Printable Activity Pages for St. Patrick’s Day!

Enjoy your holiday!

Stay Safe. Stay Festive. Stay a sober driver!

Leaving the House with Depression.

Oh me, oh my. This mental health stuff comes with a ton of appointments. Throw in the nine million specialists Jacen sees for his Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and two kids on a regular vaccine schedule- I feel like we always have somewhere we are supposed to be! (not to mention the cold, flu, covid, and winter illness that are seen in urgent care!)

My depression has been really, really awful. It’s hard to get out of the house, get dressed, or even just put on clean clothes. Dirty pajamas forever. I was having a particularly rough day on my scheduled appointment with my therapist- and I made the terrible decision to just skip it all together. I didn’t call to cancel or even respond when she sent a ‘hey, where are you?’ text.
Coming out of that low, I’m mortified that I just left her hanging. We have since talked about it and are fine, but for the sake of my own health I need to stop pulling this shit.

I’ve known for a long time that this particular week, 3/15/2021-3/21/2021, would be hell for appointments. Not only are they frequent, they are all important, stressful ones.
The anxiety started Thursday night in anticipation for my busy week. I started making lists and schedules, printing out information I needed, and just anything I could to feel more organized. By Friday I was irritable, finally meeting with my therapist and getting almost nothing productive done because my OCD had me stuck on appointment anxiety. When Saturday came, I stayed busy to keep my mind off it, but when we finally got home to relax the intrusive thoughts just flooded in. By Sunday I was basically constantly crying,  even having passive suiȼidal thoughts that my illness is a burden on my husband and family. As I write this, it’s Monday morning and I’m just hours away from that first appointment. Every hour closer seems like I’ve added another kettlebell to carry on my chest. I’m so emotionally exhausted, trudging through mud, can’t breathe or focus, want to quit now.

I know I have to do these things. I know that these kinds of appointments are supposed to help me NOT feel this way in the future- but my anxiety just won’t listen to me. It just won’t ease up.
It’s affected my sleep, relationships, productivity and self care for an entire week.

What I really need to do right now is to wake up, dress up, and show up. Thankfully I have about four hours to do this because I’m moving like a sloth and need constant reminders/cheerleaders to get me through the basic tasks.

Writing this post just reminds how lucky I am to have my supporters. My husband, sister, kids and my mom have all come together to help manage my stress. I am forever in debt to their kindness. 

If I can make it through the entire day, you can make it through a task or two.
What are you struggling with? Take 1 small step towards conquering your mountain. You’ll likely come out the other side realizing it was only a speed bump.

Get up. Dress up. Show up.
Kate and the Kids

What Every Parent Needs to Know About Pulled Elbows

Nursemaid’s elbow, also known as a pulled elbow or radial head subluxation, is an injury my family is all too familiar with. Before Jacen got his diagnosis of Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome, he had dislocated his elbow over 80 times between age 2 and 4. Yes, over 80 times. 

What is a nursemaid’s elbow?

Nursemaid’s elbow means the elbow has slipped out of its normal place at the joint, also called dislocation or subluxation. This happens in toddlers because the ligaments that hold the elbow in place are still very flexible and weak. Ligaments are much stronger by the time a child turns 5, which is usually when a child will stop dislocating their elbow.

What causes a nursemaid’s elbow?

For most patients, a nursemaid’s elbow is considered a mild and common injury. It typically occurs in toddlers before the bones in the elbow are completely formed. The most common cause of a pulled elbow is playing the “swinging game” where adults hold a child’s hand and swing the child in circles. Basically any twist or pull can cause the injury, so even children who avoid swinging by the arms may pull their elbow out while being caught during a fall, throwing themselves to the ground during a tantrum, playing on the monkey bars or while being encouraged to walk quickly by holding their hand and lightly pulling them along. In Jacen’s case, his elbow was so loose that it would come out when he tried to pull a drawer open, pull himself out of a bucket-style car seat, climbing a ladder to use a slide, or trying to pull his arm through a jacket sleeve.

