Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I read a story the other day, about a woman and some horrible trouble her family was having years ago. In her story she wrote about the hardship and mental anguish she went through when judgmental people would be hard on her and her family, when they really needed help and comfort. She mentioned how much easier life would be, if we could all wear signs, explaining what is going on- so that those around us would be a little more gentle.

Today Kurt and I were just handed even more bad news. We are so tired of bad news, we could cry. This month has been one of the worst months our family has ever had to endure, and we have worked so hard to try and keep ourselves together, keep our children feeling secure, and keep ourselves from freaking out, that this one last piece of bad news... on the last day of this month... is just more than I can handle.

Over the last few weeks we learned:

Grandpa has cancer.
Our move to Reno caused Kurt to lose his job. (His district manager in Salt Lake, claimed that Kurt didn't have approval to move- even though the Reno district swears they had it by phone- and therefore claimed Kurt abandoned his job... so he lost his job here.)

The home we live in, is being sold.

This is too much. This is way too much. We prayed about everything we did, so we both KNOW that things will work out... but it is tremendously difficult to feel peace during this total insecurity.

I am thankful for Becca's Book of Mormon Challenge. I am so thankful that I have had those amazing scriptures to look to, when our world is falling apart. I know things will work out, I KNOW it. But for the time being, it is so hard.

So please... if you know us... be gentle right now. We are sorry that we aren't on top of things. We are sorry that we aren't volunteering for everything we used to volunteer for. We are sorry we are not being as good of hosts as we are capable... but before harsh words or judgments be passed, please read our sign. "We just lost our only income, and we are losing our home."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Family Time!

This week is super exciting! Why? Because my sister, Nancy, flew in from Michigan today! YAY! I haven't seen her since Harrison was a week old! It was so nice to see her!!!! She brought her boyfriend, Randy, out with her. Randy was a bit afraid of flying, but he made it- GO, RANDY! I was so excited to see Nancy that I forgot to take pictures! Oops! But I will be sure to carry the camera for the rest of the week!

The week gets EVEN MORE EXCITING in a few days!

On Wednesday Kurt's parents are coming to visit! Carter and Harrison are SO excited to see Grandpa and Grandma Lyle! HOORAY! They will be visiting us for a week- and it will be so much fun! The boys are THRILLED! It will be nice for them to have even more family around- they cant get enough!

With so much excitement- it is nice to sit back and relax a bit. Harrison and Carter played Santa today- Harrison was a reindeer, and Carter was Santa. I managed to remember my camera for THESE shots! Good thing- they are too cute!

This is what I found when I walked into the dining room... lol!

Front view of "the sleigh" from the front. Harrison is being a reindeer, of course.

Santa Carter says, "HO HO HO!" When he is Santa, he also uses a much deeper voice- so cute!

This reindeer is kinda scaring me...

Carter teaches me how to "ho ho ho." Notice how he watches to see if my mouth is making the correct sound? LOL!

Harrison attempts to teach me how to sound like a reindeer, lol.

At the end of the day, when the kids are tucked in, Kurt and I settle down with Amelie for a long winter's night =)

December Challenge!

The first Christmas Carol was sung by the angels:
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:14

It was with the birth of Jesus that peace between God and man arrived. He came to die, to offer us forgiveness of our sins, and through our repentance we find peace with God. Yet it is hard to have a peace of mind during this insanely busy time for women. When we lack peace of mind, we lack peace in our homes. In our exhaustion, we become irritable and emotional. God can give us the strength to handle our challenging to-do list with grace and beauty but we need time alone resting, talking and just being with Jesus. He is our source of peace.

Jesus said "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matt. 11:28

I do not want to wake up on December 26th to find an empty feeling of guilt and exhaustion because I was so busy with the details of Christmas that I never sat down alone to just adore my precious Savior during the celebration of his birth!

So let me introduce you to the "Peace On Earth" December Challenge. Each week I will give you one practical tip and one spiritual tip that will bring you peace here on earth during this hectic holiday season.

