Saturday, December 29, 2012

I Can! My Resolution for 2013

I've made a resolution for my life, and it's coincidentally happening at the same time as the coming of the new year. So, I'll just go ahead and call it a New Year's Resolution, even though I don't usually make those. 

The last few weeks I've been feeling like nothings working out the way I want it to...again. This seems to happen to me a lot. I go through phases where everything is going awesome, then everything sucks, then everything is going awesome, then everything sucks, and on and on. Maybe this is typical for human beings, or maybe I'm just manic. I don't know. What I do know, however, is that the sucky times really are sucky, and I can get into a real funk about life when they happen.

Lately I've been  focusing on all the things I can't do, and feeling like my list of can'ts keeps getting longer and longer and longer. I've been obsessing so much on trying to do all the things I simply can't do, that I can't feel happy for the things I can do! This is no bueno!

Last night as I was wallowing in my misery, once again,  I realized (most powerfully) that this wallowing was taking away from my happiness in the here and now. 

My New years Resolution is to stay focused on the things I CAN do, and stop obsessing over the things I have no control over. Whenever an "I can't" thought comes my way, I am going to replace it with something I
can do.

Let's practice.

I can't surf as much as I want to.
 I can live by the ocean and  when I do get to surf, it's awesome!

I can't ride bicycles everywhere with my kids because the streets here REALLY ARE are dangerous, and it pours rain every minute.
 I can do other fun things like take my kids to the beach, and teach them how to play tennis, and go on long jogs when my husband gets home from work, and ride bikes at coconut island.

I can't find time to write the book of my dreams.
 I can be an amazing mom who is thoroughly enjoying my kids while they are little. I can read them stories, and teach them games, and cuddle their cuteness all day....and write on my blog.

I can't feel inspired to homeschool my kids without a supportive community of homeschoolers around me.
I can enjoy the special time we have together as a family to learn, and build lasting bonds together, and I can appreciate the wonderful friendships that we've made.

I can't lose the rest of this baby fat.
I can play a mean game of freeze tag with my kids! I can run, and jump, and laugh, and play, because I am strong and healthy!

There. It's pretty easy, right?.

Go ahead and give it a try! May all your can'ts turn into cans, and may all your cans turn into happiness for 2013!
Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Recycling for Christmas

It was about three months ago that our kids found out that empty cans and bottles are worth 5 cents a piece when turned in. Since we rarely ever buy disposable drinks at our house,  I didn't even think of telling them! But guess what? Other people purchase drinks. And these disposable-drink consuming people  not only buy them in mass quantities, but they abandon and scatter their empty recyclables all over town!

So, our kids have a new, industrious hobby. They can spot a can a mile away, and never come home from an outing empty handed.
Everywhere our family goes, I hear excited voices shouting,  "Mom! I found a can!" Or, "Mom, another bottle to add to my collection!"

Then I  hear them adding up the amounts in the backseat of the car on the way home, bragging about how many recyclables they each found at the park, or the beach, or the nearby school.
This past weekend we walked over to the baseball park near our house, only to find the trash cans were overflowing with Gatorade bottles, water bottles, and soda cans. After filling three grocery bags, we went home with about $3 in recycle money. My kids were elated!

Watching as the recycle center workers sort the goods.

Waiting patiently at the cashiers, for the final money count


My sweet Odin spent all his recycle savings on Christmas gifts for our family.
My sweet Zadok spent about half of his on Christmas gifts and put the rest away for savings.
What better way to celebrate the season than to give sincere gifts of love that you earned yourself, plus give the gift of recycling to mother earth!

On a somewhat related  note, my mom often reminds me of the time when I was about 9 years old and our family didn't have enough money to purchase my Tahitian dance costume, so we spent all our extra time collecting cans off the streets. I earned $300 dollars that summer, and will never forget the lesson it taught me in being resourceful. I will also never forget how awkwardly hauole I look in a Polynesian dance costume.
Sally, circa 1980's. Laie, Hawaii
Since Christmas is just a few days away, we've planned a little surprise for our two, older boys. Thanks to the donations of generous friends, they are each getting a large bag full of empty recyclables for Christmas!  yay! Complete with a large, red ribbon on top! You might think this is a little eccentric, and ask us why we don't just put money in their stockings??

