November 18, 2012

Silly Moments with Caleb

And now it's time for Silly Moments with Caleb. The part of the blog where I share some of Caleb's recent silly moments.

While Caleb was sick this week, we rented Despicable Me. A family favorite, he watched it no less than three times. He had shrink rays on the brain after that. He came into the living room some time later, and told me his "evil plan." Determined to find himself a Shrink Ray, by whatever means necessary, he attempted to "ska-doo" into the TV (thank you, Blues Clues). Before I could warn him off, his head connected with the television and I heard an audible crack. He turned around, slighty cross-eyed and shrugged. "It's all part of the plan. More or less." (And thank you, Special Agent Oso).

I laughed so hard! "Son, you mixed up so many different stories there, I think I'm dizzy!"

Since September, Caleb's new favorite toy has been Legos. Every day he plays with them. Mostly he builds monsters. But sometimes he makes creatures. And chariot-cannons. And cages for skeleton horses. And . . . well, you get the picture.

He has picked out a particularly large Lego set that he wants desperately. He'll tell anyone who asks (and many who don't) that he wants "the Monster Fighters Crazy Scientist."

We've told him (repeatedly) that he can ask for it for Christmas. We've told him Christmas isn't far away, and no, we're not buying it now, because it's a little on the expensive side.

But since when is patience a five-year-old's strong suit?

Over the last few weeks, Caleb has devised ever more improbable and impractical plans for getting said Lego set. It went from asking Santa, to enlisting the help of imaginary friends, to going on quests and solving mysteries, all of which somehow lead to Legos. The other morning, bright and early, he got up and without a word, went out the front door. Jason was already up and heard the door open. Going to investigate, he saw Caleb standing uncertainly in the driveway. "What are you doing, son?"

"I was going to Wal-Mart to get the Crazy Scientist," he said. "But I might get lost. I'll wait for Christmas." And with that, he turned around and came back inside.

Can I just tell you how glad I am he didn't decide to walk to Wal-Mart?

Oh, that crazy boy of mine!

Unfortunately, many of his plans also involved stealing the Legos from Wal-Mart. I blame Captain Hook for this. But that's another story. Suffice to say, we've had many many conversations about stealing in recent weeks and thankfully, I think Caleb finally understands that stealing is bad. I've also restricted how much Jake and the Neverland Pirates he watches. :)

Happy Thanksgiving week, friends!

August 23, 2012

Have You Seen My Brain?

It was here a minute ago.

*scratches head*

Hmmm, I sat down to watch TV a few hours ago and now it's gone. Like it just sprouted legs and walked off. Was it something I watched?

WARNING: Nerd content below

I have to watch what I watch these days. Balance is everything. One can get into serious trouble if one's TV habits are out of sync. Too much crime drama, for example, and I get depressed. I find myself pacing aimlessly through the house, wondering if anyone will ever love Tom or if Callen will ever discover what the G stands for. A dose of such shows now and then is fine, but a steady diet? Hardly healthy. I'm afraid I'd become another crime statistic.

Too many English period pieces and I begin thinking with an English accent. Oh that's fun. Try going over a grocery list with Emma Thompson in your head. You begin to wonder if you own enough tea or if beans really do taste good on toast (they don't). It's when I begin praying in English brogue that I know I've had too much. Somebody better stop me before I find a corset and start calling everyone by their last name.

Horror shows? Heh, no. That box shall remain unchecked on my list of TV experiences. I already have enough trouble sleeping.

Documentaries, anyone? Now I bet you're wondering "Can one truly overdo documentaries?" The answer is yes. I know I've had my fill when I'm afraid to fall asleep lest some creepy crawlie slithers into bed with me. Or when I refuse to take Caleb to the beach because, waiting quietly in the shallows, are 27 species of shark that I never knew existed, but who are quite willing to rend the flesh from my bones. Thank you, Discovery Channel, for another excellent educational program. And another sleepless night.

Science fiction? Now I love me some science fiction. You can't over indulge Sci-Fi. I will say this though: be careful what you watch. If your first experience with Sci-Fi was Star Trek, the genre has probably been ruined for you. With a few notable exceptions, not much measures up to Star Trek. My husband and I watched our first Battlestar Galactica episodes this week. All I could think was, "These poor people. No replicators, no holo decks. Heck, their ships don't even have shields. I doubt this war with the Cylons will end well. They should form an alliance with the Federation. Captain Picard could send an away team and. . . oh wait . . . this isn't Star Trek."

So you see, balance is everything. Watch a burned spy in Florida and then the popular doctor from the Hamptons. A little Sy-Fy with a little Discovery Channel. If you're careful, you can keep your brain happy and it won't leave you to go on vacation.

