The weekend of Thanksgiving was really our last of the perfect fall weather. I'm so glad we got to enjoy it. We spent that Saturday hiking. John and I took the boys up Copper Canyon to see the water falls. So beautiful...
I didn't get pictures of the waterfalls because I was too busy saving lives....this was our trial run for the Grand Canyon (ya, I know, it doesn't EVEN compare), and I have decided we are definitely NOT ready for it. A couple more years...
I seriously have no idea how or why my boys enjoy cooking with me. I guess it's just a blessing because when I was a kid, I had no desire to help mom in the kitchen, except if it were to raid the fridge or eat whatever had ALREADY been cooked.
I love that they enjoy helping.
Here's us making noodles for our soup.
And enjoying them...
Little man likes to cook too. I love making cheap toys...made out of extra stuff around the house.
Cardboard, leftover fabric, yarn and felt:
He's getting his hot pizza out of the oven.
And then of course there's clean-up. Better enjoy their willingness while I can right?
I'm soooo behind on my posting! I'll explain after I catch up a bit...
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We went down to Annell's casa for a quiet (if you call 10 children under the age of 8 quiet... :), relaxing, lazy day. We ate, looked at Black Friday ad's, ate, chased kids, mostly stopping little boys from throwing rocks in the pool, ate, chased more kids, and ate some more...one of my favorite days of the year I must say.
We love our cousins,
G-Mom and Lane
And pumpkin pie!! Yes, Nanna's crustless pumpkin pie is a favorite of the grand kids.
Danny and John sleeping I mean watching Football
We love having Chewy home from his military stuff...
We missed this guy:
He stayed home, still recovering from his hip replacement....yes, Mr. Basketball had to get his hip replaced. He's recovering great; we love you Papa!
Hope you all had a safe and gratitude-filled Turkey Day!
The brain is so amazing. The brain is so complex. Perception is one tiny components that effects so much! I've been thinking a lot about perception lately. Whether it be in working with others in my calling, being a mother, a friend; how I interact with others. Whether it's watching Race interact on the playground with other kids, or reading from a character's point of view in a book. Perception is everything; it's our own individual reality.
Perception (from the Latin perceptio, percipio) is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of the environment by organizing and interpreting sensory information.
Our perception is effected by our past experiences, our feelings, our limitations, our spiritual beliefs, everything. It is so complex. A good friend gave me a quote that is also posted on the sidebar of my blog. I love this quote. "Autism is a state of mind characterized by self-absorption, fantasy and a disregard of external reality." I am always reminded that Race looks at the world so much differently than me...
Last week Race and I walked into Walmart. And you know the big poster as you walk in, it looks similar to this...advertising the last HP movie for sale.
Well I pushed the cart right past it; thinking nothing of it. After all, I've read all the books, seen all the movies, no big deal. But after about 15 feet into the store, I noticed Race wasn't right next to me. My chest tightened for a spit second as I frantically looked around. I calmed as I saw where he was, but I quickly noticed that he was crying as he stood there looking at the poster. People and their carts were backed up, waiting for him keep walking. He stood there, oblivious to everything around him, in tears.
"Race, come on." I called out.
No answer, he couldn't hear me.
I left my cart and went to him. Taking his hand and guiding him out of the way, I asked, "What's up? Why are you crying?" Even though I already know. You see, I've only let Race watch the first three HP movies because I know how the rest of them will effect him. He's too young and they are too scary for him right now. He frequently pulls the books off the shelve and reads bits of all of them. He loves Harry Potter and he and I have almost finished the first book together. So of course, the shock of Hogwarts Castle burning was huge.
"Why is Hogwarts Castle burning Mom?" he asks through his tears.
"Race, we're just going to have to keep reading our books so you can find out."
"Did Voldemort do that?"
"Yes he did."
"Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear..." he cried.
"Race" I say as I kneel down trying to catch his gaze and reach his worried little mind. "It's just a book. Remember? It's not real. It's just a story."
"Why would he burn the castle down?" he asks, trying his best to fight off a melt-down.
"Race, it's all part of the story. And there's a lot of good, amazing things that happen too. And in the end, Harry wins. Harry beats Voldemort."
"Harry wins?" He asks as he starts to calm a little.
We finished our shopping, talking about Harry Potter the entire time. And my heart hurts for my little man. Because his perception is his reality. And in his mind, even though he knows somehow all those things he loves like Harry Potter, Star Wars, Mario, and Speed Racer are not real,...they feel so real, and they are so real at the same time. Just as real as our own physical world.
I look at him, simply amazed. He's fighting this constant battle inside his head between reality and perception. And trying to make sense of it all. And MOST of the time, he wins.
My Uncle Henry died unexpectedly. A heart attack. He was too young, only 54. On the 18th, Mom, Dad, Lane and I made a day trip up to Snowflake for the service. It was beautiful. It was sad. Those words seem so shallow to use when you're standing there, watching his grieving sons (who are my age and younger) bury their father. What words can you use? What can you say?
I saw many of my cousins. Some I haven't seen in years. It felt good to see them.
Lance, Glenn, Georgie, Cory, Annell, me (missing...lots)
My parents saw many old friends and distant cousins, people I remember from my childhood. People I now stand shoulder to shoulder with, instead of the way I remember, looking up into their faces.
Uncle Glen, Aunt Tony, Mom, Uncle Rance (missing is Aunt Teddy and Uncle Pride)
I am so intrigued by the mind. The power of the mind. I've told you this before. Because, as I was standing there, watching my uncle be buried, silently, tearfully observing the people around me, a familiar song was played. And my mind was brought back to my Papa and the day we buried him 20 years ago. Instantly, memories, thoughts and feelings from so long ago, surfaced. I had forgotten how much I missed my Papa. I could smell the orange trees in Mesa, the warm breeze blowing through the cemetery. My cousins and I, so little then, crying, arm in arm. My mom being strong for my Grandma. It was so real again.
