I originally started this blog a few years ago to chronicle Noah's daily struggles with autism. It was a dark time in my life - a time when I felt that things would never get better. It was a time when I felt that all my hopes and dreams for my son and for our family had died. In my efforts to help Noah recover from autism, I began a journey that inadvertently led me to rediscover myself. I learned how to laugh again. How to dream again. How to live again. How to love again.

Autism Schmaustism. He's still our son.

This is a blog celebrating our family. Our kids. Our life.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I have to admit, I broke every single one of my New Year's Resolutions (most on the second day!) except for one... staying off the computer.   I don't know how I've managed it, but I have and it's weird and exhilarating, and lonely all at the same time.

But that's for another post.

Right now, I want to let you know that some amazing things have happened on the adoption front.

FIRST... we received Naveen's NOC from Ind*a. It took four months to the day, but, by george, it came.

SECOND... since our judge is requiring two trips to Ind*a, we are *expecting* our first trip to be in about 6-8 weeks. Yay! And yikes! So much to take care of in the meantime..

THIRD... I attempted a fundraiser and it was a disaster. I won't go into it right now, but let's just say it involved trying to make glass tile necklaces only to have them accidentally get  knocked off the table while they were drying and they ended up getting dog hair and dirt in the glue.

Please tell me you didn't just cringe at the thought of dog hair and dirt being on our kitchen floor. We can't be friends if your floors sparkle...

FOURTH AND FINALLY.... my  friend Meredith has come to the rescue. Okay, if you don't know Meredith, you have to read her blog. She's hilarious and is my long lost soul sister. I've actually never met her in real life, but we connected because we're both adopting from India and she's been a constant rock through our long NOC wait.

And even though she's adopting, too, and having to raise funds herself, she has made 5 super cute hand knit ear warmer/head bands that she's selling to help us with Naveen's adoption fund. Funny, talented, and completely selfless.  Love her!

Anyway, she's selling the ear warmer/head bands for $20 and that includes shipping.  She made five, but one already sold. If you're interested, please leave a comment on her blog and she'll get back to you.  You can click HERE to find out more.

Also, I want to give a big shout-out to Lily who is the gorgeous model in these photos. Thank you, Lily!













Tuesday, January 03, 2012

2011 Year End Review - Part 3

One thing I've noticed in doing this Year End Review  is that I severely lack in the "Mommy Who Takes Photos" Department.

Did you know that Sim turned 40 in August and I turned 38 and we don't have a single picture?

And all of my kids had birthdays in the Fall, but I barely have enough pictures of them to even prove that I actually have children.

Sim has a birthday and turns "Lordy, Lordy, Hot and Forty!" and do I have a picture? Nope.


Eli turned 8 in September. Any photos? Nada.

Nandi loses her first tooth.  Oh. Am I supposed to take a picture of that?


Noah turns 10 and enters the double digits.  *Crickets*


We celebrated a little holiday that I like to call Thanksgiving. I vaguely remember something involving a lot of turkey and the color orange.


Christmas came. We celebrated Jesus' birth, opened presents, left food for the reindeer, had a huge Southern breakfast and took lots and lots of .... oh wait, no we didn't.


One of my problems is that I rely on everyone else to take photos. Everyone I know has an iphone or a phone with a camera, while my phone is short, oval, and actually flips open (so what if it makes everyone sound like they're talking through cellophane?).  So, I just let everyone else take pictures and ask them to send them to me. And because we all live busy lives, that rarely happens.  And I'm left with huge chunks of our lives that go completely undocumented because I'm too lazy/forgetful/insert word of choice to carry a camera).

Although, to be fair, I can say with all honesty that when my parents pass on, I'm going to inherit a ton of floppy disks and memory sticks and will be able to relive such moments as "Oh my gosh, there's Noah's 1st birthday!" and "Oh look, it's Nandi's first day of kindergarten" and "Hey, it's a picture of Eli with his first toy dinosaur!" "Here's another one of Eli and a dinosaur."  "And here's another one of Eli and a dinosaur."  "Umm, exactly how many years did this dinosaur phase last??"


So another goal of 2012 is to take more pictures. My friend Sandwich suggested that I take one photo a week for the whole year. That's doable, right?

