Monday, December 29, 2008

My Proudest Moment

My proudest moment yet as a mom was the day Brendan got baptized. He had been asking to be baptized for almost a year and I wanted to make sure he was ready. After many tearful heartfelt conversations with him about what it means to be a Christian, I decided he was probably ready. His first try he got "hot feet", not cold feet. The pastor introduced him and he went to step down in the water and it was too hot. (He's very sensitive to temperatures.) So two weeks later we made sure the water was just right and he was baptized. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was 10, and Brendan has taught me that you can't put an age limit on when a person is ready. I am so proud of him for making the most important decision he will EVER make in his life, and my prayer for him is that he will grow up to be a Godly man who lives his life in accordance with God's will.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I am just truly amazed at each one of my children. God planned and placed them each so perfectly and carefully in this world. Each of my children compliment and give so much to each other. I can not imagine one without the others. Sure there's a lot of bickering and a little competition amongst them. But I look at them, and I am so thankful they have each other. One day Brendan said to me, "Mom, when I get older Nolan can live with me because he has autism. And I'll live next door to you so your backyard can be my backyard." I have told him many times that friends will come and go but he will ALWAYS have his brother and sister. Just tonight Brendan was upset and in tears because he felt he had failed to help Nolan at a church function. What a lot to rest on a little 7 year old's shoulders. But I was so proud that he cares that deeply for him. I always feel sad when I see grown siblings who aren't close at all. I know it's complicated, but I am going to try my best to instill in my children the importance of having a close relationship with each other. It's my job as their mother. And I pray that they always have each other...through thick and thin.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

New Milestone

Of course after my previous post, Nolan had to prove me wrong. On Thanksgiving he put his own shoes on, and has done it everyday since. Also, we took the risk and took him to Home Depot.:) To his delight, we purchased a new ceiling fan for our bedroom. He made one small comment about the vacuums and spent the rest of the time obsessing over their selection of automatic musical snow globes. He hounded my husband about installing the ceiling fan all day. When it was finally up, every time I 'd walk upstairs the fan would be going. I'd turn it off because IT'S TOO COLD. And then it'd be on again. I wonder who the little elf is in our house who keeps turning the fan on???

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

You Know You Have a Child With Autism....

....when you have to drive a certain way home to see the car up on jacks for the umpteenth time!

....when every light in the house has to be on because this is part of his routine and how things should be in his mind.

....when you constantly hear doors opening and closing upstairs in your house, aahhhhhh!

....when your Kindergartner isn't even close to writing his own name or putting his own shoes on.

....when you avoid Home Depot because all of his favorite things are there..vacuums, ceiling fans, dryers, brooms...and he wants to tell everyone about them...and he has a really loud voice.:)

....when you have to pretend to sweep him up in a dustpan just like on "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" which is currently one of the only movies he'll watch....and he's been watching it for about 3 months now.:)

....when he pushes his freckly face right up in yours to tell you something because he has little concept of personal space.:)

....when he wears the same hat 24 hours a day for 2 months straight....excluding bathtime but including bedtime. We had to "wean" him off of the hat.:)

....when he has to watch "Different Strokes" every morning because for some reason he can relate to Arnold.:)

....when you walk on eggshells around him because you never know how he's going to react to or handle certain situations and changes.

....when he says whatever is on his mind...whenever he feels like it....honestly and sincerely whether it's appropriate or not.

....when at home he CONSTANTLY needs to be by your side or know where you are in the house...which is why he is snuggling up next to me right now while I write this post.

....when something really upsets him and he has a huge meltdown....and you don't find out what upset him until a few months later because he can't communicate his feelings like a typical child can.

....when you cry over the littlest accomplishments because you know how hard he has worked to get them.