Here's a few more details:

Here's the topic schedule for those who want to link up each week:

Today: Write at the top of your December calendar page - I Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." This will be a reminder every time you look at your calendar and feel anxious about all you have to get done - to pray. God cares for you. Release your worries to him and rest in him.

Also, go buy an extra large candle and light a candle everyday in your home in the month of December. I will be starting mine in the morning! But you can start yours at dinner time. I will be placing mine in the kitchen - the main hub of my home. Each time the candle catches your eye, say a prayer for peace in your home.

December 6th: As the warmth of Christmas has now begun to enter your home with the influx of decorations, cookie baking and friends, take out your calendar and SCHEDULE a night where you will take a warm refreshing bubble bath. I'll give you more details on what to include with this bubble bath. But until then, one main thing will be your Bible. Read the story of the birth of Jesus in Matthew 1, 2 and Luke 1,2.

December 13th: At this point, you're just 2 weeks from Christmas and there is still so much to get done. You need EXTRA rest! Pull out your calendar and SCHEDULE a night where you will go to bed very very early. Take your Bible with you to bed and read for 5 minutes. Read in Isaiah 7:14, Micah 5:2, Jeremiah 23:5, and Isaiah 53. These are prophecies that were fulfilled by the birth and life of Jesus. Get extra blankets for a warm nights rest, pray God gives you deep rest and that no one wakes you. Then turn out the lights and sleep.

December 20th: Christmas is just 5 days away and so much of our time is often spent helping the children to remember the "Reason for the Season". Now it's our turn. Once the kids are in bed get yourself a HOT drink (again we are warming the body as we warm the soul.) Get ALONE and turn out the lights by your Christmas tree, a lit fire, or a candle and just be alone with God. Pray, talk to him, I encourage you to sing Christmas carols or songs praising him, and just rest with Jesus.

December 27th: Christmas is over! And the New Year is before us. Instead of going inward like we have with the bath, bed, and fireplace, I'm going to challenge you to get out of your house. If you live in the north, you'll need to bundle up. If you have a safe neighborhood to walk in - go for a walk. If you do not, sit on your porch. The goal is to get out to the open sky and alone with God in nature. Take your Bible and get alone with God for 10 minutes. Read Matthew 27 and 28 about Jesus' death and resurrection. Commit 2011 to living for Jesus.

As you can see, not one of these challenges costs a penny. So often we seek peace by trying to buy more or accomplish more in the short time we have. We push the limits of our body by staying up late, and going and going and going. Rather than doing more, let's STOP. Just simply stop, rest and get alone with God. I think we will be surprised to find how life changing this time alone with our mighty God can be.

I need your accountability as I do this challenge. I am deeply grateful for anyone who is willing to join me on this December journey.

Jesus said in John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled."

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Kurt is such a champ! Here are some of my favorite things about him:
1) He works really hard at everything he does.

Example: He worked for 8... that is right, 8 hours on Carter's Toy Story 3 Lego train. Why? Because little Carter had asked him to. Kurt went the distance by looking through tubs and tubs of Legos for each piece and putting the whole thing together. FATHER OF THE YEAR!

2) He knows where to find inspiration, and reminds me through his example.
Example: When things are hard, and life gives us trials, he uses scriptures to help remind him that "this too shall pass." Currently he has some Church materials hanging above his computer- to remind him of what is REALLY important in life, and what his long-term goals are.

3) He can do anything!

Example: He really can do anything he puts his mind to! It is amazing! He can do yoga poses that take YEARS to accomplish, in just a few weeks. He can teach himself to play instruments, he can sing, he can dance, he can walk on his hands. He can do anything!

4) He is strong!
Example: He is so strong! He went to my parents' house and installed their new TV for them! He was able to lift their old one all by himself- SO STRONG! He did "Scale Pose" on the first try! Not only is he physically strong, but he is also spiritually strong, emotionally strong, and has a strong immune system!

5) He is funny- sooooo funny!

Example: I apologize, because this will be an inside joke for us. Kurt, remember, "That is one messed up donkey!" LOL!

