Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Yelling at Angels

My mom and I have decided that it's in the genes.

The weirdest, most random and bazaar things happen to us at the most inopportune moments.

I don't quite know how to explain it, but if something is going to go wrong, it will probably be me or my mom who cause it... not on purpose... oh no... certainly not.

That's what makes it all so amazing is that it is completely coincidental.

I would say that my mom has the gene stronger than I do, but I have it bad enough that I can make her laugh at my mishaps.

It's always when I'm in a hurry... always.

Yesterday getting the kids and myself ready for church proved to be a feat that was beginning to look near impossible.

I had gotten all the kids ready to go so now it was my turn to hurry up and get ready in the 30 minutes I had before church started and we try hard to get there at least 15 minutes early, so really I had 15 minutes to get ready. Ya, ya, save your thoughts of, "It doesn't even take me 15 minutes to get ready" you can keep those comments to yourselves because that is something else my mom and I share in our genes is that we can't exactly pull off the no make-up and a messy bun look... trust me... we know it... you shouldn't have to...

Anyway, back to my story: I now had 15 minutes to pick out a dress, get dressed into it, put on make-up and get my frizzed hair tamed enough not to look like I'd rubbed my head on the carpet.

BUT!!

There's always a "but."

Because my children were melting that the 100 pages I had printed off yesterday were now all colored, I just HAD to print off more coloring pages for them because, heaven forbid that life go on without coloring.

So at that point I was getting a little edgy because I was having to take time to find the coloring pages they wanted so that we wouldn't have a major melt-down at church caused by not having enough ninja turtles or my little ponies to decorate.

It took me at least 5 minutes to get some pages picked out. I started them all to print and told Brother to watch for the prints to come out and he was to give a fair share of coloring pages to his sisters.

I was now down to 3 minutes before 1:00. And it was going to take me at least one of those to get down the stairs and into the van of my waiting family members. Realizing I had no time to shower I had to forgo shaving my legs so I had no choice but to wear a really long dress or skirt. (Sorry to anyone who sat by me... I hope we are still friends.) After mulling for a few quick seconds over what I had in my closet I decided that I felt like wearing a really awesome flowy, colorful, fully twirl-able skirt - the epitome of the complete opposite of how I was feeling.

After I got dressed I realized I was going to need to get in the car and just do my make up in there.

I grab my make-up and church bag for the kids an start to rush out my door when suddenly I am yanked back full force at the height of my ankles and almost topple to the ground as I am off balance with my full church bag full of discarded coloring pages I forgot to empty last week and books to use as their desks as well as multiple sensory toys for moments of melting because the coloring pages ran out before the closing prayer in Sacrament meeting.

I look down and my really cool, really long, beautifully colored Hippie skirt has whipped its way just enough under the door to catch on the bottom corner and lodge me into space! Who in the heck manages to catch the bottom of their skirt at the bottom corner of a door? Me or my mom, that's who.

At that point my frustration levels are already high because nothing this morning has gone very right so far... so my patience is waning.

Oh but it gets better. As I leave my room I notice that none of the bedroom doors are closed and I know Marc is waiting in the van with the kids so I can't holler at anyone to shut them for me so that Ranger doesn't chew on anyone's toys. So I sashay down the hall after closing my bedroom door, then Baby's, then the bathroom's and my skirt is swishing and swaying with quite the sound effect as I rush to each door to close it.

Sister's was the last door to close and because I was beginning to get a little bit of joy from the sounds and feel of my happy skirt, I closed Sister's door with a little bit of style... like with a half turn, a flick and smile as if I were in a Disney musical.

The doors are all shut and I finish out my victory turn and... "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzppptt! Wham! Bang!"

I had shut my skirt in the door and I was a tad bit miffed that because the "every action has an opposite and equal reaction" scenario I was flung into the wall smacking my head on the corner of the doorway and tweaked my neck in the whole turning, fumbling, getting stuck experience.

And did I mention the skirt got thoroughly stuck in the hinge side of the door... not the typical shut your skirt in the door kind of experience... wait... is there a typical shut your skirt in the door kind of experience?

...

Anyway.

Keep all that in mind.

My mom and I also always joke that the angels watching us get a good laugh every so often when we do stupid things and tease that they help cause the mischief that gets us into these situations. I guess it's our way of being able to laugh at how unlucky we seem to be at times.

Now back to having my skirt stuck in the door...

I was so mad at this point that instead of just opening the door to release its grip on my skirt I puuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuull it out of the door.

So after dramatically... and I do mean dramatically... wrenching the skirt from the door I start to get really steamed.

So I yelled at the angels to "knock it off!" and "stop laughing!"

Yup, I had lost it. I was now yelling at angels.

After getting in the van, I am privy to understanding that there has been a melt-down in the car because Sister doesn't have the coloring page she wanted...

"What?!!" I just spent my time looking for coloring sheets to print for each child and Brother has the audacity to hog the entire pile of coloring pages so now my frustration level is high. I quickly grabbed his stack of coloring pages and flipped through to get Sister's pages to her and calm her down.

Wait... I thought I printed more than this... I turned to ask Brother if he had grabbed all the pages in the tray and then realized that the printer must have run out of paper.

!@#$^&%!

Marc stops the van in front of the house (because we didn't get very far yet) and I stopped and mumbled under my breath wondering why nothing was going right this morning.

Low and behold, when I got in there, it was indeed out of paper.

I loaded the paper and waited while rolling my eyes and bouncing my knee with impatience.

Finally printed.

I run up the stairs...

Yep.

I tried to run up the stairs.

Did I seriously forget what had happened 10 minutes previous because of my flowing skirt?

One big face plant away from a nose reconstruction I was able to catch myself.

Quietly, in my head, I thanked the angels for, at least, catching me before it got bad and then picked up my skirt like a proper lady and walked quickly back out to the van.

I wish I could give you a really inspirational happy ending like:

And when I got back into the van I looked around me to realize that I had angels all around me... our children...

but they were still falling apart and yelling at each other and grating on mine and Marc's nerves.

Nothing, was really going to change but my attitude.

So I write these things down so that people can laugh at how amazing I am at getting my dress caught on and in doors. In fact it reminds me of how talented I am at getting the front pockets of my jeans or even a belt loop stuck and the little thing-y that keeps a door closed. I'm amazing at that. Truly, I am.

I'll just try to keep the yelling at angels thing at a minimum...

