A Mind Changer

Monday, May 29, 2017

When Gunner was diagnosed with CAS (childhood speech apraxia.) I always feared that I would never be able to understand what it was that he was saying. I thought that I might never get to have those one on one conversations with him. Or if I did it would be a lot of me pretending to understand just what it was that he was saying.  You know when you just acknowledge them by saying “Oh yes” or “and then what happened?” That you do with babies as they blabber to you.

But watching him discover his voice has been quite amazing. Slowly we’ve been able to grasp most of what he has been saying without having to have him repeat it over and over or play charades until we discover what it was that he was talking about.

Going through this journey with him as made me change my own view of how I see the world. Just simple words like duck or frog, thank you (he says it mayboo. It’s one of my favorites.) and the words I love you as being difficult for him to say but he never gives up. Even when we ask him to repeat himself over and over. He always tries hard to get his point of view across.

Lately, whenever he thinks something is cool or when he likes something he will say. Ooooo I love.... But the way he says it, with such conviction, just melts your heart.

I will be on day 3 of wearing my PJs with my hair undid and smelling a little rank but he’ll come up to me and say “oooo mom, I love your shirt.” then touch it and smile with his side smile and walk away. He’ll have a handful of toys and tell each toy that he loves it.  He will squeeze Annie’s feet and say “oooo I love your feet, Annie.”

When we are all talking in a group as family and we mention something we did over the weekend he will without a doubt tell us just how much he loves it. Even if we know the truth of how much he did not enjoy it.

I started to stop and see the world just like he does, and instead of saying that something was cool or that I enjoyed such and such or even when I didn't like something I replaced it with Oooo I love…. And it has been a mind changer.

Paperclip Earrings

Thursday, May 18, 2017


I was a very dramatic or should I say a “creative child” growing up. My mom always tells the story of how I would rip my pants off when I was a toddler and color all over my diaper no matter how many times she redressed me or hid the markers, I always seem to find them. She said that I just always knew that my toddler life would be much better if I had a colorful diaper on.

As I was growing up, I always seem to make sure that I was different from everyone else. If they wore a ponytail at school I would wear 3 or 4 in my hair to make sure I’d stand out. If they wore earrings, I wore paperclips in my ears instead. If they dyed their hair blonde I dyed my bright red. If they cut their hair short, I cut mine into a mohawk. When my friend got contacts I made sure that when I finally got contacts that they would be bright purple just to make sure it I would stand out.

One time, I went to the hardware store and picked up the biggest gallon of the brightest red paint available. And without asking I painted my bedroom walls with it. Then I threw a red room party and it was the greatest moment of my teenage years.

But one of the biggest incidents I had as a teenager and that I thought for sure I would be in the biggest trouble for was when I took my mom's van out on a night drive with my friends. We had the bright idea to fill buckets up with water balloons then we proceeded to go out onto the “vard” and throw them at incoming cars. This lead to other cars chasing us, swearing at us and then, of course, the cops being called on us.

The cops lectured us about why it is important to not throw things at other moving vehicles all the while I was rolling my purple eyes with my bright red hair thinking… please, these guys don’t know how to have fun. The mom in me now would have flipped the F out.

They, of course, called our parents, making my friends parents come get them and then followed me home so they didn't have to tow my mom's van back to our house. I, of course, thought that I would be in the deepest shit ever when I got home. But instead, my mom and dad thank the officers, closed the door and proceeded to walk back to their room and go to sleep.

I, of course, was in a sheer panic. Am I grounded? Will I ever see my friends again? I went to bed that morning not knowing if I’d wake up or if they would kill me in my sleep.

I woke up the next day like nothing ever happened. It was one of those moments that made me realize just how important my relationship with my parents was and I did more to not disappoint them.

As being a mom now, I look back at all these and more stupid things I did and I thank my mom for putting up with me. She never once yelled that I painted my room instead she made pizza for the red room party and delivered it to us. She complemented me on my paper clip earrings and encouraged me to get the purple contacts as they would stand out more.

She had my dad buy more hair ties so that I could have as many ponytails in my hair that I wanted and she never told me that I was weird or that I shouldn't dress a certain way. She allowed me to go through each phase I had and she laughs with me now about at how silly each of those things was. I am a better mom now because she and my dad took the time to pick their battles and that they did everything to encourage me to continue to be artistic and creative and so damn dramatic.

Now, can I say that I would not hesitate to kill Wyatt if he ever had the cops bring him home? Probably not, but if he paints his room red and has the best red room party I sure as hell will buy him the biggest pizza and hand deliver that sucker because I know just how fun red room parties are.

Give me some purpose

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

It was dark and cold in my house as I watched the ball start to drop as the year 2017 rolled in. I held Annie close to me to keep my warmth as she was rocked softly to sleep in my arms. The husband was videotaping the older kids throwing streamers down the stairs counting down from 10.

