Monday, September 30, 2013

A Tasty Harvest

It was harvest time for our apple trees a few weeks back. It was a little disappointing compared to the bumper crop we had last year. It was still fun though holding the latter for the neighborhood kids and our own so they could have the joy of picking apples straight from the tree. There's just nothing like harvesting fruit from your own trees!

JJ got right in there to pick the right apples.

Sister was so happy when it was her turn to stand on the latter to pick a few apples!

Nee was one of my best helpers. She even sat out there and ate an apple with me while we reveled in our lowly crop of 2 bushel... compared to the 8 bushel last year, it didn't seem like much. But, I was happy to have them anyway!

Brother didn't get hurt climbing the trees this year, that was a relief. He had fun picking apples with Nee, though. Nee even invented the soccer ball throwing technique. The threw the ball and Brother gathered the fallen apples.

Not a bad harvest considering the crazy weather that we had this year and considering that we didn't get them sprayed for worms... they were totally organic.

This time, thinking about the harvest, got me thinking about the things I harvest in my life.

I realized when thinking about all the blessings and opportunities I have harvested this year that some of the fruit of my labors haven't been as "tasty" as I would have liked. I think I needed to do a little "pruning." You know, get rid of some of the areas in my life that weren't as fruitful as the other areas.

Sometimes in our lives we try to take on too much fruit and because we become so full there are some parts in our life that tend to sour or mold because we didn't care for our time and our well-being... pruning.

Sometimes the Lord prunes us without us even asking him to. Sometimes we have too much of a load that eventually that branch just breaks off.

But, we can prune for ourselves. We don't need to let ourselves get to the "breaking point." We do have a choice as to what we allow ourselves to take on and do.

We can look at our lives and decide on the things that are most important to us and keep them growing stronger while we let go of some of the less important things.

It is better that we let the sun shine through our branches and let the good fruit "ripen" and become abundant in flavor and beauty, than to let all the branches grow over each other until there is not enough light to grow the most beautiful apples possible. Not to mention that, without light, there is no joy it seems to me.

I have to look at my life and decide what is best to prune, to let more light in so the more important things in my life can grow.

I don't want to be the tree that's puts out plenty of apples--small, sour, and misshapen.

I want to be the tree that puts forth shining light and good fruit that nourishes the soul.

I hope that as I continue my journey in life that I can take courage as Heavenly Father prunes me and shapes me in a way that will help me bear greater fruit. I also pray that I will know what things I should prune from my life in order to be more fruitful in my endeavors and service.

"... the Lord doth give me exceedingly great joy in the fruit of my labors;"  --Alma 36:25

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I'm a terrible mother...

Many of us, mothers,  have felt this way a time or two, or fifty.

I have to admit that I feel this way, well, pretty much every day.


It doesn't matter how often I'm a perfect mother because the times I'm a bad one make the biggest impact, it seems.

Like when I take Brother in to the Doctor for his med check today, I was happy to tell his doctor how well he is doing socially with kids at school and with kids in the neighborhood. I mean, heck, he even walked over to hang out with his friends at the neighbors the other day and it wasn't even my idea. He just wanted to hang out with friends! I was so thrilled and amazed that his anxiety didn't keep him away from something he enjoys.

Then, within the same appointment that I am so proud to brag about my son, I find out that his weight and height are still not doing well and he is at a risk of having stunted growth.



Yes he's one of the smallest kids at the Junior High.

Yes, it's a struggle to get him to eat.

But, he eats.

I make sure he does.

Marc makes sure he does.

We know how important it is for our skinny little frog-legged boy to get the nutrition he needs even when texture defensiveness and poor appetite push him the other way.

So I sit there letting my head whirl, "I was so happy about all his social progress, I failed at his physical progress."


So along with all the other things we need to be worrying about, now we have to do double duty on feeding Brother what he needs to grow, and a lot of times this will be practically a force feeding experiences.

So that makes me feel like a bad mom because I am "making" my kid eat. It's such a weird thing to be doing something so simple and have it be such a trial.

Then there's Sister.


We have meds to help her. We give meds to her three times a day. All meds to help her function in her day-to-day life.

Sometimes I forget to give her her afternoon meds.

Sometimes I realize it only a few minutes to half hour after the fact, and that's OK. It's not OK though, when it takes her doing things like hitting her own head against the couch, screaming at her friends, kicking me or Marc, flailing on the ground in a crumpled and crying mess or threatening to punch me in the face.

Ya. I fail.

