This one might tug at your heartstrings (Especially if you are my mom)

I've decided to sell some stuff on Craig's List lately... stuff that is taking up space that we never, ever use. This Radio Flyer wagon was one of the first things to go. No one has played with it for about 2 years... but it was the toy Nana and Grampa got Crosby for his 1st birthday, and the thing that helped him learn to walk.

I was surprised at how sad I was to see it go. I'm really, really not a person who gets emotionally attached to things. But this little toy symbolizes so much to me. For one, I kept it for so long because I had planned on having another baby after Crosby. I finally accepted that Crosby and his challenges are so demanding on my time, that it would be unfair and probably unwise to add another child to my life.

I also view this toy as a much happier time in my life. This was before Crosby had autism. Before my dad was diagnosed with leukemia. I loved where we lived... we had finally made the jump from Brooklyn to the suburbs and were surrounded by good friends, some who have moved away and we greatly miss. This was a very happy time in my life. I'd go back to that time in a second if I could.

What really surprised me the most was the kids' reaction when they saw the lady walk in and realized I was selling the wagon. Calder, especially, was very sad. I could see it all over his face; he hadn't looked at this toy in ages (even though it's been sitting 10 feet away from the Wii) but he was remembering all the good times too. He even said, "But I love that toy! That's the toy Crosby used to walk!"

But the lady was there, with a cute little one year old in the car, and was so excited to get it for him to practice walking with. And we really don't use it or need it anymore. And, we have lots of pictures of it so we'll never forget. But it was hard to say goodbye to the little red wagon.

Lest I leave you on a sad note, check out what's been hanging out in our living room for the past 2 weeks. Trav brought it home from work and the big kids (+Ezra) dressed it up. It's scared several people (mostly Crosby's therapists) over the time it's been in there. The weird thing is, no one seems to be taking it down. I see a Craig's list posting coming soon...


April Fool's

Well, I didn't have much of an audience for April 1st this year. Travis stayed at work all night, Scout is in Philadelphia with the 5th grade (also known as "Philly without parents"), and Croz doesn't know what's going on. If he did, I think he would really enjoy April Fool's day. So that really only left me with one target: Calder. AKA Mr. Grumpy Pants.

I did the blue dye at the bottom of the cereal bowl trick, so when you pour the milk it starts turning blue. I thought it was awesome! He barely acknowledged it. Oh well--- at least he didn't start crying and screaming, "IT'S NOT MY BIRTHDAY ANYMORE!!!"

I also put one of Crosby's diapers in his lunch with his snack, and wrote April Fool's on it with a sharpie. When I was up at the school for Pizza Friday, I yelled, "Hey how was your SNACK?!" and I got the tiniest of smirks. I hope he brings that diaper home. They ain't cheap.

So that's the report from NY. I'm trying to come up with a great idea to do to Scout when I pick her up off the bus from Philly at 4 PM. Ezra suggested we all have water guns and spray her. It's already rain/snowing, so not a terrible idea. I'll let you know if I come up with anything good.

See the joy in his face? This kid really loves holidays and tricks. Snicker. Just like his Grampa, in so many ways!


One of the best days EVER

On our last trip to CO, Scout and I got to do the funnest thing ever. Nana had found a company that does Dog Sledding, and thought... "What 10 year old girl would enjoy an outing like that?!" So she bought us tickets and signed us up. Scout could barely contain herself all week... she just wanted to get up to the mountains and get on her dog sled.

There was a group of 8 of us, and we all took turns driving and riding in the sled. Whoever wasn't on the sled was pulled by a snowmobile on a little cart thing. We were with the nicest people, and one of the ladies took these pictures for us and emailed them to me after. My pictures are not nearly this good... taken with my iPhone while hanging off the back of a snowmobile!

One of the highlights was when I was the rider and we went around a curve, and suddenly I became aware that Scout had fallen off. I started yelling, "I've LOST MY DRIVER!!!" and was digging my heels into the snow to try and slow down the dogs. Luckily, they are super well-trained and as soon as the snowmobile stopped, they stopped. But I was picturing myself having to do some kind of Indian Jones move where I'd have to get into driving position on the sled to stop the dogs. All while wearing my sister's Sorel boots that weigh 10,000 pounds and are about 2 sizes too big.

All in all, it was such a great adventure. One we will remember for our whole lives! Next up, Iditarod.

Thanks Nana. You are the BEST!!!


Happy Valentine's Day!

The Stratfords got crafty!

