I'd like to keep my cheeks dry today

So Zane has started at a new school with a new class and a new teacher. It's an environment designed specifically for Autistic kids at all levels on the spectrum. It has made a hugely positive impact on him!

Through this journey, this story of Zane, I have had a lot of people over the years scoff at the idea of labeling a child. I used to be offended when mothers would put down the idea of a label. I remember that I felt the same way, until I had a child of my own that needed help. The kind of help I cannot provide on my own alone. So I began my search to understand him and help him. That journey has taken us down paths that we might not have preferred, which led to a wrong diagnosis and wrong class environment with emotional disabilities. And while that time in the wrong place affected him negatively and he had been regressing all the while, it feels amazing to have the correct information and correct class now and know he is coming back to himself again.

To watch him in the sensory room is my heart exploding with joy. To see his temper tantrums and frustration change to smiles with positive interest in his siblings again is awesome. He asked to hold his sister this morning. He has not noticed her much at all for so many weeks, maybe even months? He was holding Evan's hand this morning and asking if he could show him the classroom. He used his napkin at breakfast! He is using his words again instead of temper tantrums that reflect a 3 year old. He is happy. It's like he went away to a day spa, he is so much more calm and happy. Him being in the right place has changed him and our entire family dynamic. Two of my favorite experiences this have been this:

1) Zane has a hard time changing the words in his prayers. He says the exact same thing every single time- it's adorable, however, we have been teaching him to pray for personal and specific things for years. Reminding him about things he could say besides the usual. Sometimes he has included being grateful for another relative, but it's not very often and it's usually when that person is present. This week Zane was saying his prayers and after he talked about being grateful for each immediate family member like usual, he added that he was thankful for Miss K (his new teacher). He wasn't even prompted! That was so awesome.

2) This morning in the car Zane helped Evan say the morning prayer. One word at a time. And they both folded their arms peacefully and calmly said the morning prayer together. For the first time ever. What a treat. Normally it's screaming, yelling, fighting. It's amazing the way a household is run when the kids are getting what they need. He's really getting what he needs in this class and it's making a huge, positive impact at home. We are so lucky.

That isn't to say he is cured. Autism Spectrum Disorder comes with a whole package of things that make him different and those will be worked with. In a place that supports his needs with people that know all around him how to do it. This part of our experience reminds me of the Blind Melon video No Rain. Where the little girl dressed in her bee costume feels to lost and sad everywhere she goes. BUT! In the end she finds a grassy hill where all these other people are dancing around all happy in their bee costumes, too! You have to watch it here.

It's a process to figure this out in the midst of our introduction into the public school system. While my memories of kindergarten involve painting rainbows and using glitter and glue, Zane's memories might be much different. Some sad and hard, but I am betting from here forward it will be incredibly amazing and joyful the way kindergarten should be for him and who he is.

I am so grateful this year for every single teacher on the planet. Especially those in the special needs field. How amazing that there are people on this earth who took the time and personal decision to learn about special needs without having a personal need to (or child of their own with a label). And our family gets to benefit from their learning, big heart, knowledge, experiences, abilities, and strengths.

I didn't know when I went to college what life would bring me. So I followed my interests and opportunities The Lord guided me to. I hope along that path I made people happy by helping them with my work. And while I wish I knew more about special needs and Autism before I needed to, I can simply appreciate that while I was growing my special little boy in my tummy some other people followed their interests and opportunities so they would be prepared to help kids like my little boy. And holy cow there's so much gratitude consuming me right now for every single one of those people on the earth. It's inspiring to me. And reminds me much of the reason we got put on this earth. To help each other out. Be tested. Make good decisions. And return to Him.


let the wind kiss your hair


I can't place exactly what I like so much about this band.

Something about their sound and this video reminds me of missing every single friend I have ever met.

Or maybe it's the unassuming look/ sound they have. With a {seemingly} belly full of passion that creates musical appeal to me.

