kiss you on the brain in the shadow of a train

I love the movie Juno. I mean, the humor is brilliant. The story raw and real. And the adoption portion of the movie is a blip, although sad (for Juno) and beautiful (for the new mom) in a grander love story going on.

I love the ending after all the uncertainty and drama and quips it's a boy and a girl sitting together playing music and smilling.

That little part of the movie immediately came to mind when Mike brought his banjo over to the chair in our room and faced me while I rocked a steady beat for us. We are learning to play music together and it makes me so happy.

Don't get me wrong, I am nowhere close to becoming a bluegrass fan. But I love that we both get to learn something new of interest in a seperate way, but somehow still spend time together doing this.



This is a repost of an entry from my kids' blog:
Kids- today we went to church. It was a good meeting and I think classes went well for kids and adults alike. After we went to your dad's parents' home to hang out with that whole side of the family. They had a ping pong ball set up out back and adults guarded the pool. Evan you played with Cannon and I was very impressed! We all ate lots of yummy food. Brandon steals the show with his prize desserts every time! Zane only had one time out (maybe two) so that's great! I think Evan only cried once (or twice) so that's good. And Sylvie only pooped once! So all in all it was not a stressful parenting operation.

Tonight Evan fell asleep on the way home. Sylvie was in jammies and ran out into the livingroom after she was put to bed. Mike was on a call and told me to put on CNN Osama Bin Laden was dead. I had read it on CNN but didn't think a lot about the headline until I put on CNN. Zane stayed up and watched the President speak. What a huge moment in history. The news channel showed people in DC cheering and celebrating. The word 'dead' doesn't make me want to cheer.

Zane asked me how I felt. That is a huge communication step for him- he does not ask others what they are feeling very often at all. He asked why people were cheering.

I was honest. I told him that death makes me feel a little bit sad. He asked why since it was a bad guy. I confirmed he was a bad guy, but there are still people that are sad and love him and will miss him. But I was glad he would not be able to hurt people anymore or teach other people to hurt him and that I wished they had been able to capture him instead of kill him.

I did explain that he was the man who made the planes crash into buildings and taught a lot of people to kill and hurt lots of people, so it is a really good thing he is not able to do that anymore. I told him that our military has been working very hard to find him for a very long time and I was so glad they found him and the hunt is over! I told him to remember this day, that it will be in his history book.

I never know if I am saying/ feeling the right things he needs to hear for his age. Sometimes I think I am too honest with him, but he is so smart it's easy to forget he is only 6. I wonder what he will remember about our conversation when he is older and sitting in class and flips his history book page to this story. Will he remember Sylvia was in her striped jammies laying in my lap. Will he remember my words? Will he remember the faces of the newscasters? Will he remember my conflicted feelings I tried to explain? Or will he just remember Brandon's cupcakes?



It's always best to ride a scooter with elephant ears on, I say. It's been a beautiful outdoor play kind of morning.

He just learned how to ride a bike with no training wheels (sans the ears)!

I had a nice trip away, but man nothing feels better than being home with my whole family. I missed my loud and crazy crew!


a simple Thursday

I woke up this morning feeling blue about autism. Yesterday's rough day at school for my son hit me hard in the gut and snagged my heart. Those days are hard for me to recover from. Because I can't make it better. I can't fix it. And it's not going to go away. It's part of him forever and once in a while out of the blue it will slap my face hard. Today I woke up and we prayed on our knees together. Zane and I. For him to be able to tell me what he needs. What makes him anxious. Or just anything I should know about what will let me help him. I made a conscience effort to push it from my mind and allowed myself to be comforted by Mike's words and The Holy Spirit. Ick this is starting to sound like a cheesy Ensign article. I didn't know what I would plan for the day, but for sure knew I would: 1) extend my time wearing pajama pants by several hours 2) listen to Wendy Time by The Cure- random song that popped into my head this morning 3) blow bubbles with the kids outside in the perfect weather 4) eat a big pile of nachos 5) appreciate my friends 6) mop my floor 7) tickle my kids as much as possible because nothing cures the blues like their laughter! 8) kiss Mike on the mouth when he comes home tonight from a week away Which then reminded me how happy Doing the Unstuck makes me! Let's get happy!


of sticks

Walking through the store to find my lesson location I probably look out of place. I have the only Soccer Mom car in the whole parking lot. Everyone I pass from entrance door one to exit door two is covered in tattoos. I want to skip through the store. I am so pleased I have found this time carved out of my life just for me- a tiny little nugget of independence and freedom and creativity and music. I then cross a street to another building where they sell the pianos. My lesson is in the back. My vans with the triple threat velcro straps squeak as I hurry past the ivory keys completely turning my nose up at them. I have never had interest in you, piano, for drums have always had my eye.

