• COVID life,  family

    To grieve behind a mask

    My father passed away Friday, April 10 2020. My faith has always sustained me through the hard times in my life. And I know it will sustain me through this moment in my life. But death and grief are inseparable companions and a pandemic brings a kind of grief I have never before experienced. My mother and I are the only members of our family living in the United States. My sister and her family live Saudi Arabia and my extended family lives in Canada and no one can leave their homes because the international borders are closed. I buy a ticket to Denver the night I find out my…

  • COVID life,  family

    My sister is flying solo because her family is separated by COVID-19

    What happens when life is happening and then COVID-19 decides to hijack everything? I think that’s a question we’re all trying to figure out. And we all have different pictures, different versions, of what “life” looks like. Teachers are scrambling to figure out how to adjust curriculum and adapt them to brand new formats. Parents are trying to figure out how to work from home and help facilitate their kids “home school” electronically (luckily, most of us Fargo parents have a little more time before we have to figure that out). Families are trying to figure out how to make sure their kids are being taken care of while they…

  • autism,  empathy,  exercise,  family,  mental health,  mindfulness,  motherhood

    Lessons from the long run

    When I was pregnant I was aware of every single little change in my body at every single stage of my pregnancy. I took prenatal vitamins. I read up on and kept track weekly of what was going on with my body and what was going on with the baby growing inside of me. I figured out really quickly what exact foods and smells would trigger nausea and vomiting. I knew exactly which foods would help a little with the nausea: limes and carrots (I was in my first trimester of pregnancy with J during my last semester in college and so I would carry bags of baby carrots to…

  • autism,  family,  mental health,  motherhood

    Looking Back, Looking Forward

    No matter how hard I try and how much I promise myself that I’m going to cut back and “just enjoy the holiday season,” it never happens. I’ve been an adult now (a parent now) for how many years, and I have yet to make that balance happen (and it seems to get more frenetic every year). In the last few weeks of December, I always feel like my life is completely out of control. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who gets like this. I think everyone gets a little like this, especially women. And I’m not trying to be a martyr or disparage men by…

  • anxiety,  autism,  family,  mental health,  motherhood,  siblings and autism,  teen years

    Trying to protect my kids’ sanity

    Eleven days of school. We’ve had eleven days of the 2019/2020 school year. It feels as if it’s been an eternity. J has struggled, struggled oh so much these past eleven days. We have tried, what feels like, a million different strategies to put his mind at peace over the fire drill. Nothing has worked. The anxiety for August’s monthly drill had been building since his first XC meet, (August 24) and last week the anticipation for the end of the calendar month built up so much that he ran out of the school with severe panic Wednesday. I sat with him the morning of the drill Thursday. Friday, after…

  • autism,  family,  motherhood,  travel

    The boy in Barcelona

    Across the street from Gaudi’s gingerbread church the boy in Barcelona sits sandwiched between his mother and older sister. His arms flail as he squints and stutters sounds of protest in a language I don’t recognize. Scandinavian, I think. Something Nordic or Germanic. White blonde hair and blue eyes. Tourists like me. Like most of us in the park. There’s almost nowhere to sit. Steve and I sit hip to hip next to another man who might be a local and might be a tourist. The Lonely Planet and Rick Steves books say that Barcelona (like Lisbon and Rome) is a hot spot for pickpockets and I’ve developed the habit…

  • anxiety,  autism,  family,  travel

    Knowing when enough is enough

    I can’t believe we’ve passed the Fourth of July hump. Once you’ve hit the Fourth of July, you have only a month and some change of summer left and then it’s back to school again. I can’t believe we’ve passed the Fourth of July hump because I still don’t have my summer act together. I feel like I’m flying by the seat of my pants, just trying to make sure everyone is where they need to be and all of the things that happen in the in-between time happen too. Like I said, I feel like I still don’t have that under control yet. But that will be another post…

  • autism,  exercise,  family

    1+1+1+1=26.2

    Steve and I were pretty confident that J and W weren’t going to qualify for their EDC track meet (their conference before state). My kids run long distance but they’re not fast runners. All-star runners or not, they love running, and it’s been a family tradition to run the Fargo Marathon 5K for the past few years but this year we decided to change it up. Since we knew their track season would be over before the Fargo Marathon, (student athletes are not allowed to run road races or participate in extra-curricular competitions outside of their track or XC season), we decided to try something different this year. We decided…

  • anxiety,  autism,  family,  travel

    New York Trip Part 1: If we can make it there, we’ll make it anywhere

    I feel like Sinatra’s words couldn’t be more appropriate for today’s blog post—in the most literal sense. When we started our Spring(ish) Break: New York Tour we knew there’d be some hurdles to navigate. Steve chose New York as our spring break destination months ago and we knew that despite the hurdles, there were things working in our favour. Steve’s sister Heather lives in New Jersey, just an hour’s train ride into the city. Steve and I both have been to New York before and we figured we’d be able to pick out some things our kids would enjoy seeing. But still we anticipated a few hiccups and knew with…

  • autism,  family,  mental health

    #mood

    Give me a bag of donuts like the one little W is holding and I might make it a few more weeks in this weather. I’ve been trying really hard–really really hard–not to complain about these last few weeks of winter. One of my pet peeves is when people complain about cold weather. Maybe it’s the Canadian in me but I find it slightly offensive when people say, “I hate winter. I could never live in a cold place.” One of my biggest pet peeves is when we’re visiting friends or family outside of North Dakota and people find out we’re from Fargo and the first thing they say is,…