Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Making Turkeys

It is tradition at Thanksgiving time to make turkeys with apples, toothpicks, candy and marshmallows.

I had some of those giant marshmallows so I brought those... they were fun.

Kirsten was very proud of her turkey!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What They Said, What I Took

What they said:
I haven't written down all the sweet thing that Baby has been saying lately... bad mommy...

Anyway, this morning she said, "iPod" !!!!

And it wasn't just because!

She saw Sister's iPod sitting on the dresser, looked at me and said, "iPod." (she was bound to love Apple products—remember this picture?) I was so excited! I mean she has been saying random words here and there, but they are not always functional. Although she has gotten pretty good at "mine!" when she doesn't want to share...

She dances to music... well, she turns to the music. In fact in church on Sunday she was up in front dancing to the closing hymn. I hope that gave people a good chuckle :)

Then today at playgroup she said "dah" for 'down.' That was a great milestone too! Oh, the excitement.

Sister has been asking EVERY day where Santa is. She wants him to come so bad. I am going to put up some kind of count-down calendar up to help her out. And I have to chuckle at what she wants Santa to bring her—an iPod—because Baby always has Sister's iPod...

For the past few weeks Sister will tell me these big long stories about kids at school, and I do mean BIG, LONG stories. I know she embellishes them quite a bit, but, oh, how I love to here her weave the tapestry of her story. He intonations, her facial and body expressions, the way she anticipates my reaction. It's absolutely priceless. I am going to have to record her sometime if she will allow so you can all enjoy it.

What I took:
I have to share a few of the pictures I took.

I am so proud.

I guess I have just always seen how awesome the photos are when someone has already been shooting for a while so it is fun for me to share with you my little photography journey. I am so anxious to get better and better. These are the pictures I told you about that I took at my parent's house. My sister-in-law, Chelsea, even took one of me with my nifty-thrifty camera. Oh and I found some great tips at Pioneer Woman's site in her photography section that really helped me understand shutter and aperture, not to mention Rochelle and Chelsea both gave me great tips!





My mom

Chelsea took these of me... woo woo!
The End

How I Celebrated Thanksgiving

This year it was our turn to spend Thanksgiving with my mom's side of the family.
Marc is cool even at Thanksgiving

Me and Rochelle

My dad was having a blast... poor guy, must have had a lot of turkey.

Now this is no small shin-dig. We are talking on at least 100 people if not more... I mean you have 15 kids, who have kids, who have kids and you get a BIG family!!

We haven't been to this Thanksgiving celebration for quite a few years now but, this year I was bound and determined to go and just hope that our kids would make it through. Luckily, at the church building we had the Thanksgiving Feast at there was a nursery right next to the kitchen that had toys and a little table and chairs. I had brought plenty of coloring books for my kids and for others so they could share. It was perfect. My cousin, Rose's girls colored with my kids all day and we had a few other kids in and out. It was perfect! I was actually able to socialize a bit, eat, and even play some volleyball and basketball after we ate!

Yes, you read that right, we play volleyball and basketball in the gym after the tables and chairs are cleared away.

Volley ball this year was so much fun with the big, huge ball they had. I was having a blast.

I even had a chance to talk to my cousin, Rochelle about buying her used camera—the very one that took this picture.

The day after Thanksgiving I drove up to her house to pick up my new camera! I have been wanting to really get into Photography but have never had a camera for the real stuff! I am excited to show you some of my work. I am bound and determined to learn manual so that is what I have been working on.

Right after picking up my camera we went to my sister's new apartment to help her organize/clean-up/move in. I took my first picture in manual there:
Not the best, but I am very proud that it is not black, white or fuzzy... so hey, I am doing pretty good so far (smile)

Then I tried a couple more in manual when we went to show Marc's parents my new camera... but they didn't really turn out... what can I say, I am still learning.

On Saturday I had a chance to take pictures of my in-laws, my husband, my husbands new bike, my sister's kids, my kids and everything in between.

Here's a few (on manual) that turned out great...

I love this one, so candid; pudding face, messy hair, goofy smile — love it!

  and here are the ones I did in auto because I was too nervous to try manual but, I did learn a lot even from this shoot.

On Sunday we had a second Thanksgiving at my mom's house so I got to try it there. I'll show more of those in my next post, but for this one here is a picture, at least of our modge-podge Thanksgiving table! And the food was delicious.

So what should you get out of this post?

I am so thankful for talents and the means I have to be able to develop and work on new ones.

I am thankful for my family, all of them.

And I am so thankful that I live in a day and age where I can capture all of it on camera...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Wonder of a Wand

I have to tell you that my life just wouldn't be as peachy as it is if it wasn't for the many people in it who serve and love my children.

Brother's scout master, Johnny, really cares about Brother.

