It’s been a weird month. Merry Christmas!!

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Well, we survived Christmas. Quite well actually. The holidays are a time of great anticipation and having birthday’s just before and just after make this an extra ‘fun’ time of year. That’s right. One more event to go before we’re able to recover the finances and move on with our lives.

It’s been a weird few months that all started with Jonah’s blackbelt test. Mid November we all prepared to celebrate his accomplishment. My mom flew down, I made a cake, people were coming over for the after party. And then the unthinkable happened. He started throwing up the night before his test. Poor kid. Poor Roland. I’m not sure who was more devastated. The kid tried to test. He got up at 5:30 and drug himself to the park, but when he started running laps he nearly passed out. It only took a day of rest and he was back to normal. It was just terrible timing. We were able to set a new time for him to test, but it was a couple of weeks later.

In the mean time we took our annual trip up to my mom’s for Thanksgiving just under a week of her being at our house. The trip was fairly smooth except that I locked the keys in the van and that cost us $175 and 3 hours of waiting for 5 seconds of work. You gotta love the city right? Then I started feeling a sore throat and by the time we got to my mom’s house it had morphed into full blown flu like symptoms that kept me on the couch for 3 days. Thanksgiving was great! Thanksgiving night was not. My poor mom contracted the stomach flu and she was out for the rest of our vacation. Boo!

We did manage to all make it to The Great Wolf Lodge that weekend to celebrate my sister’s 40th birthday, but the ropes course was closed (so sad) and that night Mickey started vomiting. The next morning it was my turn. We told the cleaning crew to exercise extreme caution when cleaning that room after our departure. It was miserable and we drove home with my trash can in my lap and stopping at every rest stop from Centralia to Central Point. I do not recommend that to anyone. It was misery. We made a 7 hour trip last 13 hours. Better late than never I guess.

When we got home I realized that I hadn’t made additional preparations to have the cat boxes cleaned while we were gone. 8 days, 5 cats, 2 boxes. The math doesn’t add up and if you’re a cat you deal with things in a cat like way. There’s nothing like cleaning out over over over filled cat boxes when you’re already not feeling well. But it had to be done and it was horrendous. I have been finding evidence of angry cats doing angry cat things while we were away for weeks after. Some still hold grudges and are making us pay for our mistakes to this day.

Roland was paranoid of getting sick, but we were pretty sure that since Jonah had already had the stomach flu he’d be fine. Nope. He got whatever we had brought home and only 2 days to his test! He missed a lot of practice, but did manage to recover and tested and it was quite amazing to see all that he has learned. He broke boards, demonstrated self defense, showed off his weapons and forms. I cannot believe how far he’s come and how he can use his body to do such amazing things!

Mickey’s birthday party was the following weekend. A surprise horse back riding adventure! And yes, she managed to pick up a nasty little cold. The illnesses can stop now. Any time!! It wasn’t just us that got sick either. When we got home I discovered Big Tasty (our big white hen) had a bumblefoot infection in both feet! Holy hell what’s going on with our family! And yes, I did take the chicken to the vet. A chicken. To the vet. And after almost a month long course of antibiotics she seems to be doing well.

I’ve learned a few things from these adventures. Don’t lock your keys in the van in Portland. It’s not fun and is really expensive. Don’t go to any stores 3 days before any major holiday or major event such as a blackbelt test. Someone will get the stomach flu. Even if you don’t touch anything the stomach flu virus will jump off of any surface straight into your body and you will get sick. This is a known fact that doctors won’t tell you about because it’s a controversial subject. Just avoid all stores. You can live without whatever thingie ma bob, but you can’t get that holiday time back. Make arrangements for cat box cleaning when away. If not, the results are far from comical. Giving a chicken a pill is really easy and fun too! It’s just a beak and an endless gullet that sucks up food. Kids scream and punch you, cat’s lacerate your jugular, but chickens have no defense to their beak being propped open and having a pill dropped in. They even thank you afterward because they think you gave them a treat. If it went down the hatch it was a delightful treat right? Thank you for your thoughtfulness.

So now here we are the day after Christmas having a quiet healthy day. The meltdowns were minimal and I made candy because I felt the need to make something that wasn’t cake for once. My kid has a temper so I’ve been putting together his new Legos. It’s quite a nice change of pace compared to running around doing errands and preparing for a holiday. New Year’s should be fun. It’s usually a bit on the dreary day for me, but we have plans! Parents with plans. Because we’re cool like that.


Schools out already?!

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We have made it to the end of another school year. It’s been a good year. No, it’s been a fantastic year! I have seen growth in my son that has exceeded all previous years in his schooling career. He has accomplished so much in this school year and continues to progress steadily. Most importantly, he has made friends. Real honest to goodness friends! What a year indeed.

In the past, it has been difficult to watch them grow. Once they started school the years have seemed to fly by and I have found myself clinging to them. Wishing that these moments could last longer. Mourning over the years that are now a memory, knowing that I’ll never get to relive any of those ages again. It has always been so sad to watch them move on.

But not this year. This year has been different. I have watched my son push past his barriers and learn to read! He’s started to take responsibility for himself socially. He’s embraced his ability to be seen as a role model to the younger students in his class. He has willingly fought through things that are hard for him like math, writing and sitting still in class and listening. He’s also earned his brown belt in karate and he’s made his very first best friend. I have seen so much growth in such a short amount of time. His social awareness has grown tremendously and although he still has a long road ahead of him, he is finally headed in the right direction.

My sweet little girl has had the best school year of her life. I’ve seen her grow in her gift to be friendly and welcoming to all who come her way. I’ve listened to her tell me about her awesome day at school learning about penguins, ecosystems, science and art. She’s also earned an award for being the most studious student in her class and received multiple compliments from her teacher for listening, following directions and staying on task. She’s an amazing student, caring friend and my little treasure. Her enthusiasm for learning is contagious as is her love for friends, family and animals. She’s also patiently waited for us to finally enroll her in dance and was able to learn her routines quickly enough to join in her first recital!