I plop my fancy purse on the floor and see the faint outline of a clean, folded up diaper peeking out. I slide the pink sticks from my bag remembering that Evan chose pink for his mommy. I had been using old tattered sticks from my first instructor. These are my first new sticks, so any marks are mine. I find pleasure in the dents and dings that are forming from hitting the crash cymbol fiercely. It means I am playing again. It's really the best thing I have ever done for myself: getting my drum kit and learning how to play it. I hope I never stop or take a long break ever again.



Check out this awesome purse! I know, since when did I start checking out purses? I dunno, but this one totally reminds me of Lamar from Revenge of the Nerds. Remember his sunglasses?! I sure hope when they designed this purse he was the inspiration. Odds are slim that is the case, but let's pretend it is.



I can't stop watching and thinking about this TED talk. It's about how unhealthy our food system is in the USA and why. Nothing I haven't heard before, but when she talked about her daughter having a scary allergic reaction to eggs (as did my daughter) it caught my attention. I need to clean up the food in my home and make sure I start to offer more natural options for my family. I plan to start with milk and the other diary products this month. And then something else next month (like snacks). Hooray for Mike's Elk he brought home- it's probably the most organic and natural food in our whole home!



Mike's awesome sister Rachael offered to set up some professional lights and a screen to take photos of all the kids in the family. This is pretty much how it went when my kids were asked to sit and look at the camera: My nice voice didn't last very long. It's aways a great feeling when you lose your nice voice in front of other people. GOOD GOLLY adults are so much easier to photograph. Thanks Rachael- I loved your ability to have a great sense of humor while I attacked your head with a bear and old rag.



This morning I spent some time being a photographer for my friend's husband who is a musician (above). I am well pleased with many of the shots I got- he loved being in front of the camera. This made my job easy and enjoyable! His wife game along and they both had great ideas along the way of spots to take pictures in the downtown Chandler area. Then they bought me lunch. It was a great morning.

Then in the afternoon I had my first drumming lesson since Sylvia came around. It felt like riding a bike- I seemed to be able to pick up right where I left off a while ago. Luckily my technique is good and I can keep good time. I will be working on drum fills which are a blast- they are like little mini solos within a song where you break away from the beat and rock out a unique fill of sounds any way you want. I brought my pink drum sticks Evan picked out for me for Christmas. They would normally make me feel like they are too Girl Power for my taste, but sweet little Evan can't be denied the chance at being part of my drumming experience.


This picture makes me so happy. Zane was out front riding his big bike without its training wheels for the first time. He was going FAST. Mike and I were so proud of his courage and bravery taking on this skill and mastering it with so much joy! So naturally, I was taking photos.
Sylvia had just woken up from her nap, so her pigtails were especially messy and cute. This was the first time she has been able to wear this t-shirt. It is from her Aunt Rachael, a gift for her I got a Pita Jungle before she was born.

Mike is home, all just feels so well when he is home. I love watching him find his own natural groove with the kids. Random trips to get ice cream or stepping out front to play where the kids LOVE to. He's rockin his raw denim jeans I would have told him not to buy, but he loves them so there you go.

Evan and his crooked helmut. He wears it without complaint and it never sits correctly on his head. Giving away all the boy clothing this week and he found his most prized Plex shirt from Aunt Lisa. It's about 3 sizes too small, but he insisted on wearing it. It makes me smile. I love how happy it makes him.
The new neighbor's weeds. They really ignore their yard and it is starting to crack me up. I mean, after having it sit half built for so long, who cares about little weeds? At least I have a real live neighbor with a completed house!

I love my family. I am so glad I got my temple recommend updated this week on a day when I was really grumpy about some things. I love how the idea of going to the temple with my husband on a regular basis is a goal we both have that will bring us even closer together despite his constant travel. I am so lucky to have my mom who comes to help me with the house and kids often and my in-laws as well that are available any time we need them. It's going to be a grrrrrreat weekend!



