About Me

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I am Steph! I am a 30-something mom and wife. I am Bi-Polar. I am an Autism mom. I work full time outside the home. I overcommit myself every single day. I sometimes wonder how my husband puts up with me on a day to day basis. I have 2 children, one neuro-typical and one not so neuro-typical. I am a hot mess. I am Steph.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

This is Autism

-Today Nathan was sent home from school for having an hour long meltdown because he wanted to sit on a blue square but they were all taken by his classmates.....This is Autism.

-Today Nathan is wearing his PJ pants rolled up as far as they will go so it looks like he is wearing a minion diaper because he doesn't want them below his knees yet he refuses to wear shorts.....This is Autism.

-Today Nathan has watched the same Daniel Tiger YouTube video while sitting in the living room for the past hour.  When I walked through the tv room and turned off the tv because he wasn't in that room anymore, he screamed at me because he was watching it.....apparently he can watch tv through a wall....This is Autism.

-Today Nathan is overtired because he was awake until after 11pm last night because he "Couldn't get to rest" and then he was up another 3 times throughout the night for the same reason. When Nate is awake, Mom is awake.....This is Autism.

-Today Nathan's school had Pajama Day.  He chose to wear a minion shirt, minion pants and minion shoes.  He argued with me for 10 mins because he didn's have minion socks and minion underwear to wear with it.  Looks like this weekend he is getting new minion socks and underwear to prevent this from happening in the future...even though next week there is always that chance that he will no longer like minions...because that is how he rolls.....This is Autism.

-Today Nathan sang The White Shoes song from Pete the Cat word for word without missing a beat and named every Thomas train character made....but he couldn't tell me what he ate for lunch....This is Autism.

-Today I have asked Nathan to please mind my personal space and stop touching me at least 150 times since I have been home from work.  He must not have heard me because I can currently feel his breath on my face as he is trying to talk to me....Bro - step back a little please!  This is Autism.

All in all it has been a pretty normal evening at The Hightree House. This only saving grace I have right now is that it is bedtime....only I'm sure Nathan will be down stairs in T-minus 15 minutes complaining that he "can't get to rest".....

This is Autism my friends.
And this is our life.

Until Next Time....

Sunday, March 20, 2016

To my daughter, I'm sorry.

8 years ago I gave birth to my beautiful, funny, talented, sassy daughter Cadence. Leif and I tried for 18 months before we were blessed with her and she has been the light of my life since the minute I found out I was pregnant. Cadence is my best friend. Cadence is a carbon copy of me. Cadence is one of my favorite people and the one that can frustrate me the most because we are the same person. Cadence is my 'typical' child who has an autistic brother.

I feel like I have failed her.

Since the day she was born she has been my life. Every ounce of my energy has been spent making sure she lives a full and happy life and that she never needs anything because Leif and I have always provided her with everything. She was an only for 3 years before her brother was born. When her brother was born I wanted to make sure she knew she was important and loved and equal to the new baby who was taking up more of my time.

And then Nathan was diagnosed with Autism.

He required more of my time and energy. He required special circumstances to the normal rules and routines she was accustomed too. He required more of me. So where does that leave her?

Has Cadence now been permanently put on the sideline while her is brother on the field? Have I failed to give her an equal amount of me that I give Nathan? How do I juggle a typical child and a non-typical child equally? Is it even possible?

I feel like I have failed Cadence because once I am finished giving Nathan everything that he needs there is often not much left to give to her. I take advantage of the fact that she is 8 years old and capable of doing many things for herself and is pretty independent but at the same time I forget that she is only 8 years old and still a child and she still needs her mom.

She is often the one who has to make sacrifices and I fear that in the future she is going to resent me and her brother because her life is different because she is the older sister of a special needs sibling. I think when we hear about a special needs person we automatically think about the person dealing with the issue and then we think about the parents caring for the child but we seldom think about the siblings who are directly affected by it as well.

How do we as parents care and nurture them and make sure they know that they are equally special and important and loved and cared for? Where does the energy come from once I have used it all up caring for Nathan? How do I make sure she knows I am always here for her no matter how neglected she feels?

This process and life change is the most difficult thing I have ever experienced and I am learning everyday. It is a trial and error and I will fail and then I will succeed and then I will probably fail again.

I want to end this post by telling Cadence that I am sorry that I have failed her. I am going to make it a priority to remind myself that you still need me and that I still need you and I pray that there will never come a time where you sit back and think about how you wish your mother had been there for you more. I hope that you always know how sorry I am for not being able to give you 100% but know that everyday I am trying and that's really all I can do at this point.