This year I don’t feel like I’m letting go of my little babies. I feel like I’ve been introduced to two new strong, capable, growing, amazing little people. Two little people who are learning a little bit more every day who they are and who they want to become. And I love it! I love hearing how excited they are about their day at school and how they look forward to going back the next day! We can have real conversations, like people. We can enjoy a lot of the same things and we can do more as a family. They are funny, interesting and creative. I absolutely love seeing them grow into themselves. The process has been a long tiring one and it will continue to have its challenges, but there is something rewarding knowing that even though they are growing up, they are becoming who they are meant to be.

I’m so proud of both of them. They have earned their summer break and they have another bright school year ahead of them in the fall. And I am realizing that although what I’ve had to say good-bye too is precious, that what we are entering into as a family is invaluable! These are the times that they will remember when they are grown. These are the memories that they will hold with them when they are my age and beyond. The future is theirs and it’s a wide open journey that we will explore together! Enjoy your summer!


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My brain and my heart have been working overtime over these past few months. Lots of distractions like work, kids and all of those darn pets have been a good way to not think about it, but in the back of my mind there are unsettled feelings that I keep trying to push back into some little crevice that I can access at a more convenient time. I’m not a trained blogger. What I do is more documentation and a thought and emotional release. I suppose that’s why many of my posts come across as emotional and I ‘make people cry.’ Well, that’s not my intention. In fact, I live most of my life with an abounding internal joy and peace. One of my spiritual gifts is faith and I believe I exercise this on a daily basis.

Tonight I wrote a journal entry, but debated posting it. You see, when I write, the words flow out of me. I rarely know what I am typing and once they are written I cannot go back into my head and find them again. My thoughts are personal and to me very real. But to an onlooker, especially to someone who doesn’t have the same beliefs as I do, I am often concerned that I’ll offend or ruin a friendship. I am in no way judging anyone at any time. My heart is open to anyone who will call me a friend and even to others who do not care for my company. Tonight, I had a powerful urge to write and I spent the whole time typing with tears streaming down my face because of the intensity and that I believed every single word that I wrote.

So, I decided that I’d go ahead and post what I wrote because honestly, I believe that is why God gave me the words. My thoughts are raw, but honest. My motivation is love and my focus is on my relationship with God and who He created me to be. I cast no judgment.

Tonight I watched the movie “Lucy”. I found it to be entertaining, a little thought provoking, but lacking in content and cleverness. That’s okay. It had Scarlett Johansson and that’s all my hubby really wanted to see anyway right?

In the movie Lucy gains (through the aid of a synthetic super drug) gene altering abilities to access her entire brain. The plot is about her transformation from a physical being to infinite cells and matter. Interesting, I agree. And it does get me to thinking. But not on a super hero genius brain level. More so on a God and why am I here level.

I know my existence (and every living soul for that matter) is intended for God’s purpose. I know that I have been created for God and by God and that His perfect will is that I ask, listen and obey Him in every way. For that I am grateful!

The scholar in the movie (played by Morgan Freeman) states that humans have worked so hard at setting themselves apart from other organisms by creating many different forms of things to make us more powerful and that we have become obsessed more or less with building our importance based on what we can gain… aka stuff. He who has the most toys wins? Something like that. But it’s our stuff that defines us and when we focus so hard on what material gain we can achieve we strip ourselves of life and idea of living for the fact that we simply exist. We live to gain, instead of living to live.

I hate to think that I exist because of WalMart! That my next breath is based on what new material thing I can bring into my life. Even knowledge through technology has become a defining part of our existence as human beings. We have become so entranced in our inventions, conveniences and easy access to information that we have degraded ourselves on a personal level. We are unraveling as individuals as well as a society. We have lost touch with the core of what it is to be human. We are blinded by our own folly. And the Bible says these things over and over again. God warns us over and over about the sensual effects of human nature. The lies that we weave ourselves into because of greed and the illusion of power. It is a sickness of the soul and only something God, the great healer can alleviate.

I have had God in my heart since I was five years old. Asking Jesus to be my savior was a very real and simple moment for me. I have known the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit in my life for almost forty years. One thing I have been aware of all of my life is the power that resides inside of me. And as I get older and mature in my relationship with the Lord, I feel such a burden for people as individuals and for society as a whole. We are a mess. Like a wad of fine string that’s all tangled up and only inseparable by cutting the strands or by taking a lot of time to carefully unravel all of the tiny knots. God does both. He makes cuts where they are needed and takes time to carefully unravel and untie one messed up knot at a time. And He does this motivated purely by love. And He uses ordinary people to carry out His will and to be His servants and facilitators of His presence.

Bam! That’s it. That’s what Lucy was missing. She accessed all of her brain. She became more evolved. She didn’t care about material gain. She didn’t let anything get in her way. She focused on spreading her knowledge and building a super computer and gave Morgan Freeman the key so that he could learn her secrets. Bam! Super power! But she didn’t really win anything according to me. Even though she reached super nova status and became her own god in a way, she completely missed the point just like the rest of us. She missed God. She missed her creator. The one who conceived her conscientiousness, wove her cells together in her mother’s womb, the one who knows her every thought and the one who loves her beyond measure. She may have gained the world’s version of all knowledgeable, but she didn’t achieve knowledge of what matters. The living, breathing God. God is what was and is and what is to come. He’s everything before, behind, above, below, beside, around and inside. God holds this all together because He created it and has a plan for all of it.

I don’t crave super nova god-like status. I don’t crave large amounts of knowledge. I would like to travel more… But seriously, my heart is back at the basics. To know God, to love God and be loved by him. And to carry out the mission of His heart which is to be a vessel in which He shows unhindered love to many, many others.

My journey to self awareness begins on my knees. It begins with humility and a willing heart. When this all fades away what is left is me kneeling in front of a holy God who is the only one deserving of all of my praise. I will give Him all my worship. I will give Him all my  heart. For He alone is worthy of my praise.