I hate when I forget such a thing like that because it doesn't just affect her, it affects everyone around her. I even have an alarm set on my phone for all med dosage times. I still forget. If I don't do it right when the alarm goes off, I may space it, and I do.

I'll never forget when Baby was on oxygen as a baby. She was supposed to be on it 24/7. I had to take it off for baths and dressing and I'll never forget when one morning I woke up and she looked a tinge blue because I had forgotten to turn on her oxygen that night!


Terrible! Terrible!

Speaking of Baby, she's going to be 4 next month. Four. There's no way she's going to be out of a diaper any time soon. And if she is, it will be because of the teachers and aids at school and not because of me.

I missed out on an AWESOME photography job taking photos at a store's grand opening this morning because I missed the e-mail to let me know they accepted my bid. By the time I got back to them they had had to hire someone else because of the time constraint! I missed out on a huge opportunity...

It was probably because I sat down and watched "The Voice" on HULU and didn't check my email like a responsible work-at-home-mom should.

Ya. I watched TV! How could I do that when I have so much to do? That was stupid. I have children who are not eating well enough to grow right, miss out on meds and sensory because I forget, aren't any where near being potty trained and I am sitting on my butt watching TV? Are you kidding me?

I feel guilty the whole time.

But, I still watch it.

I become numb sometimes from all the responsibility that surrounds me.

Fragile X Association of Utah, Fragile X Association of Utah's Parade of Pumpkins, Photography, Design, and with all of it comes the publicity of it so that we actually have attendees and/or customers. Three children with a bundle of special needs that sometimes become so many and so overwhelming I forget them or mix something up and reek havoc because of my forgetfulness. A husband that is starved for love and attention because by the time I am done with all of this, I have nothing left to give.

And you wonder why most marriages involved with special needs children end in divorce... I don't. It's really, really tough.

That's the heart of it.

Both Marc and I are so spent on the whirlwind of our lives that we have nothing left for each other. No patience because we have spent it all on trying to keep Sister calm so she won't hurt herself or anyone else. No sympathy because we are so far buried in the mud that we don't see the struggles others go through are just as hard. No compassion because we gave it all to our kids throughout the day as we watch them struggle and strain to be as normal as possible. No understanding for how each one is feeling because we feel each of us are receiving the worst brunt of our situation.

So, you can have a moment of feeling like a terrible mother, or a terrible wife or a terrible housekeeper.

But, let it only be a moment.

Don't let the moments drag on into days and weeks.

Your relationships will suffer and so will you.

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and face the sun.

You are doing more than you realize.

You are better than you give yourself credit for.

You are loved by your children and your husband.

You just need to learn to love yourself.

And, I think, that's the hardest part.

I may be a terrible mother today, but, by dang! I'll be a great MOM tomorrow!

One of my best wife and mom moments was when we took Sister backpacking this summer.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Chalk One Up for the Kids... They Won!

I told you I would tell you all about taking Brother and Sister to Chalk the Bloc, here it is...

Neither one of them were all that impressed with my artwork... meh, I'm used to their criticism...

They were more interested in the interactive chalk art just over from me that allowed them to look like a butterfly. I can't blame them, it was REALLY cool! I think I liked it too because I talked to the girl who was drawing it for the 2 days I was there. Her name was Annie and she was so sweet and fun. I hope she sees this one day to know that my kids enjoyed her first ever sidewalk chalk art.

Iron Man was the winner this year, you can see why! Sister was VERY impressed. I guess I need to do a superhero next time so I can win... ha! Nah! Maybe on my neighbors driveway (wink).

Of course after walking through the crowds of people and all the artwork on the ground, Brother and Sister became really anxious and overwhelmed so we thought we'd calm them down be letting them check out the water fountains in hopes that we might be able to go get a treat or something.

I just had to laugh because obviously they were extremely overwhelmed. They started using the water to "cool off" by dunking their heads in!

Oh, and just so you don't think I'm really crazy, I had Lindsey and Kenna there to help me. Marc was really sick so he was home with the kids.

Finally we found a spot inside one of the buildings to get a treat. This wasn't the best idea as it was packed full of "fun" things to do. Brother and Sister found the playground and we couldn't get them off of it. I wish I would have had pictures of them on that, because that was really funny.

We then ordered our treats and while we were waiting Lindsey, Kenna and I all lost track of Brother. Lindsey thought she had seen him duck one way, and I thought I saw him another direction. We both looked around for him, trying not to panic. After a short time Lindsey approached me, laughing, and pointed to the photo booth that was just feet away from us...