I am sorry, I love you and I promise to listen next time you want to tell me something even if it is not the most convenient time. :-)

Until next time....

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Autism is Annoying.

Have I ever told you how fun having a child with Autism is? 
Oh yeah, because it’s not fun at all! 

Let me give you some background.  Nathan was ‘Google’ diagnosed at 2 years old by me, educationally diagnosed at 2 1/2 by the Intermediate School District and medically diagnosed at 3 by a Neuropsychologist.  I noticed quite early on that he was a bit delayed than what “they” said he should be at.  Who is “they” btw?? So I turned to Google because that is what everyone does and took some online quizzes and came up with Autism.  Who knew that my googling would actually turn out to be correct this time!  Once we finally had some answers it was time to move on and start the life changing process of being an Autism family.  My husband and I both jumped in feet first and got him the early intervention that he needed.  Well, lets’ fast forward to now….2/18/2016 – Nathan is now 5 ½ and has grown leaps and bounds since his diagnosis, but guess what? He is still Autistic and it is still frustrating and annoying.

I love my son.  I don’t even really need to say that because it should just be a given, I am his mom of course I love him and wouldn’t trade him for the world, but I will not sugarcoat it when I say that Autism is annoying.  In the beginning of our process we were so busy just dealing with things to make sure Nathan can succeed in life.  We were so busy with transitioning our family from a typical one to an Autism one.  We were so busy just trying to get through the day to day routine and schedule that I’ve never really had a chance to think about how annoying and frustrating Autism is.  Not only to me but to Nathan too!  I can’t imagine what is going through his head when he is having a sensory meltdown and can’t calm himself down.  But I can tell you exactly what is going through mine: “Seriously NOT again!! I just needed to run into the store for one thing and now he is losing it in the checkout lane at Meijer….!”  I have to quickly remind myself that something as simple as going into a store can be the most stressful thing he will have to deal with that day…but it doesn’t make it any less annoying!

Autism is annoying because it causes my son to do weird things like having to roll his blue jean pant legs up before he can wear them.  And don’t forget, they must be rolled up 5 times, NOT 4! No matter how cold outside or how dorky he looks he refuses to wear any pants unless they are folded up right now….
Autism is annoying because it causes my son to become so frustrated that he starts to lash out at me.  I can’t tell you how hard it is not to push him out of my face when he is so close to me and screaming that I can feel his breathe in my mouth. 
Autism is annoying because there isn’t a right or wrong way to deal with it.  What worked or works for one child may not work for yours.                                                                                                                                                           
Autism is annoying because it makes me selfish and then guilty when all I can do is complain about how much it is affecting my life, when really I have no idea how it is affecting anything.  Sometimes I forget that I am not actually the one living with it.  I am the mother of a child who has no idea that he is different, he just knows that he doesn’t like it and doesn’t know how to deal with it.                                         
Autism is annoying because it will never go away.  It will always be there staring at you, smiling at you, laughing at you, crying with you.

I could go on and on about how annoying it is right now but that would take all day and then I would be annoyed that I wasted a whole day blogging instead of accomplishing anything.  So to end for today I’ll just leave you with 3 words.

Autism Is Annoying.

Until Next Time…
Do you think your child may have Autism Spectrum Disorder and don't know what you should do next?  Check out this link for some helpful tips. http://www.nationalautismresources.com/i-think-my-child-has-autism-what-do-i-do.html

Sunday, January 5, 2014

What do you do when you set goals for the year only to realize you failed EVERY.SINGLE.ONE.OF.THEM........

Well, In the past I would probably dwell on the fact that I was a crazy failure and sit and cry while eating a pint of ice cream while watching The Biggest Loser and whining because I wish I could lose 100lbs in 8 weeks.....BUT that doesn't seem to be the case this year!

The new me will make new goals and start fresh!

Here is a refresher for my goals from last year:

My Fitness Goals for 2013
-Make it to 199lbs---FAILED! I was at my lowest weight in July (38lbs away from my goal) but then life happened, I got lazy, I started working full time and I gained 14lbs......
-Workout twice a day---FAILED! I was actually doing very well with this as well up until the fall....well, because of the same excuses I used up above....
-Eat Better, stick to 1500-1200 calories a day and keep logging into MyFitnessPal.---FAILED!
-Start running again and complete the C25K---FAILED! I think I attempted this at least 3 times......
-Run at least 1 5K (The Hot Chocolate Run in Chicago with Jen for sure)---FAILED!
-Feel better about myself---I can't call this a total failure because I do feel better about myself....just not as much lately...