6) He is handsome. SO hot. Can't stop looking at him. SO hot.

7) He is fast.
Example: He can outrun almost any high school track star... even today! FAST. I love that he is fast, because the kids are safer when he is around. Like... for example... if we are ever at a store, playground, or park, and someone was to pick up one of our kids and run- I KNOW that even if that person was fast, Kurt is faster. (Esp. if the stranger is trying to carry one of my kids- they are heavy!) And I have no doubt that Kurt would take that guy down and win that fight. I can count on him to protect our family. The only times where his speed is an issue is when I ask him to go jogging with me... he complains that I am too slow, lol.

8) He likes cool stuff.

Example: Computers, Star Wars, gaming systems, lights, stop-action films... I could go on and on. Kurt is NEVER bored- EVER. If he lacks entertainment, he makes his own!

9) We are completely different in a lot of ways, and it makes for good conversation.

Example: With so many years between us- we grew up very differently. Little things, like what TV shows were popular, or what music was our favorite growing up, are very different for us, so we always have something to talk about! It is nice! Another big difference was our upbringing. Kurt grew up on a farm in a tiny town in Iowa. He had chores, he worked a job, drove a tractor, played sports, tended to animals, built things, did 4H, and visited landmarks all over the United States! I grew up quite differently.

10) We see eye to eye on about 99% of things.

Example: NO- we were NOT born with this ability- communication was key and took us years to work on! At the end of the day, we agree on most things- we may not have started out agreeing on them, but at the end of the day- we agree. I attribute much of this to our agreement on our separate roles in our family. Kurt trusts me with knowing what is best for the children, and he supports decisions that I make for them. I trust him to preside, provide, and protect our family. This trust was not given in one day, or even over a few years... actually Kurt and my trust for one another in these rolls increased during our hardest times, because it would have been easier for one of us to bail instead of sticking it out. We can now trust that we really do have our priorities in line- and our family does come first- for both of us. Yes, I may make the final decisions on things pertaining to the kids, and he may make them on things that have to do with the family, but never before consulting one another- we respect each other's opinions.

11) I never get sick of him. EVER.
I cant even count how many times I have jokingly told him to just win a lottery of some kind (its a joke, because we don't gamble, lol) and stay home with me all the time!

12) I get to share my hut with him!
Back in Salt Lake, Elder David A Bednar explained that our families in Heaven are not our current nuclear families here on Earth- our families are MUCH bigger than that! He said that for some reason, people often picture Heaven like a hut. A small hut. And inside this hut is their spouse and their children, all still small. But that isn't how it works. Children will not be small children in Heaven. No. He explained that there are no family huts... but if we DO think of Heaven as a hut- to remember that the only one we would share the hut with, would be our spouse. Our spouses are the most important people on Earth! Through reading the scriptures, I have been reminded that all of my possessions and talents are gifts from God and I am able to have and use them here on Earth, to help my fellow man. At the end of my time here on Earth, when I depart, the only thing I get to take with me is Kurt. Yes, I am sealed to my children, but they will find spouses of their own, and children of their own too! The number one thing I get to have, and keep for all of eternity is Kurt. And I am so thankful, every single day, that I chose him and that we stayed together through so much.

I love you, Kurt =)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today was a WONDERFUL day! It was the first time that I made a whole turkey, and it turned out beautifully! We made all the traditional side dishes, and I was thankful for Sean's mom, Abi, to come over and help! It was such a great time- all the elements of dinner ended up being perfectly timed, and we enjoyed every bite! I am especially thankful for Kurt, who did the dishes =) (and thank you to FlyLady for teaching me how to do the "cooking dishes" while I was cooking- so that there weren't too many dishes to do!

The kids had such a fun day- they made turkey crafts, helped make butter (yes- actual butter!), and played games! The boys had a Wii Sports Resort Bowling Tournament- what a good time =) Carter won, of course (he is obsessed with bowling!). The boys then decided to do Mario Kart Wii races- lol, so fun! Abi joined in on the fun too!

