Wednesday, October 9, 2013


When you're the little sister and you have 3 doting big brothers and a totally smitten Daddy and you make this face....

or this face....

 or even this face...
 ...even if Mommy doesn't give in, the odds are pretty much in your favor that you will get exactly what you want.

Monday, October 7, 2013

i'm baaack!!!

I can't believe that I waited this long before I started blogging again!  (Actually, I can, because life has been pretty darn BUSY the last couple years!)  I'm thrilled to say that I think I finally have time to do it now that three of our four kids are in school and everything as far as immediate needs (theirs and my own, among other things) have been sorted out.  There is SO MUCH to update and wrote about, and I'm still deciding how to organize things...I don't want to miss out on all of the fun, tough moments, learning experiences, and thought that I'd like to document over the past few years....but I also want to document from here on out.  So, bear with me as I just jump back in and figure it all out as I go.  Blogging is a very healing experience for helps me find the everyday beauty, blessings, and sort through tough feelings.  I think it's really good for me, and I hope one day that my family will love reading what I wrote, so I'm not going to let it go by the wayside again.

A quick update on the last year or so since my last post:

-Peyton continues to grow up so fast!  She's a tiny little thing below the 10th percentile, but she eats like a horse and she gets around a TON, so we're not worried about her size (although glad she's a tiny girl and not a boy haha).  She LOVES to talk, LOVES to play with baby dolls, and fights very hard to keep up with her brothers.  She's a sweet, cuddly little angel (snuggliest baby by FAR), but she's got a lot of sass that helps her keep right up with all the action and keep up with her brothers!  We just love her and the feminine energy that she brings to our family.  She's so much fun!

Sometimes we call her "Little Miss Sassy Pants".  ;)

-Jonah is also growing and changing a lot!  He's three now.  After a year or so with Early Intervention working on sensory issues and speech delays (among other things), we got a call from a program out here that offers ABA therapy to a select few kids in the state.  He and Micah were picked, so we took him in and had him tested.  He was diagnosed with PDD-NOS and ADHD.  He has grown leaps and bounds since ABA started, and also has gotten into an incredible autism preschool out here called Giant Steps.  I have spent literally 20-30+ hours a week of the last year or so managing both his and Micah's therapy, programs, research, appointments, and everything else having a kid on the autism spectrum entails.  There has been heartbreak as well as celebration, and we are finally getting our bearings as these two diagnosis's came so suddenly and quickly and were very overwhelming at first.  I feel so incredibly blessed for all the help and support we've received from friends and others who understand all of this "autism stuff" better than we do.  It's been a tough road, but for now at least, the worst part is over, and although it's still busy and can be hard (tough choices all the time), the blessings WAY outweigh the tough stuff and we feel very grateful for the way things have unfolded.  Jonah has also had a few hearing problems (although minor enough that they haven't been able to pinpoint them yet) and recently failed his hearing test at school.  He has a hearing assessment tomorrow and we're hoping to finally get answers and address this issue once and for all.  Other than all this crazy stuff, Jonah is such a fun little boy!  He had a speech explosion back in February and has not stopped picking up speech like crazy!  He is very talkative now and we are just working on helping him form words correctly because it's extremely hard for people outside of his family to understand him.  It doesn't slow him down though, which I love.  He's definitely the comedian of the family and makes us laugh every single day.  He seems to have that affect on people wherever he goes....he's just such a cute, silly, funny little boy and his boisterous, mischievous laugh is incredibly contagious.   In addition to being the comedian, he's the mischief maker and makes enough to go around every day!  He loves trucks and trains and playing outside.  He's recently gotten into playing pretend more and it's been so fun to see his imagination grow.  He sure keeps me busy, but is a pure delight and we love him to pieces!  

Here he is "fishing" in our front yard.  Mud everywhere, Kolton's helmet on, soggy socks and no shoes....all boy!  I love it!