Because this is way more fun, that's why. We think they'll love taking them down to the center to collect the money themselves!

Merry Christmas and Happy Recycling!

*I should mention that our kids will be getting toys for Christmas, as well.
* Also, I never let them stick their hands in the trash cans. If they spot a recyclable in a trash can I am the only one who can get it out, and I use protection.
*When they pick up recyclables off the streets they know not to touch the mouth part, and we always sanitize our hands afterwards.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Milkies, Num-nums, and Nighttime Snuggles

Our 6 year old climbs into bed with us almost every single night of the week. He starts out sleeping right across the hall from us in his own bed, then between 12 and 3 am  he comes crawling in, claiming to have heard a strange noise, or have seen a weird bug, or  because of some nightmare or other. 
 I don't mind. I love it when he snuggles up next to me, all cuddly and soft. I breathe in the smell of his soft hair, and kiss what's left of his baby-fat cheeks. He snuggles in deep, and relaxes completely, safe in the arms his mother or father.

I am so glad that our children feel safe with us; that whenever they feel scared, hurt, alone, or sick, they know that we will take care of them. They know that they always have a place in our King size bed, no matter how crowded it gets. And believe me, it gets a little crowded some nights, with my toddler taking up most of the space on the right-hand side.

Jonah is going on 2 1/2 years old, and showing no signs of wanting to give up his milkies. This will be the longest I have ever nursed one of our children.  He wakes me up a couple times a night with his soft voice, and his squirmy body, crying out, "Milk- milk. Milk-milk."
I don't mind. I love it when he snuggles up next to me, all cuddly and soft. I breathe in the smell of his soft hair, and kiss, kiss, kiss his baby-fat cheeks. He snuggles in deep, and relaxes completely, safe in the arms of his mother.

I held a toddler-nursing meeting at my house this month for LLL, and it was wonderful. It was wonderful to connect with other moms who are also nursing their toddlers, and wonderful to know that we live in a generation where women are making choices based on what feels natural, instinctual, and right, not what's been mainstreamed into our culture. Women these days are taking an honest look at their children and their relationships with their children, and making decisions based on that. There are no rules, there are no arbitrary dates to follow, there are no comparisons or judgments being made; just you and your baby, and what you decide is best.  Call it feminism, call it crunchy, call it Attachment Parenting: label it whatever you want, but in the end it's the beautiful relationship based on love and trust between mother and child, that matters.

Pretty soon these babies will be 6, and the days and  nights of nursing will most likely be completely over.  I continuously remind myself that they will only be this small once, so to cherish those middle-of-the-night snuggles, those squirmy kicks in the gut, and those soft cries for num-nums.  After all,  when he is 6, and is too scared to fall asleep by himself, he will remember that he has always been safe in his Mama's arms.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Everyday Bicycling; How to ride a bike for transportation

I've not only been glued to this book for the past week, but I've  been wholeheartedly inspired by it! When Elly Blue, author of "Everyday Bicycling; How to ride a bike for transportation (whatever your lifestyle)," sent this book to be reviewed here on my blog, I figured I would try my hardest to skim through it, and give it a fair review, even though it's been years since I've rode a bike. After all, it's my husband Micah who is the avid bike rider in the family. He's always been the one to make the extra effort to brave the rain and snow to ride his bike to work, to enjoy long, recreational  rides on the weekends, and to equip the kids with all the gear they need to learn to love bicycling along with him. I've been standing here on the sidelines, nursing and wearing babies (claiming  running and  surfing as my exercise of choice), waiting for some future moment when I felt like owning a bike again. I didn't feel adequate in giving this book a proper review, given my current circumstances.

However, this book was written for people like me! After reading this book, I not only dream to get back on a bike again, but I want to contribute to making it part of our family culture. I want to ride along with my husband and kids again, and feel the exhilaration and freedom that I used to! 
(*There's an addendum to these thoughts at the bottom of this post.)

