needs it.

 

  1. But you don’t have to sugar coat things either.

 

You don’t have to pretend that everything is just peachy. It’s okay to let them know that you are sad about how circumstances turned out, but also let them know that you will be fine, they will be fine, and that you are working with their dad to parent them together as a team.

 

  1. Explain that it’s just too much for them to carry right now.

 

It isn’t time for them to carry this information. You’re not putting down their age by saying that they’re not old enough. You’re also not giving them a time frame of when they will get those answers. You may feel the need to carry most of this heavy information for them for the rest of your life. This isn’t just about protecting the other parent’s reputation. Children are much more perceptive than we give them credit, and over time they will see things about each of us as parents – good and bad – for themselves.

 

  1. Find ways to help them ease into this transition.

 

11 Ways to Help Children Cope With Divorce

 

Secretly tuck notes or funny cards into their bag when they leave with the other parent for the weekend. Give them a stuffed animal that they can take back and forth to remember you by. Take them to counseling so they can use play therapy and projects to work through their own pain. Keep a routine at your house that helps the children feel settled during this time of change.

 

 

  1. Show love for their dad.

 

Mommy, Do You Still Love Daddy?

 

Affection might be the last emotion you feel for the other parent, but it’s important that you maintain a civil relationship with their father. You don’t have to be best buddies, but I’ve learned that being at least casually friendly to their dad will go a long way to your children feeling settled, loved, and a jump-start on their healing after the divorce.

 

Offer him more time with your children on his birthday. Wish him a happy Father’s Day. Seek out his opinion when your child is sick. It might feel as if you are giving him more and more influence, but he is their dad. When you put the ball in his court, you are giving him extra opportunities to graciously co-parent together. He may or may not respond the way that you wished, but at least you gave him that chance, and your children will be better for it.

 

 

What about you?

 

Do you have any suggestions for our friends? Can you think of other ways to help friends who has found themselves in this heartbreaking place? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

 

Can I ask you for a big favor? Do you know anyone who might be encouraged by this blog post? Would you please consider sharing it with them? I want nothing more than to help others to know that they are not alone in this journey.

 

As always, thank you so much for spending a little bit of your day with me. Your encouragement and comments mean the world to me! You can also find me on FacebookInstagramPinterest, and Twitter. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Until next time,

*Hugs*

~ Ginger

 

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5 Summer Must-Haves for a Busy Mom

Summer Must-Haves for a Busy Mom!

 

It’s getting warm outside! Summer is in full swing here in Kansas. Our family was been busy with VBS last week, and we will be heading to swimming lessons and playdates over the next couple of weeks. I love the time that we get to spend as a family during the summer, but it can be crazy with so many activities!

 

My Three Sons - Swimming

 

I shared with you last week how much I love my new Beeyoutiful mineral foundation. Love, love, love! I enjoy hearing about the things that people found – what makes life easier – that I thought I’d share with you a few more of my favorite things.

 

Here are some of my go-to, can’t-live-without, must haves for summer!

 

Summer Must Haves!

 

Dry Shampoo ~

 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to wash, dry, and style my hair every day. Between getting up early to work out, meeting up with friends at the park, and spending afternoons at the local pools and splash pads, I need something to help my hair stay fresh, easy to maintain, and looking good between washings. Dry shampoo is the bomb diggity!

 

There are two brands that I love:

Suave Professionals Refresh & Revive is cheap, smells great, and gives my hair a little extra volume oomph! I can pick it up at Target, blow dry my hair after a sweaty workout, and spray it in before styling. It’s a great way to buy myself a little time until I can wash it later.

 

Big Sexy Hair Power Play comes in a powder form that you sprinkle in at the roots. I wait a few minutes before I rub it in and brush it through my hair. I love that this one leaves the rest of my hair feeling silky and clean so I can go about 2-3 days between washings.

 

Benefit Eye Bright ~

 

This has been called A NAP IN A STICK – and I love it! It’s the lightest shade of pink, and when I apply it to the dreaded dark circles on my face, it helps light to bounce off that area! I look so much more awake, alert, and refreshed when I am sporting my Benefit Eye Bright!

 

Beeyoutiful Mineral Makeup ~ Review and Giveaway!

