Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Just keep swimming...

Thanks Dory. I appreciate the encouragement.

Problem is, I've just never been a very good swimmer. 

I have friends, half-mermaid I swear, who's favorite most relaxing place to be is floating in a pool. Grace filled strokes cascading them along, rhythmic almost indiscernible ripples calmly framing their serenity.

Not I. 

There's just a little bit of panic the whole time. An edge of foreboding that at any moment my limbs, (which although sufficiently capable if I'm on a run, mysteriously rendered awkward and flimsy the moment they're submersed in water) could give out at any second.

Seriously, despite many a swim lesson, my doggie paddle is just enough to keep my head above water, and not comfortably or confidently. A knot in my gut, a constant awareness of the distance to the ledge.

I don't drown. I can swim. 
But it's far from effortless and thereby not quite into the realms of enjoyment.  
Their is too much fear, born of doubt. 
Doubt of my skills and my strength. Strength to keep going-- 
which in the middle of a pool isn't really an option. 

So I just keep swimming. 

Why am I sharing this embarrassing tidbit of my aquatic limitations?

Because today, I sat at the edge of the pool watching Aaron at his swim lessons. 
That all too familiar, debilitating panic in his eyes. 
A distrust of of his own capabilities. 

And I suddenly thought that's how I feel. 
Just on the verge of drowning. 
Frantically kicking, arms aching and getting nowhere. 
Enough to keep my head above water.
Enough anxiety to keep me treading.
Afraid to stop. Sure I will sink.

Jealous of those that seem to be floating along, smoothly, with ease. 
Closing their eyes, taking it all in, instead of paddling like a maniac. 

Dont worry. 
I'm mostly tired. As always.

I feel strong and sure in some areas. 
More confident in my arms ability to hold a downward dog than a forward crawl. 
My legs run without concentration but kicking through chlorine overwhelm them. 
Teach a lesson? sure. Try and delegate or organize anything? inevitable disaster.
Think and write about being a mother? sure. Actual do it? some moments are better than others. The failures always threatening to crowd out the triumphs.
New areas of growth, calling on unsure, and unused muscles, that ache in their frail youngness. Infantile. Beginner. And for now weak.

Just keep swimming. 
Dory makes it sound so easy.

I do know one thing.
The water of life is not going to shallow anytime soon.
I can not sit in the kiddie pool of experience and convince myself I'm a swimmer 
when I'm only blowing bubbles.
I have to keep swimming. Take a deep breath and put my head under.
And trust.

Trust I will surface. Maybe even surprise myself with how far I've come from where I dove.
I'm gonna get mighty tired trying to doggy-paddle life.
I need to submerge into the depths, and forget about the ledge. I don't need it. 

Just keep swimming. 

Thanks Dory. 

I watch Aaron and know he can do it. I also know that if he started to sink, I'd catch him. 
I'm right there. 

How quickly I forget and think I have to do it on my own.
How soon I doubt and fear and take my eyes of the Lord.

Ha! I don't even have to swim! I can just walk on water! Sweet!

The moment I heard this quote from Pres. Monson I knew it was one I'd have to remember. 
One worth repeating everyday.

Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, "I'll try again tomorrow." 
So tomorrow, friends, I will just keep trying.
And just keep swimming.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Optional things...like shoes?

For those of you who wondered where Levi's sunday shoes were in this post...he really hasn't worn church shoes...okay shoes in general, for basically the 15 months he's been alive.

Fat feet at first (I don't know who makes kids shoes, but have they ever met a kid?), and then he is just so darn strong that anything we put on he could pull off (yes, including robeez, which have been suggested to me a gazillion times). 

Honestly, the kid was happy barefoot, so that's how he's been, including at church, 

until yesterday.

Yup my little man looked so grown up yesterday

 And then it was back to bare-foot chillin' at home
(don't ask me what the mystery liquid is dripping down my wall...cuz i don't know!)