So much so that even through Brother running from him, squealing when he comes for a visit and avoiding him in the halls at church, Johnny understands that Brother really does love the fact that he is cared about and thought about and just gets overwhelmed by the attention.

Well, Johnny went the extra mile for Brother's birthday and asked Marc if Brother liked Harry Potter and wands...

Ummm, ppppffth!


Brother loves Harry Potter. In fact "Harry Potter" was actually one of his first phrases (if you can call it a phrase). He would even say it in a British accent and then do the bow with his fake wand (a stick, straw, or cooking spoon). It was a real party pleaser (I know, weird, he doesn't like attention but, he LOVES acting.).

Johnny made a magnificent wand for Brother's birthday. He even made 4 other little ones for the rest of us so we could have wizarding duels. (smile)

Brother was so excited to use his new wand while we watched the 8th and last installment of the Harry Potter movies. He and Sister have been having duels and "casting spells" for 3 days now. It is so much fun to see.

I haven't yet had the opportunity to get a picture of Brother's wand other than this moment you will see here where he was laughing trying to make me disappear. (Baby is attacking him from behind)

Brother's Best Birthday Bash

So let me explain something here.

It is commonly known amongst parents of children with Fragile X that birthdays are not always the funnest activity for our kids. Some love them, some hate them, and some are in between. I used to do big friend parties up until Brother was about 6 and started realizing he didn't fully enjoy all the hub-bub.

So when Brother informed me he did NOT want a birthday party last year, I complied.


He doesn't like the anticipation and attention of a birthday party, but, he loves the presents and knowing he has friends.

This year I had a party for him even though all the way up to answering the door for his first guest he was screaming, whining, and yelling at me that he did not want a party "and that's final!" he would always add.

We invited his Sunday School Classmates and he only wanted to invite one friend from school (he can only handle so much outgoing-ness, you know...). I was worried that this sweet girl he invited would not come because she is not in his self-contained small group classroom. She is one of his "lunch buddies." He is sort of her assignment... or so I thought.

Not only were there 9 friends there for Brother but I realized that even his lunch buddy friends really do care about Brother.

Brother would fall apart in the middle of opening presents or couldn't handle socializing for a moment and they didn't even bat and eye. They just know Brother and weren't bothered, intimidated or nervous around him at all.

It was a beautiful sight.

Seeing all those kids accept my son for who he is and not just staring at what he has.

They watched a movie, ate popcorn, oreos, suckers and sweethearts — all of Brother's favorites. After the movie he opened his gifts.

My heart swelled even more at that point to see the thought that went into so many of these gifts — seeing how they know him by giving him coloring books, crayons, pencils, horses, blankets, microphone and sweet cards saying what a great friend he is to them.

I can't express enough how full our hearts were watching this party unfold and seeing the joy that Brother got out of it, even past the social cues he didn't always "get" and the demands on us as parents when he was hyper-aroused.

We were able to continue Brother's festivities for his Birthday at the family get-together for my mom's side of the family by eating great food, and hearing my aunts, uncles and cousins wish him a happy 12th birthday.

It was so great talking to all my cousins again.

It was fun to see my kids interacting and playing.

Brother did not want to leave once he got a ride on my cousin's wheelchair. He had started off opening doors for her and following her around and it ended up being the highlight of his Birthday.

I had to laugh because I think that he now has a thing for chairs with wheels. Tee hee hee!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Wheely Fun Birthday Treat

Brother's birthday is coming up.

Everyone will be gone on vacation for the Thanksgiving Holiday so I took birthday treats to his class today.

I didn't use to do this because, 1) I didn't know parents did that kind of thing when he was younger, 2) He never wanted me at school because that is not where I belong.

So today I showed up with a couple of his favorites: Oreo's and Ring Pops (Ya, so the Ring Pops had Halloween prints on them... hey I got 44 of them on clearance for $4, don't make fun).

His teacher, Mrs. C, being the blessed person that she is, was trying to help him get over his nervousness and encouraged him to hand out the treats to his class. (He is in a small group, self-contained classroom.)

I also brought enough treats for him to share with his inclusion class.

Mrs. C thought he should be able to pass those treats out also.

This is where it gets really good...

He was doing the thing he does best and was squealing "no" because he was too nervous to go to his other classroom to pass out treats (part of that reason is probably because he has a crush on a girl in that class and he was giving her an invitation to his birthday party also).

Mrs. C wasn't sure how far to push him so she decided to give him a ride instead of a push...

She sat on her classroom chair that has wheels, sat Brother on her lap and they wheeled over to the Inclusion Classroom!

Love it!

At first he was a little apprehensive and upset and then about half way there he began to giggle.

Once they got to the doorway of the classroom the entire class sang "Happy Birthday" to him.

He tried to hide as best he could while they sang and then she could see he had done the best he could and she let him run (I like to call it more of a "flit" than a run) back to class while she passed out the treats.