Maybe it just inspires me. Reminds me of my lonesome little drum kit shoved into the corner of our bedroom waiting for me to grab some friends and make some noise with it again on a more regular basis.

Or maybe it's just this lead singer's bow tie mixed with his friendly curls and innocent tooth gap that makes me just wish all their band dreams come true.

Oh, have you ever just stood there, And watched the sun touch the land?


what is the goliath in your life?

I was thinking about this talk lately. About The Goliaths in our lives, the hard things that seem like bigger trials than we seem to be able to take on. But we do. And they are not forever. And with Courage, Effort, Humility, Prayer, and Duty we get through them. Usually not as quickly as we would prefer. And not always with the exact results we want. But they will one day be behind us. While we wait for or begin to take on another Goliath.

The Prophet talks about the details leading up to David taking out Goliath with his one stone and slingshot. My own summary can't do it justice. Then it leads into these parts below I like:

Well might we look carefully into our own lives and judge our courage, our faith. Is there a Goliath in your life? Is there one in mine? Does he stand squarely between you and your desired happiness? Your Goliath may not carry a sword or hurl a verbal challenge of insult that all may hear and force you to decision. He may not be ten feet tall, but he likely will appear equally as formidable, and his silent challenge may shame and embarrass.

One man’s Goliath may be the stranglehold of a cigarette or perhaps an unquenchable thirst for alcohol. To another, her Goliath may be an unruly tongue or a selfish streak which causes her to spurn the poor and the downtrodden. Envy, greed, fear, laziness, doubt, vice, pride, lust, selfishness, discouragement—all spell Goliath.

The giant you face will not diminish in size nor in power or strength by your vain hoping, wishing, or waiting for him to do so. Rather, he increases in power as his hold upon you tightens.

But the battle must be fought. Victory cannot come by default. So it is in the battles of life. Life will never spread itself in an unobstructed view before us. We must anticipate the approaching forks and turnings in the road. We cannot hope to reach our desired journey’s end if we think aimlessly about whether to go east or west. We must make our decisions purposefully. Our most significant opportunities will be found in times of greatest difficulty.


I like to think of David as the righteous lad who had the courage and the faith to face insurmountable odds when all others hesitated, and to redeem the name of Israel by facing the giant in his life.

Like David of old, “our cause is just.” We have been placed upon earth not to fail or fall victim to temptation’s snare, but rather to succeed. Our giant, our Goliath, must be conquered.


Gotta love the words of the prophet. I find he tends to be a good one to listen to and ponder the words of often.


rock the casbah

One of the interesting things I have recently noticed about myself (while learning how to be a mother of a special needs boy) is that despite a medical explanation and diagnosis for him, I still find in a public setting that my shortcomings must be obvious to others and viewed as the reason for my son's (at times) challenging behaviors.

Recently an old friend from college shared with me a compliment about what he remembered about me from the time we were friends. The timing of this compliment could not have come on a better week. I told him briefly of my family. About my amazing husband, adorable children and our current journey understanding Zane being on the autism spectrum. He told me about his experiences working with special needs children as an intern. Then he assured me that he imagined I am doing well by my children as, he said, he remembered that I always seemed put my everything into the things I do.

I came away from that message with a bashful blush, but a certain knowledge that he was right. I really do give my family everything I have. Even as I am aware I am not perfect and I have a high standard for myself, I can look back and know that with the experience and knowledge I have had with every step of parenting each of my children, despite my shortcomings, I have definitely, always given it my all. This realization brought me great comfort and tremendous courage to continue doing what I am really good at doing- working hard. And to let go of the worries of where I fall short in more spots than I care to admit.


Recently a nice woman in Relief Society quoted this part of a great talk from 1976:

We can distinguish more clearly between divine discontent and the devil’s dissonance, between dissatisfaction with self and disdain for self. We need the first and must shun the second, remembering that when conscience calls to us from the next ridge, it is not solely to scold but also to beckon.