Monday, January 23, 2012


When a baby as young as 3 months old makes eye-contact with someone, they are physiologically reinforced with a rush of endorphins, that ultimately leads them to continue to progress and become social beings.

By 6 months they are wired to tell when you are focused on them (and when your not)
At 10 months they begin using a 3 point gazy shift. Look at mommy, look at what mommy's looking at (a diaper) and look back and mommy following the attention so well they can predict another person's actions (she's gonna change my diaper)
By a year they're able to use non-verbal bids (point, grunt, gaze) to get others joint attention and ask for what they want, understanding that that someone else has separate thoughts then their own, thus realizing the role of communication.

People with Autism struggle with  Theory of mind: the ability to attribute mental states—beliefsintentsdesirespretendingknowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one's own (wikkipedia)  Difficulties with  theory of mind along with lack of imitation and eventual social skills involving sympathy and empathy may be linked to mirror neurons , that fire whether we are the one experiencing someone or if we are watching someone else have an experience.

These are gifts our neurology gives us. Social developments we all but take for granted, despite their complexity. 

I love that Aaron's neurological differences make me take nothing for granted.

That when I come through the door after 3 days away to discover Leiv's said his first word: "up" 
it humbles me. Because it is nothing short of a miracle. 

A miracle that happens every day as little typical toddlers just magically and fairly effortlessly acquire language, picking up vocabulary like spilt cheerios off the floor, happily tucking them away for a life of expression, explaining  telling, describing, understanding and above all sharing.


Maybe if I had a blind son, I would marvel at our ability to see, maybe if I had a daughter in a wheel chair I would experience with each step sober gratitude. 

For me, I am stunned by the humans race's ability to share minds, to weave our experience together through imagination and language. How incomprehensible that someone reading my blog could attempt to understand what I feel like within this realm that is my own experience...what sacred access we are granted, however imperfect. How we neglect our capacities to feel empathy. How we take for granted the nuances of our social natures and the power and distinction that language offers our kind. 

Eustacia Cutler, Temple Grandin's mother, who was the key note at the conference described watching her little grandson in his high chair. Seeing a cookie. Wanting a cookie and realizing that he had to get the idea of that in someone else's mind. So he said "cookie."

"His neurology just gave it to him. It cost him nothing" she explained.
"Temple didn't get anything for free."

"it will be years before Temple tells me about the faces,"she wrote, " how she couldn't read them then, can't always read them even today, she's missing that particular sliver of life... then slowly, not knowing by instinct what emotion was suppose to feel like conscious intelligence her only guide and even then not sure she had to teach herself to imitate what she thinks in the appropriate face, like T S Eliot, "teach yourself to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet"....

"how bright, how brave of her to decide consciously to direct her life focus in our direction armed with such a flimpsy home-made mask. Temple my darling it is your courage most of all  that I cherish. In this strange game of being human you have surmounted the odds and gone on to surprise us all..."

I'm grateful for Aaron, my darling,  who courageously communicates his love so clearly to us, even with so many less tools than the rest of us. I'm glad he hasn't yet had to make himself a mask to meet the world, that when I see Aaron I see him...his pure, authentic, uninhibited, hidden by nothing. 

And I'm also grateful for my other sons, and how I can relish the ease of their socialness, the effortless way they catch my eye, the subtlety of those eyes slightly smiling at me letting me know ...everything. Letting me know I' am special in their world.

Okay, sometimes maybe sometimes not so subtle...

I love them learning to share their pride with me.
Leaning to think and feel about what others hearts and minds are thinking and feeling.
I love that one day these little brother will contemplate what it feels like to think like their big brother Aaron.

That "In this strange game of being human"
we can help each other. 
One glance, 
one hug, 
one wink, 
one smile at a time.

To communicate love to another human being (words or no words) is a miracle indeed.
A humbling beautiful miracle, 
we can experience every day.

Enough: he is, we are, I am

I napped.

It felt good.

