Giving My Kids More

Like many parents, I’ve wanted to give my kids ‘more than I had’ – to the point where I sometimes worry that I’m giving them too much or things are too easy for them. I also struggled with this when I quit my job in January. Our family’s discretionary income certainly dropped without my civil service job.  But – I felt having more time with them, and not feeling the stress of getting everything done when I was home was more important than ‘the stuff’.

On a recent backpacking trip, I came to realize how much more I was actually giving my kids.  I definitely felt better about these experiences than any of the material things I could ever give them.


  1. Lake Swimming – We live solidly ‘in town’ – there are no lakes, ponds or creeks for them to play in, so this is not a regular occurrence. I grew up with a creek (we pronounce it ‘crick’). We would damn it up, look for crayfish or just tromp through it. So when we went to the Uinta Mountains,the boys got to play in a cold clear mountain lake  – with a log. No goggles, no diving toys, no diving boards – just nature.IMG_3508
  2. Starry, Starry Nights! I grew up in rural Pennsylvania. It was normal to see the stars. We don’t always get to see the stars where we live because of all the light pollution plus the fact that it stays light for so long in the summer! When we head to the mountains – there are lots of stars to see – if we can stay awake long enough (that’s the great thing about backpacking – it definitely wears these to boys out!) – yea, I know – this picture doesn’t actually have stars – but the moon was pretty!IMG_3515
  3. GOATS! Growing up I saw lots of white tail deer, red tail hawks and even an occasional bear. But the first time I saw a mountain goat, I was in my 30’s or maybe even 40’s. But, my boys had the privilege of seeing this beautiful mom & her baby. They came right by our camp (we were really surprised that they came so close!). Then they even heard the mama & baby calling for each other – it was an odd squeaking, almost crying noise.

So – I still want to give my kids more than I had. But, at least now I don’t feel guilty about giving them too many material things. I love being able to show them the beauty that God has surrounded us with in nature!




The Non-Sucky Parts of Autism (for my family, anyway)

I thought since I did a post a bit ago about how the effects of Autism can really be a downer (Autism Sucks) – I should also touch on those ‘non-sucky’ parts.  Since Autism is a spectrum with varying ranges of function and ability, this list applies to my family – particularly my son.  I hope that if you are a care giver or know someone on the Autism spectrum – that you too can take a moment and think about those things that are special

Passion – my son is so passionate about the things that really catch his attention. He throws himself into those things with all his heart. He will spend hours researching and planning to make something happen.

Intelligence – God gave this child an amazing brain! He gets concepts quickly and can apply those concepts and implement ideas.

A Thirst For Knowledge – This boy (both of my boys really) has always been a knowledge seeker! He wants to know what, how, why…. He reads, researches things on the internet … He’s even gone so far as to call NASA and Lego to ask questions! (I never would have thought to do something like that at his age – let alone have the courage to do it!)

Open Book (kind of) – you know exactly what he thinks. He wears his emotions on his sleeve. If you can’t figure it out – he’ll tell you – without beating around the bush.

He’s Great With Little Kids – If I’m volunteering in the nursery at church, I can count on my son to help out and entertain the little kids that are there. He loves to play with them and they all have a blast playing with cars or Legos or on the playground.

I Can Help – Based on my experiences with my sons – I’m sometimes able to help other moms who have questions about how to get help, what’s working (or not), how to handle situations. Obviously – all kids are different, but sometimes just an ear to listen can help another mom with the day to day struggles.

I realize I’m probably missing some positive traits, and this post isn’t near as long as the negative one – mainly because I had so many recent and strong emotions involved when I was writing the other post. Sometimes it seems harder to identify these positive things because they’re frequently overshadowed by the rough patches. But, I know that while the negative affects often tend to stand out – these positive attributes will be the ones that bring my son success.  I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with his future!

Find the Positive & Enjoy!!



La Vie Enrose

I’ve been wanting to post something, here, but didn’t really find much interesting in my life to write about.  We celebrated Christmas with snow, church & relaxing (we watched Star Wars movies in preparation to see the new movie!)

Now I can’t believe 2016 is just a few days away.  I’ve been contemplating creating a New Year’s Resolution Goals scrapbook layout to document what I want to accomplish in the coming year and my progress to those ends.  I’ve also been working on Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year Ahead 2016 workbook to see what direction I want to move forward.

As I’ve been preparing for my January classes, I’ve been working with the IMG_2298La Vie Enrose papers – they are quite pretty with roses in various pinks & reds as well as black & white geometric patterns.  IMG_2299Ever since this paper was introduced I’ve been wondering what the name means – so I finally looked it up.  According to – La Vie Enrose literally translates to Life in pink – but more appropriately would be life through rosy glasses.  I think I like the 2nd translation better.  I know you can’t go through life completely with your rose colored glasses on, but I often think about how the world has changed between when I was a kid and what my boys are experiencing.  I would love to add some rose colored glasses to their lives so they could enjoy childhood a little longer without hearing about what’s going on in the news or even down the street.

But, since I can’t hide the world from them, I’ll do my best to temper the difficult things in life with lots of love, compassion & kindness – hope that it’s catchy and that they’ll remember we’re always better together!


Forced Creativity?

My boys are, I think, pretty normal when it comes to electronics. They walk in the door and reach for the remote or get on the computer. Of course, now with smart phones, they grab the phone, too. I believe in moderation , so they have to do their chores, homework, something physical, & something creative before they get to the computer. I really enjoyed their creativity one day over Spring break.

Both my boys had a full week off for Spring break. I couldn’t get enough time away from my IPB (it pays the bills) job, but I was able to take 1 day in addition to working from home a few others. The day I took off we decided to go for a quick hike in the morning. It was quite entertaining!

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After running a few quick errands, we headed home.  They had done something physical, had no homework, chores were caught up, and so they of course were drawn to the electronics like a black hole. I threw a wrench in their plans when I reminded them they needed to do something creative – play guitar, play piano, draw, paint, I didn’t care as long as they did something (and of course in my ‘mom mind’ – it would keep them away from the electronics just a little longer).


My youngest son decided he wanted to stamp something, and big brother soon followed along. Since it was just before Easter, they decided to make some cards for Dad. We headed to the craft room. They started with neon pink cardstock for the base. I got them to stamp on white so it would show up better and they could see different colors. I think Garrett was trying to use every stamp I had that had a sayiIMG_0787ng.  Then they broke out the washi tape.


Cody was very deliberate in creating a scene with a biplane pulling a banner and clouds in the background. Then he saw me showing Garrett how to sponge the edges to add a little more depth. When it was his turn with the sponge, he used it to add a sky affect around his clouds. It amazes me how kids and creative people can just look at something and see how to use it in a different way.

So, with forced creativity hour over, we cleaned up the tornado remnants, and they tucked the cards away until Sunday. I have to say, the best part of this was on Sunday morning, when Cody gave is little creation to me (he secretly made it for me, leading me to believe it was for Dad) – what a great surprise.

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What about your family?  Are your kids creative? Do you fight the electronics battle?  Do you let them play in your craft room? What have they surprised you with?