How is pulled elbow treated?

Most providers can diagnose a pulled elbow simply from observing a child. A child with a true dislocation will not use or move their arm. It’s possible that the child does not feel any pain at all, but only has mobility symptoms. The provider will then palpate the elbow (feel the elbow with their hands) to confirm the joint is out of place.

An X-ray is typically not necessary to diagnose a pulled elbow, but is sometimes ordered to rule out minor fractures in addition to the pull. For frequent offenders, like Jacen, doctors may avoid an x-ray at each dislocation to avoid excessive exposure to radiation. Typically imaging is only used AFTER the provider has attempted to reduce the subluxation, but the child still shows signs of injury.

The provider will reduce the injury by cradling the elbow in one hand, then using their other hand to move the child’s forearm up into a flex, then back down to an extended straight arm. The best analogy I can give is when a drawer comes “off the track” in your dresser, and you have to open and close the drawer multiple times, slightly twisting and readjusting with each new open motion.

The actual reduction may be temporarily painful as the joint scrapes back into place, sometimes touching painful nerves or ligaments on its way back in. When the elbow is back in place, the relief is basically immediate. The pain eases, and the child will immediately be able to use it again.

Your child will be observed to make sure using their arm does not continue to cause problems or pain. Most cases do not require any ice, medication, wraps, brace or cast.

What does a pulled elbow feel like for my child?

Some children do not feel pain while the joint is “out,” but only show signs of injury by not using the arm. 

The procedure of reduction is temporarily painful and distressing, but it only lasts a short moment and is over when the radial bone pops back into place. As stated above, relief is almost instant.

How do I prevent a pulled elbow?

For most children, avoiding swinging a child by their arms is enough to prevent pulling an elbow. In other kids, it might not be possible to prevent. Sometimes it is just genetics; the shape of the elbow, and the rate of growth/strength of the ligaments in the arm. For kids like Jacen who have chronic dislocations, braces or casts may be used as a preventative measure. By keeping the arm immobilized, the ligaments have a chance to grow bigger and stronger without constantly being beat down by the bones in the joint rubbing against them.

A few of Jacen’s doctors showed me how to reduce his elbow myself, but it just wasn’t something I was ever comfortable with. Sometimes the joint went back on its own. The loose ligaments let the joint move both ways, both out of place and back into place. If it did not go back on its own we sought medical treatment. It is not typically necessary to head into the Emergency Room. Pediatricians, orthopedic doctors and most urgent care providers are able to help in the office. We ended up in the ER when the dislocation happened during hours the pediatrician was closed, and the times he did not get relief and required a follow up x-ray.

After two years of almost constant dislocations, Tufts Medical Center suggested we cast his elbow for 4 weeks to let the ligament rest and grow. In November of 2013 Jacen picked out an awesome red cast, which he got to show off at our wedding. (Note the adorable picture of Jacen in a suit, cast, and captain hat!) He had no pain or issues while wearing the cast, but we were hesitant to accept this as a miracle cure. We didn’t want to get our hopes up.

Luckily the immobilizer worked. After having the cast removed he never had a dislocation again. I truly believe this was just a lot of luck on our part. He happened to have a growth spurt while wearing the cast, and I truly believe they happened to create the perfect conditions for healing.

I bet it isn’t surprising to hear, but I was over-the-moon thrilled to put this chapter behind us. I hadn’t even thought about his elbows for years! Well, a few weeks ago I got a call from my sister- my niece wasn’t using her arm. She had pulled her elbow while being taken out of her high chair. Luckily for my beautiful Nora, her elbow went back into place on its own before her parents could even get her to the doctor. It just goes to show you that this condition is not specific to Ehlers-Danlos patients, but to any child.