Micah taking the kids for a spin, Utah 2010

Zadok on the "Wee Ride" Tag-a-long, 2010.
I thoroughly enjoyed all the chapters, but I especially loved the chapter about Family Bicycling because that's where I gathered the most inspiration. If you've ever wondered how a family with children can get around without a car, she explains in detail, all the different   options out there. This chapter is chock full of testimonials from families that use bikes and bike accessories in their everyday transportation. Take Emily Finch, for instance, the mom from the article,"With six kids and no car, this mom does it all by bike."  Emily has found a way to go completely car-less, pedaling her small children around in something called a bakfiets, while the older ones ride alongside her. She is quoted as saying, "Biking is easy. Having kids is hard!" Amen, sister. Amen. She is my bicycling role model!

In my opinion, this book was also written for anyone in need of a practical, easy, and informative introduction to bicycling. In the beginning chapters, the author starts off with the basics of bicycling safety, road rules and hazards, and the specifics of clothing and gear. In the following chapters she covers everything from how to ride a bike, how to choose the right bike for you, how to care for your bike, and how to carry anything on your bike! In essence, her message is that anyone can fit bicycling into their lifestyle, and there's no wrong way to go about doing it! From the lawyer at the office job, to the college student, to the elderly, the handicapped, or the family with children, bicycling can become a part of your everyday lifestyle. And not only can it fit into your lifestyle, but it can become a positive part of how you live your overall life.

 Thank you Elly Blue, for an exciting and  fresh perspective on something as simple as riding a bike. This small book has made a powerful impact in my life, in such a short time. I felt like, while reading this book, I was also chatting with an old friend; someone who's passion for bicycling rubbed off on me in all the right ways. I would highly recommend this book as a gift for anyone who wants to get back into bicycling again, or anyone who just loves bikes, period.

** Unfortunately  our current  residence of Hilo is not a bike-friendly city. In Elly's book she refers to some places that are just plane disappointing and dangerous to ride.  I believe that Hilo is one of those places. It lacks both the infrastructure and friendly bike-riding culture that makes bike-riding safe and enjoyable for most people, especially families. Rarely do we see a family out bike-riding together on a sunny afternoon, which is sad, but I don't blame em. The streets are narrow, the bike lanes are few, and there isn't any bike path in or around town. There aren't very many sidewalks to ride on, either. One of the things that Micah has been missing here, is a good place to ride bikes with the kids. Elly's advice on living in a bike-friendly community is to either "become a champion of change, or move to a different city." I don't see the infrastructure of Hilo changing anytime soon, but us moving to become a more bike-friendly family? You never know. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sewing Bean Bags for Fun

Raise your hand if you love bean bags!  I do, I do, I do! I actually fill ours with white rice, but I still call them bean bags, because it sounds way more awesomer than rice bags. 

I scored a huge bag of fabric squares from a yard sale several months ago, and have been slowly turning these unwanted quilting pieces into toys for our family. I've actually been making bean bags since I was in college, long before I had kids. Bean bags are just simply fun to have around, fun to play games with, and (lets be honest) fun to throw at people.

Here's some quick, easy instructions for making a set of bean bags:
Cut squares of fabric 5 inches x 5 inches. 
Face the right sides together (That's the design you want showing at the end).
Pin sides together.
Sew three of the sides together, leaving one side open, then flip inside out.

Next find a little buddy to help you pour rice into the fabric.
Fill it up about an inch from the top.

Fold the top sides inward, and pin right above the rice line.
Now sew along the top of the fabric, above the pins.

 Take pins out and your done!
 Now repeat until you have enough bean bags to mesmerize your children with.

Try google-searching "free bean-bag games" and you will find lists upon lists of fun games to play with your bean bags. 
We really enjoy trying to toss them into baskets from a distance away, or cutting holes in a cardboard box and writing points on it, like ski-ball. Our toddler carries them around and throws them at the furniture. The ideas are endless..
I also like playing catch games and getting-to-know you games with the youth at our church. There's something about tossing bean bags that brings even the shyest person out of their shell.
I've also found that if carry a bean bag around in my purse, we always find time to play, even on the busiest of days.
Enjoy your fun with bean bags!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving at the Kona Seaside

If you want to know where all the crowds of people were not this past holiday weekend, it was the Kona Seaside Hotel! We had booked a room there months ago, looking for a mini-vacation to spend our Thanksgiving weekend, and it ended up being the best experience for our family. I'm so happy we went!
Not only did we have sunshine and blue skies, but a quiet weekend practically alone! It was a peaceful, and calming weekend, relaxing and spending time together.

