Thursday, November 28, 2013

My Thankful List--2013

It's 9:30 on Thanksgiving, and I'm already in PJs, under the covers in my bed. It was a grand, grand holiday, but I've been up and on-the-go since 6:30, and I'm tired.  Before the day of thankfulness expires, though, I want to write down what I'm thankful for this year. You know, for posterity. And also so I can look back and laugh at myself.

This year, I'm thankful for:

1.  Of course, my family. I have a great family, both here in our house and extended. I've gotten in touch with cousins and aunts and uncles in the past year, relatives I was very close to in my younger days. I'm thankful to get to know them all again, because they're part of my very happiest childhood memories. I love family.

2. Technology. I love having the world at my fingertips. Yeah, that's all very 1st world, but I'm just being honest. I love being able to connect with people instantly, being able to get information quickly. Makes me feel more efficient. It also allows me to keep in touch with my far-reaching friends.

3.  West Sixth Brewery. Yes, I'm thankful for a bar. Not in the alcoholic kind of sense, but just because I love that place! It's kind of my "Cheers" place. I've had some of the best times there with my friends--just the other night, I did yoga there, then had a beer and dinner and laughed until my face hurt. No joke. They have great beer, yes, but I am more grateful for a place I can go to hang out with friends and just relax, be happy. So yeah. I'm grateful for a bar.

4.  My job. I love what I do. Despite feeling incompetent and harried much of the time, I absolutely love where I work, love the kids and my teachers and our mission. Even when it's downright frustrating--and it is, much of the time--it's also incredibly rewarding. I love working with intelligent, passionate women. I love problem-solving and discussing what's right for our kids and knowing that we truly do put our students first in all we do.

5. Bedtime. I love my children with all my heart, but there's something so satisfying about bedtime. Putting them to bed at the end of the day, and sitting down to relax. Something so wonderful about settling in for the night. Getting all cozy under the covers, watching mindless TV...good stuff right there.

6.  Anderson's creativity. Oh, that boy and his imagination! There is not a single day that goes by where he doesn't do something that makes me smile. He is ingenious, I tell you. He's talented, and smart, and funny. He's determined and silly and passionate. He owns, absolutely owns, half of my heart.

7.  Amelia's curiosity. I love her age right now. She's infinitely curious and incredibly intelligent. She's sensitive and sweet, and sassy. She's devoted and loving and just the right amount of shy. She's timid and brave all at the same time. The other half of my heart.

8. Wine. No explanation needed.

9. strange as it may sound to some people, music is just so incredibly important to me.  It's a form of expression, even though I don't write or make the music. I choose songs with interesting or personally relevant lyrics. I love hearing a song so well-written, it gives me goosebumps. I love that my boy shares the same fascination with a good melody, good harmonization. I don't know what life would be like without it.

10. All of my pregnant friends and all of my mama friends. I have baby-mania so badly right now--I would literally LOVE to have another. I'm grateful to my girls who don't mind when I smell their babies' heads, just to soak up that newborn awesomeness. I love patting my friends' round bellies, and remembering when I had two wiggleworms tumbling around, kicking and hiccuping. There was a time when having pregnant friends was just insanely difficult for me, but I know exactly how lucky I am. Instead of being bitter, it's just bittersweet.

11.  My infertility experience. I'm thankful for it, because I take nothing for granted. Not one minute, not one word, not one newly learned skill.  Not one single smile, not one kiss. When you are forced to come to terms with the fact that having children might not be in your future, and you are lucky enough to find a way to make it happen, you appreciate it all. Every temper tantrum, every bedtime struggle, every tear and feisty word. It's all a miracle and I am so damn lucky.

12.  Nick at Nite. I love old sitcoms--TV was so much better 10 years ago. I secretly enjoy Full House, which has to be one of the worst shows of all time. Friends, all the good stuff.  It lulls me to sleep every night. Yeah. I'm thankful for it.

13.  Hair products. Y'all, I've finally tamed my insane mane. Got a great layered haircut, bought the right product and brush and styling tools. $300 later, I finally have decent hair most days! Sounds a bit material, but it's amazing how feeling better about your appearance affects everything else. I swear I'm a happier person.

14. "Snuggling".  Anderson isn't a loving kid--he rarely wants to be held or kissed or hugged. You can watch him when you do it, or when you make him show affection--he does it begrudgingly but he doesn't like it. But...he has a thing where he wants to "snuggle" in bed with me before he goes to bed. Now, he isn't close enough under the covers to actually snuggle, but we look at each other and talk and laugh. Almost as good as a real snuggle.

