Friday, April 29, 2011

The Greatest Gift

This Easter was quite different than any we've ever had, but so special at the same time.  I've had so many thoughts running through my head on where to begin with this one, and even whether or not to post this one because it is so dear to my heart.  And it really is just for me, and just for my boys.  But here it goes. 

In the Friend Magazine for the month of April there is a week long activity they titled Easter Week.  You start eight days before Easter and study with the kids through the Scriptures and pictures every day, of what happened the week before Jesus Christ's Crucifixion and Resurrection.  This activity and the events that took place during this week within our own family had a great impact on us.  I am so grateful for my Savior.  I know He lives. 

The Monday before Easter, our family was on our way to Cottonwood when we hit a dog going 55mph.  We had no warning, it happened so quick, he just bolted out from behind some brush.  He was a big dog; a lab, and we knew he had a family even though he had no tags.   The sad part was, he was still alive after the hit, and John had to help him die because he was so broken.  After it was all said and done,  the boys had so many questions, and they were so concerned and worried.  I always worry about Race during these kinds of things because he has a hard time with death, I think more than normal.  He internalizes and worries.

Though the incident was not a great moment, what followed was.  It was one of those moments where the boys clung to every word John was saying as we talked about death and resurrection and the gift of life.  It was powerful, and they listened like they'd never heard all this before.  It just so happened that we were on our way for Family Home Evening to look at the Art Exhibit, Reflections of Christ, that is on tour and came to Cottonwood for the week.  Race and Witt loved it.  There was a reverence about them that doesn't come as often as I'd like.  There was no, "Don't touch that", "stay with me", "get off that".  There were questions, calmness, quiet observation.  I loved it.  And that night Witt prayed that Jesus and Duke would take care of the poor dog that died. 

The same week the boys were able to take their chick's home from school.  Their classes had incubated some eggs and the kids were able to track their progress and watch them hatch.  One of the chicks had splayed legs.  It couldn't walk; it needed help to get to it's food and water.  The boys chose that one, along with another one who walked just fine to take home.  I'll be honest, I didn't want to take that one home.  I told Race and Witt that chick probably wouldn't live long; that he'd have a hard life.  But Race insisted.  "I'll keep him happy Mom.  We'll take care of him."   Of course I couldn't say no...

So we took "Lightning" home (it's what Witt named him/ her, not sure how to tell gender in chicks that young).  Out of fear of Lighning dying on us, I went and got two more chicks to keep "Sam" (Race named her/him) company if Lightning didn't make it.  You know what they say about chickens needing company.  Yes, John is just thrilled about the idea of having chickens (and I say this with complete sarcasm) especially since we found out our property isn't zoned for them.  Ha!  This is going to be fun. 

Anyway, the boys took care of Lighning; she really looked like she was coming around.  We gave her TONS of love and  helped her work her legs, and she eventually brought one leg back around so only one was splayed.  She was able to scoot around to get her food and water, and we really thought she was going to make it.  But the day after Easter, Race walked in to feed the chicks and found her dead.  The crazy thing was, the boys came to me and Race said, "It's OK Mommy, his body doesn't hurt anymore."  Then Witt added, "Ya, his spirit is with Jesus while he waits to get resurrected."

I'm so proud of my boys.  They never stop teaching me.   I'm so grateful for my Savior and the Atonement and this Easter of 2011 that I will never forget.  I know that He lives, and I'm so grateful for this great gift of life He has given me.

Water Jacket

The boys got the hose out again since Winter is hopefully gone.  Race decided on this day that he didn't like the water touching his skin, so he needed to get his jacket. 

I had to laugh, he's usually quite the water bug...but not today!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Does Heaven have Monster Trucks??

A year ago he wanted to be a fireman, 6 months ago he wanted to ride a bull, and guess what he wants to do now???

Witt is still talking about the boy's afternoon with Dad.  They both loved it, but it was a little loud for Race.  Witt loved it so much he somehow managed to bring home a few pieces of smashed car.  He can't wait for Show and Tell tomorrow (because you know, he always has a lot to tell).

 And he's still dreaming about it...even though this profession is not encouraged by his mother AT ALL, just like the bull riding.  Witt has big dreams to do really big things. 

He reminds me of someone else when they were little, and well, not so little I guess (me).  Keep dreaming boy, it's part of what makes life so beautiful.     