-Micah was also diagnosed with PDD-NOS and Generalized Anxiety and ADHD back in November of last year.  It's taken a lot more effort on my part to get him the help he needs, because he's older and there's a lot more scheduling conflicts, social issues, more bad habits formed, as well as school to deal with.  It's been a loooooong road, but I can honestly say now that it's made a HUGE difference to do ABA therapy, all of the extra school and tutoring we did/do, doctor's appointments and OT, etc.  And now, 3 IEPs later, we finally have school up and going in a positive, functional way for everyone.  I LOVE his teacher and the support we get from his school.  It took some prodding, trying several things, lots of communication and working through things determined to keep everyone on the same team and not engaging in power struggles (it's a very emotional process and I think it could be very easy for any mom to "lose it" at the wrong's very time-consuming, limiting, and frustrating.  The process is very slow and unpredictable.), but we're finally there!  We're at a place where we are all working together and although there are still things we are struggling with and working hard on, there are FAR MORE things that we have conquered and learned.  I think my initial though with either of these boys is how a diagnosis would bring certain labels with it.  But I have found the opposite to be true most of the time if not all the time.  And it's enabled us to get SO MUCH HELP for our boys and they have come so much farther than When things get hard (I have to be on top of our schedule all the time.  It's not very flexible and certainly very busy.), I have to stop and wonder if it's all worth it.  But then, suddenly, Micah makes so many strides and those strides tend to bring with them so much happiness and accomplishment that I no longer doubt that we've done the right thing.  Identifying something so that you can figure out how to best help your child succeed and be happy is never a bad thing.  I'm so proud of Micah and all the hard work he's done and how it's blessed his life.  I wonder a lot of the time if there will come a day when they are "typical" kids again and won't have an autism diagnosis.  And even if that day doesn't come, I know that it won't hold them back and that it is a beautiful part of who they are.  There are many more gifts and blessings that outweigh the struggles and complications of autism.  Micah has also joined a soccer team recently and loves to play.  He also LOVES to make things with paper and tape.  He loves to draw and is SO creative!  I am just itching to get him into an art class because I think it's a talent he has and that he will love it.  He's still struggling with writing now and how to hold a pencil, so I'm going to wait until the time feels right.  He's such a love and a delight to be around.  It's been fun to finally see him start to work through his emotions a little and also to hear him start to share things he wants to talk about.  He's growing up and blossoming and it's been so fun to watch!  He's such a little sweetheart and we all love him so much!

-Kolton has fallen in love with reading.  I gave him a Magic Treehouse book in the beginning of the summer in hopes of hatching a little bookworm, and man alive was I successful!  He is on book #33 currently and has also read a few other chapter books.  He's extremely smart and independent.  He's just amazing.  Kolton has had to deal with a lot with all of the craziness that's gone on over the last few years, and he's really dealt with it all like a champ....better than I ever could have imagined.  He's very frank and very assertive, and I feel like that really helps him let me know what he needs to feel happy and fulfilled.  He loves to talk to me and I love to talk to him.  He's a very sweet big brother to all of his siblings and sets such a great example to them.  He loves to sing as well and every single week I am told that he is the best singer in the junior primary.  I popped him and Micah into Clayton Productions this year (a singing group that I was a part of as a teenager, and I would love for each of my kids to participate in), and he loves it.  He initially didn't love it, but he does now and I think it will be good for his shy little soul to get up in front of an audience and perform.  Clayton Productions was so good for me in so many ways, and I hope it touches them and becomes a fun memory for them as it has for me.  He's also on a soccer team right now, and although it's been crazy for me taking him and Micah to two different practices and games this year with them being on different teams, I think it was definitely the right choice.  I love each of my kids to get their time to shine.  And Kolton can be very shy, so it's been good for him to branch out and meet some friends as well.  He's a great little soccer player and loves to play.  He's recently started practicing more and it's fun to see him improve as a player.  He's just growing up so fast!  I love my little buddy!