The Savior wants us to remember that we give it our all. The adversary wants us to focus on our shortcomings, it pleases him when we beat ourselves up too harshly. The Savior welcomes healthy self inventory checks that inspire positive change within. I'd say there is a big difference between the two that is important to remember when engaging in self-reflection.

Her quote led me to find the talk from 1976, I think it provides great wisdom. Especially this portion:

Some of us who would not chastise a neighbor for his frailties have a field day with our own. Some of us stand before no more harsh a judge than ourselves, a judge who stubbornly refuses to admit much happy evidence and who cares nothing for due process. Fortunately, the Lord loves us more than we love ourselves. A constructive critic truly cares for that which he criticizes, including himself, whereas self-pity is the most condescending form of pity; it soon cannibalizes all other concerns.


strength thru obedience

I had a pretty crappy last half of the day today. And I started to write about it. But it didn't come out funny. And certainly not uplifting. So I will place this here instead. A quote from Thomas S. Monson. And now I feel better. While letting go of the crappy part of my day.


A Modern Example

One who had learned well the lesson of obedience, who had found the fountain of truth, was a kind and sincere man of humble means and circumstances. He had joined the Church in Europe and, by diligently saving and sacrificing, had immigrated to North America—to a new land, a strange language, different customs, but the same Church under the leadership of the same Lord, whom he trusted and obeyed. He became the branch president of a little flock of struggling Saints in a somewhat unfriendly city. He followed the program of the Church, although members were few and tasks were many. He set an example for his branch membership that was truly Christlike, and they responded with a love rarely seen.

He earned a living with his hands as a tradesman. His means were limited, but he always paid a full tithing and donated more. He started a missionary fund in his little branch, and for months at a time, he was the only contributor. When there were missionaries in his city, he fed them, and they never left his house without some tangible donation to their work and welfare. Church members from far away who passed through his city and visited his branch always received his hospitality and the warmth of his spirit and went on their way knowing they had met an unusual man, one of the Lord’s obedient servants.

Those who presided over him received his profound respect and his extra-special care. To him they were emissaries of the Lord; he ministered to their physical comforts and was especially solicitous in his prayers—which were frequent—for their welfare. One Sabbath day some leaders visiting his branch participated with him in no fewer than a dozen prayers in various meetings and in visits to members. The leaders left him at the day’s end with a feeling of exhilaration and spiritual uplift which kept them joyous throughout a four-hour drive in wintry weather and which now, after many years, warms the spirit and quickens the heart as that day is remembered.

Men of learning, men of experience sought out this humble, unlettered man of God and counted themselves fortunate if they could spend an hour with him. His appearance was ordinary; his English was halting and somewhat difficult to understand; his home was unpretentious. He didn’t own a car or a television. He wrote no books and preached no polished sermons and did none of the things to which the world usually pays attention. Yet the faithful beat a path to his door. Why? Because they wished to drink at his fountain of truth. They appreciated not so much what he said as what he did, not the substance of the sermons he preached but the strength of the life he led.

To know that a poor man consistently and cheerfully gave at least twice a tenth to the Lord gave one a clearer insight into the true meaning of tithing. To see him minister to the hungered and take in the stranger made one know that he did it as he would do to the Master. To pray with him and partake of his confidence of divine intercession was to experience a new medium of communication.

Well could it be said that he kept the first and great commandment and the second which is like unto it,11 that his bowels were full of charity toward all men, that virtue garnished his thoughts unceasingly and, consequently, his confidence waxed strong in the presence of God.12

This man had the glow of goodness and the radiance of righteousness. His strength came from obedience.

The strength which we earnestly seek today to meet the challenges of a complex and changing world can be ours when, with fortitude and resolute courage, we stand and declare with Joshua, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”13


And just pretend there isn't a picture of a man in a tampon costume picture in the post below this one. Might be a spiritual buzz kill.


it just sounds like a good idea

Lucky for Mike, there will be kids at this party. Lucky for Mike, I am not a good planner. Sort of his last minute gal.


