Little Photographers

Little Photographers - Beth Hardinger Blog

Avery wanted to use my camera yesterday. I was a little nervous, but I think she did fine. She was able to get us in focus, using back-button focus (where you push a little button on the back of the camera to focus, then push the shutter to take the photo.)Beth Hardinger BlogBeth Hardinger BlogBeth Hardinger Blog

As much as I don’t like photos of myself, I know it’s not for me – it’s for me kids. Later on, they will care that I was in the photos with them – not just behind the camera.

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Lauren watched Avery, while Avery experimented with different angles and decided that she wanted to try. It took some practice to find the buttons and press them at the right times, but she did great! She took the photo below, using live view (seeing the scene on the LCD screen, not looking through the viewfinder.) I told her to push the button until the green box was on my face, and then take the photo. I think I’ll let the kids use my camera more often!

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Linking to Good, Random, Fun!


Also linking to Saturday Summer Sharefest.

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Steam Engine Park

My kids and I went on vacation this past weekend. We drive down to southern Minnesota, where I grew up. My kids got to sleep in my grandparents’ house, on the floor in the living room, just like I did countless times. We sat on the porch swing every night, until the mosquitoes made us go inside. They got to play in the same backyard as my sister, brother and I did when we were little. I’m getting a little emotional but I realize my grandparents won’t be around forever (the day before we began our trip, my grandpa was injured at work. He’s ok, but it really hits home that life is short!) I’m glad that I could take my kids to see my grandparents, and spend quality time with my family. 

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This park is relatively new. When we played at the Steam Engine Park as kids, all we had for fun was some old swings, really high monkey bars and a rickety bridge. 

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The kids had a great time playing in the rocks and climbing, but they had the most fun with the water. (My grandparents’ town has THE BEST water. I bring home gallons of tap water – it tastes so good!) 

(More to come from our weekend away!)

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Little Things Thursday

I used to participate in this weekly link-up several years ago. I miss blogging and I miss the friendships that were made blog-hopping and commenting on each other’s sites. I hope to get that back one day. This is the beginning. 

Little Things Thursday
I took the kids to see my parents and brother for Memorial Day weekend. We spent the majority of the time out by the campfire, even when it was sprinkling (it did storm once or twice, so we baked and watched movies). The kids absolutely love it there, and I do too, now that I don’t have anxiety and fear hanging over me (more on that some other day). 

As usual, I took way too many photos. Here’s just a few. 

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100 Day Goal

(Mental Health Monday is on a short hiatus, while I work through my divorce.)

100 Day Goal Challenge
Beginning today, I am starting the 100 Day Goal challenge. I think it’s ultimately supposed to be about building a business, but I’m using this challenge to reinvent myself. I’ve been doing a lot of googling and Pinteresting in the past few days, and learned that reinventing yourself is basically starting over. 

A divorce means starting over, in almost everything. So I figured now would be a good a time as any. I’m still making lists and working out details. I know it won’t be a quick process (which is why I have 100 days to get going). I know that I will fail but I will pick myself back up and keep going. I have the motivation to create a better, happier, more fulfilling life for us (me and the kids) and I’m not content anymore to just sit at home and binge Parks and Rec while eating cheetos (although that might happen some days, and I know that’s ok). 

Basically, I need to come up with a new person – the new me. Who I want to be, what I want to look like (weight, hair, clothes), what I want to do with my life. Goals, passions, how I want to act. Right now, I’d like the new me to be completely different than the me right now. 

It’s going to be hard work. Some days, I will feel like quitting. But I need to start living – not just surviving. 

Join in if you want to! (I’ll also be following Day Designer’s 30 Day Habit Challenge, which will fit nicely with the 100 Day Goal.) I’ll be posting progress maybe weekly, maybe a few times a week, depending on how much progress is being made. 

It’s my birthday month (I’ll be 31 on the 25th, which also would have been my 10th wedding anniversary) so I’m determined to make these next weeks count! Happy May!

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Mental Health Monday Week 3

I had therapy last Tuesday. I honestly don’t remember much of what was said. We talked about so many things. Marriage was high up on the topic list. That is a…complicated situation. I don’t even know what’s going on with that right now.

Another huge thing was me making plans for my life – me and my kids – because I haven’t done anything with my life, other than have kids. I haven’t had a purpose other than raising children, and even then, I don’t do that well.

My future path so far for Spring 2017 looks like this:

  • Finish registering for classes
  • Decide if I want to do summer classes 
  • Get some school supplies? 
  • Get the kids to their appts successfully 
  • Better advocate for Lauren’s 4th grade year (IEP meeting in May) 
  • Continue going to my therapist and DOING THE WORK EVEN WHEN IT’S HARD 
  • Keep going to marriage counseling, even though I have to go alone and DO THE WORK EVEN WHEN IT’S HARD 
  • Purge my house of too-small clothes, and unused toys 
  • Read 6 books (photo of them all at the end of the post) 
  • Go to church with the kids on Sundays 
  • Journal more. I miss writing and I need to get back to it. Even if it’s just song lyrics for now (Hard Love by NEEDTOBREATHE is a GREAT song) 
  • Go to the psychiatrist appt
  • Go to the ARMS appt (easy, because it’s at my house) WIN.

There are probably some more things, and I will update as I think of them but this is it for now.

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One Little Word Update

Hoo boy. This word has been kicking my butt these past few months. COURAGEOUS was the word I chose, in case you missed it. So much has happened lately, and I’ve really needed to dig deep and get things done. This word is pushing me on.

I’ve made appts and gone to personal therapy (and continue to go).

I’ve signed the kids up for summer sports again (ugh).