As we were sitting down to dinner, we asked each family member to either talk about things they are thankful for, or to offer a prayer of thanksgiving. It was really sweet that every single child wanted to offer a prayer- it was delightful to hear the things they are thankful for! Kurt offered our dinner prayer, and Abi and I talked about things we were thankful for.

Today was such a special day, and I am so thankful for the family that I got to share it with. I am thankful for the full bellies we all have, and for the fact that we live in a nation that has food available for its citizens. I am thankful for the kitchen. I am thankful for the dishes. I am thankful for the beautiful home in which we live. I am thankful for my children. I am so thankful for my eternal companion. I am thankful for my Church, and the restored Gospel. I am thankful for my parents. I am thankful for my little brother. I am thankful for my big sister. I am thankful for my kitty cat. I am thankful for my life!

I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving. If we could all have more gratitude in our hearts, I know that the world would be a better place =)


I help the kids make paper-plate turkeys.

Kids love crafts!

Carter shows us his turkey and tells us all about it!

Harrison shows us his turkey.

Sean shows us his turkey!

The kids made butter! (Okay... actually Kurt did 99% of the work). Kurt shows us the butter, and the "un-butter." LOL

Our Thanksgiving Group! Kurt, Harrison, Mellissa, Carter, Abi, and Sean! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Dinner is done! (oops, forgot to put out the green bean casserole before pic taken!) Don't worry, the bread and gravy were gluten free =p

My Norman Rockwell shot =p

Harrison put the turkey timer in his roll... just to be sure the roll was done. LOL

Carter tells us about his "full belly!"

Abi taught the boys to make these turkeys from our handprints! There is a turkey for everyone in our family! (Sorry Brian, your turkey isnt made from your hand, but we used another hand and are pretending it is yours! Poor Brian had to work today. BOO!)

Boys play Wii Bowling!

Abi and the boys play Mario Kart!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Snow Day!

It snowed! We took advantage of the flurry and played outside! After a good snowball fight, we enjoyed hot cocoa and then made a gingerbread TRAIN!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Carter and Mommy day!

Today Mommy went to school with Carter!!! It was a super awesome and amazing day! Mommy went to school with Carter and stayed the whole day! What fun!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Grandpa Russell had his surgery today. Everything went really well, and with luck his cancer is gone! HOORAY! Mellissa stayed with Grandpa overnight- the hospital put a little cot next to his bed for her. It was a long night, Grandpa didn't sleep very well, and REALLY didn't like being on medication! In the middle of the night Grandpa and Mellissa watched Goonies, talked about Thanksgiving menu items, and indulged themselves on ice chips, lol. It was wonderful bonding time!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas magic begins!

Today we put up our small tree! Here are a few shots of the kids and Kurt =)


Picture of the boys' bedroom.

Harrison wants to be like Kurt so much, that he decided to wear Kurt's shorts!

I finally feel better! HOORAY! Here are a few pics of the kiddos!
Carter isnt feeling well at all... but he is trying to be a good sport.

Fly Lady!

This is how I was... a mess who didnt know where to start. I would clean the house, and in days it would be a mess again! I WAS SO STRESSED!

A few years ago, when I was a new stay-at-home Mom (SAHM), I was super active on a few parenting websites. One of them was actually created by someone from an online pregnancy group I had belonged to when I was pregnant with Carter, it is called Misfit Moms. The site has forums and I found some AMAZING women on there! We shared our pregnancies, birth stories, potty training techniques, good days, and bad days! One of the best things we shared were ideas- cloth diapers, recipes, and cleaning tips. One of the ladies on there told me about FlyLady, and I checked it out. I was AMAZED!

Here is how FlyLady works:

1) You go to the site. The site is FREE! I love free! Kurt and my first year of marriage was SO hard, we were on a killer tight budget, so free mattered a LOT. Over the years I have come to appreciate that her site is free, because she totally could charge for it, and people would pay! But, the goal of the FlyLady isn't money, it is to help! Amazing. So, step 1: go to the site.

