January 25, 2018


I sat down this afternoon and wrote in my journal. It had been months since I did that last. I gained such a strong testimony of journal writing when I was a teenager. It felt good to sit down again and record some deeper things I can't put on this blog right now. But here's a few general thoughts I can record here.

We really are all children of God. Children of a loving God who knows us. Children of a God who wants us to learn and grow and so allows hard things to happen in our lives. Children of a God who always sprinkles beautiful things between the hard things for us to find. And we really are ALL children of God no matter our religion, race, color, age, abilities, and choices. So when something doesn't seem to be working out for me, maybe it's because it is someone else's turn (one of my brothers and sisters in God's family). I can be happy for them. And know that it will all work out for the best for me someday. I just need to be patient and trusting.

I, also, really do think that most people in this world are good and kind. Maybe that's why I get so shocked when people do things that are not good or kind. There was two extremely rude incidents that happened last sunday to someone Eric works with at church. It makes me sad because if that stuff happens with this boy, it could so very easily happen to our Perry. When someone is ignorant about a situation (like I am sure I am guilty of, too), they can say and do some pretty hurtful things. It was a good reminder to me to show more love to everyone around me, to remember that we are each children of God, and to be willing and ready to educate people about special needs and families affected by special needs.

January 19, 2018

fear to love

A friend introduced me to this great blog This Little Miggy. She hosted a writing contest and I decided to enter, just for kicks. I didn't win, and I'm ok with that because I really enjoyed the whole experience. But I was honored to be picked as a semi-finalist and my entry was posted on her blog here.

She asked the question, "How have you conquered fear and landed in love?" and gave us a 500 word limit. That limit was the absolute hardest part of the entire essay writing! I could've written so much more or gone on in an entirely different route if I was allowed more words. Being concise is not always easy. But I'm a rule follower and I wasn't sure how picky she would be about that parameter, so I got it down to exactly 500 words and submitted it.

So here is my 500 word essay about conquering fear and landing in love:

Some moments you never forget.  

Like the phone call from foster care placement asking us to add two little ones, ages 2 and 1, to our family. He asked, “Are you comfortable with special needs? The two-year-old tantrums a lot and autism is suspected.” No problem, I thought. This was not our first placement through foster care so I knew what tantrums looked like -- or so I imagined.  

I’ll, also, never forget the moment I first laid my eyes on that blue-eyed, blonde-haired little boy. We walked into the office and there he was strapped into a stroller and rocking his whole body back and forth, back and forth. And he was humming to himself. I will always remember his sweet voice humming. He was absolutely precious. 

As we drove that beautiful boy home, I felt confident. I had hours of parenting and trauma training, a past career in early childhood education, and my experience parenting two boys. I often gave parenting advice, solicited and unsolicited, to friends and family. I had it together.  
I jumped into the water with both feet.  

As the weeks passed, it became clear that the water was much colder and deeper than I expected. His delays were significant and his behaviors extremely challenging.   

Autism quickly taught me I knew nothing. And other people were going to see that. That was the terrifying part— The y were going to see we were struggling. I quickly realized I was trying to swim wearing a winter coat of judgement, pride, and expectations. I needed to shed that coat to move forward. 

The diagnosis of autism with developmental delays officially came 9 months after he joined our home. Some days I felt I was swimming through calm water and becoming stronger. My love for this special little boy deepened daily. The more I served him, the more I loved him. And each day I found joy in his approach to the world.  

But some days, when I was exhausted from treading in the waters of challenging behaviors day after day, those waves of fear would wash over my head. Were we the right family for him? Could we meet his needs? Could we embrace the challenges? Would our lives change?  

Would I let those fears anchor us down and tether us back?! 

I decided absolutely not. I love this boy. And I love what autism teaches me.  

Now four years after our adoption was finalized, we are swimming strong. I have learned to make adjustments and let some things go. Instead of hiking, we got a tandem bike and go on family bike rides. Instead of worrying about stares during a meltdown at the museum, we focus 
on the smile and kind words of a stranger. Instead of judging another mom with an “out of control” child, I ask how I can help. 

Swimming through these often scary waters has ultimately made me stronger, happier, and more filled with love for my son, for myself, and for others. 

January 18, 2018


On MLK day, we loaded into the car and headed up to Prescott. I read Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech to my kids as we were driving. This book has such beautiful illustrations. And I love reading his powerful speech to my kids each year.

But one of my all-time favorite Martin Luther King, Jr quotes is this:

Image result for use me God quotes mlk

When we arrived in Prescott, we were held up by a march. I kind of loved seeing such a huge group of people walking together in his honor united by a desire for love and peace in this world.

We spent the rest of the day, visiting my aunt and uncle who recently moved there and exploring a few Prescott gems. We hiked around Watson Lake.

