Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Reasons for the Seasons - or Happy Holidays!

So I was out running errands yesterday, when I heard a small child ask his mother, “What is Thanksgiving?” I thought about this, and wondered, do my children know what Thanksgiving is all about? So I thought I would explain it, not only for my kids – but for all to enjoy!

Many, many years ago young hopeful families left Europe and boarded ships and bravely crossed the ocean to their new home in America. Upon reaching this “New World” the Pilgrims cleared the forest and began to raise bountiful crops. The joy must have been hard to contain for these young white families – this was everything they had hoped for – clean water, cool crisp clean air – the life they had dreamed of!!

And then the Indians came out of what was left of the forest and began to slaughter the young white families because they had made the mistake of building there homes and planting the crops on sacred Indian burial grounds. However the Indians couldn’t swing their tomahawks fast enough as wave after wave of these white men invaded the Indian land.

The Indians swung their arms mightily, but eventually they grew tired and finally dropped to the ground, exhausted and beaten. Resigned to their fate of sharing the land with their new “white trash” neighbors, the Indians and the white man sat down to a roasted turkey dinner one November day – according to the white mans calendar – and gave thanks for their new-found friendship. The Pilgrims were understandably a bit more thankful for this friendship then the Indians.

This Thanksgiving celebration became a yearly event, and has evolved into the what it is today – a day when Americans cook stuffed turkeys and stuff themselves – and then sit back and watch the Detroit Lions get “stuffed” by some other football team!!

History is kinda funny that way, a cause for celebration that gets commercialized and people forget the real reason for the celebration. Lets take for example, Easter – it started as a Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus – a great cause for celebration! But now, it involves hiding eggs and a bunny?!?!?!? I wonder how that one started??

Wife to husband, “Dear, we need to teach our children about Easter!”

Husband – “How bout eggs?”

Wife – “What do eggs have to do with the resurrection?”

Husband – “Okay, we’ll hide ‘em!”

Wife – “What???”

Husband – “Don’t worry, there will be a bunny!”

Example #2, Christmas. This began as the day to celebrate the birth of Jesus – again, another great cause for celebration. Let’s explore just one area of Christmas that I still wonder what it has to do with the true meaning of the holiday – decorations!

Can you picture how this one first happened – the wife wakes up and walks down the stairs to find a pine tree in her living room!!

Wife to her probably drunk husband – “Dear, what is a pine tree doing in our living room!” (and if you think about it, bringing a cut down tree into the house does kinda sound like the actions of a drunk man).

Husband – “I like it!.......we’re gonna…..ummm decorate it………for Jesus”

“Then, I’m gonna take my socks off and hang them over the fire place! – you fill ‘em with candy”

“And lastly, I am going to hang some leaves on the ceiling……..hopefully get a lil action!”

“Merry Christmas!”

I think 2 examples are enough! You get my point. Now you might be saying, Jason you are a Scrooge – and I see how it might appear that way. I’m not – I love holidays! Most people don’t have to work, everyone acts nice, and you eat very well. I would like to figure out how an excuse to have more holidays!! Maybe we could celebrate the first day the baby Jesus learned to walk!! We could call it “Stepping Day” and celebrate it by eating Prime Rib!! Tthis is just an idea - and a mighty fine idea if I do say so myself!

The main reason for this post was to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are enjoying yours!!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

more pics


We went to Thanksgiving Point to get pics for Erin's baptism in her dress so I could make these wonderful invitations to send out. Well we get there and forgot the dress. And then life seemed to speed by at about 100 miles per hour and I never even made invites, and had to end up just calling family and leaving messages. Some family didn't even get our lame message and missed Erin's baptism. I'm the loser mother of the year, but Erin did have a great baptism and I don't yet have those pics, they are on my sister's camera. Here are the Thanksgiving point pics that once upon a time were going to be used in the worlds cutest invites...

Monday, April 13, 2009

A bobcat walks into a bar......