10, 9, 8…

I looked away from them as I held onto to Annie, tight as the new year came rushing in and I quietly whispered to the universe “give me some purpose, I just need some purpose this year.”  

7, 6, 5…

I could see myself so clearly that night. I was so entangled in the life my kids and husband that I didn't know where I started and they ended. I didn't want to be just their mom or just a his wife anymore. I was made to be so much more.

4, 3, 2…

Just as the ball dropped I pleaded my case again “Please.” I said. “Please, give me purpose.”

I closed my eyes tightly when I sent those words into the universe. Afraid that if I opened them too soon that my word, my meaning would slip passed its destination and I would be left in the same spot unable to move forward and I couldn't chance it.

This year needed to be different. It had to be. My life was meant more than me sitting on the couch watching tv or doing the billionth load of laundry.

It was time for me to find my purpose.

The night passed and we slept. Me, drifting off without another thought about my plea. The next day came, and then the next. The mundane life I lived was still there. I worked, did dishes, bathe the kids, fought and made up with the husband, slept, ate, watched TV and then started it all over again.

Then something happened, after a few weeks my desire to do nothing, changed into a desire to do something. I turned off the TV, started to sew, really sew unafraid. I started reading again and listen to podcasts of inspiring woman. I started to love my curves, embracing my sexuality which led to more sex with the husband.

I became happy, thoughtful and loving. We started to enjoy adventures together. We bought a tandem bike and then we rode it.

I started a handmade doll shop, then a community meet up where we give back to those less fortunate. I met new friends. It was going great, I felt amazing.

But then somehow the guilt crept in. I wasn't allowed to be selfish, I couldn’t be a good wife or mother if I was taking my free time and using it on myself. It was just not possible. So, I stopped sewing, meeting up with new friends and starting to resent my kids.I again started to notice how fat I was again which led me to stop having sex with my husband. We put the tandem bike in the garage.

Then my puppy died unexpectedly and I watched him fight to the bitter end as they put him to sleep and I felt guilty again. I wasn’t there enough for him. I didn’t take him on enough walks. If only I didn’t buy that stupid sharp plastic hummingbird for my garden he wouldn’t have ate it and then died.   

My purpose was dying slowly and I was letting it. I was okay with going back to what it was. Because it was so god damn comfortable but the universe wouldn't let me.

It kept giving me more “free time” My doll shop kept thriving even though I didn't post anything on there for awhile, I got another day off from work and my mother in law took the kids anyway. I started to sew again. My husband some how managed to get more days off work too and we started dating again. My kids stopped watching TV and started to read and play outside more.

I went to a random bookclub I found online in a facebook community and immediately connected with the woman there. I am now hosting a potluck and literally invited strangers from the internet to my house and I am completely comfortable with it.

My purpose is still breathing and its amazing.

You are safe, I am here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

As my husband walked in after a long day of work. I saw his face, his body stiff like it gets when he is too over stimulated. The stress starts to buckle up and snap all his limbs into one stiff position. That the only way for him to loosen them is too collapse on the floor in the fetal position.

I’ve been here with him like this, more times than I can count. Before, I would beg to find the answer. Why? I always asked him. Why? What's wrong, what happened? Then I’d get mad and scream, Snap out it! Everything is fine! Pull yourself together.

Now, it's different. I might not understand why or even have an answer to why it happens but now, now I get it that he can’t control it. Its funny to me that, it took me having a son with autism the same issues undiagnosed I’ve dealt with from my husband to realized that of course Cody as autism too.

As he walked in the house, the dogs, kids rushed up and screamed, laughed and wanted to celebrate his arrival but they were meet with hostility. He stiffened and held his hands to his ears.That was my first sign, I quickly jumped up and shuttled them all away knowing that this was indeed a “red” moment. We learned with going to therapy for Gunner’s autism that to help him understand where he's at emotionally we use a scale. Yellow for “just fine” Green for “starting to go” Red for “Extreme uncontrollable emotions.”

I now use this with Cody. It helps me to understand where he is at and it helps him to have something to focus on and know that he might not be in control now, but he could be.

As I shuttled the kids away and put the dogs outside. I told Wyatt the oldest. “Dad’s at a red. I need you to distracted the littles.” He jumps up just like I did. (I wish that I wouldn't have to have him help me when we get into these moments but I believe strongly that it helps him understand his brother more as well as his dad.) Wyatt rounds up the littles and heads to the other room distracting them with play. I walk into my bedroom to see him already naked on the floor, rocking back and forth. I worry that I am too late.

I sit down next to him. Quite. I wrapped my arms tightly around his stiff naked body and breath. Careful, to not breathe to fast or too slow. I let him rock me as he rocks himself and I repeat slowly, “You are safe. I got you.” “You’re in a safe place. I’m not letting you go.” Over and over I say these words. Trying so hard to keep my emotions out of it. I swallow my tears and push my fears away because this is not the time for them.