The kids were captivated by the Christmas tree in the hotel lobby.

The kids clocked in some serious pool hours the three days we were there. Micah and I used to poke fun at folks who spent there entire vacation time relaxing by a pool. I will never laugh at them again. After so many disastrous and exhausting camping experiences with our little ones, this was a much needed break. We all swam our little hearts out, and played til we were exhausted from too much fun.

8 hours in the pool and counting....
One of my favorite ways to relax with my toddler.
Micah and I also took turns watching the kids by the pool, while we each snuck away for a snorkel and swim in the sea. The ocean is always my first choice for swimming, and Kailua Bay is simply breathtaking!

This was actually our third time staying here, and each time I have been impressed with the friendly staff and comfortable atmosphere. The rooms are very clean, cozy, and inviting.  When we weren't hanging out poolside, we were chilaxing in the room, watching the "Shrek Forever After" movie marathon on cable. Yes, cable, one of the perks of being lazy in a hotel room, flipping channels on the boob tube. However, this movie was hilarious. We were still laughing after the third viewing!
Shrek Forever After, again?
Jonah loving the hotel bed and his half-eaten bagel.
Hotel bathroom fun!

Kailua Bay at Sunset
The Kona Seaside Hotel overlooks the ocean, right by Kailua Bay. You can sit on the deck and see boats pulling in and out of the harbor, people-watch over the busy side-walk below, or watch gorgeous colors of the Sunsets waft up into the whispy clouds.

 Kona is much like the mini-Waikiki of the Big island. This area is especially popular for tourists, as the bay is lined with restaurants, bars, and shopping.  However, unlike Waikiki, it is very tiny, and there are no hookers or wild parties on the beach. It's mostly filled with people enjoying the sights and sounds of beautiful Hawaii.

I can't boast of any amazing restaurant experiences because we ate at Taco Bell one night, and had cold turkey sandwiches and PB&J's the other night. What can I say, sometimes we like our food cheap and kid-friendly!

However,  It was also Micah's birthday on Saturday, so we had a little party on the hotel room balcony Friday afternoon. I picked up an ice-cream cake from Baskin Robbins, which was was not cheap, but tasted amazing!
Opening presents on the lanai
Happy Birthday MMMMMMMicah!
Then Friday evening some awesome, fun, friends from Hilo called and we met them down at "Scandi's, the favorite, local shave ice shop right in front of our hotel. Scandi's boasts as being "Da Best Shave Ice in Paradise," and I have to agree! They were pretty onolicious, and the servings were huge!

Overall, we had such a fabulous time! I hope we can make this a yearly tradition, especially since it's just a 2 1/2 hour drive from our house in Hilo. If you're feeling bad for us that we didn't eat a traditional Thanksgiving meal, fear not because we kinda did! Thursday morning before we left our house, Micah had whipped up 2 Turkeys, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and a chocolate pie. That's my man! And that's why we look so happy in these photos--Thanksgiving was fulfilling in every way!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Raising a Child with Anxiety

It was about a year ago that I needed answers. I was at the end of my rope, as they say, except my rope was now a frayed and worn out piece of thread. I knew being a mother had it's challenges and struggles, and  starting out, I was more than willing to sacrifice and roll with the punches, however, my difficulties were proving to be too much for me. I realized one day, while in a painful, crying fit of frustration, that I lacked the skills and abilities I needed to raise my eldest child. I needed help, I needed answers, and I needed them now.

