Wednesday, December 10, 2008

fall on your knees

please tell me that i'm not the only one who tears up at the "fall on your knees" part in "oh holy night".

i swear. every. single. time.

"O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!"

Friday, December 5, 2008

no time

none at all.
i mean really.
these babies take all of my time (as it should be) and lately i just don't have the time to blog.

bear with me.

there are so many things to share and just not enough time in the day.

but what i DO have time for is snuggling cora before naptime.

hearing liam try to say "my name is liam"

watching garland explode into a world of communication.

seeing liam try to keep up.

hearing cora whine because she's ready to be grown up.

watching my boy figure words and phrases out.

this life is nuts.

and i love every second of it.

sorry for the lack of posts, but my kids are to blame.
and i'm okay with that. ;)

Monday, November 17, 2008

my playlist

i can't figure out how to post it. wah!


everytime i try to post it, it goes to a generic one...

ETA: and i just erased my whole post from last night.

man, i am so technically challenged....

i'm surprised i've made it this far. lol.

ETA AGAIN: it is super hard to blog with a squirmy baby in your lap grabbing at the keyboard.

ETA AGAIN (wonder how many times i'll do this today): the wonderpets are kindof entertaining.

ETA AGAIN: so, the original post was about music. and how i had forgotten how much i love it. i listen to "blue's clues" and "the backyardigans" so much that i hardly ever have time to listen to the good stuff.

i have a really broad spectrum of music that i love (timmy makes fun of a few of the songs that i because i feel like music is a reminder of where i've been, where i am right now and what i'm headed towards.

i like a song that makes me bust a good one. or cry really hard. or raise my hands towards Jesus. or fall on my face.

i like songs about love because i'm there. i like songs about heartbreak because i've been there.

i like songs that remind me of my friends. times spent together. travel.

my playlist isn't filled with only uplifting songs. nope. because that's not real life. i like to feel everything, so it's filled with my faves.

one of my co-workers said last night, "a life without music is meaningless" or something like that. i don't know that i would say "meaningless" but i sure have missed it for the past few years.

ahhh. glad to be back. can't wait to see what i've missed.

Friday, November 14, 2008

food food!

eeeps! it's menu time favorite day.

our csa box was filled with plenty of fall goodies this is what i plan on doing:

tim smoked a HUGE brisket earlier this week (it was an add-in meal from last weeks menu) and it is amazingly yummy. we have a ton of leftovers, so today i have some in the crock pot on low with some beef broth. in a few hours i'll add some carrots, parsnips and celery and let it get just perfect. i'll serve it with some braised greens and some warm bread. slurp.

timmy has a hankerin' to use the rest of the brisket and make a big batch of cowboy chili on the grill (in a cast iron pot) so he will be doing that and i'll make a batch of jalepeno colby cornbread. (farmer chad, we love that cheese!) we'll have a tiny salad along with know, just because. we'll freeze a few small batches for lunches and nights when i'm working.

i now have 2 big butternut squash, so i'm going to make butternut curry soup that jen posted a few days ago. it sounds amazing! plus a nice big salad with seasonal greens, purple peppers, carrots, celery and some homemade cheddar garlic croutons. drool.

we also got a beauty of a napa cabbage in the box. it is so pretty!
i'm planning on making Chinese Cabbage Rolls with a few variations on the stuffing using whatever veggies i have leftover in the fridge. i might use ground sausage instead of ground turkey. can't decide.
so we'll serve those babies with some brown rice, the last of the pickled veggies and of course, hot tea. chopsticks anyone?

the sweet potatoes with become babyfood this week and also snuck into some GFCF pancakes for my monkey boy.

and that wraps it up, folks.

i'd better get back to the kitchen!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

regression? or not?

i had a good face-to-face talk with my friend jennifer and also my friend kara today. also some folks at work and especially the hubby.

i was thinking that liam was regressing.

my mind was starting to get stressed about it (what is he eating that isn't right for him...etc) but i saw a new light today, if you will.

hear me out.

liam is actually PROgressing.

he is being a typical 3.5 year old in his actions and his will.

the past few days the kid has been sticking up for himself. passionately.

well, my mind immediately thinks it's the "autism" rearing its head. i label him. i think that he isn't capable of expressing what he really feels.

maybe, but just *maybe* he is getting it.

but this kid is fighting hard. fighting the battle of not enough words and too many emotions.

can i get an amen?

i feel that daily.

this kid is sensitive. so am i.

this kid rages against injustice. so do i.

this kid loves every person that comes in his long as you don't push him for words. i am the same.



i don't think so.

i think we have a fireball on our hands.

this kid has it going on.

now to know how to fan the flame? that's the hard part.

oh goodness.

my heart is rejoicing tonite.

he's GETTING IT!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

good days and bad days

we have had a few of those "bad days" lately.

if any mama of an autistic child hears me right now, please say "amen"

i need it.

ups and downs...highs and lows.

i KNOW that is the deal. i KNOW IT.

but my friends, it is hard when you really *really* want to sleep and your precious first child wakes you with a desperate need for something....*something* that is not expressed with words.

i truly envy the mamas that have a child that wakes them with "i'm scared" or "my PJs don't fit right" or "i had a bad dream"...

because tonite our liam has us up and we cannot figure out why.

he doesn't have the words.
he wants to have them and feels almost ashamed that he cannot express what he feels.

i ran to his side tonite and all i got in return was a plea for "juice". maybe he was thirsty? was he really? or did he say that because that is all he knows how to say???

kids his age would just say why, but we're asking all the wrong questions and getting nothing in return.

nights like this leave me feeling helpless.

and then i wake up and remember that life is worth living.
and that my liam will one day...ONE DAY...have a voice.

oh mamas.
please keep my heart in your prayers because it is breaking tonite.