We blatently ripped this idea off of Design Mom from last year, and they came out so well (and were so easy!) we might do them every year from here on out.


The Scarf

I meant to do this post in December. But really, the fact that I got anything done in December, with all the Christmas madness, is remarkable. I spend January shoveling (post forthcoming). So I'm spending an icy Groundhog day doing what I should have done 2 months ago!

A year ago November, I was in a really bad place. My dad had just died. My youngest son was diagnosed as autistic (PDD-NOS) and I was barely surviving the constant feelings of stress, sadness, anxiety, grief... you can imagine. I wasn't functioning well.

I was talking to a lovely mom of one of Scout's friends, who has since become a dear friend of mine, and we were talking knitting. Barbara is an amazing knitter. Knitress? Whatever. She was wearing a very chic chevron striped scarf that was long and narrow and so cool. I admired it, and she encouraged me to knit one... even though I haven't knit much since my days as a Girl Scout, when I learned to knit for a badge.

She went one step further than encourage me... a few days later she dropped off a set needles, the pattern, and about 10 rows already knit to get me started. She suggested I could practice with her leftover yarn until I was ready to buy my own yarn. I was encouraged just enough to start, and found it soothing. I bought some yarn and on our long annual drive to DC for Thanksgiving, I was on my way... knitting a scarf that I planned to give my mom for Christmas that year. [Ironically my friend Barbara learned shortly after Thanksgiving that she had breast cancer, and she has spent the past year kicking its a**!].

Knitting that scarf took me a full year. I would work on it slowly, put it away for a month or so, pick it back up. It was hard. I made a ton of mistakes, and had to pull it out and reknit it. You get the point. I drug that thing all over the place with me. I finally finished it almost exactly 1 year later. Barbara blocked it for me and I mailed it out to my mom, 1 year late!

I still had two half skeins of the very expensive yarn left, so I decided to knit another one. I could not believe how much easier it was the 2nd time. I got nearly 1/4 finished by the end of Thanksgiving break, only to discover that it was impossible to buy more of the yarn in the same colors, so I pulled it out and started a new pattern.

The thing is, I couldn't get past the parallels to the scarf and my own life. Last year was so hard. And getting through it seemed to take forever. I made mistakes; I had to do things differently and start over a few times. But as this new year begins, I'm realizing that this year is going to be like the 2nd scarf. A lot easier. Not easy by a long shot, but easier than the year before. I know what I'm doing now... or know MORE of what I'm doing. I'm slowly but surely figuring out Crosby... and he is making slow but steady progress. I miss my dad like crazy, but I am able to remember him now without constantly thinking about the painful end he endured. I was so worried about my mom and how she would cope... she has surpassed all our expectations in the many ways she has navigated this year. She is a rock. I'm so thankful that last year is finished (and the scarf is finished too!) and am hoping this year will be better for us all.

And I'm proud of myself for finishing the scarf!


It's the most wonderful time...of the year

Oh Halloween, how I love you.

We had our ward Halloween party last night. I spent all afternoon masterminding different costumes that might work with my current physique. Several of my ideas included painting and exposing my belly, but I couldn't figure out a way to do that without simultaneously exposing the back fat that is helping everything stay balanced around here. I finally gave up after trying on about 20 shirts, none of which fit - and went with the one that did. Dave's soccer jersey. Yes, I was a soccer player...possibly the lamest costume in the history of the world. I promise to come up with something better for Sunday. And yet, I still won funniest costume at the party which leads me to believe two things:

1. There was very little costume competition
2. No matter what I'm wearing, I look funny.

I do find it ironic that literally the only picture we've taken of this pregnancy I happen to be dressed as a soccer player. I really need to get a less ridiculous shot for the picture montage I will make of baby girl's birth story.

And as long as we are looking at this picture, I would like to draw your attention to the girl in blue sitting behind me. I know, I know. It would be a lot easier to see her if I wasn't quite so wide. Anyway, she is actually pregnant...and only about 3 weeks behind me. I know what you are thinking. "But she doesn't really look pregnant..." TELL ME ABOUT IT! When she tells people she is 31 weeks pregnant I know it shouldn't feel like an insult directed at me...but...

Pictures of the rest of the fam in costume coming soon.


Sunday style

Upon picking up Oz from nursery today, this was what awaited me. Apparently he had a blow out, so Trav had to take off his pants.

Nothing goes better with Blundstone boots than a diaper! and very chunky thighs. Mmmmm.