Take away stuff. Take away endless knowledge and technology. Take away power. Take away money. Strip it all down and what’s left? It’s either you and God or it’s you and nothing. I choose God.



A New Year

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I started my New Year’s Eve by cleaning my closet. The closet and the garage are the catch all for the ‘whatevers’ in my life and it was far time to figure out what was in there that needed to go. I ended up cleaning out 4 bags full of old clothes that no longer fit and if I ever do get back to the point of them fitting, I will never want to wear them again. I also found a lot of other miscellaneous things that I had no need for in the first place. A lot of clutter, old clothes, the things I wear all of the time and my treasures (like my blanket that I’ve had since I was 2).

It felt great to make that bold move and actually remove so much clutter from my closet. It was not only good for organization, but it was cleansing to my soul. I no longer feel like there is a looming little room full of ‘stuff’ that will never be of any use to me again just waiting for me to enter it. A crowded little room that I avoided because I didn’t want to deal with all of the junk inside.

I now get to start the new year with a sensible little walk in closet where everything has a place and one that I intend to keep filled with a reasonable amount of things that have frequent use to me.

I have never been one to make resolutions on New Year’s. I see the purpose and I know that a new year brings that new beginning that so many of us desperately need, but I have never been one to make promises to myself or others based on the time of year or just because everyone else is doing it. Resolutions are too easily broken. Why start a new year on a promise or goal that I give up on after a few weeks?

I do however like to use the beginning of a new year to reflect. Because so much happens in a year. And if you’re like me, the years seem to fly by faster the older I get.

At the beginning of 2014, I felt a compelling urge to live my life in a way that was bold and fearless. I felt God’s strong urging to see beyond the physical and to push past the distractions and look at what really mattered. Time is short. People are very important. Relationships are so important and my purpose here on earth is not to please myself and seek the next great thing to make me happy. My true purpose is to love God, love others and seek Him and his purpose beyond all else.

I continue to feel God’s urging to seek Him in this very fallen world and to give constant and fearless love to those He has placed in my life. To love without judgment and to live selflessly. But I also feel the urge to live simple. To fill my life with… life. Instead of stuff.

Many of us live in a dream world here in America. We live where things are big and cheap and quickly attained. We live with in a false reality that the more stuff we have the better we feel and the more important we are. But that’s all a distraction from reality. Because the less I have, the better I feel.

The focus also comes down to time. How I spend my time will determine how I fill my soul and has a direct impact on my attitude and my perspective. I hope to spend much more of my time exploring God’s creation. Hiking, fishing, camping, bike riding and traveling. All of these things fill the soul and all of these things are a wonderful way to reconnect with my family. What better way to worship God than to spend time in His creation? Wilderness, and the outdoors, have rejuvenating qualities and I’ve known this since I was a child, but work and raising a family have drawn me away from the things I love. I truly intend to reconnect with the simplicity of the outdoors more in the following year.

I am looking forward to 2015. I look forward to growth, new opportunities and seeing God work miracles in the small things making them big things. I am very excited to see how He grows our business and hopeful for another full and busy year. I look forward to seeing the changes in my children as they grow in mind and spirit and to spend another joyful year with my best friend, my husband.  I know it will not always be easy, and that troubles will most likely strike, but along with trials come growth. And when I choose to see God in every situation, burdens are lifted and life truly begins. Live simple, Worship my Jesus and Love those He’s put in my life. What better way to begin a new year 🙂




Hanging by a Thread

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When I used to think about starting a family, having children, I knew that there were going to be bumps along the road. True, I thought mostly in infant to toddler terms. Lots of crying (from mom and baby), poop, slobber, mess and screaming. I knew that babies were hard and toddlers drove you crazy at times. But thinking back, I didn’t think much of what my children would be once they reached school age.

I have always prayed that my children would be a light to their peers. That they would seek out the lost and hurting kids and show them love and friendship. That they would be known as kind people who were true and honest. Grades were never a concern to me. They still aren’t. I assumed my children would progress at a normal age appropriate pace. I knew there would be homework and assignments and field trips and friends and play dates and school carnivals. But I did not entertain the thought of having a child that could not seem to grasp anything about school.

Jonah is in 2nd grade this year. He’s passed the grades of being a ‘little kid’. He’s reached the grade where they focus on independence and keeping up with the class. I have other friends who have children in the 2nd grade. One mom told me how amazed she was that her son is reading chapter books and that he cannot get enough of them. Chapter books?! My son can’t even read at a kindergarten level. In a few short months his sister will have passed him in reading and in math. And the worst part? This year he knows he’s behind. He knows he’s different. He knows he can’t keep up. And he knows that the kids and the school staff see him as different.

About three weeks into the school year Jonah fought with a boy on the playground. The boy was done playing and Jonah wasn’t ready to let the kid move on, so the boy ran and my son pursued. Jonah ended up going down the slide after this boy with his feet wrapped around his neck resulting in cuts to the boy’s neck. School had been going so well for him up to this point. I was in hopes that all of our hard work from the previous year was paying off and that we’d be able to move on to an academical focus.

I agree that consequences are in order for an uncontrolled act like this. I even suggested that some sort of structure be put in place to help Jonah make better decisions when on the playground. His immediate consequence was no recess for a week. So, 3 times a day for a week he sat in a chair in the office. He had an amazingly good attitude about it. He then had to do a write up on his actions and a plan was put in place to control him.

Lately I’ve been asking myself, ‘how can one kid be screwed up in so many ways?’ I personally love him for who he is. I also think that he is very misunderstood by 99.9% of the population. It seems that almost daily I am told by some professional from the school what they think would be best for my kid and how to implement their plan to fix him. First he was given 3 choices of what he was allowed to do on the playground. Choices that kept him away from kids and discouraged social interaction. Then it was opened up to 5 choices, but again, he was restricted from his peers. Jonah HATES the 5 choices. Hates it. But he maintained a relatively good attitude. Then they started pulling him out of class a half hour a day for reading help. Again, I agree he needs the extra assistance. After our IEP meeting they started pulling him out of class for another half an hour a day for math assistance and that pushed him over the edge.

