wary of little sisterOkay, you all know my daughter Hannah can throw out the funniest one-liners.  She’s got the language, the attitude and the comic timing of a pro.  But she’s not the only kid in the family whose sophisticated sense of humor keeps me in stitches.  Alex’s humor is a bit harder to blog about– since most of the stuff that cracks him up is visual or slapstick (email me for the link to his YouTube channel if you like!)– but over the years there have been several memorable moments of perfectly-Alex funny which will always stick with me.

alex pumpkin2Alex loves to mix up words or find alternate meanings for words and phrases.  His receptive language, reading comprehension, spelling and writing abilities are right up there with super-smart typical kids.  Only difference is the challenge he has with expressive language and getting the words out.  For your reading pleasure, some of my favorite “Alex-isms” :


alex grinMe (talking out loud writing a grocery list):  “… tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, kidney beans… ground meat, chicken… Alex, would you help me write the rest of this?  Write down what you want at the store.” 

Alex (taking pen & paper):  “ketchup, mustard… butter… mutter… Mommy!”  with a big winky grin.  Hands paper back with the rest of list printed and a smiley face drawn and labeled “mommy.”


At bedtime, Alex breaks into spontaneous giggles during cuddle time:  “Mommy, go to SHeep!” 

Me:  “Go to SHeep?  Silly boy, you mean go to—” 

Alex:  “Baaaaaaaah!”


charming alexAlex (huge charming grin, playing his version of Scrabble):  “Word!” 

Me (laughing):  “Dude, truck-azonkquilapsafo is *not* a word!”


alex's bowl and plate artAlex (age 3 in doctor’s office, singing to himself while Mom & Dad consult with the nurse):  “Bah-munty.  Da funty munty. .. Bah-munty munty…” 

Dad:  “Wait a minute, our son is singing ‘Brass Monkey’ by the Beastie Boys!” 

(and indeed he was– in perfect rhythm!)


alex goodbye pleaseMe (walking Alex to the door to let in a home program teacher he didn’t particularly like):  “Let’s open the door for our friends.” 

Alex’s welcome message:  “Goodbye, please.”


alex laundry chuteWhen Alex was a baby, I made up some ridiculous nicknames for him (as all new mommies do when they babble with their newborns).  One of my favorites was “Bunny Luv Pickle Pop” and I used to sing it to the tune of “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” by the Temptations.  One of Alex’s first home program teachers finished a session of discrete trial training with him, spontaneously turned to Alex and in an animated voice said “Bunny Luv!!” to which 4 year old Alex responded without hesitation, “Pickle Pop!!”

*x*o*x*o*happy kiddos

:~) Quote for the Moment (~:


In any moment, we can take refuge in awareness & love. When we get lost, we need only pause, relax open to what is Here & re-arrive in the natural presence that is our true home.      ~Tara Brach

How to meditate (remember to breathe!)

:~) Quote for the Moment (~:


 “Depression cannot hit a moving target.”

  ~Author Unknown

Run, Run, Run! 

Move, Move, Move!



Today’s Gratitude List

peace hands

Today I am grateful for:

  • Community.  This weekend I had the good fortune to be at an Imago workshop surrounded by people seeking to improve their relationships and enrich their lives.  I was humbled by how *included* I felt & how powerful it was to be immersed in such a supportive community.  Over the last several years the “village” in which my family & I live has expanded in beautiful & amazing ways.  I am grateful for all those wonderful connections.
  • Love.   Like *wake-up-in-the-morning-knowing-someone-cares-most-about-you* kinda love.  How blessed I am to feel that & know for certain that I matter most to such an extraordinary person.  And when I have the chance, I will write out that beautiful unwinding tale for you all.   Stay tuned for the “L-Word” post…
  •  The still “littleness” of my daughter.  Last night as I carried Hannah from the car to the office to meet her dad, I was struck by how physically little she still is, even though her mind is big beyond age 6.  Her sleepy head rested on my shoulder and her tiny arms wrapped around my neck.  I am grateful for all those moments– when I can feel her breathe and know the weight of her body, when I can wrap her up in my arms and keep her safe.  It reminds me how big my responsibility really is.
  • Alex.  Just plain Alex.  If I write more, I will probably start to cry again.  I miss my boy, I want him home with me.  At this moment I am just grateful he exists and that he is safe and cared for.  I prayed so hard nearly 12 years ago that he would come into my life.  No matter how challenging the journey, I am grateful he is mine.