A rabid bobcat walked into a roadside bar in Cottonwood, Arizona. What happened next was not a joke but "pandemonum," including two or three minutes of grown men jumping on top of pool tables and bar stools to get out of the way. When it was over, two people were scratched and bleeding, and the bobcat was gunned down by police in the parking lot. "You've seen the cartoon "Tasmanian Devil? That's a bobcat with rabies," said bar patron Ted Bell. The 20 patrons started scrabling towards the back door. But so did the bobcat, which was not looking for a way out. That's when RC Collins jumped in to protect two women in its path. "That's when he got me. I punched it in the face real good," Collins said. The animal then ran out the front door and was shot by the arriving police.

The news story has a video of it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sweet Ben Ben

Sometimes 2 year old boys are rotten and Jason came up with the nick name Rotten Rotten Ben Ben. Well he has his moments but he is very very much a sweet sweet Ben Ben, and I tell him so. Now he sticks up for himself anytime Jason calls him Rotten Rotten Ben Ben, he yells back No Sweet, Sweet Ben Ben! (But sometimes when he's being naughty and caught in the act, Jason will ask are you Rotten Rotten Ben Ben, and he'll answer Yep! with a smile on his face. I love that kid!

Let's kill something!

Jason took Erin and Wilson shooting. The first time ever for Wilson, when they get out of truck Wilson says 'Let's go kill something!' Jason says, no we don't do that. They pull out targets and Wilson says 'lets kill it!' needless to say he had a good time. Erin is fearless and can now hold the gun and unload it pretty quick. This is a great daddy date, mom likes to sit these out.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I need help

I can't seem to figure out how to change my blog background, I have done it in the past and I've tried numerous times to no avail. Maybe someone will help us out, Chris I know you were the first to set us up, maybe you could work your magic fingers in my benefit.

Brief summary of Wilson's autism story

My brother in law Ryan e-mailed Jason about a friend who had a son with autism, they wanted his story and what we did that worked. I put together this e-mail tonight and thought I would share it with you as well. I love you all and thanks for all the support you have given our family regarding this.

Brief Summary of Wilson's Autism Story

We found out when Wilson was 3 years old. At his 3 year old appointment and my babies 2 week appointment, our pediatrician told us we should get him tested. He was tested, up at CDC, and diagnosed with PDD-NOS.
A list of symptoms…
Could name every letter and the letter sound, but did not know his own name, or even mom.
When asked who I was he would just say the color of my shirt, when asked who he was, he would say Thomas, since Thomas the train was always on his clothing.
When he cried he would hit his head against the wall, floor, concrete, etc.
Lined up all his toys.
When visitors came over, he would ‘hide’ in my room and watch a DVD.
He would only wear pj’s. Huge clothing issues!
He would rub my (or anyone’s) skin, all the time.
Very picky eater.
Didn’t like to play with anyone.
Didn’t speak very much, would answer black and white questions. Very little spontaneous language, never asked questions.
I didn’t notice until after learning, but he had poor eye contact, wouldn’t look at people as they entered a room.
Had a new baby brother, and wasn’t happy or sad, just pretended he didn’t exist.
Wouldn’t potty train.
Could play computer games for 8 hours if we let him, but couldn’t sit 5 minutes at the dinner table.

