Becoming Aware of the Possible Train Wreck

I an learning that as I am better at managing my anxiety I’m much better equipped to handle Chase. Perfect point, today was Costco day. I knew that the crowds not only set off my overly sensory sensitive kiddo, but really sets of my anxiety attacks. Today armed with anxiety medicine just in case, and a plan we marched into Costco. I practiced deep breathing and let Chase be himself. It amazed me how my calmness reached out to my son. He often grabbed my hand. He usually takes his father’s hand instead. It was a learning experience,and one that I’m grateful for.

S.M.A.R.T. Living

IMAG0373_1The other day we had errands to run.  The hubby and I packed our two youngest in the car (our oldest lives most of the time at his mother’s house) and headed out to the store to purchase the ingredients for our Thanksgiving Feast (as *Emma calls it).  *Chase managed marvelously in the store.  We put him in charge of pushing the kid sized cart.  Emma also had one. I found it humorous how my husband and I kept the two of them from crashing into each other.  We headed out to grab a bite to eat before heading
out to Joann’s for their before Thanksgiving sale.  We ended up going to a place that is not normally on our repertoire of fast food joints.  Chase and my hubby tend to have a short list they prefer.  We entered the restaurant and Chase informed us rather loudly that he wanted…

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Two Children, One Spectrum: A New Series

I look forward to this series

Living on the Spectrum: The Connor Chronicles

If you’re part of the autism community you’ve undoubtedly heard the expression, “If you’ve met one person with autism, then you’ve met one person with autism.” It’s supposed to be ironic in its simplicity.

Sayings like this don’t appeal to me because they are so simple. It doesn’t really convey all the intricate meaning about how different and varied autism can be from one person to the next. My son has never really fit the stereotyped idea of what autism looks like. I thought it might be enlightening to have a fellow autism mama work with me to write about our children, covering several topics.

Now, I know that most people who read my blog already know about autism and about how different it is for each person. But think about all the people out there that give advice and recommendations about working with our kids. Our kids are so different…

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Letting Go

I am learning to let go, even when I really don’t want to.

S.M.A.R.T. Living

Part of seeking treatment for my PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, and Mood Disorders is taking responsibility for my own part in my recovery. I have a very hard time letting go. Letting go of emotions, people, memories, and even things.


My daughter made this beautiful piece of art. It is a tree in the midst of Autumn. I knew it would add to our clutter, but I felt guilty throwing it away. If I kept every piece off kids art work my house would look – um never mind it is already there.

Part of “SMART Living” to me means accepting responsibility. Two weeks ago I would have said my house is filled with clutter. Today I stand up and with utter embarrassment and admit that I have a problem.

I hoard. I grasp and cling to items that bring back warm memories. I have multiples off the same item because…

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My Journey Begins

So, It has been about two months since I have written in this blog. Lots happening. I’ve decided to start compartmentalizing certain aspects of my life and I have decided to start a new blog that is dealing with my personal journey towards SMART living – how I am learning to cope with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I will link my posts from that blog here, that way I can make this blog be more about our family as a whole.

S.M.A.R.T. Living

A year ago I started a personal goal challenge  that I worked on for about two weeks.   I became overwhelmed with my life and the task of daily living became daunting.    If you are familiar with my other blog, Coloring Outside The Lines then you are familiar with my struggle with depression and anxiety.  Recently my psychiatrist added PTSD and Mood Disorder to the list.  I recently had an experience with a shovel that has me evaluating and redefining my life.  Through the love of my husband, and those that care about me I am starting a journey towards gaining peace and learning to live life meaningfully.

Something that I feel strongly about is that whatever your religious beliefs are each of us in this spectrum of humanity have a desire to become better people.

Over a year ago I had the following conversation with my husband…

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New Adventures





Chase received his first remote control car recently. He chased after it merrily, even letting his little sister control his little purple car.


Everyone loves Grandpa. My husband looks so much like his father.


Dee had fun chasing Chase with the car. Chase adores his big brother!!!


Dee and Emma after two weeks apart.