Someone {*cough*sylvia} discovered the toilet was actually a great place to hide the ice cream. Right after it was a great place to be a toy box. Luckliy we spent the day at the park and had pizza for dinner so mommy was able to laugh and get the camera. I would not have been capable of such a calm response if this happened yesterday.

For the record here are the contents I fished out of the specially brewed Vanilla Toilet Water:

3 Legos

1 matchbox car

1 alphabet magnet

1 baby doll brush

1 ice cream carton (empty)

1 blue triangle for shape sorting toy

1 cargo load for Thomas travel size train

All in all, I would say no great losses this evening in the toilet.


step down

In Arizona when you are in line and you are summoned by the person behind the desk, no matter where you are, the person will almost always say "next person in line". It usually has a 'please' attached to it. And a smile with eye contact.
In New York no matter where you are, when you are in a line and it's your turn there is no eye contact, no smile and the person says STEP DOWN. I will never forget the first time I heard it. I looked around for stairs and wondered who the person at the post office was shouting at. It was me, she was shouting at me. It was my turn to buy stamps. And she was pissed I was taking so long. The shouting got louder.
Apparently I wasn't paying attention when the 30 people before me in line responded to the 'step down'.
For review: you wait in a line, someone yells STEP DOWN! and as fast as you jump into double dutch jump ropes you better scurry over to get yours stamps or you might lose your place in line.
It's like that at the bank, the the pizza shop, the sub shop, retail stores, everywhere. It never felt regular. But I figured out the lingo.

I learned it was not rude, it was the fast and only way to work through a line of a lot of people and get to business. It's the culture. It's not wrong, it's just the way it is there.
It feels good to be friendly again and to converse sweetly and find my friendly stranger smile. Not a creepy one, just a real one. Like the younger me. The me before responsibilty and life settled into my bones.


written as if i really take naps

I took my kids to the park today. As we walked over I imaged their smiles as they would run up the stairs and fly down the slide! We would play chase around the play structure. They would laugh, all would be merry at our park day. I imaged this as I wiped the sweat from my forehead. It's already summer in Arizona, did I mention that part yet?

How did it really end up? They sat in rocks and shared a bag of Cheetos next to a trash can. They could have done that in the back yard while I took a nap. Freaking park effort wasted. Next time- park snack is going to be a can of lima beans.
Let's not forget the neon orange powder explosion that occurs when they eat Cheetos. It's like a dump truck of pollen and honey. That stuff is impossible to clean. Yeah, I remember them being all delicious and awesome for a snack. Until you hand them to messy people you are in charge of cleaning up. Then they are much less delicious and awesome. They are now removed from the grocery list for at least 5 years. Imagine the hours of work/ clean-up associated with that Costco-size bucket of cheese balls? No thank you.

swim class

On Fridays I take Zane to an indoor swimming lesson. To be honest, we would not be paying for indoor off-season swimming lessons if he was not Autistic. Often these kiddos have low muscle tone, which is the case with him, and per his physical evaluations and Physical Therapist advice: swimming will help him. And it does. It's great for his core strength development and he LOVES it. Since team sports involve a lot of rules to remember and follow in addition to a great number of distractions- they are ultimately not ideal for him. I am sure there will come a time where we will try again, but right now is not that time.

I remember trying soccer before the diagnosis and he would literally stand in the middle of the field looking up at the sky smiling. Then at the end of the games he could cry because he began to realize everyone else made a goal and he wondered why he did not. It was not a positive experience for him. Sometimes all the noise and chaos in a room (or in this case a busy field) he slips into his own private world of comfort. Which means he makes odd faces and noises and seems to pretend to be deaf. It's like his coping mechanism for sensory overload. Again, pretty common for Autistic kids. And possibly typical kids- but I don't really know about that first hand for his age group.

So. Swimming. Generally, it goes well. He gets bored waiting his turn so he tends to tread water or splash the other kids in the face or throw anything he can reach across the pool. I adore and prefer the teachers that can let it roll off their back and redirect without being visibly irritated. It's not easy to do, but we are paying her to teach him and part of that means patience. We prepare them for this ahead of time so thet know what's in store for the expreince of teaching Zane. I have removed him from a lesson before by observing obvious lack of patience and it felt good to be his advocate. But did not feel good that even an independent sport where team mates are not relying on him can still come up challenging.


