Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Life Changing Diagnosis..A Year Later.

A year ago today was the day that we were told that Cohen is autistic. I remember filling out all the forms and feeling more and more helpless every time I marked a "does not do this" box. The diagnosis came in two parts. The first part was sitting with a developmental pediatrician and answering question after question for two hours. The second was an ADOS (autism diagnostic observation schedule) where he was "on his own" with an evaluator for about 2 hours to figure out "where he fell on the spectrum". No parent should have to go through this, but some of us do. It was such a sucker punch in the gut to us. We had already dealt with so much already, but I knew that it had to be done to benefit our little boy and give him every chance possible.

I remember after his diagnosis came in, being very angry for a long time. I was so angry at all the people who would try to make me feel better and say "he doesn't seem autistic". I had to hold my tongue a lot. I wanted to yell at them and say "nobody should sit there and watch their little boy stop talking, stack the same four blocks feverishly alone over and over because there are too many people around, lay on the floor and flex for HOURS upon HOURS and no matter what you do, you just can't get him to stop. No one should go through the pain of watching your child say the same thing over and over again because they just can't control it. Little boys don't trace the same path for hours in the back-yard and completely ignore anything and everyone. They show interest in things. They give their parents love. They smile. They cry when they fall down and look for comfort. They don't pick at random spots on their body until they bleed." These are just a few of the things that we were going through. I know that people were trying to help in their own way, but it just was so hard for me to accept that I didn't want the help. It took me a long time to get to an "acceptance" point.

We are so lucky that we are close to a center that helps children with autism. The amount of progress that Cohen has made is incredible. Aside from a few random quirks, he's just like any other child. It was about 8 months of going up to the University (sometimes every day) for a couple of hours figuring out ways to "help" Cohen. My house was a revolving door of therapist after therapist, but it all was worth it. The little boy I have now, although a talkative one at that, is completely different than the little boy of then. He sings songs, he will sometimes go up to kids to play with them, he talks and talks and talks, he goes to a special ed preschool and has adjusted really well. It's amazing. We have been very lucky with the amount of progress that Cohen has made. This has been an amazing journey filled with laughs and tears. I laugh more than I cry about this now. It has taught me so much about being a mom and has given me a great amount of patience. I know that I went through this not only for Cohen but for myself as well.

Here is one of Cohen's favorite activities. Hiding in the laundry basket.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Food Eating by Aja

I really don't know what it is about my kids, but my boys are not very good eaters and my girls are the ones that like to chow. There is the cutest little hut/shack down the road that starts selling fresh produce around the beginning of August. You can find me there daily. Anyway, they sell the BEST corn on the cob I have ever tasted. Seriously..The best. My family really gets corned out during the summer because I serve it with every meal, but how can you turn down some rockin corn on the cob? YOU CAN'T! Here is Aja and her first experience with corn on the cob. She's such a funny chick!

She was giggling at me because I was wiggling the corn in her face.

First tentative bite...

Second little bite (YES, she finally got that fourth tooth..It kind of sucks. I was enjoying the nick name: Tres-Toof. Oh well)

Chewing slowly to see if we REALLY like it. The verdict: Not really. I'm sure next year she will be all over it though. However, she did eat a few bites of it, and being the mom of some picky eaters..I will take what I can get!

I also wanted to let you all know that Aja has started walking! It was such an exciting moment in the house. The kids were all cheering her on and I was squealing (yes, squealing) at the top of my lungs because I was so excited. And then of course I was crying at the same time. I get teary-eyed about it every time I talk about it. It has been so AWESOME to see her hit her mile-stones. It has been hard to hear from doctors that your child may never walk, talk, or be severely delayed. I've been so anxious to see if this day would ever arrive and I'm SO glad that it has. She is truly an amazing little girl and I'm so proud of everything that she has accomplished so far.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bear Lake: Lessons Learned

On Saturday, my wonderful friend, Becky(Yes, we do a lot with them. It's great when you find someone you have A LOT in common with), invited us to go up to their family's property at Bear Lake. Of course I jumped at the chance at getting away from responsibilities at home to spend time with awesome friends. Needless to say the kids had a blast. We didn't get up there until late, but the kids still managed to have some fun exploring.

