What Every Mother Wants For Her Child.. Simple, Social, Fun.

A Mom friend of mine put it ALL out there the other day, when she declared her intent to get her daughter the ONE thing she really wanted. And it wasn't a toy, a fancy trip, or even the desire to " be like everybody else" ( something my daughter frequently wishes for). Her daughter really wants to have a sleepover.( I am hoping my daughter gets to be the lucky host!

When my older daughter (  Zoe's BFF since they were babies)  approached her teen years, it was a big adjustment for Zoe.  I thought Zoe and I had already discussed all of the most heartbreaking topics possible, like how long she would need her wheelchair and walker, and why she was different than other kids her age, and how come people sometimes stared. Until we began the constant, ongoing discussion of why Olivia no longer wanted to to play with Zoe, had no interest in Barbies anymore and could not even be bribed into floor time, pretend play with her sister. It was all Zoe really wanted, and it took a lot tears and time for that to finally pass. Eventually we adjusted, and we got creative. We crafted, play games, went crazy with Rainbow Loom and made Saturday family movie night- but still things just weren't the same for Zoe, she missed creating and imaginative play with her big sister.

With Zoe now in middle school , I began searching for something new that was fun and also more socially appropriate for Zoe to share with her peers, and I was thrilled to discover Lego Friends. 

Perfect for a girlie girl like Zoe, I tested the waters close to Christmas with the Friends Lego Advent   Calendar. I waited for a sleepy Saturday morning, when Zoe and my teen were pretty chill and pulled it out . We opened the box and the both girls grabbed a few of the bags for the first week of December that had already passed and Zoe began assisting her big sister with building. And then, caught up in a lego building frenzy, they spent another two hours laughing and building and eventually asking me if they could  finish the whole box. 

At Christmas, Zoe and her dad put together a car , while Olivia had fun assembling a large Lego Friends house for Zoe, who spent hours in imaginative play with her Friends village situated on her bedroom floor. Zoe's birthday is the end of May , and it is no surprise her list has several " L" words on it. Her independent reading time has included the Lego Friends Easy Readers and Chapter Books and together, Zoe and I have finished the Lego Friends App Game for the iPad twice. 

Recently Zoe began building Lego's completely independently, beginning with the Classic Creative Bricks instructions, and then showing off her work on Instagram. 


The  Lego Classic Creative Kit is a lot of fun for her and she can build them quickly, as the directions are easy to follow along. Legos have been great for boosting her confidence, increasing her problem solving skills, and of course - the cognitive and fine motor benefits are huge. 

And like a Mom, I do some creative engineering myself.

When I think too much time has passed since the girls have had relaxing fun time together, for a special treat I pull out a new Lego box. Olivia enjoys the building process all the time declaring that she is just helping her sister out- but it is the joy on Zoe's face that fills me. The way she lights up with  the understanding that at least for a little while, she's got her old playmate back again.

Please know this is NOT a sponsored post. I think the LEGO brand does an awesome job making their products, and providing lots of free inspirations ; for new projects ( check out their website) , books, videos and apps all readily available through major retailers. We have invested in LEGO products because I feel they are worthwhile, fun and have great learning and therapeutic benefits, not to mention of a mess of memory making moments. 


Toss Your Checklist For Good Mothering..Trying Your Best Is Enough

I start and end each day thinking about my kids, my mothering,  and I always question if I am getting it right?  Like most other families, we have our normal moments of fun and games and everyday silliness, but we have the other moments too- when kids are tired, and stressed and there are tears. Times when we have to talk about medicine and doctors and how we are feeling, and then decide how to best handle it. 

We shouldn't second guess ourselves, but we do. We should do more of celebrating the small moments.

In our house, we get up each day and just try our best. Something I have always taught Zoe, my youngest daughter, affected by mitochondrial disease and her big sister, O - now in high school. We may not feel good at first, or we may not achieve what we hoped to achieve that day, so we try our best and we adapt and adjust.

I don't know why I never considered this philosophy for my own mothering, the idea that just trying my best is good enough. 

Yesterday was my birthday, and for the first time since her early childhood, Zoe's big sister, wrote me a letter via my blog, below.  I want to share with other Mom's of special needs kids too,  because it was written from the perspective of the older teen sibling. I want you to read her words and know that all those small moments? They add up. And that sometimes, just doing your best IS really good enough. 


HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM ( Originally posted by O for my birthday) 

This is not Suzanne. This is her daughter O (don’t worry she knows I’m posting this). It’s my mom’s birthday, so this is a mother appreciation post (half revenge for the times you've hacked my Instagram/Snapchat). Funny story, my mom actually forgot how old she is turning, so she had to do the math. My mom is the best mom, in my opinion, but I’m biased. My mom has done so much for me. Ten months ago, I started high school and I came home the first day and cried about how hard everything was. She told me I’d get better and everything would be okay. She was right, like she always is. Now, those hard classes aren’t too bad. High school isn't the only thing she's helped me through. She helps me through everything, and I love her to the moon and back.

            This is actually part one of my birthday present. I think I'm going make a coupon book for hugs and laundry folding. In addition to cooking and mothering, my mother is great at spoiling shows for me. I’m sure some of you have read her “How I Can Connect to Kristina from Parenthood,” article. Well I'm on season 2 of Parenthood and she sent that article to me. Spoiler alerts were not given to me before I read it. Thanks, Mom.

             My mom does do a lot for me. She recently chaperoned my show choir trip to Anaheim. She sat through lots of sing alongs, Hairspray, complaining, and laughter just to make sure I felt well the entire time and to watch me do something I love. We also went to the happiest place on earth for the first time. She says she didn't like it, but I know she secretly did. I'm so glad she was there the entire time, especially because I was so proud to be on that stage and I could tell she was too.

On her birthday today I would like to make the point that my mom is my favorite person in the world. I'm so glad and thankful that she is my mom and I couldn't imagine a world any different.. And Mom, I love you. I hope you enjoy your special day. I love you, Zoe loves you, and Dad loves you, too.



When Winning The Lottery And Being Lucky Means Being Able To Care For Your Special Needs Child



When Marie Holmes, one of the three recent Powerball winners sharing the $564 million dollar jackpot officially claimed her prize, she said the best thing about winning is being able to provide for her children. Holmes is a single mom with four kids and was living in a trailer. And most parents hearing her story will believe the stereotype that when she said “provide for” she meant food, housing and a secure future for her children, all under the age of 7.

Holmes has one child with cerebral palsy, which suddenly makes her not so different from me. I know what Marie Holmes meant about wanting to provide for her children. I am the mother of a special needs child, and I know the hurt of wanting to provide for your child, and also the advantage of being lucky enough to do so.

 The hurt means spending your nights clutching your sobbing toddler tight against your chest, not knowing what is wrong, when all you can offer is the comfort of your touch, then quietly wipe your tears away. 

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This is Your 64, Oh The Places You Have Been!


My prose is not brilliant,
My word choice just fine
Dr. Seuss, he inspired
this poem that rhymes!
A birthday gift of reflection,
A look back to when,
This is Your 64 Bruce,
Oh The Places You’ve Been!


“ Congratulations! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting So.. Get on your way!”
- Excerpt, From Dr. Seuss, Oh The Places You’ll Go.

This Is Your 64, Oh The Places You’ve Been!

When the sun has gone down
And you find time to sit,
You move fast through your years,
Asking..… “ WHAT IF?

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Tomorrow I Will Be Present.



With my children, I am present. 

The way I wait while Zoe haltingly speaks, starting and stopping before she strings her words together, until finally the garland that is her sentence is strung before me, her thought process complete . She tells me her secrets and I hold them close, I hold her close, until she is ready to move onto something else. 

I stay the course, ever present, while my teen girl travels her waves of emotion. Standing still I give her something to hold on to, I am present , if she reaches out for me. 

I am present with my husband,  as we connect in the after work hours. We sit and consider our day, filling the space of the hours we spent apart. We compare and critique and the children sneak in to our present conversation. And then we all come together again at the table for dinner. 

In the evening there is homework, and reading time and baths. Medicines and schedules, and must-do things that parents do each night. 

There is laughter and sometimes tears, and hand holding and hugs and when I am done, I am happy to be climbing into bed with my husband again. 

The bottle of Pinot Grigio I bought just for me,  still unopened on the kitchen counter.  

On my desk is the new book I want to read, still untouched. 

My favorite television show has been recorded. 

The colored threads are sorted, and the patterned muslin clipped into a hoop, where a  sharpened embroidery needle rests waiting for my hand to hold, while it gathers a fine dust. 

