October 7, 2015

Don't Blink...

Because if you do you will miss it. I cannot believe we have a 6 and 9 year old. First and fourth grade? How does it happen? Just when I think I am going to fall asleep during dinner I look up and they are almost as tall as I am.

Scout is so smart. She is wicked funny and has more energy than anyone I have ever met, except my Mom. She thrives in school, has a nice set of friends that changes everyday. She is in love with gymnastics and soccer and we now have a trampoline in the backyard that gets her bounce out!

Sawyer is very sensitive and thoughtful. He gets his feelings hurt easily and he is an incredible athlete. He is also kicking butt in school and I think he has a few girlfriends. He is kind and funny and a little scared.

We are so lucky.

Life throws some crazy twists and we are rising above the fray I suppose. Parenthood is really, realllllly hard. On the good days we cruise through and on the bad days we hope for a better day tomorrow.

A few things I have learned:

  • Summer is fun. I was usually stuck in an office but now I am out on my own again and I get to manage my time and spend time with the kids during summer break. It is now my fave season.
  • Don't get a puppy. Just don't. You have enough going on.
  • Instead of talking all the time - listen. Kids want to be heard.
  • Don't buy so much shit. Consuming is out of control.
  • We are busy creating experiences rather than collecting more shit. We want memories not stuff.
  • Send the kids to sleep away camp.
  • Find your tribe... and HANG ON TIGHT.
  • Learn patience. TRY to breath. 
  • Be selfish occasionally with your time. It is good to take a break. 
  • Repeat. 

I am sure there is more but I need a nap now.

February 5, 2014


And just like that... you go from Mom to referee. Sometimes the one that makes good calls. Others, bad ones. But you have to make the call. You are there to keep people safe, from self destruction and hurting others. You are there to keep the game fair to throw penalty flags at the ones not playing by the rules.

I remember the first time I heard Scout and Sawyer laughing at the dinner table. It was as if all of my parenting dreams came to fruition in that moment. Two healthy, happy kids, laughing together at the dinner table. I dreamed about that moment for a long time. It was touching, beautiful and temporary, much like everything is as a human, a parent on this planet. It fades, or changes, or grows.

We are now weaving our way through issues and actions that showed up at my doorstep too early as far as I am concerned.  For Scout Second Grade has been tough. Or, at least that is the report I get. Who knows, maybe as mothers we only get the "tough."  She struggles with feeling included and important. My guess, they all do. She is learning about conflict and how to navigate difficult people and situations. Scout has a big personality so it comes as no surprise that she is known and someones probably not liked by all - which she desperately wants. She got that people please disease from me. I always wanted to be "liked" by everyone. Easy for me to say now that I am 40... it just doesn't matter; we learn as life goes on that it is impossible to make others happy and, or, like us. We must just be who and what we are.  I must remember how vulnerable it feels to be or feel disliked.  She is struggling with this.  My Mom always told me "Ashley, if someone doesn't like you...it means you are doing something right." It took me years to figure that one out - but I have and I agree.  I am proud that she is strong and opinionated. She has a mind of her own. It will serve her well in the years to come.

Scout: Gymnastics, Writing, Reading, Started a Business called Happy Wear (another post), Singing, Piggy, Talking, Friends. She cares so much about the people and the world around her and finds great distress when she sees litter. She picks up trash when we go hiking. Loves the 'Lumineers' and went to her first concert at Red Rocks last August to see them live. Top student.

The kids no longer laugh at the table. They throw things, fight, argue, bicker and then love one another deeply. I like catching the tender moments when Scout is patient with Sawyer and he listens to her as if she is everything.

They are quite the pair. He is all physical. Must.Hit.Kick.Wrestle.ALL.The.Time. She loves to wrestle until she sustains and life changing injury like a bump on her knee. All bets are off.