But now it is four minutes to two (in the morning). My family sleeps (for now) 
and I am here... trying.
I have started three different posts trying to express even just a small part of what I learned and felt at the three day conference on Autism I attended this last weekend.

I'm starting to think I can't.

I just want you to crawl into my brain and take a stroll around my heart, a have little tour of the "renovations" to my soul; to see how my thoughts, perceptions, assumptions, focuses, how they all shifted, and rearranged. How I gutted some areas and started from scratch. How somethings I'd tucked away, thinking they were wrong, got re-enthroned, validated by scientists that finally experimented enough to know what my mother heart knew instinctually all along.

Back in the north, where the sky is different. More still. (Literally less wind yes), but it's stillness made it seem more settled, confortable with itself instead of gusting all about trying to prove something. As I drove in the stillness of those Northern skyed mornings, I realized the Chelsea that lived in Edmonton four years ago was pre-diagnosis, pre-even concern for her baby boy, Aaron, who's perfection was so evident to her. And in that contemplation I felt the heavy irreversibility of our lives.
I've struggled with the same loss of innocence with this very conference realizing that knowledge becomes a part of us, the fruit once tasted offers no way back to unseen nakedness.
But if it is truth we are learning (and I felt so much truth in the things shared at the conference) than it is more of a unearthing of that which has always been whether we were aware of not.

The message I've sat here for two hours trying to distill? 
We are.
Aaron is.
I am.

And we are enough.

Acceptance is not a defeat, but a realization that there is a eternalness to our being, that our strength is, that we are, and that all this struggle is about discovering what already is.

I love how Kelle Hampton put it, reflected on the 2nd birthday of her special needs daughter:

In the first two years, we talk about then and now, the difference between these two abstract eras distinct and concrete. But as the bridge between these two places slowly grows, the distinction likewise fades. A moment that changed me forever, yes; but the outcome a product of what was there all along. I had the love. I had the strength and courage. I was so capable of being her mama. I just didn't know it
I think about that a lot--how I am the same person today as I was the day before she was born even though it doesn't seem true. How I am the same person I am today as I will be thirty years from now. What stones will be unturned in life--whether victories or challenges--to reveal more love, more courage, more understanding? We evolve.

That evolution, with it's necessary patience, development, and growth (because they are attached to our concept of time) are to some degree all earthly constructs, at least in the way we view them.  We will grow forever, but their is a permanency to potential. We definitely don't need to sit around belligerently and say "Oh well this is me, take it or leave it!" We need to be striving to reach our capacities, but somehow we also need to find the courage to let go of the fears that we are not, no wil we ever be enough. But instead trust that with God's help we came become all we are meant too. That we are of worth right now, despite it all, we have worth, simply as children of God.

We are His. Just as Aaron is mine and that is all he needs to be. 

I drove the 5 hours up and back by myself, which really worked out. 
I loved having the time to be with myself and just process. 
I listened to a lot of music. It'd been a while since I'd listened to anything in the car but Ice Age or Finding Nemo. I sang and cried, some times alternating, sometimes simultaneously. Did some mad drumming on the steering wheel and kept it on cruse control so my high way speed didn't increase with any given songs tempo. Experimenting with all I'd learned about self-regulation, I really let myself go (even tried a bit of hand-flapping) and decompressed and it felt superb.

I realized I kept listening to songs with mountains in the lyrics. Inspirational soaring melodies, with climaxing strings and electric guitars...you'll make it songs. Endurance songs. Songs ya want blaring in your ears as you  cross the finish line. 

Like Hilary Week's "That's Who I Am" (my 2012 anthem! Best 99 cents I ever spent!!!)

"I can feel myself breath really breath again. 
Gonna let myself dream, truly dream again. 
I won't ever stop trying, this is my story and I'm still writing.

I'm uncovering strength I never felt before.
There's a fire inside that's never burned before.
My fears are all dying
It's time to spread my wings and start flying!