15.  Finally...this simple life. We don't live fancy here in the Jones house. Our house is small, our personal property limited. We don't have a lot of anything, honestly. We live fairly small. Our furniture is old, our home not updated. And yet--we are pretty happy here. Don't get me wrong--I'd love to have new things and more space. And we will--someday. But it's nice to know that we can be happy where we're at, too.

So there you go. Now, I'm going to bury myself under my sheets and watch some Full House until I fall asleep. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Friday, November 22, 2013


Throughout the course of this year, Anderson's teachers and the other teachers throughout their preschool have become more and more fascinated by Anderson. I love talking to them about him, telling them all of the funny things he does, because it reminds me of just how...shall we say, 'quirky'...he really is. It's amazing how easily his funny little habits become "normal" to us--anything that is a part of your everyday life becomes commonplace. Watching the teachers' reactions when I talk about my boy makes me remember just how interesting he really is.  Most of his teachers are young, and the afternoon teachers are college girls working on education degrees, so he's the first "different" kid that many of them have worked with (and yes, I'd like to possibly set a record for how many "quotation marks" ever used in one blog post).

When I pick Anderson up from school on Fridays, no less than three adults will tell him--along with Tofu--goodbye, and tell him to have a good time at Hollister on Saturday. Of course he flashes his million-watt smile and those baby blues shine, and they fawn all over him and marvel at the uniqueness of his weekly visits to Hollister. More than once, they've commented that they wished ALL kids could just go to a store--a free trip--as a reward for good behavior. They're definitely on to something there.

The boy is also a crazy-good mimic. He pretends to be both Marty and I all the time. If I'm drying my hair, he pulls a chair into the bathroom and dries his hair, too.  If I'm flat-ironing (damn you, adorable new haircut!) my hair, he's flat-ironing his hair, too.  If Marty is making coffee, Anderson is grinding his beans, too.  Apparently, this is now carrying over into school.  One day last week, Anderson decided he was his teacher, Ms. Stacy. He sat at the top of the "circle" (which is really a half circle. Hmmm.), in the teacher's spot, and said, "Okay, now, Lindy. Here's what we are gonna do."  Now...Lindy is his other TEACHER. So to call her by her first name--well, in my book, that's questionable. However, as they were telling me about it, they were cracking up and they took absolutely no offense. I think it's because he clearly means no disrespect. In fact, that's one of his finest qualities. He is very, very true. He can't lie. He's honest about his emotions and is unable to take into consideration how others might feel about him. It's the most pure, sweet quality.

Today, as I was gathering the kids' belongings from their locker, I noticed a plastic Kroger bag hanging on one of the hooks. Curious, I  peeked inside. It contained one of his lotions, and a small notebook. Now, knowing my boy, I immediately knew what this was. Each day when Marty takes them to school, he packs one of the reusable black Kroger bags with their lunch box, their backpacks, jackets, notebooks, etc.  I figured that this was his bag that he'd packed, too.  When I went into the classroom, sure enough--he asked for his "black bag". He pulled out his lotion, and Ms. Stacy kind of raised her brows. The teachers didn't know about his obsession with little lotions! So, of course, I filled them in on the wide variety of hotel lotions he carries around and sleeps with. Again, they were--for lack of a better word--charmed by him. Another little quirk that makes him HIM.

Tonight, I was retelling the story to Marty. He responded with, "Anderson has to be one of the most memorable kids that they've ever had at the school."

"You're right," I replied, thinking about it. Realizing that he probably is one for the record books. My teacher friends will get it. He's one that they'll talk about long after he's gone. They'll tell stories about Tofu, and the Story Bus, and lotion and Hollister and all of the other funny things he's said and done.

And then, I said, "And how lucky are we that we get to keep him forever?"

And it's true. We are very, very LUCKY.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Really, being a parent is the equivalent of doing a life-long study in sociology. Or maybe even participating in a psychological experiment. In any case, I never get tired of studying children.  One of the coolest, most interesting things about having kids is that they become tiny reflections of yourself. Not only do they pick up on and subsequently mimic little quirks in your behavior--little things you may not even realize you do--but they also, by the laws of genetics, innately have other little parental qualities.