....and finally, when you feel so proud of him you can actually feel your heart swell.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

She Already Has Style

After having two boys, it still amazes me how Alaina really enjoys dressing up. She's not quite 3 and she has really been into shoes, dresses, purses, and jewelry for a long time now. Where do they get this from? And how do I keep this from escalating into the teenage years! I have a 14 year old niece and she is already high-maintenance. I mentally tell myself, "My daughter will not be getting these things when she is this age." I was a pretty low-maintenance teenager and still consider myself pretty low-key when it comes to fashion. I just recently purchased mascara for the first time in several years after deciding to live on "The Wild Side." Just two days ago, before we left for school Alaina had changed her shoes 4 different times. Yes, she does have 4+ pairs of shoes, a couple of which were found at a garage sale. Last Sunday at church she was admiring another little girl's red fir coat. And her favorite colors happen to be pink and red! If I am wearing my red shoes and using my red purse, she has to wear her red shoes and use her red purse. It is so sweet how she already wants to be like me. However, she won't be looking to me for fashion sense! I love having a daughter and watching her grow. She's got such a personality and she's has a nice sweetness mixed with sassiness about her! I wonder what shoes she'll choose today?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Walk Now for Autism

On October 18th, 29 of my friends and family gathered to do the Walk Now for Autism event in honor of my son Nolan and brother Will. Thanks to everyone, we raised over $800! I was so touched looking around at everyone who came out to walk with us and support us. Over 10,000 people showed up for the event, and I couldn't help but think of the families that couldn't physically come due to their child being severely affected by autism. It just felt so good doing something positive. Putting my efforts into something that will hopefully make a difference in my son and brother's lives replaced all of the frustrations we've been feeling. I am so incredibly proud of the both of them for living with this disorder everyday and overcoming challenges that we couldn't even imagine. Thank you to all of my family and friends who have been so supportive!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It Wasn't Just the Setting...

It's hard to believe Gary and I have been back from our vacation for exactly 2 weeks. It seems like a dream. Actually it was my dream vacation, in the United States that is. Going to visit the east coast during "leaf peeping" season has always been a dream of mine. We flew in on a Saturday morning to Manchester, New Hampshire and drove up the coast of Maine from there. From the beginning we felt so adventurous. We just had two destinations for the trip and the rest was up to us. Our first stop along the road was Old Orchard Beach, Maine which was the scene of the robbery. A seagull stole my huge fresh piece of pizza right out of my hand as we were gazing at the Atlantic ocean.
After driving on up the coast of Maine through unbelievably beautiful picturesque little villages, we arrived at our first destination, The Trinity B&B on the Ocean in Owl's Head, Maine. We enjoyed our stay here including our breakfast the next morning with a New York City cab driver and his wife who were also guests at the inn. I just loved meeting and visiting with people from this area of our country. So interesting!

Right down the road from our B&B was our first lighthouse excursion. We hiked up to Owl's Head lighthouse and we were the only ones up there, and it was really secluded. If we would have known then what we know now,we would have been nervous. The other day we just saw this exact lighthouse on the travel channel for haunted lighthouses. Too bad we don't believe in that stuff!
One thing that stood out to me like a beacon in the light, was all of the New England church steeples jutting elegantly up towards the sky. They rose above everything else in the little villages we drove through. They were so symbolic and peaceful to me.

After one more night in Maine in Bar Harbor, near Acadia National Park, we headed back down the coast of Maine to explore a little bit of New Hampshire. While visiting some covered bridges there, I just kept thinking, "I miss my children, but I'm not ready to leave this beautiful place!" But, not only did I not want to leave New England, I was more sad about leaving this time alone that I had with Gary. It wasn't just the setting of our trip that was wonderful, it was also the time I had with him. We had so much fun, and pretty much joked and laughed the whole trip. I told him just today, that one of my favorite memories of our vacation was when we were driving up the coast and out of the blue he just looked over at me and said, "You're so beautiful." He still finds me beautiful after 13 years of marriage! Or maybe the glaring sun blurred his vision.:) I just have to say this vacation was worth every penny, because an investment in our marriage is priceless.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Power of Scent

It's been awhile since I posted. Things have calmed down with Nolan. I am now refreshed from a wonderful vacation with my husband to New England. Stay tuned for vacation highlights....