-With all of the stress - emotional, physical, mental, financial - that's gone along with so many changes in our family (baby, nursing, autism, job changes, etc.), my body finally couldn't take it anymore and I had a relapse of my thyroid disease.  The good news is though that my levels have stayed mostly even, so I've managed to stay off of   meds.  More good news is that the Graves' disease actually went into remission, and I think my Hashimoto's may be on that track as well, but I haven't had my antibodies tested.  This news came after I started losing hair, getting weird rashes on my body, having tons more allergies, a huge jump in anxiety symptoms and insomnia (which then made the anxiety worse), having blood sugar fluctuations and a little insulin resistance, major fatigue, headaches, hormonal fluctuations from both stress and weaning Peyton, and more.  It's been tough....I've been tested for some scary things and no one has been able to seem to figure out what's going on other than the fact that I've been super stressed and I'm having big time allergy issues.  We've had tons of doctor appointments, special diets, bought new bedding (replaced our down comforter with an allergy free one), etc.  I found an amazing online program that's helped with my anxiety, as well as done something called "emotional processing".  I've been able to make a little time for myself while the kids are in school.  I'm taking a ballet class and I'm loving it.  I'm writing more again.  I'm spending a lot more time with Wes now that his schedule's a little less busy.  I'm sleeping better and being more active in the day.  I've gotten out my sewing machine a few times, and I recently decided to break it out and sew Peyton's Halloween costume this year.  I'm volunteering at Courage Reins (we sold Rocky to a cowboy this spring when things got really crazy....we didn't have much time for him and it's not cheap to keep a horse, and we needed to get in a better place financially...tough decision, but the right one.  Now, I get my horse fix at Courage Reins and hopefully I'll get into riding again along with getting the boys on a horse.  But for now, I'm learning a lot about many things - horses and beyond - at Courage Reins).  There's still some unanswered questions about my health, but I think we're finally in a positive place here and found a rhythm of care for me (a little unpredictable, but a much slower pace than I've had to go in a looong time) while we are working through it.  I think most of it was just the stress I was dealing with and I'm sure there's a couple underlying issues.  But, I'm a big believer in diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management, as well as relying on the Lord and having faith and a positive attitude, so those things are my medicine right now as we figure things out.  I feel really good and know things will continue to improve as long as I can listen to my heart and my body and make sure I'm taking care of myself.  I'm also a huge believer in a positive attitude, so I've started a gratitude blog (to take the place of my paper journals) and I've joined the "Billion Clicks" movement, which I'm super excited about!  And let's not forget my buddy, Tony Robbins, along with many self-help and inspirational books I try to read.  I've also learned over and over that if I try to do it all myself, it just doesn't add up....I need to rely on the Lord and pray, follow the spirit, and have faith.  I know it sounds simple, but I tend to make it very complicated for some reason.  I guess I need to learn to remember that I'm not alone a little more often.  ;)

-Wes is now full-time at one pharmacy out here, which has been fabulous!  He was working lots of extra shifts all over, in addition to working at a small independent pharmacy here on his weekdays off.  It was such a blessing while we have gone through all that we have.  We have managed to pay for most of this stuff (autism, health, etc.) with cash and have only recently acquired a little debt as he wasn't able to work as often.  The independent pharmacy he worked at closed and his current pharmacy hired a bunch of new people just to cover extra shifts.  It all came on suddenly, so we didn't really get time to get our feet under us.  But, it's been a good thing.  Wes has been able to plug in more with the kids (he's always been plugged in, but now he's been able to really, really delve in and be involved on a whole new level), have time for himself and his family/friends.  We've had more time together as well which has been awesome!  We were even able to sneak away for a few days on our anniversary this year which hasn't happened since we've had kids, so it was really amazing!  Wes has become more active recently as well and gets up early and works out every morning.  He's also been reading a lot more recently.  I'm so proud of him and in love with him more every day.  We are starting to have so much fun together as a family - we've always had fun together - but we've been able to kind of find our "groove" lately and it's been so nice.  We've had to learn to be really great communicators over the past couple years, and rely on each other a lot more, and it's brought us so close. I'm so grateful for him and for the joy and love he brings into my life.

Well, I think that's it for now, but I'm anxious to continue writing...I've missed it a lot!  I'm excited to get more pictures up and to remember to get out my camera more.  I love being able to document all the beautiful, sweet snippets of life and have them here to remember.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