Sawyer is all boy. Frankly, I have no idea what to do with a boy. I know how to love him. I know how to cuddle, tickle, teach and play. I don't know how to get over the non-stop movement. One, it makes me nervous. It irritates me beyond comprehension. I sometimes want to duct tape him to a chair. Most, shrug it off and say 'its a boy thing.'  When he is playing, he plays Superhero, strikes Styrofoam swords and jumps from bed to bed. Being the chill person I am, this is very confusing to me. Bob insists, it is all normal. I think he may have a little Sensory Processing Integration like Scout does. Which makes me cry.

The other day I walked outside and saw this:

I had to laugh. Thankfully, he didn't get stuck. But this explains him and where he is in life to a T. I need to loosen up and bit and let him be a boy. I worry to much (it is my job) and I understand I need to let him be and run, do and play. It is the very thing that makes him so totally different than his sister. Not only is he all boy, he also has a mind of his own and isn't afraid to share it, or not share anything. This too, will serve him well in the coming years.

Sawyer is 4.5 and Scout is 7.5. As soon as the snow lifts we will be celebrating Birthday's again. It is amazing to me who these kids are becoming. They are both so amazing. I am biased because I am there Mom. But I get to say that because it is true and I work damn hard to be the best Mom I can be. I suck at it often and I fail plenty. I catch myself yelling way too much and sometimes, I dream of running away. I no longer grapple with if all this is "normal." I have long stopped caring about NORMAL. There is no such thing.

Sawyer: Gymnastics, Jumping, Kicking, Books, Leapfrog, Superhero's, Heavy Blankets, Painting, Snuggles, Friends, Parties, Cake, Trampolines, the 'Lumineers' (also saw them live at Red Rocks in August), Fast Tickles. He is the scared one. Likes to have someone with him and doesn't like the dark. He wears a headlamp to bed every night and must have a toy in his hands at all times. Athletically gifted.

Our lives are what we construct. By our choosing. We build. We fall. We slip. We fight. We break up fights. We are Referees. But mostly... when I look at the snapshots of my life... I am nothing but proud and grateful.  I have the loves of my life at my side and through all the long days, penalty flags and challenges, it is imperfect and I wouldn't change it for anything.

Brining Flowers to Grandma

The Polar Express - December 2013

Handmade/Homemade Marketplace Event

Beaver Creek Handstands - Thanksgiving 2013

My Superhero and his friends - Christmas 2013

July 12, 2013

Am I Alone

It has been over a year (cough) or so since I posted. Scout, turns 7 years old tomorrow. Sawyer, turned 4 last week. My kids aren't little anymore... Scout completed the 1st Grade with a zeal that I never had as a student. She over-performs in everything she does academically.  She is whip smart and bold, brave too.  She is awe-inspiring and never stops talking.

She went into First Grade without hesitation and now, here we are, about to step in to Second grade. I am shaking my head. Like all parents, I am wondering, how this happened? Why so fast?  Yet, my conundrum is this (or at least one of them). I come home from work, and I don't like the hours between 5:30-8:00. The kids are tired, we are tried, we have to get stuff done, we are busy, there is always something to do, and we know, once we go to bed, it starts all over again.  I wake up in the morning, thinking about how lucky I am... and by the end of the day I am burnt.

Sawyer is attending a wonderful preschool that is just so perfect for him. It is small and so nurturing. He has been there for almost a year now and going to school is an exciting part of his day. He has turned out to be quite an athlete, having completed his first T-Ball Season, now on to biking and roller skating, swimming, tennis and gymnastics. The kid is good at everything he does. He is a sweet and funny, and he never stops moving, ever, except when he is asleep. 

Our kids are awesome... but here is the thing: And tell me if I am alone here.  They are driving me crazy. No really, really crazy. Scout is 7 going on 17. She is sassy, mouthy and often times, I am her target for all things nasty. The way she talks to me, is just horrible. She is sometimes mean. I am shocked by this, as I always thought it was going to be the teenage years that did me in. But I am thinking I am good and done in...  I am the harder parent. There is no doubt about it. I have no soft landing... bad cop here. But someone has to be. Bob is the mediator, which isn't a good place to be as a parent. We are trying to find our united front... he is more patient and I am very, very sensitive. He can let things roll off his back... I go to work crying.  Sawyer is tough in his own ways. He is 4 - and wants to digress. He is often lazy - he wants to be the baby.  Admittedly, I cater to him because he is the baby, but I try not too, and I catch myself.  I feel as though I am in a constant stream of 'trying harder'... or just 'doing it wrong.'  Failing. 