We would be going to the party with me as a Tampon. And I would make him be the period. Which would simply be a shirt with a black dot on it. There's no way he would wear it if it was a red dot. But I know he would still go with me dressed as a tampon. Cos that's just the kind of girl he married. And he would keep it all on the inside and let me do my thing. My tampon dressed mom at a party thing. If I planned well ahead.

You know, I don't know why I don't dress up for Halloween. It's the best excuse to find a ridiculous costume no one else would dare wear and totally rock it. I would rock a tampon. Don't even deny it. Although, it might be a little tricky to discretely nurse a baby in the corner of the room with this get up on. I imagine myself trying to be all smooth about wiggling it up far enough while still trying to keep it on somehow and situating my baby and her food source while holding a conversation with someone. I guess I could always cut out nursing openings in the costume that close up with velcro. Yea, that wouldn't be akward.


It's a hard-knock life

Yesterday my 2 year old was being, well, completely 2. Being exactly as he should. Melting at my feet and sobbing while I cooked dinner. We have a rule in my house that if you are whining at a time that isn't terribly convenient for me to fix the issue at hand, you go whine in your room. Normally this rule leads to perfect children that come back out 5 minutes later and realize wow it's so much better to use words! and then four leaf clovers grow out of the grass in the back and a rainbow appears leaving a pot of gold and dancing leprechauns. Parenthood is so funny that way.

So Evan forgets the rule about whining when I am busy being his slave, I mean cooking him food so he has to be placed into his crib while he thinks about this rule we have. I shut the door while the siren cry explodes into levels of volume normally heard by an ambulence racing to save a dying person. Not normally from a short person that can't wait 5 more minutes for food.

I resume my task and feel pleasure in gaining control of the situation and enforcing rules. Remembering it's a teaching moment dulls the sting of screaming kids sometimes. But mostly it's the closed door to muffle the sound that works best.

The baby begins to stir, she's getting sick of the swing. Drat. Zane is bouncing off the walls. And couches. Is there ever an age they hit where it's no longer a witching hour?

I hear a door open. Then shut. Then open. Evan strolls into the kitchen. He climbed out of his crib. I have officially been schooled. Only, he's totally cool about it. Like it didn't just happen. Like after 24+ months of his life he didn't just pick up a new trick that has removed the only sure way for me to contain him regardless of his temperment. He just walked past me and went about playing with toys like it was an everyday thing. It was funny to me how nonchalant he was about the whole thing. We sit down for dinner.
I ask: "Evan did you jump out of your crib?"
He shrugs his shoulders as if to say "Yeah, whatever. It's no big deal. Can you pass the salad?"

Until this morning. He did it again. Usually he screams for me to get him in the morning. Not today. He just rolled into my bedroom and walked around like he wasn't a freaking superstar crib jumper. Didn't even make eye contact or give any indication that he just broke out of his crib on his own. Acted as if he wasn't a bad A mofo. I am willing to bet he does a handstand on the crib rail on his way out of it. Then does a smooth tuck and roll as he lands on the ground. Stands up with arms in the air, a perfect 10. Maybe even struts to the door, giving off much bravado. Rolls up a pack of cigs in his sleeve and gives a wink to his stuffed animals. Chews up some glass on his way down the hallway. He might as well skip riding a bike and get a hog. This kid is just a little bit too tough for me. It's the coolness about his tough exterior that makes him completely rock solid. Little Evan. Our crib jumping biker gang kid. He is so tough.

Oh. Except when he has a temper tantrum. And prances on his tip toes with his hands bend at the wrist in front of his chest like a kitten begging on its hind legs for more milk in its dish. That's sort of not so tough.



