Fair fun

Friday night was a jamboree for my big kids. I was home with the rugrats. Friday night is pizza night and they are always excited for that.:)

Saturday was Special Needs Day at the Wilson County Fair. The fair normally opens at noon, but they opened early at 10am for special needs families. From what I hear, last year attendance was around 1,000. This year the attendance almost doubled so the line to get in was a lot longer. We did have to register by Wednesday. They allowed two people to get in free with every special needs attendee. That means free entrance and rides. Yes, the line was long to enter, then another line to get your name checked off and ride ticket, followed by another semi long line to get your hand stamped.

Jake left me and walked straight over to the clown. hahahaha Surprisingly, neither were scared of him. wow.

All-in-all, it took us about an hour to get in. The boys were getting very fidgety, but they made it. lol!

As you can see, the first rides were a success!!

Jesse’s favorite ride were the swings. He rode the little one once, but the BIG one three times. He was JUST BARELY tall enough. We had to keep going back to them:)

The longest we waited for a ride was about 20 minutes for the Mouse Trap. Jake LOVED it. Jesse loved it until it started spinning and then he was over it. :p

Our attempt to get everyone in and smiling didn’t work so well.

After a few hours, the boys had enough. It was a rough start, but quickly became so much fun. I can’t tell you how it felt to look around and be totally accepted. No one was staring at my boys when they became over stressed. No whispers, no sad eyes. Everywhere you looked there were meltdowns, flapping, Eeeeeeing, tears, wheelchairs, and braces. The fair was full of special people, both young and old, with special needs. It was comfortable to let my boys be exactly who they are… Jake & Jesse.

Awe, the girls had to get a shirt before leaving.

After going home, having lunch, and taking a breather, it was time to get ready for The Color Run Night with a couple of friends. It was my first night run and I didn’t really know what to expect. Here are our before pics…

and our after pics…

It was a lot of fun. The best thing was that I ran the whole race thanks to a friend keeping me encouraged along the way. It was only a 5K, but it was the first one that I have actually ran the entire way through since surgery this summer. woohoo! I’m glad to be back.:)I have quite a few races planned for this fall.

Today, we enjoyed a great service at church, got a few groceries for a home cooked meal this afternoon, and now we are just relaxing and snuggling. I didn’t get to blog the fair opportunity in advance because I didn’t have this blog up and going, but from now on I will share the information so that other special needs family can have some fun, too. Also, I added a resource tab at the top. It is empty right now. I will be adding information to it this week and along the way.

Hope you all have had a great weekend, too!! I’ll be blogging our back to school experiences this week, so check back in.;)

Well, hello there

Three years?? It’s been over three years since I have blogged?!? I have shot more than a few sessions since then, but life happened. Let me catch you up a bit and explain what is about to happen here…

In late 2012, after a lot of soul searching and researching, I made the decision to move my little family to Tennessee. Although I wasn’t born in Tennessee, I did spend many younger years here and it always felt like “home” to me. I was scared, then excited about our next adventure. The thought of moving my 4 younger children over 500 miles by myself was very intimidating. Lots of thoughts crossed my mind, so I did what I do best… I planned and prayed. I knew that I wanted my teens to go to school with their cousins, especially since the high school was highly regarded for sports and academics. check. Next, I started searching the elementary schools that fed to this high school. I needed the BEST I could find for my little guys since they are “special needs.” check. After that, I utilized Facebook to reach out to some of my old Antioch HS classmates. I wanted recommendations for dentists and pediatricians trained to care for our specific needs even though I wasn’t completely sure what those needs were just yet. check. Come spring, I needed to find a suitable house. I wanted to leave as soon as school ended so that everyone had time to settle in before school started back. I had a few requirements on my list… 1) good neighborhood 2) 4 bedrooms 3) garage- for safety. (I pull in, close the door, then let my little guys out.) 4) fenced in back yard 5) within my budget (honestly, this was blown, but my kids’ needs come first) Guess what?!? We found it. check. Due to the way that things just fell in to place, there was never a doubt in my mind that this was in God’s plan for my life.

We made the move first of June. Yes, it was hard, but needed to be done. Now, let me tell you what all has transpired since then…

My precious, first born, Tori decided to stay in Georgia. She is an adult and I respect her decisions, but miss her terribly. Her beautiful smile can light up the dark and she always seems to send me a text, FB message, sweet little card or gift at just the right moment. Although I visit with her on my trips down, I am still hoping to get her up here for a visit. Wish me luck.:)