Now if you'll excuse me. We've been watching Scooby-Doo for the last three hours and my brain is probably half way across Washington by now. Higher faculties can only handle so much "Jinkies!" and "Zoinks!", ya know?

Happy Thursday, all! And remember: with great television comes great responsibility. Watch responsibly!

August 18, 2012

Lost and Found

A serendipitous moment chanced my way the other day. Trolling through iTunes I happened upon an old music group that I used to listen to when I was growing up. It was a Christian band from the 80's called "Wendy & Mary." Anyone heard of them? The music is simple. Nothing spectacular. But the lyrics are masterfully written, stirring and sweet. These two women sang Scripture. They sang Truth. Even as a little girl, I was moved by them. Wendy & Mary had the ability to evoke peace.

An ability that came in handy in a rather unexpected way. When I was seven, living in a small town in the middle of the Mojave desert, I lived through a 7.6 earthquake. It happened in 1992, the year of the L.A. riots and Hurricane Andrew. It was the year we got rid of Zorro the dalmation and bought Belle, the miniature schnauzer puppy. It was June, just a few weeks away from my eighth birthday. Just before dawn, before the triple-digit heat could rise with the sun, the earth rocked and rolled.

Vivid snippets of memory still survive in my mind. My dad throwing himself over me to protect me. My mom catching and pushing our tv back into the entertainment center as it bounced out. The sound of glass breaking in the kitchen. The shaking seemd to last forever. I remember wondering when it would end.

Gas and water lines ruptured during the earthquake and we lived with friends for two weeks until the utilities could be restored. Hairline fractures covered the ground for miles and I remember pushing dirt back into them in our yard for weeks after. Mom bought new dishes. The kitchen linoleum had cracked and had to be replaced. But mostly? I was afraid to sleep alone.

I spent the rest of the summer sleeping on the floor next to my mom and dad's bed. The very idea of returning to my own bed terrified me, so with all the insight and resourcefulness of an eight year old, I figured I'd just sleep with my parents forever. But when September rolled around and school started, Mom and Dad said it was time for me to return to my room.

I bit my lip, shook my head, started to cry. But my parents had a plan. They put my little Fisher Price cassette player in bed with me each night. And they gave me a Wendy & Mary tape to listen to. The music played softly in my room for months as I fell asleep hearing

"Patiently I waited and He heard my cry
He brought me up and set my feet on solid ground"

"Welcome home! to a Love that has waited since before time began,
to a Love that remains when everything else is gone"

"Only in God is my soul at rest, from Him comes my salvation,
My stronghold, my Savior, I shall not be afraid
My stronghold, my Savior, I shall not be moved."

For one frightened little girl, these songs conjured a peace that covered each night and held the fears at bay. Only now, looking back, do I realize just how intently He was watching over me.

So imagine my delight at finding these dear old songs available on iTunes!

May I introduce Wendy & Mary to you?

August 5, 2012

Welcome to Holland

A good friend of mine, with special needs kids of her own, sent this to me some months ago. It bubbled back up to the surface of my mind this week, so I thought I'd share it with you.
Welcome to Holland
by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability- to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this...

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip -to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills... and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy...and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ...about Holland.

Reprinted with permission from Emily Perl Kinglsey. 1987 copyright by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.

July 25, 2012

Circling the Wagons

I've been circling the wagons this week. Holding on to what is precious and fleeting. Hanging on with all my might to what I believe is true.

Making hay while the sun shines. :)
This little boy is making hay right alongside me.

Sunday was interesting. We took Caleb to church with us for the first time in months. I actually started a post about it, but have not yet finished it. Maybe tomorrow. I have two more nights of foster parent training. It's starting to feel like a marathon. Good information. Hard information. I came home crying one night last week. The questions and doubts and scenarios were just too much for my pms-ing little self.
Are we doing the right thing? Can we handle two kids? How will Caleb react?
That should probably be another post. When I have time.
Caleb picked these for me today. He loves picking flowers in our yard and presenting them to me as gifts. "Present for you!" he yells proudly. "I'm an expert at flower picking!"

Yes, sweet boy, you are.

Caleb misses me while I'm gone at training. He's usually asleep by the time I get home, so every morning, I hear his happy little voice in my bedroom doorway:
"Mommy! You home? I missed you!"

Tomorrow night, I finish training. Then the real fun starts. My mom and step-dad are flying into Seattle and we're driving down Friday morning to spend the weekend with them down there. Can anyone say hotel with an indoor pool? :)

Needless to say, we're all super-excited.
I let Caleb take some pictures with my camera today. We were resting in the shade of our enormous maple tree after drawing on the driveway with chalk. He loves to take pictures. He loves to spin and take pictures at the same time. Makes for some funny shots!