I have been wanting to share another poem of mine that accompanies a piece of artwork I did for an assignment. Yes, I did say an assignment. I co-founded an art club 9 years ago where we get together and present our art. Usually we have an "assignment" or inspiration. The inspiration for this work was creating a piece having to do with our favorite scent. One of my favorite scents is the smell of coffee. Ooh, how comforting. I also wrote a poem on the power of scent.

You're all wrapped up
In a bowl of something
From your past,
Where a cup overflowing
With the scent
Of a better tomorrow,
Envelops your inner-being with promises.
An open window beckons
Your soul for a piece
Of life,
And your mind and body
Are overcome with the
Feeling of calmness and joy:
You are surrounded by love.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Difficult Week

Ugh, this week has been especially difficult with Nolan. After a couple of days of repeated meltdowns, I found myself starting to have a meltdown. With my hubby working nights, I was dealing with this solo. At one point I started crying and silently muttered to myself, "I can't take this anymore." I found myself even wondering, "Why can't he be a typical child? Why does he have to have autism?" I just don't usually go there and ask those questions very often. I love, adore, and appreciate Nolan for who he is, just as he is. God made him this way for a reason. And I am so proud of him, so proud of his uniqueness. But there are those dark times when I question the difficulties. On Friday at the end of this LONG week, Nolan had his first art therapy class with a small group of children who all have autism. Seeing these beautiful children was just what I needed! Being around other special children like Nolan and their mothers felt so comforting. Nolan even made a strong connection with another child! As I go into this next week with a little uncertainty of how it's going to go, I am trying to remain strong and positive. I am hopeful he will snap out of it. If he doesn't.....well I might need another girl's night out this weekend!:)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Running Like the Wind

Ok, so I haven't been running fast, per say. But I have been running quite a lot lately. Typically, I try to run three times a week with one day of cross-training. But with this nice weather I think I might get in 20 miles this week of running! My husband's new evening work schedule means I can steal a run while him and Alaina are down for their naps. Oh how running is so therapeutic for me. I pop in my ipod with my Christian and folk music and I am in another world. The wind blowing at my back and the sun kissin' my face. This is my favorite time of year with the leaves changing and the air turning fresh and crisp. Perfect running weather! A bonus is those times when I have good company to run with. We have deep and meaningful conversations along with lots of laughter and even crying occasionally. Yes, you heard me right, I have cried while running. There are times when we could be running for 2 hours if we are doing a longer run. This is such a wonderful opportunity to get to know someone on a deeper level. And we've also prayed while running. Running for me is so much more than exercise. It is a breath of fresh air for my soul!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Letting Go

I am trying to let go of some things as a mother. Like choosing all three of my kids' outfits. I've been blessed with unpicky kids, when it comes to appearance. I've always matched their outfits, chosen their shoes, or atleast gently suggested choosing certain pairs of shoes that satisfied my taste. I might say, "How about these, these are cool." Somehow I turned into a clothes and shoes salesman with my children. And it's like they're little dolls for me to dress up. So it was really hard for me to let go recently, when my older son Brendan wanted to get his hair cut really short. At first he mentioned it occasionally and I would just brush it off. Then he became more persistent. My husband and I joked, "Isn't this scenario usually the other way around with the kid wanting to grow his hair long?" We loved his long hair, his beautiful auburn locks. But it was making him hot, getting in his eyes, and becoming a pain to style everyday. So we gave in and I had to come to the realization that this is a good thing, him having his own preference on his appearance. Him having an opinion and wanting to be seen and heard. It's not like he wanted a tattoo or piercing. But oh, how it's hard to let go!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Art Washes Away From the Soul, the Dust of Everyday Life

