Friday, September 20, 2013


Ashton has this new obsession with watching You Tube videos of people opening eggs with toys inside.

For example:

Apparently this is a "thing" people do.  This particular video has 2,411,389 views!  Seriously?  I don't get it, but he absolutely loves these videos so much he acts them out. hehe

Has anyone else heard of this?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Make A Difference!

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."

-Loren Eiseley

Our Story!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Thank You!

I am still in shock and awe from the events of today.  We got the amazing opportunity to meet some truly fantastic individuals and are so utterly and thoroughly thankful!  Our fence is up!  Not only that but they built the kids a swing set, repaired our deck, sprayed our yard for bugs and so much more. There is far too much to be thankful for today! =)

I would first and foremost I would like the thank God, I know so cliche...right?!  Seriously though, with Him nothing is impossible and anything is possible!  His master plan orchestrated all of this!  So...Thank you very much for holding Ashton in your hand and for always placing your strongest and quickest angels around him. Thank you for touching hearts and allowing all of this to work out perfectly.  Thank you for giving all those who helped today the strength to do so!  Thank you for loving Ashton even more than I do (which is more than I could even express).  Thank you for everything!

Next up would have to be Jessica Toney!  From the time we initially spoke on the phone I felt like we had a special connection.  You truly are an amazing woman whose compassion, sacrifice, hard-work, dedication and pure awesomeness set you apart.  You surprised me at nearly every turn through this process, exceeding my hopes and dreams for this project.  I am still in complete awe.  You have taught me so much!  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart....THANK YOU!  PS. I am so glad that Ashton gave you a hug!  If anyone deserved that, it was YOU!

To the Home Depot team leaders and volunteers, you guys are utterly and truly amazing!  To take time out of your busy schedules to come and help do all that you did today means so much to me and my family! Your skill and hard-work made all the difference today!  Dan, thank you for your GREAT idea to install the fence panels the way we did!  That was perfect!  Lionel, Thank you for the swing set idea!  I know you put your heart into it, we appreciate that so much!  As you saw, the kids LOVE it!  I could go on and on about each and every single one of you.  Thank you so much for everything.  You have really touched our hearts and have created memories that will be with us forever!  Today we laughed and had a great time and hope that you did too, you are truly an amazing group of people.  I can honestly say that it was an absolute pleasure to meet each and every single one of you.  Ashland Home Depot is lucky to have such an amazing leader and team!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Rachel Reynolds, thank you so much for all you did to help with the grant application and paperwork.  You were a very important part of making this happen and we really truly appreciate all you did in this entire arduous process. You have done an amazing job with the school since you took over and this just goes to show that you are more than willing to go above and beyond and that means more to me than you will ever know!  Thank you, Rachel!

To the family and friends that came and helped today, Thank you!  Your support and help means so much!  We are really lucky to have such amazing family and friends.  I know you each love Ashton (and Kayleigh) and it warms my heart to see that love in the hard work that you did today.  We love you each so much, THANK YOU!

Thank you to those who were unable to be there but have been there through prayer and support during the last several months, you know who you are!  A special thank you to Sheri, I could tell that this was something close to your heart.  Thank you for that, it really means a lot!

Please stay tuned for pictures! Here is a teaser...

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Grandparents Day!

My kids are so blessed to have such an awesome Grandma, this post is for my mom!  My mom is a superhero without a cape!  She does so much for everyone around her without expecting anything in return.   

Kayleigh is really developing a special relationship with her and it makes me so happy (most of the time). When she cries when it's time to come home, it makes me sad a little. ;)

Ashton also loves his grandma so much he is often found stalking her house on Google maps on his Ipad. Anytime we go anywhere he asks for "Grandma's House" so we usually have to prepare him in advance if that is not where we are going.  He will still get mad when we take a "wrong turn" (any turn that doesn't lead to her house).

Thank you, Mom for being the best Mom and Grandma my kids could ever hope for!