2) Pay close attention to the "Getting Started" page. There are babysteps, and they are important. There is a lot of info on there, and FlyLady warns us not to just download, plow through, and go mad- the idea is to take babysteps, and by doing babysteps we will NEVER have a messy home EVER AGAIN.

3) Sign up for the email reminders.

The above is how to get started, now allow me to tell you WHY to start:

Some people have a problem with clutter. I don't have an issue with it, but Kurt does. Kurt loves stuff, he doesn't like to part with things. Over the years he has gotten better, but it has been hard to control his ever increasing amount of clutter. KIDS ARE MESSY. I would swear that stuffed animals are capable of breeding- because if we have more than a few, we have TONS! Flylady specializes in clutter, and creating good habits!

I would clean. I like a clean house, but I would clean and clean and clean and burn out. It seemed like the kids' rooms were always overflowing with toys - many of which were just junk that I never got around to throwing away! Between cleaning, organizing, and making dinner, I would feel lost. There was never a balance. I never had time to keep the house clean, make great meals, exercise, read, and make myself pretty- I just couldn't do it! But, man, did I try. I worked so hard, I wanted to be Supermom, and I would crash and burn trying to do it. That was until I found FlyLady.

FLYing means Fully Loving Yourself. Flylady give me praise for the work that often went unnoticed. Flylady DEMANDED that I take time for myself, just to recharge! Flylady wanted my home to be peaceful, sparkling, and happy, and gave me the tools to help it get there. Flylady reminded me to drink water, and move my body. Flylady gave me the tools to have a wonderful home.

A few of the things she says, "The house didn't get messy in a day, and it wont get clean in a day, either." SO TRUE. I cant even count the number of hours I would frantically hurricane around my home, cleaning everything I could, just because I was under some kind of deadline: the in laws coming, neighbors coming for dinner, etc. It was horrible! "Even housework done incorrectly still blesses your home"- this quote was huge for me... I came from a family where my mother pretty much did everything. My mother is a TOTAL perfectionist and I wanted a home as clean and orderly as hers was. I would work so hard, but I had to do EVERYTHING perfectly, or I wouldn't do it at all. If I didn't have 2 hours to mop my floors, they wouldn't be mopped (yeah, that is how long it would take me). Flylady taught me that a quick sweep job is better than nothing, and that I don't have to move the furniture every single time I vacuum.

Do I still have times when the house gets in complete disarray? YUP! But those are only after multiple days of illness or busy schedules, and it no longer takes forever to clean- I just pull out FlyLady's Crisis Cleaning plan and get to work, and in under 2 hours, the house is back beautiful. **I would like to add, when I first started the FlyLady program I started Day 1 by Cleaning my Sink, and Crisis Cleaning. I am the type of person that needs to see results NOW, so that helped me stay motivated.

I love Flylady. I love that my home is always clean, and always improving. Are the insides of every drawer organized? Not yet... we recently moved... but, they WILL be, in time! I love that at any given moment people can stop by my house and I can invite them in without worrying about what they think. I like that people come into my home and feel comfortable! (I think the Scentsy helps with that too, lol!)

The Flylady emails are a big part of the program. I often get sidetracked by the computer, and I like how the emails remind me to be on task. Each night I have a "Flight Plan" that is emailed to me for the next day- it has a list of the things that I am going to do! I LOVE IT! My "To Do" list is done FOR ME! So handy! My husband LOVES Flylady because she encourages us to treat ourselves nicely, and take time on our appearance- something I always felt guilty doing. My husband loves to see me in cute clothes, makeup on, hair curled, smiling, dinner ready, clean house, with a happy wife and happy kids: no one is frazzled or stressed because I have TONS of time- because little habits help me KEEP the house cleaned!

Now, time for me to lace up my shoes, and go shine my sink!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Prayers and Blessings

I have been sick since last Sunday. It took me until Thursday to finally decide to ask for help. I had been in bed for days, and felt horrible! I called a friend from Church, and I told her we needed help. The next day dinner was brought (it was so delicious!), the kids were picked up for a few hours, and I was given a priesthood blessing.