Regrettable, I haven't written for so long, I have no idea where to start - but this is the beginning of a catch up post. For me. For them. 

They are good kids. Being a parent is fucking hard. Harder than I ever, ever imagined. It is also bigger and faster and slower and more frustratingly beautiful than I can even understand? I feel alone... am I alone with these feelings? 

Scout is celebrating her birthday tomorrow, fairly quietly for the first time. Each year we have had a huge party - this year... a small celebration. Sawyer had his first independent birthday party... his friends from preschool came and they romped  around the yard, swam, ate cake, had the best time. Simple. 


Bob's Birthday 2013

Sawyer and Bob at T-Ball - Summer 2013

Scout at Grand Lake on the 4th of July

Grand Lake, July 4th 2013 

This is one of my faves of all time. Sawyer getting his haircut at an old school Barber on Tennyson St. 

January 19, 2012


It is an interesting phenomenon. A mother can communicate with her children, far before they have learned how to speak.  It is in the eyes, the gestures, the smiles, the tears. I am quite fascinated by this wordless communication.

My children are now 5.5 and 2.5 years of age.  Scout, our oldest, learned to talk quite young. Her vocabulary has always been much bigger than she is.  And, she never stops talking. One of the greatest gifts is hearing her tell stories, or say words that mimic the people in her life. "That is so awesome!  Wow, cool dude" Are just a few of the sentences that pop out.  I don't remember the day or time when Scout started putting sentences together. As I look back, I feel as though she has been talking since she came out of the womb.  But I know we had wordless communications. I know there were many a night that I stared at her while she slept and burst with joy when she smiled.  Now, I threaten her with duct tape on occasion.

Sawyer, our youngest, has been slower to talk. Though you never have to guess what he is thinking, ever.  He has puppy dog eyes and dimples, coupled with a huge laugh and mouth. Runs in the family (the big mouth). He is an amazing little athlete and can dribble a basketball better than most 5 years olds.  Not bragging, its just cool.  Some words starting forming about 1 year ago and he has been adding new ones to his vocabulary. This last weekend, we had a long Holiday. We spent a good amount of time with the kids.  It has been really rewarding to see them mature into little people - and yes, it does happen overnight.

Something really neat happened last weekend and I am glad I was present to record it in my memory and my heart.   Sawyer went from one-words to entire sentences in two days. It was quite remarkable. It was as if someone turned on a switch... and out came viable, smart sentences.  It struck me. I was *right there* when he spoke his first actual sentence. He said "Watch Calliou first." And all of the sudden a whole new world has opened up with our son, just as it did with our daughter when she began speaking in full.  I think one of Scout's first words, in the thick of the 2008 election, was "Obama." *grin*

Kids are so impressionable.  They mimic and mime so much of what they see. They soak it all in.  I'd like to try that.  I think, as we grow older, we learn to tune things out, avoid, take detours. I'd like to be the sponge again, I'd like everything to be new and amazing. I strive for this each day (well, at least, most days).  I don't want to tune things out anymore.

Non-verbal communication with my children taught me to listen. Verbal communication with my children has inspired me to be more like them, perhaps, less hardened and cynical. 

What a gift.

October 9, 2011


It starts now. Scout has been in Kindergarten for about seven weeks. Adjusted beautifully, thriving and growing like crazy. I cannot keep her fed.

I got a call the other day from her teacher, during the day. My heart raced... "She's okay, don't worry!" I let out a sigh of relief.  "Scout was on the playground when a first grader was chasing her. The boy said to Scout "I am going to kill you and your friends!"  Say what?  Her teacher continued, even thought I was saying, repeatedly, "What? How? Are you kidding me?"  "Don't worry, she said, Scout did an amazing job. She reported him to myself and the class aid right away. She was able to speak with Mike, the Principle, and was congratulated for doing a great job for standing up for herself."