 

 

OGX Argan Oil of Morocco  ~

 

Heavenly. That’s how I would describe this stuff! I use OGX’s Argan Oil shampoo and conditioner, too, but this penetrating oil makes my locks soft, silky, and so touchable. I can’t keep my hands out of my hair!

 

Future Hope Jewelry

 

I bought the small travel size at Ulta months ago, and I’m still working my way through it! I rub a small drop between my palms and run my hands through the ends and middle of my wet hair after a shower, and then I style it.

 

Beeyoutiful Mineral Makeup ~ Review

 

P.S. – It smells divine, too!

 

Pucker up! ~

 

I’ve become a big fan of having a pop of color on my lips! My sweet friend Heather gave me a pretty gold tube of Bésame Red Velvet for my birthday this year!

 

I tend to have dry lips, so I always wear a lip balm – even over my lipstick. My favorite is the Burt’s Bees “Red Dahlia” tube from Target. It adds just a hint of color to my lips, and looks great over a darker lip color as well!

 

My sister-in-law Amy gave me a new lip lavender mint balm from Honest Company, and I love it! It’s clear, but adds a nice little glow to my lips while keeping them soft and hydrated.

 

Red Lipstick

 

Sunglasses ~

 

Pulling weeds in the flower bed. Mowing the yard. A family walk around our neighborhood. Swimming lessons. Park play dates. Driving our kids all over God’s green earth for summer activities.

 

I couldn’t do it all without my shades! I keep these Kate Spades with me all the time, and it makes active summer life so much better. Plus, all you need is a little pop of color on the lips, and no on can tell if you have bags under your eyes from being up at night with a sick kiddo like I was last night, staying up too late reading a good book, or just didn’t have time to put on your Eye Bright!

 

Sunglasses and White Summer Dress

 

What about you?

 

What are some of your must- haves for summer? Do you have a favorite sunscreen? A fabulous lotion? A delicious summer drink? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

 

Wishing you a fabulous week!

 

*Hugs*

 

~ Ginger

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What I’m Into ~ May 2015 Edition

What I'm Into May 2015

 

Once again it’s time to link up with the lovely Leigh Kramer and gab about what we’ve been into this month – (er, the past couple of months in my case)! Be sure to check out all of the wonderful links for the best book ideas, movie and tv reviews, and more!

 

My Birthday ~

Last month I celebrated my 34th birthday. The thirties have been hard for me, but this year wasn’t so bad. I welcomed it – and somehow 34 didn’t feel quite as daunting. Maybe that’s because I’ve been working so hard to take better care of myself, pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and finding out who I really am as a woman.

 

It probably helped that I had started an exercise routine 30 days before my birthday. I was feeling squishy, tired, achy, and self-conscious about how my clothes weren’t fitting very well. I had melted into a puddle of tears more than once, but I have a wonderful Beloved who pulled me into his arms and assured me that he loved me exactly how I was. I was inspired to stop moping and actually do something about it, so I began the 30 Day Shred exercise program, then progressed into trying PIYO.

 

I’m getting stronger, leaner, and more energized – which helped me to usher in this birthday with a smile.

 

Book Exchange Parties ~

 

I wish that I had snapped a picture from the other night! I hosted a white elephant book exchange party for the ladies of our new church – and I think everyone enjoyed themselves! My friend Kaila and I handed out invitations printed out on vintage-ish library check-out cards, and everyone brought snackies to munch on. We took turns picking out a wrapped book and finding out which books had impacted our friends.

Here are some of the AWESOME books that were shared:

The Chronicles of Narnia

For Men Only

For Women Only

The Pact

Sacred Marriage

Gods at War (I ended up with this one!)

Harriet the Spy

The Best Yes

One Thousand Gifts

Me Before You (This was my contribution to the evening’s festivities!)

 

And Speaking of Books…

 

Look at what my Beloved and our boys gave me for Mother’s Day!

 

Unfinished bookshelf

 

They really do know what speaks to my heart – a special place for my antique books!