We meet with initially with Dr. Jones, and then with Dr. Carbone. Dr. Carbone gave up very good information on what autism is and what therapies he liked. I wanted information on ABA, RDI, and Floortime. He was wonderful and explained all three, (he has an autistic son and knew personally about each therapy). He recommended that we do a minimum of 20 hours a week of combined therapy. Up to this point, Wilson had been in a weekly neighborhood playgroup that was turning into a 3 year old pre-school. We quickly enrolled him into the public school pre-school with combined speech therapy. Dr. Carbone told us about a great private pre-school, Kids World Pre-school. We enrolled him there as well and kept the neighborhood preschool. We meet with an OT therapist and we started the brushing program, which made a huge impact on his rubbing peoples skin, and probably with food textures. We then meet with Tara Moffit an RDI therapist who explained the program and we felt it was a great fit for our family. It is a parent based therapy where we meet monthly with Tara and we are given specific weekly assignments that we were to work on with Wilson. The goal is to retrain the brain to master skills that a nero typical infant develops. The very first thing we had to do was to stop asking Wilson so many questions. Since he rarely spoke spontaneously we often asked him questions, such as ‘What color is this, What letter is this, Who is in this picture? What do you want to eat, etc….’ Asking questions all the time was a way to prove to us that he was improving and to reassure us how smart he was. In RDI we learned that we need to slow down and instead of asking questions we need to make thoughtful comments where he was not required to answer, but are thought provoking. Instead of ‘What color is your shirt’, we changed it to, ‘I really like Thomas the Train, green is my favorite color.’, which starts the idea that other people have opinions, and with no pressure to perform they enjoy being with and interacting with you. RDI taught us to be better parents for all of our kids, when we changed he changed. As we got more committed to RDI one thing we needed to do was simplify his life. You would never expect your neuro-typical child to have to endure 20 plus hours of schooling/training a week. We pulled Wilson from everything but the one private pre-school. We spent that time working with him doing RDI activities which is almost play like, very natural. We also started The Listening Program (TLP) which we saw huge improvements after we hit the 4th week. We did change his diet which was very hard, I decided not to do the gluten free, we had him tested for celiac diease and was fine, and after research decided that it would affect his health (and his quality of life) more by taking the only things he would eat away. We did end up taking milk away, we used rice milk and chocolate soy, it was hard but we did notice that it helped. Well really, I didn’t think I had seen a big difference until I gave it back to him, after he had been off for a couple of weeks, and then instantly he reacted badly by reverting to old behaviors. After a year we gradually added cow’s milk, we haven’t noticed any problems, but we are still nervous.
Wilson is 5 almost 6 years old and is in “normal” Kindergarten class. He is very social he has 3 standing play dates every week and other kids keep asking to play after school with him. Some things that other people don’t see as a success (but I know you will)…
He loves and begs to play with friends.
He plays using his imagination.
He plays with toys in appropriate ways
He tries new food (5 bites because he’s 5)
Changing his clothes is fun.
He loves music and he will write his own songs.
He’s affectionate, kind and gentle.
He tells me that he loves me.
He will communicate from across the room by only using facial expressions.
He will read my face and know in an instant what I’m thinking.
He is worried about what other people think of him.
And yes he has even lied!

Tara, our RDI therapist thinks that if we had him re-tested that he wouldn’t even have a diagnosis. Wilson is my hero, but I have learned that autism is a gift, I just needed to slow down to see it. I remember when he was first diagnosed and my world felt like it was going in hyper speed yet my body would only move in slow motion, I would have resented someone telling me to slow down and enjoy Wilson, when all I wanted was to cure him and capture this window of early intervention. I believe that I was led to the path that we needed and I will be forever grateful for this experience and look forward to what the future holds.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


OK, so I know I have told several people about this, and this is NOT an official announcement - however, I am still toying with the idea of running for the State Senate in 2012. I was approched by a good friend, who also happens to be the Chairman of the SLC Democratic Committee, and encouraged to consider running. I am checking with my employer right now to see if I would be allowed a "leave of absence" while serving my 4 year term. I will keep you posted!

Bad Drivers

So I was driving the other day when right in front of me there was an accident. Several weeks ago my brother, Kevin, and his family were in a car accident - and it made me start thinking about all the bad drivers…..and worse yet - UTAH DRIVERS!

How do you rate yourself as a driver?

No, that's a stupid question. You rate yourself above average. It's a well-known fact that all humans consider themselves to be above-average drivers, including cavemen who have not yet discovered the wheel - (and no, that was not a plug for Geico). The sad truth is this - each of you SUCK! Yes, I said it - You are Sucky Driver! You suck! You suck worse then the suckiest suck that ever sucked!

I do not fall into this category. I AM a good driver. In fact I would go as far as to say that I am a Professional driver. Now, you are probably saying to yourself, “Jason, what makes you such a good driver?” and “What gives you the right to say we are sucky drivers?”. Well, I am glad I asked those questions, and please allow me to answer for you. First - What makes me such a good driver? Well I have EVO (Emergency Vehicle Operations) training - and you don’t (unless you are in Law Enforcement, in which case you are a good driver like me - this rule also applies to all NASCAR drivers). Second - What gives me the right to say you are a sucky driver? I could go on and on here, but the biggest reason - I am bigger then you!! So quit your whining and shut your pie hole!!!