Swinging your kid is a timeless activity, especially popular with older generations. I beg you to stop, and make sure your friends and family know to stop. Instead, hold children under their armpits or hug them to your body. If you suspect your child your child has pulled their elbow out of place, monitor their activity for 10-15 minutes paying attention to how they use their arm. If the arm is hanging, limp by their side, it’s time to seek medical intervention. If they begin using their arm again the joint has likely fixed itself on its own. When in doubt, ask the child to put the good arm behind their back and catch a light ball or small toy. If the arm in question instinctively moves to catch or shield the toy their elbow is likely fine. If the toy is not deflected, or they take the arm from behind their back, it’s time to head into the doctor. 

Stay educated. Stay healthy. Stay safe.

Kate and the Kids

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Servings: 4

Ingredients

1 (10-15oz) bag frozen cauliflower rice

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 yellow or white onion (diced)

2 medium carrots (diced)

1 tbsp minced garlic

1/2 cup frozen peas

2 eggs

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

toasted sesame seeds for garnish 

Instructions

Cook the frozen cauliflower rice according to the package directions; open the bag and set it aside to allow the steam to dissipate. Drain excess water in a strainer, then use a dry paper towel to pat out the last of the remaining moisture.

In a large pan or wok, heat the olive oil over medium/high heat. Add the diced onions and carrots and cook until tender (about 5 minutes).

When your onions and carrots are close to being done, add the minced garlic and allow it to cook for about 1 minute. Stir in the frozen peas and pre-cooked cauliflower rice and cook for an additional few minutes or until the peas are warmed through.

Make a hole in the middle of your mixture so that you can see the bottom of the pan. Crack your eggs and cook them until scrambled, then stir to combine with everything else.

Stir in the sesame oil and soy sauce. I think about 2 tbsps is perfect, but start with less and do a taste test if you’re salt sensitive.

Serve warm with toasted sesame seeds and store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Great with added protein- like pork, chicken or shrimp!

..and the KIDS!

For a ‘family blog’ I spend an awful lot of time talking about myself. When we had the idea for starting this platform, the kids had a ton of ideas they wanted to share. As time went on, they realized that sharing their anxieties, fears, behavioral issues and personal thoughts could bring on unwanted attention. Basically, kids suck and if anyone at school found personal thoughts from the kids online, they would use the information to bully them. I hate that this is the world that we live in, but I have to agree with them.

We always remind the kids that once something is posted to the internet, it’s never 100% gone. During the 2019-2020 school year we experienced this first hand after an emotional Tik Tok was posted, then deleted. I understand why, I really do. Pre-teens have it tough, and the internet *seems* like the perfect place to vent true feelings without facing a person in real life. Well, about five minutes after hitting ‘post’ the regret sunk in, and we took down the video. Too late. The recipient of the video already had screenshots. They took them to their own parents, who then took them to the school, who then (in a waaaaaaaaay irrational response) took the images to the police. My kid was spoken to by an officer, counselor, teacher, and parents. It turned into a big to-do over one quick, bad decision.

The bright side of that incident seems to be that my kids really took the lesson to heart. They are very careful now.. Which translates back to their desire to maintain some anonymity on our blog. It’s just another thing in life that works out better in your head than it does in physical execution. The desire to participate is definitely there, so I hope we can work out some balance, and do this thing as a family!

We are each fighting our own wellness battles, both physically and emotionally. There’s a lot on the plate, times six plates.. maybe even add in the three dog dishes and some pots and pans. Maybe, just maybe THEN we could get all of these problems plated appropriately.

Looking forward to sharing more from the family, and hoping to hear from your family in the comments. What on your plate this week?

Kate and the Kids

Is Fat-Free is Failing You?

I moved out of my parents’ house when I was nineteen, and out of poverty I got into the habit of raiding my mother’s pantry every time I went over for a visit. My mom is far from those extreme couponers with storage units packed full of free cans of Spam, but she can appreciate a good sale. Back in the day, I would “shop” her over-stock, always leaving with a purse full of goodies. Out of habit, I still check that pantry every now and again, and it’s dramatically different than my own.

