January 29, 2015

My Sorority Meeting

I belong to an elite sorority.  I call it Phi Beta Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation Type 1a.  I have only 200 sisters in the US. Two others of those sorority sisters and I decided it was time to hold a meeting . . . over the best platter of enchiladas we could find. . . which happens to be in San Antonio, TX.

A "Fun Girl's Getaway" some might call it, but to special needs moms, it might likely just be an opportunity to sleep a much needed 72 hours straight.

My plane took off and the relaxation began. . .

I consider myself fairly frugal, but such a special occasion was just calling for a 1st class upgrade - so I treated myself to that for the 4 hour flight.

I arrived at 4pm and didn't know what to do with myself.  The other two CDG moms were not arriving until midnight.  I was in a beautiful city, in an amazing hotel, all by myself.  All that I could think to do was to stare out the window and breath deeply for at least an hour.

I eventually ventured out and found myself in front of the best platter of Mexican food in the city.

Eating dinner all by myself with a fork in my left hand and a book in my right hand proved an amazingly delightful experience.  After I finished dinner, I sauntered (ok, waddled really - too much guacamole) along the famous Riverwalk and got myself ready for my girlfriends to arrive and the fun to begin.  

To be continued. . .

January 28, 2015

Tyrone's Tale

Ty, the name most people know him by, is Bridger's service dog.

His officially regal name is Tyrone II.

Bridger immediately shortened that into something he could pronounce - Ty.

His regal name might be more fitting for him now that he is going to be the star of his own book!

It became official as I saw this announcement by the author on the Tell Me Town Facebook feed. . .

Tell Me Town is the fictitious town, with its accompanying website, where Beamer resides.  Beamer is the main character in the Beamer Book Series that I mentioned in my post yesterday that is going to be publishing his encounter with our family in an upcoming book to come out of publishing in April.  After meeting Bridger, Tell Me Town is also going to be going under a massive renovation, and the town is going to be made accessible and "special needs" friendly in every way!

When the author, Ms. Chambers, came to our house for each interview for her book about a family with a child with special needs, she fell more in love with Ty each visit. Beamer is a therapy dog, Ty is a service dog - they are different titles with very different responsibilities.  She has always wanted to have her Beamer character meet a service dog and introduce the differences and roles of a service dog in a children's book.  A book about Ty, the Service Dog, will soon hit the drafting desk!

Ty presented himself as the perfect opportunity for such a story and the author has officially welcomed Ty to Tell Me Town.

Tyrone II will have his very own biography!  That is a story that I could never tire of reading!

Go "like" the Tell Me Town Facebook page to receive updates!

January 27, 2015

A Story to Tell

I have been involved in a beautiful process over the past several months.  It has been the process of sharing our special story.

There is an amazingly creative woman, Cynthia Chambers, who is the author of the Beamer Book Series for children.  Beamer is the main character in her books, who is a therapy dog.  Beamer encounters difficult topics and is able to take those difficult topics and explain them to children in a way that they can understand.  At the same time, the books are often educating adults as well.

Beamer meets someone with cancer, Beamer goes to the Dentist, Beamer visits the ER. . . etc.

Ms. Chambers decided it was time for Beamer to meet a family that had a child with special needs. Our family was selected to be the main characters in that book and to introduce Beamer to our life.

I have meet with the author several times.  She has talked with my children, especially with Bridger - who will be the starring character in the book with Beamer.

It has been a beautiful process to share our story with her and then watch her take our story and blend it with the knowledge and perspective of many others inside the special circle that she has interviewed.  Watching her take those stories and blend those words into one main story that can teach children and adults at the same time is an amazing process to witness firsthand.

The artist is creating his drawings of us and soon we will begin the final editing stage before it goes to publishing in April.  I wonder what the caricature version of me will look like?  I hope he draws the black circles under my eyes - or else no one will recognize me.

She is donating a portion of her proceeds to Jill's House - the charitable organization that provides overnight care to medically complex children with special needs so that their families may have a brief moment of respite, to catch their breath, fill their cups and do activities with their other children that would otherwise be impossible while caring for their child with special needs.

Stay tuned! It is Book Club material for sure!