Kurt wasn't home for the blessing, he was at work. A few of the men from Church came, they were so great. When they gave me the blessing, I was surprised to hear some of the contents. There was nothing about getting better, nothing about healing, nothing about health at all. What there was, were messages about comfort, reassurance, and how to get answers. I was confused, but I was thankful. I felt at peace, and took the words to heart... I just didn't quite understand them.

The next day, I did understand. I don't want to get into what happened right now. The purpose of this is to explain blessings, not discuss the current trials.

Heavenly Father sometimes speaks to us before we are ready to hear, and often we aren't prepared to hear the message he is trying to convey. However, if we are quiet, and if we seek to know Him, we will gain understanding. We do not need to know the details of God's plan in order to know that we are loved and actively cared for. Our Heavenly Father wants us to succeed.

"But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen." 1 Nephi 9:6

Monday, November 8, 2010

Young Love...

Carter met Kayla about a year ago, and he has been in love with her ever since. They met on the U of U campus- he didn't say much, like usual, but he gazed. After awhile it became pretty apparent that Carter had quite a thing for Kayla- when he would step off the bus he would grin from ear to ear and greet her (and forget to say hello to his mother!) Carter often asked about Kayla, and was (and still) under the impression that she lives in the Anthropology building at the U of U. What is funny was that as much as Carter talked about Kayla, he rarely spoke TO her. When she was in his presence he would just smile sheepishly and gaze. If we ever went out as a group, he insisted on sitting next to her- it was not debatable.

A few months ago, when we moved to Reno, I really thought Carter's puppy love for Kayla would wear off. However, right after our move Carter told me that he intended to make her his wife, and he gave me details about the child they would have!

A few months have gone by, and just yesterday I was looking at Facebook when Carter saw a picture of Kayla. His eyes grew wide, he smiled, and he brightly shouted, "THAT'S KAY-AH!" I clicked on her photo so he could see better, and he was SO happy! The following conversation took place:

Mom: "Carter, do you have a girlfriend?"

Carter: *giggles* "Yeahhhhh.... its Kay-ah!"

Mom: "Do you think you will ever get married and have a wife?"

Carter: *looks at me seriously* "Yes. Kay-ah."

Mom: "Carter, do you think you will have babies?"

Carter: *laughs* "HAHA! Nooooo, I cant!!!" *still laughing at the thought*

Mom: "Oh, yeah, sorry... do you think Kayla will have babies?"

Carter: "Yeah- a wittle boy baby!"

Mom: "What will you name him?"

Carter: "James!"

Carter was actually pretty irked at my conversation with him, because he had already told me all this! I guess I was testing to see if he would change his mind (like little Sean, who changes who he is going to marry and how many kids and their names, almost daily). But... nope... it is still all about Kayla, and he is still convinced they will just have one kid. About 4 months ago he said he didn't care, maybe they would have 2... but ever since that time he is dead set on one boy named James. LOL! I am blogging this so Carter can remember the love of his young life: Kayla.

Read With Me

Starting today, I will be reading 10 pages a day in the Book of Mormon. Read with me! If we read every day, 10 pages, we will finish by December 31, 2010. I'm doing it with or without you, but I'd love to have you join me! Let's welcome power and amazing blessings into our lives together. I guarantee it'll change you.

These are the 5 Promised Blessings we will receive if we diligently feast upon Christ's words each day:

1. We narrow the distance between ourselves & our Heavenly Father.
2. Our Spirituality shines.
3. We love more intently those we should love.
4. It's much easier to follow council given to us by prophets and leaders.
5. The lessons of life are learned more readily & surely.

There are 2 options:

1. Start on page one - 1 Nephi, Chapter 1. If you aren't reading the Book of Mormon right now in your life, start here. If you've never read the Book of Mormon, please join me and start here. If you don't have a Book of Mormon, I will get a free copy to you asap! I am reading 2 Nephi right now, but I've decided to start over today since I'll catch back up in just 7 days anyway.