I remember when I first moved to New York I would hear stories about the mob. I learned about different neighborhoods rich with mobsters, old mafia tales, and more importantly mob family names. I had a friend who didn't like waiting for hours at certain restaurants, so when he would give his 'last name' for the list he would provide something richly Italian and famously known. Those times, he never waited for a table more than 10 minutes. Completely brilliant.


boy oh boy

I could photograph each of my children all day long. This One happened to be most available that day when I needed my photography fix. Oh, and btw, it turns out a #2 on the shaver makes for a really, really short hair cut. And ages your sweet, innocent two year old about three extra years.

I landed on this site today from Cup of Jo. I simply love it. Read every single entry. It's a father giving 1001 points of advice to his unborn son. My favorites:

293. Don't shout out requests at rock shows.
282. Never swing at the first pitch.
277. Fish don't have eyelids. Cast into the shade.
270. Stand up to bullies. You'll only have to do it once.
247. Twice a year, write down your goals.
234. Thank the bus driver.
226. Never ask about another person's grades or salary.
222. Don’t boast about projects in progress. Celebrate their completion.
220. Until you are a doctor, never answer your phone at the table.
That goes for emails, texts, twitters, and tweets.

It must be cool to be a father. Mike, you get to teach our boys all your secrets of the boy world. I hope they listen to you. Cos you're a great man and have loads of awesome things to tell them about the world.

Of all the lessons, I hope they pick up on the one about following The Prophet. It's sure helped us make some big decisions over the years.


Okay. Dressing a girl. I am starting from scratch. It's insane. INSANE how much there is to choose from. I am overwhelmed by the amount of crap stores try to get you to buy. They pull together wacky colors and themes from store to store on purpose so that it's impossible to mix and match different clothes from different stores together. Why can't there just be an affordable Americal Apparel for babies?! They are even vertically integrated! Because that's so important when selecting clothing!
So there I stood, thinking of my daugher's bright blue eyes and baby soft skin and really couldn't muster up enough courage to buy all the bright oranges and hot pink/ green polka dots on brown and funky color combos at each store I went into. It's the first full-on seasonal clothing need I am buying for her. Most everything up until now has been gifts. We have been very lucky that way, so many generous gifts.
I literally asked a sales person how this whole 'legging' thing worked. The walls in every store were filled with these legging stretch pants, but it didn't make any sense to me. They were all wacky colors that would require 7 parts of the entire outfit and nothing else in her wardrobe would corrolate to any of those selected leggings. And did I even want to dress her in leggings? What happened to pants? Where are the baby girl pants? Why does it feel like she is stuck in a baby wardrobe hell of leggings?

And who decided a dog would be cute? The whole clothing scheme for the season and all accessories revolved around this little dog image. And the next corner was a cat. Or a unicorn. Like some school mascot or something, but none were cute. Or cool. Why did it need a mascot? And why did all the mascots and colors surrounding the mascots clash? Why can't it just be basic colors with no animal or food or flower on it? If I had more time on my hands I swear I would figure out a way to sew and create my own baby clothing line. There is a need.
My head was spinning by the time I walked out of the 5th store confused about how I want to dress her and figuring out all the variations of needed clothing/ shoes and what color palate I wanted versus what I saw available. I'm starting over. Finding faves. And it's costing a lot more than I want it to. Dang it. Tell me if you have your baby girl shopping route/ path figured out to share with me. I'll need to figure out best place for jammies, church dresses/ shoes/ tights, everyday wear, extra cute outfits, etc. It's like I need a What Not to Wear for Baby Edition.

It wasn't until I looked in Janie & Jack that I actually loved the colors and design of the baby girl clothing. I cannot, however, feel good about the price of their clothing for everyday wear. Which is too bad because they have the colors, fabrics, quality, styling right. Where is my reasonably priced Janie & Jack!?

For my boys I learned the following:

1) Children's Place: argyle socks, ties, sweater vests, white buttom-up shirts, sweat pants. Nothing more should come from this store. Maybe jammies, only the kind without the flame resistant coating, though. Stuff always falls apart.

