Taking the Scenic Route

Happy Birthday To ME!

15th January 2011

Happy Birthday To ME!

The first birthday in many, many years that we celebrated on the actual day.

We met my parents and Steve & Nora at Il Vincino, my favorite spot, for my birthday dinner.  It was, as usual, awesome.

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13th January 2011

My Uncle Bob passed away

My mother’s post on Facebook: My brother, Bob died peacefully at home on Sunday afternoon of lung cancer. God bless Hospice! At Bob’s specific request, there will be no obituary, no memorial service and no memorials. His ashes will be scattered at his favorite fishing spot along the Missouri river in Montana. Thanks to each of you for your support and prayers.

posted in Death, Extended Family | Comments Off

19th December 2010

Christmas & Birthday at the Farm

Although we will have my parents over on Christmas day, this is the official family celebration, including Grandma and Steve & Nora.  Since Steve & Nora won’t be there on Christmas they brought along the kid’s gifts.  They really made a huge impact with their gifts this year, and we are very thankful because we didn’t have the ability to do it ourselves.

How to drive a (almost) 5 year old crazy.  Tell her that the big box is hers, but don’t let her open it *right now*

First glance under the big box (after pulling off all of the wrapping paper and then realizing that she just had to lift it up…we are so mean)

Zane was also very pleased with his gift.  It was a building toy that Nora loved as a kid.  She helped set it up and they played with it together for a while.

Grandma and Zora talking about her jacket (the pattern)

The other thing he got was the connect four game he has been asking for the last few months.  He was quite happy.

After building with Zane, Nora (and Steve) went outside to help Zora learn to ride the bike.

Great day, great food, wonderful family.

posted in At the Farm, Autistic Life, Birthday, Christmas, Extended Family | Comments Off

2nd December 2010

Thanksgiving Feast Day! (a belated post)

Zora was totally stoked about having a “FEAST” at school and talked about it for more than a week before.  Much to her delight she had both me and Oma as her guests.

We were told she was also very excited about her Oma and Opa and Uncle Steve coming over that night for our family Thanksgiving Feast.  Originally we were going to go to a restaurant (Zach & I were both fighting colds and not sure if we were going to be up to cooking), but as it drew closer, we decided we would rather cook the traditional meal.  As it turned out, Zach (with Zane helping) did all the cooking because I went with Mom and Zora to pick out Christmas outfits for the kids.  We found some awesome sales for her dress, and hit paydirt at the consignment store for his outfit.  The consignment store even yielded a few other items for under the tree/birthdays, so it was a very successful trip.

The meal was extremely excellent, and it was a particular treat to come home from a day of shopping to an already prepared Thanksgiving feast with all the fixings (and a clean kitchen to boot…damn, he is GOOD).   We missed Nora, but had a nice evening.

If you notice, there are no pictures of the evening meal.  The only downside to the day was me accidentally leaving (and not realizing it happened) my camera at school.  So we were without a camera for our family gathering, and the entire thanksgiving weekend.  (which is why the picture for putting up the tree are so weird…they are taken off a huge clunky video camera that we dragged out of storage in desperation).  I can tell you it makes me really twitchy to not have a camera for nearly a week.  Thank goodness the people at the school recognized the camera and kept it safe for me over the weekend.  I was SO relieved to get it back that I cried.  (also why the post is late, I wanted to wait to see if the camera would reappear and get the school pictures off of it before I posted)

posted in Extended Family, Our Family, School, Thanksgiving | Comments Off

1st August 2010

Oma & Opa’s Birthdays (and Anniversary)

My parent’s birthdays are one day apart and Zora wanted to have a party for them.   She carefully chose the candles and cake (she wanted white cake with cream cheese frosting in the middle and strawberry frosting on the outside.  I think what she *really* wanted was enough frosting that she could eat half of it and still have enough to decorate the cake.  :laughn1: )  When they came over she insisted on digging out all of the old birthday party left-over supplies for a more festive experience.  Steve & Nora were here too, but they might shoot me if I posted the pictures, since I kept catching them with full mouths and mid-expression.

Clearly, they are still in love.

He kept asking me: “Is the plate full or empty?”  and it sort of confused me.  He asked in between each bite.  After about the third time I finally figured out he was asking if it was ok if he didn’t eat it all.  (Do I have to make the plate empty?) As soon as I told him he didn’t have to finish it, he looked relieved and left the rest of the cake.  A kid that isn’t really into cake just baffles my brain.

posted in Autistic Life, Birthday, Extended Family, The 2 Opas (J's Parents), The Kids | 1 Comment

27th June 2010

Father’s Day

We celebrated a week late since the kids were singing in church (and Nora was going to be in town), so everybody came up to hear the kid’s sing then go to Pizza Hut for lunch.  It was, as usual, a great time.