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Moments of Winning

Well, Brighton made it through the dental experience on Monday.

Not exactly with flying colors mind you, unless you count the vomit that kept coming for an hour after he awoke...

But one thing that was very endearing to me was that he was wanting me to hold him and hug him to help him feel better. I'm sure a little bit of it was the meds and a little bit of it was his anxiety, but I'm thankful that a lot of it was because I'm Mom.

He's been hugging me more lately.

Not his typical back into my arms hug so that I can kiss the back of his head and try to squeeze him quick as he wrestles away, these are full-on hugs! And he is getting so tall! He doesn't have a lot of meat on him, but he has long, manly arms and big hands and it is such an experience to have him give me real hugs and truly realize that he is not just a boy anymore.

Those are the kinds of things I notice for signs of growing up.

Our life isn't exactly typical so we don't measure success typically either.

I love talking with other parents of children with special needs because we love to giggle about how we celebrate such, seemingly to others, small milestones and accomplishments.

Like this milestone of being able to do a fancy hairdo on Baby and not have her take it out while screaming and pulling at her hair 5 minutes after it's done...



Sometimes I think I should try standup comedy and just talk about parenting children with special needs and how I say a lot of the same things that parents of typical kids say, like, "You need to learn to go potty!" -- only the one you're saying it to is almost 8 and not 2. Or "Stop licking your fingers and then dipping your hand in the lemonade!" -- only this is said to your 17-year-old who loves lemonade and this is at the restaurant and it wasn't even his lemonade... or yours... Or the experience of trying to calm your daughter who is terrified of new social situations and you are in a public place and everyone is turning to see what toddler is throwing a melt-down and they realize it's what they see as "A spoiled preteen not wanting to be seen with her parents."

I don't think I'll ever get over having to wipe food off my almost 18-year-old's face while trying not to draw too much a attention to the spit I'm using to wipe away the crusties from the meal previous that I forgot to wipe his mouth from.

Oh, and what about those cute leggings my daughter loves to wear and they look so cute on her until her diaper starts to sag and it looks like she's packing something back there... Baby got back!

Oh, the funny of Our Life.

Sister told me today that she didn't want to go to a Young Women's activity. I explained to her that they were doing yoga (one of her favorite exercises) and she says, "Nope! I hate yoga! Always hate yoga. No yoga for me. No yoga for you. No yoga!" These desperate shouts were closely followed by stomping, wailing and gnashing of teeth... quite literally.

Then when her ride showed up she was all smiles, got excited to say "hello" and bounced to her seat.

She puts a whole new spin on the emotional "teenage girl"... trust me.

Then I get a note from Baby's teacher saying that she was "grabbing another students butt" and when told not to do it she "Shushed" the teacher and said "no."

Oh boy.

First day of 7th Grade at the Junior High!


First Day of second grade and being on her own at the elementary Sister graduated from.
(I guess that's her "game face" to prep for the sport of school)

This is Lou! He's been one of our kids bus driver's every school year since we moved here in 2012.
 He just takes turns each year. This year Baby gets the privilege.


Never a dull moment... well, it may get a little dull at times... but if I let it get dull for too long, then the depression starts to sneak in. So, I've decided that not only do I laugh when something is funny, but keep the dullness lively by laughing then too... OK, at least smiling... not creepy like a girl sitting in the middle of the room staring blankly at the wall while smiling a overly big, toothy grin... Ew. Creepers.

Anyway, sometimes I get very overwhelmed by our tasks at hand and I doubt my knowledge, abilities and experience.

Then I have a friend contact me to ask how things are going and I share the latest experience and copy my response to Baby's teacher:

We started her on an anxiety medicine this summer which has given her the benefit of more speech and communication, but it has also added to her need for sensory input. I guess her anxieties held her back a bit and now she just goes for it! So, yes, as much sensory as possible. I will start making sure to give her deep sensory input in the mornings before she gets on the bus in the morning and I'll report to you when I do to see if it helps at all. It may also be a good idea to give her some strong sensory input when she gets off the bus, i.e. a big bear hug, time on the swing or wrapping tight in a blanket, etc.

I'm positive she's testing her limits, but she does need deep/pressure sensory input at least every 30 minutes. More if it's a rough day. A weighted vest or lap pad can help too.

And at home if she sasses we tell her firmly but gently (or she breaks into hysterical tears) "Baby, no. We don't talk like that. Use your nice words."

And when she does her babble or baby talk we remind her to talk like a big girl.


Then our friend reassures me that that was exactly what I should say and that I was right.

Mom win moment.

Let's all think about that success...

...

...

Yep, that was a moment of silence for quick passing of that "win" moment.

I don't always have "win" moments.

Rarely, really.

But, I guess winning the war is about all the battles you stand to fight, so if you put it in perspective that I have been parenting for almost 18 years that's about 215 mom wins if I give myself a generous average of one win per month...

Blah... who am I kidding. I am no numbers person.

I'm all about the feels. If I stay positive I feel like I'm winning a fair amount of the time.

I had to take this pic of him while waiting for them to take him back to the surgery room, but I wish this photo had sound so you could her the movie "RIO" cranked up load... and yes the TV is about 2 feet from his face.


If I'm being negative I probably won't be counting the "mom wins," let alone be grateful for them. As long as I keep moving forward and upward through my battles and not fall and roll back down, I'm going to stay positive about it.

So I guess I'm writing this to myself as I am trying to stay positive knowing that the decision was made today that surgery does need to be done on my ankle.

Yep.

That one I hurt all the way back in January of this year, it's not healing, so surgery it must be.

Sigh.

I hate surgery.

More than surgery, I hate anesthesia.

You remember at the beginning of this post when I talked about Brother's "flying colors."

Ya.

Who's going to hold my vomit bag and bear hug me while I have vomit dangling from my lip?

Maybe Brother will.



Monday, August 28, 2017

Variation on a Dream

I've been wanting/needing/dreaming of blogging for so long.

I'm here at the surgery center so that Brother can have some dental work done and I brought my laptop because I knew I'd have some downtime while waiting for him and thought it was a great idea to blog.

Now as I sit down to write about everything that has touched my heart, tickled my funny bone, dented my spirits, or harshly shown our reality are all memories that are, at the moment, not remembered.

Sigh.

So my hope of inward retrospection from what has been our life lately is not there... right now.

Right now I just sent Brother with the dentist and anesthesiologist on his way to the waiting room.