The pool area is cased in like an aquarium with glass walls all around it. There are spectator chairs lined in front of the glass. It's always entertaining for me to observe the parents.

There is the mother with a foreign accent- I can't place it yet. I want to say Russian. She appears to be in her late 30s. She is not shaped like an American mother. She is lucky that way. Her eye brows are painted on with a brown/ grey pencil. She is very friendly with the girls at the front desk and they have lengthy conversations while her children swims. Her two children each get a sucker after their respective lessons. She spends a great deal of time in the bathroom with them getting them dressed and drying their hair after their lesson. Sometimes I wonder if my life with Zane in public spaces causes me to always be in fast forward, so maybe she is spending a regular amount of time like typical families might(?).

My favorite is the couple with the baby taking a lesson. The mother is still losing her baby weight gain. I know the feeling. I wonder if she put a lot on during her pregnancy or if she was a little larger before. Either way, I am guessing that is the reason the father is in the pool with the baby while she sits eagerly pressed against the glass watching every move. It's the best at the end of the lesson. They always try to communicate to each other through the thick glass unsuccessfully. It's like each week they forget that you can't hear through this glass wall. It normally results in the husband walking away to shower the baby seemingly frustrated, which leaves the wife dumbfounded. It's like they are trying to coordinate what to do next with this wet baby, but neither of them is really sure who does what- all through a glass wall in front of us. It is for sure their first and only child. She is standing at the recieving door with 5 bags filled with towels, snacks, clothing, toys and the kitchen sink. Their akward exchanges are the most entertaining to observe of the whole waiting room bunch. I look forward to them each week just as much I look forward to seeing Zane progress in his swimming skills. This is our final week here before we move him to a better swim place. I just might have to talk to her or sneak a picture because I will miss their interactions.

The mom with the screaming wins is my least favorite. She keeps them strapped into a double stroller the whole time as they scream and she visits with the friendly girls at the front counter. The boys are old enough to climb out of the stroller and play legos with Evan. It would really make it more enjoyable for the whole room if she just let them play with the toys like all the other kids do. Maybe she has reasons I don't know- that's always the trick in assuming and judging.

Evan loves the trucks and Sylvia loves to run into the boy's bathroom in addition to playing in the water fountain. They will have lessons in the summer at a more reasonably priced location. Those books were right, Autism does get expensive at times. And we have not even tried Biomedical Interventions yet.


please place your cup on my toast

Look how awesome these coasters are. Photo from How About Orange. She bought them from the MoMA. I love how she says "because I adore functional items that somebody bothered to design well".


I could take pictures of this boy all day long. x



So. It turns out Autism isn't really that big of a deal when I allow life's perspectives to shuffle into place.
When something huge like Japan's earthquake and tsunami hits I find I don't even know where to begin praying. So many things are urgently off and so many people need medical, temporal, and emotional support. I wish we all had helicopters filled with emergency packages that could get automatically programmed to fly over and assist quickly. Imagination world is fun to visit- everything is an easy fix in magic mind. Try it!

But don't forget to pray for some or all of the help they need over there. Just cos magic isn't really going to be able to do it, afterall. And I don't have those helicopters programmed just yet.

*photo from cnn
Of all the photos I have seen of the devistation this one captures my heart the most. The debrit. The people standing safely above it, yet so close to it they could touch the things floating on the water if they wanted to. The woman's face is so different than most expressoins I have seen in photos of natural disasters. I wonder what she was thinking in that moment. I hope all the survivors get the things they need quickly.


rad hair

Um I am going to try to make my hair do this tomorrow. Because the messy single bun is just about 10 years too tired. Saw this today on Cup of Jo.

If I ran today I think I would have gone way back and pulled 1039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours from the archive.


The Show Parenthood

I watched the show Parenthood tonight that has a little boy play an Asperger's kiddo. I was curious to see how accurate he would be portrayed. I have to say they did a pretty good job.

Tonight they featured the parents talking to him about the disability. I thought they went about it in a really good way. You can tell the writers have done their research. The boy's little meltdowns over simple things were just as unpredictable as Zane's. Only in real life people in public actually stop and stare at you because it just looks like you have a bratty kid you are failing to control. On the show the people in public kept walking and didn't notice- it was no big deal. That part was not so realistic.