The teens are thriving and loving being so close to everything. Coming from a small, five redlight town with a single A high school for the whole county to a HUGE 6A school was daunting, I’m sure, but they have loved it. Tracer loves the sports and Taylin loves the academics… and the sports… and the activities. Actually, she loves it all. They have both had their first and second jobs- Chuck E. Cheese and Lifeguards at the YMCA. Tracer is now entering his senior year and considering the NAVY. I am very proud of him. He has matured so much and his looks show it. Omg, sometimes I look at him and wonder where my mean, loving, mischievous little guy has gone? In his place is a handsome, self assured almost man.:(Speaking of his looks, I gotta plan his senior session. Yep, I’ll be shooting it. Taylin is a junior. She gets involved in everything she can. Truly. lol. She just got back from another summer program with Duke TIP. She studied Law at UGA. Currently, she has her sights set on Vanderbilt. Uh, yea, money would be a HUGE issue if she gets accepted. :/

As for my little guys, they are doing GREAT. My wonderful pedi sent them to Vanderbilt for evaluation. Diagnosis? AUTISM. Yes, both of them. No, not high functioning. They are 8 1/2, but function on a preschool level. That sounds horrible, yet it doesn’t describe them. They are both on the Autism Spectrum, meaning that they are both autistic, but they both display widely different traits. Yes, it does seem like a cruel joke… you would think that since God blessed me with TWO autistic little guys that he would have at least made their treatments similar. Nope. That’s ok. I got this. (On most days, anyway) They are at a wonderful school, receive therapy at an awesome place, and I introduce them to as many new experiences that I can. Don’t worry, I will be writing about their care and treatment later. I hope for this blog to be a wealth of information regarding autism.

haha.That should say CHILDREN.;)

How about me? Well, I work prn at a local clinic. Clinic makes it sound small, but it’s actually HUGE with just about every specialty you can think of along with a surgery center. Due to the needs of my boys, I am unable to work fulltime. I have been working online for the past year to obtain my BSN. I think I have around 13 credits left. I thought about nurse practitioner, but now I am not so sure. I am researching something more home based so that I can be assured to be available when my little guys need me. I reconnected with old high school friends and made lots of new friends. I’ve now been exposed to things that are SO MUCH FUN! I have been hiking, camping, white water rafting, kayaking, and my next BIG adventure will be sky diving. I have also taken up running, completing a few fun runs, but have fallen in LOVE with OCR/mud runs. OMG! Talk about fun??? Yes, I am addicted. I completed a few last year. After an injury plus a couple surgeries, I had to sit out winter and spring. Last month I got the all clear from my surgeon that I could start my activities slowly. Slowly? What is that? How does one even do that? Well, me? Not so much. Two fun runs behind me and another this weekend. I have a mud run in September and the Warrior Dash in October, but the one I am looking forward to is the Spartan towards the end of October. I’m so excited!!! It will be my first so I have been preparing with workouts and running. As for my personal life, I will only say that there is a very special person in my life. We originally met and had a “thing” in high school. He is a great guy and I like having him around. Enough about me.

My plans for this blog is to become a little bit of a resource for parents with special needs kiddos. I will share some of the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ll let you take a peek into our daily life. (Oh, and I’ll occasionally throw in a photo session when they come up. They are rare nowadays. So, if you special needs parents need photos, and YOU DO, then I am your girl. I know it’s a tough thing to do, but I get it.) You are not alone. To most people, I seem to have it all together, but, the truth is, I am mostly flying by the seat of my pants. There is NEVER a dull moment in this house. I really heavily on schedules/routines. It seems to make things run smoother and my little guys NEED it. I’ll share more of our routine, what has helped/hasn’t helped later. Do I know everything about raising kids with special needs? Heck NO and I don’t pretend, too. I am always open to suggestions.:)For now, here I am and welcome to my little world. ❤

{ Mike & Cicely plus 2 }

I have been blessed to have met today’s featured family through my sweet friend, Nellie. Nellie and Cicely are Navy wives and great friends. They are also two of the sweetest women that I have ever met. They also happen to have beautiful families which I have had the pleasure to photograph numerous times. I adore all of my “clients,” but it’s even better when they become great friends! Only problem with Navy families, you get attached and they have to move.:(Nellie is already in Virginia and Cicely will be leaving this summer. Hmmm, guess that means that I will need to fly on up there for a visit!;)
Back to today’s blog-
Cicely wasn’t sure that she wanted a maternity session. I’m glad that she changed her mind. We met at a little park in Jacksonville and managed to capture my favorite maternity image of all time! It will be a HUGE canvas in my studio. As you can see below, the session was almost magical.
This past Monday I got to meet the newest member of the family… sweet, little Claire. Oh my goodness! What a doll to join gorgeous, big sister, Grace! I spent a few sweaty hours posing and cuddling Claire and playing with Grace. I believe the resulting images are some of my best. The first one of Mike and Claire… yea, that one will be a huge one in my studio, too! With 3 beautiful princesses, I think Mike is a very blessed man.:)

Rebecca - May 8, 2012 - 7:56 pm

Beautiful photos of a beautiful family!

F a c e b o o k