He was hesitant to go at first, pulled his blanket over his head and curled up into a ball.

When he heard his dentist, Dr. Shepherd's voice he was quickly obliged to follow him to the entry of the surgery room hall. As he walked away I said, "Good luck. Love ya buddy." He replied with a cock of his head and back to me as he strutted to the doorway, "Whatever Mommy!"

Everyone laughed.

Me too.

He is quite sassy and talks back a lot.

We do get after him when he crosses that respect line.

We also laugh a lot because he is letting his personality shine through.

It was a long 4 weeks of getting Brother up early on summer morning weekdays to get him ready to go to 6:45am cheer practices. If you read my previous post about getting someone to work with Brother you'll know how sad I was about not being able to be part of his life and his endeavors and having to hire someone to be who I wanted to be...



 Well, at his first opportunity to cheer for his high school his Buddy wasn't able to be with him.

I knew this ahead of time and prepped for a few days before that I would have to take him and that I would be there. With the initial announcement of this development he completely melted, yelled, screamed, and threatened self-harm.

By Friday he was totally calmed as I asked him to get into the car and he didn't yell at me, scream at me, or threaten to hit me during the drive there or pushing me away as I walked behind him to get the gym for warmups.

Then I sat there and watched him warm-up with the other cheerleaders and watched a bit of his personality shine out as he talked with and teased the girls.



I couldn't help but smile.

But, deep down I was just waiting for him to yell at me to "Go away!!!" so I just kept my expectation low.

Then they came out to the track to cheer for the football team and there was Brother leading the way with "confidence" plastered on his face.

The cheers started and I don't even know how to explain my pride, excitement and shock as I watched him do every cheer and almost every move!

He was a super star!

His teachers and peers kept approaching me to say how amazing he was and what a shock it was to see him coming, almost literally, out of his shell.

I couldn't stop cheering for his cheering, laughing at his antics and looking around to see who else was enjoying his talent and tenacity!

Someone sent a picture with him in it to his teacher, Marie, and she ran right over from her house (pretty close to the high school) with her daughter to come and cheer him on and beam in pride with all the excitement and dedication he was showing.

We both goggled about the progress he has made and how amazing it was to see this personality coming for everyone to enjoy.

So, I get to go to all of the games he cheers at, because he is so proud of himself, feels totally secure in his abilities as a cheerleader.

My dreams may not always come true, but I'm realizing that variations of dreams ain't bad either.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

I'm giving up! I'm not doing this anymore!

That was going through my mind this morning as Brother was screaming at me again.

I say again, not because it doesn't happen often, but because it had just happened last night.

Marc and I endured an escalation of aggressive emotion and verbal attack when we reminded Brother of his conditioning for Cheer at the high school gym with his peers.

Brother is 6 foot 1.5 inches now, his voice has deepened, and although he is very skinny, he is solid muscle.

Being screamed at by him is intimidating to say the least, but it also wears you down as a parent and caregiver.

I've talked about it before that our kids, Brother especially, has such extreme anxiety of almost everything, especially social situations, that he will completely melt/fall apart/freak out to the point that an outsider would think we were either torturing him or that we were forcing him to do something he hates.

When he screams at me like he did last night and this morning, I start to doubt my mother's intuition and wonder if I am pushing him too hard and that I will hinder him in some way by pushing him out of his comfort zone.

Last night, after being screamed at for a solid 15 minutes... not typical teenage rant at a parent kind of screaming... more like a dying, underfed, over-worked, hormonal, emotional, disrespectful teenager. Trust me. There's a difference between your teenager yelling at you and how my teenager yells at me.

Just trust me. Don't tell me all teenagers are like that.

They're not.

Anyway, I was able to stay patient and calm last night and talk to him about the scenario of him sitting in his man-cave in his chair watching TV and listening to Shania Twain ALL day, EVERY day and not being with fiends, learning new things or having friendships. I told him that I can't handle the heartache, energy and and fear I feel every time Marc and I try to help him move forward to do something that he loves.

It's wearing, depleting, and nerve-ending on my emotions, my physical body and my spiritual well-being.

I just wanted to give up, but I wanted to talk to him openly about the situation.

He's really smart and understands everything you talk to him about, you just have to remember to talk to him like a young man, and when I do, it sometimes can calm him down.

We "talked" for a few more minutes and he came and sat next to me and let me give him a hug.

I felt accomplished that I had succeeded in communicating with him and felt like the morning would bring new hope.

Then I woke him up this morning.

As soon as he rose from his bed it was all out panic.

It took a lot of patience and a lot of effort and time, but after one hour my nerves were raw from the screams and the insults and the all out, yelling, but he had finally finished his shower.

I wanted to call his friend who was coming to get him to just forget it and don't come get him for conditioning after all.

But, for whatever reason, a prompting, or maybe just knowledge from trial and error, I persisted in getting him to his destination.

Brother was still screaming right up to the second that Lauren showed up to take him.

Then it was a calm, sweet, "Oh! Hello, Lauren" --giggle-- from Brother...

With no effort after that point he was off to her car and talking to her the whole way there.

My heart warmed a little as I thought, "Even if he only talks to her today and doesn't even do the gym, I'll be so proud of him for trying."

After Brother left I moved on to getting the 2 girls ready for summer camp and Baby kept yelling at me to get out of her room and then got upset with me because I had picked out the wrong color pull-ups. (eye roll inserted about here)

I was quickly reminded of how worn I was from dealing with Brother and all the feelings of falling apart or giving up and I felt myself on the verge of it again.

So with those thoughts came the guilt I feel, and Marc too, for not being able to be the kind of parents we want to be. It kills me that I am not the one to take Brother to all his activities and then watch and be proud of what he does. We want to be the involved parents so badly, but for everyone's benefit, it is better that we have someone other than us to get him through life.

It really stinks. I think of all the times that other parents will see Brother out doing things and wonder why his parents aren't there to support him. I don't want them to think that we don't care or that we just want someone else to take care of our kids. They will have no idea that he has two parents longing to be there for support and enjoyment.

I've judged before.

Everyone has, don't act like you haven't. It happens, naturally.

I've wondered before why a special needs person has no parent around or why someone else has to be there to do what a parent "should" be doing for their child.

I'm sorry I judged you.

I get it now.

It's not about being a lazy, neglectful, or unloving parent.

It's so much deeper than that.

