Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The babies at the berry patch.

The time to make memories. 
To toss aside the routine and craziness the school schedule provides.
To embrace the calm. The open spaces. And the freedom. 
I truly had my heart set on taking the girls to the blueberry patch. I don't quite know why. 
I don't remember going to any type of fruit picking when I was little. 
And honestly I don't love blueberries. 
But it just seemed like a fun things to do. A fun memory to make. 
Luckily I had a girlfriend who was up for a last minute adventure. We spent the morning packing sippy cups, diaper wipes and lathering the babies up with sun screen. 
We loaded up in my van, listened to high voiced stories, and Emmaus' never ending plea's for "More Music" from the back seat. All while fitting in some much needed mommy conversation. 

The blueberry picking began. 
My girls probably ate as many as we bought. 

 Shiloh like to pick them, however her speciality was finding ones on the ground and eating them. 
I let her. Of course. 
Brushing the dirt off her face periodically.

 And Emmaus-  in her typical Emmaus fashion she sat in the middle of the row drinking her cup, enjoying her own company. Refused to pick any blueberries actually off the bushes (which was part of my thinking- that it would be an excellent fine motor activity for her).   She shoveled blueberries into her mouth by the fist full- until I took the bucket away. And then had a bit of a meltdown. So she rode on my back while we picked berries. (Side note- wearing Emmaus has saved my life. And pretty instantly calms her. Something about her sensory issues and being tightly held/worn by me. MAGIC)

We ended our trip with incredible thunder top blueberry muffins. Imagine still warm blueberry muffins with cinnamon on top. So yum.
 Blueberry faces all around. 

I think this was the first of many trips to the berry patch.


Friday, July 11, 2014

And thats a wrap. First year of preschool is complete!

I do not claim to be an expert at raising a child with special needs. In fact, I fail. A lot.
I often find myself at a loss at how to help her. I do not possess supernatural patience. We probably watch too much "Daniel Tiger". And it is quite possible that I let her watch 4754839498 Adele Music videos and covers today- because she kept saying & signing "more music" and then said "Adele" when I asked her if she wanted Adele. (The girl is obsessed with Adele. Could be worse I suppose- but I am a bit sick of Adele)  -In case you missed it- that is two words a row. Practically a sentence. Bam. My kid speaks.
So my point...  I am not a natural at this special needs parenting thing and I probably wouldn't have chosen this road if I had been given a choice. (I would have missed out majorly)
So I find myself in awe of people who chose to work with Special needs kids.
We had the opportunity to send Emmaus to an incredible developmental preschool this last year.
Full of people who chose to build their careers around children with special needs.
Teachers. Therapists. Administrators.
It is truly incredible and honestly blows my mind.
I was terrified to send Emmaus to school. Would they like her? Would they be kind to her? Would they make her feel safe and loved?
Every aspect of the school was incredible. Her therapies were in house. Her teacher & para amazing! She ever had the reception girl wrapped around her finger- they would visit and she would ring the bell.
I basically loved all of it- minus the price tag and the ridiculous drive during rush hour down town twice a day.
Yesterday was our last day. (she will receive preschool services in our school district starting in Aug)
I maybe cried a lot. Like ugly cried.
I cried in the morning when she refused to take a picture by herself. You know- I just wanted a good last day of school pic- and I even got mad when she threw a fit about it. FAIL.
I cried after I dropped her off, thinking of how much she has changed and all she has accomplished in the year.
First day of School Aug 2013 
(She wasn't even walking yet!!- And did her bangs seriously look like that?)
I cried when I picked her up, and when I read all the sweet things her teachers and therapists wrote about her.
BAH. And now I have to do this every single year for the next 15?
I hope we are always so lucky to have wonderful teachers and experiences.

 Emmaus with her wonderful teacher! They had such a great bond from the beginning! We are very lucky to have had such an incredible teacher for her first year!

Last day of school July 2014 
 No but seriously- this is more realistic to how the morning went. 
 The drama...