Social Skills Group


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Today was our weekly Puppy Play Time a our local Petco.  When we arrived Chase announced, “I want to watch Zoe.  In there, with you, Mommy.”  I looked for permission from the instructor and sighed in relief mixed with a bit of fear when she gave the go ahead.  I wasn’t sure how Chase would handle the stimulus from 8 active pups.  After a friendly, pure white German Shepard licked Chase on the face we created a corner where Chase could watch sitting from a chair with me sitting in front of him fielding playful pups away from Chase.  The same tactic used to keep overly excited pups away from the “I’m not so sure about this” pups, kept Chase happy and secure for about 10 minutes.

I became anxious when Zoe started to corner another puppy, a 10 week Great Dane, and tried to call Zoe back over to me.  The trainer in charge of the 30 minute canine social skills group lifted her hand in the universal stop gesture and said, “No, this is good.  For both pups.  It will teach Bailey (the Great Dane) to stick up for himself, and teach Zoe boundaries.” I then sat in awe as the quivering, puppy that for the first fifteen minutes stood shaking behind his master barked at Zoe and lunged.  Zoe ran for my lap and left the other pup alone the rest of the evening.  Zoe eventually found another puppy to play with him, and amazingly enough the cowering Great Dane soon joined the other frolicking puppies.

During this entire scenario Chase sat behind me on his chair.  I knew when Chase had enough as he started pressing on my back and pushing his chin into my neck. “Do you want to take a walk with Daddy while I stay with Zoe?”

“No, I just want to go home.” He replied in his super subdued tone.  I gave him a firm hug and told him, “We will go home after Zoe’s play time. He needs this so that he will be a better service dog for you.” Chase looked at me and asked “Why?” I pointed to where Zoe was wrestling with another dog. I showed Chase how Zoe was learning to bite gently -earlier he nipped another dog too hard and well, you can imagine what happened next. I had a twenty pound whining dog in my lap. Zoe avoided that other pup the rest of the evening. We talked about how important it was for Zoe to learn not to bite so hard, and eventually stop biting altogether.

Soon after Chase gave me a hug and joined his dad out of the puppy arena.  For the next ten minutes I watched Zoe as he he practiced the skills of taking turns, personal space, unacceptable social behaviors, etc.  I then chuckled to myself as I realized that each Tuesday evening Chase attends his own social skills group for these same exact reasons.  The more I am around Chase and Zoe the more I am realizing how similar the two of them are, and how perfect they are for each other.

Learn more about Chasing Zoe.

Dog Parks Are Cool


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Thanks to our very first donation we were able to get Zoe his first set of vaccinations this past weekend.  We went to Petsmart, because they have a puppy package reasonably priced that covers vaccinations, neutere, and wellness checks.  I wasn’t happy about how they didn’t inform me about the additional “membership fee” but sometimes we just have to swallow the small inconvenience s in life. 

There were a couple of yellow Labradors a week older than Zoe, and much smaller.  People kept mentioning how big he was going to get.  One man even said “He’s gonna eat you out of house and home.” At which point my very literal son kind of got upset.  The poor man was beside himself trying to explain that Zoe wasn’t going to eat our home, just eat alot.  I’m not sure Chase understood, but he finally calmed down. 
Today after I dropped kiddos off at summer school I took Zoe to the Dog Park.  He found a shady spot and hung out.  There was a nice breeze, and I enjoyed getting out of the house. 


Now onto the joys of house cleaning!

Honestly Speaking


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The other night I had the kiddos out in the back with me playing on the swing set.  Yes, we have one of those and I practically have o beg them to play on it.  Usually I have to bribe them with water.  My kids love to make their slide into a water slide.  Chase then hunts for a huge bucket and wants it filled up like a pool.  He’s kinda getting too big this year.  He was a bit disappointed when he couldn’t stretch out and splash like he did last summer.

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While they played in the water I was able to work in my garden area.  I’m excited, my tomatoes are growing like gang busters.  My herbs are doing well and I hope to have some carrots come up soon (although only two seeds out of an entire envelope is growing).  Anyways.  I’m working hard in the garden and I hear Chase and Emma fighting.  Intervention became necessary before it became physical.  After I told him that he needed to play nicely with Emma he responded ever so seriously:  “I don’t want to play with Emma I want to fight with Emma.” At least he’s honest!