Father God, please heal my boy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

food this week

i love thursdays because i get to pick up my csa box, milk, cheese, eggs, meat and then take it all home and stare at it all afternoon trying to decide what i'm going to make.

i *really* enjoy cooking.
i guess it's just an expression of my creativity and also the chance to take care of others in the process.
and especially this whole "seasonal cooking" thing that i've been doing.
it's like a fun puzzle that i get to put together since we never know in advance what we're getting in our box...or what kinds of meat farmer chad has that day.

anyway, i planned my meals today and here's what we're eating...

broiled asian tilapia, fried rice made with csa veggies and farm eggs, roasted carrots

grilled cheese and TJ's roasted red pepper and tomato soup (tim works)

country fried steak with milk gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, braised greens

grilled sirloin steak, roasted parsnips, salad

black bean and sweet potato enchiladas, salad

leftovers (i work)

leftovers (i work)

yummy. i'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

i also have a butternut squash that i'll turn into babyfood or just puree it and freeze in cubes to sneak into mac and cheese. ;)

i know i work for the company...

...but seriously folks.

starbucks peppermint mocha twist really makes me giddy.

it is so good.

i LOVE the holidays!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

pickles, babyfood and my favorite "nightcap"

is anyone else enjoying the fall as much as i am?

i've always been a warm weather person, but something changed inside of me this year and i am embracing the changing seasons.

maybe it's because i love God, my house, husband, kids, job and the fire that burns in my fireplace every morning and every night.

anyway, i've been doing some fun stuff in the kitchen lately.

getting this CSA box each week really challenges me to make the most of everything i get and not let anything go to waste.

we got a bunch of radish (radishes?) in our box last week and i'm not too fond of raw radish. or so i thought. it seems that farm fresh radish is much sweeter than the store bought kind. so, maybe i will love them from here on out.

i also had some leftover cucumber and purple bell pepper, so i sliced everything up really thin and made up a mixture of rice vinegar, white vinegar, water, sugar, salt, pepper, minced garlic and some dill.
i heated the liquid up just a bit to dissolve everything and then added my veggies.
pop it all into a sealed container and put in the fridge.
it has been in there for a day now and mmmmmm. yummy!!

the other thing i did this week was continue to make homemade baby food.
(soooooo easy i'm sure many of you already do this)

last week i roasted a free range chicken from farmer chad and timmy picked all the meat off of it while i was at work. (it still had the neck on!!)
we used the meat for a few things and then i used the rest for my babyfood concoction.

i diced up a few apples from the CSA box, added some shredded kale from the box and then the shredded chicken. i poured some apple juice (diluted) over the whole thing and poured it in my crockpot on low.
then i wrapped up the sweet potatoes that we got in our box in tin foil and put it in the same crockpot to get soft.
when the potatoes were done, tim scraped the insides into the pot and when it was all good and soft, i buzzed it up in the food processor.

to store it, i poured the mixture into ice cube trays to freeze in individual portions.
i'll pop them out into a ziploc freezer bag and keep them in the freezer for easy heat-up. cora LOVES it!!

now, onto my new drink concoction.

winter always makes me want a nightcap before bed.
something to warm my tummy and make me nod right off.

here is my newest favorite.

a shot of good brandy
a few pumps of starbucks cinnamon dolce syrup
fresh milk (about 3-4oz) (we get ours right from farmer chad's cow...cream and all!)

serve warm or over ice. top with allspice.


anybody else cookin' anything good????

Friday, October 31, 2008

cooking at 3am??

yes, that is what i'm doing.


well, a few reasons.

my super wonderful hubby works his patooty off from 9am on friday until 2pm on saturday.
yes, right on through.
he takes a little nap somewhere in there, but Lord knows that he works his behind off to get that paper out.
this is the life of a wife to an editor.

i suppose i was born for it.

my dad did it. my grandfather did it. my great and great and great grandfather did it.

it's in my blood.

so what does a good wife do to show her support? (especially when she rarely READS the paper that he puts out??)

well, good golly, she cooks the whole crew a batch of homemade lasagna.

i mean, what brings people together better than that?

so, i'm up at 3am cooking a good batch and i'm loving it.

i used my regular recipe, but i added in spicy ground pork and some kale from the CSA box.

life feels better when i'm doing something to bless another person.

try it. you might like it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

back to basics

i just don't understand why so many people don't "get" that what our country needs is to get back to basics.

i mean, like what our forefathers believed in.

hard, honest work.
true belief in God.
dedication to family.
honesty with friends.
pure acts of kindness.
taking care of the orphans and widows.
freely giving as freely we have recieved.
not killing those who cannot speak for themselves.
living within our means.
buying locally.
supporting artisans.
bartering instead of racking up debt.
using our skills for work instead of working meaningless jobs.

i could go on and on.

change is good, but sometimes a certain kind of change is detrimental.
to our country and to our lives.
to the future generation that we are raising.

back to basics is what i believe.

we're heating our home mostly with fire this winter, so i spent the evening gathering firewood from our yard...and teaching the kids how to gather pinecones for kindling.

i also bought some from a pastor that lives in the woods behind us.
yes. in the woods.
he and his wife have lived on that land for 45 years.
they married when she was 14 and he was 17.
they had five kids.
they built their own amazing log home overlooking the lake that they fish in.
she runs a country cooking restaurant and he helps her there.
he also pastors a little church and sells firewood on the side.

i have struck up a friendship with this man and i have to say that they live simple, love much and are two of the happiest people i have ever met.

i was telling him how we want eight kids and hope to maybe have a farm one day and he gave me the best compliment that i've heard in a long time...

he said that the day he first met me, he went to his wife and told her that he met a young lady that reminded him *exactly* of her when she was my age.

back to basics folks.

you will be the happiest you have ever been.
just watch.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

visit from brother-in-law!