Marc and I allow our hearts to ache so that our children can succeed in the best way possible. We want them to experience everything they possibly can. We have had to come to accept that sometimes, no matter what, they just don't do well with us. We, as their parents, are their refuge and safe spot, so instead of pushing past their comforts to do something they love and get joy from, they fall apart and either use us as the scapegoat or the punching bag.

I thought all this in my head in only moments, though it took so much to write it down.

After my mindful pity party, I begrudgingly went to Sister's room just waiting for the next ball to drop. Thank goodness things went well with her if you don't count the yelling at me when I asked if she had washed her hair yet. Oh boy.

I went and sat in my room and thought, "Meh. This is dumb. Why do I push them to do things? I'm so tired of having to put so much effort into getting them to do things they love or need to do, let alone things that are new or not as desirable."

After my resignation to give up there was a knock at the door.

Brother and Lauren were home.

I half expected Lauren to tell me that it didn't go well and that she didn't think this was going to work.

Instead, when I asked her to tell me how conditioning went with Brother and a cringing look on my face anticipating the news that he was awful, she said with a smile, "It went really well! His P.E. teacher from this past year of school is the coach so when he saw her he got excited and got right into the working out."

She also told me that Brother had turned to her at the end and said, "Now that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be."

That made me laugh.

Which was good because I needed to smile.

Within those few moments of her report to me of her time with Brother, I felt a twinge of joy that it had been a success.

I was reminded of all the many tender mercies Heavenly Father places in our paths.

I didn't know that his previous P.E. teacher, whom he adores, was going to be the coach there at conditioning. What a blessing that was. She even included one of his favorite exercises since he was there.

We are blessed with special angels in our lives who are willing and able to care for our kids where we can't or even shouldn't.

Later in the evening I witnessed another tender mercy when as we gathered with a couple of my siblings and parents at my parents' home for a Family Home Evening lesson.

At first I felt twinges of jealousy that Sister wasn't the one joining her cousins in leading the lesson and being reminded how different our children are. A few pity tears began to gather... then we sang the opening song.

Our kids never... OK, very rarely, sing songs with us during our Family Home Evenings and often are running off and I am singing as I run down the hall to fetch them or coax them into coming back in.

But here they were.

The three of them.

Brother is in the recliner chair to the far right... I couldn't quite get him in the shot... but he's there.




Sitting with their cousins and singing with vigor... well, Baby was vigorous (smiling and singing at the top of her lungs every word), Sister was shyly grinning as she sang and Brother had his back turned to us, but I could hear his deep tones every so often.

We all sang "I Am a Child of God."

My resolve to give up and not do this anymore waned for those moments. I found peace and joy in the time with my family and I was encouraged by our children's joyful participation.

I want to give up.

I don't want to do this anymore.

But, I learn often that it is not about what I want.

It's so much deeper that that.

It is about what I need.

What my Heavenly Father knows I need.

Just like our kids may approach something kicking and screaming and fighting it to the end, it isn't until they get past the fear and anxiety that they learn we, as their parents, are directing them to their own happiness and success.

I may be kicking and screaming right now, but I am slowly remembering how wonderful the destination is when my Heavenly Father leads me there.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Year of Baby

NO! I am not making an announcement!

Trust me...

Have you ever watched "The Middle?"

If you haven't and you like my blog, or if you like me, you HAVE to watch it!!

Anyway, one of the main characters, 
Sue Heck always is so positive despite everything going wrong in her life... 
I love her! So she names her years so that it will be the best year ever, 
"This is the Year of Sue!"

Well, being as positive as I love to be, I am naming this Year of Baby!




Since I haven't really written much this year, I may have neglected to mention how much Baby is talking now. Starting about March of this year she started speaking in sentences!

Not as much grunting and pointing and indiscernible words, but actual sentences.

They were few and far between, but they were there.

Then toward the end of the school year she was talking even more and every body (friends and family) kept commenting in awe how much she was talking now.

I love hearing her little voice saying real words and saying, "Can I have a Pediasure, please," or "Say I'm sorry to me."

My favorite is hearing her sense of humor. A few months ago when she started talking more we were all in the van driving somewhere and someone in the car said, "I like (can't remember item)!" and someone replied with, "Me too!" Then, to our surprise, Baby piped up, "Me three!"

Ha ha ha ha!!

Marc and I looked at each other slightly astonished and proud and couldn't stop laughing at both the joke and our giddy happiness that our baby just told a joke! She told a joke in her own words! And it was funny!

Not only is Baby talking more, but she is starting to emerge from her solo career and is starting to play with others! I've especially enjoyed her budding friendship with my nephew who also has Fragile X Syndrome.


They both love and seek sensory input, so they are great playmates! (This is in Zac's back yard)
 She's also developed quite a saucy attitude along with her growth of vocabulary... not sure how I feel about that all the time, but I am grateful that I can see she can stand up for herself now. I just have to figure out how to help her tell the difference between standing up for herself and just being plain mean.

Pictured below she won't let her cousin, Jman color with her. She how she has her arm up in defense? Ya, we're gonna utilize that move when I teach her how to play basketball.


Baby is changing, growing and really becoming more than I initially thought she would be.


I hate to admit it, but I used to always think that she would be our lowest functioning out of our 3 kids. Now I wonder. She is showing so much personality, understanding and verbal expression that I have so much more of a brilliant future in my sights for her.

On the other side, I hate to get my hopes up. It's hard to hope for what might be too much. You kind of keep your expectations at a minimum---don't get me wrong---it's really more subconscious than something you actually decide to think. It just comes with years of struggle, heartache, and failure. Expecting less and rejoicing the mediocre becomes the normal. Oh, that sounds terrible, I don't mean it the way it's coming out. Nothing they do is mediocre to us. We really love to be excited and celebrate anything thing they do.

The other day I went out to draw on the sidewalk just because and Baby actually wanted to join me.

I was excited to have her there, but also insistent that she not draw on my spot.. you can see by the picture she tried to push that boundary as close as possible. Which, funny enough, it something I celebrated because she was understanding her will against mine and that was huge... anyway, here's what I drew:



I laughed when I got done because it kind of resembled me... Ha! 
But what I really want you to see is Baby's artwork:




She was so precise and calculated in how she was drawing this and even asked me for the black to do the eyelashes with!



I'm excited to have a partner while I chalk.

I might just have to designate her area with more definition... tee hee!

I'm so proud of her. She's such an artist and I find so 
much joy in seeing her talents and strengths shine.