 

Finished bookshelf

 

Future Hope ~

 

I am so excited about the work that my friend Katie is doing in Haiti with Future Hope Haiti! Her heart has been moved and she is working toward bringing hope to the people of Haiti! I love supporting them any way I can, and I won a t-shirt! One look at it, and my oldest son asked if he could have one, too. I’ll probably end up giving him mine. I love that he’s excited to spread the word of the work going on in Haiti!

 

Future Hope shirt

 

I love wearing my coconut earrings and bracelet from Future Hope! They go with absolutely everything!

 

Future Hope Jewelry

 

I love mine so much that I gave away a pair of coconut earrings on Facebook last week for my birthday! The giveaway went over so well that we just might have another one! Stay tuned!

 

Future Hope Earrings

 

 

Celebrating Being Seizure-Free!

 

Our middle son is officially finished with taking his epilepsy meds! He was declared seizure-free at his last EEG, and has been weaning off the medication. Our family celebrated this HUGE milestone with him – and we couldn’t be prouder for all of his hard work! He helped me write this post:

 

5 Things You Should Know About Absence Seizures

Crashing Into Grace ~

 

I had the unfortunate experience of backing into my Beloved’s car last month. I felt absolutely horrible about my mistake – and I managed to flog myself pretty well for not being more careful. It was my family who surrounded me with love and forgiveness that taught me the most important lesson of all:

 

Sometimes the best thing a mom can do for her family is to give herself grace. ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

The End of the School Year ~

 

Quinn hat

 

Things have been pretty crazy around here lately! We finished up our school year, and it seemed even busier than in past years. My blogging took a back seat, but as life slows down a little this summer I’ll be able to share a little more of our story with you!

 

 

Books I’ve Read in April & May ~

 

I didn’t get to read as many books as usual. With getting up so early, I’ve found myself going to bed earlier and earlier – unable to keep my eyes open to read at night, but I did manage to get through a few!

 

The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett – LOVED IT! Can’t wait to finally watch the film!

 

Glitter and Glue, by Kelly Corrigan – Another great book by Kelly Corrigan. This memoir focused more on her relationship with her mom, and it made me laugh and cry.

 

Hands Free Mama, by Rachel Macy Stafford – I’m going through this one slowly and soaking it up… Convicting and inspiring at the same time, and it’s helping me to stop and really be in the moment with my family.

 

Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty – WOWZERS! I loved her book What Alice Forgot, but when I started her newest story, I couldn’t get past the first few chapters. I had pretty much given up, but I’m so glad that my friend Jeri encouraged me to push through and keep reading. I’ve shared parts of my story with y’all, and I could relate to each of the three main characters in some ways. When I clicked past the last page on my Kindle, I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even cry. I just sat and soaked it all in – there were so many memories and emotions flowing through me. It was a good thing, honest! A fascinating page-turner, it also nudged me to dig deep and face some painful corners of my past.

 

Reading in June ~

 

Do Over, by John Acuff

 

Scary Close, by Donald Miller

 

Love Walked In, by Marisa De Los Santos – and if I enjoy it, I have the sequel ready to read, too – Belong to Me.

 

Gods at War, by Francis Chan

 

The Marriage of Chani Kaufman, by Eve Harris

 

 

What About You?

 

What have you been into lately? Have you read any good books? Watched any must-see TV? Found any great bargains? I’d love to hear all about it! I’m always looking for good recommendations for books, movies, and more! You can find me here, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest! I’d love to connect with you!

Wishing you an exquisite month of June, dear friends!

*Hugs*

 

~ Ginger

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Crashing into Grace…

So… My morning didn’t start out so great. I turned my head when something caught my eye, and I was not looking behind me when I backed out of our garage.

 

CRUNCH.

 

I felt my stomach drop as the realization of what I just did washed over me. I had just hit my husband’s car. Joe was still inside the house,  so I sent in one of the boys to go get him.

 

I put the vehicle in park, and I just sat there – still shocked by what I had just done. The sound of my own thoughts echoed inside my mind…

 

Look what you did. How could you be so stupid, Ginger? How could you be so careless? You know better than to get distracted. You’re so irresponsible. I can’t believe you just did that. Stupid!

 

Blame. Name-calling. Judgement.

 

That’s when my Beloved walked outside, and I saw him involuntarily cringe when he saw my predicament. That’s when my heart and my tears fell.

