• 18+,  autism,  family,  life skills,  motherhood,  post high school,  siblings and autism

    Two of Us

    We’re still here, and I know it’s been a while. The last two months have been long. We’ve had a wicked winter. I think it’s been the coldest since we’ve moved here–almost 14 years ago. Between January and February, we’ve had 5 snow days and one late start. The stomach flu ran its course through our family in mid-February, starting with Steve, and hitting every single member of our family every 48 hours like clockwork. Then, after a short reprieve, Steve, W, and I came down with a head cold that lasted for a week and a half. We took all the COVID tests. Nope, no COVID. And then there’s…

  • 18+,  autism,  COVID life,  family,  motherhood,  siblings and autism

    Determined as the Universe

    2021 sure put up a fight before disappearing into history. In fact it was downright argumentative. Pugnacious. Scrappy. It felt like we were battling the 10 plagues of Egypt trying to get my mom home after she came to visit over Christmas. Bitter cold and blizzard winds cancelled my mom’s flight out on December 27. The soonest we could rebook her Denver flight was for New Year’s Eve. The day before her rescheduled flight–out of nowhere–wildfires on the outskirts of Denver ravaged nearby Louisville and Superior with 115 mph winds and an oncoming winter storm. We watched American and United cancel flight after flight to destinations all over the US…

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  • autism,  COVID life,  family,  motherhood,  post high school

    With all the people

    Saturday was the Fargo Marathon. For weeks I had gone back and forth whether or not I should sign up J for the 10K. J’s been wanting to do the 10K forever, well, at least since the Fargo Marathon events were cancelled in 2020. Speaking of the 2020 Fargo Marathon… If you were around reading this blog last year at this time, you’ll remember that I was struggling to decide if I was going to go ahead and run my first marathon scheduled for late August of last year. I had been training since January, and was supposed to run it in May 2020. Then, of course, it was cancelled,…

  • anxiety,  autism,  COVID life,  family,  high school,  motherhood

    The world has to stop spinning first

    Sometimes I get a glimpse into what I think it might be like to experience the world like J. Not often, but sometimes. About a week and a half ago I had one of those times. I was on the couch with Steve sitting with a 386-page draft of my novel in my lap, discussing with Steve some of the problems I was having with it. I had 4 chapters that needed substantial revision near the tail end of the novel and I had spent the entire day untangling them, trying to figure out where to start again. 386 pages is a lot of story to be managing in your…

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  • COVID life,  family,  motherhood

    “So we beat on, boats against the current..”

    The day after the new year began we drove out to Buffalo River State Park, MN to go for a trail run as a family. Hoar frost had settled on the frozen blades of grass and naked tree branches. It was a breath-taking morning for a brand new year. A truly spectacular day. So far, the new year has been gentle. I feel like I’m reaching into it slowly, cautiously–just in case it bites my hand like 2020 did. After all, we were only eight days into last year’s new year when Iran and the US were flirting with the idea of WW3. I’m careful with this new introduction. I’ve…

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  • autism,  COVID life,  cross-country,  family,  high school,  milestones,  motherhood,  post high school


    I’ve had little reminders in the last few months that we’ve been approaching a big milestone in J’s life. He has a little wispy moustache and patchy sideburns that need a shave oh-so-badly but at the same time still don’t quite warrant a strict daily shave routine. We get postcards in the mail from universities and colleges around the state of North Dakota addressed to J. We had J’s senior pictures taken a few weeks ago. We’ve also hired a lawyer to work on the paperwork for guardianship, rushed to get J’s non-driver’s license ID before he turns 18 (after 18, he has to show proof of residence with things…

  • autism,  COVID life,  family,  high school,  milestones,  motherhood,  travel

    We have been preparing 17 years for this

    One thing I’ve learned about this COVID-19 world we live in is that every small decision–decisions that you would never think twice about–you end up mulling over and over in your brain until it becomes a simmering stew of anxiety. In the beginning a lot of those decisions revolved around groceries. Toilet paper is gone, what should we be stocking up on that might be disappear off the shelves for the next 3 months? How often should we be going to the grocery store? Should we go every other week instead of every week? When should we go to the grocery store? Is it more crowded in the morning, afternoon,…

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  • 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…

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  • 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…