And I wept. I wept for my Uncle Henry and the family he was leaving behind. I wept for my Aunt Tony, because she's too young to be a widow. I cried for my cousin Crockett; we were close when we were kids and I suddenly missed him as he stood there grieving for his dad. I cried for the way things were 20 years ago. I missed all my cousins so much; Billy, Tres, Davy. And I wanted them there standing next to me. I cried for my brother Tyrrell. Because I missed him too.
I cried for time. Because there just isn't enough of it, and it passes, and we get older, and things change. The people you loved as a child are practically strangers, living their own lives, as you live yours. Because you see, after Papa died, the family didn't get together any more. Not like we used to. Things changed, and life happened. So I cried for my sister. Because I know half the time our immediate family gets together, its because of her. She keeps this invisible string tied to all of us and keeps us close. I'm so grateful to her for that.
I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father and this life he has given me. And the people whose paths have weaved in and out of my own. Life truly is a gift; and time is a treasure to spend as we please. On this day, I wished so much I had spend a few moments differently, chasing and holding onto those childhood relationships.
We love our annual pumpkin carving. The boys are getting so good at it...
And they work so hard at it...
And it is just a great way to spend the evening together...
And then a couple nights later, this happens...
A neighborhood family came to visit and stayed for dinner. John went out and chased them off, but as they were running, they decided to take Lane's pumpkin with them. I guess Race and Witt's were just too big to carry.
Race thought it was pretty cool.
Lane was making piggy noises as he watched from the window.
Witten, well, he got upset enough for everybody. "All that hard work waisted!!!! Don't worry Lane, I'll help you make another one." As the tears just kept coming...
October is Disability Awareness Month. Witt's teacher Ms. Janet asked me if I'd head up the Hop-a-thon for their school to support muscular dystrophy. Of course I said yes, because I know why she asked. Because, even if it is muscular dystrophy or autism, there is such a need for disability awareness in this world, now more than ever.
What makes autism awareness so hard is the fact that you can't see the disability. You're eyes can't see it, even though it's just as present as the child with the physical disability. We can't see, therefore, nothing is wrong. So as a result, in many circumstances, kids with aspergers/autism are the ones feared, misunderstood, made fun of, the ones with no friends. They are the weird kids.
I've been struggling with this as I watch Race get older. It's so hard for me to watch him struggle in social settings. His peers are socially moving forward naturally. For us, moving forward is so much work.
I am grateful for the opportunity I had to run Witt's hop-a-thon. I'm so grateful for Witten and his understanding of what he was doing. I love the Montessori Children's House. Because I know that we weren't just hopping for muscular dystrophy that day. I watched Ms. Suzanne hop scotching, Witten hopping down the grass in a pillow case, and my good friend Vickie running the pogo sticks while Ms. Eva cheered kids on from her station. And all the staff actively participating in such a good cause. And in that moment, I thought of Ms. Cooley a few miles away with Race, doing her part; carrying the torch. And in that moment, for JUST a moment, my eyes teared up, and gratitude overwhelmed me. Because YES, we were jumping for muscular dystrophy, but we were also jumping for ALL disabilities. We were jumping for Race.
I turned 31 on the 11th. I had a perfect day, though since then my thoughts have been way too deep. Thoughts about life and getting older and the experiences we collect within ourselves. But I'll save those thoughts for another post...you'll understand why.
Today, I'll focus on my perfect day.
my boys fixed me breakfast.
Witt bought me shaving cream...wait, let me explain...he heard me complaining that I was out a few weeks ago. This kid totally amazes me. Last year he bought me a hot glue gun because he had remembered me say at one point that I needed to get one. He's so thoughtful that way. So I got the best shaving cream in the world, bought with so much love.
Race bought me a big pack of gum. He counted out the money and paid for it all by himself. That right there was a gift. He's so smart, and he knows when I'm in the car, I'm chewing gum.
Lane gave me lots of hugs and kisses
John took me out for the evening. We had a great time up in Jerome nearly backing off a cliff, running into some naked people carrying their mattresses down the street (sorry no picture of that, this is G rated...besides I was in frozen, trying not to stare, shock mode) and eating at the Haunted Hamburger. I pigged out on hot wings; it was great. If you've never experienced Jerome, you must. There's nothing like it; especially around Halloween. Then we went and picked out a few books I've been wanting. I couldn't have asked for a better evening.
We had a beautiful view at dinner, looking over the Verde.
This picture is for my boys. They took it. This is how Mama looked the day she turned 31.
And here's another picture for my boys. This is where I was born. A little house in Snowflake AZ. October 11, 1980. It used to be a Doctor's office. Now there's a big metal horse out front...
Nanna said I was born pretty much underneath the right front window. She went with a midwife when she had me. Papa said the trees are much taller now around the house.
As I sat there in the car, looking out the window to the place I was born, I waited for this feeling of "enlightenment" to wash over me. After all, this was the place I took my first breath, and where life began. Well, the feeling never came, but it was neat to finally put a picture with the place I had imagined in my head. I love my mom so much. And though the feeling of enlightenment didn't come, a deep appreciation for what she did for me that day did. She is a brave, strong cowgirl.
Can I just say that I loved being 30. And I'm going to rock 31 even more. There is something about being in my 30's that is so wonderful and beautiful. I have my beautiful family, I'm not looking TOO old yet, and I feel so much more understanding for everything than I ever could have in my youth. Not saying I know it all people, just saying I understand it better. I guess that's what life does for you; gives you experiences...but that is way too deep of thought for this post.