Minutes pass as we rock back and forth on the floor. Sometimes he’d hit himself in the face and I’d have to hold on tighter and say louder “You are safe, you are safe. I am here…” over and over. I grabbed his thick blanket I made him and throw it over his now cold naked body. Pressing my body up against his so he could feel that I was there with him.

The rocking finally starts to slow. I can hear the kids running around destroying the house and I can imagine the pleas Wyatt is thinking as he is the one in charge. But I can’t let that stop me from being here with Cody. I use too. I use to leave Cody alone, frighten. Unable to control himself. I can’t do that anymore.

Abruptly, he stops. Throws the blanket off him and heads into our master bath and gets into the shower. I leave without saying anything, shut the door behind me. Wyatt and I scramble to pick up the house that the littles destroyed in the last half hour because we know that anything right now could put him back into a red again and we don’t want that to happen.

He finishes his shower, heads out in the living room, picks up the littles, throws them in the air. Just as he would, if it was not a red day. Together, we put the kids into the bath, and put them in their jammies. He tucks them in, like any other night. I don’t mention his episode. If this was a few years ago I would have. I would have demanded to know the Why and not let it go until I had some reason for it. But tonight, as I see him tucking in the kids and as he kisses Gunner our autistic son goodnight. Gunner squirms away from his touch.

We look at each other with the understand that although tonight was a red night we actually both were able to let it go. I sigh, kiss him, he squirms just like Gunner and I think, well that went well.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling

(Cody and Gunner taking his motocylce out of our garage for the spring.)

Its been a minute

Monday, February 27, 2017


It’s been a minute. Or months, almost a year that this space has sat, waiting for me to come and fill it with all the joy, sorrow and everything in between that we’ve experienced. But instead it just sits and collects dust. It’s not that I don’t want to fill its screen with all the thoughts and pain and joy that we’ve lived it just gets forgotten.


The same goes for my camera. It sits dusty on a forgotten shelve next to book I one day will read. All the while our lives keep moving with no stop in sight.

Andalyn or Annie as we call her, is now one. She is a feisty little thing. She has a demanding voice that carries. She can hold a room’s attention with just one look into her eyes and she knows it. She is powerful, intense sweet and so damn smart.


Gunner, is three. Officially diagnosed with Autism, sensory processing disorder and Speech Apraxia. But regardless of those titles he is one smart kid, the light in the room. He is so damn funny that you cannot help but smile when you are around him. He can move like a real life gorilla. Knuckles to the floor and all. It’s amazing! That if he ever does stop, I will be very sad to see the gorilla go.

He is starting to speak a whole lot better and now just doesn’t shut up. He can now be without headphones in loud settings. Which is amazing. We still struggle with understanding how to handle his Autism but I think we are way further ahead than we use to be. So that in its self is an accomplishment.


Wyatt, is eight now. He is so creative. He will spend hours on end creating something out of nothing. I find more paper drawn on, more things cut up and more dried out glue sticks in his room then I’d like to admit. He taught himself how to finger knit yesterday. He weaves like a pro and is just such an artist.

He is crazy smart too. Reading on a fourth grade level and high level in math. He loves to be in the known. Including with what is going on in the world. He takes everything to heart and we’ve learned that he has bad anxiety. So we are working on that with him. But he is just the sweetest, quietest boy I know. We call him quiet Wyatt because he doesn’t speak louder than a whisper.

Cody and I, well, we are still hanging in there. Cody, we’ve discovered also has autism like Gunner. So that has been helpful for me. It’s not really help Cody to know that quite yet he still struggles. But I am learning to me more open minded on things that I always questioned. Which has helped out relationship a bit. We still struggle though. But we struggle deep in love with each other.

It makes me hopeful to how Gunner will be in life. That he too, will be able to find someone to love and have a family if he so wishes.

Me, I love my job and the students I teach. I would say, that I no longer stress like I use too about work. I have more time to focus my energy on myself more than I ever did before. Because of this I have discovered a new love which is sewing, dolls to be exact. And actually I am going to be launching my first ever Esty shop in the next couple of weeks. Which is exciting and scary.

I hope to come back to this space more because everytime I do, I thoroughly enjoy myself.


It was bad. Bath worthy bad.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Last night took forever for it to change into morning. Cody and I found ourselves waking up every hour last night and both being surprised that it has yet to move on to another hour. But before we get into that let me back up here for a moment so that you can see why the night needed to quickly move on.

 We spent the evening at a restaurant with the kids. We ate the delicious food, tasting what each one order, talked quietly about nothing and just plain adore each other’s company.
We then drove to target, tossed the kids into the shopping cart, threw in the cart some amazing light up bouncing balls that we just had to have, found in dollar bin area all the while shopping for our upcoming family vacation to Zions.