My Personal/Family Goals for 2013
-Get Organized---FAILED! 
-Be a better wife and mom---umm...I don't really know...I honestly think that me getting out of the house and getting a job has kind of made me a better wife and mom.....this one is debatable....
-Make a Budget AND stick to it---FAILED! 
-Work on getting out of debt---FAILED! I think I successfully caused us more debt this year....
-Build a Savings---FAILED!
-Start a Christmas club in January so that I am not freaking out in December---FAILED!
-Feel better about myself---Same answer as above......maybe....
-Make at least one day a week Date Night---FAILED!
-Have a girls only day with Cady at least once ever other week---FAILED!
-Be in bed by 11:30pm on weekdays, even when school is out---FAILED!
-Craft more and build up my online business---FAILED!
-Read my Bible once a day---FAILED!
-Try not to over-commit myself---FAILED!

So, there ya have it....There is my 2013 recap! LOL..not super exciting or encouraging.  Now, since I am not going to dwell on it, I'd like to share my new goals.  And let's pray next year when I recap I will have less fails and more successes! :-) I have a really good feeling about this year and my life and how things are going......

My Fitness Goals for 2014
-Make it to 199lbs
-Workout once a day
-Eat Better, stick to 1500-1200 calories a day and keep logging into MyFitnessPal.
-Start running again and complete the C25K
-Run at least 1 5K (The Hot Chocolate Run in Chicago with Jen for sure)
-Feel better about myself

My Personal/Family Goals for 2013
-Get Organized
-Be a better wife and mom
-Make a Budget AND stick to it
-Work on getting out of debt
-Build a Savings
-Start a Christmas club in January so that I am not freaking out in December
-Feel better about myself
-Make at least one day a week Date Night
-Have a girls only day with Cady at least once ever other week
-Be in bed by 10:30pm on weekdays, even when school is out
-Read my Bible once a day
-Try not to over-commit myself

I can say that I have had at least one success from last year.
I am able to be totally ok with where I am at in my life right now.

Until Next Time....

Friday, September 6, 2013

Health and Fitness Friday: Wake Me Up, When September Ends....Or at least let me sleep a little bit!

Yes, I know I only have an hour before it is no longer Friday anymore but I still wanted to link up with my girl Jen for Health and Fitness Friday!  

I am pretty much horrible at blogging lately.  I really need to start jotting down blog ideas as I am going throughout my day because I have a lot of ideas I just go totally blank when I get time to sit down and actually blog! So, Jen has started a new structure for our link up and I am thrilled!  It totally helps me because then I don't really have to think much, just follow her directions! LOL  If I can even manage that.... ;-)  So, here we go!

I haven't been wonderful with my eating lately, I haven't been awful, but not super good either...so I really need to get back on my game!  I have slacked off through the summer keeping up with MyFitnessPal (StephHightree) so I am really focusing more this month to actually log and keep track and stay within my calories.  Every time I fall off the wagon I seem to go crazy on Gardetto Garlic Rye Chips, Sour Punch Straws and Frappuccinos! I'm super excited for the fall weather because that means it is Crock Pot time!  I love using my crock pot because I never know if I will be home or not so this gives us an easy option to still have an awesome dinner at night.  

This recipe isn't Super healthy but I am excited to try it and plan on making it sometime next week.  I will have to update you on how it tastes once we test it out! 

This month I have made a goal of completing 100 miles combined of walking, running and biking.  I want to get as much outside workouts done before the weather starts to get colder and I am SO enjoying my mornings with no kids while they are at school so I am taking advantage of it! So far this week I am at 25.07 miles with 2 days left in the first week of the month, I just pray that I don't lose steam!  

I really need to work on NOT thinking as much this week! I have noticed that this week I have been over-thinking so much that it has been keeping me up at night. My mind is just racing with the constant To-Do list that I have going through my head so I really need to work on somethings to shut my mind down to relax because we all know that sleep is a BIG chunk of being healthy! I'm really going to work on some sleep routines to try and calm myself down and not think as much when I should be sleeping!  

Well, I've spent entirely too long writing this post and am now 8 minutes away from Saturday! So, I guess I will end this until next week!  

Happy Friday Friends! 

Until Next Time....

Friday, August 23, 2013

Health and Fitness Friday: It's not you.....it's me....

Happy Health and Fitness Friday!  

I admit.....I have totally sucked at posting all summer!!  I feel like every week I have a great idea for a post on Friday but I don't actually remember to post until like Sunday.....So then I don't want to look like a loser so I don't post at all! HAH!!  
Well....here I am this week. I'm posting because I have a pretty big announcement....