January 26, 2015

I Will Eat them in a Box

We had an amazing gift presented to us by some friends.  My kids could not stop touching them, absolutely fascinated.


A green egg.

In fact, a whole basket of green eggs, mixed with some beautiful brown ones.

Never one to miss an opportunity (especially considering I am a little desperate for some novelty in our cooped up, cabin fever state) my dinner menu for the night immediately came to mind.

I summoned my inner Dr. Seuss and cubed up some leftover ham we had in the fridge and made ourselves a yummy green eggs and ham.

Over dinner I had a little story time.

Poor little child #last had never even heard that story before.  Whah? {insert motherhood failing} Who knew that dinner would prove to be the necessary motivation to turn my little 5 year old into a full-fledged reader?  She has been carrying that Green Eggs and Ham book around with her for a solid week reading me a page or two every time I turn around and in the evening she reads it to me every night as her bedtime story.

A simple green egg gift turned into so much more.

"I will eat them here and there.
Say! I will eat them everywhere!"

January 25, 2015

Joy in a Can

That is what we have called her since the day she was born.

Which was 10 years ago yesterday.

Happy Birthday sweet Sadie!

From the moment she was born, the only way to describe her was "joy in a can".  You just open that little lid and smiles, laughter and love pour out.  Heavenly Father must have known, with what was to follow, that our family would need an infusion of just that.

Sadie holds a very special place in my heart.  Firstly, because of her unique place in our family lineup - 3rd child of 5, with an older brother and sister, which is the same place I hold in my family.  I empathize with those struggles and challenges of being that middle child that she might be facing and am determined to make that position a strength to her. But, more importantly, my heart also has a very tender spot for Sadie for what she has endured early in her little life.  Her brother with special needs came along just two years after Sadie was born.  The first year of life for a child with special needs is one consumed with hundreds of hours of doctor's appointments and testing searching for answers and a diagnosis.  Sadie's precious toddler years were spent being carted from appointment to appointment, waiting and sitting.  She was by my side through those excruciatingly painful times thinking that my life was being swallowed up by 5 syllable words of a complex medical vocabulary.  I ached for her experience - that it wasn't what any 2 and 3 year old should be doing.  She should be watching Sesame Street, playing dolls with me, and running around the playground. Instead she had to sit countless hours in waiting rooms,  watch her brother get poked and prodded, observing him doing therapy - which looked fantastically interesting to her and she wished she could play with some of the fun equipment instead of being a quiet spectator.

She has been exposed to the abnormal and took it in stride.  I still laugh at her reaction to waiting in the "play room" at the office where Bridger was casted for a set of his orthotics.  When we had to return to the office a week later for his fitting, she expressed concern over having to return back to that play room.  I pressed her as to why and she said with her cute toddler voice, she "just didn't want to be with all dose dead wegs [those dead legs] anymore.  The are bery cweepy [very creepy]".   When I arrived at the office, I walked into the play room to see what I hadn't previously noticed.  Along the upper portion of the walls, a shelf ran the entire circumference of the room, lined with artificial legs - including old-fashioned relics of decades past and many modern realistic versions complete with leg hair.  I had a good laugh at what this sweet 3 year old had to be exposed to in our special life.  I could see how a 3 year old sitting in this room with a bucket of Duplos on the floor and dozens of artificial legs staring down from the ceiling could find this unsettling, if not traumatizing.  We talked about how cool each of those legs were, and have since, much to her relief, have changed orthotic offices.

Sadie has handled everything with stoicism and poise, with confidence and fire.

We spent birthday eve cuddled up on my bed watching her favorite show of Shark Tank.  I love her company.  She seriously cracks me up.

Her birthday was a celebration of her, as I believe birthdays should be - which is why I am not big on birthday parties.  Does that make me a Party Pooper?  That's ok.

I have thrown parties in the past, but found that bundles of children and goodie bags don't align themselves with my goal.  My goal for my children's birthdays is to make them feel loved and overwhelmingly special.  I have found that busily preparing for, or entertaining a gaggle of children, does not align itself with my goal in any way.  My attention is to the other party goers and less on my child.  Consequently, we choose other ways to celebrate birthdays that allow us to accomplish that goal.  Making sure they didn't feel like they were missing out, however, I offered Sadie the option of a birthday party this year and she promptly declined.  She knows what the alternative feels like and it was a day for her yesterday.