 

“I’m so sorry.”

 

“It’s okay, Honey. That’s why they call it an accident.”

 

GRACE.

 

“But I’m really, really sorry.”

 

“It’s okay, Honey. Really. It’s just a car.”

 

More GRACE.

 

Our oldest son climbed up next to me and wrapped his arms around my shoulders. “Are you okay, Mom? Everybody makes mistakes.” 

 

No blaming. Just GRACE.

 

I ran my errand still shell-shocked, and returned home to my family. Aiden’s concerned face greeted me when I went inside. “Mom! Are you okay?” Our freckled middle child who doesn’t enjoy showing physical affection could sense what I needed just then, and he gave me a hug.

 

No judgement. Just GRACE.

 

Our littlest guy hurried up the stairs. “What’s wrong, Mommy?” He leaned his head against me and looked up as I explained what had happened. His brown eyes got even bigger, and then his face softened. “It’s okay, Mommy. Sometimes stuff like that just happens.” 

 

No name-calling. Just GRACE.

 

Sometimes the best thing a mom can do for her family is to give herself grace. ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

And my Beloved. His kind eyes searched my face and could tell that I was still beating myself up for my mistake. He stood there with open arms – full of the forgiveness and grace that I was denying myself… that I have become accustomed to denying myself over the course of my whole life.

 

It was then that I realized the only one pointing fingers of blame was me. My whole family had surrounded me with love and forgiveness. I could continue on in my shame spiral, or I could accept what everyone else was already handing to me. GRACE.

 

This certainly isn’t the last time that I’m going to mess up, but today I’m choosing GRACE.

 

What about you?

 

Have you found ways to give yourself a little grace when you let yourself down? Do you struggle with it like I do? I’d love to read your comments below. It means so much to me that you let me go on this journey of life with you! Thank you so much for being part of our Just One of the Boys family!

 

*Hugs*

 

~ Ginger

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5 Things About Absence Seizures…

5 Things You Should Know About Absence Seizures

 

This is a pretty exciting month for our family! Our middle guy is seizure-free, and is finally coming off of his seizure medication!

 

We’ve had quite a ride with Aiden, and today I wanted to share a little about his journey through epilepsy. I’ve talked with a couple of moms recently who are going through the early stages of testing and worrying about their own kids, and I thought I’d share a few things I wish I’d known about absence seizures when we were starting down this road…

 

1). Your child not ignoring you.

 

Aiden, did you hear me?

Aiden!

AIDEN!

 

Trying to get my five-year-old’s attention was like trying to talk to a guy who is watching football – no response whatsoever. His golden eyes would turn to blank stares that would last between 10 and 30 seconds, which actually seemed longer when we were practicing his reading or when he would stand still, as we would cross a busy parking lot.

 

Sometimes Aiden would rub his nose or make a little chewing/swallowing motion with his mouth, so I figured for a while that he was just off in La-La-Land during these little phases.The more often he zoned out, the more frustrated I became.

 

Aiden cowboy hat

 

 

I feel awful telling you that I would get angry with my little guy – for what I thought was blatant disobedience or disrespectfully ignoring me. I read parenting books and disciplined him while I tried to figure out what I was doing wrong as a mom.

 

It was when I noticed that they were happening more and more often that something clicked, and my “Mommy Intuition” began to awaken inside me. I read up on these periods of zoning out, and realized that he might be having petit mal seizures. I made an appointment with our family doctor, and we were referred to a pediatric neurologist.

 

 

2). The “Sleep Deprivation” part of testing is rough – but make it fun for them!

 

Before our first appointment with the neurologist, we were given our instructions for the sleep-deprived EEG he needed to diagnose/rule out seizures. Our little guy was so excited for the first test when he was allowed to stay up until midnight.

 

We have watched Spongebob, played games, and eaten snacks (without sugar or caffeine) to keep ourselves awake until midnight. Then it was time for a quick rest before I had to get him up at 4AM – and keep him up until his EEG appointment later in the day. Waking him up, and keeping the poor guy awake was always the hard part! Out came Ninja Turtle cartoons and games of Battleship and Connect 4 – Anything to keep our eyelids propped open until we saw the doctor!

