Friday, December 30, 2011

It's funny what he thinks is sexy

Marc saw me on the phone and just had to take a picture of me because he said I looked sexy.

(insert "girly" giggle here)

How sweet is that?

I LOVE being married!

I love being married to Marc.

Don't get me wrong.

We have our trials and arguments.

But, it's times like these that help me realize how lucky I am to spend my life with someone who thinks I look great just talking on the phone and just has to have a picture.


Love is bliss.

And sometimes blind.

But, oh, how sweet it is.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why is it always RED?

Sometimes when parents are busy and the children are quiet we find sweet scenes like this one... two sisters sitting as close as possible to each other sharing, what we so affectionately call, "Poddy Time."

And then there are times when parents are busy and the children are quiet and we find scenes like this:
No, that is not marker... or crayon... it is nail polish. Yes, it is on the floor too.
(Buyers of our house: if you are reading my blog please be assured that this has been removed and, unless you are reading my blog, you will never know it was there) (smile)

Off course it was Sister. Need you even wonder? Although, Baby is starting to follow in her footsteps, I am just noticing that I keep "forgetting" to take pictures of all her adventures in trouble-making. But, hey, you can see that I have taught Sister well... she did add some glitter... you just can't go wrong with glitter.

I thought that she was merely being mischievous until I saw her fingers... bless her heart. She tried. Later after I talked to her about the excursion, she said, "Mommy, I think you can paint my nails." Thank goodness she gave me permission. I didn't remove her fingernail polish yet—she's asleep in her bed with her beautiful nails because I just think it is so cute that she tried.

Our Christmas

I am finally slowing down between packing and keeping kids happy during their break from routine/school so I can post about our wonderful Christmas!

We started our Christmas celebration clear back on Tuesday the 20th when we had a surprise visit from Kris Kringle. We had a great time as he told the kids about all the symbols of Christmas to help them understand the true meaning. He then gave each kid a gift from his red bag.

The highlight of the night was for sure when he "strongly encouraged" me to put on the Rudolf nose and antlers while we all sang "Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer." Yep, I sang too. It was a bit nasal-ly...

On Wednesday Brother got to go with Marc and all the youth 12 and up in our ward to take fruit baskets to the elderly in the neighborhood and sing carols. I was so proud of Brother for going and braving the cold and the stage fright...

Tradition has begun that, that with my family the afternoon before Christmas Eve we go sledding in the fields. Well, this year we had no snow. So we did the next best thing... my mom and dad treated us all to a movie. (Tee hee) I love Muppet movies so I was excited to see the new one.

I didn't see much of it because Baby was not to enthused about being in a dark room packed with people she didn't know. So I got a good look at the hallways, the coin-slot games and smashed plenty of dropped popcorn into the carpet.

Then we went to my mom and got our Christmas Eve food all ready to go and ate... and ate... and then ate some more...

We were all so excited when Santa came and my kids were so excited! Brother was the commentator for everyone and was sure to make Santa aware of who everyone was, where they were sitting and who they belonged to. It was so cute.

Then we got our annual everybody-has-an-orange-from-Santa-family-picture.

Here is our attempt at our annual family-picture-in-front-of-the-Christmas-tree photo:
And, yes, Sister is wearing a Batman costume... for some reason she has decided that every holiday at Grandma Judy's deserves a costume... tee hee!

Then came the opening of gifts! It is insane how much my parent love us. I mean they LOVE to give! There is one gift that I will wait for pictures to help with the explaining, but, all I have to say is, boy oh boy are they creative!

The best part of opening presents though, was opening our gifts from and to each other with Daniel, Tynelle and their kids on Facetime with us. It was the closest thing to having them here with us. We miss them. My mom cried after all was said and done because she longs to have her kids around her, especially at Christmas. I think all mom's want that.

We came home and got the kids in bed and woke up to a VERY excited Brother. 4 am, bright and happy he was ready to open presents. He had a long wait. Poor little guy. He really had a great attitude for the most part.

Finally we were able to get to the present opening and Brother and Sister could not have been more excited!

Brother was so excited when he saw it was the Easy Bake Oven he had been asking for. (He has already made cupcakes, a cake, and 4 pizzas.) He is having a ball being able to cook independantly, and I am so proud of his desire to cook for himself.

Sister was excited about every thing but, I think the legos were a hit!

I always love new clothes...

And Marc could always use another pair of sunglasses...

Baby, however, could have cared less...

She didn't open one single present that morning. She didn't even want to look up from her Scooby Doo movie on her iPod.

And then there was the Disney Arial Mermaid with light-up fin for the bathtub...

We then went to Marc's parents to have food and fun. I was a great day with the family talking and laughing and making great memories. We received some very thoughtful gifts. It really touched my heart.