2) Gymboree: Pants (only those without special effects of wacky colors or animals on them- hard to come by at this store), socks, polos, blankets, jammie, onesies. Only from sales rack. Stuff never falls apart.

3) Old Navy: always buy the next size up (runs small), jeans, socks, undies, jammies, under shirts, T-shirts, hoodies, shorts. Barely makes it to round two with second boy.
4) Gap: church pants, T-shirts only on sale, church shoes, flip-flops, swimwear, shorts only on sale.
Stuff never falls apart.

5) Target: shorts, T-shirts, hoodies, ties, church socks, undies, under shirts, jammies. Never pants- they always wear out too soon. Sometimes falls apart, sometimes makes it another go-round with another kiddo.

6) Janie and Jack: sweater vests, button-up shirts, only on sale. Stuff lasts. Of course.

7) Vans: shoes.

8) Nordstrom: shoes.

9) H&M: Anything goes. Mostly T-shirts and hoodies are a score for the boys here. One should be opening soon out here!! Lasts, stays intact thru lots of washing.



they could just be chair head and hamper boy for halloween.



Dear Mike,
Tonight you would have been so proud of Zane. He made dinner all by himself. And ate it! He made pizza. And we had purple grape juice with dinner, which the kids go nuts over. They were so excited about the bubbles that form on the top when you pour it into a cup and how it looks a little bit red at the top. Evan has asked about you every single day.

He says Dahdeeee? instead of dahdah? now. Zane is remembering (on his own) the number of days until you come home. Sylvia's eyes whisper hello to you.

Today she grabbed onto a rattle and chew ring. She got them both, happily, into her mouth. Still no tooth! Zane's new tooth is growing in so fast. It looks like the edge of a saw. The space in his mouth makes his 's' sound really cute.
Tonight before bed the boys decorated with the second annual tradition of vinyl stickers on the sliding glass doors. I was disappointed I couldn't find 'Live Laugh Love Halloween!' wording.
Tomorrow we will do a craft. I know, weird. Me doing crafts. I am certain it will involve candy somehow. Should turn out comical.
Enchantingly Yours,


Growing up in Arizona October was always my preferred month. But I think March might have it beat out. Simply by the beauty of color that fills the trees as blossoms appear and rainbows in the sky and the gentle weather right before the heat of the summer begins to make an appearance. March is the last ditch effort of outside play without question. And butterflies galore.
October still holds a special place in my heart. Good things always happen in October. Although you could truthfully say that about any month if you watched closely enough for the good.

The thing about October is all of a suddent it's enjoyable to be outside. There is no racing in and out of the car. All of a sudden there is no sweating. And even though it looks the same outside through the window as it looked last week, it FEELS breathy outside. While the rest of the country wraps up summer fun and lets go of their outdoor season, us Zonies are finally coming out of our air conditioned homes and feel ready to take walks, hit the park, go on pinics, and begin to live a comfortable outdoor life again.

So....start tracking the good, because this month will be filled with it. I plan to pull together a cool wreath made of Halloween candy this month. How excellent is that?!
photo from here.


halloween 2009

Evan is going to be Thor.
Zane can't decide between Batman or Spiderman.
Sylvia is going to be a cute little black kitten. Think of it as a modest version of Catwoman. Only minus the whip. And probably no leather or zippers.
So then....they are all officially Superheroes.


always and foreverrrrrrrrr

From now on every night at the dinner table Mike or I will ask each family member what they did for someone else that day.

I heard The Prophet tell of this idea today and it resonates with me. Tells me this is something that will teach my children all through their lives that helping other people and thinking of others is more important than anything else they will do that day. That is how Christ lived and what an excellent way to encourage one to lead a positive life. It's not entirely natural to live that way as humans, but imagine if every single person on this earth started the day with that very thought. What can I do for someone else today? And if we each spent a few moments at the end of the day talking about it with other people who set out to do something nice for another.


she's away with the pixies

It was hard picking one photo for her (oops very delayed) birth announcement. This one was the closest runner up that didn't make it. I love it so. Baby smiles are pretty much just as positively happy as sunflowers and cotton candy.