 

Aiden-at-midnight

 

3). Don’t Be Alarmed in the doctor’s office – They TRY to Bring on Seizures.

 

When you and your little one arrive at the office sleep-deprived, they will start measuring and marking spots on his head where the electrodes need to be placed. It’s a scary to see your little one hooked up to so many wires, but help really is on the way.

 

Aiden-EEG

 

That’s when the technician will hand your kiddo a pinwheel and instruct them to blow continually on it for 3-5 minutes. Your little one will be loopy from being tired, and then they will hyperventilate while blowing the pinwheel – and it can bring on more absence seizures. It’s stressful to watch your child, knowing that there’s nothing that you can do for them while they are experiencing this test. Please know that your little one couldn’t be in a safer place right then, having their episode monitored and results read by a neurologist. Just hang in there!

 

After the hyperventilating part of the test is over, our office shut off the overhead lights and told Aiden that he could finally close his eyes. He was asleep almost instantly. The technicians tell the parents to avert their eyes for the next few minutes as a strobe light flashes over your child while they sleep. This is another way they try to stimulate seizure activity.

 

After a few minutes of rock concert lighting in the small room, the flashing stops and the test is over! It’s time to wake up your snoozing little one and wait until your visit with the doctor. Ours have usually been later that same day, so we could leave to get lunch or browse in a bookstore until it was time to go back, but I’ve heard that other parents have had to wait a few days to get their results back from a specialist.

 

4). Find fun ways to combat the taste of yucky medicine.

 

The most common medication given for absence seizures is HORRID in the liquid and pill form. Aiden used to complain that the liquid dose tasted spicy. It wasn’t until a drop landed on my finger once and I licked it without thinking that I realized just how disgusting it was. Poor guy! We found that letting him chase it with juice made the experience not quite so awful.

 

Copy-of-63

 

 

When he wanted to switch to pill form, we took the neurologist’s advice and let him practice swallowing Tic Tacs. Even the pills smelled bad, so he sometimes swallowed his pill in a spoonful of applesauce or yogurt. Pretty soon he was a pro and could get it down with plain ol’ water, but he was glad for the creative ways we tried to get around such an unpleasant chore!

 

5). Find a balance of watching out for their safety, but letting them be kids.

 

I started watching him like a hawk. He wasn’t allowed to ride his bike in the street, but he could all he wanted on the driveway or sidewalk. I watched closely and stayed about an arms-length away when he was learning how to swim. I wanted him to have my arm to hold onto if he needed support during a seizure.

 

aiden ninja

 

I still let him climb trees, skateboard, jump on trampolines, and do pretty much whatever BOY thing he wanted to, but I always kept a close eye on him. The thing that was the most difficult for him was that he couldn’t play video games for the couple of years after his diagnosis because of the flashing lights they produce – positively devastating to this boy. He was a happy guy when he was later granted permission by his doctor for up to 30 minutes of video games each day!

 

Aiden in a tree

 

As we worked with the doctor to adjust his medication level, we saw that his episodes were happening less and less – and I was able to relax even more when he had his first seizure-free EEG. I’ve still watched him closely to make sure he wasn’t outgrowing his medication dosage, but all has been well! His last day on medication is later this month, and our whole family will be celebrating with him!

 

He put in the hard work – avoided caffeine, stayed away from video games, went to bed early regularly, endured blood work, put up with EEGs, and tried to have a good attitude through the whole mess. We are so very proud of our little guy, and we know you’ll be proud of yours as well!

 

I asked Aiden what he wanted to tell you about having absence seizures, and he gave me his list…

 

Aiden’s Top 5 Worst Things About Having Absence Seizures:

 

1). Not getting to play video games for TWO YEARS!!!

2). You can’t drink anything with caffeine.

3). Gross medicine. Yuck!

4). Not knowing what people said to you when you were having a seizure.

5). The headaches. Ouch!

 

What About You?

 

Do you have any other advice for families going through absence seizures? I’d love for you to share in the comments below!

 

Do you know a family that is dealing with absence seizures right now? Would you please do me a favor and forward them this post? Aiden and I would love nothing more than to pass on what we have learned to them!