we get the honor of hosting tim's brother, brian, for breakfast tomorrow!

oh how i love to cook a good breakfast for a guest.

here is the menu:

~sage ground sausage, diced sweet onion and diced potatoes...all sizzled up together
~eggs sunny side up (from my dear friend katie's own chickens!)
~grits with raw cheddar cheese from our local farmer
~OJ spritzers
~french press coffee

who else is coming?
i'll set you a plate. ;)

Friday, October 17, 2008

the CSA box

okay, bear with me while i ramble a bit.

do you support your local farmers? i mean the ones that really put true sweat and blood into their crop like your great-great-great grandpa did?

they are few and far between these days, but they are out there.

support them for crying outloud!

okay enough of that. ;)

in my box this week:

~head of some kind of green (guessing bok choy)
~head of another green (no idea but it was tasty)
~head of red leaf lettuce
~head of romaine (?) lettuce
~2 sweet purple peppers (beautiful, BTW)
~a few apples
~an acorn squash

did i miss something jen?

okay the plan...

i used the greens tonite. they were amazing. see the previous post.

i am planning on making an acorn squash soup to be served with multigrain rolls that were donated to us. but i'll add some broccoli that needs using and top it with our fresh raw cheddar from farmer chad.

the two heads of lettuce will be used with the two purple peppers to make a simple salad.

the apples will be sliced to go along with the yummy raw cheddar as a snack.

this food tastes so good because i know where it came from.
yes, it's a little pricey, but i love love love supporting local farmers when i can.
they have a dream too, folks and they are living it!
plus, we really cannot take the chance of pesticides getting into liam's system.

i hope you enjoy my weekly post on the box because i love planning it out. :)


dinner friday

well, timmy is working a long one, so it's just me and the kids tonite.

i decided that i needed to start cleaning out all the leftovers in my fridge and pantry, so here is what i came up with...

we had some leftover (tim-grilled) ribs in the freezer that i needed to use up.
so i tossed some root veggies (baby potatoes, baby carrots, onion) into the bottom of my trusty crockpot. added a few shakes of s&p, some garlic powder, a few oz of veggie broth. i topped the veggies with the thawed ribs and it's cooking away on low.
smells yummy!!

i'm also going to make some braised greens since we got a ton of them in our CSA box this week. i'll sautee them up with some crushed garlic, onion, s&p, dash of hot sauce and some EVOO.

speaking of my CSA box, i'm going to start a weekly post of what i got and what i plan to do with it. should be fun.

i'll do this weeks post maybe later tonite...if i get around to it. ;)

what's on your plate tonite??

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

quick cleanse

cleansing is good for the's also good for the body. ;)

i've been feeling a little sluggish lately and like my system is getting bogged down with allergies and icky stuff, so i'm doing a quick cleanse.

i'm starting with one day...tomorrow. just a quickie.

i may continue it a few more days, but i tend to set these mile-high goals for myself and then crash and burn.

so, one day.
baby steps and all.

i'm doing the arden's garden cleanse. you can buy it premade at harrys (which is what i did) or you can make it yourself.

anyway, i'll let you know how it goes.

wish me luck!!

the trampoline

oh my goodness.
we are so blessed.

our neighbor, who happens to be our landlord, just GAVE!! us a trampoline for liam.
yep. just gave it to us.

for some kids this might be just a fun thing to have, but for US it's a form of therapy for our sensory-seeking little man.

let me tell you about today...

i held liam off until the two littles were napping because there isn't a net around the thing and liam is sure to bounce his sister right off, so i waited.
well, the time came and i let him loose.
friends, this kid spent 3 hours out there this afternoon.

he would bounce and bounce.
when he got tired he would lay there and look up at the trees.
a few times i even caught him singing praise songs while running around on it.

there is nothing. NOTHING. that will bring tears to a mama's eyes faster than seeing her son loving life and loving God at the same time.
he was singing "HOLY HOLY HOLY" and then crashing down on himself while laughing his guts out.
i stood on the porch and cried tears of thankfulness and complete joy.
i saw my son in a place that he was free. FREE!
free from the stress of not being like others.
free from the burden of not being able to talk and relate.
free from everything.
he was praising God because he felt great joy.

thank you, silvia.
your gift has touched our hearts on so many levels.
and now our boy has an escape.
an escape that is much needed.
and we are SO grateful.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


when you see a mama with lots of littles, please do not ask her if she knows "what causes that".

because likely, that mama already has enough on her plate.

likely, that mama is working her butt off to help support her family.

likely, that mama takes great pride and joy in the littles that you see as a burden.

likely, that mama is feeling the need to be perfect in a broken world and is doing her very best to shape and form her babies in the way God has called her.

are there exceptions to this? yes!

but is it something that you need to make her feel less of a woman about? no.

grace is a wonderful thing.

it is what God gives us every. single. day.

verses about grace

Friday, October 3, 2008

did you pray for your children and your spouse today?

the power of prayer is so amazing.
how much effort does a prayer take? not much.
how much effect does a prayer have? countless effects.

think about the ones you love that are being shaped and formed each minute and zero in on the areas that YOU see a need for change.
don't harass them.
don't make them feel small.
PRAY for them.
and then sit back and watch what happens.

i have been making an effort to do this lately and the changes i have seen in such a short time are amazing.

you will be amazed too.

don't know where to start?

here ya go:

for children

for your spouse

may you be blessed in ALL walks of your life and experience GOD in everything that you do.



oh yes we are!!

i am so excited about jenny mccarthy's new book.

read it!!! feel it!! let me know what you think.

i am putting it off (to my dismay) because i need to get into it and feel i do...and i just don't have the luxury of down time right now. that's will happen!

here is another fellow "autie angel" mama's review:


if you have a family member with autism, a friend with a child who is autistic or are interested in autism at ALL then run and get it. get it and read it. let the stories and words seep into your being and then begin understanding why autie mamas do what they do.
support us.
we desperately need you.

much love...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

a day in the life (true story of 09/24/08)

12:15am - set my alarm for 4:00am, go to bed.