Sharman's coming over

So......this weekend we went as a family to many more furniture stores than I would care to count. We would tag team it and send in one parent at a time while the other was tortured in the car with screaming children. We borrowed catalogs- read them by stearing wheel ambiance, changed diapers in our laps, and filled up the car with fast food stench. It was a long, arduous day that did not end with any fruits of our labor. Except Sharman.

We giggled on the insides when we pulled our car up to the Ethan Allen parking lot. I was keenly aware of my wrinkled pants, 2001 edition of the J. Crew flip flops I donned, and the messy pony tail that occasionally brushed against the ring of dried spit-up crusted upon shoulder as I walked up to the beautiful store filled with elegantly placed furniture. It was like walking onto the set of a movie where the family they portray is insanely wealthy. It was in no way real, but still clean and pretty enough to make me wish I was wearing a Banana Republic dress with shiny black pumps. It was a place that made you wish you tried a little harder that day to look a touch more presentable before you stuffed the family into the car to leave the house.
No matter, we were on a mission and I took a deep breath and went in. I snuck easily past the lingering sales women at the front desk that reminded me greatly of the information circle you stumble into as you enter The Met.
We are looking for a specific piece of furniture that we have carved out a big budget for and if they have it, we will get it. They have more options matching our taste than prior locations, however, none so far are the perfect fit. I swapped out the car scene with Mike and had arranged for a sales woman to point out the few options I felt were worth looking at. He came back to the car with an appointment for Sharmam to come to our home on Monday. And a catalog to keep.
Now, if you have been to my home this will be just as funny to you as it is to me. It's hard to explain why with words. Let me put it this way- she is going to think one of two things when she gets here.

1) SCORE! This family has great need for furniture in every room. This is the jackpot of clients. I am so glad I had this appointment today!

2) Oh crap. This family could care less about their living space, they are really frugal. I am not going to make any money on this deal. What a waste of an appointment.


just reading

And this scripture below popped out at me.
St. Matthew 25:13

Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Wouldn't that be so crazy if it was, say.......oh............ tomorrow?


turn turn turn turn

walnut creek, ca

Somewhere in my path of turning into a mother I read about Waldorf education. From it I read about the notion of presenting the seasons within your home. I love the idea of seasons being a big part of the home environment and learning process for children. I plan to find a space in my home to dedicate to seasonal decoration. The pictures on the wall in that area of the home will change with each season along with some touchable decorations/ toys that will get stored in the same area and be changed out with the seasons.
In Arizona there are only two seasons: Hot As Hell and then Not As Hot. So images of seasons might help them get it. That it snows somewhere every winter. And there is a fun beach somewhere in the summer. I want them to know seasons of each year things are, in fact, changing. Just usually somewhere else.

Bronxville, NY
Rockefeller State Park Preserve (NY)
Bronxville, NY
Bronxville, NY
St. Thomas
The Hamptons
As I work with this space and images through the seasons I plan to pay more attention to the seasons in my kids' world with my camera so I can do fresh images each year, too, that speak to their joys of that time of year instead of my dusty old photo collection.

deeper shade of soul

Perhaps its ridiculous to admit this, but sometimes in my head I imagine how cool it would be to have a secret ability to climb up into the sky without anyone knowing and sit right next to God. Like side by side. Among the stars out in the universe- like without spacesuits or anything! I figure if we're in like that He would work some business where I would have magic capabilities to quickly access this seat next to Him without the interruption of a rocket or gravity laws and the like.