When she came back to the classroom to make sure all was well, Brother had a grin from ear to ear. He was so happy and proud of himself.

Now, let me say first, Mrs. C was the one who gave me this full account by phone because she wanted to make sure I was OK with what she did. (She did mention that sitting on a wheeled chair while using your legs to go down the hallway was a pretty good workout!)

I was giggling with excitement the entire phone call:

Number 1) Because she cares about him so much as her student that she was willing to wheel herself and him on a classroom chair past other classrooms just for Brother's benefit and social learning

Number 2) Because I know that even though Brother can throw a fit because of his nervousness, he truly was so happy that he got to do that that it was the first thing he told me about when he got home

And to top it all off the sweet young girl that he invited to his Birthday party asked if she could bring her friend with her too!!

My son is going to have a birthday party with friends.

I am beyond elated!

My son has an amazing teacher who really cares about her students and kids at school are so sweet to him. Now you can ask any parent of children with special needs and those are definitely two things that rank up there with "important."

It was a great day!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thoughts on her funeral...

I hardly knew her.

My Grandma Vivian.

Weird, because I thought I did.

I saw pictures at her viewing that I never even knew existed.

Like the one of her in a newspaper clipping with LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley. I knew she worked for him in the Church Radio offices way back when, but to see a picture... that was amazing.

I knew she had sung for the the Mormon Tabernacle choir but I didn't know that she was on a record!

I had always heard how much my sister, Jessie looked like her, but until I saw the youthful pictures of my Grandma, I didn't realize how true that statement was.

She had yearbooks... I don't think I realized they even made them back then... (smile)

She served an LDS mission... twice.

She was so loved by her husband that he talks of her often in his journals with adoration and love. I never even knew that he always was sure to give her an orchid at Mother's Day.

Maybe I was too young to remember these things when they were told to me.

Maybe it was because I lived right next door to her and she thought I already knew everything there was to know about her.

It is amazing how long you wait sometimes to learn all there is to know about a person.

One quote that was shared at her funeral really stuck with me, it is an old American Indian saying,
"When you were born the world rejoiced, and you cried. When you die, may you rejoice while the world cries."

I like that.

I want to live my life that way.

I want to be remembered for the good I can do.

I hope that I have lived up to the name that my grandparents and parents have passed on to me.

I was blessed to have a Grandma Vivian.

It was so good to see family and be able to celebrate the life of our Grandma. That's really what funerals should be; a celebration of the life that was lived.

And my Grandma Vivian lived a good life.

I took a few pictures with my phone at the grave side services, they turned out pretty good, considering.

I love my family.

I am so thankful to know that we can be together forever if we live our lives well.

Now some side notes about how the kids did with her funeral:

We took them to the viewing the night before and Brother didn't want to see her in the coffin at all. He was scared to go into the room. Toward the very end of the night he did finally come in and sit on the far side of the room and kind of glanced at her a few times.

Sister was scared but very intrigued and would wander over to view her several times during the night.

I thought they had done well.

Then bedtime came.

Sister kept asking me if she was dead and if I was dead and if Grandma Judy was dead. She was very confused seeing her Great Grandmother's body even though she had gone to heaven. She is still talking about the body here on earth and the spirit up in heaven... we are working on it.

Brother had nightmares all that night.

We sent them to school instead of taking them to the funeral services. We thought it was best after their reactions to the viewing, but I don't regret taking them. They need to learn that death is part of life, it is a process to understand it, but I think it does need to at least be recognized.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New, Old and New Again

I have been lost in all the hubbub of everything going on these last few months and my brother, Daniel, lives so far away that I haven't even shared one of the most special announcements here on my blog!

I have a new nephew!!!

Meet my brother, Daniel's son...

we will call him Mr M, for now.

This little guy I have not even been able to see in person. Maybe that's part of the reason why I haven't posted about him yet... it's kind of tough knowing that I have only seen what you are seeing right now... pictures.

He is so precious and looks so much like Daniel (sorry Tynelle).

We get to see him on Facetime every so often so that is sweet, but not quite the same.

Maybe I am thinking more about this too because this Friday I will be at my Grandma Vivian's funeral wishing that Daniel could be there with us as we listen to what a wonderful lady she was, sing "Families Can Be Together Forever" with all our cousins, and just be able to see his new son at the same time we are thinking of the new life that my Grandma will have in Heaven.

Life is such an amazing miracle.

How it begins.

How it ends.

And all the stuff in between.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Crumby Boogars

Just so you know, when you have a child with a really runny nose and low sensory issues with their mouth that causes a tendency to over stuff food...

gold fish crackers for a snack might be a bad idea...

WARNING: If you have a weak stomach you may not find this as funny as I do.

Yep, that's cracker stuck to her snot.

But, ain't she just the cutest?!
(even with a boogar nose)

She had a good laugh about it too.