Math help has interfered with activities in class that allowed him to feel special and let him make connections with his peers. The 5 choices on the playground isolates him and he’s repeatedly told me they are his punishment for hurting a boy. I’ve been told by the IEP team that the 5 choices will never change. Jonah’s aware of this too and he feels extremely isolated.

So what would you expect with all of this tinkering? Well… essentially we’re back to square one. All of the self loathing, anger and aggression has come right back into the home. His listening skills have decreased, his attention at school and karate are horrible and his self esteem and peer relationships have been crushed. Why can’t my son just be my son? Why must he be pushed and pushed to keep up academically when he clearly needs more help. I do not blame the school and I highly appreciate his teacher, but I feel like every ‘specialist’ has to have their hand in the pot and give it a stir. Just last week I was called by the sub-in speech teacher to have his pediatrician look at his tonsils and adenoids and possibly  have them removed. I was told by the autism specialist that I needed to talk to his doctor about medication and that if I didn’t follow up on her suggestion I was stifling his success at school.

I get reports of his behavior in every social setting he’s involved in. Everyone has a report of his lack of success. Hardly do I ever get a clean report of what a good kid he is. There is always a negative side to any report. I get it. My kid is difficult, a disturbance. And this is where I as a mom feel completely helpless. I get report after report of everyone’s professional opinion about how to ‘fix’ my child when all I really want is for him to have a good attitude at home and try his best in whatever he does. I know that on an individual basis everyone is just trying to help. I know that and I appreciate that we are surrounded by people who care. But I often wonder if those professionals who are heaping out opinions and solutions ever stop to think about how much ‘advice’ this mom gets on a daily basis. It’s swallowing me alive! And I feel that there’s no way out. That I have a child who will never amount to anything because he can’t read or write or spell or do math like his peers. I feel completely alone. Not even my husband shares my daily burden. I get the tears after school, the anger, the words of poor self worth. I get the calls from the school, the emails from the teachers, the ‘advice’ from the professionals. I am told over and over how to ‘fix’ my son, but he’s NOT broken!!! Sometimes I think that if all of the hands just backed off and tried a minimal approach they might help him in the best way possible.

Raising children is not an easy job. It’s messy and there’s no particular formula for success. We as parents just have to jump in and be involved. We have to try and if something doesn’t work we have to try something new. We have to be physically and emotionally available, remain firm, but also be loving. We have to let our children know that we have their backs and we have to be their voice when they have no voice.

Raising a child on the spectrum is at times a nightmare. Not only do we have to work with our child on a personal level, but we have to address them on a social level. In my experience, school and autism do not mix. It is a parent’s constant battle to protect and guide your child, but also give your trust and control over to the professionals. I have to be involved, but not overbearing. Loving, but firm. Teach him independence, but also help him find his way. And I believe it will be like this his whole school career.

A parent’s job is never done. An autistic parent’s job is twice as hard and heartbreaking. I feel beat up, misunderstood and at the end of my rope. And still I have to get up every day and fight for my child. Every day. I often wonder what it’s like to have a family with average or even above average kids. Kids that have fun at school and keep up with the class. Kids who can sit still and do homework. Kids who have friends. These are things that I can only wonder about because they aren’t a reality in our home. I am hopeful that my daughter will have a much more steady and ease with school and peer relationships, but we will always have a son who needs that extra this and that extra that.

Do I regret him? Absolutely not! In fact, I consider it a great honor that God gifted us with him. He obviously saw something in us as parents that could be strong enough to handle a child like Jonah. And I know that God has a plan for both of my children and for me as well. I’ve had a handful of caring mom’s who have gone though exactly what I’m going through right now and they have been such a light to me. I hope to one day lend a hand to other mom’s who are dangling from the last thread and I plan to approach them with love and understand rather than a way to ‘fix’ their child. I’ll hold back from the negative reports and offer only a kind word and maybe a few hours away from their child. You can only truly appreciate something once you’ve lived it. And day by day I certainly do live it.



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Halloween is almost here and we have been transforming our yard into a spider infested cemetery. Just enough creeps with a touch of humor from our new Skeleton man ‘Bones’. My son insists that we need more. More decorations, more haunts, more amazing and fun things to add to our yard. I’m not surprised with his ‘over the top’ personality and I have told him repeatedly that I am done with the decorating because I am out of money.

Jonah gets great pleasure in transforming a house or a yard into a themed wonderland. I love that about him. He fully involves himself in what he’s interested in and does not stop until he feels it’s complete. He adds that little kid flair to the holidays that make them so much more special and I know that he is storing many, many memories into his brain to pull out for later enjoyment.

There is a sign that we pass going into Medford that gets changed out monthly with sayings that are put up there to make you think. At the end of summer the sign read something like, ‘don’t be sad that it’s over. Enjoy that you lived it.’ That just happened to pop up between our summer vacation to Sunriver and just before our camping trip to Lassen National Park. Both trips were ones that the whole family anticipated for months. Both are over now. But seeing this quote helped. It helped me put my experiences into perspective.

I have been thinking a lot about perspective lately. Because it is my perspective that drives how I deal with any sort of situation.

Lately I have been thinking about my perspective on time. Present time and how quickly it seems to go, past time and how it’s gone in a poof and future time and how I want to drag my feet and hold it off for just a little longer.

As I said, Halloween is almost here. But wasn’t it just the beginning of summer? Wasn’t it just marble season and the science fair and my baby girl was home with me bored as a rock watching t.v. all day? And we all know what Halloween means. It is the start of the holiday season. The start of counting down the shopping days until Christmas. For us, it is the start of party planning for a December and January birthday (what were we thinking?!). Halloween starts the domino effect of the most exciting and blissful time of a child’s life… the countdown till Christmas! And for a parent it is the push of a financial panic button where the decision to indulge in material gluttony or focus on a simple Christmas becomes a mind blowing battle. Throw two birthdays in the mix just for fun with a mom who has a drive to create epic party tables and you’ve got yourself a holiday season to remember! Or one that makes you want to run away screaming.

