March 3, 2014

The Spark Ignites A Burning Passion

You guys have no idea how blessed I am feeling at this moment in time. I just cannot tell you how overwhelming (in a good way) my life is becoming and I just want to hold up my hands and say, "Thank you Jesus!!" And frankly I do just that!

There has been so many changes going on (I know, I know.. Take the repeat off Katlyn) and one of my favorites is that I am babysitting full time! I knew that I loved being a stay at home mom but before I took the plunge and said yes to watching the children I am now, I wasn't quite sure how I would react to caring for multiple children that weren't all my own. I was a little intimidated.. You know I didn't want the three year old's to gang up on me, decide to sit on me, and tear the house apart. To my dismay the total opposite happened! It has sparked something in me that I knew I had all along, but I guess this time the spark turned into a burning passion.

Now that this "job" is a full time thing for me, meaning Monday through Friday, my creativity and brain power is in overdrive thinking up all the different things that I can do with these little munchkins and ways I can spread knowledge into them. It's truly amazing! And thanks to Pinterest my list of things to do has become endless and very exciting to start!

As of right now I have a pretty good set up with the house. I mean of course not everything is perfect in my mind yet, but the kids have a little toy area, endless amounts of Playdoh toys, and fun ways to learn new things. It's going pretty smooth. Here is a little sneak peak of what a couple areas look like...
 One thing that we haven't gotten down yet (since I wasn't watching them full time at first) is a true routine to our days. It really kind of bothered me this past week too, because I feel routine is an important attribute to a toddler's life. It gives them things to look forward to and also shows them that they need to be patient. Everything just runs much smoother when you have a routine in my book.

Here is what our tentative routine looks like right now:

8:00 am - Wash hands, breakfast.
8:30 am - Clean up, brush teeth, wash face and hands.
9:00 am - Calendar/ Weather.
9:30 am - Music and Movement (aka circle time).
10:00 am - Wash hands, snack (fruit or dairy).
10:30 am - Outdoor play/ Energy games.
11:00 am - Wash hands, set table, lunch.
11:30 am - Clean up, brush teeth, wash face and hands.
11:45 am - Story time. 
12:00 pm - Nap/ Quiet time.
2:00 pm - Creative Learning (Crafts).
2:30 pm - Table Time (Playdoh, etc.)
3:00 pm - Wash hands, Snack.
3:30 pm - Quiet time/ Free Play.
4:00 pm - Outdoor play/ Energy games.
5:30 pm - Wash hands, Dinner.
5:50 pm - Clean up, wash hands and face / Outdoor play or TV time.

Now I know this looks like a lot but I have major plans for learning with these kiddos, and when you're dealing with toddlers the attention span does not last long between each activity. I'm sure there will be some tweaking done to this little schedule but I am feeling more secure now that I have at least started one for the kids to learn and help me mold.

There is so, so much more that I have to share with you guys, but I don't want to chat your ears (or eyes?) off. I hope you will come back in the coming weeks for updates on my new career! I will be covering..
Meal Planning (Toddler Style)
Activity Planning
Behavior Reward System / Take Away System
Time Out Tactics
Clocks / Calendar / Weather
Playdoh Binders
Holiday Craft and Activity Binders
My Babysitting Portfolio
Toddler Games (Energy and Quiet)
What I'm Teaching
Books We Love.
Daily Logs for Parents.

Have any tactics, advice, or stories to tell? Leave them in the comments below! I'd love to hear your feedback! For now ta-ta! And enjoy your week! 

xoxo, Katlyn

March 1, 2014

A Review // Room by Emma Donoghue

On Thursday my mama and I went for a Goodwill hunt for a book that she was really wanting to read. Of course I couldn't just stand there and not look for a novel myself. I came along a book that I've been wanting to read for quite some time but was honestly scared to pick up, Room by Emma Donoghue.

You're probably wondering why would she be frightened to pick up a book? Well let me share the summary with you and explain from there... 

"To five-year-old Jack, Room is the world. It's where he was born, it's where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where Jack is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. 
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it's the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But Jack's curiosity is building alongside Ma's own desperation- and she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.
Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating- a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond hard bond between a mother and her child."

Just from that little bit of insight into the novel my heart was pounding. Being a mother myself I could never imagine raising a child in such circumstances. How you could possibly stay sane enough to even realize what you have to do in order to bring up a little one. Just reading that summary made my heart hurt and made me tear up. 

But I grabbed all the courage I had and opened the cover and started to read. At first I was a little taken a back and a little confused, because the narrator is that of Jack, the five-year-old boy. As you can probably imagine it's challenging to wrap your head around how a five-year-old talks. I get told all the time from friends that they cannot understand Bentley, but I can because he's mine and I'm used to it. It's kind of the same thing but a little more put together because of the age of Jack. 