This moment is mone
and I 'm gonna take it
Today is a gift and I will embrace it

I am strong and I believe that is who I'm meant to be
every step that I take is lifting me higher
ever corner I turn the future is brighter
I am brave enough to face the storm and stil stand 
that's who I am" 

And then as I calmed and found myself seeking out slower, more tender songs. I love love songs that I categorize as "Charity songs"... not the "oh baby" ones...but the ones full of gratitude and wonder at how encompassing and carrying love can be....ones that you could imagine singing to the Lord. 

Celine Dion, Because you Loved Me,  Lifehouse's  Everything, Chantel Kreviazuk's Feels Like Home, Josh Groban, You Raise Me Up,   you get the idea.

These kind of songs often help me contemplate how reliant I am on God, how much He loves me and how His love makes all the difference.

As I drove, grappling with new understanding of ways that Aaron's mind processes people in his life, the perspective shifted and it was Aaron singing to me. That in so many ways I was his everything, that it was the safety of my love that anchored him in a world that constantly alluded him. That no matter what anyone else saw or didn't see, what they understood or didn't understand, I was there to to love him unconditionally, because he is mine.

He is mine. Just as we are His. And that is all we need to be. 

 God sees us as we truly are, in an eternal now.

And if we let Him He'll show us who we really are and who we always have been.

Usually these lessons come through Him showing us glimpses of the eternalness of others, and helping us see the love that they are enough to deserve.

My lesson includes a little boy named Aaron.

It is what it is.

And it is meant to be. 
I am meant to be strong.  And I am.
Even if I cry through half the songs on my play list;)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Family Home Evening moment of triumph!

Well tonight after a desperately needed grocery run 
following a ketchup massacre super, 
and free cookie from the bakery for dessert.

We got home (man, grocery runs are exhausting: into the cart, onto the check out, back in the cart, into the van whilst freezing our little tushies, outta the van and then finally putting them all away, I'm tuckered just thinking about it)
we played a little soccer 
(for realsies even, as in not on the kinect...sheesh)
watched a a Book of Mormon story

and McKye said the closing prayer. 

At both breakfast and lunch once we had everyones arms folded I'd say "go for it McKye" and he'd say
"No, want YOU go for it."
So tonight when he was saying "No daddy do it" Ben pulled a little switcharoonie on him and said , "Okay McKye you help daddy, 
what do I say?"
McKye was gracious enough to help his father out.

"Dear Heavenly Father, 
Thank you for.... Kye! (not self absorbed at all)
Thank you for....Aaron.
Thank you for Lee-vye.
Thank you for.................primary(!!!!)

What what?? Yup you heard it right folks! Unprompted the boy that made me write this, thanked his Heavenly Father for primary, and made his mamma's night.

 He thought he was soooo funny thwarting mommies efforts to take a picture of his face.

Levi apparently prefers basketball

Good night. Good, good night.

I said...goof night, McKye!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sabbath humblings

Book of Mormon readers will be familiar with the concept of the pride cycle.

People get prideful, forget God, get wicked, destruction/chastisement/famine (take you pick) ensues which then humbles the people and they remember God again, repent, get righteous, until they are so blessed they get prideful, forget God...yada yada back around, hence the description of a cycle.

It's easy reading centuries of history condensed in a few hundred pages to think, "Come on guys! Smarten up already!"

And then I went to church today. 

Got up early (good for me, so on the Sabbath ball...*cough* PRIDE!)
Got distracted on FB, half hour vanished, 
instant panic to get everyone ready in time ( HUMBLED)

Made it to 9 o'clock church on time (mostly relief, but still a bit of PRIDE)
Sat on the the "Wrong" side of the chapel and had to chase Aaron down as he sauntered to what I guess he's decided is our regular pew. (HUMBLED)

Aaron was actually folding his arms for the prayer 
(for longer than the usual 2 second hug himself) (YOU BETCHA PROUD!)
The prayer went a little long and all three kids were loudly whining by the end. (HUMBLED)