4:51am – my cell phone wakes me up…”heather where are you?” quick realization that I’ve slept through my alarm “I’ll be there in 10 minutes!!!”

5:02 am – arrive at starbucks “heather your shirt is on inside out” crap.

5:03 am – shirt on correctly, bust our butts and somehow manage to open on time

5:30 am – Ding! “welcome to starbucks, what can we get started for you?” repeat 5 or so times directly afterwards.

6:15 am – loud crash outside. I run out and realize there has been a huge crash just outside our store. I run to the scene and help one of the drivers out of the passenger side. The driver’s side was completely busted in and she’s bleeding. I yell “CALL 911” to my co-worker and escort the lady across the intersection to our store. It’s still dark out and cars are whizzing by. She is in shock. Another man stops and helps the other lady. I bring her up to the patio and my co-worker rushes out with the first aid kit.

6:45am!! - ambulance, fire truck, police etc arrive and we run back inside

6:50am – Ding! “welcome to starbucks” steam milk, pull shots, pour coffee, sell oatmeal “hope you enjoy your day”

7:00am – backed up traffic = cranky customers…try to keep a smile on.

7:15am – another couple of co-workers arrive and butt heads over everything. I diffuse petty arguments left and right…proving that I am, indeed, a mom.

8:00am – my shift supervisor and I have a misunderstanding. She snaps my head off. I secretly want to dress her in steamed soy, but instead ask if we can discuss the issue politely when we aren’t in a rush. Agreed.

8:15am – my pits remind me that I have forgotten to put on deodorant. crap. Ding! “welcome to starbucks” repeat a million times. Seriously.

10:45am – shift supervisor realizes on her own that she misunderstood and she apologizes. I forgive. Hug. Run out the door.

11:00am – kiss my babies, kiss my hubby. Chat on the phone with kel.

11:15am – I nurse cora while checking a few emails. Tim showers.

11:30am – toss kids around, put on a load of laundry. I ask tim if he’ll grill some chicken tonite. He says yes and pulls some out of the freezer to thaw.

11:45am – kiss tim and send him off to work

11:50am – feed kids lunch while singing “oldmacdonald” countless times at their request

12:00pm – change THREE poopy diapers. Put cora down for a nap.

12:30pm – tidy house up and make a mental note of the projects to get done today

1:00pm – mother’s helper arrives. I send her down to play with the kids. They are thrilled and I say a quick prayer of thanks that they are bonding. Life is looking up. I relish some alone time upstairs and make myself a quick lunch.

1:10pm – begin to unwind.

1:15pm – CRASH! I hear liam screaming bloody murder and run to the scene. He has a knot the size of a golf ball between his eyes and he is in out of control panic mode. “oh Lord oh Lord!” he has fallen off the swing in our basement and hit his head square between the eyes on a table. It’s huge and bruised already in the 0.5 seconds it takes me to make it to him. I access the situation, cannot get him under control, he starts to try to fall asleep and I do my best to keep him awake. Change another poopy (cloth) diaper. “Father God I need You”

1:20pm – I call tim to come home

1:30pm – we head to the nearest urgent care. They don’t accept our insurance. Crap.

1:35pm – head to urgent care #2…it’s no longer urgent care. Crap.

1:50pm – arrive at urgent care #3. Exam. Tears. MAJOR meltdown. (it’s hard when you’re 3 and you are scared, in pain and you don’t have the ability to express what you feel)
“keep an eye on him. If you see any of these signs go directly to the hospital. I think he is fine”

3:45pm – stop at the train shop to pick out a treat for such a rough afternoon. He is happy. “Thank you, Lord.”

4:00pm – send tim back to work

4:05pm – load all three kids in the van plus the mother’s helper to take her home. Drop her off and tell her not to worry, it wasn’t her fault. (she felt awful)

4:20pm – get some fries all around and a coke for me for heaven’s sake!

4:22pm – realize that the tank is on empty (sigh)

4:26pm – get in the 24-car long gas line and wait.

4:45pm – still waiting

5:15pm – still waiting. Cora starts to fuss. Call tim and ask if there is a better option since I need gas for liam’s vision test first thing tomorrow. He says he’ll take the van tonite and wait. “you’re awesome…thanks”

5:16pm – head home

5:30pm – feed the kids dinner

6:00pm – tim arrives home and I take cora in our bedroom to nurse, we both fall asleep.

7:00pm – CRASH! Garland is screaming. She has pulled the baby gate that I put on our bedroom door onto herself while trying to find me.

7:05pm – (yelling to tim) “I CAN’T DO THIS ON 3 HOURS OF SLEEP!!!!” I snap. It has just been all too much. (and really I got 4 hours and 36 mins of sleep, but it sure felt like 3 when I was yelling it) I retreat to the laundry room (???) to gather my brains.

7:06pm – tim comforts garland in a sweet daddy way

7:07pm – “tim, I really need to just get in the shower for a bit and collect myself.” he agrees.

7:45pm – emerge from the shower a much better mom…seek garland out and give her some really fun mama time to make up for the snap in my behavior. Try to ice liam’s head again.