After the first part of the book though (there are five) I completely understood what was going on. I understood how Jack talks and also had gaps filled in because of his mother and Old Nick talking to each other. 

Although this story was hard to take in because of the chilling circumstances that it's under, it's one of my favorite novels! It not only tells a story of how you need to be aware of your surroundings at all times even if you are an adult, it also shows how strong of a bond a mother has to her child no matter what. 

This novel brings out a whole bunch of emotions at the same time. You become scared, worried, sad, angry all at the same time but as the story goes on you find hope, strength, and happiness. It is truly a book worth reading. I for one read the entire thing in one day. I just could not put it down. I had to know what the outcome was. And with that I couldn't have thought up a better way to end this novel. It was just pure perfection in my eyes because you get to see little Jack as well as Ma transform and you know it's only the beginning.

My rating: 5 Stars
Have you read this novel? Or have you wanted to but had the same issues as I had with picking it up?
I would love to hear your feedback and reviews about this book. 
Leave your links or just a comment below! 

xoxo, Katlyn

February 28, 2014

Life Lately//

If I were to sit down with you over a cup of coffee and tell you about how life is going for me lately I would start with this...

"Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, then it's not the end."

Yes there is a TON of change that has been going on in the past 6+ months. A lot of stress, a lot of heart ache but I have realized that there is no point in fretting over the things that I have no control over. There is no point to sitting on my ass day after day feeling sorry for myself over the things that have went wrong or astray. Instead I will make a plan (or several) for when things start looking up. I will be the best mother that I can possibly be and I will reach for other passions of mine rather than hold on to things that I have no control over and that are now just underlying routes in my journey.

Some highlights of the months have been as follows:

1. I have passed my CNA written and skills test. That means I am now on the national registry as a certified nurse aide and can find a job! It was not easy for me at all. I actually failed my skills test the first time and was very frustrated, ready to give up. It was mainly because when I took the exam the first time my proctor would not tell me what I did wrong and I was positive I did everything on that skill as perfectly as one can. I pushed myself again and overlooked my fears of failing and took the exam again. I passed with outstanding compliments and am very proud of myself for doing so. 

2. Bentley and I have moved in with my older brother and his wife! Although it isn't the living situation that I long for because I want to give my family the joys of just spending time with Bentley and I rather than living with us, it has been one of the best choices that I have made since being back in Wisconsin. It puts me in a city that I want to be in for school and job reasons and also sheds some light on what parenting is all about for my siblings since they want a child of their own. 

3. I have started babysitting full time for a couple of friends who have two beautiful little boys. It's an amazing experience for me being able to care for multiple kids during the day and has also been a blessing for Bentley showing him what it's like to not have my attention 24/7. He has blossomed with his speech and has learned more about sharing with other littles. He also loves having friends around his age to play with all day rather than just adults. I have fallen in love (or more so) with being around children all day and have decided to apply for the early childhood education program offered at the local technical college. I'm excited to start more schooling and to learn more in depth about teaching. 

There are many more plans for out future and I am really looking forward to getting our life back on track. I will be sure to keep you posted on all the little details since I've missed you all so much. 
I hope that you have an excellent day! 
xoxo, Katlyn

February 22, 2014

5 Weird Things About Me

I get told I'm not normal all the time. A weirdo in other words. But hey, we are all unique in our own ways and should embrace these qualities in my opinion! I saw one of my bloggy friends, Alycia over at Habitual Homebody, post about her 5 weird traits and though I should join the fun too! Share your links to your 5 weird things in the comments below if you want to, so I can check 'em out! 

I am overly obsessive about my hair.
When I was about 6 months pregnant with my little squeak I decided it would be a fantastic idea to chop my hair off into an angled bob... I. Was. Wrong. After that fateful day I swore to myself that I would not cut off more than an inch of hair to get the damaged end off of it and let it grow and grow. It has now been over 3 years and my locks are my pride and joy! I go to extreme lengths (pun intended) to keep my hair as healthy and long as possible. That means biotin, prenatal vitamins, and some extensive deep conditioning. Don't joke about cutting my hair either.. They won't find you!! Just kidding, but really don't! 

I've become a clean freak.
Maybe it's because my job is now babysitting at home and I just hate seeing even a speck of dirt on the floor when I have toddlers and babies running around or other deep psychological stresser but I seriously have to make sure certain things are cleaned at least 4 times a day and if they aren't spotless I will sit there and make it shine! 

I eat raw noodles and plain lettuce.
I think it's just for the crunch honestly, I'm not sure. I've been doing it for as long as I can remember but I get the "look" every time I do it from my friends and family.

I have a very nonchalant sense of humor.
Things just come to me that I feel the need to say in the middle of conversation. They may not be appropriate but hey if they make you laugh, why not? 