You see, my mom entered the diet stage of her life (late teens) in the 80’s. At that time the government had endorsed a fat free diet, calling for a reduction in fatty meats due to a nationwide rise in cholesterol. My mom followed suit, trading butter for margarine, eggs for toast, and seeking out fat free dairy products. To this day, my mother has a hard time giving up her low fat lifestyle. I personally believe this is because the diet was endorsed during her nutrition formative years, and has been burned into her brain. Her choices are made out of habit and not due to any particular success with a low fat diet. That being said, her pantry content is heavy on the low fat granola bars, crackers and cereal. (A stark difference to my pork rinds, nuts and coconut oil.)

After the government endorsement the years progressed and we did not see the health benefits that low fat had promised. Obesity and diabetes numbers skyrocketed. At first we didn’t want to accept the truth, holding on to the thought that eating fat would increase body fat. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It has been proven that dietary fat is not a primary determinant of body fat, and lack of healthy fats are detrimental to metabolism.

Almost every function in your body requires fat. Dietary fats function as the building blocks of the body. On a cellular level they feed mitochondria (the powerhouse of a cell), strengthen membranes and help healthy gene expression. They carry essential vitamins (A, D, E and K) and aid in growth, development, healing, production of nails and hair, and are required for brain health. They are needed to lubricate the digestive system, protect vital organs, and increase heart health. Fats create healthier hormones, which in turn can balance mood, fertility and food cravings. They have been shown to decrease chances of miscarraige, learning and vision problems, and impaired kidney function. There are a ton of current studies showing improvement of osteoporosis, age – related memory loss, cognitive decline, macular degeneration, and multiple sclerosis. No wonder so many people are going Keto!

When fat is removed from your diet, it’s usually replaced with processed carbohydrates. Sugar and starch is used to compensate for the lack of taste and texture in fat free food. This is why the country saw a rise in type two diabetes during the fat free craze. (And almost no change in bad cholesterol as had been promised.) In turn, insulin resistance can stimulate hunger and cause fat storage- specifically holding on to belly fat.

Over the years I tried just about every diet out there. I spent a lot of time on Weight Watchers, which showed temporary progress in 2009 when I lost 50 pounds (only to end up regaining 103 pounds,) The most appealing aspect for WW was the theory that nothing is “off limits” as long as it fit into my daily point allowance. I found myself filling up on 100 calorie packs of cookies because they were less points than a handful of nuts or a serving of meat. This is why my regain was NOT surprising to my nutritionist years later. She explained that my initial loss was my body responding to a calorie deficit, but as my metabolism adjusted to my new caloric quantity I started to regain due to caloric quality. At some point the carbs in my “lite” bread and low calorie baked goods started to stick. From then on weight loss was super frustrating again. I just couldn’t lose the weight, partially due to still eating processed low fat/fat free items instead of whole foods.

I shudder to remember the years I spent eating “zero calorie spray butter” and margarine to avoid fat. I required a TON of it to even get a similar taste to real butter, and often found myself adding cheese and salt when I was still disappointed in the taste. Both are basically just a spoonful of chemicals, whereas butter is  naturally occurring from milk that is over churned. There is zero nutritional value in those items. They do not taste like, cook like or nourish like natural oils or butter. This also makes them less satisfying, increasing the chances you’ll need to add empty carbs like sugar, flour, or thickeners and often results in further consumption/snacking while seeking out something to “hit the spot.”

Fat has a bad reputation. As I said before, dietary fat is not a major contributor to body fat (unlike carbohydrates.) The trick is to eat natural fat that comes from seeds, nuts and protein. Generally if it comes from nature it’s a good fat, and if it’s processed you should avoid the product. Food labels can be deceiving, so your best bet is always to compare the nutrition facts. Remember that nothing in nutrition is ever ‘law,’ and there are small exceptions to everything. Eat whole foods like produce, meat and legumes. Use common sense. When in doubt consult a reliable information source, like your primary care provider or a nutritionist. 