The day began at midnight when Lance snuck in her room to create her "birthday bed" - a family tradition that we decorate the birthday child's bed while they sleep.  The morning was a day with a somewhat French theme (based on her fascination of the new American Girl character, Grace, who has a love of French baking).  I entered Sadie's room in the morning presenting her an offering of mini eclairs on a tray to chose from as well as the new American Girl book to read while the rest of us prepared her breakfast.  Breakfast was Sadie's requested meal of "a smorgasbord".  My girl loves everything about breakfast so we prepared the table with quiche varieties, breakfast meats, pastries and juices.  She opened her presents at breakfast, delighted with a doll that looked just like her - matching even down to the two little freckles on her ear and neck.  After breakfast we got ready and went on a mother/daughter outing to the American Girl store where she excitedly chose the new Grace doll.  A few extra things might have "fallen" in our shopping bag at AG which she was shocked to find when she  returned to the car.  {confession - I am in love with all things AG.  I love the messages they teach, I love the quality, I love how timeless it is and that they have been playing with them for years - instead of an attention span of months as with other toys.}  We hit another mall on the way home and she picked out a new pair of "dangly" earrings from Claire's - a privilege that you earn when you turn 10 in our house.

After shopping came her piano recital and an impromptu "Happy Birthday" sing along by the audience led by her piano teacher.  She was adorably embarrassed.  I love that my girl can perform Bach to an audience and go home and pound out some Beyonce on the piano.

We enjoyed a quiet night out to dinner at her choice of restaurant with she, myself and Alan and her grandma and then returned home with her completely stuffed, content and smiling.

The sacrifice she learned during the otherwise selfish "MINE!" years of toddlerdom has taught her patience.  That patience she learned has taught her to observe. Her observations have taught her to understand, and her understanding has given her insight to know what is important.  She knows she is loved, she knows she is special, she knows she has a very important place and role in our family - which was reinforced by a very special day just about her.

Summarized quite simply, she is Joy in a Can!


January 18, 2015

Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner

Except for Bridger.

He can.

In the corner of his high-walled special needs safety bed - that is where she cozies up to play "school" with Bridger.  She assumes the role of teacher and he is pupil - surprising an agreeable one at that and eagerly responds to her tutelage.

Maybe this new role of respect and authority is the reason he has given her a new name.  He now calls her by her given name, Eliza (pronounced by him as "Ee-Wi-Dah".)

It saddens me slightly, as the name by which he has called her over the past couple years always made me smile.

She was Baby.

There has always been bit of a name game going on in our family as Bridger first learned some motor control and gave his siblings a "name sign" before he could make sounds. Those signs were completely invented by Bridger and it was fascinating when we learned what/who he was referencing when he made those signs.

To call for his older brother, he would put his hands up by the brim of an imaginary hat - partly replicating the sign for "boy" and partly referencing the brim of Lance's little red Washington Nationals hat that he always wore when he was younger {even to bed}.

For Evie's name sign, he would run both fingers from the sides of his eyes down his cheeks.  One might think he was signing tears - but his motion was referencing the many freckles on his sister's face.

He would put his little hand on his forehead for Sadie - imitating her bangs.

Slowly the name signs disappeared as they made way for his new skill of uttering sounds.  Those sound utterances soon became recognizable names that have stuck for the past 2 years.

When presented you with his siblings, Bridger will excitedly introduce you to Lance ("Bwu-dah"), Evie ("Ee-bee"), Sadie (Aa-dee"), and Eliza ("Baby").  He knew her first as 'the baby', so 5 1/2 years later, she remains Baby.

I love that.

I was pretty sure she would be in her 20's and 30's and still introduced by him as Baby.

Then Eliza and Bridger, after I presented them an old clipboard and desktop easel this week, added to their repertoire of imaginative play and started playing "school".  That is when Baby evolved into something more.

She is now "Ee-wi-dah".