If those Kermit-the-Frog legs don't give him away, I'm not sure what else would! Lindsey and I laughed so hard about that one. I feel bad because I totally interrupted a nice couple having dinner so I could sneak in to get this picture. But, I mean, come on! You can't pass up frog legs in a booth!!

Finally after getting our food, eating it, rounding up the kids from off the playset and practically dragging Sister out the door we were on our way to the car.

Sister was screaming at me, falling apart, freaking out, yelling to the world and trying to run away all while walking through the parking lot to the car.

Then a policeman walked towards us. Sister saw him. Immediately quieted down and said, "Oh. Hello Mr. Policeman."

She was quite fine after that. I'm thinking I need to have police around more often...


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Chalk One Up For Me!

 I was SO EXCITED when my neighbor and friend, Scott, who works at an early intervention program called Kids On The Move approached me and asked if I would be their chalk artist at the Riverwoods' Chalk the Block. It's a fundraiser for a school who works with kids with Autism.

I was so excited not only to be a kid and draw all over a 9 foot by 16 foot parking stall, but I was excited to help get the name out for a great cause!

The theme for Chalk the Block this year was "Remember When..."

To tie in memories, childhood, and the goals of early intervention I came up with the idea to draw a child blowing a dandelion (remember when you used to do that) and all the seeds floating up and turning into the dreams come true of children with special needs and early childhood challenges. My heart was totally into it and I thought of my kids most of the time while I was doing it and remembering all the benefits out children have received because of early intervention programs like this one.

Lindsey came to help me when I realized that the rain was impending and I just wanted to get it done that day. We had 3 days, Thursday - Saturday to have it completed by 3pm Saturday. So with her help and later on, my brother, Aaron's amazing talent to make free-hand lettering look like stencil work I was able to get the artwork done just before the rain started falling on Thursday night.

I was planning on it washing away by the next day so I was just trying to enjoy it by taking a bunch of pictures to remember it by. But with some of my family, Lindsey and other friends from Kids On The Move we covered it up, hoping it would last until Saturday.

You'll have to look at the pictures to see the process, see the final and then find out more about my experience of drawing in the parking lot...

Recreating the Kids On The Move Logo

Starting the base of the face while Lindsey works on the sky for me.

Aaron drawing his impressive letters to match the logo font!

Moments after I wrote the last letter it started to sprinkle so I hurried and got a shot to remember it by.
You can see the freckles of the raindrops.

Every one working to cover the art. We had a tarp, plastic sheeting, a canopy and salt bags to put on top of the plastic to try to steer the water away...

We left it covered all day Friday because it just continually rained.

Saturday morning we decided to uncover it and see what we had left to work with...

I was amazed to see how much had survived all the rain. The most important parts were still there. And, although, I had vowed to not redo it after the rain, I still really wanted people to see what I had drawn for Kids On The Move.

Ta da!!!!!

See me at the top? Ya, I was pretty proud! Never done chalk art like this before! Lindsey came and help me with the background and red box again and we got it all done that afternoon so people could enjoy it for the rest of the show.

Final Product and after it was all said and done, I like my second round better than the first.

Later that night, Lindsey, her sister and I took Brother and Sister to see all the artwork and especially to see what Mommy had drawn... I'll save the part with the kids for the next blog post (smile).

Monday, September 23, 2013

Before the Flood...

Remember a couple of weeks back when I told you all about my dramatic experience with the flood? Well, I briefly mentioned that Marc had just returned from a hike with our Brother-in-law, Joel, and his son J-man.

This was way back on September 6-7th, but I am finally getting it documented here. You'd be surprised to know that Marc really enjoys when I put his stuff on our blog too... I mean, really, it makes sense to put his stuff on here too, right? It is "Our Life."

Anyway, so here it is, my picture-filled blog for the week.

Enjoy the hike through the tranquil scenery photos and get and idea of the fun they had when you see them in the shots too.

Marc, J-man and Joel

This photo has no editing and is perfectly beautiful from Joel's camera.

Getting dinner ready.

I love this shot Marc got of the clouds reflected into the lake.

There were actually some other hikers they passed by so they were able to get some group shots.

Marc said that this was one of the most beautiful hikes he's been on... he says that about all of them.

He LOVES hiking.

(Side note: The shirt that Marc is wearing is one I designed for a 5k Fun Run. Spiffy, eh?)