2. Start where you are at if you're far into the Book already. Read 10 pages a day, and end up back where you're at on December 31st.

Here's what you do if you want to join me:
Go to this site and sign up!

**All content from this post is from Becca Jane's blog. She is an excellent friend of mine and came up with this challenge! Sign up on her site, and see more instructions- it is going to be wonderful!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


For years Kurt and I have known that Carter has special needs. When I stayed home full time I worked with him for hours each day to try and get him to “catch up”. I am so thankful for the time I was able to be home with my children, because of that time I was able to witness firsthand the miracles that they both are. I worked hard and homeschooled Carter in a little preschool Kurt and I made him. It had a whiteboard, corkboard, and lessons. I worked for 1-2 hours each night to prepare the lessons; the lessons themselves were only about 30-45 minutes. Because I knew Carter so well I was able to REALLY work with him and use his strengths to his advantage. Kurt was skeptic at first, but after the progress Carter made Kurt believed (as I did) that home school would be the best option for our children. At 2 years old Carter couldn’t say 20 words. With speech therapy (1x a week for 20 minutes, plus homework- usually in the form of practicing sounds) and our little home school, Carter was speaking in phrases within 6 months. Full sentences 6 months after that. Carter has been READING since he was 2 ½, he could read most of “Happy Birthday Thomas!” by the time he was 3 (he enjoys memorizing words so he can read them by himself). A few months ago I greeted Carter by saying, “good morning, Superman!” because his night shirt had an S on it. Carter looked at me, stomped his foot, and said, “I am NOT SuperNan, my name is CARTER!” (Yes, he says SuperNan). To Kurt and me this is amazing. We look at Carter and he is talking to us!!! It is astounding and we are thrilled.

I am betting most people reading this had no idea that we had a child with special needs. Why? It is not because we are ashamed of our son. No. Not at all. We don’t talk about it because Carter's language delay and disability is NOT what defines him. Carter is a happy, playful, considerate, sweet, and caring little boy- THESE traits define him. Carter likes rules and loves fairness and justice (1st child, go figure). Carter’s favorite toys are Thomas trains. Carter’s favorite movie is The Princess and the Frog. Carter doesn’t like to eat veggies, he would rather eat pizza. Carter’s favorite animal is the elephant and he is scared of the whooshing sound busses make when they drive away. He sounds like a normal little boy, right? That is because he is. Carter doesn’t talk a lot. Carter has a very hard time understanding word commands that are very long. Carter has an auditory processing disorder. Carter functions DISPITE his disability.

Like every parent, Kurt and I were (and are) faced with choices. One choice we had to make was what to DO with the information about Carter’s disability. Parents with special needs children know what I am talking about: there is something “wrong” with your child- you just know it… Or, maybe someone pointed something out to you, so you got it checked out just to crush all doubt in your head. Whatever the path, you end up sitting in front of some expert. Someone tells you the news… you go part deaf (perhaps a mental block) and all you hear is blah blah special, blah blah disorder, blah blah disabled… and it happens: POOF, you are now the parent of a special needs child. For some people the news is freeing: their fears aren’t just fears- they are real issues, and now they can begin to deal with them. For some the news is a blessing, finally they will have the resources and help their child needs. For us, it was devastating. I cried for hours. I grabbed the keys and left Carter with Kurt. I think it was about 7 hours later when I showed back up at home. I walked in, looked at Kurt, and said, “Screw this.”

