My family and I have been on the dementia journey with my father for a few years now. My father's condition has progressed significantly in the last year, and we are preparing to make the move to memory care within the month.
It is an impossible decision.
There are no good options, no comforting words or clear paths forward. My mother who has lived her whole adult lifetime under the same roof as my father will now be parted from him in her final chapters. But it's virtually the only choice we are left with.
On this journey, there have been a few books recommended to us by medical professionals and those within the dementia care community. Here is my family's honest assessment of these, and the ones that we felt helped us on our journey.
The Divorced Summer Adventures
Some of you may not know that I am divorced, and my daughter, Gabrielle, is from my first marriage. That whole phase of life was tumultuous to say the least, but we all came out of it alive and with a new future we are building together.
I made peace (although initially it broke my heart) that my daughter has to overcome some hurdles early in life that ever so slightly take away a bit of her innocence. She regularly has to pack herself up and get shuffled from house to house. She never has all her things in one place. While having two families, two bedrooms, two different routines, and two different parenting styles could be daunting and confusing, she handles it like a champ. This girl, fortunately, was born with a strong sense of who she is, where she is going, and what she wants.
While I see some signs of anxiety from time to time, mostly she goes with the flow in a very responsible and measured manner. She certainly does need us to plot out her next moves for her so that mentally she can organize herself and plan for what's coming (a girl after my own heart). She constantly asks "Ok, so who will pick me up tomorrow? Whose house will I stay at?". The realization that she knows she doesn't just have one home and has bit more chaotic schedule than some of her peers breaks my heart a little bit every time I hear those questions. But she doesn't seemed fazed. She is surrounded by so much love.
You know who doesn't always handle the shuffling and the mental tax of divorce seamlessly?
In case you are just joining this journey, here's a quick recap. I left my corporate job last November. My husband and I started a real estate investment company in 2017, and I launched a social media management company full time as of January 2019. I went full on mompreneur with a 4 year old (now 5) and a 2 year old in tow. I committed to giving quarterly updates on the ups and downs of mompreneur life.
And here's my update on my first three months in business-
A Bumpy Start or a Learning Curve?
Bumpy isn't exactly correct. It's been beautiful. I can't say I have loved every minute, but that's pretty close! Best. Decision. Ever. to leave my corporate job of 15+ years behind.
However, I made a business plan, and it promptly went right out of the window.
I made plans for all the projects around the house and in my life I wanted to catch-up on.
Also, right out the window.
January Update: Finding the Balance
January has been a period of adjustment and learning for me. Much like Steph Crowder says in her awesome podcast "Courage & Clarity", we start off January with a clear vision and then get derailed by ALL the things. Especially us moms.
Now is about the time it is hitting for most of us.
Earth Day is just around the corner (April 22nd), and in honor of this great spinning globe we live on, I'm celebrating a few local artisans and designers who do a little good for our world. Please show them some love because without us even thinking about it, they are doing good for all of us by improving our environment.
Luisa Fernanda Nadarajah
This jewelry and fashion designer "upcycles" materials to use in her designs, and the result is stunning. Who would think to use seatbelts, speedometer pins, and lightbulbs to form some of the most beautiful pieces?
The Reclaimed Wood Shop
The Gaines (as in Joanna and Chip) have made shiplap walls a weekend home designer's dream project, and now you can find your reclaimed wood and reclaimed wood project inspo locally at The Reclaimed Wood Shop! Their furniture pieces are one-of-a-kind, or you can work with the staff to design your own unique piece. Or just take home so good ol' barnwood for your next Gaines' inspired project.
Hollywood Hippies Cosmetics
This one really touches my heart. As a former Child Advocate who was a voice for a child in the foster care system, I love any organization that places foster children at the center of what they do. Owner, Brandie Seifert, was a child of the foster care system. Brandie aged out of the system and built her business as a means to support herself. When her Hollywood clients began asking for greener, more natural products, she created "make-up with a mission" to provide healthy products that are fun and affordable. I could not love more how she uses her talents to support so many worthy causes!
Time to round up the family and head off to adventure / major nap times / sun and sand / whatever your family is up to this summer.
We are heading out to the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa, and couldn't be happier. Traveling with an 18 month old and a 4 year old isn't a walk in the park. In fact, there isn't much walking involved - it's almost always a sprint, except for that long 3 hour drive in the car.
To make my escape a little easier, I swear by a packing list that I continuously add to and modify to fit my family's needs. I HATE driving 30 minutes down the road only to realize that I have forgotten something critical, like socks, or my summer beach read, or Calum's favorite binky. No, no, no. That's a terrible way to start my few days of rest and relaxation (ha).
So if you are like me, here's some peace of mind. I've linked HERE my FREE downloadable family packing list. You can customize it to your own needs and keep adding to it for years to come! (Dad is not included because he takes like 3 minutes to pack himself - then I hand him the rest of the kids' list and he jumps in and helps out - sometimes).
HERE is the .pdf version.
And if you want to follow along with my family vacation, be sure you are following along with @htxmom on instagram!
Spring Clean Series: FREE Spring Printable with Rhubarb & Cherry Cobbler Recipe
1. Letting go of what’s out of our control.
First and foremost - just let go of the mental junk. What is mental junk? The regrets, the fretting, the worry, the indecision. I have it. You have it. We know we hold on to it for no good reason. If the matter at hand is something within our control, take action. If it's not within our control, then we are just expending energy spinning our wheels for naught. Why waste your precious time dwelling on matters? The moment you catch yourself fretting or worrying, make a clear decision and move on.
Don't beat yourself up about it though. Just nicely acknowledge to yourself "oh, there it is again. That worry and fret for no good reason. But I can do something here." Look at nature. It goes with the flow. Water flows in the path of least resistance. Fish swim with the flow of the stream. They don't fight it (except salmon, don't be a salmon). There is a time and place to climb that mountain and fight the tough fight but be extremely selective about your mountains because they take almost all of your mental bandwidth if you are doing it right. Assess your options, acknowledge your anxiety / stress level, ACT, and do not allow it to fill up your mental real estate any further.
Ask yourself these 3 questions:
1) Can I impact the outcome of the situation?
No? Then as Elsa screamed from the icy mountaintop, LET IT GOOOOOO.
Yes? Move on to step 2.
2) Can my actions significantly influence the situation to a favorable outcome for me?
No? Go the way of Elsa again.
Yes? Move on to step 3.
3) Will the amount of energy invested to reach a favorable outcome be worth it?
No? Again, Elsa it.
Yes? Get after it!
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Spring is seriously knocking on our door right now. And you know what it's screaming?
Let my rays of sun warm your face and let my shadows of winter make thy leg hairs groweth.
Spring lures us to our warm windows, and then when we step outside and realize it's still CHILLY!
This is where those cozy cardigans, transition sweaters, and a few lightweight scarves will see us through! And we can easily strip those bad boys off or roll up our sleeves when the mid-afternoon heat is too much.
Here are my favorites, and the price is right! All are under $50 and linked below!