We shall see. We shall see.

In the meantime, here's the rest of our 2011 Year-End Review, which, unfortunately, is pretty slim pickins...

SEPTEMBER 2011


Um, it looks like nothing special happened in the month of September. Despite that fact that my middle-child turned 8 years old and has nothing to prove it.

Don't worry, Eli, honey. I promise Mommy does love you and I promise that we did celebrate your 8th birthday.  Why don't you ask Nonna for proof? I think she was the one in charge of picture taking.

I also had my 20th high school reunion and didn't take my camera. I mean, who does that?? Fortunately, there's a thing I like to call Facebook and friends of mine tagged me in a lot of photos. And if we know anything at all about Facebook it's that whatever you put up on there will be captured forever and forever amen.

OCTOBER 2011


Noah turned 10 and Nandi turned 7, but, alas, they're really just my phantom children that I made up so I could be a mommy blogger... because, surely, a real mother would take pictures of her children on their birthday.

Nonna? Nonna? You took pictures didn't you??



Eli, despite being terrified of Halloween, set up a haunted house in his room. It included games such as "Bobbing for Angry Birds" and "Stick your hand in the robotic dinosaur and see if you can  grab a candy before it closes its jaws on you and gobbles up your fingers"  and the one I absolutely refused to play.. "Blindfold yourself, get on all fours, and reach under Eli's bed and grab an item and guess what it is."

Okay, so listen. If you read my "Quirks" blog post, you know that I have issues with "under the bed". There was no way that I was going to blindly reach my hand underneath Eli's bed, on Halloween!, and grab an object.

I know what lives underneath Eli's bed.  Dust balls, dirty underwear, and the occasional spider.  No way. No how.

The kids put up the Halloween wreath that they made... last year.  But I forgot to take a picture... last year.  So I took one... this year.


Isn't it cute?


We did the Auctions for a Cause for Sarah's Covenant Homes in India and raised over $1500!! I actually did take a lot of pictures this month, but they were mostly all for the auction.  The little diddies above are the multicultural family dolls I made.

Shameless plug. Shameless plug.


NOVEMBER 2011



I posted on Facebook during my 30 days of gratitude that I was thankful for Michael Landon's smooth, muscly chest during the "Jasper the Raccoon" episode on Little House in the Prairie and my coffee/tea mugs that Sim brought back from England.

Shallow? Say what?


We went to the Dallas Zoo and the Dallas Arboretum and had a grand ol' time, but I actually posted these pictures already.

And Thanksgiving happened. Think turkey, pie, and lying on the couch moaning with the top button of our jeans undone.


DECEMBER 2011


Tons happened. The kids had their school parties. We made Christmas villages with our friends David, Keifer, and Charlie. We went to the zoo with cousin Brittany.  We saw our family and celebrated three Christmases with them. Sim and I went on our yearly date and wasted our Christmas money on Sherlock Holmes. (The BBC version is sooooooo much better and streams on Netflix!)

But did I take pictures of any of that? Nope. Out everthing that happened in December, I found it most worthy to take pictures of me and Sim wearing the "William & Katherine"  masks that my friend Kristen sent over from London.




Shallow? Say what?

I hope each of you had a wonderful  2011 like we did. Even if we don't have the pictures to prove it.

Here's to 2012. Make it memorable!





Monday, January 02, 2012

Part Deux - Year End Review in Pictures

This blog post was interrupted by a) a sinus headache b) severely interrupted sleep resulting in severely irritable momma and c) the words of Confucius.

Confucius say... "When one makes a goal to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and one chooses to cram all those fruits and vegetables into one's body one hour before bedtime, one can except to spend one's time with gastrointestinal distress."

Word, Confucius. Word.

On the first day of my goal to better health and wealth in 2012, I realized something. You can't eat fruits and vegetables if you haven't been grocery shopping since the week before Christmas. One can only survive on leftover ham shank for so long.

So, at 6.30pm, I had consumed the following towards my goal of eating 5 servings of fruit and veg a day ...

1. A piece of watermelon chewing gum
2. A lemon with salt on it
3. A bowl of salsa

and... in order to get my orange veg in...