Stay healthy. Stay kind.

Kate and the Kids

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a licensed nutritionist- but I have done a lot of research for this post. I speak only from my own experiences and success. My opinion is mine alone, not a representation of any specific medical community.

Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookies

(these “cookies” are closer to the texture of a soft granola bar instead of the traditional oatmeal cookies.)

Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookies

(these “cookies” are closer to the texture of a soft granola bar instead of the traditional oatmeal cookies.)

Yields: 15 cookies

1 cup instant oats

¾ cup flour1 ½ tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

⅛ tsp salt

2 tbsp coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup agave or maple syrup

1 cup finely diced red apple (about 1 medium)

Whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.

 In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil or butter, egg, and vanilla.

 Stir in the agave or syrup. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. 

Fold in the apple. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Drop the cookie dough into 15 rounded scoops onto the prepared sheet, and flatten slightly. 

Bake at 325°F for 13-15 minutes. 

Cool on the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

enjoy!

Digging out of My Mental Clutter

I’ve been fighting a very deep, very intense battle with my mental health. I can easily admit that my depression is the absolute worst that it has been in my whole life. It has stolen so many things from me, including my blog. When I’m low I have no energy to jump on the computer, no creativity to come up with something to write, and no confidence to bare my soul to strangers.

I’m trying to help myself out of the darkness again, for the nine millionth time. I’m back on a schedule/routine to make sure I get the important tasks done, a healthy diet (to hopefully kick those 15 pounds that I just can’t seem to shake) and starting to see the light of spring at the end of the super dark, cold, winter tunnel.

My home gets overwhelmingly cluttered in the winter. With six people in the home and three dogs it seems like there is always something in my way.. Especially since we had to add an office area for the kids’ remote learning and a bowflex & stationary bike in lieu of my gym and Jacen’s Ehler’s-Danlos Synrome Physical Therapy.

The house clutter has my anxiety running on high. The ‘leaving the house’ clutter of layering up in the cold months sets off my sensory issues. The real issue is the clutter of my mind.

I’ve accumulated a few more mental health diagnoses since our last chat. They account for a good portion of the clutter, but not in the way you think. As strange as it is to say, especially for someone who is so supportive in the mentally ill community, I have a very difficult time accepting medical diagnoses. It always feels like they are a permanent label of who I am, and I worry the stigma they carry will affect the way people interact with me. I spend way too much time trying to hide what’s going on in my brain. As I’m fixated on fighting my labels or hiding my symptoms, the other things are ignored and problems start replicating like little brain bunnies. All of a sudden I realize I’ve forgotten appointments, tasks, or even just my own basic preferences. Last weekend I was zoned out as a passenger in a car. All of a sudden Mike is asking me how I want my coffee. I didn’t even realize we had pulled off the road and into the drive thru line. Even stranger, I couldn’t remember my own coffee order. (I drink several cups of coffee per day, so I felt REAL dumb.) I just spit out some jumble of words, then choked down one bitter AF coffee. I need a mental clean out.

I’m hoping coming back to my blog will help clear the clutter. I just need to get these things out of my brain, and if they’re written here I can let them go.

Today is my second good day in a row. (Prior to that, good days have been scarce since October.) I want to make the best of the positive time I have. Yesterday was a planning and organization day, today is a ‘purge the clutter’ day. I can’t do the whole house in one day, quit wearing layers in the dead of winter or permanently clear my mind of thoughts that don’t “spark joy,” but I’m dead set on heading in that direction.

Glad to have you along for the ride,

Kate.

Tasty Tuesday- BBQ Cauliflower (Vegan)

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

¾ cup BBQ sauce

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 450˚F

Cut the head of cauliflower into bite-sized florets

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Spread cauliflower florets on the baking sheet.

 Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove florets from the oven and toss with BBQ sauce.