Monday, June 30, 2014

An Excellent Day

Yesterday was a good day. A really good day.
I would say good days for us are far and few between. Don't get me wrong. We have a list of things we are thankful for daily, and we have great moments each day. But generally speaking Emmaus has a lot more hard moments than good ones. And So I have conditioned myself to have pretty low expectations. For example. I took treats to school on her birthday and she basically lost her shit. She freaked out, pulled her hair, screamed, threw the pretend cake her teacher had set out. She did enjoy the singing. And I enjoyed the grace her teacher extended to her. And the fact that her teacher knew the music that would make Emmaus happy and played it during snack time. But overall- I wasn't surprised by her reaction or disappointed- like I would have been six months ago. I am learning to keep my expectations low and then when a good day comes- I am pleasantly surprised!
And yesterday we were surprised by a really good day.
She woke up happy. She went to target with her dad and sister and didn't have a single melt down. She walked around all day embracing the knees of those around her giving the best hugs! I heard her say words I have never heard before! (Strawberry, downstairs) She took a nap. And all of this happened on the day we had planned her little birthday party.

I even had a little craft time in the morning to finish this book garland- which always is a plus. Creating anything is good for my soul! 

She was ecstatic to see some of her favorite people. She didn't freak out when we sang to her, or cry when she got overwhelmed. She just was a fun happy girl.

She even enjoyed opening her presents, which has never happened before! 

 And then baby sis capped off the party by taking 5 big steps in front of the remaining family! I have been convinced she would start walking while Dan and I are out of town this week.  We missed Emmaus' first steps because they happened during physical therapy at school- so it was very fun to see Shiloh's!

I am thankful for the rest a wonderful day provides. Yesterday will be a shining memory in my mind for a long time to come. Happy girl. Stepping baby. Sweet times indeed.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I'm starting a new club

Fear is a funny thing.
My best friend and I talk about fear a lot. She is a naturally fearful person. I do not happen to be a naturally fearful person- but I have a lot of fearful things generally present in my life. 
She generally fears the typical "parent fears". Horrible germs, strangers, "I heard on the news" scenerios.

I tend to fear things equally as dark. Seizures that we could miss- leading to the ultimate fear of any parent- death. Okay- well basically that is my main fear. (I also fear vomiting and explosive poo- cause OMG so gross-)

What I am saying is we both fear. A LOT. Whether our nature (or nurture- however you want to look at it)  is prone to fear, or to be more go with the flow- fear is a daily struggle for BOTH of us. So I assume we aren't alone in this little fear club of ours.

Somehow we have convinced ourselves that by worrying about things and fearing things we have some control over those things. Which is just absolutely false.

I shared with a friend today that I was unreasonabily fearful about Emmaus right now. She has been acting a little off, and my mommy gut tells me something is up. Her response was so life giving.
"That means we need to pray. Our God loves to deliver us from all of our fears and bring healing and peace into our souls and our famlies."
And the good news is- I believe this! Fully.

I believe being a parent is such a good tool to drive you close to the Lord. Because you ultimately are not in control of the lives you have been give to guide. And while you must guide and protect where you can... You must trust in the Lord to do the rest.

So today. As I struggle with being overwhelmed with fear. I just figured I would name it. And instead choose to stand in the place of truth. A place where reality still exists. Something may be brewing with Emmaus- but that no matter what- in that the Lord will not forsake me. He stands with me in this place of truth- and reality. And while the reality of our lives may mean seizures are present or lurking under the surface. Reality also is-
That the Lord is faithful.
He Loves me.
And He is bringing good news.

You can join my truth club if you want. (Positions for co-encouragers and retrivalist- (those who go get members who have fallen back in to fear) are currently open)  


Monday, June 23, 2014

Cinnamon Sugar

Few things make me quite as nostalgic as sharing some of my favorite childhood things with my daughters.

This morning it was cinnamon toast.

Perfectly made. Crunchy, but somewhat soft from using too much butter, and then saturated with sweet, cinnamony, goodness. Just like my mom made it.

The typical chaos slowed amongst the signs, and spoken "muh muh" and squeals from the small one  (who had woken up super early and had already had two breakfast's)  Never fighting each other for the next bite but each knowing there was plenty to be had. It was a moment in time I will remember as a mom.
              Two girls.  Their rose bud sugar coated lips. And and lots of bites and happy girls later.

Now... Maybe we should try orange julius. Hey mom- can you email me the recipe?


