Sunday, December 18, 2011


I wanted to turn this into a family blog, so my mom and grandmas that live 2000 miles away could still be a part of our every day lives, but every day life sort of consumed me. So this post will be what we've been up to :)

The last time I posted, our 3 yr old, Anastasia, had started her first day in the Autism classroom. She did exceptionally well, and even brought home a few treasures. She cooperated and let her cousin put on her shoes, and even started repeating our words!
Anastasia has been in school for almost 3 and a half months. She's not only repeating, but beginning to actually respond to us. When we give her something, sometimes she'll say "thank you", sometimes she'll come up to us and say, "please". She does still throw herself down in tantrums, and Daddy is still very reluctant to take her in the grocery store.

Not off topic...
I've wanted a puppy for a LONG time. Since I was like 10. I was aways afraid to get one though, because I wasn't in control of my own life and my parents could easily take him or her away (like they did with several smaller pets).
I started looking into puppies, and found a baby Cocker Spaniel for 70% off what everyone else wanted!

This is Mishka.

Anastasia is absolutely wonderful with her! Nicolai is jealous.
Having a puppy is nothing anyone said it would be. Mishka has been nothing but lovely! She is a wonderful balance of playful and loveable. She does have many near accidents, but I watch her like a hawk and take her outside often. Her training started from the moment we walked in the door! We've had her for a week and 4 days and she now knows all the basic commands, "come", "sit", "food, "lay down", "go outside", "go inside", etc.
A few close family members tried warning me away from getting a puppy. They say that puppies are just like newborns... well, we've had for a little while now and I haven't experienced that. Funny how these people either haven't had a newborn in over 20 years, or have never had children at all ;)

We currently live in Las Vegas, and the husband is being called to Reno. It's an 8 hour drive... so not looking forward to that. Remember the Grand Canyon experience? And that was only 3 hours!
Does anyone here have experience moving a 3yr old Special Needs child out of the city? It's been very difficult, and we haven't even moved yet.
Do you have animals? How do your children interact with them? If you have Special Needs children, did you see a difference after you brought the new addition home?


Monday, October 17, 2011

I Heart Faces - Tickled Pink!

My "Tickled Pink" entry for the I Heart Faces photo challenge.

!~* Miss Bella *~!
This little lady was the subject of my first photo session.
10 months old and such a doll, she made the most adorable faces! For the entire session, all she did was tickle me pink!

Photo Challenges & Photography Tutorials

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Little Miracles

Two days ago, Anastasia started her first day of school in the Autism classroom.

After her first day, she ran up to me and hugged me. She actually hugged me! Without me asking, and struggling to hold her in my arms. I blinked back the tears, and did my best to keep my composure as Ms.H. told me what a good job she did.

She even earned a plastic strawberry, that she treasures.

Three days ago, if you would have tried to help Anastasia put on anything, (jacket, pants, shoes, ANYTHING), she would have screamed and cried and fought until either you were done, or you gave up.

This is Katie. Katie is Anastasia's cousin. She is a few months older than Anastasia, and has a massive vocabulary and knows how to use it!

Today as we were getting ready to leave, I looked over to see this. This is Katie, helping Anastasia put on her shoes. Or rather, putting Anastasias shoes on for her.

I had to dig the camera out of my purse, switch lenses, adjust settings, and didn't have enough time for
 my flash to charge, so I had to bump the shutter speed down to 1/10, thus the grainy/blurry/out-of-focusness.

I love these little girls so much.
This would not have happened three days ago. Three days ago, Katie would have approached Anastasia with the most helpful and caring intentions, only to have been screamed at while having shoes thrown at her. It's heartbreaking that my daughter can't interact with other children the way children are supposed to interact.
That's why this picture is so dear to me. She cooperated! She freakin' cooperated! She sat down, extended her leg, and watched as Katie helped put her shoes on. I could have smothered them both with hugs!

So, for anyone who's been wondering... it's only the second day of school, and it's working. I'm so emotional right now, I feel like I could just start crying happy tears at any minute!
That light, still so small and far away, is getting brighter!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I Heart Faces - Pets

He was supposed to be ours, but the hubby said no.
I wanted him soooo bad, he was the sweetest puppy ever!

I Heart Faces - Photography Challenges and Photo Tutorials

Monday, August 15, 2011

I Heart Faces - Beautiful Eyes

I Heart Faces - Beautiful Eyes

We just found out why Anastasia is different from other kids. She's autistic. She will begin her services at the end of this month, and in six months should be talking in complete sentances, coming to us and telling us what she wants instead of throwing herself down and screaming, even going potty!
Called "The Light" because I can finally see it. That tiny, far off light in this lonely sea of darkness, frustration, and confusion. With every day that passes, it gets brighter and brighter, revealing how lovely this world really can be.