I was very excited that this year both my mom and Marc's mom gave us gifts they had made. Marc's mom crocheted us a rag rug (which is amazing) and two trivets to match and my mom painted a hutch I wanted that she had bought from my friends, Jason and Amy. I didn' get a picture of Lynne's beautiful crocheted rug because I packed it away already, but, my mom wanted me to take a picture of the hutch so I do have that.

Well, so there is the journal catch-up for Christmas.

We are so very blessed not only because of what we received but because of all that we have.

Oh, and later on Christmas Night, Gary brought over some things we had left there and he was looking a bit like Santa Claus so I took some pictures... this is the one I wish I would have had for Christmas Cards...

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Brother fell asleep waiting to open his presents Christmas morning. I couldn't resist a picture opportunity.

More to come later. 

We had a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Charles Dickens said...

"It is good to be a child sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty founder was a child Himself." 
—Charles Dickens

This is full manual, no flash no editing! I am so proud... just saying'

I ran across this quote last night as I was read through a Christmas book my dad had given me years ago. It is in Arnold Freiberg's Little Christmas Book so I was not expecting to read a quote by Charles Dickens in its opening pages.

When I read it it really struck me as now being one of my most favorite Christmas quotes. How poignant.

Charles Dickens has a way with words, as you will well know, if you have read "A Christmas Carol." He illustrates words in a way that puts you right in the scene and scent of the moment he describes. That is one movie or play I will NOT miss at Christmas time. It is such a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. Amazing. Charles was truly inspired to write this story. And I know that so often, because of his story, we all know that to be a "Scrooge" means to be selfish or ornery at Christmas time. Interesting, though, that if you really pay attention to the story, Ebenezer Scrooge becomes one of the most loved and respected men in his town, so the fact that the word "ebenezer" also means "hymn" or song of praise, might mean that if you were to call someone an "Ebenezer" maybe it would be that they are someone who radiates the light of Christ, or Christmas.

It is also an interesting point, if you read the story, that when Marley comes to visit Scrooge he mentions that this is not the first time that he has come to visit Scrooge, but it was this time that Scrooge was able to hear him. Which says to me that Scrooge had not been ready for Marley's message before that time, but on that night something had opened Scrooges heart enough to be able to finally hear Marley's message.

Are we at a point in our lives to hear the message that is being whispered to us. Are we going to be willing to make great changes when necessary.

I hope I am.

I am so excited for Christmas!

I LOVE this time of year!

I love being able to wish total strangers a "Merry Christmas!"

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Eyes Have It

Trying out my flash with the girls just before bed time.

The eyes really are the window to the soul...

Monday, December 19, 2011

I Believe in Santa

Marc saw Santa a church one day and asked if he could get a picture with him.

Me, Sister and Baby just had to sneak a picture with Santa because we couldn't let Marc be the only one to get in on the act. Besides, I matched and thought it would make for a good picture...

It's times like this that I wish I had my camera instead of an iPod.
You know it is interesting when you get into the whole "meaning" of Christmas. Some say it is about the gifts. Some say it is about family. Some say it is about the feeling.

I think it is all those things.

In Spanish "mas" is more.

So if you break down the word Christmas it is, basically, "Christ more" or "more Christ."

Christ gave many gifts, taught the importance of love and family, and lead many through the feeling they felt around him.

Some say that Santa detracts from a Christ-centered Christmas but, I see him as a figure who encourages Christlike attributes of giving, loving, knowing everyone by name, encouraging us to be good, working hard for the benefit of others, giving his time to help the children and asking them to gather 'round him.
If Santa can represent all those things then...

I believe in Santa!

Forgotten Picture

I forgot that Marc took this picture with his iPod the night of my Grandma Vivian's viewing.

I ran across it tonight and it just made me smile.

Sister and Brother LOVE my cousin, Nicole. Sister just kept giving her kisses and hugs the night of the viewing. They have a "special" bond that I don't think the two of them realize just how deep their bond is. It is a very sweet thing to watch.

I truly hope that, when Sister grows up, she is as wonderful, sweet, outgoing, and beautiful as Nicole is. Becky and Dan, you have done a fabulous job!

I'm Dreaming of a White Elephant Christmas

I just love parties where you give white elephant gifts!

I get such a kick out of how creative people get. But the ones I saw this year were just down right funny!

Janice got the cool gift of 'stache and sunglasses ... don't leave home without 'em

Ummm... gold fish... real gold fish...

The T-shirt

Michelle borrowed Janice's sunglasses so she could get into the true feeling of Pro-wrestling... it even has "6 animated superstar light shows!" this belt was awesome (totally sarcastic... but man, I must say that Mariah does take the cake on the best white elephant gifts, my favorite one is next)

Do you see the picture? It is of Marc, from our Vegas Trip.
That's his (fake) autograph across the shirt! Bwa ha ha ha!!! This one took the cake.
I didn't get a picture but, Marc got a bunch of batteries with a label that read, "toys not included." Tee hee!