At one point I looked over and all three of my sons were sitting!!!!! (this is extremely rare, if not an absolute first! PROUD)
It lasted about two second, and there were more than a few times where all three of them were on the floor...including McKye in the middle of the aisle.  (HUMBLED)

All three boys took the Sacrament (without touching ten pieces of bread or grabbing and/or spilling extra cups) (PROUD)
The reverence expires the moment that water is gulped and McKye started saying all too loudly, "All done, wanna pay kitchens now!" (HUMBLED)

McKye sharing pretzels"Here you go Levi!" (PROUD)
Same pretzels become fullon tug-a-war resulting in a ripped bag and huge mess. (HUMBLED)

And so for on and so forth.

I came home from church, exhausted from the emotional roller-coaster of it all. 
Moments where I felt like, "Yup, my kids are getting it, they are learning and growing and their little testimonies are taking root." Contrasted with moments of "I have to be doing something very wrong, because the other seven new Sunbeams can smile, say "bye mommy" and sit on their chair, no prob." 
Poor McKye.  Sometimes I'm just so desperate for it to be easier. Aaron takes so much support, and effort and planning, and I get so excited of the prospect of a kid just doing what kids are suppose to do. Then when McKye doesn't I think I feel a little cheated, and a lot disappointed (darn expectations!) So as I sat there with McKye, Aaron two rows back (both of them on the floor at one point) realizing that 80% of the noise coming from the entire Jr. Primary was being produced by Bretzkes, I was tempted to think: "It's gotta be me!" That's the obvious correlation. 

But as I returned home (after soaking in the calming affect of the Comforter in Relief Society, once I had handed crying McKye off to one of the counselors in Primary) I asked Heavenly Father, "What am I suppose to be learning from this?" 
To paraphrase Tevye, from Fiddler on the roof, "Would it spoil some vast eternal plan?" If I had an easier kid???

I opened the Book of Mormon , 1 Nephi chapter 16 were Nephi breaks his bow. When even hungry Lehi gives into complaining, because surely the whole company thought, Hey now Lord, we're doing what we're suppose to and this bow breaking thing seems a little much.

But what was the result? they were humbled. Humbled enough to calm down, stop trusting in their own capabilities, wisdom (and bows) and look to the Lord. Humble enough to receive instruction from the Liahona, small and simple as that process was.

When I start thinking I can, through my own genius, skill and hard work, succeed at this parenting business, that I and my kids are gonna far according to my own"management of the creature" I am setting myself up to fall. And pride cometh before that fall...come on now, I had an ed degree, I've worked (rather successfully) with kids professionally, in the community and at church...surely I should be able to handle these three little munchkins I birthed!

And when I can't. The Lord reminds me I'm not suppose to. 

And I am humbled by His help. 

Humbled. Yup "humbled" is the correct answer. The Lord needs me to be humble. Or I'm not going to look to Him, and if I don't involve Him (no matter how brilliantly I might feel I can do this on my own) it's not gonna work.

Now that I've identified this great lesson, I just need to actually be humble instead of letting my pride make me feel humiliated instead. That's all this is, if I'm being honest(which I'm trying very hard to be as expose all my deep down ookie dark parts), I bad ol' case of pride. Cuz it doesn't bother me as much at home. I think the world of my boys: they're unique and funny and energetic and loving (in their own hands on, wrestly way). They're smart and determined and I love being around them. 

But put me "on display",  get me in a situation where I (mistakingly) feel like their behaviour reflects upon me, I start feeling stressed. Because if my kid doesn't sit as nicely as so and so's kid well then what does that say about me?

Comparison. Enmity. Control. Envy.

This is not what I go to church for, I go to love and serve and worship but the publicness of it, I realized today, exposes this problem I have. Same thing at library time, or sometimes the park (anywhere but our safe little home)...I'm so worried others will judge me based on my children's behaviour. 
I pushed this deep down with Aaron (who rarely behaves in expected or socailly accepted ways), but with McKye I think I was ready for people to see my efforts: Good mother produces good, well-behaved child.