I Heart Faces - Photography Challenges and Photo Tutorials

here to view on Flickr.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Light

I just wish Anastasia could have gone with us to the Grand Canyon, and could have enjoyed herself as much as Nicolai did. Oh, how I missed her.

They said it would be hard. It was supposed to be a fight. "Most kids in her situation don't get what they need because of budget cuts. You'll have to appeal, and push, and push, and push."

Guess what? I didn't. We went in, had the meeting, and it was decided. She will recieve maximum benefits.

Don't you think that if nothing were really "wrong" (not my words) with her, that it would have been hard? Don't you think they would have laughed me right out of the building? No, Mrs.Something-Stuck-Up-My-Rear sister-in-law, she starts her services next month. Not one of the board members had even the slightest doubt that Anastasia could be special needs.

She'll be going to a year-round school for 8 hours a day. I'm so nervous... I can't imagine her in a room full of strangers for an entire day.

I take comfort knowing that it is necessary. Hard, but necessary. In six months time she should be coming to us and asking for what she wants, intstead of screaming and throwing herself down. She should be able to use an open cup without getting upset and throwing it down. She should be putting simple wooden puzzles together, playing matching games, playing with other kids without completely freaking out, going potty even!

I don't feel so lost anymore.

We can finally see a light.

Thanks for stopping by,

Road Trip!

Scroll down for pictures! (All the way for Grand Canyon pictures.)
Last month, I happened upon a picture a friend of mine had taken from his trip to the Grand Canyon. Whenever I see pictures like that, I get sad. I always wanted to travel and take beautiful pictures of the places I would go. When I turned 18 and moved out here with my husband, my mom witheld my birth certificate and social security card, so I couldnt get a job. Shortly after moving, our first little suprise came along. Four months after she was born, our second little suprise made himself known. If it weren't for them, I still don't think I'd have any identification.

Now I'm 22 and I weigh 60 pounds more than when I came out here. SIXTY POUNDS! The two pregnancys really took a toll on my body. When Anastasia was born, I couldn't leave the house. I didn't have my license and all she wanted to do was cry. We know now that she's possibly autistic, and that's why she would do nothing but scream and cry. Then Nicolai was born, I still had no license, and was stuck home with a newborn and a 13 month old.
I got a gym membership, and so far I've lost about 10 pounds. I need to lose quite a bit more before I'll be comfortable with myself.
So when I see amazing pictures like this, pictures that I should be taking, I sometimes get depressed. I love my children dearly, I am glad I have them! Sometimes I just wish I could have traveled and lived that lifestyle for a little while before they came along. So when I stumbeled on this picture, I felt the saddness. I told him how we live right near the Grand Canyon, but I wouldn't be able to go there for at least another year or two.
Three weeks after that comment, my cousin-in-law came in to town. He was going to the Grand Canyon and wanted to take some of his family along! After much convincing, my husband decided it could be fun. We found a sitter for our daughter, and took our son along.

We left at 8pm and arrived around 11pm. Nicolai did very well in the car, he actually slept most of the way. That is, the whole way there. On the way back, all he did was cry :(

(Don't worry, I kept a close eye on him.)

We got to our hotel, slept, and started out at 10am. We were right in the middle of the West Rim and the South Rim, so we had to drive 2 hours to get to either. The nearest food was over 45 minutes away. I was so mad.

And would you believe, the nearest resteraunt was called "The Roadkill Cafe"?

We did not eat there.

We saw all kinds of cool, old buildings...

I loved this sign.

Since moving to Vegas, I've had an overwhelming urge to be in nature again. I didn't realize it when I lived there, but I am so a country girl.
It was refreshing to have nothing but grass and mountains surrounding us.

We got to see all kinds of animals, wild and captive. I think I may have had more fun getting there than actually being there.

There were signs allover saying "Do Not Feed The Wildlife". Hubby didn't listen, fed it, and it bit him.

Cute little thing though!

We watched a Bear fight, though we were so far away I couldn't get a good one of them swatting eachother.

I really loved this little guy!

And this one.

This one plain scared me. I hate goats. He looks... evil.

The Grand Canyon was absolutely amazing.

It was either hazey or storming the entire time.

My best panorama. This is actually like 4 or 5 pictures.

And my favorite photo of the entire weekend...