What are you grateful for today?  Share it with someone you love!

The “D” Word

Here it is:   the big, bad “D” word I’ve been avoiding in my writing:


Fourteen years ago yesterday I was a real princess, a glowing bride in the most beautiful formal ceremony of my life.  My mother officiated.  I started down the aisle and actually saw– in reality– the vision I had seen months earlier when I slipped into my wedding dress for the first time at Kleinfeld’s in Brooklyn and turned to face the mirror.  A dear friend who years later would make her debut at the Metropolitan Opera graced us with her amazing voice, singing the Ave Maria.  Family members read poems, our friends stood with us to witness.  The weather was perfect, the day was long and fun and extended well into the night.  Everyone laughed, cried, danced and celebrated.  It was all perfect and I felt a joy and spiritual peace about the world and the start of my new married life.

People cheered us on that day because they loved us and they knew– beyond a shadow of a doubt– that we would make it.  If any couple could overcome any obstacle, could stick together through any storm, it was us.

… beyond a *shadow of a doubt* …

Our 99.9% “guarantee” on a happy life which our friends predicted that day did not include autism.  Or extreme challenges.  Or changes so overwhelming that we could not have possibly imagined them in any way, shape or form because we had no clue what it could be like to live in Holland—we were happily headed for Italy and we were confident.  Fast forward fourteen years…

The night before last after Alex was asleep, I sat down on the hard wood coffee table in the darkened living room to close my eyes for a few minutes and let in the reality of where my life had gone.  The bright light in the foyer shone down on the curtains on the front door and crept toward where I sat, just out of reach of it.  I took a deep breath and felt my feet on the ground, the table supporting my weight.

“This is what it is, fourteen years later.  Everything has changed, and Mom is gone.”

Soundless, warm tears welled up and meandered down my cheeks.  I let it in a little more, and breathed through it as if I were softening into a yoga pose, feeling that hurt, but knowing it was somehow a good pain.

I opened my eyes and looked toward the door.  At the bottom of the old, crinkled curtains, the light cast tiny shadows in the folds.  The shadows appeared to form letters across the edge of the fabric, as if someone had written in pencil in a tall, thin, fancy font. 

I closed my eyes again and mentally walked through the house, imagining how it had once been and what I had loved about it.  I felt the joy of caring for my home, my family, my married life.  I felt the pain and disappointment at the loss of those dreams.  More tears.  But this time with resignation.  Many times in the last few years I had come to a crossroads.  There was always an answer, a new direction to take.  Many leaps, always a net to catch me.

So what now?  I opened my eyes again and focused on the curtain.  What were those letters anyway?  Could I read them?  Bit by bit, I followed the penciled shadows across.

S.. t.. a.. r.. t   O.. v.. e.. r



Today’s Gratitude List

xmas family

Today I am grateful for:

  • Family.  Writing.  Journals.  Hopes.  Dreams.  And packrats.  Because when you put all that together, you get the amazing blessing I received yesterday from my Dad.  In the middle of a routine day of getting work done, taking care of a thousand things and trying to juggle my usual life, my father handed me two neatly-typed packets of information he had saved for over 30 years– the autobiographies he and my mother had written which were included in my brother’s adoption paperwork.  What a gift!  A peek into the hopes & dreams of my young parents, an affirmation of their faith & commitment to family, a testament to their persistence & once again a permanent reminder about how lucky I am to have been a loved & cherished child.  Thank you, Dad.  You rock!

What are you grateful for today?  Share it with someone you love!

tree of life


Han and momIt has come to my attention that lately I’ve been making a lot of people cry.  While gathering throngs of people around my blog who are weeping and passing tissues can be kinda fun (in a sadistic helping-professional way of course  **insert head tilt, supportive smile & sugary sweet nod here**  hehe), I thought perhaps I should lighten things up a bit.