Our oldest son  is brilliant, creative, and impeccably righteous and pure. He loves his mom and dad more than anything else, and is very loyal to his family, his beliefs, and his passions in life. I love so many things about him, and cherish his playful nature. Since he was a baby he has always been right by my side, never very far from the security and protection of his mother. He was the baby that nursed constantly, never letting go of the nipple even for a moment while napping. He wanted to be held constantly, even while asleep. If I put him down for even a second, he would scream and fuss so badly, I couldn't help but scoop him in my arms again, soothing him back into happy, dream-land. Needless to say, I had my arms full! Yet, as first-time mother I was more than happy to do this. I will never regret those months spent holding and nursing my firstborn baby.
The months went by and soon he was a toddler. He learned how to do everything so quickly, excelling in all the right milestones, before his time. By the time he was 18 months old he could talk in full sentences, ride a tricycle, put on puppet shows, and chop wood with an ax. The joys and excitement of watching your first child grow is unmatched by anything else. I relish those memories with joy and excitement!

It was about this time, however, that I started to feel terribly worn down. Amid these exciting toddler years, I also started feeling a deep frustration for my lack of space, and for his increasing neediness. I started to wonder if I was doing something wrong; if I had held him too much, scooped him up too quickly, or nursed him longer than I should have. I didn't want to regret those precious moments that I cherished so much, so I cast those thoughts aside and focused on the here and now.
 As our son grew, so did his caution and anxiety for the world around him. I noticed that while other kids wanted to play and socialize, he wanted to curl up in my lap and cling to me.  I took him along with me to playgroups, LLL meetings, and library story times, only to have him cry and resist going through the door. It was becoming a struggle to get him to go anywhere, and most days I just gave up. I didn't have the energy to constantly try to convince him that it was okay to go play at a friends house, or that nobody would harm him if he came Visiting Teaching with his Mama.  At home he was happy as a clam , but once we crossed the threshold of our doorway, the world became a big and scary place for him. This was about the most frustrating, most stressful thing that could happen to me, being his sociable, out-going, love-for-people and parties, Mama.

 I started reading parenting books that I'd heard about at LLL meetings. One book I read that resonated deeply with our situation was "Raising Your Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. She talks about the child that is "More intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent and energetic." She talks about how to take the personality traits that are most frustrating to you and then putting a positive spin on them; to turn them into strengths for your child. For instance, our son is extremely sensitive to smells, sights, sounds and touch. If there's a string hanging inside his shirt, he knows it and it bothers him terribly. If I'm cooking something and he doesn't like the smell, he'll feel miserable until I finish and put it all away. If he sees a bug that frightens him, he'll have nightmares for weeks. His sensitivity to the world around him can be really hard on all of us, as we often have to stop and take care of many tedious issues that he finds for himself. However, in Mary's book she convinces the parent that having a highly sensitive child can also mean a highly smart, alert and perceptive child. When you are constantly aware of the world around you, you take more in, absorb information like a sponge, and your brain grows rapidly! Our Zadok is smart as a whip! I was grateful for this book and all it taught me in the toddler years.

As our son began to grow older, however, the toddler clinginess and neediness just wasn't very tolerable for me, anymore. Now I had a 3,4, and then 5 year old clinging to my leg, anxious  about the world around him. I really tried hard not to compare him to other kids, yet I couldn't help but feel frustrated that he wasn't as independent. There were so many normal activities I assumed we'd be doing, that we had to completely opt out of. Going to other people's houses was the hardest. I couldn't often convince him to go anywhere. I'd tell him in a cheerful voice,"Hey, today so-and-so invited us over for lunch and playing!" And the response was always a screaming, crying,"Nooo!! I'm not going anywhere!" And it was true, I couldn't get him to go many places, or to even get out of the car when we got there. This cancelled out many play-dates, and Visiting Teaching days, as it was just too hard to get him out the door. I was starting to compile a list of things that he absolutely couldn't do without completely melting down and feeling terrorized: Getting his haircut, trying on clothes at a store, attending weddings or parties, going to people's houses he didn't know well,  attending primary classes by himself, getting his picture taken, joining a sports team, swim class, or any sort of class, going #2  in a public toilet, eating a new food, and going to a friends house without me.
The list goes on and on, and continues to grow. Some of these things he's learned to tolerate, but more things have been added on.
Kindergarten was completely out of the question. Although we had already decided that we liked the idea of homeschooling, it became clear that he wouldn't go to school even if we signed him up! Being away from his parents was (and for a large part still is) the single most terrifying thought for him. It took very special friends to come into our lives for him to feel comfortable enough to be away from us. The first time he stayed with a babysitter, other than a visiting grandparent, he was 3 years old. Yes, I was in need of some serious head-space and alone time with my husband. Thank goodness for friends.