And then the worst of it comes… A new year. For me, New Year’s has always been a bit… depressing. Even more so now that I experience the loss of yet another year of my babies childhoods within a month of each other. And this is where my perspective on time needs some calming. I have to force myself to look at my past with joy. Joy that it happened and that I made the most out of what I was given. Babies were not fun for me. Toddlers were challenging. But we have entered into this stage as a family that I absolutely love. We are complete, we are close and we are having fun.

When I told Jonah that I didn’t want him to turn 8, he quickly responded with, “Why?! I can’t wait to be 8!” In his head it’s taken forever to get there and he’s more than ready to be another year older. And this is how they will view their whole childhood. I never wanted to hold on to 6 or 8 or 12 when I was a child. I didn’t remissness about the good ol’ days of childhood until… never. Because as a child I was living and loving life. I loved growing older and my childhood was complete so there was nothing to really miss. I still don’t look back on my childhood and wish I could go back. Never. And that’s how my children seem to view their lives as well. They love to grow up. They love to become who God made them to be. That’s why we celebrate birthdays. To celebrate that we were given life and to celebrate who we’ve become and to look forward to what our future will bring.

My perspective of my children’s childhood has to shift from looking at what I’m losing and focus on what they are gaining. And if I can change my rigid view of passing time, I will only be able to be more free to live and love in the moment. Yes, time is fleeting. But if you choose to use the time you are given wisely, you can be glad for what you had instead of focusing on being sad that it’s over.

Don’t get me wrong. I often remissness and shed many tears about the loss of my children’s childhood, but I choose to celebrate what I’ve been given when I have it. I choose to fill my yard with headstones and spiders and creeps and pumpkins and watch my children dance in glee at each new added ghoul to their already very festive yard. I choose to dance with them instead of just watch because their memories need me in them. And I choose to embrace my heartache of knowing that their interests will change and the headstones will become unnecessary and maybe even embarrassing, but something else will take their place. Something equally as wonderful.

We are a busy family. On the go. Every moment seems to be planned out. School, work, Karate, homework, church, play time, quiet time, rest, cleaning, animal care… the list goes on for miles. And the more your day is filled the faster it goes until you are left spinning, wondering what happened to summer and now fall. Life is not going to slow down simply because I’m tired of the pace. It will only slow when I choose to slow it down. Life will continue to happen. In fact, it will get busier. But there will always be those little moments, that if I choose to take them, they can slow the pace just a bit to catch my breath and make some memories. Moments like helping my daughter draw pumpkins, helping my son put together a Lego house, taking just a few minutes to play a simple board game with them or even cuddling up to watch a movie after school. I have found that taking these short breaks to spend bits of time with my children mean so much to them and slow my mind back down to kid time. That’s the perspective I need to seek. The one that twists my brain and dumps out the unnecessary priorities and replaces them with the ability to have quality time with my family. I want to be in their memories by being present in their lives. I want them to love childhood and never look back. Enjoy, love, grow, learn. Time is a gift. Even more so, time with your children. Use it wisely and you’ll never regret it!


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2nd Grade Here We Go!

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Well, I didn’t post any first day of school pics on my facebook news feed like so many of my fellow mom friends. Mainly because I was too preoccupied with settling my kiddo into his classroom and praying he (and his teacher) survived the day. For the most part it was a success! He likes his teacher and to his delight she just happens to have some new pet rats in the classroom.

Everyone I have talked to seems to think this particular teacher is an excellent fit for Jonah. She focuses on art and science and in her note home today she stated that she doesn’t send homework home. That will be a load off of me who had to disregard most of his homework from 1st grade due to his social and academical overload.

Jonah’s approach to school has matured with age and experience and will continue to change (hopefully for the better) as he grows older. It’s still rocky for him and unfortunately for anyone who comes into contact with him at school. It’s going to take years of practice and study of human behavior for him to understand why kids are doing the things they do when trying to relate to him. So far he believes all children are against him. Chasing him relentlessly to abuse him in some form or another or punching him with a touch that I would disregard as a pat on the back or an accidental bump.

Yes, those social instincts are blatantly not there in my child. He simply does not understand social interaction in the way that I did as a child. His first negative interaction at school began today on the playground where he found himself trapped by ‘mean’ kids who were ‘bullying’ him and not giving him space to get down. His solution? To use his most aggressive Karate moves to kick some bully ass and get himself out of there.

Lucky for everyone, his kicks aren’t that powerful at the moment and there are teachers around to disarm the situation. But Jonah holds grudges and his frustrations about the incident resonated throughout his day and as I lay down with him at bedtime he once again ran the situation over and over in his little brain trying to figure out why the kids pick on him so much.

To this I truly have no answers. He’s tired of my ‘solutions’ and thinks they are merely rambles from his mother.

My only true solution is to try to wrap my brain around his point of view and accept that this child of mine sees the world through very different eyes. He is a social blunder. Cute as a button, smart as a whip and cannot seem to bond with one single child. To him, they are mean to him and always trying to hurt him in one way or another.

I’m not disregarding that he is an individual. God designed my son in a unique and perfect manner. He’s not broken in need of fixing and he’s not a lost cause or impossible. He simply works in ways that are different than the norm (if there is a norm) and my world alone would be much less interesting without his perspective.

My hopes and prayers for Jonah this school year are that he is able to ground himself doing something he loves. I pray that he finds small successes that will lead to big successes and that he can compile all that he’s experienced thus far in his little life and turn it into something positive.

My prayer for my children (even before they were born), has been that they will be helpers, kind and seek to love others. Grades and academics matter very little to me, but personal relationships, honesty and integrity are at the top of my list when it comes to success. I still believe God has given me the heart to pray for this to be true of my children. So far, it seems that Jonah is the one who is having the love, acceptance and tolerance heaped onto him, but in turn he may learn to return all that he’s been given and show the same kindness to fellow classmates in the future. He simply might be the kind of person who needs to experience before he can go out and give to others.