We get home, to only discovered that Annie had the biggest poop blow out that you ever did see. It was everywhere, all over her flower leggings, all over her car seat, dripping down her legs when I picked her up.

It was bad. Bath worthy bad.

Of course we get home right at bedtime. So we all are rushing to brush teeth, getting Wyatt’s backpack ready for school the next day, put jammies on, find blankets, teddy bears and getting the millionth drink of water before daddy flies the boys like airplanes to bed for the night.

I of course am still dealing with the bath worthy poop of Annie’s. I finally get her cleaned, dressed and I throw her dirty clothes on top of the washer telling myself that I will put them in when I am done. (Which I still have yet to do.) By this time, she is so tired mad that she won’t even latch on to feed. She’s screaming her lungs out and I can’t get her settled.

At this point Cody and I have to take turns bouncing her. An hour later, she finally settles. Now at the same time she’s fussy Bella the dog is whining because earlier in the day she thought it would be a fantastic idea to eat my shoe laces. Now her tummy hurts.

So we are letting her in and out and then in and then out. We are hoping, crossing our fingers that the boys don’t wake up with all this commotion.

It turns midnight, finally. Bella is still outside, Annie is finally asleep and it’s our bedtime. I softly lay Annie in her basinet as Cody let’s Bella back in. We finally lay down and are quickly asleep.

Annie wakes up which is unlike her to feed. I look at the clock its only 1am. I feed her and fall back asleep. Then Bella starts to whine again, Cody gets up and takes her out. Its only 1:15am. We fall back asleep. Bella whines to come in, we wake up, I put Annie in her basinet and Cody lets Bella back in. Its 1:30am. We say to each other how is it is still 1 in the morning? We fall back asleep.

Bella whines wakes Annie. We decide to leave Bella outside for a few hours (we set an alarm.) I get Annie and feed her again. It’s now 2am. We fall back asleep.

3am rolls around, I get a tap tap tap on my knee. I wake up its Wyatt he has had a bad dream and I realize that I am somehow still feed Annie.He climbs into our bed. We fall asleep again.

The alarm goes off to let Bella back in. It’s now 4am. Cody goes and gets her, I wake Wyatt and tell him that Dad will tuck him back into his bed. I still am somehow nursing Annie.
Wyatt gets out of our bed goes with Cody. I unattached Annie from my breast and put her back into her bed. Its 4:30am.

Cody comes back to bed, Bella too. We fall asleep again. It’s now 5am.
6am rolls around, Annie cries to feed again which is unlike her. I get up, get her again somehow and nurse her while I fall back to sleep.

My alarm goes off its 7am. Time to officially wake up. I hand Annie who’s still asleep to Cody to have him hold her in our bed, get up and make breakfast, tired.

Sometimes, parenthood is full of nights that move too slowly only to leave you feeling unrested but I know that one day I will miss the middle of the nights nursing a little baby. And the times, that the only way my kids will feel better after a bad dream is to come cuddle with me in my bed. So I’ll take these long tired nights over any well-rested night, every time.

And they called her Shamrock

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I never use to be a dog person. We had a ton of different dogs when I was growing up and they always bugged me. So needy, always at your feet. You had to walk them and feed them all the time. They were never not hungry. They’d sleep on your pillows and chew up your stuff.  I never use to be a dog person, until I saw a picture of Isabella online.

There she was. A Red Healer So small with cute red freckles all over her white fur and that curly tail. I was in love. She was rescued off the side of the road in Arizona as a puppy and brought to a no kill shelter there. I stumble over her picture random on the interwebs and emailed the shelter about her without telling my husband.

I didn’t tell him because we already took a little rat (Chihuahua shih tzu mix) dog from my sister who barked all the time. He really did not make me become a dog person but there was just something about this little puppy staring back at me from the screen. I just felt like she was supposed to be in my family.

I received an email back from the shelter stating that she was available and that they had someone who was willing to drive from Arizona to Salt Lake City to bring her to us.

I don’t know how I convinced my husband that we needed her but I did. We drove to Salt Lake the following week to meet the people who brought her to us. And they called her Shamrock. I guess because in part she was lucky to be found on the side of road as a tiny puppy and was nursed back to health.

We drove her home that night and laughed as she chased the cats and ran through our whole house excited to be in her forever home. Then we named her Isabella. Or Belly button as I like to call her.

Years later, she’s still excited to be with us. She is still needy, always at my feet. I take her on walks all the time and feed her all the time. She’s never not hungry, always sneaks food off the table. Sleep on my pillows and chews up our stuff. But she made me a dog person. Because she is my dog.
So If I was reborn as a dog it would be her. She is strong, funny, caring and protects my kids like they are her own. So cuddly and has never ending love for me and my family.

And even though I had that dog bite me on Easter, I still love dogs because of my Bella.