And, yes, that is her walking Ranger, our dog... on our family walk through the neighborhood...with all three kids... and only one slight meltdown during the 2-minute walk... and that meltdown wasn't even from Baby...

It's going to be a great Year of Baby!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Turtle Destination

One day back while Marc and I were in Greece with our friends Tolis and Thomas we were driving along one day and saw a large turtle almost in the middle of the road looking as if it had been working on crossing the road to get down the hill to a grassy area. I was so excited to see this large turtle and had to get out of the car so I could see it up close. Marc jumped out of the car with me and I assumed it was so he could get a good look at it too and, maybe, a picture.



Marc let me enjoy it and then he picked it up so that he could take it quicker to, what he guessed, was its destination.

I was impressed with Marc's thoughtfulness and concern for this hard-shelled creature.

video


Once we were on our way in the car we all began to imitate what the turtle might be thinking when Marc took it to the grassy field across the road. Things like, "Excuse me, this was not my destination," or "I've been working since last week to get to the other side and now I'm back at the beginning!" and "Hallelujah! I thought I'd never make it here!" We laughed as we imitated "turtle" voices and thought up all kinds of scenarios of whether or not we had helped this turtle move faster on its journey or had completely foiled its plans.

I have thought about that Grecian turtle often in these last few weeks as I have tried to find a way to segway into getting back into my writing without leaving everything out I had missed.

Not that I thought the turtle would be my segway, per sé, but the direction I was going.

I've been so worried about documenting my journey for the family and friends who read this blog that I lost site of the point of this blog.

Writing is therapeutic for me.

That's it. For me.

I don't make money at this.

I don't get swag for this.

I'm not on anyone's deadline, due date, or subject matter.

I do this for me and my sanity.

It's my way of sharing with whomever may come across it can learn, grow, find relief, or humor all while giving myself perspective and release.

I see my life differently when I blog.

More as lessons to be learned.

Humor to be found.

Happiness to be enjoyed.

When I write everyday I am able to analyze my life, day, week or experience and see why it is the way it is/was and how it can strengthen me. I sometimes even share only to maybe help someone out there who might be struggling.

So I've learned that I keep trying to change my Turtle Destination... God knows where he is taking me. He knows where I will be safe, happy and enlightened. I get pretty frustrated when I am picked up and completely turned around right when I feel I am making progress and then, slowly, I begin to see why He picked me up and moved me.

This experience with the turtle also reminded me of Brother at his high school Prom this year. He went to Prom back in April. Yes, he went to Prom last year for his sophomore year, which was so awesome, but it was all arranged with his Special Ed Classmate and was pretty much arranged completely for him, date and all. This year was a little different because he chose his own date and asked her to Prom! She is a friend of his from junior high who has always been so kind and good to him.

I was so proud of him for taking this first big step of actually asking a girl on a date! My favorite story was when I told him he needed to ask his date what color her dress would be so I could make the corsage. His teacher went with him to ask her and when her response to him was "maroon," he exclaimed "Oh my!" and flopped (his version of the faint because he is so happy) onto the table in from of him.

Maroon is one of his favorite colors! Maroon and turquoise to be exact.

So I made sure to put some turquoise in too. I decided to make the corsage and boutonniere out of paper just to make it fun and original.



I had the opportunity to be their photographer so I got to see a little of the inside action and it made my heart so happy. Brother and his date were so cute together and she was so sweet to him, but also didn't put up with his shenanigans. It was so sweet to see her holding his arm and paying attention to him. It made my mom heart so happy I thought it would burst.





One of Brother's classmate's grandmother offered her house for the meal and gathering place before the dance. It was a huge success.



It's taken Brother a long time to get to this point, and I don't mean just the dating part, but the socializing and showing his personality part.

Sometimes I worry we push him too hard.

Sometimes I worry we don't push him hard enough.

Sometimes, we do know what is best for him and we do know he needs to be challenged.

Often, we have to pick him up, dust him off and steer him in the right direction and he definitely isn't too happy with us during those times. In the end, he usually ends up with a smile on his face that confirms to us that we did the right thing by pushing him out of his comfort zone.

Sometimes slow and steady doesn't exactly win the race, but it sure helps you to take in the scenery.

I think that while Brother has been moving slowly on his road of life, he has been taking in all the things he has learned and is able to put them to use after he has had time to soak it all in.

Sometimes he gets redirected.

Sometimes we wish he'd progress faster.

Sometimes we want him to come out of his shell (sometimes that can be literally if he has a hooded jacket to hide under).

Sometimes he needs his shell to protect himself through the journey.

Sometimes none of us know where the road is taking us, but we have learned to rely on the Lord and His timing and plan.

I never thought I could learn so much from a Grecian turtle... but I'm glad we crossed paths.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Wrong-Right Doll

Sister wanted a baby doll.

Trust me.

We all know she wanted a baby doll.

If you were a fly on the wall, you knew she wanted a baby doll.

Just a tad shocking.

Shocking?

Ya. Shocking.

Sister is a girl who started out all girlie loving pink, having her hair done, loved bows in her hair and on her dresses, pretty shoes and all things princess.

Then, one day, without much warning, she became a Tomboy.

No more pink.

No more bows.

No more princesses.

No more long hair and braids with bows.

I missed her little girlie self, but we learned to embrace her more tomboy-like joys.

So we have spent the last 7 years getting her Legos, Marvel Comic Characters, Power Rangers, swords, guns and even a punching bag.

All that background should help you understand why a few months ago when she began to obsess about a black baby boy doll, you can bet I was all over that. She began to check on Walmart.com and just HAD to have this certain doll. I tried to find another doll that might compare or come close because I really wanted to avoid paying $45 for a doll that I wasn't even sure she would play with very long. So, at first she was satisfied with playing with my old baby dolls, but then she really wanted her own. So we went to the local thrift store and she picked one out with blue eyes that she new had to be a boy.



The baby dolls from my childhood weren't cutting it anymore...

But, she kept wanting her black baby boy doll from Africa. She loves China and usually has to make sure everything she has is from China, but this doll, she knew would be from Africa. In a panic after a severe and overwhelming break-down I tried to band-aid the situation by buying the only black baby doll I could find at Target that was under $15, and it was a girl, but they didn't have boy dolls.

She seemed to be happy with her new doll that she named, Lucy.  I was relieved that this doll might suffice until Christmas.

Even though she loved Lucy, she just had to have her black boy baby doll that she had seen on Walmart.com.