We have spent a lot of time in the driveway this summer. Caleb likes chalk. He does some drawing of his own, but usually he dictates to me what I should draw. I drew this yesterday at his request: 
Today he printed "AHH!" above the tornado and added a stick figure.
No more National Geographic programs for a while, mkay?
Then he asked me how to draw a whirlpool. So I showed him. Now there are several on my driveway, in bright Caribbean colors. Please do watch your step if you come to visit.
We have not traveled a whole lot this summer. Even around our island home, we've stayed pretty local. This was bothering me. I like to travel, I love to explore, I always want to see new places.
But home has been a pleasant place to be this summer and as I discovered today, that's just fine. We're making memories right here, on our own doorstep. 

July 18, 2012

Students of Plan B

We smile politely and introduce ourselves. Say where we're from. Some couples are more friendly than others. A few husbands crack jokes. But overall we are a subdued group. The lady next to me barely says two words the entire night and smiles about as much.

This isn't like a normal first day of class. We aren't gathering to share a favorite hobby or learn about an interesting subject.

We're all here because somehow, somewhere, something went wrong.

Naively, I expected the others to be here for the same reasons I am: couples wanting to adopt because they were otherwise unable to have kids. I couldn't be more wrong.

There are several grandmas in the room and they are fighting for custody of their grandchildren. Several couples just want to be foster parents to children who need a safe place to stay. No adoption on the horizon, just kids who come and go as needed. Others have had children thrust upon them unexpectedly and now flounder about, trying to figure out what to do. Some have children who are already grown and out of the house. Others, like me and Jason, are still trying to build their families.

In fact, each situation is different. Our goal is the same, though: to take in children who are not ours, to provide a Plan B for them because their Plan A has fallen apart.

It's a sobering thought, taking children away from their parents. It's even more sobering when you consider what happens in a home that results in children being taken away.

I guess that's why we're subdued tonight as we learn about the system and the procedures for removal, placement, reunification, and adoption.

Foster care is nobody's Plan A. They don't call on foster parents when everything is going right.
We exist to help pick up the pieces. We may be here tonight because things go wrong in this imperfect world of ours. But we are also here to help some things go right.

July 5, 2012

Fireworks, family, and unwelcome cotton candy

Paper plates and plastic forks are wonderful things. They make clean-up after a major holiday such a breeze! Especially after hosting 14 people in your home, like I did yesterday. I heart paper plates and plastic forks. They are my new best friends.

Our 4th of July was very pleasant. A house full of family and friends made my day. I was hesitant at first about having so much company all at once. Our livingroom isn't very large and our dining room is more of a dining closet. But we managed. And we had fun while we were at it. :)

Caleb finally got his cotton candy yesterday. He's been asking for it since April. I would like to thank Scooby-Doo for teaching my son about carnival foods. He certainly didn't learn about them from me. After watching a cotton candy monster chase Shaggy and Scooby around a circus tent, he's been patiently waiting for the 4th of July carnival ever since.

The cotton candy was one of the highlights of his day. Unfortunately, it also caused us to have to clean the bathroom. Twice. Before the troop of family and friends arrived. We recently found out Caleb is sensitive to artificial food dye. Red 40 and Blue 6 and all the rest. And what do you think they use to color cotton candy? Yeah, wish we would have thought of that a little sooner. Makes for a good story, though. One that Caleb has told and retold to anyone who will listen.

Like last night for example. Sitting on a hill by the library, waiting for fireworks. Caleb makes friends with the older gentleman behind us.

"Hi man! What your name? My name is Cabub."

Thankfully, the man was nice enough to be friendly back. (This is not always the case.)

"I'm Rich, Caleb. Are you having a good 4th?"

"Yeah! I got cotton candy! It has dye and it give me diarreah!"

Painfully honest, this one. Fortunately, the man thought Caleb had said "diabetes." I didn't care to correct him.

"Come sit down on the blanket, Caleb. Leave the nice man alone."

(And stop telling complete strangers about your bowel movements!!!)

This morning at OT, he was at it again. At least Miss Sharon isn't a complete stranger. But still.

"How was your 4th of July, Caleb?" asks the OT.

"I got cotton candy and . . ." I start shaking my head.
". . . it has dye in it. And it give me  . . . "

Unfortunately, Miss Sharon understood every word.