Return florets to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes until browned.

Enjoy!

Stay Safe. Stay Healthy. Stay Well.

Kate and the Kids

Tasty Tuesday – Roasted Chickpeas (vegan)

INGREDIENTS

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons of hidden valley ranch powder

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the oven to 400°F.

Rinse and drain the chickpeas. Open the cans of chickpeas and pour the chickpeas into a strainer in the sink. Rinse thoroughly under running water.

Dry the chickpeas. Pat the chickpeas very dry with a paper towel. Remove any chickpea skins that come off while drying, but otherwise don’t worry about them.

Toss the chickpeas with olive oil and salt. Spread the chickpeas out in an even layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the salt. Stir  to make sure the chickpeas are evenly coated.

Roast the chickpeas for 20 to 30 minutes. Roast, stirring the chickpeas or shaking the pan every 10 minutes.

Toss the chickpeas with the ranch powder and stir to coat evenly. 

Enjoy!

Stay safe. Stay Well. Stay healthy.

Kate and the Kids

Tasty Tuesday- Recipe for Tomato Gazpacho (vegan recipe)

Ingredients 

6 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1⁄2 medium green bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, cut into quarters

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped

1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped

1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar

1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

Instructions:

Place green and red bell pepper, cucumber, and onion pieces into a food processor.

Add all tomatoes and garlic..

Process until smooth.

Reserve half of the vegetable mixture in a large bowl. Pour the other half through a fine strainer in batches, pushing to extract the juice into a smaller bowl. Discard the pulp.

Add the juice to the vegetable mixture and mix together, adding olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Chill for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to meld together.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay Well.

Kate and the Kids

5 Tips to your Best Power Nap

Sometimes I over-do my daily nap, especially when the depression is really bad. On normal or good days though, power naps renew my patience and mood. This is especially helpful for the “dinner rush” when everyone seems to be busy, needy, grumpy and ‘hangry.’ Napless evenings tend to be more stressful for everyone, and my family is famous for responding to the stress by saying “sorry, I’m just tired. I pulled an all-dayer today.” I’ve made it a routine to get my self-care nap almost every day so I can walk into the battle of dinner time as prepared as possible. Since I’m now a professional napper, here are my tips to make the most of your power nap!

5. Choose the right place.

It may be tempting to crawl back into bed- especially in the winter- but reserving the bed  specifically for  nighttime sleep has been shown to provide better quality overnight sleep. Instead, opt for the couch or easy chair.. Or if you’re lucky, on a beach towel in the summer.

4. Make your nap space distraction- free. 

Since you’re making the most out of a mere 20-30 minutes, make them quality minutes. Choose a quiet space that’s cool and comforting. Avoid spaces with blue screen lights such as TVs, computer monitors and cell phones.

3. Timing.

The best time of day to nap is between noon and 3pm. (for a typical bedtime of 10p-midnight.) Sleeping after 3pm can hinder your ability to fall asleep at night.

2. Length.

The ideal power nap is 20-30 minutes. Set an alarm, and resist the temptation to snooze. Naps longer than 30 minutes can put you into a deep sleep, making it harder to wake and rendering the nap counter productive.

1. Caffeine.

Most caffeine, like a cup of coffee, takes about 20 minutes to kick in. Having a cup of joe right before your power nap will give you an extra boost when you wake up.

Take some self care time to recharge today. If you aren’t able to nap, try a short meditation podcast or some mindful breathing- anything to rest and restore to get you through your afternoon.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay well.

Nap responsibly.

Kate and the Kids

Protection or Projection?

Growing up I had four girls who lived on my block and were in my grade. “Fair weather friends” is an extremely generous term to give them. 90% of the time they were absolutely awful to me, but I kept chasing their friendship because that 10% of goodness meant the world to me. 