8:05pm – put older two kids to bed with kisses and snuggles

8:10pm – tim informs me that he’s put the chicken back into the fridge and brings me a grilled cheese sandwich, cut just the way I like it and a mug of beer. He instinctively retreats to the playroom to watch TV so I can unwind without the TV blaring. “thank you God for my husband”

9:00pm – tim emerges from the basement asking…
TIM: “why do they call them ‘separate corners’ anyway? I mean, aren’t all corners separate?”
ME: “I have no idea, babe. Good question”
TIM: “I mean seriously. It’s a boxing term. What are the guys gonna do…retreat to the SAME corner, snuggle and then go back to beating the heck out of each other?”
ME: “well, hon. That’s kindof what WE do.”
We bust a gut laughing. Like really laughing hard.
TIM “I love you babe”
ME: “love you too”
We toast with beer mugs and comment on how crazy our life is these days.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

what's for dinner? CHILI NIGHT!

in honor of the crisp air we've been getting, i thought i would make up a big batch o' chili to kick the season off right! yum!

now folks, i have experimented with quite a few chili recipes in my day. some very complicated and some easy as pie.

my favorite is about the easiest thing you'll ever make and it is so tasty.

my mother in law's chili recipe.

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 can of bush's best chili beans
1 can of hunt's seasoned diced tomatoes for chili

brown up your ground beef and onions. drain. add other ingredients and let simmer.

now, to be honest, i've been known to add some crushed garlic in the beginning and sneak in some pureed veggies too. but that's just between you and me.

we like to top our chili with shredded cheddar, sour cream and fritos. put the hot sauce out too just in case it needs a little dash.

happy fall!

honesty. and heartbreak.

i promised myself that when i started a blog i would be real. it is *so* easy to candy-coat things on here and i'm not about that. never have been.

so here is a glimpse into the real world of heather altork.

i have been running this journey with so much passion it consumes me.

and then there are times that i let my guard down and the reality sets in and my heart breaks into a million pieces.
i had a quick 'reality moment' tonite that has me in tears and i feel so weak.

what do i do when kids make fun of my sweet boy?

how do i make them see that he has all of his feelings, he just can't express them?

what about when he's a teenager and other kids do things that he can't? like sports and prom?

and sleepovers. dear Lord, if he's ever invited how am i sure that they won't just use him as a form of entertainment?

my heart breaks tonite.

this road is hard.

i am *so* willing and ready to travel it, but GOD!!! it is hard.

a mother's love is something that i will probably never understand completely. it fuels me. it pushes me beyond limits i never knew existed.

please teach your kids about autism. help them understand. help me surround my precious boy with friends that will fight for him. he needs it.

thanks for letting me cry. i know you all care it's just the cruel world that i'm worried about.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

just pretty cool

i just have to share this.

over the past month or so i have had a scripture verse running through my head about all the work i'm putting into liam and getting him in the right place.

the stress level has been high about that because truly we NEED to get him as much help as possible while he is young enough to let is seep into his being. there really is a "window" there for autistic kids under the age of 6. i know this. i research my head off. i sacrifice sleep. i work weird hours. i tell myself that it will all be worth it in the end...and i really believe that, by the way! and yes, it DOES come naturally. anyone who has a kid knows what i'm talking about here. i'm not just some would do it too. ;)

BUT! i have been reminded by God at least 20 times a day that "not by might not by power..." and i have relaxed for that moment, re-focused and plowed ahead. He does this for me because He knows me so well. i mean, He made me, right? of course He knows me.

well, i put this 'bible verse of the day' gadget on here so that each day i *at least* get a daily dose of God's word to help me along. i put it on here 2 nights ago.

what is the verse for today?

Zechariah 4:6
September 19, 2008
He said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty."

out of all the verses in the Bible...this verse pops up on my most stressful day lately? um, yeah.

God meets me. where i'm at. all the time.

i think that is more than "just pretty cool" don't you?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

update on liam (autism)

we are making GREAT advances!!!

~intraKID one capfull once a day
~Flora Restore DF once a day
~topical glutathione twice a day
~topical B12 once a day
~detox suport by intagrative theraputics 3 times a day
~GSE by citricidal twice a day
~cod liver oil 1/2 tsp at night
~melatonin for nights when sleep is an issue 500 mcg at a time

~Nystatin 1/4 tab once a day to fight yeast

our doctors:
~dr m. hank sloan (our DAN doctor) DAN = defeat autism now!
~Vaishali Kute, MD our ped
~Dr. Alan Weintraub, MD our deveolpmental ped only used for official diagnosis...which he is great at!

our therapy:
~speech therapy at children's healthcare of atlanta 1x week
~eating therapy at children's healthcare of atlanta 1x week
~occupational therapy at children's healthcare of atlanta 1x week

still to come:
~in home therapy once a day
~added supplements
~ABA in home
~PLAY therapy in home
~a dog!!
~typical preschool (with a helper)
~swimming lessons (he looves the water)

special diet:
~GFCFSF diet (gluten free, casein free, soy free)

update on liam's life:
~liam is the happiest kid i have ever met.
he has all of his emotions, he has great eye contact, he sings his ABC's and old macdonald perfectly. he pushes his sister when he's mad and uses strong words to express his feelings.
this kid will amaze you...he is one of a kind and if you get the pleasure of being a part of his life then you are pretty darn blessed.

supplements/ special diet: $400/mo
therapy $800/mo
hearing your kid say with his own words that he "bonked his toe" PRICELESS!


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

my super yummy beefy veggie soup

i made a big batch of this and have been eating it all week. it's so easy that i thought i'd share since we're entering "soup season". nothin' like a hot mug of soup to warm your autumn soul.

~1 lb organic free range ground beef
~1 onion, diced
~EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
~2 cloves crushed garlic
~container of TJ's beef broth (the kind in the carton)
~a cup of diced potatoes
~a cup of precooked brown rice
~a packet of TJ's frozen organic veggies (peas, carrots, green beans, corn...)
~a large can of TJ's whole stewed tomatoes w/ basil, undrained
~couple splashes of worchestershire (i have no idea how to spell that)
~couple splashes of soy sauce
~salt and pepper to taste

brown up your meat w/ the onion, EVOO, garlic...drain fat.
add meat and all other ingredients to the crock pot, breaking up the tomatoes and simmer all day long.
add more beef broth as needed.
simple and delish!

