Like a Champ

For those of you who may be new to my blog, I'd like introduce you to someone...

This is Aidan. He is my fun, fiesty three year old who has entered the world of "special needs" preschool this year. 

(Background: When he was about 2 I started to notice that he wasn't speaking as well as other kids his age.  After a few months of watching and worrying a little, I talked to you my aunt Diane who had early development challenges with my cousin.  She encouraged me to have Aidan tested for a speech delay sooner than later because before they turn 3 kids qualify for early intervention therapy from the State. 

He was tested and was in the 90th percentile for cognitive and phyical development and scored in the 1st percentile in speech.  Because he didn't have any other issues (at least they anyone could tell) they said he had a "speech delay" and we started on our journey...

Until he turned 3 (August 7) a speech and language specialist came to our home 2X a month and worked with Aidan.  We loved her.  Abby, if you are out there reading are amazing.  Now that he is 3 he has an IEP and started preschool a few weeks ago!  Now, back to our story...)

{The Mother's Battle}
If you've ever put a 5 year old on a bus you know how your heart beats a little faster and you hope and pray all goes well.  When they told me I could put my 3 year old on the bus to go to school my heart about stopped. 

Are you kidding?  Put a kid on a bus with an adult I don't even know and send him off to school?  Really? 

He refers to himself as "A" (we are working on the whole name), he isn't potty trained (once our commuication has improved we'll tackle that beast, but we have enough to get frustrated over right now...), and he is still a baby (well, at least for me...:))  My mind raced just thinking of what would happen if he got lost or scared.  Ahhh.

Once my heart started beating again and I pulled myself together...and I started to think it through. 

If I could get him on the bus, our parting may actually be easier than if I was to drop him off at school myself. (Thoughts of dropping him off at nursery at church on Sunday flashed through my mind.) 

Yes, if the bus driver is 1) a woman (less likely to be abusive), 2) has her teeth, and mostly importantly--3)gives me a "good vibe" (mother's instinct and God's guidance never lets you down) then I'll do it.

And guess what...all 3 worked out! (Thanks to the Big Man up above!!)

{1st Day}
Before I knew it the day had come.  Getting up, dressed, and fed by 8 just about did us all in.  Mornings have always been a struggle in our home.  Okay, let me rephrase that...I'm not a morning person so mornings are a struggle in our home.;)

But once we got outside the smiles started and we were good to go.  And if this Toad can give a few tips to any of you who may want them it is this...

#1 Straggly hair is awesome...on 3 year old boys anyway.;)

#2 If your child can't say their name, picture nametags are crucial.  If the teacher/busdriver forget the face/name combo then at least we'll get the right backpack on his back.

#3) Nametag on the back.  Obviously not a good idea for most kids, but when you someone asks Aidan his name and he says, "Blah, jabber, blah, choo choo, blah A" it may come in handy.  Bless his little heart.;)

Once he was labeled the whole family gathered with Aidan to wait for the bus.  With special needs kids they come right to your driveway.  Ethan, being the best older brother ever, was full of wise council and great advice about riding the bus and what to do at school. 

Aidan insisted that everyone who was waiting with him also wear a backpack.  And since all three of my guys will be in school this semester, getting backpacks on each one of them wasn't a problem.


And then we waited...

{The bus}
And it came.  Please forgive the blurry pictures.  Who even knows what I was thinking or doing.  I was too worried about whether or not I trusted the bus driver to let him on the bus.  (And yes, I followed right behind the bus all the way to the school.;))

And he was SO excited.  After a year of watching Ethan get on the bus for kindergarten, he got his moment.  This time, the bus was for him.  He loved it.

And he marched right up to the door and got on the bus like a champ...

Now, to dispell any myths that might be out there...this was a normal, full sized bus.  (Not like the short buses we knew growing up.)

These buses are also equiped with 3 point harnesses for the little kids.  (Can you image if they didn't buckle these little ones down?) 

And look at that smile!

And look how nice his bus driver is! (Sigh of relief!) My fears were dispelled as I met Kim (the driver) and saw that there was only one other child that would be riding the bus.  (Who by-the-way is the cutest little African American gal you've ever seen.)

And off he went.  I wasn't sure if I should cry or jump for joy.