For now, Jonah’s world is still working itself out. He’s young and has a while to learn who he is in relation to himself and to others. And for now I choose to focus on giving him things he can succeed at and not put pressure on finding him a friend. Personal goals, once achieved will grow his self esteem and widen his perspective as a responsible person. School provides many opportunities to succeed and feel accomplishment. As does his Karate. Personal goals that grow positive experiences. That’s my solution. Along with quality family time and reassurance that his family will always be there for him.

I have great hopes for this school year. After next week I will have both of my children in school and although I feel that time has moved so quickly, I know that this is a good thing for both of them. The amount of growth that Jonah received from the beginning of 1st grade to the beginning of 2nd grade has been tremendous and I foresee more growth in the right direction. He certainly has many people looking out for him. People whom I am grateful for and have come to rely on. It truly does take a village to grow a child and I am so thankful that I don’t have to do it alone.


My Girl :)

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My little girl is growing up. I say this amazingly without my heart breaking. For some reason, it’s easier for me to let my little girl grow and go than it is with my boy. Probably because I can relate to her in such a deep way. She’s me. Bolder and much cuter, but in the strangest way, she is me. And I loved growing up so I know how much she’s loving the process of becoming her own little person.

Mickey was a Velcro baby. She spent the first year of her life strapped to me on a backpack. No one, not even daddy, could hold her for long. She was exhausting and we did not get along. I feared she’d grow into a shy, needy little girl who hid behind me and would refuse to do anything apart from me.

I was wrong. And I’m so glad I was! She’s not shy. Neither of my children are. Cautious, yes, and that’s a blessing, but never shy. I thank the boy for that. His boldness was her only example of what a child should act like and she learned very early that the squeaky mouse gets the cheese. And boy can she squeak!

We recently went on vacation and my mom had the pleasure of witnessing one of Mickey’s 5 year old temper tantrums. It was shocking to watch such a cheerful, kind, patient child turn into Rosemary’s Baby. Of course the fits were brought on by exhaustion and hunger and they were few compared to how much we kept playing, but it was a glimpse into Mickey’s new independent streak.

The tantrums have increased as she’s gotten older as have the fights with her brother. I don’t see it as a drastic change in behavior, but more of Mickey’s way to achieve independence. She’s challenging herself and her family members. She’s discovered she has a will and a strong one at that and she’s strengthening herself by fighting with her family. I call it a ‘stage’ because I know my little Mickey is still there, but she’s stretching her independence and growing. She deserves to find her voice and become herself. Even if it means lots of time outs and screaming sessions in her bed.

Two days ago Mickey discovered her stash of Littlest Pet Shop toys. She’s had these things forever. I bought her some for Christmas when she was 2, but she has had absolutely no interest in them until two days ago. And wow can that kiddo play… Like a little girl! It’s SO cute to see her play just like me at her age and I love it. It makes me want to buy her stacks more of the bobbly headed little toys so she can have a LPS empire!

I know her joy because it’s my joy too. But Jonah does not understand. The fact that his playmate has switched him up for coloring books and plastic bobble heads drives him insane and two days ago he had the first meltdown he’s had in almost a year. A full blown rage so bad the poor kid couldn’t even talk. And it all comes down to the fact that his sister is growing up.

She still loves her brother and cares deeply for him and when she’s ready, they still play amazingly well together. But she now requires a lot more ‘girl’ time than before and soon she will be reading and I doubt I will ever see her either.

We’re now entering the reality of split worlds between our children. Mickey’s life once paralleled Jonah’s. She lived inside his bubble, played with his toys, obeyed his commands, but she’s broken free of that bubble and created her own. It’s fascinating to watch, but also painful from my stand point.

Jonah does not play well on his own. There are times when he is content in his digging pit, building a side walk with his boss, but he craves friends and kids aren’t as accessible to him at this time in his life. In a few short weeks Mickey will be entering Kindergarten. An achievement that she’s been waiting for since Jonah started preschool. She craves learning and is very likable and social. Very shortly Jonah’s sister is going to drift farther from him than she has ever gone before. And this upsets him dearly.

I have always said that Jonah needs Mickey more than Mickey needs him. She is his rock, his best friend. When he has a bad day at school he knows he can come home to his sister and play endlessly. Now he’s facing the biggest change thus far in his life… he has to learn independence from his sister.

I wish I could give Mickey a sister and Jonah a brother. Forever playmates that could stick to each other through tick and thin. But there will be no more children in our family. I know my kids will cope because all families do, but it is a painful break up indeed. I believe that once Mickey’s emotional growth spurt has calmed she will settle a bit and be more willing to transit to her brothers games, but it will never be like it was when she was younger.

And it doesn’t need to be. Those times were a blessing. Brother and sister playing together for hours without any problems. But you can’t live in someone else’s shoes forever. At some point you have to grow into your own skin and enjoy life from your own point of view.

For the first year in my children’s school age lives I am excited for school to begin! Two kids in school, learning, growing, experiencing and socializing. Two completely different point of views and for the first time consistent good reports from one of my child’s teachers! The girl is ready for school. She been ready for a year and has patiently endured a life at home with me working a good part of the day while she gorges herself on her television addiction.

That’s all about to change and for the better. I am so excited for this new chapter in my little girl’s life. She’s promised to always love her mommy… a promise I’m holding her to. She’s growing up and in a beautiful way. Mickey is an old soul. She sees the world in a beautiful and practical way. She constantly points out beauty and hypocrisy and quietly observes and gains her own conclusions. She’s beautiful inside and out and I am beyond proud of her. She posses an inner strength that is a gift from God and I trust that she will take her gifts and talents and use them in impactful and meaningful ways. What an amazing person I have been given the honor of raising and what a joy to be included in her journey 🙂 My little girl is growing up and I couldn’t be happier!


Some days are like that

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I am living proof that God has a sense of humor. Not to say that He’s laughing at me. Probably wanting me to know that He’s laughing with me. But living through today wasn’t a laughing matter. Looking back after an hour of silence, I do see humor in it though and that ability to see humor is what propels me to keep on keeping on.

