And Then He Turned Six

And then all of the sudden...

My Maxey Love is six years old.
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It's Just a Wednesday

For the rest of the world, today is World Autism Awareness Day.  

For us, it's Wednesday.  Because every day is Autism Awareness Day.  There is never a day when we are not autistic.  There is never a day when we are not aware.

I certainly hope you are not feeling sorry for us when you read this...

Because we are far, VERY far from feeling sorry for ourselves.

Our Lucas is more.  He is so much more than that word.  So much more than a diagnosis.  SO much more than a label.  

He is brilliant.  He is kind.  He is fierce.  He is gentle.  He is silly.  

But, yes.  He is also Autistic.


And I will not pretend that Autism does not have challenges.

But Autism doesn't define us.

Awesomeness defines us.  But not Autism.

Here are a few photos of Awesomeness.  Or Autism.  Whatever you want to call it.

Here is Lucas struggling with his fine motor skills.

 Here he is having difficulty relating to his peers.  It's so hard for him to connect with other children.
 Imaganitive play is a real struggle.
Sensory issues.

 If only he were more aware of other people...  
 He really can't get out of his comfort zone and try new things.  Just won't take risks...

 Here he is.  Autistic kids don't make eye contact, ya know.
Here is an Autistic kid...  They really don't do well in crowds.  

That's MY AMAZING BOY.  On stage all alone.  In front of a hundred people.  Playing music.

When was the last time you did that?

He's doing just what his Autistic, AWESOME little self always does.  

Kicking you-know-what and taking names.

Happy Wednesday.

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I'm Gonna Knock Your Socks Off

I was never as dedicated to practicing as I should have been.  I have never not been a musician, never not had something that I should be working on.  But the hard work and dedication aspect of musicianship was never really my strength...  

Shocking.  I know.

But I was much more interested in hanging out with my friends... and holding warm cups of chai tea in my little hands across the street at the coffee shop.  That was infinitely more appealing than practicing.  Honestly, I have no idea how I even managed to scrape by.  


But as the mom now, I am able to have a different perspective.

Practicing really does make a difference.

No, seriously.  It makes you better.

I know!!!  It blows my mind too.

Seeing how much better Lucas and Max do on the violin with just a little bit of regular practice has really made me want to be more diligent about it.  

Because, really...

I'm the one who has to be dedicated to their music at this stage of the game.  I can't really just say, "Hey boys.  Go practice."  It isn't like washing their hands.  I have to be there, helping and instructing every tiny step of the way.  Which actually...  If I want their hands to be really clean...  I have to be there for that too...  because boys are gross.

But I digress.

So.  Practicing.  

It works.

Who knew?

Every music teacher I ever had, that's who.  Oh, I shudder to imagine my college horn professor reading these lines...  I would be in trouble...  But not too much.  Because even though I was a horrible student...  He loved me anyways.  




I've been really trying to practice more with the boys.  Max has really improved, and I'm so proud of him.  Last week after an amazing display of virtuosic prowess (ummm, okay.  that's a bit of a stretch. But it really was much better). I told him. "Max!  you are going to knock Miss Jody's socks off at your next lesson!"

Yesterday after school the boys were eating a little snack of clean vegan cookies (that is another story, Gentle Reader.  But I actually got my kids to eat them.  And I'm feeling pretty self satisfied and smug about it.  So you can bet your boots your going to hear ALL about it next week.), and Max said, "Mom!  I am going to knock Miss Jody's head off!"

We've definitely gotten a little more violent around here, what with the Power Rangers, and Star Wars, and Super Heroes, and the general fighting of bad guys that goes on around here every minute of every day.  But I thought this was going a little far.  Jody is a sweet lady and we all love her very much.  Knocking her head off was a bit excessive.

"Max!  That isn't a very nice thing to say!"

He paused for a second.

"I mean her socks.  I'm going to knock Miss Jody's socks off!  And her shoes!"
He did, too.  Max had a fantastic lesson.  His focus and attention have improved so much.  I'm so proud  of my little guy.  He was pretty proud of himself, too.  He laughed with delight at her exaggerated shock at his performance.  His sweet face beaming.

Then I noticed his bright blue eyes dart down to her feet...  Checking to see if she was still wearing her shoes and socks.

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Here's to 90 Good Years

Last week we were in Colorado celebrating my grandparents' 90th birthdays.  That's them.  Aren't they the cutest things ever?  Ever ever?
 They still are the cutest.  Ever.  Ever ever.

 The greatest love story...  You can read a little more about them here.
 This trip was the first they had ever met Jude.  The youngest of their 7 great grandchildren.
 Oh, my heart.  I love this guy so much.  It's always so bittersweet to see them.  I'm overjoyed to be with them, but it's so hard to leave.  I need just one more tight hug.  One more story.  Hold my hand just a little bit longer.
 The party was a great success.  I didn't get nearly the photos I wanted...  I was too busy holding a squirmy baby.  And making sure he was adequately supplied with a fun balloon.  And talking to people who hadn't seen me in 30 years.  There was another room filled with my grandmothers oil paintings, tons of family photographs, my grandfather's war medals, and a beautiful leather saddle.  I wish I had taken more pictures...  dang it.  Chris made a great speech.  I wish I had taken a picture of that...  dang it.  My cousin Lori and her husband each made a beautiful speech.  I wish I had taken pictures of those too.  Dang it, dang it.

 As it turns out...  90 candles is a lot of candles...
The first dance...
 My beautiful cousin Lori and her Ava.  Ava's my new BFF.
 These two...  Complete opposites.  Ava, quiet and sweet.  Jude.  A complete crazy, wild, busy mess.

 She looks like her big brother, no?

 There are about 20 variations on this theme.  Ava, sweet and still in every shot.  Jude is different in each one.  Sometimes standing.  Sometimes sitting.  Sometimes there is a floating hand coming out of the edge of the frame to keep him from tumbling out of his chair because he's never still for 5 consecutive seconds.
 The Queen of the day.  Happy 90th, Nonnie!  You wear it so well.
this is the video I put together for their party.  Photos of them looking young and gorgeous.  And on horses.  And with fish.  Oh, so many fish.  And me too.  In a cowboy hat.  If on a mobile device, you can watch here.

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Happy 1st Birthday Jude!

A year ago today our sweet Jude came to stay.  Wow.  A year.  He's wonderful.

We celebrated his birthday over the weekend.  

Happy Birthday, sweet baby.  We love you to the moon and back.

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You Belong Here

Tomorrow, our sweet Jude Baby will be one year old.  
I know.
The day we discovered he was coming to be part of our family was filled with mixed emotions.  Well, okay.  Not very mixed.  Just the kind of emotions that produce tears and lamentations.  There were tears.  And also, there were lamentations.  
But now...  We don't even want to imagine a world without him.  He was always supposed to be here with us.  He completes our family.  He completes me.  
You Belong Here by Leagues is the perfect song for Jude right now.  Full of joy, just like him.  
(try here if on an mobile device.)
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