 

Just remember that whatever storm or journey you are going through right now, you are not alone. I promise.

 

*Hugs*

~ Ginger

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#Boymom – A Day in the Life!

It takes a lot more than that to scare me - I have boys!

 

 

A day in the life of a #boymom:

 

7:00AM – Breakfast. “Put down your weapons and eat your oatmeal.”

 

7:20AM – Discourage him from putting gummy vitamins up his nose.

 

8:41AM – “We don’t wear Spiderman undies on our heads.”

 

8:42AM – “Because I said so.”

 

10:19AM – Laundry time. Check pockets for insects, crayons, and treasures.

 

12:04PM – Lunch time. “Nice try, but you are not allergic to veggies.”

 

2:28PM – Sibling squabble. “No, you may not sell your brother at a garage sale.”

 

3:37PM – Grocery shopping. “Yes, I have my hands full. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

 

3:42PM – Still grocery shopping. “Yes, they eat a lot. Yes, I know they will eat me out of house and home when they are teenagers.”

 

4:02PM – STILL grocery shopping. “No, we’re not trying for a girl.”

 

4:45PM – “I’m pretty sure you won’t starve to death before dinner is ready.”

 

5:37PM – Supper. “No lightsabers at the dinner table.”

 

7:24PM – Bathtime. “No, mommies don’t have those.”

 

8:02PM – Bedtime chat. “I don’t know why God made boogers.”

 

10:27PM – Your bedtime. Find a rubber snake under your pillow. Sigh, smile, and get ready to do it all over again tomorrow.

 

#Boymom – The faint of heart need not apply!

 

What about you? Is there anything that you would add to the list? I’d love to hear about a day in your life!

Do you know a #boymom who would enjoy this I HAVE BOYS picture or post? Forward this to them and make them smile! Life can feel so overwhelming when you feel alone. #Boymoms have to stick together!

*Fist bump!*

~ G

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What They Don’t Tell You… Parenting Over the Years

What They Don't Tell You - Parenting Over the Years

 

“Mom, what does @$*%!^ mean?”

 

I held a steady poker face to cover the horror that gripped my heart as I listened to the words that my curious fifth grader had overheard at school.

 

Uhhh… Wow… Ummm…

 

I did the best I could to answer his questions, explain why such a word can cause so much hurt, and warn why it would never be acceptable to use it.

 

Later I wrapped my arms around my little man-in-training, and felt him return my goodnight hug.

 

“Thank you for talking to me, Mom. I love you.”

 

I ruffled his hair and sent him to bed before I collapsed back on the couch, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I had reassured him that he could always come to me with his questions, but I was silently cursing the parenting books that I’d read cover-to-cover twelve years ago as I prepared to become a mother. They never mentioned anything like this. 

 

Sure, everyone knows that the first year is going to be rough, and that the terrible twos can get dicey, but no one tells you that parenting just keeps getting harder and harder with each passing birthday party. I’m no longer worried that my little guys will put something in their mouths, stick a chubby little finger into an outlet, or tumble down the stairs. Now I get to worry about swear words, girls, peer pressure, social media, and Middle School.

 

Oh goody.

 

Makes me wish we could go back to when my boys were little and I spent my days just trying to keep them from killing themselves!

 

A dear friend recently gave me a copy of Lisa-Jo Baker’s touching story, Surprised by Motherhood. As I read each chapter her words took me back to those early days of being a mommy, and I started to remember a few surprising things that the What to Expect books left out…

 

You will never sleep again.

Bad dreams, croupy coughs, stubborn fevers, sleepwalking, and burning the midnight oil while you make four dozen school treats all get in the way of sleeping through the night.

 

You’ll discover how selfish you really are.

I love my boys more than life itself, but sometimes I want to eat the last cookie. I’m definitely not a morning person. And I’d rather have a root canal than listen to them explain anything Minecraft.

 

They will eat you out of house and home from now until forever.

Speaking of cookies, and food in general, be prepared for them to eat it all like a plague of locusts devouring everything in sight. I just realized that in a few short years, we will have THREE teenage boys in our house. Hold me.

 

Someday you’ll have THE TALK with your child.