Historically September was the worst. Every year when school started the girls left a summer friendship behind, and turned into little monsters. It could mean a great morning at the bus stop, laughing and being friends. Then just moments later we would be on the bus. They would put their feet up on the seat so I had nowhere to sit. The bus driver would yell at me to sit down, and I would just panic on the inside. There is no where to sit, and on top of that my friends are being mean. I’m so confused and upset. Stop yelling at me. 

I specifically remember this happening on one very rainy day. Everyone was fine sitting in the car, listening to music and staying out of the storm. When the bus pulled up, they pulled their normal shit. Every seat had a wet, muddy foot on it. 

I panicked, and tried to make myself feel small. I picked a seat that was least covered, and tried to take up the least amount of room possible. When I sat down, this boy made a “booom” sound as if my fat butt had crashed right through the seat. All the girls laughed with him. He then spent the rest of the ride digging his muddy shoes into my thigh, staining my jeans and sweater. I moved as close to the edge as I could to give him space. He kept the pressure against my leg constantly, and when the bus driver wasn’t looking he used all of his lower body strength to kick me off the seat. I fell into the aisle. Mud now covered the entire length of my backside, and everyone was snickering. The bus driver just yelled at me to get out of the aisle. 

The school year for my son is supposed to start at the end of the month, but our town has not released their covid plan yet. I’ve asked my son every single day if he will just agree to the full time distance learning and stay home with me. Every single time he tells me he wants to see his friends. 

I’ve been blaming covid for wanting to keep him home. He is immunocompromised from his Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and I don’t trust the other kids at school to be responsible with their hygiene and masks. Every day that school gets closer, the more time I spend worrying about it. 

I realized this morning that covid is only part of my hesitation. Jacen is already getting help for his anxiety disorder, and we’ve had so much trouble with bullies in the past. He even had a child from school taunting him over Xbox live, telling him to kill himself. Like me, Jacen insists these people are his friends and they just made a little mistake. He continues to forgive them time and time again. 

It’s abuse. I was in an abusive relationship with my best friends, and I see Jacen doing the same. We let people make us the victim because we don’t have the strength to just walk away and stand on our own. We let the cycle continue because we just want to be a normal kid- to pretend we have people who care about us, to pretend we fit in. I want more than anything to stop Jacen from feeling this way, feeling like he isn’t worth the little sliver of an edge of a bus seat.  He is worthy of space. Worthy of existing. So was I – but that didn’t stop little bullies from making me feel otherwise. 

For months I’ve been telling myself that keeping Jacen home would be PROTECTING, but I realized today it’s more so PROJECTING. I’m so afraid that Jacen will be tortured like I was, and I would love to just avoid the situation all together. 

Ultimately the choice is Jacen’s. That is, within whatever the school district offers. I’ll be so relieved if he stays home – for so many reasons – but I can’t keep him isolated forever. 

I’m asking the parents out there- do you protect or project? What reasons are you considering when choosing remote or in person schooling? And finally, is there anything from YOUR past that makes you fearful for your own children?

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Write them in the comment section or send your voice memos to katefasci@gmail.com

Wash your hands. Wear a face covering. Socially distance. 

Stay healthy. Stay mindful. 

Kate and the Kids

Move that booty!

Exercise is a huge part of overall heath. Moving your body has physical, emotional, and sometimes even social benefits!

Grab a friend and a bottle of water, and move for at least 30 minutes. Don’t know where to start? Take the dog for a walk, try an exercise video off YouTube, or bring the kids outside for a game of basketball.

If you need something more specific, try my HIIT workout! (High intensity interval training) This is my actual workout for today! I’d love to hear some feedback if you try it!

Do thirty seconds of each exercise, with a one minute rest between sets. You can also count 10-15 reps per exercise with a quick water break between sets!