Layla has a deep love of rocks and joined her brothers in scrambling and climbing over all of the big rocks. They were so good about keeping her with them and helping her when her legs and arms weren't quite long enough.

The trails around the lake were plenty and it was hard to figure out which paths to take. Especially because we had Perry’s wheelchair with us (our only way to get him to come peacefully). On the really rocky sections, Eric carried the wheelchair (superhero Dad) while Perry walked. Perry wasn’t loving that we were off the main path and he had to do this. So at one open section by the water while the other kids were rock climbing he grabbed a stick and drew us a map in the dirt to help us get back. It was awesome. Love that kid.

We, also, stopped at the center of Prescott. My grandpa used to work in this building (agriculture).

Then we found his name on the WW2 memorial. I love that Grandpa of mine.

There is so much more to see and do in Prescott, but that’s all we could fit in a day trip (we had gymnastics classes to get home to that evening). I hope we can make it back up there again soon.

January 17, 2018

my good people

I, like so many others, absolutely loved the movie “The Greatest Showman”. I even saw it twice in the theater. The soundtrack plays constantly at our house. And the last two Sunday nights we have had dance parties in the living room as we blast our favorite songs from the movie (all of them). 

(Let me clarify dance parties: Layla and I dance around as free as birds, Eric joins for a song or two, Kyler and Kacin sit on the coach until we drag them off then Kyler and Kacin wrestle each other until I ban them from touching, Perry plays legos but sings along to the music)

During last Sunday night’s family dance, I couldn’t help but think about one of the best lines of the movie:

 “You don’t need the whole world to love you. Just a few good people.” 

In a world that screams at us that we need to be noticed, that we need to be successful, that we need to do more, in grand ways, that touch the masses, that we need to be liked and followed on social media, I am glad to know this—we really just need a few good people around us to love and be loved by. An ordinary life can be quite extraordinary. I think that is an important secret to happiness.

I am truly blessed with my good people.

January 11, 2018

These days

Layla brought me this picture she drew. It’s a zombie. She wanted to frame it and hang it above her bed. Ultimately, she drew a different picture and I gladly hung that one up above her bed instead.

Layla lined up all her baby dolls to play with them. 

The real baby just blended right in. I had to put my foot down when she wanted to put her doll clothes on B. 

Kacin started wrestling practice this week. It’s his first time wrestling and he is so excited to try out this new sport. I think this is right up his alley. Kyler has school soccer tryouts this week. We are humbly hopeful that he will get a chance to play soccer as an 8th grader at his jr high and anticipate a good season.

We had a few fun outings over the winter break. We went with cousins to the zoo.

My mom took Perry to Legoland at AZ Mills Mall as part of his Christmas present. He loved it and has told me multiple times how nice Grammie is to take him there.

Layla gave Perry a little surprise one night. And she always surprises me with her creativity and projects. She had wrapped up a candy cane and put it into this envelope. On the outside she wrote how she will take Perry to get spicy juice one day. And then she showed him how to use the flashlight to see a special picture you could only see with the light on. We do have a book that works like this, but it was very fun to see her try this idea out on her own project.

A need to sing some praises to Eric for a second. He is well ahead of the typical scheduled for his MBA program and should finish early. I’m so proud of him! And then he just received a promotion at work! All while he continues to be an amazing dad and supportive husband. And serves the YM at church. I don’t know how does it all! (But he will tell you his secret is copious amounts of caffeine in the form of Dr Pepper).

We celebrated my nephews 2nd birthday. He is the cutest.

We have seen so many hot air balloons around here lately. Perry and I love to watch them.

Layla got a new bike for Christmas and we’ve been trying to teach her to ride without training wheels. She has a lot of fear associated with this so progress is slow going, but I know she will get it!

I encouraged the boys to do something creative over the break. Kacin decided to make a treasure hunt through our house and neighborhood for Kyler, Layla, and Ben that ended at Taco Bell.

January 10, 2018

5 months

Oh, babies grow up so quickly!

Baby B is 5 months old.

She is patient with all of the kisses and hugs she is constantly attacked with (Perry). And always having someone in her face shouting "boo" trying to get her to laugh (Layla).

But she laughs all the time now.

She has hit 14 pounds which means she can be in the carrier forward facing and she loves that. I only have a picture of when she fell asleep though.

She is in size 6 month clothes.

She is the most easygoing baby and sleeps well through the night now (and on all of our walks).

She has held her own bottle for like 6 seconds a few times. 

Our dr suggested trying baby food with her. Every baby milestone is reached as a family so we all gathered around her to watch her take her first few bites of carrots. Ultimately, she was more interested in chewing her bib than in the carrots. 

She is, oftentimes, sitting in her bumbo as the centerpiece to our table during dinner. We love this baby so much!