Bullying, starts now.  I thought I would have years to prepare for this.  Shaking my head, I replied "what is happening with the boy? Who is this kid anyway?"  They are by law, not allowed to disclose or identify the child who created conflict.  Lame. In my day, if a kid did something wrong, parents showed up on their doorstep and righted the situation.  "I will tell you, that the child has been suspended." After Scout's teacher said this I felt somewhat better, that someone actually took this seriously, seeing as that I couldn't address it, with the offender.  I asked, "does this child have any other offenses?" Well, actually, she replied, he does."  I am shocked.  "So you have all red flagged him, then, right?"  She offered support, "yes, he actually has been red flagged. I just want to let you know, that Scout really did the right thing, and I wouldn't make too much of a big deal out of it when she gets home. Wait for her to tell you, and if she doesn't, bring it up, in a way that expresses how proud you are of her actions."  I thought this was great advice.

Scout was proud of herself for handling the bully and doing what we have worked on with her over the last year, which is teaching her to speak up for herself.  She did.

I am restless with this issue and experience. I think of her getting older and dealing with bullying. I knew it was a big problem, and kids are often awful to one another, I guess I just didn't see this coming at age 5.

To all the parents out there: It starts NOW. There is no timeframe for bullying. Bullying doesn't have a color, class or creed. There are varying degrees of bullying, and they should all be taken seriously.

I know the little boys name now. And yes, I will be watching him, very closely.  I will also be visiting with the teachers and Principle to see how I can take an active role at the school, be present, educate myself and share this story.

August 30, 2011


Scout started kindergarten last week. She was ready. I think I was too. She is fiercely independent and gutsy. What I didn't expect was to be so damn tired. After all, it wasn't me heading through the brand new walls of a big school. She is so graceful and brave. After three days, she has a boyfriend, whose name she doesn't remember. She has a favorite part of her day, and loves her teacher. She comes home with zest and fervor, stories and quips.  She is so amazing.

Sawyer is boding well with all the ladies in his preschool. He is one of three boys and has seven girls in his class. I believe he has more than one girlfriend. If I ask him who he played with that day, his dimples light up and he shyly says "Sarah!" Each day, a different name.  He is thriving at his school, and now, likes to race from the car to the door every morning.  He thinks it is hilarious, actually. Saying goodbye is hard. I have had a really sweet spot for my baby this summer. Missing out on his milestones. Some days, I keep him home, because I cannot stand not being near him.

I feel so lucky to be their Mom. I can't imagine anything more beautiful and amazing. They are good kids. They are kind (most of the time) Sawyer bit me last week and left indefinite teeth marks.  They are funny, wild, smart and brave.  It was just yesterday, after Sawyer and I kissed and hugged Scout goodbye in front of her classroom, that Sawyer took to the big kids slide and caught about three feet of air. He landed on his feet and just looked up, smiled, knowing he had caught serious air.

One of my favorite parts of the day now, is actually, (well, not waking up) but once I am up and done pushing the snooze button, I get to go in and wake my kids up... and cuddle them into their day.  I am oddly taken by this, as it has been, well, never, in my life that I enjoy waking up, or the mornings for that matter.   Something is so sweet and soft about seeing them before they rise, stretch like little cubs, and rub their eyes (probably in disbelief that Mommy is actually waking them up). It is a special time.

So here we go... into a school year. The air getting crisper. The days shorter. The schedule comes back. I look forward to their stories continuing to unfold.

July 22, 2011


I haven't been able to write about her until today.  I had to let her go on February 26, 2011, with an aching heart and soul. Luna, my Co-pilot, was sick, for a short time and needed to be released. 

I got Luna when I was an over-confident 24 year old. I had my own apartment, all of my Moms old furniture and a full time job.  Yes, lets get a dog!  I found her in the FREE section of a rag in San Diego, and went to meet her immediately. She was a shy, gentle little pup at six months old. The guy that had her didn't let her inside, ever, since he had her at 3 months old. She was all by herself.  I put the leash on her and took her home. I named her Luna, after Julia Butterfly's Old Redwood Tree that she lived in for two years in the late 90's.  