Really son? Is that all you remember from yesterday? What about the ferris wheel or the fireworks or the water fight in the backyard with your friends? Is the diarreah-giving, dye-drenched cotton candy the highlight we must relive over and over?

Here's the moral of the story: I am never feeding my son cotton candy again. The end.

And how was your 4th of July? Eventful? Memorable? Hot? Do tell. :)

July 1, 2012

Let the berry picking begin!

Summer is delayed it would seem, up here in our little part of the world. While hats and gloves have been packed away for next winter, we still wear sweaters and hoodies when we go out. The rest of the country experiences heat waves and wildfires, and here we are doing beach days in the rain. Ha!
I wake up each morning hoping for sunshine, praying for a warm sunny day. More often than not, though, our days are gray.
But whether the sun shines or not, it is summer and we're doing our best to enjoy the season.  

We went picking this morning after church.

 Guess who had the most fun?

We picked over ten pounds! I have most of them in the freezer now, awaiting a future in smoothies and baked goods. And I just may go back for more. :) I'm looking forward to more berry picking this summer. Blackberries and raspberries in the next few months, and if all goes well, blueberries too!

What's something you look forward to doing every summer?

June 24, 2012

When I Speak His Language

"We'll go to the dounut shop, and then to the movies to see Brave! We'll have an adventure day with Daddy!" I excitedly told Caleb this morning.

"Can we make a map?" he asked. I smiled.

"Of course we can. That's a very good idea, Caleb."

Autism at work. In a good way. My son's need for structure and routine has become increasingly apparent over the last few weeks. He doesn't handle surprise or change or uncertainty real well. He likes to know what's going on, what to expect. I think he gets that from me.

So before leaving the house this morning, we mapped out our day. If you look closely, you can see where we've been:

I never was very good at drawing. I cheated at the end and used stickers. Artistic inabilities aside, though, Caleb loved his map and he kept us on schedule all day. After each "stop", he asked us to put a check mark above the picture to show we had completed that part.

I am just beginning to realize how much my son craves this kind of visual information: to know what's going on, what we've already done, and what is left to do. He can't read yet, and doesn't retain a whole lot audibly. But by golly, stick a picture schedule in front of him, and he's on board. Taking mental notes, I am. 

Here we are at "Brave" this morning for an early matinee. We had no meltdowns in the theater (praise God!) and we left with Caleb happily calling it "the best movie ever!"

He calls just about every movie "the best movie ever!" But we still think it's adorable.

Check mark for "Brave" (and my crude drawing of Merida).

Double marks for the map idea. We're gonna use that one again.

A few weeks ago, Caleb found out our sofa has a bed inside it. He'd never heard of such a thing. A bed inside the couch? Where had such a contraption been all his life?

Well, guess who had a new favorite toy?

One Friday night, which is Jason's game night/guy night, we found ourselves with an evening together and nothing much planned.

"Hey bud, wanna have a Mommy-Caleb movie night?"

His eyes lit up.

"Would you like to pull the sofa bed out?"

"Yeah! Yippee! Yippee! I'm rich I'm rich!" he yelled.

So out came the sofa bed. But I told him pajamas first. Get bear and kitty (his comfort stuffies). Don't forget a blanket and pillow.

Well. He brought out two blankets from his bedroom.

"One for you, Mommy!"

Such a sweet boy!

I even closed the blinds in the livingroom and the dining room. Caleb smiled real big when he saw me do that. He has a thing for dark rooms and from the look on his face I could just tell...

... I was speaking his language.

We snuggled right down with our blankets and put in "Despicable Me." Before long, he was lying across me, using my stomach for a pillow.

Precious moments with my little boy. When everything aligns just right. No problems, no tantrums. Just him and me, on the same page, loving life together.

I treasure such moments. They've been rare lately.

We started homeschooling three days after his regular preschool got out. This was not our plan. I figured this summer would go much the way last summer did, with long lazy days, beach trips, and play dates with friends. What I didn't expect was how much he would miss the rythym and routine of school. How dramatically the loss of it would affect him.

After three days of meltdowns, messes, and Caleb asking "We have school today?", I knew we were in trouble. His need for structure and a consistent routine was greater than I thought. So after having a meltdown of my own in front of my husband on the third evening, he and I brainstormed.

"You probably don't want to hear this," Jay said. "But maybe you should start homeschooling him now."

I didn't want to hear it, but he was right. Caleb needed something and providing that structure now would only help us in the fall when we actually start school.

We worked up a simple schedule. An hour a day, in the afternoon, when he was already accustomed to being at school. The work is simple. Reading books together, doing some practice sheets from a kintergarden workbook, playing games. Nothing serious. Just something for him to do and look forward to each day. At the end of his "school work", he gets to choose a computer game to play or a special toy from a box.