So He's all sitting there in a lawn chair for some reason and it's old and metal and I sit in the one next to Him. And I get to ask all these questions. We converse freely up above the earth with lemonade on the long grass and sprinklers with flip flops on. Because you can imagine outer space to be however you want if you are sitting next to God.
I imagine these scenarios frequently after I read my children The Book of Mormon (picture book version) in the morning. I send Zane off to school and Evan settles into cartoons and I clean up breakfast while Sylvia swings and starts her morning nap. I think of the things we read and lessons we are learning and connect them to present day life. And that's when I want to zoom up to my lawn chair and point down to the earth with a microscope and ask Him which of those things is happening for which reason. Which lessons are being taught right there with that? I imagine how He might see and discuss the way we interact on this earth and find heartbreak for all we cannot realize while we scurry around thinking money and things and stuff and selfish behaviors are important. While this earth He gave us is having some trouble. And lots of people on it are having trouble. And somehow we look at a tivo version of earth and we talk about natural disasters from history. I point to them one at a time and we talk about them and the scriptures at the same time. Only He probably doesn't need to look into the microscope when we talk. I bet he just has microscope-like eyes.
And we see and talk about some excellent things, too. Trees growing, birds singing, the healthy parts of our earth and the good people things going on all around. But it would be tricky to know so much, it would be tricky and make my head explode to see all we are not getting as humans on this earth. So much to the real purpose of being here that is so easily and quickly forgotton. And all the unlearned lessons unfolding around us.

In Helaman The Lord caused a famine. Because the people needed to be humbled. Which things are happening in our world/ society today to teach us to be humble?


Helaman 12:1-3 When the Nephites were righteous, the Lord blessed them. When they were proud and forgot the Lord, he gave them problems to help them remember him.

I think even when we are most righteous we are not immune to problems. In times of spiritual strength, we just know how to handle them better. This was a powerful scripture to read and discuss as a family last week.
image from retro tavern


spread hope like fire

I was at the gym this week thinking about Zane. Gathering all I have been learning in my head. Sorting it all out. While my feet were releasing the stress of it out through the soles of my feet. Picking up the pace, turning up the number from 3 to 4.5 on the treadmill, letting it carry me into a rapid turning over from one foot to the other. Letting the confusion drip out with sweat off my forehead, down the sides of my face.

This video came on. Angels and Airwaves' Secret Crowds. It was making me wonder what this is like for him. Wonder how frustrating it must be in his world to have triggers or things that link directly to those challenges, but he doesn't really understand or have the ability to express it. The sensory integration part of it. Something as simple as the kind of socks he has on. Or the amount of noise in the room. Or fluorescent lighting. A fabric. Or a new face. A million variables to be tested out and considered that will help him in his world to get a little more in control of himself.

So this video made me reflect back on all the images I have of him. I caught them with my camera and they were all flooding through my mind with the beat of this song. Of all those obsessive door-opening and exaggerated door handle / hinge-watching moments I didn't see so well. All the excessive chewing on books and toys and shirts I overlooked. All the repeated phrases, the rhythmic speaking I didn't hear. The unconnected reactions to everyday life that didn't match the norm. His angry fist with a friendly hello with a stranger in a store. Outrageous crying with the arrival to a birthday party. His little moments of confused behavior I couldn't place or translate for so long now. And how on the inside it made sense to him and I just stood there unable to get it. Still unable to get it fully. But we will.

We are starting to collect our people, the ones that will help us blend him into society as he grows. The people who will march with our family through his life. From family, neighborhood, school, church, therapists, doctors, strangers with big hearts, and others all gathering to be Zane's secret crowd. Backing him and loving him while he learns and changes and develops into the man he will one day become. He will have his own world, we'll just be more a part of it and him a part of ours. Now that we know him better. And as we work towards translating the kinks; help him smooth them out. Celebrating every achievement along the way. And catapulting, also, those gifts he already has of excelling skill into the sky all the while.

I think this song just became my anthem for raising this boy of mine.


This is Taylor.

Taylor is Mary's very new baby.

I adored taking her pictures, it was a nice creative

outlet for me this month. These are some of my faves.
Such pretty girls.