I think the boy does a decent job, but for Zane there are a lot more odd facial expressions and voice tone changes and random noises happening when he is distracted or not listening. I think that would add to the reality of the character- the kid in the show seems more bored/ depressed than autistic to me. But it's a show and on the 'spectrum' I guess you can give or take a million variations of such characteristics.


I loved the way the parents provided the specific-to-him positives and the less desireables that are associated with him because of Asperger's. I have only briefly outlined some of the positives so far with Zane. But this episode has me thinking it might be a good time for Mike and I to make a plan to talk to him about it soon.

The trick is: how do we really know he has an amazing memory or avoids looking new people in the eye because of Autism? I know those are common traits, but honestly it seems insane to tease out specifics and call it the disability. Although, I supposed he wouldn't be diagnosed if those were not the common bits of evidence that makes him unique with a word called Autism.

Do we have to call it anything? I guess he might want to know why he has OT and PT and Hab Therapies. All of which help remind him of the areas that don't come as natural to him (unlike other kids). That's probably important for him to understand. I suppose he might currently believe everyone has these appointments? And it's probably best he understand these things from us before other kids ask him questions or tell him things that confuse him.

This is the year we talk about it openly with him. This is the year he begins to understand. And I have never felt more unprepared, yet certain.


more music

Today I ran to Modest Mouse. It was fun to see Kati and then Lisa at the gym. She got really embarrassed when I made loud grunting noised during my manly workout. She tried to pretent she didn't know me. Until she experienced the joy of manly workout grunting and then we both laughed. Then we said goodbye and I put my earbuds back in and enjoyed more Modest Mouse. I could totally do the drums in this song btw.

I have a lot of topics to write about in my head, but am finding it a challenge to make the time to type them out. Eventually....


today's music pleasure

Listening to Dido today. I sure wish they had a better band name. What comes to mind when YOU see that word? Yeah, me too.

While See the Sun isn't going to help me have a fast pace at the gym today, it's still a decent album to go running to.


CA E. B.

I had breakfast with my friend this week and she suggested Crackers and Co. Cafe.

I cannot express enough how delicious my California Eggs Benny was. It had parts of a traditional eggs benedict. But underneath it had the best bacon that has ever been put into my mouth. Avocado. Right there should sell you on it. Fresh spinach and tomato. It was my breakfast dream come true. I think I am about double obsessed with this than I have been with Sprinkles cupcakes (chocolate on chocolate flavor to be specific).

I love delicious food. If only I could prepare these things myself. *sigh*


Local Natives

I like the sound of this band: Local Natives. Really mellow. They remind me of a breezy California day in the spring. Just all around pretty and calming sounds. Probably not the kind of description they were aiming for when they pulled a band together and made songs.

This one [Airplanes] makes me wish I knew my grandfather.


why didn't I know about this?

Monday is always a good day for a little Robert Smith, I always say. But where the hell did Crystal Castles come from? They feature him just in this song. How did that connection happen? Um.....Can I have that happen for my someday band, please?


{Sylvia pulled this out of my closet and walked around the house like it was her turn to learn.}

Friday I taught one of Zane's therapist's daughters how to skateboard. It rocked. She saw me teaching Evan one day and said her daughter wanted to learn so I offered. It felt so good to be teaching someone something I love doing and to see her beaming with joy and feeling so confident as her skills improved. We rocked it in the skate park together and we loved every minute of it. She is such a cool kid.

It also felt so good to be giving back to someone who does so much for my son (and family) so many days of each week. She makes my son smile more than anyone else and I was so happy to teach her daughter something that made her smile, as well.

I thought about what I saw when Zane took a lesson 3 years ago and I also used some tips from this video.


listening to....

Weezer's Pinkerton this week while running again.

Reminded me of our little adventure in Tokyo. There was something magical about listening to El Scorcho while actually being in Japan seeing Japanese girls. Sometimes I forget how nice this band is to listen to.


that dog

I ran at the gym to an album by an old time band called that dog today. It's one of the few albums I listen to that actually inspires me to want to try a girl band. Regardless of the drama I imagine that would ensue. Because that's what us girls are good at.