For many years I labeled our son as shy or introverted, which he sort-of is at times. For many years I compared him to his dad, who hasn't always been very outgoing or social by nature (however teaching public school and being in the Bishopric can change a man). My frustration and stress with our son's shyness, was often combated by compassion for our differing personality styles. I knew that I couldn't expect my child to be exactly like me, and I knew there would be no amount of begging, pleading, or convincing, that could change him. There were moments where I would be pulling my hair out in anger, begging him to do something, trying to convince him that it's okay, when my efforts were so very futile. For example, one time we had to go back to our church for a baptism, on the same day that we had already attended Sunday services. I asked Zadok if he could please go get dressed in his Sunday best for the baptism. "No, I'm not going!," was his answer. "But we're all going. You even told me you really wanted to go," I responded. "What changed?"  "
"I just don't want to go and I'm NOT going!!"was his response back, which then turned into a huge crying, screaming, anger-fit, none of it foreseen by me. Finally, after the storm calmed down, I come to understand that he didn't want to go because he didn't like the idea of putting his Sunday clothes on twice in one day. He didn't just not like the idea, he was terrified of it. It worried him to think he had to do something that he already did, that he wasn't even expecting.
In this situation, like many others, I was so angry with him, and felt at a loss for what to think. This is when I really realized the fine-line I was walking, distinguishing between defiance and fear. On one hand I felt he was being very disobedient by not getting dressed when I repeatedly asked him to, on the other hand he was so terrified, that he physically couldn't do it. So, where do I draw the line?
How do I know when to take him in my arms and calm his fears, or when to be stern and unmovable in my discipline?

Like I said, It was about a year ago that I needed answers. Even though I know my son so well, even knowing all the little things that set him off, and all the little things we had to avoid and do differently in life, and knowing all the things I had to accept for myself, I still needed help. I was exhausted, stressed out, and searching for someone to validate my concerns. My husband was very focused on starting his new teaching job, and I was home with the kids for the most time, so It was me that felt the brunt of the stress of our kids. We were living in a new place, starting out a new life, and still, I felt stagnant and stuck. I didn't want to stay home anymore. I didn't want to cancel play-dates and parties because our son was too upset to go. I needed answers to his crying fits, his anger spells, and why he was so resistant to leaving our home. It used to be fear of going to another persons house, now it was fear of leaving our own house. I couldn't handle his yelling and complaining any longer! I couldn't handle giving in and watching him play computer games all day. I needed an angel to help me.

My angel came in the form of Patricia Dana, licensed play therapist and mental health professional. When my friend told me about her and how much she had helped her child who suffered from PTSD, I was still so scared to go meet her. I resisted the idea for several weeks until the whispering of the Spirit turned into full-blown yelling at me to make the darn appointment! I never wanted to label or diagnose my son with an illness. I never wanted to turn him over to the medical world, or have someone psycho-analyze him. I wanted to be the strong, able-minded mother, who could handle anything, even the challenges of her toughest children. But I couldn't do it alone anymore, and I knew I needed to go and find out for myself.

Pat, as we call her, is warm, caring, loving, nurturing, and calm. She reminds me of a Goddes-grandmother who has love and compassion for all the children in the world. She took to Zadok immediately, and he warmed right up to her, too. Her office is full of toys, crafts, and games. Her number one rule is to play with whatever you like, and have lots of fun doing it.
The first day when I went in alone to meet her, I knew she was exactly what we needed. She listened warmly as I spilled out all my frustrations on her lego-covered desk-top. She was empathetic and caring, yet professional. She knew what I was going through. She had seen it all before. And after just a few sessions with Zadok she confirmed what we needed to know: He is a special soul with special needs. His needs are different and more challenging than other children his age. He carries with him a (possibly genetic) tendency  for Social Anxiety Disorder. 