Have you ever wondered why your kids were sent to you
Would anyone love them more?!

I may not always love what he does,
but I doubt anyone could love him more

Okay, except maybe his dad.;)

To let's hear it for brave little people, their lucky parents, and a great school year!   And just so you know, as of last Thursday Aidan's teacher said:  "his speech is really coming along, he follows directions well (I know! gasp), and he is alot of fun."

Tears are filling my eyes as I finish this post.  I guess sometimes you just have to love them enough to let them go.  Darn it.

We love you Aidan.
Love, Mom

I{Heart}Faces: A Touch of Sun

{A Touch of Sun}
The moment. It comes and goes, but if your lucky you get to snap a shot you'll always have. 

Camping in Oregon: A highlight of our summer.  

The Shot: Ethan had just caught his 1st fish and Lucy was loving it.  I love the sun setting, her raw expression, and that little hand just about ready to touch that fish.   So glad I had my camera at that moment.

I Heart Faces - Photography Challenges and Photo Tutorials

Big Game Parties & Products

{Tailgating Fun}
Ah, football season...the great American fall pasttime.  And this weekend is a big rivalry game in these the flags are flying and the parties are starting!

And you'll love this.  Last week I randomly got a call from a TV PR guy.  He was looking for a blogger to do a 3-4 minute segment on "Tailgating with Families" and then blog about the products.  

My thoughts?   Hmmmm.  Could I make a complete fool of myself?  Yep.  But did it sound like fun? Yes! A little intimidating? For sure.  Do I get to keep the stuff?  Yes? Okay, I'm in!:)

You already know I'm kindof a wild woman so if you want some entertainment this afternoon,  the segment is this afternoon in Salt Lake on KUTV Ch2...let's hope I don't say or do anything too crazy!:) 

And here's the skinny...

{Camera Coats}
Yep!  You'll want to take your camera to tailgate so here's a brand new way to protect your SLR!  Forget carrying a big camera bag to the party...just put on your coat and throw your camera into your backpack, diaper bag, or food bag!  Oh, and if you're wearing your camera and the weather changes for the worse {or drinks start flying:)} ...your camera will be nice and cozy inside its little coat.

 Website: (Retails: $35-60)
25% off until Sept 31. Discount code: cameracoatspioneer

{Little Griddle}
Want to vary up your BBQ party menu? Here you go.  Throw this stainless steel griddle right onto your grill and you can make quesidillas, Philly cheese steak subs, veggies, or whatever your little heart desires!
Wesite:  Sizzle-Q (Retails: $69.99)

Simple but very useful.  I can't tell you how many time I'm at a BBQ, set down my drink, and can never find it again.   Its either that or I can't find the black Sharpie to put my name it.  The Drink&Plate keeps it all together.  I bet it would be great for kids too...heaven knows how hard it is watching them try to carry their food from the grill to the table!

No, I did not take any of these next pictures...these are directly from their websites.   :)

Website:  Drink & Plate (Retail: 6 for $18)

(The Sport-Brella Products)
All I can think of when I see this chair is my dad.  His lack of hair on the top of his head send him hunting for shade everywhere we go.   The attached umbrella swivles that's handy.

And the Sport-brella shelter umbrella.  We actually keep one of these in the back of our car, we use it, and I love it.  Its huge and has stakes like a tent so that it doesn't blow away...even at the Oregon Coast!;)

Website: (Retail: Chair ($39.99) 
Umbrella Shelter: ($69.99)

 {Have Fun}
So there you have it.  And whether its a rivalry game this weekend or not, have a fun football weekend!  Oh...and GO COUGARS!;)

Your favorite blogging cougar alum...

Camera Coats: Soft Launch

{The Skinny}
In February of 2010 we took a family trip.  You know how that is...bags, strollers, carseats, blah, blah... Since we were flying, our hands were especially full.  I wanted to take my Nikon, but did NOT need another bag to carry onto the plane and didn't want to check my little bundle of joy. (Anyone nodding their head about now?:))

So, I went into problem solving mode. I had made a little fabric bag/holder/protector for Ethan's Leapster and decided my camera was more I threw my camera in it, put it in the diaper backpack, and off we went.