Okay, fast-forward a few more days and I go pick up the kids from summer school.  Emma meets me with an ever so serious expression.  “Momma, don’t look in my book bag.”  I look at her quizically.  “Why not?”  She anxiously responds with a deep sigh, “I don’t want you to see the note with the yellow face on it.”  Yellow means ‘think about it’.  I asked her why she got a yellow.  “I don’t want to tell you, Momma!”  At which point the teacher comes by and whispers, “She kept pushing other students.”  Great!!!!  I have a budding bully on my hands.  At least she’s honest!

In the car we talk about Emma’s behavior.  Chase pops up, “Uh-oh, I taught her how to push, right mom.  I need to try again.”  I love my children.  In his serious and awesome way he realized that not only did Emma need o work on her social skills, but he needed to work on proper behavior as well.  I love how honestly speaking my children are!

Do Over


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I would like to have a do over day.  this morning I slept in late, went to get the children’s clothes out of the dryer and realized that they were still wet.  Great school today?  Chase wore pajama pants that were too short for him and a t-shirt that was too big for him.  Emma complained that I didn’t have a long sleeve shirt for her to wear to school in 90 degree weather.  Got out to the van and couldn’t find my keys, ended up the walking 2 miles to school?  we arrived at school 5 minutes after the bell rang and they were closing down breakfast.  Not a problem for Chase, he never likes breakfast, but Emma had a meltdown.  Thankfully they let her take some chocolate milk and a muffin to her classroom. 

Dee and I walk the 2 miles back home, and of course Zoe, our new puppy needed to go for a walk when we got home.  By this point I had a migraine, especially since I’m trying to get used to new glasses with a prism for the first time.  I love being cross eyed.  I take a nap and wake up to the smell of the oven burning.  Dee is making tacos for quesadillas for lunch.  My 11 year old son surprise me it was probably the best quesadillas have ever had in my entire life. 

Scott arrived home just in time to go pick up the kids but me and the puppy came with him so that we could go for another walk.  Scott dropped me off at the park with Dee, Emma and the puppy.  Chase wanted to go  home to play minecraft.  Of soon as scott drives away with the van the heavens open wide and rain pours down on the four of us.  the puppy was in 7th heaven, me not so much. 

It is now almost 11 o’clock at night and I am on my way home with melatonin to help my 4 year old fall asleep.  Right now what I would do for Suco de Maracuja. 

Chasing Zoe


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Back in January Chase, Emma and I flew to visit Grandma Larkann in Seattle.  Chase fell in love with my mother’s Springer Spaniel, Zoey.  From that moment on he consistently states, “I want a girl dog, and her name is going to be Zoey.”  We’ve seen several specialists in the past several months as we strived to help Chase regulate his behaviors, and conquer some of his challenges.  One topic broached in each session has been the option of a therapy/companion/service dog.

I researched the benefits, my husband did a cost analysis (as he does on everything) and the idea of spending $30,000 for a dog up front made us cringe.  The idea of getting a dog and then the expense of a dog felt daunting, especially since I am not bringing in an income at he moment.  We put the dog issue on the back burner.  At some point during a “pick up” I had a conversation with Dee’s mother.  We mentioned that eventually we would be looking for a dog, the purpose of the dog, and the breeds commonly used for service dogs.

Thursday I recieved a text from her.  “I think I found a service dog for Chase.  He is a 2 month black lab.”  She included a picture and after discussing things with my husband we decided to check the puppy out.

With the help of our first sponsor, we now have a beautiful puppy. he was taken away from his mother a little too early so we’re working on bite inhibition, walking is a bit of a chore because every 5 seconds he lies down and just looks at me, the kids are learning to stand like a tree – okay maybe they are still running, laughing, and screaming every single time the puppy comes after them. I’m doing must have the training, although for some reason the puppy is said that my husband is alpha.

Even though he is a male dog, Chase decided to name him Zoe. He is a really good puppy and learning fast. Soon we will get him and obedience training, followed by getting him trained as a therapy dog.

Meet the newest member of the family, Zoe: