Scarecrow adventures – more funny than scary!

This morning we visited our local garden center to build scarecrows.   Definitely more funny than scary … and ours is now gracing our front lawn (sorry, neighbors!)

Love this fall tradition!   Check out a few pics in the slideshow below …


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But is he learning??

If you’ve met one child with autism … you’ve met ONE child with autism.   Well our young man made the leap to middle school and we were on pins and needles for the first week …

  • will he make the transition between classes OK?
  • will he learn and remember how to open his locker?
  • will kids tease him?
  • will we have ANY idea what’s going on  – what’s working, what’s not with so many teachers?

In our case, Justin doesn’t really have behavioral issues that would draw attention – no meltdowns, no stimming, no anger issues.  Doesn’t mean he isn’t challenged with processing everything, but its more internalized for him.  Easier for people not to notice.  He’s also pretty polite and follows instructions, so would not naturally draw attention because of his behavior.

So the first couple of weeks passed and we were feeling pretty good.  Likes his teachers, good transitions, sitting with a couple kids from elementary at lunch, etc.  Whew!  What a relief.  The teachers we met and his case manager have been kind and supportive.

Now we are into the third week of school.  Past the mechanics, into the academics.  And its getting bumpy, and I’m getting more and more uncomfortable.   Trying to let go of the nervousness and know that we will work with his teachers to make adjustments that help him succeed.  But still troubled … for now.

Wrestling with and reflecting on questions like:

He’s present, hearing the lessons, and taking quizzes … but is he LEARNING?

Some of the recent results suggest maybe not as much as expected.  To quote him: “my brain just got all jumbled up with those quizzes.”

My perspective on kids with developmental delays – particularly our own – is  that its our job along with their teaching team to redefine success to meet them where they are at developmentally and help them grow from there.  To redefine the rubric for success based on their ability – stretching and challenging them of course.

For school, and particularly for Justin, to me it means:

adjusted learning goals

+ good learning environment

+ mental focus

=  SUCCESS, progress and positive reinforcement

If these things are true, then how can a child who is really applying themselves and working to the best of their ability fall short of expectations?

When we see him applying himself and trying hard and the results and feedback don’t match up,  then I have to wonder what is out of balance?   He’s such a smart boy but needs more time to process things, and maybe its all just coming a little too fast ??  He really wants to achieve and to make us proud, so we have to find a way to make it clear that his efforts are worthwhile.  It’s important for his morale and his psyche.  None of us want to work hard and do our best only to feel like we still can’t hit the mark, right?

So we are embarking on a journey to get this darn learning equation back into balance.  Meeting with his teaching team on Friday to start the discussion and hopeful of some course adjustments to get things back into balance.  The sky is not falling, I just want the very best learning experience for the little guy.  He deserves it.  I’m hopeful …



WooHoo!  It’s apple season.   We have plenty from our Farmers Market CSA basket yesterday – thanks Farm Chicks for these gorgeous apples!  Big ones for slicing, little ones for lunch boxes.  And they are delicious!   Pretty right?


I’m definitely a sucker for aromatherapy.   And nothing better than the scent of apples and cinnamon in the house on a peaceful Sunday morning in Autumn.

This morning Cinnamon Apples are on the menu.  So simple and so good.  Just slice your apples, saute in the tiniest amount of butter, and sprinkle with a touch of brown sugar and cinnamon.   Then cover the pan and the steam from the apples will soften them up.  We LOVE them!



Getting out of my head …

Sometimes I just have to get out of my head!  You know how it is right?  When your mind has been in high gear for a while and you have to shift gears.  Funny story, the first time my now friend Kellie tried to teach me to SUP, I was not steady and fell a couple times.  She looked at me (before she really knew me) and said ‘You think a lot don’t you??  You have to get out of your head!’   If she only knew …

For many years when I was younger, there was no other gear – always on, always thinking, all the time.  Then the kids came along and in addition to the fun and chaos of raising three kids, they sort of force you to shift gears and pay attention.

People often tell me how busy we seem, how many things our family seems to be doing.  What’s funny is I don’t see it that way at all.  For me, its more like … hey, not working, so lets have fun.  What shall we do?  So much to do, so little time :-)

A few years ago I tried hot yoga and fell in love with it, and that was a great way for me to get completely out of my head and do something  physical and calming at the same time.  Love it!  But somehow I have fallen out of the habit and not made space for it in my schedule in a way – and trying to get back.  I feel so much better when its part of my life and routine.

Then late last year I tried a fantastic course call Gifts of Imperfection with Brene Brown and she did some creative or art journaling.  If you have never heard of Brene brown check out my other post t and her Ted talk for starts – amazing and inspired speaker and writer on living wholeheartedly and authentically.

One of My Posts on the Gifts of Imperfection Course

Link to Brene Brown TED talk

But as for art journaling … now this is me of the barely recognizable stick figures – so it was completely out of my comfort zone.  But SO fun!  Then I happened upon a mixed media course by Kelly Rae Roberts that I loved.


I love my photography,  and photo editing is fun too.  Suddently I had these little bursts of creativity in my life – who knew! – and another great way to get out of my head.

And my latest discovery … Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan.


(ok I’m a little messy!)

It’s a fantastic set of gorgeous paints for painting furniture.  While my Mom was in town we took a class at a terrific little shop, Delightful Digs, then tinkered with a couple old frames that weekend and had a blast.



There are gorgeous colors, great techniques to master for finishes, lots of elbow great required for sanding to distress the wood, and fun waxes to finish and age them.  Plenty to keep me busy.

During one particularly silly moment my Mom tried to stay very monochromatic with her frame and I could not resist splashing a little color her way – the small color battle that what ensued was hilarious!)  Anyway, I am having lots of fun tinkering with Chalk Paint.

It’s great to see the boys swing by the dining room (which I have sort of commandeered) to see what ‘art stuff’ is going on in there.  Who knew?  Doesn’t even matter if its any good (though I kind of like what has resulted) – but its such a great outlet to be working with your hands.  Always envied people who can work with metal or clay … hmmm … maybe that’s NEXT?

How do you get out of your head?






lovedframe-2 rusticgreenframe-2


What’s on your Fall Bucket List?

I’ve always loved autumn, but it seems that in recent years my love affair with the season has intensified.


Don’t get me wrong … I love the summer and our fun at the beach, bay and travels.

What is it about Autumn?  There’s so much to love!  So many things that we love have become traditions.  Our autumn ‘bucket list’ has some long-standing favorites!

  • The fresh, crisp air
  • Back to school – new teachers, friends (and freshly sharpened pencils – the best!)
  • Mums and other fall flowers!



  • The gorgeous colors of fall foliage



rise of Justin, the leaf monster!

  • Baking and the smell of gingerbread, ginger snaps, giant soft ginger cookies (did you pick on on our love of ginger??) and vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin in the kitchen




  • Pumpkin patches, corn mazes and hayrides


  • Building scarecrows


  • Apples, cider and visiting orchards in Charlottesville
  • Bonfires and s’mores


  • Beautiful time to be outdoors – riding bikes, exploring, hiking


  • Thanksgiving!  (my favorite holiday)

So what will I add to my Autumn bucket list this year?  Well still thinking, but I think baking pies is making the list, and visiting New England, doing the corn maze that we missed last year at Bergey’s and maybe even actually carving our Halloween pumpkins (somehow that never works out?!)

The seasons can pass so quickly – maybe make yourself a Family Fall Bucket List and have some fall adventures.


Sharing ideas, adventures and experiments in leadership, family and creativity


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