I’ve made and taken the kids to so many appts I don’t remember what was done or who was seen (but it’s written down somewhere I think.)

I’ve sought out other moms and made plans with them.

I started reading non-fiction books (normally I read YA paranormal books).

I’ve had some hard conversations with myself about what I want for me, and for my kids in the future.

I’ve learned that I can only control ME and my thoughts and actions.

I registered for college (maybe summer, definitely fall). Special Education A.A.S Degree.

I talked to a stranger. Yep. This goes on my list of accomplishments.

I’ve learned that I WANT to make my life better for me and my kids. I have a path, a direction, now and I have a little hope for the future.

I know that this will take a ton of work. And like my therapist says, I WILL fail. But I WILL get back up and try again. I will not let failure defeat me. I deserve better and I am going to be better, do better.

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Mental Health Monday Week 2

Beth Hardinger Blog Mental Health Mondays
Last Tuesday, I had my first real therapy session. (The first one was just questionnaires, mostly.) I held in my tears until she shut the door and said, “So, how was your week?” Because, it wasn’t great. We talked about how my negative thinking is affecting not only me, but everyone around me. She helped me come up with three good things (so far) about me that are positive:

  • I am a mother.
  • I am determined.
  • I am strong.

She told me I have to stop with the ‘buts’. For example, she said “you are a mom.” I said, “but not a good one.” I may not feel like a good mother in the moment, but I have to realize that I am doing the best I can for my kids with all that I know right now (and hopefully I will learn to be an even better mom as I learn to change my thinking and behavior.) 

I am determined, BUT not as determined as I could be, or should be. Then she reminded me that I am here, at therapy, getting help. I sought it out, and I got up and went, even though I was scared. 

I am strong, BUT not that strong. I fail constantly, at everything. Then she reminded me, that if I am determined to do the work, I will continue to get stronger each day, and I am fighting for my mental health, my marriage, my kids, my life. 

My homework was to find positive things about myself, tiny or large, and refuse to add the ‘but’. Like, I took the kids to the park tonight. Before, I would have added, “BUT I didn’t let them play very long, because I was anxious about all of the older kids at the playground.” BUT, I’m not allowed to do that anymore. I need to change my thinking. I WILL fail, but I am not allowed to hate myself for it, and I’m supposed to try again. And again, and again, until I can find several positive things about myself, and not even think about the ‘buts’. 




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Mental Health Monday

Beth Hardinger Blog Mental Health Monday
I’ve had depression, anxiety and social anxiety all my life. A few weeks ago, I finally made an appointment with a therapist. I have so many issues, I feel like I will be in therapy for the rest of my life (which is maybe a good thing, I don’t know). I’m not sure how much I will share here, mostly because I’m no good at writing about how I feel. I do know that I’m sick of hiding it. It’s hard enough to live with my issues every day in my own head, but when people start wondering why I keep flaking out on plans, or I get angry and lash out for no good reason, I feel like I need to say something. I’m not crazy. I’m not stupid. I have a legitimate disease that I am seeking treatment for. 

Which brings me to my next topic: treatment. I will be seeing a therapist weekly for at least the next two months (I have to call today and make more appointments for June). I will also be seeing a…I’m not even sure what she is called. Social Anxiety Helper? I don’t know. But basically, she will be able to meet me where I am (home, coffee shop, park with my kids) and help me through my immediate issues. So that’s three and a half hours a week of therapy.


I will be asking for medication at my Tuesday appointment. I am not sure that I want it, but everyone in my life is telling me to go on meds. So, I will. Even though the thought of taking meds every day gives me anxiety. I have a hard time swallowing pills. I even had to switch my methotrexate from oral pills to an injection, because I was having such a hard time with the pills.

I’m terrified of side effects. I’m terrified of getting used to one med and having to switch and get used to a new one all over. I’m terrified the meds will make me worse, not better. Going on meds for other people is not a good reason to go on meds. I know this. But after my horrible panic attack the other night, and just a shitty, embarrassing weekend, I am wondering if that would be the best decision. 

Please feel free to share your stories in the comments, or if you feel more comfortable, you can email me.

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March kicks off several “National” things, such as Caffeine Awareness Month (drinking coffee right now – super aware of caffeine!), Frozen Food AND Nutrition Month and also, Trisomy Awareness Month. Trisomy is three copies of a chromosome – for example, Down syndrome, which is 3 copies of the 21st chromosome. 

National Procrastination Week starts on the 5th. Or the 6th. Whenever you get around to it. Next week (March 5-11) is also Words Matter week (so stop using the word ‘retard’!) And National Aardvark Week. I’ll be getting in on that one somehow, because aardvarks are cute.

Oh! Act Happy Week is March 20-26, but I’ll just be honest – every week is Act Happy week for me. If you can’t actually be happy, just fake it, right?

And the most important day – March 21 – World Down Syndrome Day! 

Today is Spread The Word To End The Word Day. So head over here to learn more about why you should stop using the word ‘retard’ and its many forms (celebutard, libtard, f***tard, etc). Just stop. It’s not cool. It’s offensive, no matter how you try to spin it.  

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Same Stuff, Different Day

Hannah and I finished cleaning the house this morning before the inspection, which was fine, I think.

My mom decided to Down the night with us, so we met at Costco for dinner then went to Target to find swimsuits for our upcoming trip to the Twin Cities. (We also bought some Valentine’s Day candy-including Ghirardelli truffles-only at Target around Valentine’s Day.) 

The kids went to bed way too late and I can’t sleep because the country is sinking further and further into the pits of hell. But the kids want donuts for breakfast, so I’m clinging to any little shred of happiness. 

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