Sep 27, 2011


What an absolutely delightful story. It is of a young adult, Justin Canha, who is transitioning to the real world - he also has autism. You will not regret reading all 10 pages of this NY times article! Autistic and Seeking a Place in an Adult World.

"In 'Jickey Goes to Behavior Therapy,' Dr. Fanky P. Wolf gets his eyes gouged out by his patient, Jickey, whom he is prodding to make eye contact."
One of Justin's cartoons.
If you don't have time to read the article, watch the video (though it's not nearly as comprehensive):

Sep 25, 2011

Because this is for real

Have you ever read a book that you really liked and then halfway through, you realized it was fiction?

What about a movie that touched or inspired you - and then you learned it was all made up?

I'm the kind of person who enjoys fiction and really gets into it, but I get really disappointed when I think a story is real, and then learn it's not. ie: a book I'm reading right now - "out of my mind," or "Charly," or "Harry Potter." Okay, so I know Harry Potter isn't real (or do I??). Like, what if Anne Frank's story turned out to be a fraud? I would be super disappointed. Why? Because she is inspiring! I've learned so much from her and I would hate for it to be fake.

Well, there is a book that I know is real, with all of my heart and mind: The Book of Mormon. I read that book and I do not have to wonder if what I'm reading is made up. It is a record of the lives and faith of people who lived in ancient America. It is a testament of Jesus Christ; that He lives and that He is our Redeemer. I invite you to read it and then ask God for yourself if it is true.


Sep 21, 2011

Perfectionism or Impatience?

Which one will out?

Here is my Maybe Matilda crochet project thus far, all 2 or 3 inches of it. And already I am faced with a dilemma.

Notice that I finally found pillows that match the couch!! :)

Will I cave to my perfectionist or my impatient tendencies? Because neither can live while the other survives. Maybe I'm being a little melodramatic. Still, it is a problem that caused me to stop my work until I figure it out (that's my efficiency/laziness coming out - after all, it's only 4 rows! haha). You see, on the fourth row I learned something about my crocheting technique; I learned how to keep the stitches tighter by crocheting in front of the project instead of on top. What? That doesn't make sense? Well, the result is that the stitches on the first three rows are looser than the rest of the cowl will be.

So if I were a perfectionist, I would patiently undo, then redo the project. But if I were impatient, I would just keept going and hope the original looseness wouldn't show. Especially because I've already started over twice.

What would you do?

Hurry up and tell me, already!

Sep 15, 2011

College for students with disabilities

In this ever advancing world, bachelors degrees are replacing high school diplomas as the minimum job requirement. This generally means that if you plan to have a decent job - one with a salary that can support you (and your family) - you need to go to college. "Your mom goes to college." (It just felt like a good time to say that...)

So what does this mean for people with disabilities?

Background: The law requires that, if eligible, people with disabilities receive special education services until age 21 - though that does not include college (I'm unsure whether by going to college they automatically unqualify or if they are still entitled to other services). College is a whole new world. "Child Find" is no longer in effect. Meaning that the state, university, or any organization is not required to "identify, locate, and evaluate" people with disabilities. Thus, students need to take initiative if they want accessibility and adaptions from teachers or the university itself.

Issue: I'm not here to argue whether students with disabilities (specifically intellectual disabiliites) should go to college - I would strongly advocate for them to receive support in completing a college degree if they desire. In fact, I'm not going to argue at all (sorry Doug and Brian). I just found this really cool program and I want to share it with you.

What I think: I think this program is awesome: REACH Realizing Educational and Career Hopes is located at the College of Charleston, South Carolina. It is a 4-year post-secondary program designed for people with intellectual disabilities. The College of Charleston provides tutors, mentors, and a supported internship during the junior and/or senior years. I am excited about this program because I hope it will give these people the skill set they need to get a job, retain it, and to do the job well. It is common knowledge that having a job provides independence, a sense of accomplishment and self-worth, and personal development; what more could you want?

Reed Hahne
Reed Hahne is a student at Utah Valley University. He also has Down syndrome. One of my professors, Tina Dyches, talked about him in a speech she gave at BYU. She played a video of Reed and this what he said:
I am a young man who goes to school at Utah Valley State College, where I have a 4.0 grade point [average]. I have to work extra hard in college to earn good grades. I told my mom that there are two things about college that I don’t like: homework and tests.

I also am a young man with Down syndrome. That is one of my characteristics. It is a part of who I am, but it is not all of who I am. All of us are distinct individuals. Some of you are tall or short. Some of you have blue eyes and blond hair; others of you have black hair and brown eyes. Some of us have to study hard to get good grades, while others have to work really hard to be good swimmers and runners. Everyone is gifted in some way.

I just finished performing in the musical Ragtime. I love school and I love performing. I want the same things that all of you want in life. I want to be happy. I want to have opportunities to get a good education and a good job. I want people to listen to me and respect me for my abilities and knowledge. I have many characteristics. I am fun to be around—I love people and making new friends. I’m good-looking. I’m a leader and a self-advocate. I love learning new things, trying new foods, and going to new places. Some other gifts that people with Down syndrome have are [things such as] we have lots of love to share, we are loyal and affectionate, [and] we help all of you to slow down and learn lessons about what is really important in life.