For instance, Anderson is an excellent mimic of his dad.  Marty doesn't really have a lot of little oddities (other than counting things and needing even numbers, but I digress...), but he does have some things that he routinely does. Things that I noticed a long time ago but kind of forgot about--until Anderson started doing them. When Marty is thinking hard about something, or is stressed out, he has a habit of running his hand across the top of his head, through his hair. He does it completely absent-mindedly. One day, I noticed Anderson doing the same thing. At first, I didn't put the two together, but then it clicked in my head. I questioned him, and he indicated that he was acting like Daddy. It was adorable. Another smile-inducing little thing that Anderson has so astutely picked up on is how Marty swallows. If you've eaten with him, chances are you noticed it. Marty has a paralyzed vocal cord, so to avoid aspirating food and liquid into his lungs, he has to turn his head to one side when he swallows, and he has to swallow hard. At dinner one night, we looked over and Anderson was doing the exact swallow--and I mean EXACT. We couldn't help but crack up. It's so endearing. It's just sweet that he picks up on little nuances in our behavior.

He is also a great mimic of my facial expressions.  I think I realized just how exaggerated my own facial expressions are when I was in college. At U of K, we had to interview to get into the Teacher Education program (which seems kind of weird, looking back on it...). It was pretty much my first interview ever--I mean, I'd had jobs before, but they were of the sort where, when you "interview", they pretty much just ask your name and beg you to start immediately. This was different, and I was nervous. I also got the professor who was notoriously mean as my interviewer, which didn't help things.  I sweated through the entire thing and at the end, she said, eyebrows arched, "Well, you're certainly an expressive person, for sure..."  Trust me. I know I do it. I can't help it. I've tried. My niece recently told me I look like Miley Cyrus when I get the idea.  Anyway, Anderson is practically a mirror. He talks to me with such exaggerated emotion, such facial expressions of seriousness, earnestness, even sternness, that I cannot help but laugh. And be a little self-conscious. But mostly laugh.

They also share some of my qualities, some of my likes and dislikes, and that's fun, too.  For instance, Amelia absolutely LOVES anything related to the sky. Clouds, the sun, stars, the name it, she loves it. She truly delights in a gorgeous sunset. She talks about all of the colors that she sees as the sun descends with such enthusiasm. I'm the same way. Cheesy as it may be, I love the sky, too. I love amazing sunrises and sunsets, I love when the sky is a million different shades of color. I love astronomy--took two classes in college and would've taken more but my major didn't require it and I definitely wasn't meant to be an astronomer--the sky and space are so fascinating! Confession: I will set alarms at crazy times to watch meteor showers. I've gotten up in the middle of the night and very early in the morning at various times in the year, just to go sit in a lawn chair in the backyard and see shooting stars. One time, I convinced my friend Matt to do the same.  He texted me the next day and said, "I got up in the middle of the night and stumbled outside. I looked crazy--I was wearing boxers and looking through binoculars at the sky."  Amazing visual. :-) Some people just aren't as interested.  I love that Amelia is already interested. I told her that one day, she and I would get a very nice telescope and we would look at the sky together. And we will.

She's also stubborn, hard-headed, and independent. But I don't know where she gets that.

Anderson shares my love of music. He expressed interest in specific types of songs, the sounds of certain musical instruments, before he could even talk. I would play "Band of Horses" and his little 16 month old butt would come running into the living room to listen intently.  I instinctively know what kinds of music and songs he will like. He can keep the beat and hum/sing better than more four year olds. A few nights ago, he took two Lincoln Logs and started using them as rhythm sticks, making sounds that started slow, and then got faster and faster. It reminded me of this scene in the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha":

(if you can't view the above clip, click here)

I looked it up on YouTube and played it for him. He asked me to play it another four times, and walked around playing his rhythm sticks in the same way (what you hear in the very beginning of the clip, and several times throughout). I love that I just knew he'd appreciate the music in that scene. It's a bond I know we will share for the rest of our lives. Something that connects us in a way that is special.

Anderson is also incredibly impatient--when he wants something, he wants it NOW--and he gets frustrated the minute he cannot find something. He's also a smeller. When he picks something up, be it food, a new toy, paper, he smells it. I'm a smeller. I'm not impatient. Not at all.

It's good to see yourself outside of yourself sometimes, and kids are the perfect mirrors in which to look for both the good, the quirky, and even the not-so-good things about ourselves. What about you? Do your kids share anything with you?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Feeling Redundant

I don't know what it is (probably seasonal affect disorder), but as soon as the weather starts to change from hot to cold, I start feeling so BLAH.  It seems like I start living a Groundhog Day life--every day is the same as the one before, which is the same as the one before, etc. etc.  It feels like life gets more routine, and I'm the girl who hates too much routine.  I've been feeling the same about this blog. I feel like I keep saying the same things over and over, and is there really any point in continuing to write about how Anderson struggles with weird ebb and flow behavior issues, how Amelia continues to deal with her tininess, and how crazy our lives are? I'm not sure. I'm just not sure.  I read a lot of blogs, and I feel like if I kept reading the same things over and over, I'd probably quit reading.