She was melting down everyday, several times a day.

She was obsessed. Even with me trying to get her a supply of baby clothes from the thrift store and even when a dear friend donated some of her own baby's clothes... she would be excited for a time and then quickly go back to melting about not have the doll she wanted so bad.

I don't want to spoil our kids. I mean, they are spoiled enough with grandma's gifts and my occasional "Oh it's less than $5" give-in. I was trying to teach her that something that big needed to wait until Christmas, or at the very least, her birthday.

Then I saw the baby sitting kit sitting in the corner of her room that she had put together during Activity Days a year ago with her peers. All it was doing was gathering dust, but it sparked an idea.

I talked to Sister and explained to her that she could by the doll if she earned the money for it.

To my surprise, she got very excited!

Now there was an end in sight for her and she would know that she was working towards a goal. It was perfect. Something for her to learn and a way for her to understand the concept of waiting.

Win-win.

So I pleaded with my neighborhood on our Facebook page (the smudges are Sister's name):

Immediately I got responses from friends who wanted to help Sister earn her money for the doll.

The first babysitting job she was so excited she could hardly contain herself. Marc and I couldn't stop grinning as we watched her gather her kit together and then waited by the stairs for the time to leave.



The whole way to the house she was nervously and uncontrollably giggling.

She's never babysat before.

This was the big moment.

We walked in and she was a little timid at first, but soon warmed up and was in heaven playing with the kids. We even got out the flannel board and we told some stories. She decided that I was the one to be in charge of the baby so I held the baby while she played with the two siblings.



I have to admit that I nearly cried several times as I watched my daughter having a typical youth experience of babysitting. My heart kept as I listened to her playing games with the kids and asking them questions. For moments at a time I felt like I was the mom of a typical tween girl. It was so weird to feel like I was in that position for a moment.

Sister was also given an opportunity to dog watch for our friends so she could earn some more money for her doll.

I was so proud of her for wanting to be responsible for Rosie the dog. She would tell me that I had to walk ahead and not to get in her way.



She even went over to play with Rosie so she wouldn't feel lonely while her family was on vacation.
Baby wanted to help too.

Within 3 weeks, between her birthday and Christmas money she had been saving up and her hard work, she had enough to pay for her doll.

She was so excited that we had to order her doll even before she went to school.

I was so relieved to finally have it all going the way she had hoped.

Then when she got home from school she had informed me that I had ordered the wrong doll! And she wasn't exactly kind about the information either... long story short, I cancelled the first order and promptly searched for the doll she really wanted and had meant to tell me she wanted.

I won't go into all the messy details, but I will say it wasn't pretty, but we did get the right doll ordered. She counted down the 5-7 days that it would be delivered. Luckily for all of us it came on a Wednesday (5 days after the order)

I don't think she could have been any happier. She has loved him ever since. I love the names she comes up with.

His name is Jedediah
 But as in any event in Our Life, no experience can go without some kind of hiccup...

Three days after Jedediah arrived the "wrong" doll came. Some other packages had come at the same time so in order to make sure that it was the doll that I needed to send back I opened it.

Sister was there.

I didn't think much of it because she had thrown such an angry fit when I wrongly ordered it, that I just figured she'd be glad to see it go.

I was wrong.

Oh so very wrong.

As soon as I opened it Sister began to squeal with excitement...

???

Oh mommy, I love him!

"Uh, sweetie, this is the doll you DIDN'T want... remember... you were hitting me because you didn't want it? I have to send it back."

She melted and raged all in one motion.

I was in trouble.

Somehow I was able to talk her through it and explain that this doll was the one she didn't want and we needed to send it back to get our money back.

She began to sob with Jedediah in her arms and she blubbered, "I'm going to miss you... we're going to miss you," then she turned to Jedediah and explained, "it's OK, you will see your brother again. Mean mommy is making him go back, but it is OK, Santa will bring him back."

I didn't react and just let her have her moment of tears over the unopened baby doll box containing the "wrong-right" doll.

I taped the outer delivery box closed all while talking calming words to her and saying that maybe she could get one like it for her birthday or Christmas, but, again, this was not something she got to have just because. It was a special occasion doll, or she had to earn more money to buy it.

Sister had fervently insisted that Santa bring her the same exact doll and not one that just "looked" like him. That request was made all while she was tearfully promising both baby dolls that he would come back. That Santa would take care of him and that he would play with him so he wouldn't get lonely. She also informed Jedediah that Santa would know when to feed and change the baby while in his care.

Hearing all of this, how could I possibly send it back? This was a teaching moment. What should I do?

...

After she weepingly went to bed I gathered the courage to pick up the box and deliver it to Santa's "workshop" for future delivery at Christmas.

I might not last until Christmas while she begs and pleads everyday for Jedediah's brother to come back. I might have to ask Santa to deliver the special baby to the Birthday Fairy for expedited delivery...

Sunday, April 30, 2017

UFO laughter

It's the last day of April!

I can't let this month go by with only 2 posts... so here I am at almost 11:00 at night, one hour to go before the month is officially over.

There is so much to say, but Marc is ready for bed and he now has an early morning routine so I have promised not to click away on my keyboard at night keeping him awake. So, I'll make this one quick.

We made it to church today.

Albeit was 10 minutes late and we took sacrament in the hallway, which was not conducive to Sister's routine, but we muddled through.

Then we got in to sit at our normal bench that was so lovingly left open for us.

The kids did great. Quiet. No crazy antics... well, none as far as our family is concerned.

I got to substitute in the primary class for the 5-year-olds again, so they are starting to get to know me and it made for an energetic rendition of the  translation of the Book of Mormon. I have to use all my theatrical knowledge and boisterously interesting voice (with accents) to keep them entertained as I give the lesson. It can be quite entertaining.

We went to Marc's parents for dinner after church and had our favorite meatloaf... ah yes, Lynne's is the best!

I left Marc and the kids there really quick while I ran to my aunt's 60th birthday celebration in the neighboring city. It was good to see cousins I haven't seen in a while and fun to see the happy welcome that Aunt Lori gave me (and everyone else, because that's just how she is).

My highlight was sitting with my cousin, Nicole, and my mom talking and laughing.

My mom is a very animated talker... I know where I get it from... and when she's eating and talking it makes for a very entertaining affair. Food is either falling down the front or spraying out the sides or she has, on occasion, choked while laughing at her own jokes. But today was a memorable experience. (Sorry, mom, but it's just too funny not to try to give a visual to your antics.)