family struggles

I feel like all I've been able to document lately is the big things...the things I need to remember.  I want to such to write more....4 kids has been a HUGE jump from 3.  Wes and I were talking the other day and we decided that Peyton has only been a part of that challenge.  Since she's been born (and even a little but before), Wes has worked extra hours, Jonah's therapies and interventions have started (and along with that taken a big chink of what's left of family free time), and Micah has had his own struggles (to say the least) that have been extremely stressful for him and the rest of us.  I feel like the last 5 or 6 months that the vast majority of our lives has revolved around what's going on with the boys and what to do about it.  Micah's had a full schedule of out-of-home activities that have pretty much run my life.  To take him to Booster Club rather than sending him to school on the bus each day has been a huge challenge.  I have to wake the babies up early to pack everyone in the car (when the boys ride the bus, they just walk a few houses up the street to the bus stop).  Then, I have to race home or race through my errands dragging the poor babies with me.  That time between 9 and 12 is practically the only time all day I have to do anything productive from laundry to groceries to anything else.  Given the fact that I'm trying to do that with a very demanding 2-year-old and a nursing baby, it's not all that productive.  I try to take any opportunity to give the two "littles" attention and love. ;)  I race to school to pick Micah up and take him to preschool (he eats lunch in the car).  I get him there usually by 12:30, but the school starts earlier, so he's only there until 2:15, which leaves me a 10-minute drive away from home.  I usually race home to try to get Jonah down for at least a little nap that day, and feed Peyton, hopefully eat something myself, and try to figure out what's for dinner.  (Yes, I am VERY disorganized right now, which is not me at all and causes me a lot of undue stress.  I can't figure out how to pull it together because there's always some kind of change in the boys' schedule that makes it impossible to find any regularity or time to think things through.)  Then, I have to tear poor sleeping Jonah out of bed and take him back to school to pick up Micah.  We usually head home and about once a week someone is coming to our house to help with Jonah's interventions.  Wes has picked up extra work where he can, so he's either working 7 days a week, or 5 or 6 (the day/days off being weekend days, so I'm not going through the whole runaround).  Everyone's so burned out by then that nothing other than the bare minimum really happens those days (catching up on laundry, planning meals for the week, attempting naps, etc.), so Wes and I both begin the next week totally burned out.

Peyton seems to feel the stress a little and has taken to wanting to be held and carried around all the time.  I LOVE the way she slows life down for me for those little moments, but it is hard to focus on her sometimes when my mind is swimming with other things.

Do you feel stressed and negative reading this?  I do writing it!  I will say that we've done it all with lots of surrendering to what's going on and realizing that we need to both build a little support system here (we're still getting to know our neighbors since I got pregnant and sick right after we moved in), and roll with the punches realizing that sometime in the near future we will receive some definitive answers and be able to make some decisions and create a schedule/routine that works for everyone.  We try to seize the moments we have relaxing together and make them fun doing simple things.  I think we've done pretty well considering.  I have DoDots and M.O.M. to thank for that (more later).   

Until then, we are hanging in there and flying by the seat of our pants with grateful (most of the time) and hopeful hearts.  We know that this hard time will become a little easier (in certain ways) soon, and we are anxious to move forward and make the changes we need for everyone to be happy and comfortable.

I feel like one big positive that's stemmed from all of this is how much it's united us as a family, and Wes and I as a couple.  Everyone's had to be completely open, honest, helpful, tolerant, compassionate, and forgiving.  We've all had to rely on each other and list one another.  I feel grateful that we've been able to use this struggle as an opportunity for growth rather than making it a bigger struggle by not getting along.

Well, my next post should be much more fun to read.  I just wanted to document this stuff....sometimes it's okay to write about some of the "tough stuff".  It seems like you only remember the good things, but struggles are real, too.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

life in snippets

Just a quick post before the troops wake up.  Peyton has just fallen asleep after her long, frequent morning feedings (I'm not going to complain since she sleeps all night like a champ!).  Life with 4 kids is so darn BUSY.  But also so fulfilling and fun!

-Peyton is growing like a weed.  We blessed her Labor Day weekend, and it was such a memorable experience.  We opted to do it at our home again and it was wonderful.  It's amazing to think how much she had even changed since that day just three weeks ago.  She is a giggly, rolling (yes, you heard that right), teething (yes, that one is right, too!), interactive little sweetheart.  She LOVES to observe the world around her and be part of the action.  She loves her brothers and although she doesn't always love how noisy they can be, she is fascinated and awed by some of the things they can do.  And they love her right back!  It's so heartwarming to see how they love on her and talk/sing to her.  They are all the big, strong, protective brothers who are also so tender and sweet with her.  I love it!

-Peyton LOVES the carrier and we use it for her often.  Wes and I love having a hands-free way of holding her sometimes.  I love to wear her as I do housework, cook, walk the boys to the bus, etc.  She usually fusses for a few minutes and then goes right to sleep.  Lately, she does stay awake and observe her surroundings.  Wes and I took the littles (Peyton and Jonah) to the gardens at Thanksgiving Point a couple weeks back when the big boys were busy, and she loved it.  Added bonus: it was the first time I finally convinced Wes to try wearing her and he loved it.