And wouldn't you know it, it's working. Our afternoons are running much smoother since we implemented Operation: Homeschool. We eat lunch, take a little quiet time for ourselves, do school work, then play. And usually, when all is said and done, it's time for me to make dinner and Daddy's nearly home. Simple. And effective.

It's all about learning his language. I am not fluent yet, but I'm working on it.

Oh, and this? Mr. Sneaky Boy took this with my camera when I was, obviously, out of the room. I found it on my camera card when I downloaded pictures tonight. Just thought I'd share it with y'all. He's such a goofball!

Night all!

June 20, 2012

A Martian Movie Worth Seeing

So. Important question for y’all: Have you seen John Carter?

Well for Pete’s sake why not?? (If you have, please disregard last sentence).
This is a darn good movie. I have made it my mission to educate people about this movie since Disney did such a poor job promoting it. For starters, the title should be “John Carter of Mars.” It’s based on a series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Not ringing a bell?

He’s the same man who wrote Tarzan. He wrote the Mars books back in 1917. Two important things to note about this date. 1) The Civil War was still fresh in people’s minds. And 2) Astronomers in 1917 observed what looked like man-made lines on Mars' surface. Telescopes have obviously come a long way since then, but these lines were a major discovery at the time. They gave rise to the belief that there was life on Mars and that it was capable of technology.

Enter our intrepid author, Mr. Burroughs. From this age and culture, he writes a science fiction series about a Civil War veteran who finds himself mysteriously transported to Mars. Once there, he (and by “he” I mean John Carter of course) encounters the various races that inhabit the planet: the tribal Thark, the Red Men (humans), the mysterious Therns, and the unforgettable Princess Deja (yeah, you know where this is going - boy meets Martian girl and all that). Most notably, though, he discovers Mars is in the middle of its own civil war and despite his protestations, he is pulled into the conflict and forced to choose sides.

That is the basic gist of the story. My husband has read all the books, so I have it on good authority that the movie stays pretty true to the original plot. Besides an interesting historical background, though, this movie is really well done. Family friendly, action-adventure, it blends elements from Prince of Persia and Star Wars into a fun mix of humor and mystery. Witty well-scripted dialogue and a compelling redemption story don't hurt either.

If you haven’t seen it, and you’re a fan of science fiction, you should consider giving John Carter a shot. It has become an instant family favorite for us.

Of course, if you’re not a fan of science fiction, feel free to totally ignore everything I've said. In fact, if you don't like Star Trek or Jules Verne, chances are you probably didn’t read this far down. :)

Anywho, that's my two cents for the day: See John Carter. Then tell me what you thought.

June 19, 2012

Social My Foot

Disclaimer: I'm running on about five hours of sleep and a really long day in the car. So please forgive me if this post rambles, repeats itself, or just plain fails to make sense. Ye have been warned!

Why do so many people automatically assume that home-schoolers are not socialized? Geez people, it's not like we lock our kids in the house and forbid contact with the outside world. Well, not often anyway. Just when I'm in the shower. :) One too many neighbors has come a knockin' with Little Man in tow while I'm washing my hair.

Seriously, though. Caleb hasn't even started kintergarden and we are already hearing about "socialization." We endured yet another round of questions from a medical professional today concerned that Caleb would miss out on vital peer interaction if he didn't attend public school.

Not that such concerns aren't valid. For someone with Caleb's developmental issues, they are certainly important. But hellloooo! Homeschooling doesn't equal exile to Antarctica. Belive it or not, there are actually other creatures to hang out with besides the penguins.

I shouldn't be so hard of the poor medical professional. After all, she only spent 45 minutes with us. She didn't see the two little boys Caleb befriended today, one at McDonald's this morning and another at the park this afternoon. Both "social interactions" amounted to several hours of merry play and boyish games.

Is Caleb socially where most other five year olds are? No. But neither is he unresponsive. He loves to play with other kids. And he is learning, bit by bit, to do so appropriately.

Will I address the issue of socialization when we start to homeschool? Of course. Classes at Home Connection, regular play dates, church. Not to mention the eventual adoption of our second son. Socialized my child will be. Probably more than he wants. ;)

So yeah. Just a bit of a rant. I forget most people don't know I was homeschooled all my life and am therefore not coming to this as a greenhorn.

I seriously need some sleep. Caleb's developed this unfortunate habit of waking up before 6am every morning. Today? 4:45. A.M., people! Follow that up with a long (but fun) day in Seattle and you have one tired Mama. *Yaaaaawwwwn*

Night y'all!