If this one doesn’t put the fear of God in you, nothing will. Looking into their eyes while you explain the science of how babies are made is not for the faint of heart. Your breathing will become rapid and shallow, you will experience dizziness, there will be profuse sweating, and you will speak higher and faster than normal, but try your hardest to postpone your panic attack until after the big talk.

 

I had mistakenly thought that I was prepared for life as a mom. All of those years ago I read up on how to properly care for my baby. I studied swaddling diagrams. I weighed the pros and cons of crying it out vs. nursing on demand. I was a parenting expert before I had kids… And then I became a mother and realized that I didn’t know anything.

 

Those darn What to Expect books forgot to mention several other important things as well…

 

The journey.

Experiencing the world through the eyes of your child is an incredible gift. You get to discover dandelions and ladybugs and puppies and rainbows all over again. The world is such a magical place, if we will only pause long enough to see its beauty again for the first time through their wondering eyes.

 

The pain.

Having a child is like ripping your heart out of your chest and sending it out alone into the world. Their joy is your joy. Their hurts are your hurts. You will want to shield them forever from the pain, injustice, and darkness of this life – but what they really need is for you to take their little hands and guide them through it.

 

The LOVE.

The amount of love that you will feel for the precious gifts who are entrusted to you is undefinable, unmeasurable, and infinitely beyond what you had ever imagined.

 

I wasn’t prepared for this. I wish the books had warned me. But then again, I wouldn’t trade this adventure, and even the surprises along the way, for anything in the world.

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Mama said there’d be days like this…

And the day was going so well…

 

I’m wondering if you would mind helping me with something today?

 

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Take a Little Time ~ Forgiveness

Take a Little Time for You! header

 

Happy Monday, Lovelies! I’ve been thinking of you all – and feeling so grateful to be on this journey with you!

 

How was your week? What are some of the ways you have taken a little time for yourself? Did you call a friend? Light a candle? Fix yourself a cup of tea? I’d love to hear all about it!

 

I was a bit vague about one of my goals last week:

  • ~ Finish an unpleasant project that I’ve been meaning to cross off my to-do list. I won’t be able to fully relax until I know that it is over.

 

This is a tough post to write, but I want to share a little more about what I meant…

 

I meet with my ex-husband after every 9 weeks of homeschooling for a progress report/parent-teacher conference. I dread it almost more than anything. It’s not that it’s difficult to write up report cards for our sons. It isn’t – in fact, it’s pretty easy because I keep detailed and organized records of our lesson plans and their grades. The reason that I dread it so much is that…well… My shoulders tense and my eye begins to twitch when I think of sitting across from the person who hurt me in so many ways, and I put it off as long as I can. Then I get even more stressed because life would be so much easier if I would just hurry up and get it over with.

 

I’ve shared with you how I’ve been hurt, how I’ve forgiven, and how I’ve healed – but I need to tell you something:

 

Forgiveness doesn’t equal amnesia.

 

Those memories and wounds are still there… even years later. Forgiveness doesn’t excuse what they did – but it frees you from the chains of anger, fear, and resentment that bound us to that person. Forgiveness allows us to heal. But it still doesn’t make sitting in a coffeeshop with that person a cakewalk. Meeting with someone who has caused me pain will probably never be enjoyable – but the passage of time, giving myself grace, and doing this for our children is slowly making it easier – a little at a time. And this week was no exception.

 

Forgiveness

 

I always breathe a sigh of relief when we finish our meeting, a little bit proud of myself for facing and overcoming something that I had filled me with so much worry just an hour earlier.

 

See, that wasn’t so bad. It was a little easier than last time!

 

My eye stopped twitching, my tummy quit working itself into knots, and I was finally able to relax after it was over. I did it. I crossed it off my list.

 

You might not be in my shoes, but I’m wondering if there are unpleasant things in your life that you put off, too? If so, please take this week to cross it off your to-do list. The weight of it being lifted off your shoulders is such sweet relief.

 

And forgiveness… I’ve shared before how forgiveness isn’t a gift that you’re giving to the other person. It’s a gift that you give to yourself. People ask me if forgiveness is a one-time thing – and I think it’s a specific decision that a person can make one time, but it is also a daily decision to live out that forgiveness in our lives.