-Jonah is finally starting to talk.  It's still a far cry from Kolton when he was two.  Most of his words run together, and most of the time there is still only one word at a time. Many of them are only discernible when you apply them to the situation, but nonetheless we are so proud of him!  He's come a long way since his first word, and it's been fun watching his speech develop and expand.  He has turned into quite the gutsy boy, and I have to watch him like a hawk on our swingset because he'll climb all the way to the top by himself!  He loves to visit the park as well and will follow the big boys around anywhere (including the rock walls, HUGE, high, slides that give Mommy a heart attack, monkey bars, etc.)  He loves to push anything from cars to strollers and lives for walking up and down our street pushing something.  He's recently decided that sidewalk chalk is pretty cool as well and is having lots of fun with it lately.  He loves the "Gossie" books and my heart just melts every time he asks for "Go-ggie". 

-Jonah has decided that he is very interested in going on the potty.  We have pulled out the kid potties, washed the cloth training pants, bought a box of pull-ups from Costco, and are now armed and ready for the next free weekend to begin the next adventure!

-Jonah has grown so attached to his blanket now that we have to keep one in the car to get dragged around with us all day, every day.  I had bought him smaller versions of the same blanket, but he won't have anything to do with them anymore.  I'm thinking that one of his Christmas gifts will be one or two more blankets to throw into the rotation so I can wash them more often.  ;)

-Jonah rarely lets me comfort him when he gets hurt.  I will never give up trying to hug him and "kiss it better", but right now he usually cries and gets angry and pushes me away when I try to comfort him.  It breaks my heart.  Today, he let me hug him a couple times after he got hurt, so I'm hoping this is the beginning of the end of that.  When our Occupational Therapist heard this recently, he decided it was time for us to move forward with more thorough testing.  We are planning on the worst, and hoping for the best.  Jonah seems to make strides, and lately he's been progressing faster, but he's still lagging way behind and all of our "helpers" are starting to get concerned.  We are trying to do everything we can for him, while at the same time, trying not to worry too much until we have some more definitive answers.  I am anxious to get some answers and move forward.  I am starting to get a little nervous for what the future holds for this little guy, but for now, I'm trying to focus on doing everything I can for him while we are waiting for test results from early intervention programs in our district, as well as an appointment with a specialist.  Please keep our sweet little boy in your prayers.

-Micah started kindergarten!  I can't believe I now have 2 babies in school.  He's struggling a bit to find his place.  Wes and I are trying to figure out (along with many teachers, the school psychologist, and the pediatrician) if he's just young for his age, if he has a learning disability/different learning style, if he has an ASD or something similar, or if public school is just not for him.  We are currently "double-dipping" him, taking him to kindergarten in the mornings and then preschool two days a week.  He was recently invited to join the school's "Booster Club" which meet for a few minutes before school several times a week.  I hid and spied on him the whole time, and then spied on him during the first few minutes of school.  He seems happy, but insecure. He prefers to play alone at recess, which I was surprised to see.  The teacher (who was Kolton's teacher last year.) has been keeping us filled in, but the reports lead to more questions.  He can't follow basic directions, he's listening but not hearing/understanding, he doesn't seem to know what's going on.  It breaks my heart to hear him laugh and tell me I'm silly when I try to tell him he's smart.  He's 5, he should know that he's intelligent!  I have never questioned that.  But because of his insecurities, the teacher's thoughts, etc. we are thinking long and hard about pulling him out of kindergarten and trying again next year.    But we'll see.  We are just trying to keep an open mind, do lots of research, and find the path that's best for our little Micah.  Thankfully, he comes skipping home from school each day, and doesn't seem disheartened at all about school and learning.  But I am anxious to see his confidence level and his self concept go up.  Hopefully way up.  Until then, I'm grateful that his cheerful little disposition is getting him through the tough stuff.  For now, we are keeping him with our plan as we wait for his turn to be tested by a specialist.  We are anxious and worried about him as he seems a little more stressed and anxious and symptomatic of an ASD each day.  I am feeling a little, and sometimes a lot, guilty for not seeking help earlier.  But I didn't realize the extent of his challenges until recently.  We did have him tested last year at our district's assessment center, and he did have some pretty substantial delays that entailed a few red flags for Asperger's, but when they had me fill out a questionnaire, he was just barely in the gray area and they said it could just be immaturity and not to worry about it too much yet.  I am kicking myself for not pushing harder to get answers then.  He just seemed happy, and he seemed to be getting along with others just fine, so we weren't too concerned.  We are probably more concerned about Micah than Jonah right now, but we have several guardian angels, and I know the Lord is aware of us and Micah and the struggles he is going through.  My heart is breaking for him and at times I find it hard to think of much else because it feels like he is getting more frustrated and sad every day and I can't figure out how to help him.  I want to make it all better, make it go away, but I have to find it in myself to be patient as we anxiously wait for answers and guidance about how to best help him.  I think this year and maybe the next will be some very big years for him.  Please keep this little guy in your prayers, too.