Awww, answers, wonderful answers. I felt a bittersweet feeling of relief for what she was telling me. Finally, a diagnoses for what we were experiencing, and new opportunities to validate our immediate concerns. No, I didn't nurse him too long or abuse my baby sling, and no he isn't just shy, or have an introverted personality. From what I've learned, children with anxiety disorders match  Zadok's struggles  almost to a tee. Yes, this is what I needed to hear, however much it hurt to know that my son has to face these challenges in his life, as least we know what to do now to continue to help him. We can move forward, with the help of our new information, and our angel.

What helps the most:

  • Schedules help him the most. Waking up in the morning and knowing exactly what is happening for the duration of the day, keeps him from having panic attacks if anything changes. He knows what to expect because it's all written on the calendar. We've just started doing this more consistently, and it's a huge step forward. 
  • If any changes happen during primary classes at church, we ask that the Presidency calls us ahead of time to let us know, so we can prep him ahead of time.
  • Setting expectations for certain situations, and then setting specific rules and consequences if the expectations are not met.
  • Schedule more one-on-one time with each of his parents. Alone time is very important to him, helping him feel less chaotic and more secure.
  • Don't expect things to change overnight. Be patient and appreciate the baby steps.
  • Let go of things like swim lessons, primary programs, karate classes, or soccer teams. He isn't ready or willing to consider them, so just let the ideas go.
  • Get a handle on my own anxiety, so I can set a positive example for appropriate responses and behaviors. (which I've been working hard at, thank you!) 
  • Continue to love him, and try to understand him as a person. Focus on his good traits.
  • Feel compassion for this burden that's been placed in his life.
  • Help him to make sense of his world by helping him understand what he feels and experiences.
  • Be consistent in discipline, consistent in rules, and consistent in consequences.
  • Stay calm when all hell breaks loose.
  • Pray, pray, pray.
I knew that becoming a mother changes a person, but this is not how I expected it to change me. I have stretched myself so far, in directions I didn't know I could even stretch. In so many ways I have had to  change who I am, in an effort to be who I need to be for my child. I've had to force myself to think differently, to act differently, and to make different decisions, much like I did when I got married. It's isn't easy to change yourself, but God lessens my burdens when He shows me how I've blessed my family and myself, through my choices. Miracles have truly happened for our family this past year, as we've continuously prayed for our children, that we can be lead to find answers, and that we can find the strength to follow through with what we need to do.

I hesitated to write this post because it is so deeply real and personal, and it is about my son. One day he won't be six years old anymore, and he'll have access to the internet to read this. I hope he knows how much I love him, and that It is because of him that I am a better person today. God gave us this son because he knew I needed to change my heart, and come even closer to who He needs me to be. My son has been the greatest challenge, but the greatest blessing. Thank you Heavenly Father for my sweet Zadok. I wouldn't trade him for all the "normal" kids in the world.

Yes, he's trying to lick me! Don't worry, I got him back! ha ha!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy EIGHT Years!

Happy Anniversary to my husband Micah whom I love with all my heart! It's been eight years together, can you believe it? It seems like just last week you were carrying me in my wedding dress,  into our new apartment. You opened the door on that chilly, November night, and thought that the proper thing to do with your brand-new bride would be to scoop me up in your arms and carry me through the door. That was the very beginning of our lives together.  That moment will always make me smile, and always remind me of how much you love me. 

You have carried me through so many doorways, these past eight years, metaphorically speaking...
You have been my rock and my strength when I really needed you to be, weather I realized it or not. It was your vision of family and forever happiness that made me a mother. It has been your strong desire for goodness and righteousness that has made me a better person. It was your powerful love for me that has made me whole.
I love you with all my heart, and want to thank you for giving me the greatest gift of all, my family. Because you had the courage to first tell me you loved me, then to bravely ask me to marry you,  to keep me close when things got rough, together we created the most beautiful thing in the world--Our family.
Happy eight years to the man I will spend eternity with. (I love you, anyways.)