In the bathroom there is a deep tub , that used to only be mine,  alongside it a deeply piled grey rug to comfort my tired wet feet, after. There is also a shelf lined with bath salts for soaking,  lavender, euculyptus and green tea,  preserved to stay fresh in their unopened jars.  

In the dark, I finally sink into the softness of my pillow, alongside side my husband again, his hand is on my waist and content I can’t help,  but to fall off to sleep. 

My eyes are closed yet I can see the words I scribbled into my writers notebook today, before me, one after another. Overflowing words I need to empty onto the page.  

Tomorrow I will try harder. 

Tomorrow I will let the list of things-to- do linger and grow longer.  

Tomorrow, I  will drink some wine and pour those salts into a deep hot bath, just for me.

I will read a book sitting in our pretty room I never sit in- and then I will write the words that need to flow.  

My hands will reach for my forgotten project, and I will sit upon my couch and watch my favorite show. 

Tomorrow, I promise I will try a little harder- 

To be present with myself. 








I used to run right by it, before I was a Mom. Simplicity, the beauty of the simple things in the moment.

My standard pace was more of an easy run than a walk, easy to achieve with long legs that allow for leaping steps. And sometimes when my husband and I are out alone ( a sitter at home with the kids, the clock ticking) I return to this habit, when it is just he and I ."  Slow down " he tells me. " We aren't in a hurry"  he reminds me.

When Zoe began her preschool years, we started taking her walker everywhere and I learned not to ever hurry, it was unfair to rush her, so I learned to slow down even more to her speed. I would call out the flowers on the path as we passed them by, I learned to  listen to the songs of the birds in our desert. 

From our life I have gained perspective, and embraced simplicity.

The simple things, like opening the doors to our patio at Sunday dinner, because finally, the desert is cooling off. 



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Giving Thanks: Delight



Sometimes the subtle things, they can slip by. The start of school this year brought change. So. Much. Change. My first born teen girl adjusting to high school, where everything was new; the scratchy uniforms, friends,rules, hours of homework and higher expectations. My heart felt overly full her angst and excitement, with her beauty and with amazement that my first girl, is so grown up. 

My daughter Zoe started her second year of middle school with a new sense of awareness, asking me to to fix the “ little girl “ pattern on her new wheelchair seat, so sure was she, that its pale design would make her stand out, that kids would stare at it. And so I spent hours filling in pale yellow stars with a black fabric marker, eager to erase whatever unease I could. 

And then in all of this back to school flurry, Zoe got sick. Really sick. The kind of sick that causes a kid to miss twenty days of school and back and forth calls and appointments with doctors and specialists. I felt pulled back to a time when she was little and her sickness was all consuming.  

But this was different. Zoe is older and smarter and her tear-filled eyes would meet mine and she would ask me over and over, when it would stop, ask me why she was so sick. 

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5 Facts High School Freshmen Want Parents To Understand



A few weeks ago, on our last summer afternoon, my girls and I escaped the heat by heading to our local movie theatre. As we stood waiting in line at the snack counter, my soon to be freshman took hold of her younger sister’s wheelchair, took the movie tickets from my hand, and called over her shoulder “ I got Zoe, Mom, we’ll go grab our seats”

Zoe smiled and waved while I stood stunned, watching my oldest daughter making her way to the theatre, pushing Zoe, weaving through the crowds with confidence. Once she reached our theatre, I could imagine her carefully helping Zoe out of her wheelchair and into her seat. I knew Zoe was thrilled, and I was too-This was my girl, doing what she was supposed to do-growing up and letting me know that she is ready for more.

We spent a lot of time together, sharing this summer of anticipation-that would be forever marked by her transition into high school . These are just some of the things she taught me.

1. I want you to expect more from me, and then remind me I can do it. High school teachers already know this truth, and that is why they come on so strong the first week of school, so parents, be ready. Do our teens get overwhelmed? Sure, especially when everything is new and expectations are higher. Our teens are ready for more, but that doesn’t mean they have the confidence to match. Create opportunities to build confidence, pointing out small successes whenever possible.

2. I need to stay socially connected, so don’t take my phone away. Teens experience a huge social shift as they start high school. Some friendships fade with the transition to a new school, and new classes and clubs that can leave teens feeling vulnerable and disconnected until they settle in. In our home iPhones are placed on the kitchen charger at bedtime, and the rest of the time we all try to follow basic phone use etiquette. It’s tempting to take the phone away as a form of discipline, but that’s how she connects to her peers, and teens have a strong need for connection.

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