Thursday, October 13, 2016

Be Our Guest

Sister got some new socks from Drs. H and she loves them so much because she can wear them with her flip-flops... I think I can say she is now officially a Utahn!

She turned 11 this summer!

Her birthday cupcake


Oh my, I'm not ready for puberty.

I mean, I am ready... I'm past ready... I'm past puberty!

I am not ready for her to go through puberty!

But, it doesn't matter that I am not ready, that already started a little over a year ago.

Heaven help us!

Anyway, back to the birthday. She was so excited to have her little party and we made sure to hold the new tradition and take the cousins swimming with us and have a sleepover. She was so thrilled with the entire thing! But to top the whole thing off, there was a beautiful rainbow right on her birthday so we had to take a picture!

It may look like she's gritting her teeth, but she is just smiling her best BIG smile. (snicker)

I try my hardest not to take my kids to any store if I can at all help it. I used to take them all the time.


I've learned I don't need to put me or them through torture.

Sometimes, though, there is still the occasional time that one of them actually wants to come with me on a quick trip or I have no choice but to take them. These outings have had all sorts of outcomes.

This particular time Baby wanted to come with me. Happy as a lark she got in the car and sat in anticipation as we drove to the grocery store. She was so excited to help me with the grocery cart. She actually did a pretty good job. I was so proud of her and amazed at what she was doing. I know, such a small task for most, but in our family I take nothing for granted. So I documented that moment with a picture too.

She was so proud.
 I'm so grateful that the shopping trip started off great and looked to be a good outcome from the beginning scenes, but it happened. It always does. Something that causes the melt down and I end up carrying a screaming 6-year-old down the isle while trying to steer a full grocery cart down the isle without taking any of the displays out.


Brother has discovered that he loves Grandma and Grandpa G's new house because he has a balcony he can perform on for all the passersby. He even danced while singing. It was epic. Sadly, it was a little too loud for some of the neighbors so he had to stop. I'm glad I got it on camera before it had to end.

So, this is our life 24/7.

Fragile X Syndrome and all that comes with it.

It consumes our lives and demands all our attention.

It may not seem like it when Marc and I are out on dates or backpacking, but a LOT of preparation has happened even for those few hours away.

We have to prep them for EVERYTHING.

"OK, in 1 hour we are going to go to grandma's."

"45 minutes and we will get into the car to go to grandma's."

"In in 20 minutes we are going to grab our jackets and go out in the van to got to grandma's"

"In 10 minutes we will leave to grandma's house."

"5 more minutes until we leave for grandma's."

And this is the basic routine for pretty much anything:
In __ minutes I am going to trim your nails.
After __ minutes you need to change into your pajamas.
In __ minutes I am going to give you a hug and I would love for you to hug me back.

And with all that comes all the other stuff like melt-downs, fall-parts, fits, aggression, anger, fear... etc.

So, the thought of having someone come stay with us at our house for more than a few hours, I have to admit, intimidated me a LOT.

We had been planning for so long for our dearest friend, Thomas, to come visit us from Germany. We were excited to get our guest bedroom all set up for him. I worked hard to get the house cleaned up enough to look presentable and even cleaned the bathrooms.

I couldn't help, but panic though, as through all the preparation of his arrival that we had done for the kids that it was still going to be a nightmare for Thomas while he was here.

The weeks and days before getting here, we set up charts, and chalkboard countdowns so the kids would be fully prepared.

We had set everything up the best we could.

I had done all the grocery shopping so I wouldn't have to do that while he was here and made sure to have every snack and food imaginable that the kids would want so they would always be happy.

But, he really...we really, had no idea how our kids would react to having someone stay in their home for two weeks.

I realized I was scared for him to see what our life is really like. How hard the kids really are. How many times they fall apart and how often they can just be so insensitive.

As I shared with Thomas to be prepared for melt-downs, tantrums, anxiety and all out fear I was really trying to prep myself for the inevitable.

Then Thomas got here.

We had hours with him, just Marc and I, until the kids came home from school and then I awaited any fall-aparts that might occur because of our short-term family member.

I am sure that our experience was a combination of many things like preparation, FaceTime video chats, and lots of talk about Thomas and what he's like and what he does.

But, I must say, though, that Thomas just has a special spirit about him and the kids sensed his sincerity and compassion for them.

I'm not saying that Thomas' visit went without him witnessing a melt-down or two, or listening to me prod Brother along at 5:30am to be ready for his bus at 7:20am, or experiencing life with a seven-year-old who doesn't talk full sentences and still wears a diaper... but, I am saying that I learned and remembered that those who love us can look past the oddities of Our Life.

Thomas became a pro at knowing when and how to talk to the kids and they were soaking it all up.

While Thomas was here we took him to Moab, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Teton National Park and excursions for rock climbing, biking and hiking. In between all that he was happy to spend time with our kids getting to know them and just hanging out with our family.

I have to be honest, even with all those amazing trips we made together and the fantastic memories we created with each excursion, my favorite moments were just seeing that, even with all the different-ness in our family, that we were still lovable, likable and tolerable.

Mostly, though, it was great to see our kids bond with Thomas and call him Uncle and be excited to see him when they got home from school.

I went from worrying that Thomas would have to escape to a hotel for his sanity all the way to having our kids completely embrace having our friend to visit and eventually deciding he was officially family. Not to mention that all my family, Marc's family and our entire neighborhood decided he was their family too! Let's just say Thomas is very missed around here.

When he left for home, Sister cried for a few hours missing "Uncle Thomas" and wondering when he will be back. She still checks up with me from time to time to make sure that he will come skiing in the winter or stay with us for Christmas. I'm not sure that she fully understands how far away Germany is.

So, the moral of this story: If you love us enough, you can be our guest! (smile and wink)

I can't not post some pictures from the trip, so I'll put them here at the end, but I'm done writing for tonight... maybe... we'll see if I can hold it all in while I reminisce through this photos.

Backyard family BBQ

Rock Canyon Rock Climbing

Arches National Park and Moab

Our friend Stephane joined us in Moab all the way from Las Vegas! So fun to have him with us!

Ya, Stephane is cool like that

Canyonlands National Park

Teton National Park

Park City

Thomas trying to make Marc feel taller...

Hike to Baldy Summit

Teaching him how to make and eat s'mores