At any rate- I love every single song on Retreat From The Sun. Although Totally Crushed Out makes me {almost} equally happy.


good looking

We have a little water closet like this in our master bedroom. I would love to smash it out all awesome like this. What is the design on that wallpaper anyway? It looks like acorns gone fireworks and frozen in mid-explosion. I really should be in charge of naming wallpaper.
ps. I have never thought of a toilet as being good looking, but in this case- a handsome toilet I would say!
image found via MFAMB.

I think Ur a Contra

* Traditional hearts filled with chocolate left on the kids' dressers. This is a tradition my mom did when I was a kid and I loved it!

*Breakfast pancakes shaped like hearts

* Got yummy cookies from a friend! Baked goods for us from Gma and Gpa Fuller. And the kids got suckers from another friend.

* Ran to Vampire Weekend at the gym

* Reading Running with Scissors. People really should try to avoid comparing anyone to David Sedaris. Especially this author; he's not even close. Still, an interesting memoir.

* Thought about my history of Valentines Past. My favorite with Mike by far was when we met on a corner in NYC and I planned it all. He had no idea we would take a carriage ride through central park and hit a French Restaurant. Most random was (not Mike) a customer when I worked at a pizza place. I didn't know him, he brought me a card and a Little Debbie box of Valentine cakes. He referred to me in the card as "Eyes" because he never asked me my name (?). I always giggle when I see those boxes in the store this time of year. I always wonder if he was confused why he didn't win me over with Little Debbies. If he was like 'where did I go wrong?' when I never called.

* I am trying to teach my kids to not be the Little Debbie guy. Each year they will pick a Valentine (or two) and we will have them deliver something. This year was simple heart-shaped rice crispy treats. We will upgrade the gift as they get older. It's fun, but I know eventually they will protest.

2011: Zane: Taryn, Evan: Cache, Sylvia: Mikey.

* pancake, VW, book photos from google

post secret

How cute is this Post Secret message?



My sister thinks my little Sylvia is a girly girl. And she can be, but here are also some of her tomboy roots showing through

Caught her playing in the dirt happy as can be!

Her world of toys: loves her babies, their bottles, and toy necklaces:

Discovered her Barbie recenty. She put it on a bike and pushed her in a truck:

Elmo always makes her smile for a long time:


Caught playing in the mud with brothers!

This mama loves shoe shopping for the little feet in the family.


let's just go there again

I just decided right now that if I ever publish a book, this is going to be the picture of me in the back that tells about my exciting life in the suburbs of Arizona. Let's revisit this amazing tampon costume again. It makes me so happy to look at myself in this costume. I want to count the ways of its awesomeness.
1) It was cold that night, but with the thickness of my costume's absorbancy I was actually warm. It was like I had the insides of a blanket wrapped all around me. O wait, I actually did! That was a nice perk.

2) I spilled soda into my lap on accident. And I didn't even have to clean it up. I watched the puddle disappear beofre my eyes. Then I kept on eating, I didn't even have to get up to get a napkin! That was another unplanned benefit of my costume choice. Most other costumes would require some degree of cleaning up effort after a spill. And if I spilled too much, I could have always just pulled the string and tossed it away.
3) I imagined something funny to me and it actually came into play! I was lucky to have a partner in crime to execute the sewing and cutting (thanks Alicia). It is fun to see an idea turn into a reality. Even if it's only something as simple as a costume.

4) I loved making people laugh. It makes me feel really happy inside and out.

5) It's just an overall enjoyable experience to spend an evening as a tampon. I would recommend it to anyone.

6) It won't be too challenging to turn this into a family- theme costume. Think of Sylvia as a little bottle of Midol, Evan could be a pad, Mike has the period thing all worked out, we could borrow someone's female dog and taking it walking with us, Zane can wear The Cramps concert T-shirt. It's really wonderful how undeniably useful my creative juices are.

ice and food

Once we had adjusted to New York life (i.e. high cost of living, the small space to live in, subway culture, alternate street parking, and working 80 hours a week...) there was not much to complain about over the years. We grew to love and learn and exlore all we could as much as we were able. There is so, so much we both miss about the experiences we got to have living there.

The only exception to that is winter. Every winter we would swear at the bitter cold that left us feeling naked no matter how many layers we wore when we ventured outside.