This is one of my favorite quotes. It defines what art does for me. Not just enjoying and appreciating art, but actually creating it. God's creation is everywhere. I am so inspired by the things he has created for our enjoyment. I drive at sunset and marvel at the magnificent colors. I try to memorize them and want so badly to capture the moment in a painting. It's hard to explain, but I long to create, and having a family makes this hard. So as the first day of school was approaching, I thought maybe with the boys gone I would have time to paint. I started to look forward to painting on a huge canvas I have had for about 2 years that has been collecting dust in my basement. The only thing delaying "P Day" (painting day) was the expense of buying more paints and a few new brushes. Well, a few weeks ago my mom came across a box of several dozen tubes of oil paints for about $5 at a garage sale. Score! She graciously picked them up for me, so now I have my paint. Now the hard part is deciding what to paint. I am most inspired by nature. But I have also been wanting to paint scenes from other countries. I am nervous, and whenever I start a project, there is a fear that it won't turn out the way I envision it to turn out. I have been doing art for around 17 years now and I still fear failure every time. The actual process of doing art is so fulfilling and I encourage everyone to find some way to be creative. It is so therapeutic. Whether it be drawing, painting, music, writing, or photography, I truly believe everyone is creative in some way or another. So find something you love, and go out there and create!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I Am Free

I am new to this blogging thing and I have been a little intimidated each time I have posted. Well, someone suggested that I could post anything, including poems that I have written. The poems I have written are not spectacular by any means but do come straight from my heart. I belong to a poetry writing group that meets monthly. This consists mostly of me listening to amazing poems written by amazing women. Occasionally I do give it a try and write a poem. Our assignment for this one was to write a poem giving ourselves permission to do or let go of certain things. It was very freeing for me to write this. Maybe I will apply this philosophy to my blog writing.

I Am Free

I am free to write poetry without fear of unwanted discoveries;
Thoughts and feelings exposing me for all to see.

I am free to have true opinions and thoughts without apologies, this is me;
Knowing what is absolutely true in the face of adversity.

I am free to have imperfect children, to be an imperfect wife and mother;
Attitudes and appearances coming forth, real and authentic like no others.

I am free to let go of insignificant details clouding my mind;
Fretting and worrying, taking up precious time.

I am free to disregard what other people think, to eliminate comparisons;
Thinking for myself, living up to my own standards.

I am free to be in my own body, dents, ripples, valleys, and mountains all in their perfect place;
Unkept hair and an unmake-uped face.

I am free to dance without inhibitions and regrets;
Insecurities vanish as I twirl around fancy free, performing perfect pirouettes.

I am free to just BE, to breath and to live;
Content with how He made me, what He gave me is all I need to give.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Broken Buildings, Broken Cars, Broken Dreams, and a Broken Heart

The Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, A.K.A. "The Broken Building" and a broken car up on "jacks"

Around here we hear a lot about broken things. We hear about broken buildings, broken cars, and broken ceilings on a daily, often hourly basis. You may be asking yourself, "Huh?" Well this is because our 5 year old son Nolan has autism. So along with this disorder comes obsessions and fixations. He has many of them, right now it's broken things. We often have to drive certain routes to see broken cars. Yes folks, there happens to be a car up on jacks down the road that has been that way for a month. I live in rural Kansas, what do you expect!? So sometimes it's just worth it to go that extra mile, literally, to please him. He often asks for so little, and he takes joy in such simple things. When we heard the word Autism, our hearts and dreams for him were broken. Now, we are building new dreams for him. He is such a jolly freckly faced fellow, and we couldn't imagine him any other way. I personally am trying to choose the path of hope and optimism, instead of the path of bitterness and what could have beens. So let me introduce you to one of the joys of my life, Nolan.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Passion in Paradise

Okay, here's how it all started. Junior High gym class, 1989, Mrs. Lobb FORCED us fragile, developing girls to try and run an 8 minute mile. I finished the mile and yes, it took me longer than 8 minutes. At the end of it, I was doubled-over, red-faced, and feeling horrible. For the next 8 years, I loathed running and was content to walk for my exercise. Then in 1997, while living in Hawaii, a friend of mine took me under her wing and ran 1/4 of a mile with me, slowly but surely. The rest is history. My love and passion for running began then, while I was living in Hawaii. Before I knew it, I was up to a mile. Part of the motivation was that I would run from our base housing to the beach and back. Since that summer of 1997, I have ran 1 full marathon, 5 half marathons, and several 5Ks and 10Ks. Running is my happy drug of choice. If I met up with Mrs. Lobb today, I might say, "Because of you, I missed out on 8 years of good running!"