The first day she was with me she ate my couch, by feather bed and all my pillows.  I put an ad in the paper "FREE PUPPY" and started getting phone calls the very next day. I couldn't have a dog that ate my stuff!  What was I thinking!  And then, she looked at me.  She licked my face. She cuddled up next to me in bed and encouraged me to take her to Dog Park.  I made a committment on the third day I had her, that she and I, were going to be partners. That I would be the BEST MOM EVER to her. 

She was more than a dog.  Seriously. She was an old soul with beautiful almond eyes, lined like Cleaopatras.  She was soft and fast, had a fun sense of humor and hated men. At that time in my life, we agreed. She and I did everything together, and I was even able to bring her to work with me every day.
Dog Beach, in Ocean Beach, San Diego was our favorite place. We went almost every day. It was so fun to watch her run, run, run... prance, play and tease.  She was a great tease.

Luna barked every single time a man walked through the door. Didn't matter whose door it was. She didn't like men. Led me to believe she had been mistreated by her original owner.  No matter what I did,
 I couldn't curb this behavior. She was determined to let the guys know she was not a fan.

We slept together in my bed each night.   Plenty of nights in my early 20's I went to bed with tears and confusion over something.  Wrong guy, wrong job, lonely, etc.  Luna always licked my tears. One time, I remember she even licked me up off the floor when I didn't think I could get up because I was so sad.

In 2001, my best friend Amy picked me up, and drove me home to Denver, where I am origianlly from. Luna rode on my lap from San Diego to Denver - the entire way.  She was about 40lbs.

We rolled into Denver, our new home and it was good to be home. Luna took to the squirrels and the hiking.  Though, we did miss dog beach.  We replaced the beach with rivers and snow, rain and digging holes in the backyard.

I was 29 living in a condo with Luna and a new guy came to take me out for a date.  He rapped on the door, and when I let him in, Luna walked right up to him and greeted him, even with a bit of a lick. First time ever.  I married him.

Luna was there to rest on my pregnant belly. She walked with me to and from the kitchen about 900,000 times. She loved to clean up after me!  She played with her new brother, Levi the dog and made space for him in her life, even though she was the princess, and always my Co-pilot.  

She welcomed Scout, my first daughter into our home and guarded her from morning until night and then the night through.  She loved Scout.  When I was pregnant with the second baby, she knew.  She guarded me. But I could tell she was getting tired.

When Sawyer was born, she made more room for him.  She took care of him and guarded both the kids, and I.  She was getting more tired.  But she managed to play with Levi, chase the squirrels, jump up in the car to take a ride with Daddy.  She never let anyone see her down.

I noticed her body was changing.  And she was sick.  I took her to the vet and they suggested she might have cancer... or internal bleeding.  They gave me steroids and I took her home, because it might be, I prayed, just a virus.  I tucked the steroid in her mouth and she went to lay down, and didn't move for many hours.  I hugged her and cried my eyes out.  I held her. I thanked her.  She got up to drink some water and fell.  I knew what I had to do the very next morning.

We drove to the Dog  Hospital at 7:00am the next morning. I couldn't see through my tears. She rode on my lap just as she did all the way from California 10 years earlier.  We carried her inside and she laid down on a sleeping bag in a room.  We stayed with her for awhile.  I held her and talked with her and cried hard. My insides turning upside down. My literal soul shaking.  I couldn't watch her go. I had to say goodbye before she went.  I wanted to see her alive.  And she licked my hand, when I made that decision as if she was telling me it was okay.  I told her I would see her on the flip side. That I loved her more than I knew I could love.  I know the Vet took her outside, so she could see the sky before she closed her eyes.

I had to run out of there and I vomited in the parking lot.  For three straight months I cried every single day.  Hard. I cried myself to sleep. I woke up, she was gone. Her absence was awful. Yet I knew, she was with me.  It has only been just under 5 months and I want so badly to see her again. I miss her so much.  I miss her eyes. I miss her prance. I miss her spirit.