Monday, August 25, 2008

The apostles creed

"I BELIEVE in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen"

i was thinking about this tonite and googled it.

well, as i was reading it i was caught by the phrase "He descended into hell"

wait. what?

has that always been in there? i grew up reciting this and i never once saw that?

what does that mean? Jesus went to hell? i'd love some comments on this one because i am a little taken aback by the fact that i never realized the weight of that phrase until NOW.

i'm going through a time of getting to the roots of my belief system and this caught me off guard for a second.

i guess it threw me off a little that i've recited something plenty of times before and never even explored what it meant.

off to google a little more...

Friday, August 22, 2008

my lasagna recipe

(since jennifer wants it)

it's really more of a method than a recipe, though. and i use very untechnical terms. ;)

sizzle up a pound of free-range organic ground meat (i use turkey, but you can use sausage or beef or ground chix...)
while the meat is browning, add whatever raw veggies you have in your fridge to the food processor and buzz it up.
(i usually use squash, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, green beans, onion, celery, any variety of bell peppers, spinach, a couple cloves of garlic...anything really.)

add a little EVOO to your ground meat and add your buzzed up veggies. sautee for a few minutes.
add 1 can undrained diced tomatoes, 1 can tomato sauce, i small can tomato paste, 1/2 a can of pureed pumkin (not pumpkin pie filling! be careful! and no, you can't taste the pumpkin), a splash or two of red wine, few sprinkles of red pepper flakes, italian seasoning (basil, oregano, parsley...), and a bay leaf. plus salt and pepper to taste.
let this sauce simmer as long as you can...the longer it simmers, the better it tastes.
i like to start it early and then put it in the crockpot on low to simmer all day long, adding a little veg broth if it needs it later in the day.

now, mix together one large container of small curd cottage cheese,2 eggs and some parmesan cheese. add a little italian seasoning to that also.
(here is where personal preference comes in...use ricotta if you like it better. sometimes i do half ricotta half cottage, but most always i just use cottage. you can also add silken tofu in the mix and you won't know it's there)

i use whole wheat no boil noodles. use your favorite.

spray your baking pan.

layer this way:
1) sauce
2) noodles
3) sauce
4) cheese mix
5) mozerella cheese
6) noodles
7) cheese mix
8) sauce
9) mozerella cheese

cover with foil. bake at 400 for 45 mins. remove foil. bake additional 15 mins until cheese is browned and bubbly. remove from oven and let sit for 10 mins before serving.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

fun times with liam today!

he loves the photo booth thing on the mac. it was a fun afternoon. i told him to do what i did and surprisingly he DID!!
garland was pretty freaked out by the whole you can see in the last pic. :)

late night with cora

i love it when i get to spend quality time with one of my kids...even if it is at 3am. lol.

Monday, August 18, 2008

sorry it has been so long...

...since i've done an update.

things are busy busy busy in the altork household and although there are many blog posts in my mind, there is very little time to get it accomplished.

i WANT to blog about...

~our vacay to st augustine (fabulous! i love my inlaws!)

~the food that we're eating on busy days to just get by (has anyone tried the zaxbys 'lil nibblers? darn those things...they tempt me more often than not)

~my sweet cora who melts my heart with her smile and the fact that she looks *just* like me as a baby tears my heart to bits. and the fact that i'm not nursing as much as i would like and well, that bothers me. we're working on that.

~my garland, precious only middle child (for now), who adores her older brother so much that she SCREAMS when he leaves her immediate vacinity and mirrors me to an extreme when she's hungry...and she has a rat tail for hair that i refuse to cut.
oh how i love to cram bows into that curly rat-tailed hair.

~my precious and special liam who has been officially diagnosed with autism and all the gut-wrenching feelings that tag along with that...along with the joy and beauty that comes with being blessed with the opportunity to raise a "special needs" child. oh the wonders of that boy! he kills me each day with the canned phrase "i want ME a HUG" and "i NEED me a kiss" and proceeds to climb into my (overtired) lap and smooch me right on the lips. how can anything else compare to THAT???

~my hot hubby who is somehow managing being a SENIOR EDITOR of a newspaper along with keeping the kids 3 days a week so i can work. how does he do it folks? HOW??? i love that man.

~my job at starbucks which i love but it pulls me out of bed at 4am too often.
i run this phrase though my head a millon times a day..."it's for the's for the kids" which is *so true* because the only reason i'm working is to cover insurance for this family. and i LOVE it. we are making it work within our means and that feels great to us!

~the fact that my toes and eyebrows need serious attention

~the discovery that the woodstock goodwill rocks...seriously buying everything from there from here on out. goodness.

~the new house. love it. LOVE IT!

and on a side note, if anyone can tell me how to get liam into an inclusive preschool for less than $1000 a month, i'm all ears. goodness.

that's all i've got tonite folks.

stay tuned.....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

new menu

i'm going a little trader joes crazy lately.
it's a great place to shop, my sister works there, it's right around the corner so it's easy to work in a shopping trip after work and well, everything is easy and good for you! can't beat that!!

our meals in no particular order:

~TJ's tilapia citronette that we never made last week. it has roasted veggies (asparagus and carrots) and instead of plain quinoa, i picked up a pack of TJ's "harvest grains blend" which has couscous, orzo, baby garbonzo beans and red quinoa. i'll cook it up in the rice cooker with some organic broth, EVOO and kosher salt

~TJ's mandarin orange chicken, organic jasmine rice, sauteed bok choy with garlic

~TJ's cabernet beef pot roast cooked in the crock pot with TJ's baby confetti potatoes (a mix of red, white and purple potatoes), TJ's french green beans sauteed with garlic.