Sunday we had breakfast and then headed down to the lake. I'm kind of bummed. All the pictures I took really were terrible. Which isn't something new. I'm horrible at taking pictures, but I did manage to catch these two cuties together. This is Cohen's future wife, Brighton. Isn't she a doll?? I just love her!

After a bit Becky and I grabbed our kidlets and went floating in the lake in some tubes. It was fun. Cohen just sat on my tummy and relaxed. I think he was almost asleep. THANK HEAVENS I wasn't around for what was to happen next. When you have a posse of 3 curious boys there are many unmentionable things that are bound to happen. APPARENTLY, the boys found a dead rat floating in the water. Yes. A. Dead. Rat. So who was the lucky couple to have their son grab said dead rat and cuddle it closely to their chest and ask if we could take it home passionately declaring that "he won't cause any problems!"? MINE! When I got back to shore and Mitch and Mark told me this, I about puked. WTF?!? (that was for you Becky) Needless to say, we booked it away from the beach and until Peyton got into a shower, he was treated like the town pariah. Lesson Learned: Be Prepared At All Times. Especially for something tremendously gross.

I'm happy to report that Peyton is bubonic plague free and seems healthy as a horse and we had no other incidents afterwards. We had a lot of fun though!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hiking 101:

Here is a 10 step plan for hiking with the Bennett's.

First thing you need is 7 kids and a plan to hike 6.6 miles at 2 in the afternoon on one of the hottest days of the year. THIS IS VITAL!

The second thing you need is an accident prone child who in the first 20 minutes falls flat on his face (thankfully NOT on a rock) and comes out looking like Robert Downy Jr. from Tropic Thunder. Honestly, he didn't even TRY to catch himself. I thought it was funny, he did not find the fact that I found it funny humorous.

The third thing you need is a posse of 3 boys who have NO fear and charge ahead at full speed along some steep cliffs all while you are hurrying up to catch up to them and not pee your pants because you just 'KNOW' someone is going to fall.

The fourth thing you need is a daughter who keeps asking: "are we there yet?", "can we stop and rest?", "it's too HOT!", "can I have a drink?" and "can we just go home?"..All the while trying to stay very patient and not yell at said child (it didn't work).

The fifth thing you need is a baby in a too small of hat to become a snotty mess because something has irritated the poor things allergies. Poor baby!

The sixth thing you need is an awesome friend who can laugh with you about some interesting topics that tend to come up on a long hike, all while trying to go down the hill at maximum speed because of said posse of boys and not biff it at the same time because you are carrying your 3-year-old son whose "legs are broken".

The seventh thing you need (you need a lot!) is a man with a GPS system who is such a champ because he did the Logan Sprint that morning! Way to go Mark!

The eighth thing you need is a family picture and to have everyone looking at something else.

The ninth thing you need is a picture with your husband all while trying to look fabulous wearing a dirty tank thanks to said 3-year-old, snot from said allergy infested child and your camera case. I'm such a dork.

And finally, the tenth thing you need after a 4 hour hike is...a bath.

Friday, July 17, 2009

This here:

Is Tres Toof.

Yes folks, we are stuck at 3 teeth total. I've been waiting and waiting for that 4th tooth to come out, not because she's a screaming pile of hormones and endless snot of course, but because she's looking like the cutest little back-country hillbilly that has ever existed. I should enter her into some sort of spitting competition.

Or maybe a Mohawk competition.

Or maybe a bathing suit (why do they call them bathing suits?? They need to seriously rethink that term) competition. And of course we have to have matching hair bands to go with our cutie new SWIMsuit!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Good times, noodle salad.

I love looking in on my kids while they sleep. It reminds me how much I love them no matter how hard the day has been or how much they tested my patience.
Little turkey is the lightest sleeper ever!