The kids made some cards for Grandpa/Opa and Zach:

From Zora to Opa:

From Zora to Daddy:

From Zane to Grandpa:

From Zane to Daddy:

And a few shots of lunch

posted in Autistic Life, Extended Family, Father's Day, The 2 Opas (J's Parents) | Comments Off

31st May 2010

Memorial Day, Family Day

On Memorial Day Mom, Dad, Steve & Nora all came up here and we shared a meal.  Burgers on the grill, followed by blueberries, Steve’s homemade ice cream & some homemade chocolate sauce.  Mom and Dad brought up a little swimming pool for the kids and we blew up some plastic outdoor toys we had received as gifts last Christmas from Heartspring.  They spent the day in and out of the water.  It was relaxed and fun.

She is dipping the blueberries into the leftover, cooled chocolate.


posted in Extended Family, The 2 Opas (J's Parents) | Comments Off

4th April 2010

Easter Day with the Family

Out to my parent’s farm for Easter.  It was a truly wonderful day.  Relaxed, happy, and a lot of fun.  We had a wonderful meal, great conversation (including some fabulous stories from the newest person at the table), and a windy, warm Kansas day to play in.

Upon arrival, Zora wanted to show off the box she made to Great-Grandma, who was, naturally, enthused that her great grand-daughter had a love of arts inherited from her.

After a wonderful dinner the kids were on a mission to find the Easter eggs hidden around the room.

The eggs at Oma’s had booty in them: candy and coins.

And the most fun of all, watching new love bloom.  It is so wonderful to see my brother so happy.  They are so wonderful together, comfortable together on a level that many people who have been together for years don’t get to.  Reminds me of when Zach & I were dating.  Happy times.

Steve spent considerable time pushing Zora around on the tricycle, much to her utter delight.

When we pulled the bicycle out we realized, much to our chagrin, that the tires were flat.  This is a “BIG PROBLEM” for Zach and I, who are not particularly good at stuff like that, but Steve and Nora took care of it for us.  (THANK YOU!)  They probably don’t even realize that it meant so much to us, but it did.

This picture would make me a bundle of nerves if I hadn’t seen it in person.  My dad is going really slowly and being very careful, which made this “hover mom” feel less anxious than I normally would have been about 2 kids, a 4-wheeler and no helmets.  lol.  If I remember correctly, Zora also talked dad into a ride in the tractor, but I was busy talking to mom and grandma when that happened.

They charged up the Hummer Remote Control vehicle, which was formally a point of contention when it was given to a toddler Zane (and was powerful enough to run over the Christmas tree when we tested it out after he got it).  It immediately was sent out to the farm because Zane was using it as a step stool to reach things and was too powerful (and complicated) for him to use at that time.  (plus, who would think a Hummer was the appropriate thing to give the toddler of two hippy type people?)  Now it is  a lot of fun to use, but I still have to laugh at the fact it takes many more hours to charge the batteries than it does to run (seems appropriate for a Hummer, doesn’t it).  At any rate, we had a ball with the Hummer, especailly when teasing the dogs with it.  (The dogs LOVED it…it was so much fun for all of us watching them chase it around the farm.)

And now the kids are both able to control it well, so they have a lot of fun with it too.

After the food had settled a bit, it was time to make dessert…homemade ice cream.  Steve has a great, easy recipe for it and always invites the kids to help make it.  Zane isn’t as interested in the process, but Zora sure is.  She will brag for days later that she helped make the ice cream.

Our favorite boy, with the hair that drives moms and grandmas crazy, was loving the feeling of the wind in his hair.

And then we attempted a group photo.  Apparently, it is asking too much for both kids to smile at the same time and pose appropriately.  Oh well, it is the real deal, which is better any way.

I can’t for the life of me remember the dog’s name, but she was beautiful and very good with the kids.  She also made me want to fall asleep just watching her stretch out in the sunshine.  Nora is a vet and the dog was abandoned by the owner after an injury.  Honestly, it was probably the best thing that could have happened because she has a great life now, including a loving owner and a new friend in Shelby (Steve’s dog).