You'll have to check out last years post to see the other funny gift Mariah gave that Marc received last year here. (It's about half-way through the post.)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Two and a Move

Baby starts crying that kind of cry that I remember so vividly coming from Brother and from Sister at this age.


It's like there is some kind of "on" switch for my kids at this age that says, "over-stimulation and hyper-arousal set in now."

I sat consoling Baby for almost an hour just waiting out her inconsolable rage and frustration, tears and screaming, writhing and rolling, aimlessly wandering and falling on the floor.

She was sound asleep 15 minutes prior to the fall-apart.

I remember when Brother would do this, it would freak me out. I had NO idea what was going on. Sometimes his rage would go on for hours through the night. It was as if he were having a horrific nightmare that he couldn't completely wake up from. We called them "night terrors." It became the norm to rarely get a good night's sleep once he was almost 2 years old. I remember when Kelsey and Bryan came to live with us these "night terrors" had just started. Kelsey, being the sweet, patient and motherly girl that she was made her the best candidate to share a room with Brother. I was always amazed at how she mostly slept through these "terrors" of Brother's and sometimes would be up trying to soothe him. There were a few times I thought I should take him to the Emergency Room because of his inconsolable freak-outs in the middle of the night—I had no idea what in the world was causing such a young child to have these, almost nightly, melt-downs. We did not have the diagnosis of Fragile X at the time so there was no explanation or reasoning for this behavior that I could understand.

By the time Sister was two, we had the diagnosis for both her and Brother of Fragile X Syndrome. I had learned about hyper-arousal, over-stimulation, and the affects of ADHD. So when Sister started these "night terrors" I felt a little more patient and understanding because I knew partly what was causing her to wake in these fits. But, when these fits turned into her ramming her head into the walls, throwing herself against the cupboards and furniture, I was now having to worry for her safety an mine as she would lash out at me in her fits at times.

I had been used to sleepless nights when we found out we were having another baby so the thought of being up at night didn't bother me so much as being up trying to feed the baby while the other one was up in a screaming fit putting herself in harm's way.

I found out there was a medicine that could help Sister sleep at night and for Brother too. I was so relieved to know that I would have some kind of rest.

There were still wakings at night but nothing like I had been dealing with.

So tonight when Baby woke in a "night terror" fashion that was leaning towards harmful behavior I started to panic but quickly regained myself and remembered that I know why this is happening. I wasn't completely in the dark as I was with Brother and I had seen the extreme side of it with Sister. I knew that I just had to remain calm and soothe Baby the best I could until she could gain composure.

I understand why she had a hard time tonight. I just hadn't thought about it being that age where it set in with the other two.

Sister had a concert with the mainstream first graders today (post, video and pics coming soon for that). She was absolutely amazing and you wouldn't have known for even a second that she has Fragile X. She sang, did the actions, and was right on beat and on queue. I was so proud of her I cried, seriously, it was completely and totally amazing to watch her.

But, during all this I could see Baby getting overwhelmed by the noise, the lights, the crowd... it's weird how I recognize it now.

I also know that all my kids are a bit anxious and overwhelmed by all the boxes beginning to pile up in our house...


Yep, lots of them.

We are moving.

I do think that Baby is starting to catch on that there is going to be a big change.

Marc and I decided a few months ago that we needed to make a move for the kids to grow up in an area with more opportunities for adults with disabilities so that when they grow up there are more options for them. We also decided it was a good financial decision for us as we would be saving on gas and would be able to change up our loan a bit to be able to save more money for the kids' futures.

After making an offer on a short sale in the area we want to move to, we put a for sale sign in our front yard.

It was so hard to do.

We have been here over 8 years and love all our friends and neighbors dearly.

We LOVE, with all our hearts, our children's teachers whom they have grown with.

It was a very tough decision.

We knew it would be hard on us and the kids.

I am just now realizing how exactly tough it is going to be on the kids.

We had 3 offers come in on the house before a week had even passed and by the end of that week we had accepted an offer and had agreed to close at the beginning of January.

We don't have a house to move into yet.

The kids are confused.

We will be living with my parents until the house we made an offer on can go through. (Short sale? Whatever!!)

It's all going to be so hard on the kids.

Which makes it hard on me...

I KNOW this is the right decision, but, I have noticed that sometimes the right things are the hardest to do.

So as I wade my way through the sea of emotion and hyper-arousal I will try to remember the big picture and know that Heavenly Father will bless us in our efforts to ultimately do the best thing for our kids.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mustard and Lemonade

One of the things about Fragile X Syndrome that has always been an issue for my kids (and many others with FXS) is their hypo-sensitivity.

For my 3 FX-ers this affects only their mouth.