Which brings me to the question, “What’s so funny anyway?”  What makes me laugh the most these days?  My daughter’s witty comments and funny insights on the world.  To understand what makes some of the following Hannah-isms so absolutely hysterical, you have to understand a bit about my little girl.

hannienme2First off, Hannah is mini-me.  I don’t say that to be conceited– I actually think it’s more that I’m a giant version of her than she is a mini-version of me.  But we do look alike, we have the same facial expressions, the same goofy sense of humor and propensity toward being dramatic.  We both laugh at fart jokes, unlike the more modest males in the family.

hannahWhat differentiates us is that I’m a petite full-grown brunette, and she’s a little blondie who’s about a head shorter than most of her kindergarten peers.  Oh yeah, that and the fact that *technically* I’m still the adult and she’s the child, although I swear she teaches me more about the world than most adults I know.  And sometimes my goofy antics make people think I’m younger than I actually am anyway.

Hannie and I both can be alternately sweet and charming or stubborn and angry as all get-out.  Especially when we want something.  Maybe it’s the Taurus bull zodiac sign we share.  Who knows?  When we were getting ready for our day this morning and I giggled at something that Hannah did not think was funny, she growled at me.

I smiled and said, “That’s the little bull.”

Hannah replied, “Mommy.  That is *not* funny.  And I.  am not.  a bull.”

I tried to stifle my grin and get serious, but couldn’t resist muttering, “But your mommy is a bull.”

At which point she growled again and said, “You.  are *alone* in that.”

fancy bunTwo minutes later, she finished brushing her teeth, hopped down off her bathroom stool, hugged my leg really tight and said sweetly, “Mom, I wasn’t serious.  You are not alone.  I love you” with a big smile.  Then she danced off to put on her shoes.

Yup, that’s my little girl.  Content and patient, happily determined, a strong-willed little entity who only takes out those bull horns and charges when someone waves something red in front of her.  The rest of the time, she’s sitting with her mommy bull in a field of clover, actively enjoying the world and appreciating the sunshine.

hannie in sunglassesHannah began speaking early.  My mother says I was “born talking” but I didn’t quite get what she meant until I had Hannah.  When Hannie was one year old, I held out two hair ribbons and asked which one she wanted.  She looked them over, reached out her tiny hand, pointed and said, “I want da green bow.”  Five words, twelve months.  Not too shabby, eh?

Today for your reading pleasure and amusement, here are some of my favorite “Hannah-isms” from the past year. 

on arachnology & the internet:    “Spiders have automatic things like cobs & webs & connectors.  Connectors are things inside spiders that connect with the world wide web.  They are inside the spiders’ toes.”

on Christmas Eve traditions:    (looking thoughtful & concerned)  “Mommy, do you remember last Christmas Eve when we put the carrots on the plate?  (Yes.)  Those were for the reindeer.  But I don’t know why people let reindeer in the house– they make a lot of poop!”

on playing up personal attributes:    “Mommy, you know what’s great about me?”  (flashes charming smile, tosses hair over shoulder like a model)  “I can cough and sneeze and fart– all at the same time!”

Five year old *girl* on reactions to fear:    “Oh my gosh, Mommy, if I get scared on Halloween, I’m just going to scream like a little *boy*!!”

on dieting and accurate measurements:    (Hannie walks up behind me, ruler in hand)  “Mom, I just measured your butt and it’s 40%”  Shakes head disapprovingly and walks out of the room.

on breakfast variety:    “Hannah, do you want the usual ‘eggs made with love’ for breakfast?”  (thinks a minute)  “No, Mom.  Today I want eggs made with sweet love… and salt.”

strong HannieMe:  So Hannah, I’m doing this blog, and I’m writing about funny stuff.  Like when you sing funny words to songs.  And when you make butt jokes.  I love that.  He he.

Hannah:  Yeah.  Okay, that was weird, Mom.  Whatever.

Today’s Gratitude List


Today I am grateful for…

  • A safe, easy trip in the snow (sing it with me:  to Grandmother’s house we go…)
  • The fact that Alex & Hannah played magnificently with their cousins, shared toys, were helpful, peaceful & just a joy to be with– all day!  Yes, that’s right.  We changed the routine, traveled out of state, ate different food, played with different toys & drove in unusual weather.  And both of my kiddos remained *magnificent* through it all!  I am so proud of them.
  • Grandma’s pasta & meatballs, specially gluten-free for Alex & me!
  • Fuzzy, comfy pajamas.
  • A glance at the past.  Flipping through pictures of extended family when they were young children made me remember how circular life really is.  Love matters.  Moments matter.
  • The fact that I know– without a doubt– we created moments today.


What are you grateful for today?  Write it down & email me!