June was pegged at the beginning of 2014 as ‘the month we won’t sleep’ and so far it’s played out pretty much like that with most of the month to go. Why? It’s wedding season and at work it’s the busiest we’ve ever been. We’re currently booked until August! On top of a few regular orders, we had 6 weddings this weekend. Wedding’s are actually less tedious than just one birthday order, but the cakes are big and take a lot of preparation and then delivery. Today we had an early morning delivery to Cave Junction that’s just over an hour away. Not a big deal. Just time consuming.

The plan was to have Melissa’s sister watch Mickey and have Jonah in school, but things don’t always work out. Jonah was stricken with a massively painful migraine Thursday evening that involved him vomiting and then passing out early for bed. I know how painful migraines are and I knew I needed to let the poor kid sleep in on Friday morning, but I had to stick to my schedule and deliver the cake first thing on Friday.

My lovely husband was up for staying home with the kiddos until we got back. Unfortunately, we still had work to finish up when we returned and knew that having Jonah home would very possibly cause trouble. And that was exactly what happened.

When we got home, my husband greeted us with that look. The ‘I need to tell you something, but please try to not get too angry look.’ We’ve been prepping for a candy buffet table for a wedding at the end of the month. I had just bought two new, tall, expensive candy jars and had left them sitting in my bedroom not to be touched by little hands. My son is obsessed with things in my room and things he can’t have, so while daddy was making lunch, he helped himself to my new jar and proceeded to take it and it’s heavy lid to his top bunk where he

Well, he shattered the base of it and he explained to me, ‘at least the jar part is still okay that means you can still use it!!’ Yes son, that’s what I want to use. A jar with jagged glass pieces stabbing out at the wedding guests. Yes son, we’ll just wrap it all up in duct tape and it will be just as good as new. Maybe even better.

You know, of all of the things my son breaks, this one burns the deepest. I hadn’t even used it and technically it’s not mine, it belongs to the business. That means I have to replace it with my own money. With Jonah, it’s usually one step forward and two steps back. The very money I make off of the candy buffet wedding is what pays for us to do fun things and have food and clothes. If you have to use your own money to replace things that earn you money it’s a wash. Some things in my house need to stay mine. My bedroom is my space and it’s private. It’s mine. No kids!! His response, ‘well, you come in my bedroom whenever you want!’ That’s right son. I come in to clean your room because it smells like a stock yard, put away your clothes so you don’t have to dig though the piles of laundry on my floor, make your bed and check for spiders and shards of glass, get you clothes and tuck you in at night. I have every right to come in there. I’m your parent.

That’s not the end of the insanity either. As soon as my husband left for work the boy began to pick at every little bit of patience that I had in me. He laid in the living room across from his sister and proceeded to touch her with his feet and stick those filthy little dirt nuggets into her late lunch plate. Each time he offended her she let out a squeal of distaste that sent me storming in to stop it all. He ended up in his room, in a chair for time out, getting spanked on the leg, sent outside. Nothing tamed his behavior. It was simply one of those days where routine was replaced with weird schedule and the kid simply wasn’t in the mood to control his impulses.

We have survived and of course today (Saturday) was another day of his shenanigans. Today I blame the soda he had at lunch. That stuff always sets him into a downward spiral that ends up in flames. Tomorrow, I plan to flush his system with water and protein.

There are days when being a parent is the most frustrating job in the universe. Even worse when you are working from home and have to maintain your kids even though you do not have time to really concentrate on what they are doing. It’s like being an absent parent. I’m here, but to them always distracted. I often think it would be more healthy for them to be in daycare rather than watch their mom be constantly consumed by work. So consumed that I often forget to make my daughter the lunch she asked for an hour ago. And by the time work has ended for the day (if it really ever ends) I’m so tired that all I can do is sit down and fall asleep for a few minutes.

I often question God’s decision to put me in this position of stay-at-home-work-at-home-mom. I don’t always get how it’s benefiting my family. Wouldn’t a job out of the house be more logical and easier? I believe it would be. Then why keep this up? Why keep up the crazy hours of building a successful, yet currently not very profitable business that mixes my time with neglectful childcare?

I ask these questions as I lay my head down at night, exhausted and unable to process much of anything because my mind and body hurt too much. And you know what… I don’t really have an answer to my questions. The only thing that I really know for sure is that this is what I’ve been given and I’m taking it as far as God will allow it to go. I love my job and I love my family and I have both. I plan my own hours and my own work schedule and I am my own motivator. And for some reason this is the way it’s been given to me.

My house is never clean or tidy, my kids run amok, my table is rarely bare, but rather always covered in some sort of white powder, fondant residue or food coloring and my counter tops often look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy attempted to build sand castles out of flour and sugar. My son is busy, often annoying and overbearing and my daughter is bored.

At least, that’s how I see it, but is it true? Do I really run a house full of distraction and work that is absent of loving and beneficial parenting?

Yesterday, after the horrible day, I told Jonah that we had to run errands at Costco and Lowes. If he could control himself we would treat them to frozen yogurt, but if they couldn’t behave we would go home and have boring dinner. He got very upset and started to cry. I couldn’t understand what he was saying, but he’d picked up on the ‘boring dinner’. I thought he was sad because he was agreeing that my dinner’s were boring, but he was actually upset because I had called my dinner boring. Through sad cries and choked tears he told me, ‘your dinners aren’t boring. I really like them. I like the food you make for me. It tastes good and I appreciate it.’ This coming from my son whom I feel like I ignore all day long and from my belief that my dinners are simple and not so good because I am too exhausted to make anything fancy.

He’s not seeing the content of the meal, but that the meal has been provided. He’s appreciating my effort and loving me unconditionally for providing him with something he needs. My dinners aren’t boring, they are me showing how much I love him. And that makes my heart smile 🙂

Our family is anything but traditional and there are many, many things that need improvement. But we do have love, and joy and laughter. God designed our family just as He saw fit. He put the four of us together and then blessed us with talents and opportunities and quirks and flaws and He’s sewn it all together to make something absolutely unique and beautiful. I’ll take it! I’ll take the chaos, the weird, the messy. Because it makes this family who it is.

I’m Jonah and Mickey’s mom and a very talented cake artist. A bit stressed out, but abundantly blessed. And although I’m never certain of the future, I do know that even though there are days when my kid breaks my stuff there are also days that we play, laugh and love, that are filled with true joy and those are the things that will last longer than broken shards of glass.


The Sneeze… please cover your mouth!

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Right when you’re unsure of how your kid is going to do, he steps up to the plate and delivers. We both knew he should pass his yellow belt test, but you’re never sure how these kinds of things are going to go.

Not only did he pass, but he had the best focus during the entire testing that I’ve ever seen. The entire test was comprised of different kids going for different belts and it took about an hour. Jonah’s testing process was smooth and his instructor sincerely told him afterward how proud he was of him and I know that he has seen the huge change in Jonah that we have. Jonah was able to sit still and quite throughout the entire process and watched all of the other students intently. I’m so proud of that kid!!! And he and his yellow belt are inseparable!

In celebration, we went to Red Robin after his test. Both kids were starving and ate like I’d not fed them for days. They were also intently watching and waiting for the balloon guy (a man who walks around tables and makes balloon creations for tips) to come to our table. I wasn’t paying attention, but my dear daughter who was sitting beside me, was hanging over our booth and into the booth behind us while she watched the balloon man’s every move. And then it happened… She sneezed… All over the lady in the booth behind us and probably over her plate of food. The man sitting across from the lady sternly and very irritated said, ‘Excuse me. Please turn around and sit in your own booth. You just sneezed all over my friend and her dinner.’

Why must children be so darn embarrassing?!! I didn’t turn around to apologize. I figured he’d made his point by scolding my daughter. But I did back him up and she quickly slumped as far down into her seat as was possible for a small child. She would have been a puddle on the floor if I’d let her. She just lay there, still and very embarrassed. I sternly scolded her and told her that I’d already been talking about that very exact thing with her (sneezing on me and things and food and the cat and anything else that happens to be in her presence when she sneezes and she sneezes a lot).

And then, as I looked at my puddle of a child, I softened and came to an understanding of how she probably felt. I understood this because I’ve felt that way hundreds of times at the mercy of a condescending adult, nasty peer or just my own stupidity and ignorance. I understand now that the feelings of embarrassment and guilt associated with a mistake are normal and healthy. Those feelings help us learn and grow and process our actions. But I also understand that a child cannot process those reactions and grow from them unless those feelings are validated.

She made a mistake, she was scolded and corrected and she feels mortified. Now what? Do we just leave it at that? I know that’s how it was for me and I remember so many specific mistakes and the feelings associated with them that it makes me sick. Things that have taken me years to get past because I still carry the feelings of guilt and embarrassment because no one ever taught me how to process that junk and learn from it and move on. Well, I have learned, but it’s taken me a long time.

So, I validated her. I asked her how she felt. She didn’t know how to put it into words so I named it what it was… being embarrassed and feeling ashamed about her mistake. Then I told her it was okay to feel that way. That was normal. She understood, but stayed low in her seat. I then told her that I forgave her and that it was okay to move on. I explained that was why I’d been trying to teach her to cover her mouth and turn away when she sneezed and also why we keep personal boundaries.

I’m not saying this made it all better, but it at least got her to process what had happened. She will very likely remember that moment when she is a young adult and may never speak of it because of how it affected her. She did however recover quickly after our short chat, but was afraid to watch the balloon man because it would require her to turn around. So, I gave her the option to sit across from me and later on the other side of me and she gladly took the opportunity to turn a bad situation into a good one and we had a smooth night after that.

We are told ‘everyone makes mistakes’ throughout our lives and that is a true statement, but are we then told how to process what comes along with those mistakes? Guilt, anger, blame, low self esteem, resentment, fear, sadness… it goes on and on. Children are blank slates. Learning every single day how to react and interact socially. Remembering that they do not have the same experience and skills as an adult is so crucial in how we choose to treat them. I want my children to grow into confident, well spoken people and that starts with acceptance and teaching them how to process their thoughts and emotions.

It is valuable to correct a child and just as valuable to teach them how to move past the bad and strive for the good. For Mickey, it was tying the understanding from me teaching her to cover her mouth and move away from someone before you sneeze to her fulfilling the nightmare and doing it in a very inappropriate way. She has been covering and turning away since then and she’s proud of herself for choosing to do so 🙂

I try to parent my children with love and an open ear. I want to hear their thoughts and help guide those thoughts into positive actions and ideas. We verbalize a lot in our household because if you cannot communicate what you are feeling you have no choice but to bottle things up and that leads to no good. My kids have a voice and they learn from their mistakes. Maybe more so the girl than that boy, but my daughter is so much like me that I know she internalizes everything and holds it in to process it silently.

I want her to grow up to be a self confidant woman who is fearless to be herself. That’s one true thing that I regret growing up. I was a pawn to many and tossed aside often and my self esteem often plummeted to the depths because I based my self worth on what my peers thought or didn’t bother to think of me. I want my daughter to base her inner strength on her strong character and not on the stupidity of those who judge her. By finding confidence in ourselves we will grow confidence in others. Again, this is something that has taken me almost all of my life to understand, but I am finally at that point in my life where I am confidant with who I am and strong enough to determine my path, take accountability for my actions and choose to love myself when others judge me as something less than I am.

My continued goal in parenting is to get my kids grown in a safe, fun and responsible way. For now it’s messy and sticky and loud, but it is not without self expression. I’m raising my kids to know who they are and stand firm on their decisions. So far, so good. They are growing and expressing and slowly learning to be accountable for their actions and I’m forever proud of them. Their small successes make my heart happy and I look forward to many more heart to hearts and well deserved accomplishments! Yay to parenthood! Now time for a nap 😉