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...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Heart Faces - Boys

My favorite picture EVER of our son, Nicolai.

He likes to pick up the washcloth and squeeze it so the water trickels down into the tub.
 Then he says, "Ooooooh!" and does it over again. I have no clue why he made this face, lol.

I Heart Faces - Photography Challenges and Photo Tutorials

The Father Of My Children

I wanted to take some time to write this post. I wanted to reminisce and write about all the wonderful and amazing things that makes the man I married the best father in the world. I wanted this blog to be an inspiration, I wanted to people to look at the things I wrote and I wanted them to be hungry for more.
I look around though, and I am discouraged. All the beautiful, lovely, happy women who write these things, that's not who I am. That's not who we are. My husband I met when I was 16, and after I turned 18 he flew back to my state three times and then my dad moved us to Las Vegas, Nevada so that I wouldn't up and leave and he could still have his daughter around. When I was 19 and he was 20, we had our first child, our daughter, Anastasia.

July 4th, 2008
I felt very lost. I was scared and confused. I didn't know why I had been chosen to take care of such a tiny, precious little person. I could barely take care of myself!
During most of my labor, Daddy slept. For the last 18 hours I was in agonizing pain, I wanted to do my HypnoBirthing so bad, but couldn't get into the zone. The pain relievers were making me hallucinate (my room had transformed into a huge factory that was filling up sacks [contractions] with pain. And I was laughing, because it was funny. I know, right!). And he slept. I was yelling for him to get up, because his daughter was about to be born and a nurse was telling me to let him sleep. I grabbed a big heavy plastic cup of ice, ready to throw it across the room at him, and he woke up.
He didn't really want to hold her... he did though. For a minute or two here and there. Mostly he would lay her down in her little baby bed and turn on the TV. Yeah.
The next morning, I was super exhausted and forced him to help. He fed her, rocked her, held her...

But mostly slept and watched TV.

When Anastasia was 4 months old, I was on the mini-pill, and we got pregnant again. Ever since I had stopped nursing her once a day (she was about 2 months old, and I was dealing with extreme issues), Anastasia would stay up screaming from about 2am until after Daddy went to work at 8am. Because he was working, and I was at home with her all day, I let him sleep and I took 100% care of her at night.
When Anastasia was 11 months old, I was 7 months pregnant. It was too much. She would scream so loud, kick so hard, wiggle so much, that the doctor advised us against holding her. She said that Anastasia was asleep and didn't know what was happening anyway, so she wouldn't know the difference. Finally we had to start strapping her into her carseat for her own safety, and I had to make Daddy take over. Every night for 5 months, being 7 months pregnant, listening to the ear-piercing screeches, being kicked in the stomach and worrying about your unborn child, you just break. I cried every night, I held her, fed her, changed her, rocked her, bounced her, took her outside, made Daddy take us on car rides, nothing worked. I begged god every night, but nothing helped. Nothing stopped it. Many trips to the E.R., but she would be fine once we went in. Daddy only helped because I forced him to see that I was broken, and physically unable to keep it up.

Finally, 13 months after Anastasia, Nicolai was born.

August 13th, 2009
Daddy did a much better job this time around, and so did Mommy. It may have helped that the labor was only about 9 hours long instead of 18, but he did an awesome job. He stood there holding my hand while I cursed at him and begged the nurses for an epidural (the needle in your back that numbs you from the ribs down), and he took it with the hint of a tear in his eyes. He held the baby for much longer, and actually expressed that he missed Anastasia (who was staying the night with her aunt). The nurses wouldn't let me take out the IV in my arm, and make me keep the blood pressure cuff on, so there was no way I could hold my newborn baby. Dean actually held Nicolai up to my breast so he could nurse before the evil nurses took him away (there's a reason they no longer have a "maternity ward").

I do not however, blame Dean. I blame his father. Deans father got married to the girl he got pregnant, only because of the baby. He spent their 8 childrens childhoods at work, or secretly out with other women. He would come home, expect a meal, and watch TV for the rest of the night. Not a very good role model, and I admit that if I had known he was going to turn into his father, I would not have gotten involved.
It's hard to say what changed him. Maybe it's our childrens constant need for a real father, my constant need for a real partner. Maybe it's just that he is not his dad, and thinks that is what a dad should do. Maybe a mixture. Whatever the reason, he helps out more, plays with them every night, works on speech therapy with Anastasia, calms them when they cry, and helps them to sleep. When I get frustrated and overwhelmed (we do have a possibly-autistic toddler), he has me go do my thing and takes excellent care of them.

I am so proud of him for overcoming the programming he received as a child. He may not be the best, most attentive father in the world, but he is trying. He is our world, and we love him as much as one person could possibly love another. I feel so lucky to be the one who learns and grows with him. It truly is a journey, and I'm happy to embark with him.
Happy Fathers Day, Dean. We love you!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

It didn't used to be this way.

I haven't made a post in a while... not a real post anyway. We've had to deal with a few unexpected expenses, and I haven't had time to make one. I'm sorry :(

I have a Passport USB drive that holds every photo and video I have ever taken of our children since they were born and even before they were born. Two nights ago, my husband took it out of my laptop without safely removing it, so he could watch movies on the TV through the computer. Later on, I plugged it back in, and the computer could not recognize the passport. Every photo, every video I had ever taken of my beautiful babies were gone.

Newborn Anastasia                                                                                   Newborn Nicolai, his first latch. Mama needed some help :)

July 4th, 2008                                                                                          August 13th, 2009

They may not taken with a fancy camera, clear of noise, or well composed. But they are pictures of my babies, and I treasure them.

Nicolai, 1 Day Old
They are connected to precious memories, memories that lay forgotten in the back of my mind until I stumble across an old picture. I adore these pictures, they mean the world to me. And they were gone.

Anastasia, 1 Day Old, and her Daddy
I cried for hours. I yelled at my husband, told him not to touch me and to get away from me. I had told him many, many times not to just unplug it, but to click "safely remove" first.

Nicolai, 3 months old
Later that night, he held me and may have even cried with me. He told me would fix it nomatter what, nomatter the price.

Nicolai, 7 months old
And he did.
A guy came out to the house and recovered the information for $225. The drive was totally fried, and inaccessable without his many programs.

Looking through my beloved photos, I realized something. Anastasia was not always this way. She didn't have everlasting tantrums, she made eye contact with us, she played without getting over stimulated, she played and showed interest in other children, she actually ate food. So I'm trying to figure out when it happened... and why?