On Saturday we went to the Rod Run here in Logan. I LOVE the Rod Run. It's so much fun to see what people have done to classic cars. I love the smell of exhaust, feeling my insides rattle and the roar of the engines. The kids also loved it and had a blast waving to everyone.

While we waited, the kids played around on the grass and stuff. Cohen was pretending to fight monsters here.

These poor people. Cohen has decided that rather than being interested in other kids, he would rather talk to any adult (scary or not)who is willing to listen to his wild tales. Luckily, these people seemed to have a lot of patience and thought he was pretty funny.

Aja was less than impressed with my step-dad's beard. It freaked her out and I think she just did not like the feel of it!
Before kiss:
After kiss:

Here are a couple pictures of cars. Might not be interesting to some, but I'm a classic car junkie! I could look at them all day long.
I'm a sucker for a beautifully restored truck!
There is only one word for this car...AWESOME.
This is my dream. To have a late 70's model Bronco. It was amazing!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Did you hear something?

I'm so bad. We went to The Utah Museum of Natural History to see the frog display like..three weeks ago, and I'm just getting to the pictures now. We had so much fun that day! The kids were so excited to see the different kind of frogs.

Here we are posing with Prince Frog. I can never get a decent picture of Cohen.

This frog was so huge. I still shudder thinking about it. *blech*

I thought the blue frogs were the coolest, and they were little and smooth looking so the gross factor wasn't there as much.

You could crawl into a little hole that was in the middle of the aquarium, and the kids thought it was pretty cool. Of course it was with the big, ugly, warty froggy. Peyton really does love his brother and wasn't trying to shove his head down at all..not at all.

Ness was lucky and didn't have to deal with little brothers since they didn't fit in there with her.

Cohen is such a little pimp. He was following that girl all over the place. It was cute. Don't worry, he didn't fall in.


Ness has been in a summer math class and loves it. Peyton and I have been spending a lot of time together either baking, reading, or throwing the Frisbee outside. It's been fun. Cohen is back in pre-school. He had a rough first week, but it seems that he's getting back into the swing of things. Aja is still crawling around and being the ultra ham that she is. She is saying "Hi" and "Ma" now. She just went to her 1 year appointment and is apparently "too small". She's only gained 1 lb. in 3 months and so they are monitoring her. She's not even on the charts. I'm not too concerned, look at me! The girl doesn't stand a chance. As for me, I've been working out which helps me keep my sanity during these long days. I guess the change has been kind of dramatic. I don't see it but everyone else does and I guess that is all that matters right?

Also, I know I was going to unveil my recipe blog like..a month ago. Believe me, it's coming. I honestly don't know how my friend Melanie finds the time to pick a recipe, buy the ingredients, cook the food, take a decent looking picture and post it on her blog. I get to the "take a decent picture part" and that is where it stops. I've got like 15 on my camera right now. I PROMISE..It's coming. I hope you are all enjoying your summer and hopefully we can see some of you soon!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

One year ago this Sunday:

Aja was admitted into Primary Children's Hospital to get her shunt placed. This has been such a roller coaster of a year and at times very emotional. The day Mitch and I went to the doctors, I remember us holding hands as we waited in the waiting room both of us anxious to find out what was going on with our baby. I remember us holding our little girl and crying after seeing her CT scan. They wouldn't let Mitch and I both stay at the hospital so it was just me, and I remember wandering the halls because I couldn't sleep and I was scared. What a crazy experience!

After her surgery and she was brought home, I went through a really tough time. It was hard to just even function. Looking back, I think it was so hard because everything happened SO quick and there wasn't time to process anything. We hadn't heard any "good" stories of shunt placements and they told me that I had to hold her at a 45 degree angle for 2 weeks so her brain wouldn't collapse in on itself. I was a nervous wreck, and honestly I analyzed EVERYTHING. So there I sat in my rocking chair, not doing a whole lot until I finally took a look in the mirror (realized how horrible I looked) and told myself that being how I was wasn't doing anyone any good.