June 17, 2012

As promised . . .

They say a picture is worth a thousand words . . .
. . . so I figure this one is worth at least that. :)
Yes, we are adopting. A little boy. A little brother.
God has been gently pushing our hearts in this direction for some time. He's confirmed the decision in multiple ways. So we are trusting Him and taking a big step into a wide unknown.
This is a season for remaking. Rebirth. I feel as though my world is slowly coming apart and being reshaped into something . . . else. Something new. My feet walk down trails they never thought they'd tread. They carry me into unfamiliar landscapes where dreams die and new ones are born.
Please keep us in your prayers, friends. We are still in the midst of paperwork and foster parent training classes.  We don't know yet who our little boy will be. But he's out there. And God has marked him for us.

June 14, 2012

Beachy Morning

West Beach. Where we adventured this morning. Wrapped in windbreakers. Armed with Starbucks.

Who would believe other parts of the country are having heat waves right now? Not us. Gray skies and 50's. Nearly every day this week. But you have to get out of the house at some point, ya know?

Not that my son minds the decidely un-summer-like weather. Not one tiny bit. I think his latin classification is "Calebus Aquaticus." Before long, his shoes are off and he's playing catch me if you can with the waves. Hopping from rock to rock. Climbing on the driftwood. Being a boy.

I think to myself: "We'll only stay for a little while." But twenty minutes turns into thirty and Caleb continues to beg for "just five more minutes!"

No one else is on the beach. My Starbucks keeps me warm for a while, but is does eventually cool. Good thing white chocolate mochas are tasty hot or cold.

The waves are rough so I make sure Caleb doesn't get too close. We stay for nearly an hour before I issue a forced march to leave. His feet are wet and cold and bright red by now. He doesn't seem to care, but given his hypo-sensitivity, it's up to me to make sure he doesn't get too chilled.

"In the car, Bonzo," I tell him. The mandatory piece of driftwood comes, too. We're lucky if we leave the beach with only one these days. The things kids collect... oh well, this particular piece will do nicely for a craft project I want to do.

I'm lovin' moments like this with my boy. He's growing up so fast and things in our household are changing so rapidly... I want to hold on and make time stand still, but at the same time, I don't. I wouldn't change a thing, but neither do I want to miss a thing!

Remember that big announcement I told y'all about? It'll be soon. Maybe tomorrow. :)

Love and peace, peeps!

June 10, 2012


Yesterday we celebrated Caleb's 5 1/2 birthday. (For those of you who don't know, we don't celebrate his actual birthday because it falls very close to Christmas. Instead we do a summer "half birthday" party every year.)

I'm hoping you will all forget that I haven't blogged in a while and accept this plethora of photos in compensation. :)
Yeah, the banner should say "5 1/2" but they don't make half signs for these sorts of things.

He was up at 6am and ready for presents. I made him wait till Daddy woke up, though, which was a whole hour later. :) 
A marble maze builder set from Grammy and Grandpa. I now have tiny legos AND marbles to watch out for when I walk. Joy.
Look out Decepticons, Optimus Prime is in da house!

In the afternoon, we had a little party for Caleb and his friends. We set up food and cake at a park on the beach and let the kids play.  
Water guns in the goody bags = best idea ever! 
The cake (ta da!). Gluten-free Pamela's chocolate cake mix and homemade vanilla buttercream frosting. Yummm! (Never mind the fact that my first batch of frosting bombed and I had to scramble to make another. The frosting was supposed to be blue to match the Transformers theme, but the all-natural food dye I just recently bought made the frosting taste AWFUL. Hence the second batch of white, non-colored frosting. But hey, it tasted awesome!)
Happy Half Birthday, my little man! You are growing up so stinkin' fast and I love you to pieces. :)
There's lots more for me to blog about, friends. I will do my best to get a few more posts written this week and catch y'all up on our latest news. Including a rather big announcement. :) Stay tuned!

May 12, 2012

Playing in the dirt

Happy Saturday, all! What have you all been up to today? It's a gorgeous sunny day here on the island and that means this girl's been outside. It's 12:30pm and so far, I've played in 1.5 cubic sqaure feet of dirt! :) Want to see the product of my labors?
 Rosemary and Phlox, re-potted into larger containers.

Oregano (looking a bit sickly) and German Thyme, also re-potted.

Going up the steps to our front door: purple sage, three tiny pots of miniature pansies, and finally at the top, lavender. The lavender needs to be transplanted into our actual yard, but I haven't gotten to that yet.