A Fence For Ashton

Ashton absolutely loves being outside.  Due to the location of our home (surrounded by woods, lakes and curvy roads), the only time he is outside in nature is going to and from the car when we go places - which isn't very often, to be honest.  I hate that he can't go outside to play and explore like other kids.  Ashton elopes, just like 50% of other kids on the autism spectrum.  What that basically means for him, is that he will wander (run) away from a safe environment without caution or awareness of danger.  He has pulled away from us and ran down the middle of the road, he has gotten out of school and our home on multiple occasions once he has timed and planned each perfect escape.  He has walked into a random house, nearly been hit by a car and more.  The danger of wandering is very scary which is why we limit going places and being outside.  He does have a fenced in yard and playground at school, which he ADORES.  The playground is so motivating for him that it is one of the first things he verbally asked for when he began to talk.  "Playground" became "I want playground" which evolved into "Follow me to the playground, please" which is what he said to his daddy last week during the open house at Kayleigh's school.

In May of this year, Jon and I began actively perusing fencing our yard to give Ashton the opportunity to play outside.  We had just received our tax refund and thought it would be the perfect time.  We began collecting bids from fencing companies and people we know in the construction business.  The first bid we received was from a guy that I knew from working in property management, he would be doing it on the side so I thought it would be affordable.  I was shocked when the estimate came back at $4,500.  The other two bids we got were even more than that!  YIKES! 

Not only was the $4,500 way more that what we thought it would be but it was more than we had.  We are not monetarily wealthy by any means, raising children with special needs is a very expensive task and siphons away any and all "extra" money!  We ended up again experiencing this the first week of June when Ashton was hospitalized for a few days again due to his "wonderful" gastrointestinal issues. Away went the cushion of "extra funds".

With all that being said, to be perfectly honest, I am one of those people who do for themselves and find it extremely hard to ask for or accept help even when I really need it.  When a friend suggested asking for donations it was really hard for me to even think of it as an option but the way that she phrased it made me really think.  She said "Allow people to directly help a child with Autism".  All of a sudden a realization came to me that people love to help, people get joy from helping.  I have been stealing joy by not giving people the opportunity to help in a situation like this where my own pride is keeping Ashton from playing outside.  MY OWN PRIDE!  That really sunk in.  OK God, I get it! 

I set up a website for donations, Facebook and Twitter pages for awareness.  I also got some great ideas for allowing local businesses to help.  I thought about Home Depot and the role they played in the recent "Light It Up Blue"campaign for Autism Awareness Month in April.  I decided to email the local Home Depot.  I called and got the email address for the manager, Jessica.  The following is the email I sent:
Hi Jessica, 
Good evening, I was told you are the perfect person I need to speak with.  I understand that Home Depot is known for its charitable work and volunteer programs within the community.  I am also aware that your company was very involved with the “Light It Up Blue” campaign with Autism Speaks in April of this year which brings me to why I am contacting you. 
To make a long story short my 6 year old son, Ashton, has autism and exhibits severe eloping behaviors.  A fenced yard would mean the world to our family and to Ashton.  Currently he is unable to play outside like other children his age (unless he is at school or at my mom’s house, both areas are fenced).  At any moment no matter how “supervised” he is, he could bolt (and does) and from experience it takes every ounce of strength from my 6ft 2in husband to catch up to him if he gets away.  Our house is locked down like Fort Knox and we also participate in the project lifesaver program to dull the constant worry although it does not take the place of having a safe place for my son to play.  If we are in a situation outside of the home, he must hold an adults hand which leaves very little freedom for my awesome boy to develop and grow by playing outside and develop his sense of self.  My husband and I are trying to raise money to purchase a fence for our backyard.  
Please feel free to visit for more information about my son, the importance of a fence and our unique situation.  Please let me know if this is something that Home Depot would be interested in getting involved with. 
Thank you so much for your time.
I was honestly not really expecting much. I was hoping for maybe a discount on materials or something, but the response I received was awe inspiring I got an email back that evening stating that she would look into what they were able to do and that Ashton touched her heart. She told me she would contact me in about a week. She called me a week later and told me that not only were they going to be completely covering the costs of the materials, but were going to be recruiting volunteers from three Home Depot locations to help build the fence. WHAT? Seriously? How awesome is that? The Home Depot team came out a few weeks later to meet Ashton and take some measurements. They brought him his very own Home Depot apron!

I am sorry but if this entire situation didn't teach me something, I don't know what will.  This whole process has been extremely humbling and amazing!  There has been some red tape and planning but the official date of the fence build is this Friday September 13, 2013!  We are extremely excited!  Stay tuned for pictures and updates!

P.S. If you need anything for your own home improvement projects, check Home Depot first!  They have our continued loyalty and I hope they have yours!  They really do care!