This is one thing we will never miss about New York (my friend Tanya's car this week covered in ICE):

In other news I found a perfect template for meal planning/ grocery shopping list from inchmark : read about it and download it here.


I recently made this and had a friend request the recipe.

Hawaiian Chicken Bowl

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple
1 bottle (16 oz) barbecue sauce
4-6 cups rice, cooked
Steamed broccoli
Ranch dressing

Place meat in 3 1/2 - 5 quart slow cooker. Combine pineapple and barbecue sauce and pour over meat. Cook on high heat for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Layer in caserole dish in this order from bottom to top: rice, chicken mixture, broccoli, and drizzle ranch dressing over the top. It is ready to serve! Makes 4-6 servings.

*I have also used pork and it still turned out awesome


a long post about feelings

Wow. It's not very often I read something that seems as though it was translated directly from my soul. But this little letter I read this morning, it was exactly where I was last year. Every single step, every single expression, every part of what is written I have felt about having an autistic child. It's interesting how a part of your life becomes something different than you imagined or hoped or 'planned' for it to be and that it takes a process in your mind and heart to come to embrace it. How magically and wonderfully well we are able to work through it in a series of steps (through passing time) and that something so heavy and huge becomes light and normal one day. That a pain so dense can dissipate, but in the thick of it you can't imagine it ever ending. And that is normal, reading about and talking to other mothers that have gone through the process of accepting their child is part of a different club than we would prefer, we all run through the same process from pain to acceptance. Often feeling very much alone in the journey. Finding these people in my life and reading about them brings me great comfort.


From the blog a diary of a mom written by Jess back in May:

Welcome To the Club

My dear friend,

I am so sorry for your pain.

Don’t worry; no one else sees it, I promise. To the rest of the world, you’re fine. But when you’ve been there, you can’t miss it.

I see it in your eyes. That awful, combustible mixture of heart-wrenching pain and abject fear. God, I remember the fear.

I see it in the weight of that invisible cloak that you wear. I remember the coarseness of its fabric on my skin. Like raw wool in the middle of the desert. You see, it was mine for a time.

I never would have wanted to pass it on to you, my love. I remember so well suffocating under the weight of it, struggling for breath, fighting to throw it off while wrapping myself in its awful warmth, clutching its worn edges for dear life.

I know that it feels like it’s permanent, fixed. But one day down the line you will wake up and find that you’ve left it next to the bed. Eventually, you’ll hang it in the closet. You’ll visit it now and then. You’ll try it on for size. You’ll run your fingers over the fabric and remember when you lived in it, when it was constant, when you couldn’t take it off and leave it behind. But soon days will go by before you wear it again, then weeks, then months.

I know you are staring down what looks to be an impossibly steep learning curve. I know it looks like an immovable mountain. It is not. I know you don’t believe me, but step by step you will climb until suddenly, without warning, you will look down. You will see how far you’ve come. You’ll breathe. I promise. You might even be able to take in the view.

You will doubt yourself. You won’t trust your instincts right away. You will be afraid that you don’t have the capacity to be what your baby will need you to be. Worse, you’ll think that you don’t even know what she needs you to be. You do. I promise. You will.

When you became a mother, you held that tiny baby girl in your arms and in an instant, she filled your heart. You were overwhelmed with love. The kind of love you never expected. The kind that knocks the wind out of you. The kind of all encompassing love that you think couldn’t possibly leave room for any other. But it did.

When your son was born, you looked into those big blue eyes and he crawled right into your heart. He made room for himself, didn’t he? He carved out a space all his own. Suddenly your heart was just bigger. And then again when your youngest was born. She made herself right at home there too.

That’s how it happens. When you need capacity you find it. Your heart expands. It just does. It’s elastic. I promise.
You are so much stronger than you think you are. Trust me. I know you. Hell, I am you.

You will find people in your life who get it and some that don’t. You’ll find some that want to get it and some that never will. You’ll find a closeness with people you never thought you had anything in common with. You’ll find comfort and relief with friends who speak your new language. You’ll find your village.

You’ll change. One day you’ll notice a shift. You’ll realize that certain words have dropped out of your lexicon. The ones you hadn’t ever thought could be hurtful. Dude, that’s retarded. Never again. You won’t laugh at vulnerability. You’ll see the world through a lens of sensitivity. The people around you will notice. You’ll change them too.