Everywhere else they are hyper-sensitive—clipping their toenails would make you think it was a sheer form of torture, clothing they wear has to be just right or it affects their entire day, loud places or situations send them through the roof, and the breeze can feel like a hurricane to their skin. You have to try to make their physical environment as pleasing as possible.

So when you get to the other end of the spectrum with their under-sensitivity in their mouths you have to think opposite.

When brother was in pre-school and kindergarten the teachers would use techniques like letting him taste lemon juice or mustard before a speech session or lunch/snack to "wake-up" his mouth. Once he had tasted one of these strong tastes the senses in his mouth were more alert and he was more aware of his tongue and how it was moving around in his mouth.

Quite ingenious if you ask me.

At early intervention for all three of my kids they would "wake-up" their mouths before snack by singing, making faces, puckering their lips and touch their face and mouth with their fingers. This makes children with low tone or an unawareness of their mouth muscles to "realize" where they are.

So you can understand why Brother loves sour green apples, sweet tarts, sour gummies, pretzels, salt and vinegar chips, and ...

mustard salad...
mmm, mm...

He like mustard with his salad and to dip chips in along with all the other regular mustard stuff like hot dogs and hamburgers.

We store a lot of mustard around here.

We also keep a lot of lemon juice on hand for Brother's homemade lemonade.

Side note: Brother won't drink milk (I've tried all kinds of flavors and varieties) but I did find that he loves this Propel with calcium drink mix... they have it in lemonade flavor. (smile) Oh, and thanks to Uncle Joel for taking the picture. (2 smiles)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Picture Perfect...

not yet, but, dang it, I'm gonna be!

I am bound and determined to become a photographer!

I have recruited several families to let me experiment on them for free photo shoots.

Today I snapped an unsuspecting bald eagle and a heard of cattle...

hey, I'm learning how to do manual shots here, I am working on everything.

Here are my latest learning shots:
This family was on Friday afternoon. They were a lot of fun and were good to help me learn. This photo was done on full manual ( I was so proud) and later some filters in Photoshop

My sister and her fam. I have been trying to get them for a couple of weeks now, so I am glad it finally worked out. This is one of my favorites and was shot with my shutter speed in manual and the rest was the camera... then Photoshop

See the bald eagle in the tree? This was full manual and then a little Photoshop boost

Cattle in full manual and no editing... yep, I am proud.

full manual and then some Photoshop magic, this is actually one of Pioneer Woman's actions -- Old West

full manual and some Photoshop magic

Photography has been such a fun, new hobby for me. I am really enjoying it, and I hope to turn it into another side job along with my design work.

I am so thankful that among all my responsibilities of raising a family and being a wife that I can have things for myself to be proud of and have fun doing!

Every mom needs an out, a hobby, something that reminds her that she can still have dreams and goals.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Do these guys know something we don't know?

We were out on a little drive today and we saw this:
Now, mind you, this is out in the middle of a mountain desert...

A boat.

A house on stilts.

And then at the end of the field is this sign:
We sure got a kick out of this...

hope you did too.

Maybe out there, when it rains, it pours...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Makes me Giddy

I just have to share a music video with you because, well, I love puppets.

I know.


But, I have always enjoyed puppets. Tee hee!

I was so excited when the new Muppets movie came out this year. (I still haven't seen it, but I am sure I will eventually.) One of my most favorite and "have to watch" movies every Christmas is the Muppets Christmas Carol.

When I was a kid I would make puppets and I would put on shows. I have to say that I made some pretty cool puppets. I even remember one time, at a family reunion my mom encouraged me to do a little act with one of my puppets I had made. I wish I had pictures. I will try to find one and post it some day. But, this puppet I made was an older-looking guy that looked like a redneck.

....      ...     ..    .


I just found a couple of pictures! Ha ha! I can't believe I am going to post these but, you have to enjoy the laughter along with me. If I can't laugh at myself then it is not fair for me to laugh at others... tee hee!

Here they are:
This was at my mom's annual Halloween Party, hence the blond wig, I mean, not really "hence" because Halloween doesn't say, "blond wig" that is just why I am wearing one... man, I am getting goofy here. But anyway, enjoy the memories if you remember me as a puppeteer and feel free to laugh loudly.

I was quite proud of my craftmanship with this one. He was about 4 feet tall and it took a lot of foam and cloth to make him.

So, yes, if you aren't family this may have been one of those disturbing secrets you just learned about me... oh well, hopefully you love me even more knowing that I can put on a mean puppet show!

Why am I telling you all this?

I just saw this music video from Mindy Gledhill's Christmas album and it just brought back memories and made me smile really big this morning.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Genuine smile

Sister and Baby love to color and they love to bug each other but, I can still get a good picture in between the arguments...

Ya, she wants to share with me... (smile)

Brother's New Puppy

This is the puppy what we got him for his birthday.

I'm tellin' ya, we are all about low maintenance...

he sure loves her though. He is so happy his dog had a puppy!