Monthly Archives: February 2013

Daily Life

It’s evening and I’m sitting here listening to my daughter practice the piano. Every note is joyful to my ears. When she was 5-8 years old, we took piano lessons, but she struggled and it was a lot of work to get through the practice sessions. We then moved 2 states away and went for 5 years without lessons. During that time, she would always go back to the piano and play what she could remember. I knew deep down she really liked it, so when she started school this year, I put her back into piano lessons.

She has improved so much in the past few months I couldn’t be happier! Her sight-reading has improved and her fingers are beginning to fly over the keys without effort! She has received numerous compliments about her hand position, and I’m happy for all the positive feedback she has received. Most importantly, I’m happy that she enjoys the process, and I see piano lessons in her future for the next few years!

Life continues to march forward. The weather here is bi-polar. One day it looks like spring is on the way. The next day we have 5 new inches of fresh snow. We already took the snow tires off the vehicle, but I think we jumped the gun a bit. We’ve thought several times that we should put them back on, but I think we will squeak through these last few weeks of winter without sliding off any roads.

I’ve been ignoring the paperwork. I just hate all the papers that come into my mailbox. I’d like a personal secretary to deal with all the papers in my life. I’ve gathered them here on the table so I can begin to deal with them. I’m not sure how the electricity is still turned on, as I don’t remember the last time I paid the bill.


This is our table this evening.  It is very lived on!  Every single item on the table holds some sort of significance.

-Front and center is the awful pile of papers that I must attack tomorrow.  There are all sorts of unpaid bills in that pile, several from doctors and hospitals, and I’d like to just pretend they are not there, but they are.

-Bookworm Boy’s computer case is next to the left, and then his Geometry book.  He was sitting here doing homework for a while, and now he’s disappeared.  I’ll be calling him back soon to be sure he has finished everything for tomorrow.  His computer is next in the back corner.

-The center of the table holds a glass candle from Walmart.  I am very excited about the candles from Walmart.  I LOVE candles, and in the winter, always want some burning in the house.  It brings a calm atmosphere, and the flickering light is just somehow very soothing after a long day.  It’s something I do for me, something that I like just because, and it’s like a little gift to myself every time I see a candle burning!  I like having the candles in a glass jar as they seem a little safer, plus the wax can’t make a mess dripping anywhere.  I’ve discovered that the Walmart Mainstays brand burns evenly to the edges, a characteristic that I thought only could be found in a higher end candle.  Because of this, I see myself buying candles at Walmart much more often.  In fact, every time I’m there now, I’m always looking to see if there are any on sale.  Yesterday I was able to pick up Jasmine tea lights (16 per pack)  for $1 each!!  I bought all 8 packs that were there!

-My red water bottle is generally close to my work area.  I’ve been trying to drink more water each day, a goal that is ever before me, but somehow is easy to fail at each day.

-My cell phone is always near by.  What can I say about my iPhone?  LOVE that little gadget and practically run our whole life and business from its tiny little surface.  Technology is incredible and I’m thankful for the convenience of it.

-There is a birthday card for my mom that I will have to send her next year (sorry mom).  I simply didn’t get it in the mail on time.  Sometimes I get frustrated with myself because, in this circumstance, I bought the card in November, but then misplaced it, and when it was time to get it sent, I couldn’t find it.  It’s a great card, but unfortunately will have to wait till next year:(

-The paper just to the right of my MacBook is the class schedule for the school.  I was discussing with Bookworm Boy tonight his options for classes next year.  He needs one more science class, and he’d like to fit in one “fun” class along with the few required classes for seniors.  The Boarding School calendar was also part of the tools for that discussion.

-Plugged into the wall is an iPhone/iPad charger.  We now have one in the office, one in the living room, one in the dining room, one on each side of our bed, and the kids each have one in their rooms.  I have them all labeled so nobody can steal them from one another (a problem that hopefully will be solved now).  Can we say electronics overload here?

-My MacBook is on the table as I type this post.  I love this computer and will most likely be an Apple user for the rest of my life.  I loving how everything syncs together without any effort.

-The red table-cloth under the calendar is one that I need to “try on” the new table.  I think it will be too small, but before I donate it, I want to be sure.

-And finally, the red checked table-cloth protects my beautiful wood table, allowing us to work freely on its surface without the worry of scratching or damaging it in any way.  I’ll post about my table sometime in the future.  It was a gem of a find, and I LOVE it, and want it to last for many, many years.  The red checked cloth also reminds me of Laura Ingalls, as she described having a red checked table-cloth that Ma would put on the table in the evening after the supper was cleaned up.  There’s probably something nostalgic about using a red check table cover in my own home.  Perhaps it provides a sense of family togetherness, or somehow suggests a simpler time when life wasn’t so busy and complicated.  If nothing else, it makes me happy to look at it, and every time I can bring “happy” into my life, I will!

