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.