And that's were I went a a little ascue.
I need to be proud of my children (not secretly proud of myself).

A kid potty trains in a day, we're quick to take credit and hand out our advice and methods to other would-be succeses. 
But when things don't work (and we feel like we've tried everything, which is more my experience) then all the sudden maybe we're not so sure we have as much control as we thought.

Being proud of my kids would have been fine. 
But no that wasn't enough. Each time they "perform" I'm tempted to let my own pride pat me on the back, wanting to take credit. After all I work hard don't I?

I should have been happy with McKye's progress from last week: there were less tears and more attention, less time on the floor and my lap and more in his seat, but I was so fixated on him compared to all the other kids. How come they could just sit (must have better moms preparing better Family Home Evenings that prepared them more!)
I know this sounds horrible and ridiculous and I'm just hoping a few of you out there have a crazy a head as me. 

A wise friend of mine just this weekend told me she heard a stake president say that as serious a problem as pornography is for men, comparing ourselves to each other is a comparably serious problem for women. 

That floored me. I questions how could that be true? and then I realized both are addictions, from which the addicted derived some twisted kind of pleasure, and each stop us from doing and being what we need to be!

Comparison (of ourselves and by extension our children, our marriages etc etc) prevents us from seeking the individual guidance the Lord has for us. 

This time I'll paraphrase CS Lewis: "[A Proud Mom] gets no pleasure out of having [great kids], only out of having [better kids than other moms]... It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone."

This is probably making me sound horrible. I'm just trying to honestly identify the source of some of my less edifying thoughts and feelings, so I can recognize their falsity, and hopefully stop thinking and feeling them.

So I can choose to be humble instead.

Ezra Taft Benson
“The antidote for pride is humility; meekness; submissiveness...
Let us choose to be humble.
We can choose to humble ourselves by
conquering enmity toward our brothers and sisters,
esteeming them as ourselves,
and lifting them as high or higher than we are...
We can choose to humble ourselves
by receiving counsel and chastisement...
We can choose to humble ourselves by
forgiving those who have offended us...
We can choose to humble ourselves by
rendering selfless service...
We can chose to humble ourselves by
going on missions and preaching the word that can humble others...
We can choose to humble ourselves by
getting to the temple more frequently...
We can choose to humble ourselves by
confessing and forsaking our sins and being born of God...
We can choose to humble ourselves by loving God,
submitting our will to His, and putting Him first in our lives”
― Ezra Taft Benson

And I guess, I can choose to be humble by taking my three little boys to church each week. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Listography! List 54: Things to do this Winter

My friend (more accurately hero, as in "when I grow up I wanna be Rhonda!") is so good at having all these little allotted blog days, photo Friday, 10 on Tuesday, Spiritual Sundays. 

I think this is such a good system, apparently and unfortunately though, turns out I'm not very systematic.

But I had expressed interest in her Listography, so she (like the awesome person she is) emailed me the lists for this year, and I'm gonna give it a go.

List 54: Things to do this Winter
(not even considering attempting any "catch up" but I'll use the numbers to keep me on track)

Rhonda's was so outdoorsy and full of snow adventures. While I like an occasional stroll in the glittery white banks full of wonder, winter is a hibernation time for us, a time to catch up on my indoorsy projects before spring dandelions call us back out of our cubby holes, into the blue-sky- fill-your-lungs sunshine. 
Look at me rambling when I suppose to be writing a list! We'll see if my stream of consciousness brain can handle this structure!

1. Finish our family iPhoto albums (and maybe even a little wedding one?)

2.Submit something to Segullah (any posts you think are good candidates?)