~TJ's flame broiled turkey meatballs simmered in timmy's homemade BBQ sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, big salad

~grilled buffalo burgers on whole wheat buns, TJ's hawaiian style BBQ chips, sliced seedless cucumber, red bell pepper and carrots with TJ's tzatziki dip

lunches are pretty much always leftovers.

breakfast is our daily smoothie which i have discovered is awesome with TJ's coconut milk and starbucks matcha's just dried green tea and has a big antioxidant punch! i also make sure to sneak in organic spinach and half an avocado. it's a great meal first thing in the morning and the kids love it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

menu this week

lots of quick fix meals this week because we're so busy.
i'm only planning 4 meals a week since one of us is gone 3 nights a week lately.

(TJ's = trader joes)

meal #1
TJ's ham, caramellized onion and gruyere pizza, caesar salad

meal #2
TJ's tilapia citronette with grilled asparagus and sliced carrots, quinoa

homemade lasagna made with ground turkey, goat cheese, whole wheat noodles and my "special sauce" which includes tons of veggies and even pureed pumpkin!, TJ's garlic naan (we prefer this over garlic bread these days)

meal #4
kung pao chicken and broccoli over brown rice, TJ's coconut curry chicken stix

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

my babies

we had a great 4th of july and there is nothing better than dressing your kids alike and taking pics.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Sunday, July 6, 2008

a game of tag...

for my dear friend jen...

1. Were you married at the time? Yes.

2. What were your reactions when you found out you were pregnant? i was at my SIL and BIL's house and headed out to target early in the AM to get a test. it was glaringly positive. i remember looking at my reflection in the bathroom mirror and seeing myself as a mama.
i ran upstairs and shoved it in tim's face. he went nuts. it was one of the best moments in my life.

3. How old were you? hmmm. 27?

4. How did you find out you were pregnant? I took a test because i was off BC and obsessive about knowing if i was. i wanted to make sure i wasn't. haha. well, let's just say i was surprised!

5. Who did you tell first? tim. and then brian and linh. (sil and bil)

6. Did you want to find out the sex? Nope

7. Due date? april 1 2005. april fools day!

8. Did you deliver early or late? 7 days late

9. Did you have morning sickness? nope. just major food aversions.

10. What did you crave? taco bell bean burritos...hold the sauce.

11. Who irritated you the most? no comment ;)

12. What was your first child's sex? Boy

13. How many pounds did you gain throughout the pregnancy? 20lbs?

14. Did you have any complications during your pregnancy? nope

15. Where did you give birth? valley, alabama

16. How many hours were you in labor? 46 loooong hours

17. Who drove you to the hospital? timmy

18. Who watched? tim, laryssa, mil, mom, dad (dan and fil were outside the door)

19. Was it natural or c-section? natural forcep delivery

20. Did you take medicine to ease the pain? uh yeah. at 36 hours. i was climbing the walls.

21. How much did your child weigh? 7 lbs, 4 oz

22. Did your child have any complications? no

23. What did you name him/her? william (liam) baxter

24. How old is your first born today? 3

Saturday, July 5, 2008

our menu 7/5 - 7/11

TONITE: grilled korean bulgogi beef, jasmine rice, sauteed mix of broccoli, carrots and snow peas

SUN: leftovers (i work)

MON: homemade pizzas: one veggie, one meat, salad (we never had this last week)

TUES: chicken cacciatore over brown rice, salad

WED: leftovers (tim works)

THURS: red snapper piccata, orzo with zucchini (didn't have this last week either), corn

FRI: fried chicken, potatoes au gratin, green beans

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

when is the last time you pulled an all nighter?

i'm headed out the door for work.
it's 4 something in the morning and i've been awake since 6am yesterday.
tonight my kids decided mommy needs zero sleep....the fun events of the wee morning hours even included a trip to wal-mart for some rice milk...since, well, we were out and *someone* can't sleep without it.
let's hope i survive my morning shift at starbucks.
i think the last time i did this, i was in labor.
need sleep. need sleep.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

heart ramblings

i stay up way too late every night.
well, for one reason, i have a nursing baby that will awaken me even if i sleep, so i tend to take every opportunity while she's sleeping to get some personal time.
this happens from 1-3 am most nights. so. i'm up late. always.

i have a crazy life.

my kids are so close in age and that is starting to wear on me.

dear Lord, i wouldn't trade a single one of them, but goodness it is hard. so very hard.

my sweet liam has major developmental delays which adds quite a few challenges to the mix of raising babies.

i will have a lot more to say on that issue, but for now...

let me just say that life is interesting these days.

i am head over heels in love with my hubby, but we seem to be playing tag team with the working and watching over our little "arrows". it is hard to find time to just connect. i know that many of you out there understand.

i want to brag on him tonite because he took it upon himself to schedule a babysitter for us tomorrow nite so we could have a date. a real live date!!

we so need this. big time.

i have absolutely ZERO clothes that fit. (no idea what i'll wear on the date...)

my eyebrows have needed waxing for probably 6 months now and my toes? lets just say that pedicures aren't exactly on the top 10 of things that can happen when you have a million babies and zero time.

but! folks, i'm happy. shaggy eyebrows and all.

my heart hurts sometimes and i feel a little too "grown up" a lot of days and overwhelmed every single day, but goodness i'm blessed.

i am completely in love with my babies and my hubs hung the moon.

hard times are always going to be's just a matter of getting though them with a smile.

i still have that ability and for that, my friends, i am grateful. late nights and all.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

our menu this week...

we do have family coming in town this week, so the menu is a bit extra.

but anyway...

here we go...

tonite: my parents are in town and treated us to a seafood supper...yum! i had grilled grouper.

sun: ham and cheese paninis for timmy, tuna salad wrap for me at work.

mon: tim works late...i'll make a little pot of black beans and rice for me...maybe some homemade guacamole too.