As my mom was talking to me, about something quite serious, actually, I notice a small bit of food hanging on for dear life on the inside of her upper lip. I was trying to figure out how to describe to her where this food particle was and couldn't quite explain it, so I was unsuccessfully trying to get her attention to where the dangler was. It was a quick altercation as both of us just subsided that it was going to be there until it just worked it's way out.

And it did.

She looked directly at me to say something (I don't remember what now) and the dangler was launched into the air, darted straight toward my face, and landed safely in my bangs laying limply by the side of my forehead.

We lost it.

Not the food particle.

Our control.

We laughed so hard.

Nicole joined in.

A few people stared.

We continued to laugh.

Maybe you had to be there.

But, it prompted me to start taking a few pictures.

Not of the dangler, that would just be gross, but just of how giggly we were in the moments following the UFO experience. (I say UFO because I have no idea what the food particle actually was... therefore it was and Unidentified Flying Object.)


Me and my mom still laughing too hard to get a centered picture

so we tried again

Me and Nicole laughing at my mom

My dad was nearby so I had to laugh with him too

I took a picture with the birthday girl before I left, and this little guys head was a blur so I had to do a retake...

Then we were all a blur... I think I was still laughing too hard

Laugh, smile, and soak life in.

Monday, April 24, 2017

WiFi-I

So, for your information or FYI, has now been upgraded to WiFi-I.

Why is FYI not as hip as WiFi-I?

Well, this is the digital age.

And this is the funny life I live in.

My kids say the funniest things without even realizing it most of the time.

I'm not quite sure what causes it, but often they mix around letters or letter sounds in their words and we get some interesting combinations.

Sister is most often the culprit of word regeneration.

"Flavioli" is Ravioli
"Munditioner" is Conditioner

Baby sometimes does it, but she has her own language anyway so we often spend a lot of our time trying to figure out what she is saying anyway.

Brother, is quite well spoken and usually even uses bigger words the correct way.

But sometimes, he makes up his own thing not realizing it.

We were at my parents and I was doing a puzzle with my dad and we were all in there talking and laughing about stuff. At one point we had complained about my parents sketchy WiFi access and in the next minutes we were teasing my mom about something and added "FYI" at the end of it.

Later in the jovial-ness of our talk my dad sad something that made us chuckle because it was an obvious answer, but before anyone could comment Brother announced, "That's what she just said Papa... WiFi-I!"

We all laughed so hard at his perfectly funny mix-up and we have quoted him since.

The best one was recently when my nephew sent a text to his mom (my sister) informing her that "My connection out here is a little sketchy so I might not be able to contact you... WiFi-I"

It is our new catchphrase.

You should try it.

Then if someone asks you what that means you can tell them, "Oh I just picked it up from one of the coolest guys who also happens to have Fragile X... Oh you don't know what Fragile X is? Let me tell you..."



Friday, April 21, 2017

Deep thoughts by Rachael...

I miss this.

Writing about Our Life.

I have taken a break from theater to be with my family more at this time, but I fear that because of it I have let go of other things that mean a lot to me and keep me positive.

I'm kind of an "all or nothing" kind of person and I really need to work on changing that. I mean, that can be a good thing, but I need to learn to accept that it is OK if I don't do it all. It's OK if I just do my best and that my best may not be some one else's idea of "best."

Does that make sense?

I try so hard to make others happy that I feel discouraged if they aren't happy. I just really have to accept that I can't make them happy and it is their choice if they choose to be happy.

Happy.

It really is a choice.

I know I've talked about it before, but now I'm accepting that I can't be the person who helps others to choose "happy." That's up to them, and I can't let it make me feel like a failure because they aren't.

I also have to realize that "happiness" is different for everyone.

I don't know why I am writing about this now.

I learned it years ago as I realized things that make our children happy were sometimes so abstract to me or sometimes, even a little ridiculous, but, then I embraced it and realized that even the smallest thing could bring joy.

I guess because of living life against depression and anxiety and living with child-like forever children I have learned to smile and laugh and jump about everything that is even slightly happy.

And it's OK, I can't help some one jump with happiness or grin with joy.

I just need to be glad that I tried.

I really have to be OK with their choice to either not be happy about it, or to show their joy in a more subtle way. It doesn't mean that I am a failure or wrong for hoping they'll be happy. It's their choice.

It's also my choice to not let my insecurities defeat me and keep me from trying to help others find joy.

Anyway, I hope that makes sense.

I just had to write this little diddy so that I could remember why I blog and that it's OK, if my life experiences don't make some one happy in some way, but I do hope that they see I am having joy in my journey and it inspires them to do the same... in their own way.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

At the Edge of Our Seats!

When I was little, about 7 or 8 years old, my dad built little wooden cradles for my sister, Jessie, and me to put our baby dolls in.

I loved playing baby dolls. I loved pretending and dressing them and feeding them "food." My favorite was the bottles that gave the illusion that the milk or juice was draining out... oh, those were the coolest.

I was one of those imaginative children who thought my toys came to life when I wasn't looking, so I would try to care for them equally so none of them would feel left out. I kind of felt bad for all my other toys because I really didn't care as much for them as I did my big, stuffed gorilla, George, and my baby with open and shut eyes named Karen. They got the most attention and care. Hence, the reason I sobbed like a baby when I saw the first ever Disney's Toy Story movie.

After getting married I couldn't hold on to all the dolls (again, the Toy Story movie number 2-cried again) I had collected over the years and gave almost all of them away (enter Toy Story 3). Except for three. I kept 3 baby dolls.

When Sister was a toddler she played with baby dolls fairly often so I took these three dolls out of storage and was quite meticulous about helping her care for them and putting them away in the original boxes when she was done.

Then, one day, she just didn't like baby dolls... or any dolls for that matter and that was it. She became a Tomboy. 

I was excited when Baby came along and I pulled my 3 baby dolls out of storage and just had them in her room, hoping she would play with them one day. I had abandoned the thought of keeping the dolls in collectible condition—I had learned by then that things are just things.

Baby would get the babies out every so often and would lay them (all 3 sometimes) in the cradle.

Then, they collected dust sitting in her closet for four-ish years and the old, wooden cradle built by her grandpa was now just a holding station for certain toys of the week/month.