Bonus Photo: My Sweet Peas! They continue to grow and I can't wait to see them blossom. Most beautiful smelling flower in the world, bar none. No, I didn't re-pot these. But I did water them. I'm so excited to see the seeds actually grow. You have no idea how un-green my thumb is.
In other news, the garden hasn't died yet. In fact, we have lettuce, peas, and sunflowers sprouting. Maybe more stuff, but I haven't been out there today. Jason is going to plant strawberries later this afternoon, so I suppose I'll do some weeding while he does that. Who knows? Maybe stuff will really grow. One can hope.
Oh, did I tell you? We found my wedding ring! Actually, Jason found it. In the garden, of course. The potato patch to be precise. We were out looking for sprouts last week and there it was, on bare earth. An extraordinary answer to prayer, because our backyard is immense and mostly covered in grass. :) I am oh-so-thankful to have it back on my finger where it belongs. The ring, I mean. Not the yard.
Any exciting plans for Mother's Day? We are doing a family night at the drive-in this evening and we are all three very much looking forward to it. It will be a super late night, but worth it I think. We get to see The Avengers. Ooh-rah. :)
15 hours of daylight does wonders for the soul when the sun shines unhindered for all 15 hours. I feel my vitamin D stores filling up, I don't want to be anywhere but outside, and I love that the sun doesn't set till almost 9 o'clock. :) This is a beautiful, bright, happy time of year. And I'm making hay while the sun shines.

Happy Mother's Day, friends! I hope you all have a great weekend!

May 3, 2012

Return to Me

Somewhere between the hoe and the rake, I lost it. I didn't exactly see it go flying. In fact, I didn't see it at all. One moment it was there, the next it wasn't. Sinking feeling in my stomach the moment I noticed it was missing.

This garden just got a whole lot more expensive.

"Honey?" Jay stops shoveling and looks at me.

"I'm missing my wedding ring."

So went the garden planting last weekend.

*Rolls eyes*

Dumb garden. Dumb rock-ridden, weed infested, muddy back-breaking garden. We missed Holland Happening, first day of fishing, the tulip fields, and who knows what else to get it finished. Now it's eaten my wedding ring, too.

Well. Not really. Much as I'd like to, I can't really blame the garden for the loss. The ring's been really loose on my finger lately. I knew it could slip off. But I feel so werid without it, I didn't want to stop wearing it. Now it's lost in the greater wilderness that is our backyard. In the two foot high grass that hasn't been mowed in over a month because we've been focused on getting the crowbegotten garden done.

Dumb garden.

Anybody got a metal detector?

April 21, 2012

A Logical Conclusion

"Push me, Mommy. Pweeese? Just five more minutes?"

I'm tired and hungry and maybe a tad grumpy. Dinner's ready upstairs in the crockpot and I'd really rather be up there eating it than downstairs in the den. But I look at Caleb and I know I need to push him on his swing another five minutes. He was bouncing off the sliding glass door and the couch a little while ago, but as I rythmically push his hammock, he sighs and settles back with a pillow and Bear. He's calm, peaceful. I wonder if he could fall asleep here, suspended in the air, swining back and forth. It's one of his favorite places to be.

He would have done well on a pirate ship, methinks.

Caleb's sensory diet is a big part of our daily routine. We wrestle, tickle, chase, swing, and play "Buffalo", where Caleb runs full tilt into a be-pillowed Mommy who sits in a livingroom chair.

"Buffalo" is not one of Mommy's favorite games.

Among Caleb's favorites, though, is his hammock swing which we installed in the den early last fall. It hangs from a supporting beam in the ceiling and we keep a futon mattress underneath for padding in case of falls. We've spent hours in that swing this winter. Sometimes I sing to Caleb while I push him. Sometimes I put iTunes on and we take turns choosing music.

"The Breakfast song, Mommy? Again? How 'bout Big Bad Voodoo Band? Pweeese??"

I make up hand motions and silly dances to go with the songs. Caleb tries to mimick, and he's just so darn cute, I can't help laughing.

Sometimes we're feeling quiet, though. Perhaps Mommy is tired (or cranky). Perhaps Caleb is wound up and having trouble controling himself. Sometimes I just push and push, as the hands on the clock go round and round. We've spent over an hour on the swing before. Half an hour is more common, more routine. Depends on how much he needs. The need changes from day to day.

I know when he's calmed down, though, because he starts to talk. He tells me about his dream last night, and the scary monsters from Danny Phantom (a tv show), and how he wants to be a bug monster ghost for Halloween, and how he's hungry, and could I push him faster?

I love to hear his chatter. He's talking so well these days. The other morning, he gave me his little notebook and asked me to draw water, a ship, a chain monster, and Caleb in the water with the monster. He then proceeded to tell me an entire story about it. How Caleb was swimming and saw the monster. He was very afraid and he swam back to the ship. He was wet, so he changed his clothes and sailed back to town. And the chain monster was never seen again. The end.

I can hardly believe this boy of mine sometimes. His creativity. His memory. His vivid imagination. His active dream life. I know I'm his mom and all, but I'm impressed. I can't believe how much and how quickly he's growing. Blossoming, even.

I wouldn't change him for the world.

Recently, Jason and I made the decision to homeschool Caleb this fall. The local preschool has been a positive experience for us, but our little boy does not (and probably never will) fit the cookie cutter mold that public schools expect and encourage. Our options for kindergarden were limited, due in part to his autism, and after a lot of prayer and a whole lotta conversations, we've decided to keep him home.

I'm one part nervous and two parts excited by this change of plans. There is an amazing homeschooling community on the island, so we won't be alone. Washington State is actually pretty friendly toward families that homeschool, and we'll receive a stipend this fall to help pay for curriculum. Gotta love that!

*Commencing happy dance*

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some googling to do: educational computer games, flash cards, and large maps of the world. In no particular order. :)

April 13, 2012

Silly Stories with Caleb

And now it's time for Silly Stories with Caleb, the part of the blog where Caleb comes out and tells a silly story.

Today we join Mommy and Caleb as they learn a new bible verse. Mommy has put the words of Colossians 4:2 to song and begins to sing:

(To the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell")

"Devote yourselves to prayer, devote yourselves to pray
Hi ho the derry-oh! Devote yourselves to prayer!"

Caleb loves the song and immediately catches on. Only when he starts to sing, something else entirely comes out:

"Demote yoursevles to prayer, demote yourselves to prayer
Hi ho the derry-oh! Demote yourselves to prayer!"

May we all be so demoted. :)

This has been Silly Stories with Caleb. Tune in next week to hear Caleb say:

"Mommy! My foot has a poke!"

April 9, 2012

He came back to "wife"

“Please God, don’t bleed!” My little boy stared hard at the picture of Jesus, crowned with thorns and facing an angry crowd. For a moment I wondered if he would cry. I wondered if I might, too. What was going through his five-year-old mind? Did he understand, even a little, what he was looking at? The story we were reading?

Being a child’s Easter book, the violence of the cross was muted into a watercolor of Jesus with small scratches that only hint of blood. The actual scene at Golgotha, on the next page, is pushed off into the distance where only three small crosses can be seen in the background while sad people cry up close in the foreground. Still, Caleb picked up immediately on the seriousness of the situation.

“Let’s do the crown of forns, Mommy,” he asked every day as I pulled out the Resurrection Eggs and accompanying book. Whatever egg we happened to be on, whichever part of the book, he would flip to that page with the picture and pour over it. “Ouchie, Mommy. Poor Jesus. Not nice!”

He was shocked later to learn that Jesus died. I sensed a storm gathering as he processed the information, but managed to head him off with the Good News, even though that was technically supposed to be a surprise for Easter morning. “It’s ok, little man. Jesus died for us, but then He came back to life on Easter Sunday. He’s ok, I promise.”

“He come back to wife?” (Pardon the lisp).

“Yes, sweet boy. Jesus is alive.” A smile forms on his lips. (Whew. Disaster averted.)

Guess what I heard the rest of the week? "Jesus rose from da dead, Mommy. He's awive."

Why yes, yes He is.

We both enjoyed going through the Resurrection Eggs this year. We did them last year (a big hit then as well), but this year was different. Last year we opened a brightly colored egg every day of Passion Week with a funny little surprise in each one. This year, the eggs and the book told a story. A story that Caleb followed with interest and enthusiasm.

He’s growing up, that little boy of mine.

Yesterday morning, when I got home from early service, Caleb and I had ourselves an Easter picnic in the backyard. Daddy was at late service, the day was beautiful and warm (hallelujah!), so Caleb and I dragged out a blanket, my bible, and some snacks. And the last egg.

“It’s empty!” Caleb looked confused. A little disappointed. “It’s empty because Jesus rose from the dead,” I explain. “The tomb was empty because Jesus is alive!” I read Matthew 28:5-7. About the angels and the women and the Good News.

I’m not sure he “gets” it. But then, he is five. He asks to play with the spear and the rock from earlier eggs, and I let him. He’s grown so much since last year. Understands so much more than he used to. I love watching him learn, especially about God. Between the autism and the developmental delays, it’s a blessing I don’t take for granted.

I hope your Easters were sweet and colorful and full of hope, my friends! He is risen! He is risen indeed!