So much more of a tongue twister for him that the 2 syllable alternative.  I wish he would go back.  Perhaps he realizes that it is time that she grew up too.

Although, she is still small enough to be made road kill out of with one sharp dash of his wheelchair - which he promptly tried to do as soon as he put her down.

They are the very best of friends.**

**Except when they are not. In which case that enclosed safety bed/school room can quickly turn into a WWF ring.

January 15, 2015

Dear Vermont, Rhode Island, Alaska and North Dakota. . .

Anyone home??

I have a little blogger fantasy.

It is to have one single post read by every state.  I consistently get 46 per post.

I have some fancy schmancy analytics connected with my blog that I had attached, originally, for security purposes which tracks various aspects of my blog and now it has led me to have a little obsession about seeing the U.S. map covered in a single post.  I've got the continents covered -- well, that is except Antarctica, which I am not really sure if anyone is really home there.  So I have limited my goal to the states.

Maybe it is payback since those are 4 of the 7 states I haven't visited yet either. Alaska, you are next on my bucket list - I promise!

Readers, if you have any friends in those states, just humor me send them a link to my blog. They don't have to read a darn thing and can close out as soon as they open it.

So here is my official shout out to Vermont, Rhode Island, Alaska and North Dakota. . .

Will you be my friend?  Just this once?

Yours truly, 

Ms. Analytically Fixated

**1/17/15 update - Thank you blog readers!  My plea worked. . . almost.  I am beginning to think that no one really lives in North Dakota.  I'll be content with 49 out of 50!

January 14, 2015

He's All Better

Some days, this is hard.

Who am I kidding?

Everyday is hard.

Starting your day at 0:dark-thirty, 5 days a week, wrestling a 73 pound screaming, thrashing bundle of boy gets old.  Every weekday morning when we enter Bridger's room the wrestling match begins.  He doesn't want to go to school.  He will roll to his side and cling with every muscle of his being to the bars of his safety bed.  He will scream and kick and thrash.  Sometimes those kicks make contact with your nose, which really smarts.  He yells "NO SCHOOL" until he starts gagging and nearly vomits.  All the while you are trying to change an over-soiled diaper and wrestle his long skinny legs inch by inch into his pants, followed by trying to catch and hold his foot long enough to put his long orthotic stockings on and his tedious orthotics on top of that.

Beginning my day like that every morning is what pushes Alan and I to not go to sleep at night.  Somehow, we believe that the later we stay up then somehow it will push off the inevitable next sunrise which begins this daily grind.  Alas, that morning always comes and we find ourselves more tired than we were the day before.

Coming off of a weekend or a snow day makes those mornings even more unwelcome, because there was no break to be had.  Weekends are particularly rough because the movement, sight and sounds that occur on weekend outings are tough for Bridger.  While we try to reduce his exposure to such, as a busy family of seven, he just has to go with our flow sometimes.

Last Sunday nearly killed us.  Bridger had reached sensory overload at church and he promptly had to release that built up pressure.  The sensory let down began as soon as we piled in the car to return home and lasted clear through the moment at bedtime when he finally fell asleep at 8:00.  That was 6 solid hours of inconsolable screaming.  I couldn't pacify him.  It was painful - for all of us.  The veins were popping out of Alan's neck, Lance's eyes were bloodshot behind his glasses.  The ever patient Evie was exasperated and little Eliza was about ready to take a frying pan to his head.  {not really, but I wasn't going to leave any frying pans around just in case}

It was those behaviors that prompted a plea in Eliza's prayer.

"Please bless that Bridger can undo his special needs," she sweetly asked in her prayer.

I smiled.  A smile both for that prayer and a memory of hundreds of prayers that have been offered before from my other children that I had forgotten about.

For many years, every single prayer offered by Lance, Evie or Sadie included the same plea to Heavenly Father for their brother -- "Please bless that Bridger can overcome his challenges."

Said every prayer, every day, for four years straight.

When they first started making this request, I cringed.  Should I explain to them, again, about genetic defects?  Should I let them know, again, that this is how Bridger will be forever? 