I know that I have Down syndrome because it is part of God’s plan for me and for the earth at this time. I have been told by the Lord that I was sent here at this time to perform special work that only I could do. I have been told that I will have influence upon people that no one else could possibly have and that the Lord has a great work for me to do. I know part of my mission on earth is to be a teacher for other people with disabilities.

It is really hard for me when people look at me and see only the Down syndrome. Sometimes people talk to my parents, asking them questions about me when they should talk to me. I have opinions. Sometimes people call each other “retards.” This is so very disrespectful in so many ways. If a person has a disability, it doesn’t mean that they can’t learn; it just means that they may learn a different way and that some things might take them longer to learn. I think people get in the habit of calling names and then use disrespectful words without realizing their meanings.

Nauvoo was my second mission. My first mission was at the institute of religion in Orem. Then I went to Nauvoo. While I was there I was called to be an ordinance worker in the Nauvoo Temple. I learned all of the temple ordinances. This really surprised many visitors to Nauvoo. I also performed, and I learned all of the scripts for the historic sites. It surprised people that I could do all of this. When we are given a chance, people with disabilities can do so many things.

It is important to look at each other and see our strengths and know that each of us is a child of God. He loves us, [and] He has given us potential and opportunities to grow on this earth.

I have a testimony of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and President Hinckley. I read the scriptures every day. Thank you. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Read or listen to the speech here.  I also encourage you to read this article from UVU which talks more about his academic story: Student Success Story. From his words, it is evident that Reed has self-confidence and that he works hard and succeeds at school despite his personal challenges. He inspires me to work hard to believe in people, and to see people for who they truly are.

Sep 8, 2011

Past the point of no return

I just did something a wee little bit scary, exciting, adventurous, etc. Needless to say, I'm going out of my comfort zone on this one and trying something new. Crocheting! with Maybe Matilda (who is actually one of Doug's friends from NY and is a totally awesome person besides). She is offering a crochet along (haha, every time I type crochet I spell it wrong and have to redo it..) and I signed up! Crazy, right? I don't even have needles hooks! 

Okay, truth is, I have crocheted before. I made a bath soap holder (don't ask), and some flowers that I attached to hair pieces. And I do have hooks, they're in Utah - Maria is sending them to me -  I just haven't picked them up in 3 years. So now that you know the truth, I'm still a little "scurred" (as my Anu would say!) but I'm committing myself, hence the post.

So this is what we're making:  
what color(s) should I do??
Will mine look that cute? Probably not. Will I ever wear it? eh, perhaps. But the adventure is on and there's no turning back. I needed something new to break up the humdrum of moving in, getting a new job, starting a new calling, learning where the grocery stores are, and meeting new people. 

Wanna do this with me?? Please do! I'd love some extra support. I added her button (on the left side of the blog) to make it easy peasy. Just for you. :)

Sep 6, 2011

Southern Hospitality

This morning, I went to the CVS minute clinic to get a shot, and this is what my medical papers looked like when I walked out the door:

Yes, covered in sticky notes. Sticky notes with restaurants ("if you want authentic southern cuisine, go to Ma Ma Dipps!"), grocery stores, a family practitioner, a doctor for Doug, the best (and honest) dentist around, the preschool to send my kids to, and the best private school in the area ("don't go to the public schools!"). My visit ended up lasting 40 minutes because she kept slapping sticky notes onto my papers. I loved it. She was the sweetest woman and told me to come back when I was pregnant so she could tell me which OB to go to and to please come back if I had any questions about doctors, or resources, or anything.

Yes, I think I'm going to like it here.

Sep 4, 2011


Do you like Indian food? Well I do! And this weekend I was brave enough to actually make some with Emily Ferguson. (I tried before, but let's not bring that up...)

 Behold, our Chicken Tikka Masala:

We tripled - so we could have leftovers!- the recipe from (with some alterations) which had lots of positive comments. We ate it with jasmine rice and flatbread instead of basmati rice and naan. Maybe next time we'll be more adventurous. 

The whole process was surprisingly easy and very inexpensive. We spent $26 buying the ingredients (for the chicken, "naan," and drinks) and made 12 Doug-sized servings. TWELVE servings. That's $2.15 per plate, just add rice. Go ahead and say it, we're awesome. Duh, I already know.

This is the recipe we used. We tripled it; you can just change the # of servings at the top of the recipe on the website and it gives you the correct measurements. It took us about 2 hours to make, including the hour marinating time. So, I think it's worth it to make extra servings only once a week, instead of 3x a week - because you know that's how often we'll be eating this now!

Changes to the recipe:
  • We didn't use any salt except "to taste" per the preference of the individual
  • We used a little more than 1/2 the pepper it calls for because I'm not really a pepper person
  • If you like it more spicy, add more jalapenos; and vice verse.
  • We didn't have fresh ginger so we used 1/3 of what the recipe called for in powdered ginger
  • We didn't have enough yogurt, so we threw in some milk
  • Next time I'd add a little more tomato sauce and probably a little less cream.
For the "naan" we buttered and sprinkled deliciousness on flatbread, then broiled it for like 3 minutes. I hope to actually try making it next time - I already have all the ingredients for real naan!