I will never be the same after knowing and having Luna. I am so glad I made the commitment to be her Mom.  We were together for a good long time. Fourteen years.... a lifetime and never, long enough.

I will scatter her ashes in many different places that we visited together.  I often think, the life Luna and I lived together was so full and so much... and that has passed now. And that makes me so sad. And so proud of all the things we did together.

I love you Luna. You are my Co-Pilot.

January 18, 2011


Scout was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder about 8 weeks ago.

It started a while ago... we just thought she was being a pain in the ass 3 year old.

"NO! I won't wear underwear....
or my coat
or socks
or certain pants
or shoes that aren't tight enough
or pajamas
or blankets when I sleep"

I thought she was just exercising her independence. One day, back in August however, she said something to me that hoisted the big, red flag. "Mommy, I can't wear socks with writing on the bottom."  WHAT?

So, I started doing some research and thank god for my friend Jen, who I just happened to be having lunch with on the 'sock day.'   She described her sons issues around wearing clothes, or not wearing them, and it matched Scout exactly.

In a nutshell:

"Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, formerly known as "sensory integration dysfunction") is a condition that exists when sensory signals don't get organized into appropriate responses. Pioneering occupational therapist and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, PhD, likened SPD to a neurological "traffic jam" that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly. A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. Motor clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, school failure, and other impacts may result if the disorder is not treated effectively."

Next step - total panic.  "Its my fault. I haven't been a good enough parent."  I walked around saying this to myself for a few days - and then got over myself.  Why do we always make it about US?

Made an appointment for Scout at Childrens Hospital. We had to wait two long weeks before the appointment.  When you kid won't wear clothes, this is kind of a long time.

I started reading and tried to stay calm. Some Sensory Processing Disorders are related to ADD, ADHD as well as certain forms of Autism.  I was terrified and I had no information except what I was reading online.

The day of the evaluation at Childrens, I was a basket case. We made it into the waiting room and I had to go stand outside. Kids were coming out in wheel chairs, and some, not even old enough to sit up straight in a wheel chair were being wheeled out the door - and the moms and dads were STANDING? How, I do not know. I was aching for all the people I saw that day and so scared about what Sensory Processing Disorder would mean to our family and to Scout?

We got to sit in a room with a double pane of glass and watch a Physical Therapist work with Scout on several activities for 2 hours.  Scout was so amazing during this process. She did so well.

When the evaluation was over, we left with this:

"Children's Hospital has a 6 month waiting list. We will send you our findings."
 I was beside myself.  No tools. No answers. Nothing.

So, I started doing more research and found a place that I could take Scout to once I had the finding - which we were fairly certain, that yes, Scout did have SPD.

We have taken to therapy once a week.  Therapy includes a lot of heavy work and crashing. Jumping, hopping, lifting, pulling, climbing, falling into pillows. She LOVES it.  It also includes a Sensory Diet. Not food related, but homework, essentially.  We do BRUSHING THERAPY three/four times a day. Basically, take a soft bristled brush and literally brush Scout's arms, legs, back and feet.  We do trampoline jumps, and crashing, hopping, skipping and tons more at home, every day.

Scout has turned into a TOTALLY different little girl. She is pleasant and we don't fight. Prior to the diagnosis and therapy, everything was a battle. As you can imagine? You cannot make your kid go to school, or anywhere else, without clothes?

Scout is flourishing. She is COMFORTABLE!!!!!  She is sleeping. She wore NEW PANTS every single day last week (I bribed her) but it worked. She is wearing SOCKS.  She is wearing HER COAT.  I don't hear "Im uncomfortable" anymore. Which was her #1 word for MONTHS.

We feel really great that we jumped on this and didn't brush it off. I am so thankful that we have found a great place to take her for therapy. SPD can be turned around - we are here to tell you.  We are really lucky that we got her in early... they can work faster and changes come quicker (for some).  I am so proud of her.

These are the moments and days, weeks and years of parenthood, you don't prepare for... you can't.