I never did.  I just let them pray what they felt, until one day that request stopped.  I am not sure quite when they stopped praying for it, but Eliza's sweet request reminded me of those prayers I had heard over and over.

After Eliza finished her prayer, I asked Evie, "Do you remember how you always used to prayer for Bridger to overcome his challenges?"


"Why did you stop?"

"Well," she paused as if I had just asked some obvious rhetorical question, "because he's all better."

Taken aback, I questioned that -- "he's all better??"

"Yes," she explained, "he can push his wheelchair around now and he can speak enough words for us to understand.  He can stand in his stander and use his fingers to use his Ipad and can laugh and play with us.  He can even eat pizza!  He got better!"

Wow.  She was right.

You can look at this boy and see someone whose is completely confined to a wheelchair and can't stand or walk, whose speech is at about 30% intelligibility to the random stranger, who has seizures and has these extreme behavioral complexities, and who needs full assistance with every element of his personal care.

Or, you can look at him, like Evie does, and think that he is all better.

To Evie, her prayers were answered.

And I believe they were.

January 11, 2015

Two Left Feet

I didn't complete the story of how our day really ended yesterday.

Like this:

#2.  ER.  Broken Foot.

To add to my pile of "Neglectful Mother" claims, Evie rolled her foot while doing the ever so complex and highly skilled act of walking.  {you think I am being sarcastic -- I'm not.  In our life of wheelchairs and gait trainers we do regard walking as a very complex skill:}

It happened on New Year's Eve.

Yep.  10 days ago.

My "tough it out", "keep doing your chores and work it off" coaching just didn't seem to be very effective.  We were going to take her in on Monday to the doctor and she pleaded with me to take her in to the ER last night.

I am grateful I obliged her.

2 weeks on crutches and a pass getting her out of P.E.  She is absolutely giddy for both. You think with all the special equipment we have around here it wouldn't be that exciting to her.

Perhaps she is just excited that has a foot that will finally feel better.

Quality mothering.  I own it.

January 10, 2015

Celebrating Special

I just had the most spectacular day.

This amazing son and I spent the morning and much of the afternoon volunteering for the Special Olympics.

If you want your heart to be filled with every good feeling possible, go give it a try.

We sat at our registration table and enjoyed every minute of our experience.

The first people to walk through the front doors of the building towards you are the volunteer coaches. You can't help but be warmed from head to toe when an energetic coach walks up to you to register his team.  The coaches have given of their time and talents selflessly for weeks and weeks to prepare for this.  They do so without any glory or recognition.  They do so because they have a deep love in their hearts and it radiates from them.

Next parade in the athletes one by one.  You immediately smile meeting this enthusiastic competitors walking down the hallway towards you, decked out in their uniforms, slapping each a High 5 and ready to play in their basketball tournament.  They face obstacles and challenges everyday that most people can't comprehend, and they tackle those challenges head on with the spirit of a warrior.  Whether they won or lost, today was a celebration of each and every one of them.

The last to enter those doors and walk your way are their parents.  I feel the highest level of respect and admiration for these sweet fathers and mothers, that have been doing this journey for a decade, or two, longer than I have.  While they look noticeably tired, they have an aura about them of such love, patience and tenderness that has been molded by spending a very long time in the refiner's fire.  They probably don't realize that they radiate such an amazing glow, but it is obvious the minute they walk into that building.

I can't leave out the volunteers - the dozens and dozens it took to orchestrate and execute such an amazing event.  They all have other places to be on a busy Saturday, but they chose to be there.  Their warmth and energy was so welcoming and refreshing to all.

Lance and I couldn't resist taking turns sneaking away from our post to go observe the games.  It was so neat to watch!

Our family will have ourselves a little Olympian in the coming months when Bridger turns 8 and it was thrilling to see the amazing organization of which we are excited to be a part of.

After Lance and I were finished with our volunteer shift, we went home and gathered the others to join us at another location where the son of Alan's colleague was competing on his Special Olympic basketball team.

Bridger has a strooooong aversion to whistles and buzzers, so for him this did not a fun excursion make.

I sat down on the edge of the bottom bleacher and parked Bridger in his wheelchair next to me.  I put his service dog, Ty, in a "down" next to him.  "Down" is a command that has Ty lay down, with an implied "stay" so he knows he is not to get up from that command unless told to do otherwise.  