Warm up:

Vigorous side step or power walking (5 minutes)

Set 1:

Cross body standing high knees

Pull downs

Bent rows

Rear shoulder squeeze 

Set 2:

Vigorous steps 

Side lunges (back and forth/both sides)

Squats

Kick backs 

Set 3: (laying down)

Seated row

Bridge

Leg lift left

Leg lift right

Set 4:

Mountain climbers

Leg curl (alternating legs)

Leg extension left

Leg extension right

Cool down with an easy walk or mild yoga

Whatever you choose, just make sure to move your body!

Track your food. Drink your water. Move your body.

Wash your hands. Socially distance. Wear a face covering.

Stay safe and healthy!

Kate and the Kids

Keep a distance of six feet. Wear a face covering. Wash your hands. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.

Just a reminder to use good hygiene practices during this pandemic. My immunocompromised child thanks you for your cooperation!

My Office is Clean Today- Quick, Blog While We Can!

Today I ran into someone I used to go to school with. I pulled my hat down a little and covered as much of my face as I could with my mask. I had every intention of darting down the next aisle, and getting lost among the other Target shoppers. Nope, it never works the way you want it to. Leave it to my beautiful Anna and her easily recognizable face.

They called me out. I was hoping a wave from a six foot social distance would suffice, but of course they came over to see the girls. LUCKY for me, I had just walked 7 miles at the canal in 88 degree heat, so I smelled FANTASTIC. I was living my literal worst nightmare. 

At one point she said, “Hey, do you still write on your blog? I see the stuff you share, but I haven’t seen you write in a long time.” She speaks the truth. It’s so easy to click and repost someone else’s content, but I just haven’t been able to write my own.

So, where have I been? Try to imagine the lowest, deepest, darkest hole you can think of. I mean absolute rock bottom. Well, I’ve been about three floors below that. The depression has been so heavy. I’m overwhelmed by everything, even the simplest of tasks. I spend most days in bed, hiding behind my light-blocking curtains, ignoring my phone notifications, and imagining I’m somewhere else. Someone else. I have so much hate for myself that I just don’t want to be me anymore.

Once again I have hid my desk under a pile of clutter, then I tell myself it’s too much work to clean it all up just to blog. I feel so dumb blogging. Who even reads this stuff? Is it just for me? Is it worth the effort? I get overwhelmed and go back to bed. Repeat for four months.

In reality, I DO need to blog. Who cares how many followers I have? It’s for me. I need to get this stuff off my chest and set it free. In the stay at home mom world, there aren’t many tasks make me feel accomplished. Blogging does that. Finishing a task start to finish, then sharing it for anyone else to read- it brings me pride. It makes me hate myself a little bit less, and it seems like I could use every single little ‘bit’ I can find.

I’m inconsistent with just about everything. I could blame it on my bipolar disorder, or how busy the kids keep me. Those things might contribute to it, but at the core it’s just me. It’s me choosing laziness and giving into my depression. 

My apathy caught up with me today, as it always does. You see, this past week has been my lowest, hardest week. I ignored my texts, calls, messages and e-mails – so I missed an important message from my Doctor. I also missed a Facebook message from a dear friend asking for a simple video wishing someone Happy Birthday. I never made the appointments I was supposed to schedule, never did the things I was supposed to do. Well, there’s a deadline for everything. I wasn’t part of the birthday video because I couldn’t get my shit together. I’m in danger of running out of my meds because my doctor can’t refill them until we set up an appointment. I’m suffering with my vitamin deficiencies because I can’t pick up the phone and schedule an infusion. I’m the conductor of my own train wreck. Choo choo.

I’d love to enthusiastically celebrate that I’m back to writing and I have a ton of great health tips to share- but I just can’t promise that. I haven’t even been able to use my own health advice, so should I really be giving it out to others? Regardless, oftentimes the first step is the hardest, so let’s hope this starts a chain reaction of awesome blog content!

Thanks to everyone who has loved and supported me through my dark days. If you’re in the depression pit just know you’re not alone. I’m cheering for you, even if it’s from the bottom of my own pit. Better days will come, especially if we stick together and encourage one another.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. 

Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Socially distance. 

Kate

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