4. Half a bag of sweet potato chips

When Sim vetoed the above and also put  the kibosh on key lime pie pudding as a serving of fruit, and the kids were so hungry that they were actually willing to eat vegetables, I knew that a trip to the store was in order.

Anyway, to make a short story long, I crammed in a banana, a bowl of frozen mango, a bowl of frozen cherries, and three servings of broccoli into my gullet by 9.00pm. And my body went into shock. Which is why I had to chase it down with treacle pudding.

But it was treacle pudding! I know gluten is on my banned list, but ya'll, Sim cooked treacle pudding. With lemon zest.

I'm married to a man who knows how to zest a lemon.

He cooks! He zests! He's a keeper!


Anyway, enough of that. I've only had one cup of coffee per day for the last 2 days (oh my aching stars) and I might actually cry if anyone chastises me.  So, here's Part 2 of our Year in Review for 2011...

MAY 2011


May proved to be another busy month...


Nandi got her cast off and graduated to a leg brace. She decided that she wanted to be the Indian Laura Ingalls Wilder when she grows up and started wearing her hair in braids.

This phase lasted approximately 6 hours...


Eli found a couple of sweet potatoes that had started to sprout and asked if he could make potato people out of them.

This occupied him for approximately 6 minutes...


We learned about the rain forest and copied a model from a homeschooling blog.

Their interest in this lasted approximately 6 weeks. Score!



We discovered that Dollar Tree sells spinning tops, 2 for a dollar, and Noah became the happiest boy in the world.

We've spent approximately $6,000 replacing the cheap little buggers.


Nandi competed in the relay race at her school.

She came in last, but she had approximately 60 people cheering for her. Go Nandi!


I thought it'd be a fun idea to go on an archaeological dig in a pile of dirt at my parent's house. I hid a bunch of everyday items and the kids got to figure out who used to live on the land way back in the stone ages of 2011.

I included my library card in the dig and it took approximately 6 months to find it.


See above.



Nandi went on her first trip to England and Wales to meet the family.

Sim said she peed approximately 16 times on the 8 hour flight.

JUNE 2011



Nandi continued her stay in England and Wales and visited the seaside for the first time with Granny Helen (Sim's mom).


She hung out with Grandad (Sim's dad) in Wales with Flat T-Rex (an Eli variation on Flat Stanley).


She spent a couple of days with cousin Ffion in Somerset.


She hung out with Aunt Isabel and cousin Hannah (and endured tangle after tangle because Sim didn't brush her hair for 2 weeks).


And then she came home and I realized it was going to take a chainshaw and a blowtorch to detangle her matted hair, so we cut it off and donated it to Locks of Love.*

*disclaimer - okay, so that's what I wanted everyone on Facebook to think - because isn't that what Facebook is for? Bragging about how awesome you are?  But the truth, shhh, is that I forgot to mail it off and it's been sitting in our desk drawer since the middle of June.

January resolution #11 - mail off Nandi's ponytail...


All the grand kids (except for Noah because he was having a meltdown) gathered for a picture at my parents' house and celebrated Father's Day with my Pa Lester and MawMaw Ruby. It's the first time we've all been together in one place in ages, so it was great.

JULY 2011

Apparently, Fourth of July happened and a friend gave us a 2 1/2 foot blow-up pool that Noah declared love with immediately, but I have no pictures to prove it.  But I do have a picture of me and my high school BFF Kirsten at the San Fransisco Bay! Another friend donated her air miles to us and I was able to fly to San Fran and spend some quality time with KK.  There's a backstory to my visit that I can't explain on my blog, but it was much needed by both of us and we had a wonderful time.

AUGUST 2011



Nandi met her future hubby, Jonathan, and spent an entire week daydreaming about her future red-headed children.  Jonathan is my high school friend, Janna's, little boy and we all met up in August for a mini-reunion with Christoph, who was our German exchange student back in the day.  I hadn't seen him since I was 20 and he was in the States for a visit, so we headed to Chili's and gorged ourselves on fried food and gossip.

I do have a picture of the three of us together, but Christoph would probably make me remove it, but he looks a bit like Arnold Schwarzenegger, back before he became Smarmy Arnie, if you know what I mean.