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Starbucks Love

I met my husband working at starbucks.
Well I suppose I really met him while studying at starbucks. We both worked there. He was the new assistant manager and while reading some assigned reading after my first day of nursing school (I assure you that is the one and only time I actually read the assigned reading- first day vigor I tell you) the store manager introduced us.
It wasn't love at first sight. Well I mean- he swears he thought I was the "hot girl" of the store- so he was interested. And I truly just wanted someone to be interested.

I was coming out of a 4 year long very messed up broken relationship. I was down on myself due in huge part to lies I believed about myself spoken from an immature young man (we both were) who I was so madly-abandon all your good sense and principles- in love with.

Anyway, our relationship started slowly. In fact for a long while nothing happened. I jokingly refused to call him Dan- instead I called him STAN- because Dan was the name of the guy I had dated before.
Can you imagine? I actually called him Stan for months.

By Christmas I liked him.

He dressed up like Santa for the PV Starbucks christmas party. Which showed me he wasn't above a little self embarrassment for the greater good. And for the employee christmas party I was crushed when he sat next to another girl the whole night and volunteered to leave early to close the store. However- a friend and I took his white elephant gift to him after the party.

By spring I went out of my way to "stop by the store" when I was off work looking all cute cause I knew he was working.

We had our first date in March- which truly wasn't a date at all and involved me heading over to his house after babysitting and hanging out from 12-5am. We played heads up poker all night and got to know each other. The whole night he kept saying "lets wager something" knowing he meant a kiss- but I refused to offer, and he was too polite to ask.

Early summer I transferred to a new Starbucks so we could "legally date"- since he was my boss.

By late summer I was in love.

Dan's natural calm, his quiet confidence and his sense of humor caught my attention.  His incredibly hard work ethic, and him being my intellectual counterpart captured me. And his honest, incredible love for me made me fall right back in love with him.

This is super simplifying our relationship- it wasn't easy- because I still had many feelings for my ex,  however Dan never pushed me. He held our relationship very openly and never made any demands. Yet he was always so good to me.
He still is.

He asked me to be his forever

We just celebrated being married for five years. He got me the most thoughtful gift. Our vows carved on wood.

The last line of our vows says "I promise to walk confidently with you on the Path God has chosen for us.

I had forgotten about this part. We wrote our vows together- and I love that before we had any idea of our life path, before we knew the trials we could meet we promised to walk confidently together.

Sometimes I wonder if had known what our path would hold, and how hard marriage truly is if I would have chosen to get married.
But I guess that is the truth about anything. If you aren't willing to endure the hard stuff- the good stuff gets missed. And man our good is SO sweet. Because we have lived in the desert, when we get to rest in the meadow we truly appreciate the calm, the cool and peace of life.

I am thankful every day for the Man I get to spend my life with. He is incredible. And he loves me so well.
Our life is beautiful, and so very messy. And I wouldn't have it any other way.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014


This week I found myself filling out information for Emmaus' first IEP evaluation. IEP for those unfamiliar is the special education plan for those that have special learning needs.
It basically was one of the more discouraging moments of my life. There is nothing quite like filling out "No" on page after page of skills that your child cannot do.

I finally stopped working on it after the question "What are your child's strengths".
Que crickets.....
She has lots of them. But I know the ones that immediately came to mind were not what the question was looking for.

1.Emmaus is an Excellent Cuddler.

2.Emmaus is very affectionate.

3.Emmaus loves her sister fiercely.
4. Emmaus is an excellent teacher.
             -Especially in the areas of patience, hope, and Lord's faithfulness.

Emmaus reminds me that this earth is not my home. And while I struggle still when I have to look at the reality of "where she is"  verses  "where she could be".  I am very proud of her strengths.  (Very proud of her in general)

Overall her evaluation went well. She showed she has "behavioral issues" and "transition problems" by screaming/refusing to participate for the first 30 minutes. Then she began to warm up and show off some of her skills.
After being told multiple times by several different sources that she likely would not qualify for classroom preschool services. She qualified for FULL services!
We are both excited about this- and sad at the thought of leaving her current school that we love so very much.
The actual hours spent in school will be less, but it will be more of a routine. And since we will not be paying for private education I will be able to be home with the girls more. Giving more stability overall to her daily schedule.

Sis- you are incredible. You teach your mommy every day. 
You are my biggest challenge, an incredible joy & seriously- the BEST cuddler I know.