 

Forgiveness doesn’t take away everything that happened to you – but it will give you the courage and strength to face what is in front of you. Forgiveness is still the best decision I have ever made, the best gift that I can continue to give myself and our precious boys, and the best gift you can ever give yourself.

 

Just know that you’re not alone on this journey of forgiveness and healing. I’m right there with you and cheering you on the whole way! *Group hug!*

 

Last Week’s Goals ~

 

  • Write down (or take pictures of) THREE things you are grateful for each daySome of the things I was grateful for over the last week:

Quinn’s laughter – makes me smile every time.

Hearing the words, “I’m sorry.” 

Forgiveness.

A good night’s sleep.

Orange juice. Copious amounts of orange juice.

The friendships we have made in our weekly small group. We love the range of ages and phases of life we are all in – but the feeling of community is so sweet! (And check out the pineapple parfaits we had this week. So thankful that they don’t mind being my Guinea pigs when it comes to trying out new recipes!)

pineapple parfaits

 

  • Finish an unpleasant project that I’ve been meaning to cross off my to-do list. I won’t be able to fully relax until I know that it is over.

 

  • Indulge in some quality time with my Beloved! It’s a kid-free weekend, House of Cards is coming back to Netflix, and we have more chapters to read in Love & RespectJoe and I both came down with colds just as the weekend began, so we spent most of our time on the couch snuggling through fevers, watching House of Cards, reading, napping, coughing, drinking orange juice, and blowing our noses. Not super romantic, but I actually enjoyed having that down time with my Beloved! Now that I’m feeling a little more human, I’m ready to attack the coming week!

 

  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I was pretty good at exercising Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, but by Friday I was too coughy/sneezy/achy/fevery/miserable to work out. But I think I lost a couple of pounds from pretty much only eating grapefruit over the weekend. There had to be a silver lining somewhere!

 

  • Measure out and drink 60 oz. of water each day, and a serving of coconut water to keep my body hydrated. I probably drank my weight in tea over the weekend. I couldn’t stomach the thought of drinking chocolate coconut water over the last few days, so I’ll probably double up on that this week to make sure I’m staying hydrated.

 

 

This Week’s Goals ~

 

Our Group Goal ~

  • ~ Let’s take care of our nails this week! Trim, file, push back cuticles… Buff, polish, apply Jams… Whatever floats your boat! And I’d love to see them!

 

For My Head ~

  • ~ Now that my broken finger is mostly pain-free, get back to playing the piano every day (even if it’s only for a few minutes).

 

For My Heart ~

  • ~ Push myself outside my comfort zone and share a video blog with you!

 

For My Body ~

  • ~ Exercise for at least 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

 

For My Family ~

  • ~ Family Game/Puzzle Night! What are some of your favorite games to play as a family?

 

 

Will You Join Me? ~

 

I’m curious – as I’ve been thinking about all the things that have kept me from taking better care of myself, I’m wondering – What things are keeping you from taking a little time for you? Kids? Work? Crazy schedule? Are you like me and forgot how to take care of yourself?

One of the hardest parts of taking a little time for myself has always been coming up with ideas for how to take care of me. That’s why I’ve come up with a list of 101 FREE (or nearly free) Ways to Take a Little Time for US! And I’d be thrilled to send it to you! Subscribe to the free email updates from Just One of the Boys – just enter your name and email address below -and I’ll send you your FREE copy!

 

101 Ways

 

I’ll keep sharing even more of my progress on Facebook and Instagram this week with the hashtag #takealittletime, and I’d love it if you joined me. It would be way more fun with you! Let’s find a second to actually take a minute, SIT DOWN today, and just breathe. And don’t forget to write out three things you are grateful for today! You can even share them here in the comments or tag me in your photos! Let’s put our health, our hearts, and our heads back on the to-do list – and let’s start taking better care of ourselves today!

*Hugs*

~ Ginger

 

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I’m Ginger ~

I'm a wife to my Beloved, mom of three boys, bookworm, survivor of a broken heart, and Kansas Girl. It is my desire to encourage you. No matter what storm you're going through right now, you are not alone. I promise.

Join the fun!

MY GIFT TO YOU!