Bridger was immediately asking to go sit on his dad's lap, who was sitting next to me.  I lifted him out and handed him to Alan who held Bridger on his knee.  The loud buzzer rang, Bridger immediately started his anxious screaming.  On the other side of me, Ty immediately stood up and I commanded him "down" again.  He looked at me and started feigning the motion of a "down", but as soon as I turned my head away he immediately, and awkwardly, slithered onto the bleacher behind me and perched there as he stretched his big head around me and onto Bridger's lap to comfort him.

My jaw dropped at what I had just observed!  Do you know how amazing that is?!!  Ty, sensing Bridger's anxiety, overrode my command because he knew the job that really needed to be done and sought out Bridger to comfort him, at great discomfort to himself and knowing that a "correction" might even come as result of him getting up out of his command. No correction issued - I just marveled at what he was doing! His big bum teetered awkwardly on that thin strip of a bleacher and he held that position as long as was needed while Bridger just hugged it out with him through the loud buzzers and whistles.  Eventually, we had to 'abort mission' on the game and Bridger, Ty and I walked the hallways while Alan and kids cheered on our friends.

You can barely even see Ty in this picture because the space he weaseled himself into was just that small.

That was also the thrill of the day, because while we were trained as a "team" with me being the "Service Facilitator" (aka Commander in Chief), it showed me that Ty knows who his ultimate partner is.  It isn't me.

Our typical lengthy Saturday "to-do" list was completely neglected today.  In its place the most important thing happened.  We celebrated Special.

January 09, 2015

Deep Pockets

The kids are all back in school.

I had to type that in obnoxiously large font.

We had many revolving illnesses for the two weeks prior to our two week break, plus a few snow days immediately upon our anticipated return, so I have had children home for nearly 5 weeks.

Hence, the reason that miracle deserved an extra large font.

Doing my usual upteenbillion loads of laundry.

After finding the remains of several Christmas chocolates in my dryer I initiated the prewasher pocket cleanout for the subsequent loads.

One extra small down purple coat -- weighing an unexpected 10 pounds when I picked it up.

I started pulling all sorts of treasures out of those itsy bitsy pockets. . . and the treasures kept coming and coming.

I never cease to be amazed at my little Eliza.  I wonder how long she has been collecting all of these pocket essentials?

No wonder she hasn't been able to keep up with me in the grocery store.

She has been weighed down by her deep pockets.

January 08, 2015


What's one to do on a rainy, cold Saturday afternoon when you have Winter Break burnout?

Get in the car and find a cure.

This past weekend we hauled everyone to the Planetarium at Rock Creek Park for a star gazing presentation.

It is run by the National Park Service.  Which means it is free.  Which is reason #246 that I love living just outside of Washington D.C.

Every time a new planet lit up on the projector -- "whisper shouts" of excitement came out of Bridger (you know when someone tries to whisper but it still comes out at 80 decibels.)

The older kids all learned something, the younger kids had their attention held.  Rainy day winner.

On the way home we stopped by 7-11 to surprise them with some Slurpees - and, to make it an even more exciting day, everyone got their own and didn't have to share!  I know, how CrAzY WiLd are we?  My kids, so accustomed to having to share one Slurpee as a treat, think it is the greatest day ever if they get their own cup to hold.  Please, no one tell them that there is something different in life.  We are teaching the principles of Simple Pleasures.

Bridger enjoyed a treat of a jug of milk with a straw.  I remember all too clearly that time he told me he wanted a Slurpee like everyone else.  I let him try it and his immediate reaction was to vomit.  In 7-11.  Nice.  Not falling for that again.  Milk with a green straw spoon was his treat.

With that last outing we all raised our glass [cups/jug] and gave a toast to closing the book on Winter Break.

Loved having them home.  Really loved them going back to school too.  Not gonna lie.

January 07, 2015

Do You Have a Big Head?

Do you have a big head? Are you over 6 1/2 feet tall?  Are you furry?  Preferably with a tail?

If so, Bridger will go completely crazy bananas for you!