Now follow me here for a minute. No amount of physical evidence will convince bad driver that they are a bad driver. You take a motorist who, while attempting to pull out of a parking space, mistakes ''forward'' for ''reverse,'' then, in an effort to correct this error, mistakes the accelerator for the brake and sends his car lunging across a sidewalk and into a restaurant attaining a speed of 37 miles per hour by the time it rams the salad bar. Even as the paramedics are busy trying to extricate this motorist from his vehicle, he will loudly insist that (1) the restaurant was not there before, and (2) there are PLENTY of people on the road who do not drive as well as he does.
And the scary thing is: He's right! There are LOTS of worse drivers out there! In fact, a whopping 93 percent of all drivers are below average. This is according to a survey that I made up for this blog. And if you believe this is statistically impossible then not only are you a sucky driver - but also stupid!!

But getting back to your driving ability: I can tell from the perceptive way you're reading this article that you still truly believe you are a good driver, or are “above average” I am sure you think this because you did pass Drivers Education. Passing Drivers Ed does not make you a good driver - I know, I’ve take it. I took Drivers Education at Brighton High School. We did our road training in an old 1987 Ford Taurus - creeping around greater Salt Lake Valley at whopping two miles per hour, signaling our turns 10 seconds in advance and always maintaining a Safe Following Distance (the length of 5 football fields). The class taught me many important driving lessons, the main one being that if you ever find yourself stuck behind a drivers-ed car, you MUST get past it, no matter how many innocent lives you endanger. (Right now you are all nodding your heads agreeing with me).

Anyways, the whole point of this blog was to share with you my brilliant idea. Every time you have to re-new your drivers license, you must complete a road driving test - administered by a professional driver - much like myself. If, based upon the results of said driving test, it is determined you are an “above average” driver, you will be issued a paint ball gun - complete with a canister of multi colored paint balls. Now, here is how this works. If you, an above average driver, are driving and note the annoying behavior of a certain motorists - yes, I mean the below average driver - who is drifting along in the left, or “passing” lane, mile after clueless mile, never passing anyone and never noticing the line of motorists behind them flashing their light, honking their horns and making explicit hand gesters etc. You would shoot your paint ball gun at this motorist and hit his vehicle. Ideally, you could fire several different colors of paint balls, each indicating the type of infraction being violated. This would also be a huge help to the police, who could use the paint balls as evidence.
OFFICER: Sir, do you know why I pulled you over?
MOTORIST: No, why?
OFFICER: I count 15 red paint balls on your rear bumper, which means you've been blocking the left lane.
MOTORIST: But I'm going the speed limit!
OFFICER (sighing): Sir, we only pretend that's the speed limit. In good weather and light traffic, the real speed limit is about 10 miles per hour faster, which is the speed 90 percent of the other drivers are going. If you don't want to go that fast, you need to get over, OK? Also, I count 7 yellow paint balls, indicating you swerved between lanes while dialing your cell phone, etc. Assuming we can work out the details, I think this is a terrific idea.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Erin and Emily

Erin and Emily are best friends. They can, and do spend every free moment together. I would think that at some point they would get sick of each other, but that has yet to happen. The tragedy in their lives is that they attend different schools and therefore have different school breaks. When one is home the other is in school, they count down the minutes until the other will be home. Many times Erin will take my cell phone when we get in the car after school and she talks to Emily the entire 20 minute ride home.

Wilson's song

Wilson loves this song, when his friends come over he says "Can I sing you a song?' He then sings The best day ever! His friends don't find it as cute as his parents do!

Wilson's song

Bennett's true love

Bennett is fascinated with plugs of all shape and size. I don't think he could choose a more dangerous hobby, except maybe knife collecting. He has gotten zapped before, but it hasn't scared him enough to stop. He hooks up numerous extension cords and likes to try them multiple ways to see if it will still work. As you can imagine Christmas lights was the ultimate experience, he has his own sets and he spent hours out front re-routing the extension cords to the Christmas lights in our front yard. When he is playing with plugs he enters his own world and it's funny, annoying, and scary to watch.

We got him a light bright as hopefully a safer outlet for his electrical needs.