3. Collect friend's GO TO recipes to expand our supper repertoire. (got any good ones? your regular go tos, nothing too fancy or complex)

4. Take and post before and afters of my whole house whether its perfectly done or not!...cuz let's face it, there will always be more I wanna do. (ie My kitchen cupboards just got painted while we were away and I LOVE THEM....but now I have big plains to add a bead-board back splash and the floor is practically calling out "don't forget about me!" Changes just lead to more changes, I get how people get sucked in real quick! But I promise pictures soon.

5.  Snuggle with Benny. Get those kiddos to bed and forget not to take these evenings for granted because all too soon summer will be here and he'll be traveling half the time again. Sigh.

6. Ponder, especially in the mornings. Let the wintry darkness hold my love ones captive in the warmth of their blankies, while I arise and in the stillness only winter mornings can fully create, contemplate my existence, my purpose, my being, and my God, His love, His involvement, His direction.

That sounds about right. Between figuring out how to get McKye to go to swim lesson and sunbeams, get rid of Levi's diaper rash (he's running naked right now trying to give it some air) and get Aaron all meshed with his new home aid. I'd say we're booked til at least springtime;)

I'm so grateful for the seasons, and their natural shifts in focus, their own unique lessons and teaching styles. Old man winter...such an appropriate personification. An old wise, slow man, who has learned much and has much to tell.

LIST one (well technically 54) done.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Coming OR Radomnization after vacation

Less than a week with out wi-fi and my brain is as stuffed full as my carry-on luggage was!

The afore mentioned luggage right now is sitting in chaotic piles of 2am arrival-exhaustion, in the middle of our front room. 

I conscientiously decided unpacking felt more like a Saturday job, wouldn't you agree???
So there it sits patiently, while I stare at my kids, trying to pinpoint exactly how they changed in the last 5 days 
(cuz they totally have!) 

I love coming home to my kids. I love their first sight of me, when I feel like the just the most important, special person in the while world! I love looking at them like their brand new. How McKye has new words, and Levi has new ways of wriggling his eyebrows before his smile ( that looks just a little more toothy) breaks out and makes me fall more in love with him. I love how Aaron for days is even more snuggly (if at all possible) and takes even deeper breaths of me as he pretends to kiss my cheek when he's; really making sure his mamma still smells the same. I even love the first time (not long after our reuniting) that I feel annoyed, or impatient and I remind myself, "remember how much you missed them?"

And then I smile at the irony of the amount of joy this crazy parenting gig pays out.

It's just the best. In all it's ketchup smearing, toy-scattering, ill-timed whining glory!

So instead of putting our lives back together... right away (my foundation that leaked all over my makeup bag, is just sitting there on the counter waiting to be taken care of) we just settled back into each other first.

I'm catching up on blogs  and blogging (though I have a pretty bad track record of actually getting to posting trips...so far I have Spokane, Idaho and DC to still do;) Oh and ofcourse watching this weeks Parenthood (my fav TV show by miles!)

Besides starting at my kiddos, I keep creeping into my  kitchen and getting giddy over the new paint job!!! Even he doors are still curing (sp?) I can already see the finished product in my mind, the new way the light is gonna dance all over, gleaming off the "white chocolate"... how delicious is THAT for a kitchen paint colour name?

I had lots of interesting thoughts while I was a way. 
But now home they don't seem as significant.

My whole world is nestled back in between my arms where it belongs.

Fries with more "chup" 
and big smiles, on his getting so grown up face!

I went back and forth between these two picture on my camera two dozens time, mesmerized by the transition from his supple, open, lost in those baby-blues face, to his sqinchy nose, twinkle-eyed goofy grin.

 Aaron was busy making the puzzle his babysitter said he put together all week...
 before zonking out. He was up early a couple mornings/nights thsi week on his poor, yet so wonderful about it (especially cuz she pregnant!) babysitter. 
Not gonna lie it a was a little validating to have someone, who I nigh-on worship as one of thee most spectacular moms I know, look at me and say "Chels, I don't know how you do it!"

How do I do it? I guess I go on vacation every once in a while so I remember that of all the sights in the whole wide world nothing touches, fills or inspires me more than this.