So here we are today, and I'm happy to say that both Aja and our family have come out of this stronger. Aja is the most amazing little girl. She acts like any typical toddler. As for me, I KNOW I've changed, and I know that it has been for the better. That little girl is my little hip monkey and I thank Heavenly Father every day for the opportunity to be her mom. We are eternally thankful to family and friends who have been there to lend a helping hand and a listening ear.

And of course a pic. This is one of my favorite pictures of Aja even though she's in the bath.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Baby Girl turns 1!

Yesterday was Aja's big 1st birthday! We had two small parties for her with family, and both were so much fun! The year has gone by so fast. She's such a fun/funny little girl. Most definitely our little diva. She has the most expressive face that cracks us up all the time. She loves to cuddle her babies, pose for pictures, pull out diaper wipes, read books, be outside, shake her little booty to music and play "chase me while I try crawling away really fast". This year has been so much fun with her. She's got her dad wrapped around her little finger and...okay, me as well.

Aja in her little tutu I made her (making one of those expressive faces I was telling you about). She was a ladybug.

OOOOH..What a pretty dress!

Her LadyBug birthday cake. This was so much fun to make and was super cute!

Aja's own personal cake.

Cake is good..Nom Nom.

Happy Birthday Aja! We love you!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Nothing much has really been going on, but I felt I needed to do SOMETHING with my blog so you all didn't think I dropped off the face of the planet.

Things are good. Since Cohen has been going to his new pre-K, I haven't had to run up to the university at all. It's been nice. Actually..I've been bored. I'll take it though. It's been so long since I've actually been "bored". Bored meaning: I've been baking..a lot. It's pathetic. I was standing in front of my fridge, after making 3 loaves of bread and a banana cake, today thinking I have gone through a crapp load of butter! It's insane actually. I used my last package today. On Monday..There were 4 packages in there. Tell you anything? I've started my own little food blog for people who are wanting my recipes and such. It's taken a bit to get it off the ground, but trust me it's well worth the wait! I will be unveiling it next week. I'm pretty excited!

Also, going along with bored is a lot of reading. It's been heaven. I haven't read anything for the longest time and I've been taking full advantage of the Book Mobile that parks down my street every Monday. I've read 4 books in the last two weeks. I can't help it! I've been so focused on the kids and all of their activities that I had to take the opportunity to do something that I wanted to do. If I had my real choice, I would be going to school, but situations and timing is all off. I really miss it to be honest.

Cohen is potty training and we are pretty excited about that! He's doing pretty darn good. Aja will be 1 soon. Look for her birthday post here in the next week or so. I can't believe it's been a whole year! She's gotten so big and is doing so many funny things. Ness and Peyton are awesome and are excited for school to be out.

Other than that..I have nadda..Which is nice for once.

For some extra cuteness: FAT CHEEKS

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day Monique

So.....this is Mitch.....and I don't have a blog of my own. So, I have commandeered Monique's blog so I can wish her a Happy Mother's Day.

This week I have asked each of the kids to think about why they are grateful for their Mom. Below I have listed their responses.


I love when she helps me with homework.
I love her awesome dinners.
I love when she lets me help with dinner.
I love when she plays with me.
I love when she helps me do my hair and nails.


I love it when she hugs me.
I love her cooking. It is delicious.
I love it when she tucks me into bed.
I love to talk to her and have her listen to my stories.
I love it when she buys me new clothes.


Cohen's answers are a little shorter than the others. So here are his responses.
I love Mom because.......
She's beautiful.
She's nice.
She gives me jelly beans when I go potty.
She loves me.
and...Mom can kiss my big, fat, hairy butt. (Cohen thought this was hilarious. He was watching Monster House at the time I was asking him these questions)


Aja can't talk, but I'm sure it would go something like...

She is the only person I care to see in the morning.
She is the only one who can give me what I want.
She is the only one who can console me.
All others are insignificant compared to Mom.

You are the best wife, mother, and person I know. Thank you for everything you do. The kids and I love you very much. Have a Happy Mother's Day.