By KMc
© 2013 GraceWithoutTears.  All rights reserved.

Take a Seat, Make a Friend

LOVE this!!!  I would totally hop in and wait to make a friend.  I hope I always take advantage of any opportunity to make a new friend!  I don’t know why, but this made me grab a tissue!

Silver Mountain

I have had the distinct privilege this year to visit other ski mountains.  While I love 49 Degrees North, and being a ski host there, I have truly enjoyed skiing at Silver Mountain and Lookout Pass this season.

Last Thursday, I went to Silver Mountain with Kendrick’s school.  It was “crazy hat day” at school, so the kids tried to do something fun to their helmets.  Kendrick put Lego stickers all over his blue helmet.



Kendrick took a ski lesson, and then had to ski all day because he forgot to bring his snowboard.  He’s doing quite well, but did spend some time sprawled in the snow!



He had an almost good attitude about it!  I think he’s doing very well on skis, though I don’t think I will turn him into a serious skier anytime soon!

By KMc
© 2013 GraceWithoutTears.  All rights reserved.

Substitute Teaching

Mostly, kids dislike the “sub”.  But not at this school.  The kids like me.  And I like them.  It feels comfortable to be in a classroom.  It does not make me nervous.  It does not make me anxious.  I feel at home there, and I enjoy every minute of each day.

I don’t know how many days I’ve subbed this year, but it is a nice handful so far, and it is my goal to always be able to say “yes” when they call.  Today’s class was a group of 3rd & 4th grade boys, a total of 6, nice kids who cooperate and seem to put in decent effort, even when it’s just the sub.

We had a full day, beginning with math, and the boys in different levels within the grades.  I had to explain decimals and place value, and review a bit on multiple digit addition.  I like 3rd & 4th grade.  Add 5th to the mix, and it’s my perfect classroom!  The middle grades get to do all the fun stuff still, yet they can read on their own, stay on task for the most part, and work independently.  Group dynamics are also a great tool at this age group, and we did a little bit of everything today.

For reading, we read about George Washington Carver, a negro who had the privilege of getting a good education.  We read about Adam & Eve, and the first sin for Bible, and talked about the horror of sin, after living in the perfection of heaven.  For Social Studies, we talked about the different regions of the USA, and they had to choose a region and then tell what they would do to work or play there, based on the resources available in that region.  I had the boys draw a quick picture of their region and then share their ideas, and we took it a step further and did a mini oral report in front of the class.  I thought they all did a great job and they all willingly got up in front and gave their impromptu speeches.

After lunch we jogged all the way up to the Academy gym and then played some full court basketball.  We had a visitor today, an older sister of one of the boys, and she was really good at basketball.  We played boys against girls, and the girls actually held their ground this time with the new girl on the team.  I couldn’t help but join in and play with them.  Sometimes I think I must be a little weird, playing ball with the kids, and then other times I think it’s pretty cool that a 40 something year old is willing to get out there and move around on the basketball court.  Thankfully, I think I still look decent while playing.  If I don’t, somebody please tell me!

We jogged back to the classroom, and did some quick spelling on the computer and then it was time for music.  The younger kids got right to work setting up tables for their handbell practice.  I was excited to be able to “conduct” a handbell choir, and we worked on several particular spots in the music.  During my student teaching, I directed a tiny little hand chime choir of 6 kids.  It was a lot of fun then, and even more fun today with actual bells.

Before I knew it, the day was over, and it was time for chores and lesson plan books.  The kids finished up with all the details of the end of the day, and scurried out the door to catch their rides home.  I was hoping I might have to go back again tomorrow, but the regular teacher will be back, so I’ll have to just wait till the next time.

Sometimes I feel that all my years homeschooling ate up my opportunity to ever teach in a classroom.  But I’ve decided those years legitimately count toward my experience as a teacher.  I did home school 3 children for a total of about 10 years, and it required a lot of patience, creativity, and perseverance to make that happen.  My children have all transitioned into regular school smoothly, and they’re all doing quite well academically.

If I ever do get a job teaching full-time, I’ll have to think of myself as “experienced”, even though it would be my first time “officially” in charge of a classroom.  In the meantime, I’m very happy to sub!!

By KMc
© 2013 GraceWithoutTears.  All rights reserved.




1. an introductory act or step;
2. readiness and ability in initiating action;
3. one’s personal, responsible decision: to act on one’s own initiative.

It’s interesting to see the drastic differences between one child and another, even within the same family. How does one child possess initiative, and another has absolutely none?