It was life changing I tell you.  It was protected and it didn't have to haul another bag around!

I kept that little cover on my camera  (wearing it around my neck) as we went to the beach, the Magic Kingdom, and everywhere else.  I was in love.  My little "coat" protected my camera from the bumps of crowds, kids spills, sun, rain, snow, sand, and anything else that came my way.

Tanya wanted one.  And thus, began my journey with Camera Coats.

{Soft Launch}
I'm calling this a soft launch because I'm not quite ready to conquer the world.  I'm still working out some kinks, but I had to tell someone about my new, random adventure...and well, that's you guys.:)

{Giving Back}
One of my main missions with Camera Coats...and one of the things that is is driving me to bring camera coats to the world.... is because I really want to make a difference with them.  Not only to protect cameras, but helping as many people as I can while doing it.

I'm excited. Crazy?  For sure.   But I figure I'd never know what I could do unless I tried. 

The website is up...barely, and the blog, facebook, and all of that good stuff are still underconstruction, but I really want to get this show on the road.  Its been over a year and 1/2 for heaven's sake. 

Want one?  Ah, that's lovely. 
You can go to the website now:

{Giving Some Away}
And you also know me...I'll be giving away some away too.  I have a bunch of "not quite rights" that I've collected getting the coat just right.  If you don't care that its not perfect, just go to the website: and "Like" me on FB via the facebook button.  Oh, and leave me a comment letting me which one is your favorite so far!:)

I'll be randomly picking some lucky people to be the 1st to have one!

Looks like there's no turning back.  :)

Makes You Think

{Just do it}
Learning to live in the moment isn't easy.  There will always be a million things on our minds and another million things we need to do. 

But after hearing the wise words of so many men and women today, I decided I need to follow their great council and try harder to love and cherish those around me...especially in the moment I'm with them.

I also realized that I don't have very many pictures of me with the ones I love!  Darn it.  I'd really rather be taking the pictures than be in them (like many of you probably), but that needs to change.   We need pictures of ourselves with the ones we love...don't you think?  Yes, another change in my life will be coming...regardless of what my hair may look like.:)

Well, here's to learning to think a little differently and heeding the advice of those who really know what they are talking about.  Our prayers are with you...


September and Mo's Fish Tacos

(Darn it)
I'm struggling with you September.  Really struggling.  Why did you have to come so soon?  I still haven't posted most of my favorite beach memories from the summer! Now what do I do?

Just start posting?
Alright then...I suppose my little projects will have to be put on hold for a few more days, and lets start at the beach.

{Choo Choo}
I dare say this was one of Aidan's favorite parts of summer.  And to avoid fits of screaming, he rode the train several times...and loved it. 
He's not joking around when it come to the huff and puff of this little engine...


Some people hate it. Baby's eat it, it gets in your eyes, and its hard not to take with you.

I love it. It usually means that water is nearby. The salty, sandy type of water that calls this little Toad's name. This summer Seaside was hotspot for us, and it was especially fun when we hung out with Travis, Tanya, Trey, & Lucy. Ethan said it was one of his favorite things about our summer.

This could be one of my favorite things about summer, but also about being a mom.  Cuddling and kissing on a cold body straight out of the pool.  Love it.

Ah, Travis, Tanya, Trey, and Lucy.  Tanya is about really to have that baby any day now. Can't wait.

{Fish Tacos...My New Love}
Watchout honey, I fell in love this summer.  I never knew how much I was missing until I had a fresh fish taco.

Mo's at Cannon Beach was the place.

I started with a yummy shrimp salad and thought things were going pretty well.

But then I was introduced to these gems and my taste buds haven't been the same.

My brother Travis couldn't help but poke a little fun at me when I got about 2 inches away from my plate ans starting clicking away.   I guess that's a sacrifice you make when you want to remember something that so great...

oh, and looky here...

someone else may have fallen in love with a dinner dish as well...

how about those closed eyes...just letting his tastebuds so crazy.:) 

(Yeah, I'm thinking this could be a great facebook profile picture!:))

(Fun Times)
I'm forced to say goodbye to you summer. Although you won't be far from my mind.

And don't take it personally September.  Its me, not you.

Your Toad

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