The problem is, I really LOVE writing.  It's kind of an outlet, something I do for me. A little guilty pleasure. I like having a written document that I can look back on and see what was happening with us at any given point in time. That's definitely cool. But I also like writing for others, to make people laugh, to make people feel good about themselves because I make plenty of mistakes, and there's nothing more true than the statement "Misery love Company". Hello, Misery--you're in good company here. Probably more than half of the things I do in life, I could reflect upon and safely say that I'd have done things differently. That feeling is what unites us, the commiserating when things don't go as planned, or when our choices end up creating chaos. I get that kind of camaraderie from reading other blogs, and I hope that people get the same warm-fuzzy from mine.

I know, I know...ramble ramble ramble.  I'm just reflecting upon what I'm doing here, in this space. Whether it's meaningful, or just me alternating between story-telling and bitching, over and over.  Something to think about. In the meantime, to make this more useful, a few snippets of what's been going on with us.

**Amelia is suddenly a super sponge for learning. She has gone from asking the annoying kiddie questions that kids ask when they suddenly realize that they CAN ask questions, to asking really good questions about the world around her. Why does it get dark at night? Where does the sun go?  Why do the leaves change colors? What does that word say? I find I never get tired of her wondering. I am fascinated by how her brain processes things, and of course I can't help but be amazed that my one-pound wonder who was just destined, according to her doctors, to have diminished cognitive ability, is thinking and inferencing and in awe of everything. I am enjoying her so much right now. She is logical, and smart, and funny.

**Anderson is...well, he's still Anderson. :-)  Behaviorally speaking, he's doing better. Sleeping--not so much. I can't wait for their 5 year check-ups to talk to the doctor about it. The circles under his eyes are ever-present these days. He's very, very into "cooking" right now, especially mixing with his mixers. He is always in the kitchen, cooking up something. He continues to crack us up with the crazy things he says, and like all of the stores right now, he's already looking forward to Christmas. It's funny--he isn't the kid who is all about the presents. When you ask him what he wants for Christmas, he might say "an elevator", or something, but toys aren't exciting to him. He is more interested in the ritual of the holiday (go figure, right?). Last week he told his teacher that "Daddy is going to clean up the living room, and move the table, and build the Christmas tree, and put some lights and ornaments on it".  He can't wait for us to get out our little light-up village--he talked about that at school, too. I think he truly just loves the season, and I have to say, it's infectious. Not infectious enough for us to start decorating, though. I'm standing my ground on refusing to decorate before Thanksgiving.

**Anderson has what we can only assume is an imaginary friend.  Her name is Chessie. He talks about her all the time. Chessie lives in a little bitty house, and goes to his school. Chessie is a kid, but also a teacher there, apparently. He laughed uproariously when I asked if she took naps at school, as if that were ludicrous.  I'm kind of getting a kick out of it. I actually had two imaginary friends myself, as a kid. Keeker and Boomer. I talked to them all the time and my family got a huge laugh out of my descriptions of them. Apparently imaginary friends are supposed to be a sign of intelligence. Not so sure, but he's definitely a creative little dude.

Well, nothing more to share, I don't think. I have to make our Trader Joe's run before the kids wake up because we didn't get to go to Hollister yesterday, and we all know that's just not acceptable. Enjoy your Sunday.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ask Away...

Well, life has been so insanely crazy that I haven't had time to write--or even really think about writing--which is depressing because I absolutely LOVE writing. Anyway, I'm hoping things will slow down very soon (like this weekend), and I'll be able to write up a real post, because despite being uber-busy, funny/amazing/hilarious/unbelievable things keep happening under this roof with these crazy kiddos and I WANTTOWRITEABOUTTHEM!

I also got a suggestion from an anonymous reader who got my email address through a previous post, and I thought hey, why not? So, I will do a Q & A blog entry. Ask me anything--about my family, about autism, about dwarfism, about cancer, about growing up as a child of an alcoholic, about whatever you want to ask about. Nothing is too personal, and if it is, I just won't answer it! :-)  Doesn't matter if I know you or not--if my life experiences can be helpful, or reassuring, or laugh-inducing--I'm glad to share.

So...I have a blog email address now.  Send any questions to:

I will be back soon, once the tires stop spinning and my brain stops smoking. In the meantime, enjoy this video of one of Anderson's (and my) current favorite songs: