Saturday, February 25, 2017

Tying up loose 2016 ends...part 1 of 2

I realized that there were some things that I mentioned on Facebook, last year, that I never followed up on. I left things hanging!

First and foremost, was the news I shared about my aunt. She had a bike accident and was found by some cops on the side of the road. My uncle, her husband, was out of town for work. Friends were able to contact him and report her dire condition--she was not responding and after being rushed to two different hospitals, eventually ending up at Stanford, severe brain trauma was evident. She was kept comatose for a week while they worked on saving her brain. 

Essentially the right artery (there are two main arteries in the brain--one on the left and one on the right) was damaged beyond repair and therefore blood was flowing into the brain and spilling out into the brain and dura (sac that the brain sits in). They ended up packing it with platinum coils and basically sealing it off--all the while hoping (and praying!) that the left side artery would start to compensate for the right. Hallelujah, it did!!

Then they did a lot of tests to make sure she could swallow and talk and asked a lot of questions to jog her memory. 

After almost two months in the hospital, she was able to be released to a nursing facility. But, my uncle was ready to take her home and was able to help speed things along for her recovery so that she could return home. She is walking, talking, is regaining most of her memories (there are little holes here and there). She cannot see out of one eye. But, I feel like her amazing recovery has been the biggest miracle, for us, in 2016.

It is truly a miracle that she is alive. One night my cousin, Shawn, was texting every hour and we thought she was going to die. We finally had to go to bed and prayed that her condition would 
stabilize/improve, which thankfully, it did.

My beloved aunt and her devoted husband, who never left her side. So glad she is still here with us. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

10 Ways to Have the Busiest October EVER!!

When one turns, ahem, almost forty, it is advisable to freak out and fill one's birthday month with as many activities as possible. If you wish for a wild-never-a moments-rest-month, then read on!!

1. Turn almost 40. Celebrate by eating whatever you want and accepting well-intended compliments that you don't even look close to 40.

(3 and 4+4+1=39--ha ha!)

2. Go to your 20th high school reunion. In Parkersburg, West Virginia. Maybe even get one of your flights delayed so that you can visit extended family for a couple of hours at their new business establishments.

 Then prepare yourself for all the fun of arriving to your final airport at 2am and driving for two more hours. Be certain to rent a little yellow VW bug so that when you drive around the small town of your alma mater, everyone will notice you and maybe even flag you down in your old neighborhood to suspiciously ask what you are up to. Be sure to visit with as many people as you can and drive to all your favorite establishments of your bygone teen days-- since you don't know when your next visit might ever be.

3. Walk the height of the Eiffel Tower. If Paris is unavailable, try the New River Gorge Bridge. In particular, the Bridge Walk, aka walking the entire catwalk that spans the length of the bridge, underneath the creaking, rumbling sounds of the busy highway above. Bask in the incredible, lofty views; dig the tiny pin dot of rafts taking on the white water in the river below. Be grateful your are harnessed in and therefore unable to fall off and meet an untimely death.

4. Drive the crazy back roads of West Virginia and Virginia. As the sun is going down. With a dying, then dead phone and therefore no access to your map apps (cute little yellow bug had no phone charger!) (But, some places were too remote to even pick up a signal, anyway!) Crawl in to bed at an old, historic inn, to which you will not have time to learn all about it's cool history. However, you will be able to rise the next morning and dig these old builidings.

What do me and Thomas Jefferson have in common? Besides our love and appreciation for the Declaration of Independence, we have both taken in the soothing, annually 98 degree temperatures of the naturally effervescent Jefferson Pools. The building was probably in better shape 240 years ago, but no biggie.

5. After a relaxing soak, drive further in Virginia to meet up with one of your oldest pals whom you knew in 4th grade and haven't seen for a decade. Enjoy the fact that you are still good friends; look forward to your next get together, secretly committing to yourself to not make it another decade apart.

6. Board a plane for home. Have some more fun with those flight delays. Make your husband lose three hours of sleep to come and pick you up. Hit the ground running four hours later with the demands of your six children and a brand new week which includes getting new flooring for your entire house. Which includes tile demolition. Which means dust. For weeks. But realize it is worth it to see gorgeous floors like these...

7. Celebrate your eldest child's 17th birthday--yea! And attend an IEP meeting for your special needs child--ugh.

8. Pick out coordinating outfits for 8 people. Attempt to get 8 people smiling and cooperating at the same time for family pictures. 

9. Help plan and carry out a Halloween party for 22 fourteen and fifteen year-olds. Move the party indoors due to rain. 

10. Purchase and assemble costumes for 8 people. Litter new floors with costume pieces and fabric scraps. Go to church's trunk-or-treat and win best family costume award.

11. Make attempts to sleep in in November ;-).

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Perpetual Child-proofing: Welcome to my world

Oh, the joys of having a child with special needs! (Sarcasm detected?) 

These past six or so months have had us on high alert. For those of you who have had children, perhaps you remember having to childproof/baby proof your home? Perhaps you still are in this phase. It seems we are back in to this phase again. Imagine your toddling toddler able to reach and climb like a school-aged child. Yup, still lacking fear of almost anything, but now with the ability to reach practically anything. Oh boy.

And oh boy, this boy! 

Parents will do anything to keep their children safe. Some parents of special needs children are doing this over time!

#5 is not a hyper, masochistic daredevil (and thank the Lord for that!!!) But he is not afraid to climb on to practically everything (dryer, furniture--including tall shelves, the landings above stairs, the inside of closet walls, the side of the above-ground pool). And he is simply always on a mission--to find interesting things to tap and chew. And just so you know, almost everything can be tapped or chewed: bus passes, credit cards, bookmarks, wooden utensil handles, leaves, charging cords, ear buds, bottles of household cleaners.... Keeping him safe is a full-time gig.

We've had to up our safety game these past few months. This means the dismantling and doing away with the above-ground pool and changing out almost all 19 doors' doorknobs to locking ones. Me and my family are all getting pretty fast at unlocking doors with that little pin thingamajig! I'm sure he would have a blast figuring out how to pick the locks too, but thankfully we still have height to our advantage and he can't reach the locking-picking thingamajig at the top of the door jams. My hubby and I are still going on weekly dates, but now the older kids in charge can't have the tv on, because even it is just a kid show for #6 to watch, they can get distracted and miss that their littlest bro is climbing to the tallest shelf on the bookcase in the other room. 

Love our little explorer and I'm trying to keep rising to the special challenges he brings. I love that my family is so vigilant and forgiving (those bus passes, bookmarks, charging cords, and ear buds belonged to them....)  :-/

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Summer survival 2016

Three weeks. Yup, three weeks til school starts again! Lame, I know. But I guess if you get out of school a few weeks before everyone else, you go to school a few weeks before everyone else :-(.

Anyways--I'd like to salute a few things that have made my six-kids-home-summer doable:

1. Fruit dehydrators!
The 30+ fruit trees are happily being fruitful and I still have a little bit of jam leftover from last year. I did make some more jam already and now we have plenty of jam. Fruit leather--we are out! One thing I love about the dehydrators is that you can use overripe fruit to make great fruit leather. (But it makes terrible jam 'cause it usually won't set!) All I have to do is cut my fruit, take out the seeds, purée it in the vitamix, spread it on the trays, set them in the dehydrators, turn them on and let them do their thing--it's so easy!!! And it feels good to have some healthy snacks that don't spoil.

2. Swimming pool!
We just have a no-frills aboveground pool. It is not fancy, but it keeps the kids cool and they can swim and splash (and get tired out!) while I watch from my kitchen window and make dinner---killing two birds with one stone, I love it! Still saving for my in-ground dream pool...aww--maybe next summer?! Until then--this works!!!

3. Summer schedules!
I made another playgroup schedule for my ward this year. I love having things to do and planning them out ahead makes it so worthwhile for me. I don't like waking up one day and trying to figure out what would be entertaining for my kids and I to do that day. And we all need to get out of the house from time to time.