tues: pork and cilantro sausage (hormone free!), homemade mac and cheese, collard greens, cornbread

wed: homemade pizza, salad (i have the BEST recipe for homemade pizza crust...ask me!)

thurs: broiled fish of the day (i get whatever is fresh and on sale at harrys farmers market), my friend denise's orzo w/ zucchini, prairie rolls

fri: grilled turkey burgers w/ fixins on whole wheat buns, sweet potato fries, pickle spears

sat: timmy's awesome ribs on the grill, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans


we did something fun today. so super fun!!!

my little brother, daniel, just graduated from high school and is getting ready to start college in the fall.

well, since we got our minivan, we have an extra *old* honda prelude that tim had been driving forever...i mean it's OLD. sporty with a sunroof, stick shift, awesome gas mileage...feels like driving a

tim bought a scooter to ride to work so we could save on gas and we also have the car we used before the van (old eagle given to us) for an "extra" car when tim needs to cart the kiddies around.

we were planning on selling the honda...getting *maybe* 1K for it at best, but we decided to surprise daniel with it as a gift while they are in town for a visit. we ran the idea past my folks and they approved...but said that dan would have to make the money himself to fix the AC, get insurance...etc.

so after a big family dinner tonite we all gathered 'round and tim reached in his pocket and pulled out 2 keys and handed them to dan.
tim said, "i've got these for you...maybe they go with something in the parking lot"

dan freaked!!

it was a blast to see how excited he was. he kept getting in and out of

my uncle gave us the eagle in the same way 3 years ago and we wanted to pass on the giving within the fam.

so super fun! if you have something to pass on, do it! the feeling afterwards is such a high!

yay for my little bro!

"new" job for me (and lifetime fitness)

there is one that opened literally 1/4 mile from our new house. they had major promotions going so we decided to go for it.


lifetime is so *nice*

i went there this morning at 3am to workout before my 4:45am starbucks shift (uh, yeah...not doing that again...too dang early)

but it is really a very nice gym.
we get 8 hours a week of rockin' childcare with the incredible security and a paging system if your child cries.
i can bring my kids in cloth dipeys too. whoot!
and there is a cafe with wifi, indoor and outdoor pools, a spa that offers everything from haircuts to pedicures to massage...all on site so you can drop your kids off in the child care and get your nails done or lay out by the pool.

we can walk there!!

i am a little overwhelmed by it. i feel very spoiled. i want to go there everyday just to take a shower and blow dry my hair alone. lol.

hopefully i'll get some definition going in this postpartum body.

yes. i've been an on and off starbucks employee for 10 years

i just went back after 5 years because we need a little extra to cover the costs of liam's special diet, his school in the fall and also for the amazing benefits.

the insurance that you get for working only 20 hrs/week will be great for his therapy and such.

so, yes...back to the working world at 4:45 am.
i HATE early mornings, but i also want tim to be with the kids while i work, so my shift ends at 10:45am and tim gets to work by 11.
it's perfect for us although i'm pretty tired.

liam's mental health means enough to me to do it, though.
also, i'm a double tall mocha junkie and that in itself is saving us money by working (free employee drinks)

way too cool!

the coolest thing ever happened tonite and i wanted to share!

when i was pregnant w/ garland tim and i were tossing around names and i mentioned that i had *always* loved the name "garland" ever since i had an aquaintence in college with the name.

he loved it and we decided that even though we wanted to use family names that it was the perfect name for her. we just *knew* it.

her name is "garland iris" with the "iris" being a tribute to my paternal grandmother because it was her favorite flower...also, garland was conceived at my late grandmother/grandfather's house (it is now a family house and we lived there for 3 years) and there are purple iris that spring up all around at the right time of year. my name, heather, is a purple flower and yes, we think way too much about

ALSO "iris" means "rainbow" which has deep meaning for us in that we had a double rainbow at our wedding on the beach AND when i was 3 mos preggo w/ her i started bleeding VERY heavily. on the way to the ER we saw a very random rainbow in the sky and i swore to God that if He would keep the baby safe, and if she was a girl, i would name her "iris" as a testimony to that. (we didn't know the sex at that point)

anyway, garland iris she is. she fits the name.

so fast forward to tonight.

my mom and dad are in town and have been doing some major geneology research on my mom's side...they put together a packet of info about it and we all were reading it and discussing.

my sister said "OMG! heather! look at this!"

apparently i am a DIRECT decendent of a lady named "elizabeth GARLAND" Shocked Shocked Shocked

is that not the coolest thing ever????????????

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

let's try this again

getting back on track.
we have been eating out waaaay waaay too much since about 2 months before cora was born.
i just didn't have any desire to be in the kitchen or have anything to do with food when i felt so huge from being pregnant.
but now i'm back!

~bacon egg and cheese on a toasted TJs multigrain english muffin

my absolute favorite bacon is applegate farms peppered bacon. i love the turkey bacon too.

i am so uninspired in this tiny apartment kitchen. we're moving in a couple of weeks and although the kitchen in the new house isn't that much bigger, it has more light and i won't feel like i'm cooking in a cave.

~glass of TJs "green plant" juice

seriously folks, don't be scared of this stuff. it looks like slime but it's power packed and very yummy. our whole family just loves it! we used to get odwalla "superfood" but it was like $7 a half gallon...this stuff is only like $3 and tastes practically the same. super yum.

~TJs organic bean and rice burrito w/ sour cream and salsa
~pelligrino w/ lime

~couple of TJs jo jo cookies

~curry chicken broccoli casserole over brown rice
~pelligrino w/ lime

this casserole is the standard recipe, but to make it a wee bit better for you try using health valley organic cream of chicken soup in place of campbells...and use vegenaise instead of mayo.
it's one of those comfort food meals for me.
i made this before cora was born and froze it so all i have to do is pop it in the oven.