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's 5:30am and I'm bored

I don't like to wake up early.  I've NEVER liked it,   But I live in a house full of men who do.  I don't understand this; but they ALL know the rule: don't bother Mom until 6:30am on school days and don't bother Mom AT ALL on Saturday mornings until she gets up to get the baby (of course sickness and bad dreams are exempt from the rule).  That's right, all questions MUST wait.  Questions like, Honey have you seen my keys?  My wallet? My cell phone?  Issues like, Mommy Race won't give me a turn, or Witt's outside watering the roses and he's ALL muddy (OK, well that one I had to get up and deal with).  There is a reason I have taught them to make their own toast and  cheese their bagels and pour their own milk (well, Montessori also helped).  Yes, I usually wake up to the fridge and all cupboards open, and every light in the house is turned on, but hey, at least I got a few more minutes of sleep right???

Well, the other morning, I was waken from my precious sleep to the sound of my blow dryer turning on and off, then some giggles, then on and off, then more giggles.  What on earth were they doing now?   This is what Race decided to do at 5:30am...
 A ping pong ball balancing in mid-air using a blow dryer.  So ya, I had to get the camera, even though it was before my wake up time.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Autism Awareness Month

Autism Awareness Banner

April is Autism Awareness Month; to start off the month on April 1st, I got to go to Flagstaff with my friend Vicky to an AMAZING conference where I met some very cool people, got inspired, and yes...spoke.  I was asked to sit on a parent panel to share our story and answer questions from the audience.  It was an emotional draining day, but at the same time it had many highlights like eating lunch with Laura Nagle and listen to her speak, learning about the FRIEND Program that SAARC has developed, and meeting many adults with Autism.

The message I went in wanting to share was for the mothers; to listen to their hearts when it comes to supporting their children, autistic or not.  I also wanted to get across that the most effective therapy for our family has been family time.  Lessons from the heart.  And through my tears (because, yes, I did cry through most of my talk), I wanted to help the audience know and understand what a positive experience this can be if you let it; what a blessing the journey is if you let it be.  I think it went well, though when it was done, of course there were things I wish I HAD said, and things I wish I HADN'T.  But hey, I'm my biggest critic. 

me, Laura and Vicky at lunch

Since it is Autism Awareness Month,  if you'd like to donate to the cause, there is the option to donate to our local Chapter that directly effects Race and our family.  These funds are given out as scholarships to local members and helps Northern AZ get classes and funds conferences locally instead of always traveling to Phoenix area.

Here's the address if you so choose:
Northern Arizona Autism Society of America
C/O Northern Arizona University
Box 5630 , Flagstaff AZ 86011

Also, check out my wonderful sista's book blog and her monthly giveaway.  She dedicated it to Race, it's pretty awesome.  Love you Sis, thanks!

Wild West

Once in the wild and untamed land known as the Verde (intro description holds true to this day...)  two cowboys roamed (roamed as far as their mama would let them anyway...), fighting off anything or anyone who would try to do harm to the family homestead.

meet Wild Witt

and Ropin' Race

And here's Lucky Lane, the lil' sidekick, who the cowboys are always getting out of a fix.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dumpster Diving

I've done some crazy and exciting stuff in my youth...toilet papering, biscuiting, trashcan tipping and collecting, and grocery basket ramping...all as a teenager of course, never as a 30 year old, mature, responsible, boring adult...

And then I went dumpster diving. 
Try it...there's nothing like it. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Sunshine

We had Race's Birthday over Spring Break.  It was a quiet little family party with just the five of us...the way I love it best.  Race is so easy to please.  He always makes me feel like a million bucks when we do something special for him; he is always so grateful.  Man I love this kid, from the day he was born, he has changed my world.   

Happy Birthday Race Car.

 He wanted a "Mario" cake, so this is what I made... it made his day.

 Yeahhh!  He got the game he's been wanting.

We love our big guy,  we can't believe where the time has gone.
(Warning:  Proud Mommy Moment)
March 19, 2004

Blessing Day.  Nanna made him his handsome suit.
Race has always loved water.
He's the best brother.
He loves Superman, which I think is so perfect because he's our Superman.


I have always said, Race came to our family to teach us how to love.  He is the most loving boy and makes everyone around him feel important.  He is my Sunshine.  He doesn't like contention; he is kind, he is our peace-maker.  He really is our little angel from Heaven.  And I thank Heavenly Father every day for sending him and trusting me to raise one of his special sons.

We love you so much Race.