It was that moment that Kurt and I decided that Carter’s disorder would NOT define him. We would NOT lose sight of who he is and certainly wouldn’t allow anyone to treat him any differently than they would any other kid (exception being they may have to repeat themselves a few times). We would have to work harder, oh yes, that we knew- but there was NO DAMN WAY we would allow our son to get less than we would have given him without the disorder. More than that, we weren’t going to allow Carter to allow himself to work any less hard than he otherwise would have. Now, before I get angry posts for this, please let me explain: this is how WE reacted. There is NO CORRECT WAY to deal with the huge blow that comes when your child is diagnosed with any type of disability. This is simply how we choose to see it. Becky said it best when she said, “Yes, you [Carter] are going to have to work harder, but you CAN do anything!” And THAT is how we treated (and continue to treat) this news about Carter, and THAT is why we do not introduce Carter by saying, “Hi there, this is Carter, he is disabled. Please, excuse his horrible behavior; the poor kid has a disorder.” What you WILL hear me say is, “CARTER JEFFERSON LYLE! Don’t you DARE stick your tongue out at me- go clean your room this instant!!!!!”

Yes, we have dealt with this for some years now. Carter has good days and bad, but so does every other 4 year old. Carter tries to get away with more now, but that is because his daycare feels that it is easier to ignore him then it is to discipline someone who needs their punishment repeated 4 times. Does he act out at home? Rarely. Why? Because we don’t put up with any of his crap (most stay at home moms can relate… you give the kids an inch and they will take a mile, so it’s best to just be consistent all the time). So… Carter is smart enough to know he can manipulate people based on the situation- to me that’s not a sign of a life-altering disability, but the sign of a 4 year old trying to get what he wants.

The reason I bring this up now is because Harrison was just diagnosed with speech delays, after which we took him for a hearing test, and he didn’t do well. Harrison did not score in the normal range for children, but he did score within normal range of adults, so he currently does not need a hearing aid- it is a “slight hearing loss”. The audiologist did many different tests; they all showed the same thing. Because of Harrison’s language delay, he is now also classified as disabled. Will we allow this to define our little boy? NO WAY. Harrison is just like any other kid: he hates nap time and loves hugs. He adores food (just about any kind) and the only thing he loves more than food is Lightning McQueen. Harrison enjoys seeing movies and has a crush on his preschool teacher, Ms. Jen. Harrison’s favorite color is red. Harrison can frequently be caught stealing gum from my book bag. When Harrison grows up he says he wants to be a teacher. He can do all that, and we will help him- we all just have to work harder (and speak louder).

Kurt and I want to thank everyone who has helped us with the boys over the years. They really are wonderful kids; just about everyone would agree. Kurt and I continue to believe that this does not have to be the end of our dreams for them… but at the same time, we won’t lie and say it isn’t heartbreaking to hear the neighbor kids (who are younger than our boys) say more in 3 minutes than our boys will say in a whole day. We are thrilled with the progress our boys have made, but we eagerly wait for the day that we can have a full conversation with them- we are dying to know what they think about things- anything, everything! We are blessed- the delays and disorders our children have are not serious enough to completely take over their little lives, and for that we are eternally thankful- in fact, depending on the expert you talk to- this may all be a distant memory in just a few years!!!!

I just wanted to share this with anyone who felt prompted to read it. There is nothing in the world more precious than one’s child- and ours are no exception. I am not eloquent enough to put this a better way, so here is how we feel that living with special needs children is best described:

Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

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 guide books 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 that 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 guide books. 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.

**before I forget... not to be rude, but if anyone comments to us that we should talk to our kids more, just describe what we are doing more, read to them more, etc... I will slap you, and obviously you dont know me very well to ever be able to assume that I wouldnt have already been doing that since they were born (yeah, I read the entire Harry Potter AND Narnia series to Carter AS A NEWBORN because I thought it would help his language skills and Harrison sat in on the home school and knows all his letters, shapes, colors, animals, can read about 20 words, can count to 13 and is currently 3 years old). Flashcards, worksheets, specially designed dvds, therapy, preschool... yeah, we tried the basics BEFORE all the extras, so please, no stoopid suggestions.

**Taken from January 2010 Facebook notes by Mellissa.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Weekday fun!

During the week is usually pretty busy... some weeks more than others! This week has been SO crazy! I don't think we have had a "normal" evening since last Wednesday! Sleepovers, holidays, visits with friends- our home has been buzzing! Here are a few pictures of some of the activities we have done in the last few days =)