I think it's time that we break up and go our separate ways.
Don't be sad, it's not you, it's me. 
We just make better friends than anything else. 
I need some space and time to clear my head and figure out what I want in life. 
You do you, I'm doing me.
It's been great getting to know you, but it's time we get to know other people. 
I'm not ready for a commitment. 
We can still be friends. 
We are just in totally different places in our lives. 

That's right folks.  Starting September 1st, I am officially breaking up with my scale for the whole month! 

Believe me when I tell you that this is probably one of the harder decisions I have made in a while!  You see, for the past year I have had a love hate relationship with that pesky little thing on the floor that spits out numbers that you either love or hate. 

It started out pretty innocent. Weighing myself, getting the number, beating myself up about it in my head and then going about my week. Then I started noticing that instead of seeing each other once a week it turned into every couple of days, then once a day, and for the past month I have found myself stepping on that thing 2, 3 sometimes 4 times a day!!  And it makes me mad.  I'm mad because I know that we fluctuate in weight on sometimes an hourly basis! I'm mad because for the last month it hasn't moved much unless it was going up! I'm mad because I know that I am addicted to the scale and I truly think its stupid yet I can't NOT step on that thing every time I walk by it! I'm mad because I try to justify that because I still have so much weight to loose that the numbers do matter and its not just about the inches I lose. 

So, I've decided it's time to be done. 
I need a break, I need to stop obsessing over what number I am. 
I need to take my life back. 
I need to focus my time that I gave to the scale everyday on more important things....like maybe doing the dishes while I'm in the kitchen instead of weighing myself....I'm still not sure why the scale is even in the kitchen....

Not gonna lie, this will probably be a huge struggle for me because I know that I have been programmed to think that the scale is the most important thing in my weight loss journey. But I have to teach myself that that is simply untrue. Yes, going down in weight is what I am supposed to be doing, but I really need to remind myself that what really matters is that I am getting myself healthy and fit for me and my family. And one of the biggest notices I have felt through the month is that I am still going down in inches even if the scale isn't moving like it is supposed to.  I tried on a pair of pants last week that I never could have fit a month ago let alone a year ago. So obviously something is happening. 

Ok, Enough about the scale today....typing it makes me want to go jump on it right now and see what it says...but I'm not going to.....hopefully....

I will leave you with these to help dictate what I will be saying to my scale in 9 days.

Until next time....

Sunday, August 4, 2013

August 4th. One Year.

August 4th, 2012.

The day I flushed my fear down the toilet and put myself out there!

This is the day I said, "Screw it! I need accountability and I am going to do this!"  So, I did it.
I put my "Before" pics on Facebook and left it at that.  Who knew that this would open up a whole new world for me!?
Who knew that I would start to think of myself as someone other than the fat girl!
Who knew that I would actually inspire people.
I am not an inspiration!?
I am just the fat girl who wants to be less fat!
I am not a expert, I make mistakes.....but apparently I am also inspiring others to start their journey!
Im not gonna lie, it is still weird for me when someone tells me that my journey pushed them to start, I still don't know how to react and am kind of awkward when I am supposed to respond. But I am changing and I feel like God put me here to share my experience so if that is what I am called to do, then that is what I will do!

August 4th, 2013.


Today I am down 45lbs.
Today I am a runner.
Today I am a bike rider.
Today I am changing.
Today I am down 2-3 clothing sizes. 
Today I can run/walk/jog 3-4 miles.
Today I can bike ride 11 miles.
Today I am aware of what I put into my body and how many calories it is.
Today I think about how many calories I will burn during a work out instead of how many swiss cake rolls I can shove in my mouth.
Today I have hit my 1 year Weight Loss Journey Anniversary.
Today I am still a work in progress, but I am progressing and that is all that matters.

I am by no means where I want to be, but I can now with full confidence say that I will get there.  It may take me another year, it may take me two. But I will get there!  I could fill this post up with so many reflections, but it would probably take me another year to finish, so I know that you are all waiting for one thing.

My progress picture. :-)

Until Next Time....

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


I watch a lot of tv. Like a borderline unhealthy Im probably addicted amount of tv. I love it and Im not afraid to admit it..... :-)
So, tonight I found myself watching Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition. 

Yeah, the one with that guy....he's a hottie. Well, while watching it I started thinking to myself how jealous I was that this couple lost so much weight in such a short time and the circumstances weren't quite as unrealistic as The Biggest Loser is so why couldn't I do that?? After a few commercial breaks I had a realization. 


Ok, I havent lost huge numbers in short time frames like them, but I have lost 44lbs in under a year and am still going strong! I have worked my butt off and actually started working my butt off, :-), and I need to stop being envious of others huge weight loss amounts because I soon will be one of them! I know I will because I know I can do it! I just need to get over this tiny bump in my journey. 
Think of me when you are eating that huge juicy burger and potato salad this weekend please because this momma has some food changes to make! :-)

Ill probably have a half a burger.....