Then, one week ago, after a long run of steady interest in all things "boy" and all things "not pink" or "girly," Sister ran to me with a proud smile on her face and showed me my old baby dolls and was excited to show how cute they looked in their clothes she had changed them into.

My heart took a sudden jump for joy as I held onto hope that maybe Sister was starting to enjoy something that was girlie.

It's been over a week now and she plays with them everyday. Baby has now joined her in her scheduled routine of pretend play. I even had the utmost motherly privilege of shopping for a baby doll of her own when Sister and Baby started fighting over one of the dolls in particular. Sister was so happy picking out her boy baby doll. I almost cried while we walked to the check-out counter as she kissed it's head over and over again. When we got home Marc asked if he had a name.

"Phillip."

I'm in heaven watching our girls enjoy these dolls as much as I did at their age. Not to mention the age of the dolls! They are at least 28-30 years old! Their antiques! Oh my! I am old!


Baby getting ready to fee her baby doll.


Sister really did NOT want me to take a picture of her with her doll so I tried to, at least, fit them both in the frame...


After another wardrobe change she grudgingly allowed me to take their picture.

But don't let her face fool you. Seconds after this shot she was bouncing with excitement that she was playing with mommy's dolls from when she was little too.

All those years ago, playing "mommy" with my sister in our bedroom with our babydoll and handmade cradles I never, not ever, played like any of those "babies" had any special needs. I just knew I would have babies of my own one day, but they would be perfect and I'd be happily married to my handsome prince.

Oh yes, there were the occasional soap opera moments where my "husband" had left me and I became a single mom, or realizing I actually had twins and there were two babies and not one, or pretending that my sister was a kidnapper and had taken my baby... oh, goodness, I guess I was meant to be in drama... 

Anyway, I never dreamed of a moment 30 years from then when I would be watching my own children play with those same dolls.

More than that, I never dreamed that watching one of my daughters be so loving to her dolls by changing them for bedtime, play time or outings; feeding them specifically; cuddling and cradling them; talking to them and reading them stories would ever give me a sad/empty/confused/proud/nostalgic/happy/worried/hopeful feeling.

Which is the same feeling that swept over me when I hear Sister tell me for the hundredth time, "Mom, I want to adopt two black babies! And a white one! I want like, 4 kids!"

My mom watched us play dolls planning on the fact that we were preparing for our futures as mothers and she was able to blissfully walk by our bedroom as we pretended their cries or babble.

I never would have dreamed when I was 19 years-old that 21 years from that point I would be staring in the faces of three children with special needs. I never thought that the man I sat across the altar from 21 years ago to say "yes" to would be the father of three children who would forever need special care, extra  attention, self-sacrifice and unlimited dedication.

When you are 11 years old you, typically, think life will be perfect when you grow up... either that, or it will end.

I watch Sister.

Eleven years-old.

Dreaming.

Planning.

Imagining.

Pretending.

How do I tell her that this might not happen for her?

On the way home from getting her new doll I listened to her going on and on about her plans to adopt, to marry, to take her kids to Disneyland, to change their diapers and take them to school. I nonchalantly asked her if she understands that maybe her having Fragile X Syndrome might make it tough for her to be married and have kids.

I was so nervous for her reaction and, frankly, couldn't believe I even blurted it out. We've always taught our kids that Fragile X doesn't define them or hold them back from doing what they love. I realized in that moment, that I broke my commitment to her to never let her think she can't or won't.

Her response to my deep and penetrating question was, "Oh, well, I'll wait a year before I marry [boys name] so it will be OK."

Tee hee! I was able to relax and laugh a little bit realizing that she is just 11 and she is just having fun living life and pretending. And with her special needs and anxieties she has no concept, really, of time or circumstance.

Eight years ago when Brother was diagnosed with Fragile X our whole world came crashing down.

All my dreams had been shattered.

Nothing was going to be as I had pretended or hoped at age 11.

I had never even heard of Fragile X Syndrome.

I had never done physical therapy or occupational therapy for my dolls when I played as a kid. I didn't even know what that was.

Something else I didn't pretend when I was a kid was how my future children would push their limits, try as hard as they can despite their genetics, and strive so hard to accomplish what they are being taught. I also never pretended that my "dolls" had a father who cared so much for them and would stay beside me through the thickest and the thinnest.

I see Our Life through a different set of eyes, dreams and hopes.

Joy when Marc captured a moment of Baby doing the "side plank" alongside him while he did his own yoga.

Learning that Yoga is fun and relaxing.

How exciting it would be when your almost 8-year-old decides that
she will wear a hat and scarf and make sure to put them on herself.
(notice her yoga pose... she loves yoga.. and yoga pose and picture pose are no synonymous)
Trying to make a good selfie picture and then notice your youngest is mocking you

Just being happy that Baby figured out her own way to get warm without crying and waiting for me to come decipher what she needed.

Thankful that Brother can get dressed on his own and even dress up for church on his own
(except the for the tie—Marc still helps with that)


Smiling because Baby is posing, waiting for me to take her picture.
Getting pictures from Brother's iPod from his photo scavenger hunt with the local youth at church

Taking in stride the fact that Sister hates to have her picture taken. 
Enjoying the times that our kids actually interact with each other.

Celebrating that Brother finally asked someone on a date, even if it was arranged as a field trip during school.

Chuckling that your kids have a great sense of humor.

Triumph in simple writing skills

Happily rolling your eyes that she's learning how to work your phone utilizing Siri.

Helping around the house.


What I am so amazed at, had never pretended, and am so grateful for is the 21 years of I-don't-know-what-will-happen-next's with this man.

A date at the gym.
On a "date" at the school district future planning fair for special needs after high school. 
On our way to see Marc's cameo appearance in the local movie, "Tim Timmerman."


One thing I surely did not realize at the age of 11 was that pretending is pretending and it brings dreams, hopes, and ideas. Real life is never as magical as you pretend it to be.

Unless the kind of magic you're thinking of is the element of surprise!

Marc and I have had 21 years packed full of surprises. I love him more after all those surprises than I ever dreamed I could have the capacity to love. I guess there's just something to be said about the one that sits with you at the edge of your seat while going through the ride of your life... it bonds you together pretty tight.




Celebrated our anniversary early with a great date out to dinner at Outback Steakhouse, a night at the local Dry Bar Comedy Club and a quick stop-in at the LDS Film Festival

Then on our actual anniversary we went to dinner at Olive Garden and then hung out at the Orem University Place Mall.




Here's to more surprises!!!