You will learn to ask for help. You’ll have to. It won’t be easy. You’ll forget sometimes. Life will remind you.

You will read more than you can process. You’ll buy books that you can’t handle reading. You’ll feel guilty that they’re sitting by the side of the bed unopened. Take small bites. The information isn’t going anywhere. Let your heart heal. It will. Breathe. You can.

You will blame yourself. You’ll think you missed signs you should have seen. You’ll be convinced that you should have known. That you should have somehow gotten help earlier. You couldn’t have known. Don’t let yourself live there for long.

You will dig deep and find reserves of energy you never would have believed you had. You will run on adrenaline and crash into dreamless sleep. But you will come through it. I swear, you will. You will find a rhythm.

You will neglect yourself. You will suddenly realize that you haven’t stopped moving. You’ve missed the gym. You’ve taken care of everyone but you. You will forget how important it is to take care of yourself. Listen to me. If you hear nothing else, hear this. You MUST take care of yourself. You are no use to anyone unless you are healthy. I mean that holistically, my friend. HEALTHY. Nourished, rested, soul-fed. Your children deserve that example.

A friend will force you to take a walk. You will go outside. You will look at the sky. Follow the clouds upward. Try to find where they end. You’ll need that. You’ll need the air. You’ll need to remember how small we all really are.
You will question your faith. Or find it. Maybe both.

You will never, ever take progress for granted. Every milestone met, no matter what the timing, will be cause for celebration. Every baby step will be a quantum leap. You will find the people who understand that. You will revel in their support and love and shared excitement.

You will encounter people who care for your child in ways that restore your faith in humanity. You will cherish the teachers and therapists and caregivers who see past your child’s challenges and who truly understand her strengths. They will feel like family.

You will examine and re-examine every one of your own insecurities. You will recognize some of your child’s challenges as your own. You will get to know yourself as you get to know your child. You will look to the tools you have used to mitigate your own challenges. You will share them. You will both be better for it.
You will come to understand that there are gifts in all of this. Tolerance, compassion, understanding. Precious, life altering gifts.

You will worry about your other children. You will feel like you’re not giving them enough time. You will find the time. Yes, you will. No, really. You will. You will discover that the time that means something to them is not big. It’s not a trip to the circus. It doesn’t involve planning. It’s free. You will forget the dog and pony shows. Instead, you will find fifteen minutes before bed. You will close the door. You will sit on the floor. You’ll play Barbies with your daughter or Legos with your son. You’ll talk. You’ll listen. You’ll listen some more. You’ll start to believe they’ll be OK. And they will. You will be a better parent for all of it.

You will find the tools that you need. You will take bits and pieces of different theories and practices. You’ll talk to parents and doctors and therapists. You’ll take something from each of them. You’ll even find value in those you don’t agree with at all. Sometimes the most. From the scraps that you gather, you will start to build your child’s quilt. A little of this, a little of that, a lot of love.

You will speak hesitantly at first, but you’ll find your voice. You will come to see that no one knows your child better than you do. You will respectfully listen to the experts in each field. You will value their experience and their knowledge. But you will ultimately remember that while they are the experts in science, you are the expert in your child.

You will think you can’t handle it. You will be wrong.

This is not an easy road, but its rewards are tremendous. It’s joys are the very sweetest of life’s nectar. You will drink them in and taste and smell and feel every last drop of them.

You will be OK.

You will help your sweet girl be far better than OK. You will show her boundless love. She will know that she is accepted and cherished and celebrated for every last morsel of who she is. She will know that her Mama’s there at every turn. She will believe in herself as you believe in her. She will astound you. Over and over and over again. She will teach you far more than you teach her. She will fly.

You will be OK.

And I will be here for you. Every step of the way.
With love,


i am enough

I just love this photo. I think the motto I am enough was an important one for me to accept last year. I let go of a lot of the guilt my motherly role tends to lug around for not being perfect at all the responsibilities I have. And it feels great to be free of such senseless baggage. Photo from doobleh-vay (ps is it wrong to have cleavage envy?).
I also LOVE this DIY alphabet poster! I imagine one for Evan's room with argyle and checked patterns of black, grey, and blue. Found on the lovely Design Mom.