Until next time....

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

44 lessons for 44 pounds

I am down 44 lbs total. I am so excited about finally being in the 230's! However, all I can see is that last 6 lbs until my first big goal! -50 lbs is so close yet so far away!

So, to get my mind off of those pesky 6 I am going to share 44 things I have learned since I have lost 44lbs.

1) I have too many clothes in my closet that I will never wear again.
2) I can ride my bike for 10 miles without stopping.
3) I can actually run.
4) I will succeed and make my goal.
5) I am worth it.
6) I can go a whole day without needed a nap.
7) I would rather walk or ride my bike than drive. But some places are just too annoying to get too!
8) Just because I am not a long distance runner, doesn't mean I am exempt from running injuries! BOO!
9) I need better sports bras.
10) I can not wear yoga pants to run in unless I want them to be at my ankles.
11) I am a weirdo who doesn't mind running without music.
12) It makes me feel weird and a little uncomfortable when people tell me I am an inspiration to them because I don't know how to respond.....I have never been an inspiration to anyone!
13) I really need to buy some new underwear....considering I haven't bought any since I have lost weight....
14) I crave water.
15) Fast food generally makes me sick when I eat it now.  Like stomach hurting sick.....
16) I can actually eat one serving of something and not feel like I am starving.
17) There comes a time when you just need to break down and get some smaller pants!
18) You can lose weight in your feet.....who knew!?
19) Even though I don't feel like I am getting smaller, I actually am.
20) Just because the scale isn't moving, doesn't mean I am not getting healthier and smaller.
21) Even though I feel like I am going to die, if I keep going, I will feel better when it is done!
22) I actually look forward to my evening workouts with my sissy!
23) I can go to a restaurant and not drink pop with my meal and still survive!
24) It is possible.
25) It seems weird to me to go on a "leisure" walk now...I feel like I have to take advantage of every calorie burning activity possible!
26) I don't care anymore about what people think when I workout in public.
27) It is much easier to run when you are not pushing a jogging stroller.
28) There is a term called chub-rub......You would think being a fat chick I would have known about this a long time ago!
29) I need new running shoes.
30) I need actual running shoes.
31) Shin splints suck.
32) Blisters on the bottom of your foot also suck.
33) It annoys me that I can run farther and longer on the treadmill than I can outside.
34) Have I mentioned that I really need to breakdown and buy some smaller underwear...lol
35) I am pretty much wearing 2 sizes smaller in both tops and bottoms.
36) Being lazy for more than a day will really hurt your progress on the scale.
37) People in Three Rivers really should know that the track belongs to me and my sister after 8pm....we are very territorial and you are cramping out style! ;-)
38) It is not easy to go on a two mile walk while pulling a wagon with 2 children who both weigh almost 40lbs up hill.
39) I now measure my work outs by how fast I go instead of how far I go.
40) 5 year olds and long distance walks/bike rides don't mix.
41) I need to break up with my scale.
42) I should have measured myself correctly when I started.
43) My FitBit is a really good motivator!
44) And last but not least I have learned that this has and will always be the most difficult journey I will ever be a part of!

Until Next Time......

Monday, June 24, 2013

Ignorance is not bliss...

Friday morning my son was officially diagnosed medically with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder.  

This is a long time coming and I can honestly say that I am relieved that we are one step closer to getting things taken care of.  Let's give you a little back story: Around December I started feeling like there was more to Nathan's behavior than just "Terrible Twos" and being a boy. He was not talking, very angry, circling things all the time and just started lining up his cars. The researcher in me started googling and taking quizzes and was left with more questions than ever!  But I was pretty confident that Nathan was Autistic.  Everything added up and I will be honest, I was kind of happy that I had some ideas as to why he was different.  Obviously I took my questions to his Ped and step after step we have finally gotten the official answer!  So, I have officially joined the exclusive group of Autism Mothers.  However, during my research I have read many articles where parents talk about how devastating it is to hear that your child is Autistic. 

I guess I just don't get it.  Am I weird?? 

Autism is not the end of the world, it is not a death sentence, it is not some horrible disease. Nathan does not suffer from anything. He is a curious 2 1/2 year old boy who deals with things and learns differently than you and I, but he is not suffering. 

Yes it is hard at times to care for him, but it is not a tragedy. God chose me to be his mother for a reason, and it annoys me when people feel sorry for us because we have a special needs son. 

BTW, I do believe that ignorance is truly a tragedy! :-)

Until Next Time......