I spent an exorbitant amount of money on Ebay to find an exact replica of  Eli's beloved "Peluche" that we sent to him in Guatemala when he was only 3 months old. It's so loved and worn that The Velveteen Rabbit took one look at it and ran into the woods in shame.

The very next day I found another one for 80% of the price. 80%.

And where is that overpriced teddy bear who wiped out our savings now?

In the closet.

I'm just hoping that Peluche "The Original" graduates to a closet shelf before Eli starts dating, because momma   boys and dudes who sleep with stuffed animals generally go on the "Not  Even If You Gave Me A Hundred Bucks" list.



First Day of School! And Noah and Mom rejoiced! Cowboy and Ginger came out from hiding. The breakables were put back on the shelf. And my babies grew up overnight.  A 1st grader, a 2nd grader, and a homeschool 4th grader.  Cutest kids in the world!

Part Three of our Year End Review is up next!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Year End Review in Pictures - Part 1

Happy 2012!!

I saw how other bloggers did a year-end review on their blog, and I thought about doing one yesterday, but that would've meant posting THREE times in one day. And since I've posted maybe a handful in the last year, I thought it might be overkill.

Plus, I was too embarrassed because then everyone would know that I did absolutely nothing yesterday except veg out and write goals about how I'm not going to do that anymore.

Which, um, I've already broken. It's 8.30am and I've nothing except fix breakfast, break up two arguments between Nandi and Eli and spent the last 30 minutes going through our pictures on Picasa bemoaning the fact that I am possibly the worst mother in the world for not taking pictures of my kids more often.

BUT... I will say with pride that I've only had one cup of coffee this morning, no gluten, and I haven't driven thru McDonald's.  Yay me!

So, without further adieu, I present OUR LIFE IN 2011 (or just snippets of it because, apparently, I never take pictures of anything, which makes it look like we did nothing).  Also known as, "I Seem to Take Lots of Pictures in the Spring, but Our Fall Falls Short".


JANUARY 2011



Apparently we did nothing in January that was worth noting except go on a date night for the first time in 3 years. Actually, it was a date afternoon.  We went to Chili's and saw a movie that I can't remember. I'm thinking it was The King's Speech because I remember thinking, "A date, a restaurant, and Colin Firth? This is heaven!"

FEBRUARY 2011



It snowed. And I took a picture of the dog instead of the kids. How's that for Mother of the Year? I think it's because I hate any temperature that dips below 50 degrees and Sim went out with the kids in the snow. I, however, had to take the dog out to do his business and must've snapped a picture. I don't remember much about it snowing, except huddling under ten blankets with a hot water bottle and crying, "Make it stop!"



I love this photo! Don't they look sweet in this picture? So deceiving.....

But precious.

MARCH 2011


March must've been an impressive month because I actually had to wean out some pictures. Here are a few...


Eli's life-long dream of going to Dino World in Glen Rose came true during Spring Break.


Noah had a breakthrough and went from stacking zero blocks on top of each other to stacking a whole tower.


We accepted Naveen's referral and became paper pregnant! And we had to take pictures for our homestudy.  I love this one of Noah!


We didn't include this one in our home study packet, but it cracks me up because it's "The Case of the Missing Legs".

APRIL 2011

April was huge, too.



Nandi had her surgery. She went from walking on the tips of her toes with her foot turned almost halfway  around, to walking flat-footed!

P.S. Isn't she GORGEOUS?


We had our first home study visit with our social worker for Naveen's adoption. The FlyLady would be so proud of our kitchen!


Sim, in a moment of "What were you thinking??!!" passed these napkins out to our social worker when we served snacks.


The kids violated poor Flynn Ryder while playing Gulliver's Travels. And I had to wash the hands of those Polly Pocket dolls. (Notice the one on the upper left side. Saucy little thing.)


Sim shaved! And I put on make-up! And curled my hair!  It got filed under "Things That Might Not Ever Happen Again", so I had to take a picture of it.


The Royal Wedding! The five of us had a Royal Wedding Tea Party and Nandi designed these hats all by herself! (I glued them, but she was the designer.)

And this concludes Part 1 because I don't want to bog anyone's computer down with too many photos. Next up, Part 2 - May - August.