-Kolton is really starting to enjoy first grade.  He did NOT like it at first, and he still complains frequently about being away from home for too long, wanting more time with me (I have to say that inside I am thinking, "I agree!  I miss you and Micah so much when you are not here!"), but he finally seems to be adjusting.  He likes his teacher and he's starting to make some new friends.  I'm proud of him....he's SUPER shy, and he's trying very hard to be "friendly" and stepping out of his comfort zone.  It takes lots of incentives and encouragement, but I feel like for me, practice being friendly was the biggest thing to help with my own shyness.  I'm hoping it's the same for him.  Kolton LOVES to read and is getting very good.  I really enjoy helping out in his class whenever I can.  I love the way his face lights up when he sees me, and I instantly feel so grateful and blessed to be a stay-at-home mom.  I'm so lucky that I get to really "be there".   He's been such a star with everything that's been going on.  I feel so blessed that he is my firstborn.  He's such an amazing little boy.

-All of the boys are totally smitten with Peyton.  She has already become so spoiled because she gets special treatment here from everyone!  She eats it right up and turns on the charm.  She is so happy and eager to interact with her big brothers, and they are so wonderful with her.  It melts my heart.  Actually, any time any of my kids are playing sweetly together, laughing together, or helping one another, it melts my heart.  I love being a mommy.  Thankfully, so far she is hitting the developmental milestones a little ahead of the curve.  I am just trying to remind myself to focus on her sometimes because she's so easygoing that sometimes I forget she's there when I am surrounded by three boys that can be a little all-consuming.  Nonetheless, we enjoy time in the early morning, Jonah's naptime (when he'll sleep), and in the evening before bed.  She's such a cheery little soul and she is just full of charisma.  She wants to be a part of everything we do, everything that's going on.  She's a little chatterbox already and loves the sound of her voice.  She loves the bath.  She loves her brothers and finds them absolutely fascinating.  And of course, she loves her Daddy!

I'd better finish this post and get it up!  It started two weeks ago and I've found myself editing a lot tonight because so much has changed in so little time and my life has become a little overwhelming.  I feel like most days lately have been consumed with to and fro from school, appointments for the boys', doctor's appointments for me, calling insurance, the new kittens, Rocky (for my sanity).  One of the perks of all the stress lately is that the baby weight is finally coming off despite my inability to wake up early and exercise.  I just don't seem to have an appetite - probably all the stress.  I am excited to have my big boys out of school for the break and am hoping we will all get some much needed rest and relaxation.  We've got some big changes happening and I am hoping we cans steal some time this week to focus on strengthening our family to prepare for what's coming.  Despite all the "hard stuff", I feel very grateful and comforted.  I know everything will be okay, and that we will figure out a way to find a nice quiet rhythm very soon.  Until then, I am releasing myself of guilt and responsibilities that can wait (aka our house has been a MESS lately, but I am doing my best to turn the other cheek and get myself in bed and remind myself that all this chaos is temporary.  We will hang in there, laugh a lot, and find a good routine once we realize what we are dealing with.), and just enjoying the sweet angels that are my children, and the amazing rock that is my husband. 

I am so grateful for Wes and the strength he's given me lately.  I am a lucky girl to be married to him and he motivates me every day to keep going on not quit when things get hard.  He gives me his love, support, and advice and I appreciate it all so much.  The advice I'm trying to give myself is to find the gratitude and the blessings...the little serendipities throughout this.  And lucky for me, they are everywhere, and they are getting us all through.  :)


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