Steve showed Nora this diabolical game from our Grandpa S.  (paternal grandfather) Nora worked on it for a while, making good progress on it, then Steve showed her the solution.  She fits great in this family…brilliant and nerdy enough to enjoy puzzles like the rest of us.

A fantastically relaxing and fun day for all.  We really enjoyed the day with the family, in more ways than we can say.

The vitality of our Savior risen permeated the jubilance of the day.  It was a fitting celebration, filled with love and peace.  I look forward to more.

posted in Autistic Life, Easter, Extended Family, The 2 Opas (J's Parents), Zane, Zora | Comments Off

16th January 2010

Went to a wedding

My cousin’s son got married today. Zora thought it was a prince and princess during the ceremony and was craning her neck to watch. Zane behaved reasonably well, although he did actually resort to reading the boring stuff on my Kindle for a bit. When they clapped after introducing the couple, he started doing the “WooHoo” sound and I had to clamp my hand over his mouth and whisper loudly “just clap, no shouting”, before it got up to full volume. lol.

Zach ended up running out to my parent’s farm to save a totally pooched computer during the first part of the reception (he was just not really feeling up to all the social stuff and told me later that the trip out to the farm, and the utter silence out there, was probably the best thing he could have done. Well, except the owl family that startled him a few times. lol.)

Zora made friends with all the other kids there and just had a ball dancing and running around with the crew of kids. She slow danced with another, taller girl, and it was so cute watching them try and dance like the grown ups. The DJ had all the kids come out in a circle and do all those goofy wedding dances, with the bride and some other grownups that joined in. Even Zane joined the fun and danced around, often joining the other kids. There was a girl after him that kept trying to get him to dance with her, and he actually did sometimes. He loved the flashing lights too.

It was one of the first weddings I have been to in a loooong time that I could actually eat some of the food. Usually people drown everything in sauces and dressings, all of which are dangerous to somebody with an onion allergy. Here, they had plates of veggies (including colored peppers, which I LOVE) and had ham and turkey sandwiches with no dressing on the actual sandwiches (yay!). Zane actually ate an entire bowl of chili too, which amazed and thrilled me. (he has only very recently started to actually eat chili…for years he has just dipped crackers in it and eaten the crackers, so I was happy to see him pick up the spoon after his crackers were gone and actually eat the bowl of chili). It was fun to eat at the wedding instead of just starving the whole time watching everybody else eat. Although I do wish I could have eaten some cake, because it was beautiful and looked so yummy, but after the “just one bite” at Christmas time leading to weeks of fighting carb cravings, I decided I wasn’t up to that again.

With the kids entertained by the dancing and goofing around, I actually had a chance to catch up with several cousins that I haven’t been able to actually stand around and talk to in ages. That was really nice. I couldn’t believe how grown up some of the “kids” were either…they are all still little in my brain, but here they were, in their early 20s, some even having drinks. Life is really a blink, and it is going faster and faster as time goes on.

I did actually bring my camera with me, but the batteries died as I was taking my first picture, so I only got a few blurry cell phone pictures (I have an old cell phone, so I didn’t even try when the lights went down).

The whole wedding was really beautiful, and we had a very nice time. Both of the kids came home exhausted and ready for bed, so that was a bonus too.

eta: the picture I got on my regular camera.

And, new pictures trickle in on facebook.

posted in Autistic Life, Extended Family, The Kids, Wedding | Comments Off

10th January 2010

Early birthday dinner

For my birthday dinner we went to Il Vincini, our new favorite place.  Dad wasn’t able to make it because he is sick, so we missed him, but it was really great to finally meet Nora, Steve’s new friend.  She seems like such a neat person and I can’t wait to get to know her better.

So, for my birthday, the three ladies had a Menage a Trois.  lmao.  What a hilarious name for a wine.

Everybody had pizza, except me, who had an awesome salad.

It is so good to see my brother happy again.

It was a great dinner, although we all agreed that I can’t possibly be turning 40 in a week.

posted in Birthday, Extended Family, The 2 Opas (J's Parents), The Kids, Zach & Jennifer | 1 Comment

  • Zane's age

  • Zane is 22 years, 5 months, and 26 days old
  • Zora's age

  • Zora is 18 years, 5 months, and 30 days old
  • Random Quote

  • I doubt that we can ever successfully impose values or attitudes or behaviors on our children – certainly not by threat, guilt, or punishment. But I do believe they can be induced through relationships where parents and children are growing together. Such relationships are, I believe, build on trust, example, talk, and caring. — Fred Rogers

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