4. The iPad!
For many summers my children have fallen prey to their mother making them do, ugh, school work over the summer. I used to comb through their old textbooks and workbooks to save things for them to do over the summer. While they still have to do some hands-on work, I am very grateful for all the versatility of my iPad and all the wonderful educational apps that I can put on there for them to use.

5. Deep freezer!
What would my favorite season of the year be without delicious frozen things to eat. Popsicles and fruit blends galore for the kids, plus occasional ice cream sandwiches and other ice cream novelties. Most importantly: mom's personal stash of fudgesicles so she can "indulge" while trying to stay fit.

6. Another driver!
Oh how nice it is to have another driver. She is finally comfortable with the stick shift and has been able to take herself to all the teenage activities she needs to go to--and with being a member of three choirs and a cross country team and getting a job and wanting to hang out with friends--I am happy that I do not have to be her chauffeur!! I know what you're thinking; in three weeks this means I will get more sleep as I will no longer have to drive to early morning seminary!!!! Hooray!!

I hope your summers are all going blissfully. What are some things you love to have around for your "survival"?

(Just a few snapshots of summer 2016)

Monday, June 27, 2016

My marriage has reached adulthood!

I am not getting around to blogging as much as I would like. And, it always seems that I am blogging about my wedding anniversary. There are no excuses for this: I consider my decision to marry my husband, in the Washington D.C. Temple, to be the best decision I have ever made!!!

It's been a great 18 years. The last three have given us quite a whirlwind of emotions with the whole "rug-pulled-out-from-under-you" autism journey, of our now 5-year-old. Our relationship has been tested, and continues to be as we are continuously met with obstacle after obstacle. But this I will attest to--we better deal with all that is thrown our way when we work TOGETHER. 

I have grown to love him more and more as I have seen him, during our trial, dig down deep for that extra ounce of strength, patience, kindness, hope, faith....

My life has been derailed and we are running on a different track than most people. We have more than stopped to smell the roses! We are in slow-motion smelling those +!@*#% roses now!!! While I am meeting friends along the way who know how I feel, I am forever grateful that my husband-- the love of my life, my sexy, funny, perpetually 23-year-old boyfriend--and I are going through this together. He knows exactly how I feel.

Happy 18th to us! People--marriage is worth it if you and your partner are both willing to invest your whole heart, might, mind, body, and soul!!!!

Monday, May 23, 2016


Maybe it is an addiction to want to have, to want to be part of a close group of friends. Moving and life's unexpected trials have isolated me. I'm to the point where I am sad we've moved so many times. We have made great friends here and there, but I haven't stayed anywhere long enough to become part of a group and stay part of it. Even more isolating is the fact that I now walk a different track than most of my friends--the one of having a special needs child. Maybe I should get off social media. Because when I see people reunite and get together I am saddened because I wasn't even extended an invitation. I understand I can't be a part of every little thing. And maybe people assume my life is too tied up in making sure my five-year-old doesn't wander away, permanently. Maybe it is. Please don't reply to this post. I think people admire me because I can do a lot. But sometimes I just want to be a regular person and know what it's like to be included....

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

2016 1st quarter highlights

had hoped to blog at least once a month, this year, but man! Life is so busy!!!

So instead, here is my sad little quick synopsis, 1 highlight per child for a grand total of 6! Whew--you're welcome!

Sang in school's "Cabaret: Passport to Europe" fundraiser. Her choir represented Ireland and sang as woodsy, Celtic women.


Had an exciting weekend of performances--attending The Piano Guys concert and then acting in the ward roadshow where she was Anna from "Frozen" AND got to meet James Perry from BYUTV's Studio C.

Celebrated the big 1-2 with friends at a glow golf party, got ordained to the priesthood.... Basically not a little kid at all anymore!

Visited (and LOVED) touring a local police station--just in the nick of time for earning his Cub Scout bear rank before turning 10--phew!

Had first horse ride ever and loved it so much that he protested when it was time to get off! Glad we have friends and relatives with horses to share!

Turns three and reminds Mom that she is growing up by always doing things "by me self!"

*sigh* and signing off from this tired Mom in CA....