My second toe is longer than my big one.
It's how my entire family is, even Bentley but for some reason people think it's one of the weirdest things about me. They always look at my feet like "what the hell is wrong with them!?" Oh well.. They are cute no matter what!  

January 2, 2014

Open A New Book

To most 2014 is just a new year. 
A time when the last months can be totally put behind them and new goals can be set and (hopefully) met.
For Bentley and I it means a new beginning. A new journey that can be shared with just him and I.

I feel like 2013 is still lingering around for now though. 
The divorce is still not final and I still have to take the written and skills exams to be put on the state registry as a Certified Nursing Assistant. 
 But I am so very thankful for the opportunities that have been given to me since moving back to Wisconsin and of course all the support that I now possess. 
I will keep my head held high, confide in God, and always keep what's important close to me.
With all of this I know that I will move forward to become a stronger and more independent person.

I have made a few goals for the new year as well in an attempt to better the person that I am and also the life of my little boy. Here they are, in no particular order...
1. Quit Smoking. A lot of you (most of you) didn't even know that I do this. Truth is I hid it for a great while, but when my world started to fall apart again I started up the bad habit again. I know that it is not doing anything good even if it makes me feel better and I don't want Bentley  around it. It's going to be tough but I know that I can persevere. 

2. Quit Biting My Nails. Yes, read other posts and you will know that this has been a struggle all of my life. I did very well for a couple of months and then all hell broke loose and I chewed them all off again. Yuck!

3. Pay Off Debts. I think this one is on a lot of people's lists. And although I don't have a horrendous list of debts I still owe my parents money for helping me come home and with my CNA program. 

4. Buy A Car. This one is actually a big need in my life. Because I don't have a car of my own and am using my mom's to get Bentley and I places I don't have the ability to work full time. I currently am stuck working at McDonald's as well just because no where else will work around my mom's work schedule to let me work as much as I can. (I am thankful for my job right now though).

5. Get My Own Apartment. I love my parents so very much and am thankful that they welcomed me back home with open arms, but as a mom and an almost 20 year old I really need my independence and have a need to raise my son by myself (for the most part). I want my parents to be Nana and PupPups, not the extra parents helping me doing everything. Plus it's their empty nest time, to be together. They deserve that. 

6 . Create A Will. This one is SO important for me to do, because I have sole placement and custody of Bentley. If anything were to ever happen to me there would be so much more crap he would have to go for if I didn't have it written out who I wanted him to live with. And believe me I do NOT want there to be any chances that he be placed with his biological dad. 

7. Get A Job As A CNA. I would really like to find a job working in a hospital after I'm officially certified. I may have to take some advanced classes, but I am game!

8. Start My Generals. I want to further my education so bad. I actually miss going to school already and I just want the best life for Bentley and I. The next step is to take my Accuplacer test and then get my general eds done. 

Well those are the big ones! ^^ The ones that I am focusing on for the new year.. Quite the list I know.. But if I have time and to make life a little more fun for Bentley and I, I made a few more just in case there is time! ;)

9. Start Savings Accounts. I actually want to open up three different ones. One for emergencies (I have learned this is very important), one for Bentley's graduation, and a Christmas Club so I am prepared for the coming holiday season. 

10. Blog More. I have been very MIA with this little space that I've created. I'm not going to apologize for it because it was for the best, but I truly miss the community! I also miss the outlet it gives me to share my ever changing life. To document what's going on. 

11. Use The Internet Less & Phone Less. I've been getting better, but I can really tell how much I miss out on if I'm constantly glued to my phone. I challenge you to rid yourself of your phone (keep it in a basket) and computer for a couple of days, using them only for emergencies and see how much more you enjoy the little things that happen throughout the day!

12. Drink More Water. Coca Cola is my weakness. So is coffee.... I could go days without having water and I know how horrible that is. I would really like to drink at least three bottles of water each day and cut back on the caffeine. I bet I would feel a great deal healthier!

13. Read 20 Books. I miss reading and right now my Kindle is just collecting dust or being used for games with the tot (eye roll). I would really like to push myself to read at least 20 books this new year. I mean honestly it's not that hard for me to read a book and a half a month..

14. Purge My Belongings. I am truly a minimalist.. I hate clutter for the most part. I really want to go through ALL of Bentley's and my belongings and donate whatever we do not need or really want any longer. This way it will also be easier to move out on my own and really make our first apartment ours! :)

There you have it friends.. My incredibly long list of goals this new year.. Some of them are going to be challenging and may take most of the year to accomplish but I have set my mind on crossing off every single thing on this list one way or another no matter how hard I have to work for it.

Here's to new beginnings and better lives!
xo, Katlyn