That is how he reacts to every single oversized mascot he sees.  We thought it was a reaction uniquely brought on by Mickey Mouse, but have discovered that any oversized character will elicit such a reaction.

His latest spastic explosion of excitement -- Geoffrey the Toys "R" Us giraffe.  Going to a store is an exciting event for Bridger.  Going to Toys "R" Us makes Bridger a roaring giddy. Add to that excitement walking through those automatic doors and seeing a ginormous nonverbal giraffe?!?  Wowza, steady the wheelchair, because life got rockin'!

Sometimes, I love that Bridger doesn't have a filter for his emotions. And sometimes I don't.

If you or I were disappointed that we couldn't find something, or if we have to wake up earlier than we wanted to, we have emotions about those situations that we are holding back.  We would sigh or grunt, perhaps be a bit grumpy for a couple hours.  Bridger, on the other hand, lets his feelings on those disappointments be fully manifest. Those are the times that I don't care for his lack of filter.  

Conversely, think of those times that you go to the local froyo shop and see they are serving your favorite flavor.  You may just say a quiet, "oh yummy", but really you are thinking inside, "OH Yeah OH YEAH!" Or, when you score a great parking space at Costco on Saturday and all you offer is a half smile of satisfaction, when you might otherwise be doing a Happy Dance, that is, if you didn't have a filter.

Bridger is missing that emotional filter.  If there is a disappointment to be felt, he will express it in every way outwardly - even for the most minor ones. Like not getting another sausage link like he was hoping, or the missing piece of green scrap paper he thought was in his backpack.  Sobs, flailing, screaming, sadly banging his head, and, of course, the signature vomit. So. very. devastating. 

Conversely, if there is anything that would generate a subtle smile from you or I. . . well, from Bridger that would ignite the firing of every muscle fiber in his being.  Seeing the sign for WalMart - that gets some fierce shouts of excitement!  Fitting a piece in the puzzle -- you would by his reaction that he just won the lottery!  A beautiful hymn performed in church to a reverent congregation - applause and cheers from Bridger after it is through!  Learning that it is Saturday and that he doesn't have to go to school - shouts of cheers and loud "TANK YOU MOM!" for fifteen minutes!

That is the part that I love.  I love observing through his authentic, unreserved display of emotion, how much there is to be excited about.

Because of that, walking in Toys "R" Us and seeing a big headed, two legged giraffe made me completely ecstatic too!

January 04, 2015

True Luv

I have a new love in my life.  Don't tell my husband.

That love was discovered in Utah as we journeyed across the country this past summer.  His name is Waffle Luv and he is a food truck, turned brick and mortar joint that creates something out of this world.

Waffle Luv makes authentic Belgium Liege waffles and serves them up piping hot with your choice of Nutella or Biscoff, whipped cream and strawberries.  I will never be able to eat a Bisquick brick again.  Liege waffles cause those little audible sound effects to escape your lips when you eat each and every bite.  

I hated to part ways with Waffle Luv.  Distance, however, does make the heart grow fonder.  I scoured the internet, studied the variations of the recipes and found a way to bring that Luv into our home.

This recipe is not for the culinary weak.  You really have to want them.  It is a long two day process, but true Luv is worth it!

The key ingredient that makes them so incredible:

Pearl Sugar.

Those little lumps of sweetness caramelize in your Belgium waffle maker and form a sweet sugary crust of perfection to counterbalance the inner fluffiness.

I had made them this past fall and finally got the energy to do it again.  Some Liege Luv for our family's New Year's Eve celebration was the perfect way to end 2014.

My topping of choice:

Crunchy Biscoff.  

I am a pretty loyal Nutella gal, but on top of a hot Liege waffle, it is crunchy Biscoff all the way baby.  Add to that layer crunchy Biscoff a healthy dollop of whipped cream and a few spoonfuls of ripe strawberries - oh, holy heaven.

My family was all feeling the Luv! It was the perfect way to end the year.  A belly so stuffed that I don't want to eat for a week will surely give me a good start to my healthy eating resolutions of 2015. bleh.

Wanna bite?

Since I am all about sharing the LUV, you can find the recipe I used here.