This used to make me angry. Now, it makes me sad. Lacking initiative affects many areas of life, and can be a profound determining factor when being considered, or not considered, for a job.

This weekend was Senior Recognition at UCA. The seniors put on a fun and entertaining show last night at the Senior Talent Program. Our family “purchased” a table and enjoyed a meal during the show. They had a silent auction and I won the bid for a week at Camp MiVoden, something I was going to purchase anyway, so it made sense to have it benefit the senior class and support their efforts for raising money last night.

When the show was over, the gym had to be cleaned, and set up for Sunday’s activities, a whole afternoon of basketball. UCA was hosting a large Junior Varsity Basketball tournament, and the entire gym had to be set up and ready to go.

As I watched everyone get to work, I suddenly noticed my son looking lost and bewildered. He was alone in a crowd, so I went over to him, gave him a big hug, and stood there with him for a moment. There were kids circling all around him, tearing down chairs, loading them into carts, and wheeling them under the stage. He seemed to be frozen, not knowing what to do, so I suggested he work on the brown chairs, which needed to be taken upstairs in the gym. He happily complied and began working on the chairs. When I checked with him later, he said he hauled all the chairs upstairs himself. It was a tough job, but once someone pointed him in the right direction, he could follow through and get the job done.

Getting started seems to be what holds him back. I wondered why he couldn’t see what needed to be done on his own, why he had NO initiative. But it didn’t surprise me. This is the same child that can’t see a full trash can, even if he has to stumble over it. Still to this day, the trash doesn’t get taken out unless I give a gentle reminder. There is no initiative to see the job, and just DO IT!

I worry what this will mean for the future. Does initiative come with maturity? Does it come with experience? Does Aspergers block it? Can it be learned? I’ve learned to be more patient than I used to be regarding these types of issues. My frustration has become concern. My fear must be transformed into hope. I can only encourage and guide. That is my role now. I hope the day will come when he will see a job and know how to jump in and do it. And if that doesn’t happen, I hope he will be surrounded with people who will be willing to give him a push in the right direction.

By KMc
© 2013 GraceWithoutTears.  All rights reserved.


Double Chocolate Mint


Some nights just call for a cup of hot chocolate.  Last night was one of those nights.

I’ve been to a Starbucks twice in my life, but it was enough to be influenced.  I don’t think I’ll ever drink chocolate again without adding the mint.  Adding the mint just makes it 100x better!

Doing little things to take care of yourself, or in this case, to pamper yourself, are important when you are daily dealing with disabilities.  I’ve learned to carve out these little moments for me, and consciously enjoy them to their fullest.

This cup was hot.  I sipped it out with the spoon in tiny, burning little sips.  It took a long time.  It was wonderful!



By KMc
© 2013 GraceWithoutTears.  All rights reserved.


Valentines Day Supper

Valentines Day and Aspergers go together like oil and water. I have tried for years and years to “shake them up” and get them to mix, but they just don’t. This year, I decided to do something differently.

About 3 weeks ago, while driving in the car with Daryl, I had a lightbulb moment about Valentines Day. I suggested we do a Valentines supper, invite some friends over, and just share the time with people that we enjoy being with. I told him if he would help me a little with the preparation, we could call it good, and he didn’t need to get me anything extra. It sounded like a good plan.

As the weeks got closer, I began to gather the things I would need to pull off my plan. I already had a heart-shaped waffle iron, and knew that I would make a nice waffle supper. I picked up some Valentine M&Ms and some chocolate Hershey hearts wrapped in foil to toss around the table, and a cheap white table cover to make it a little festive. I am always on the hunt for cute paper plates, so I had some trendy square plates, sporting a fun springy theme, that would work just fine for a Valentines Day supper.

Daryl kept his end of the bargain, with some gentle reminding, and helped me by getting two loads of dishes through the dishwasher today, and I got started on the decorations. I covered the table and tossed around the candy and found a few candles that were pink and white. I put the plates around and grabbed the vase of flowers from the breakfast table in the kitchen. Things were starting to take shape.


Our Valentine celebrations in the past have been anything but romantic or happy, and through experiences that neither one of us want to repeat, a general consensus was established. See’s Candy is an appropriate gift for Valentines Day. So, today, as I was setting the table, Daryl brought in this “expected” gift, said “Here”, handed it to me, and headed upstairs. Yup, that’s how it’s done. No kiss. No hug. No “I love you.” It’s the AS way. I’ve learned to accept it and be happy anyway.

So I added the heart box of candy to the table decorations.


We then filled our plates and sat down to our meal. Unfortunately, none of our friends were able to come (I only asked one family), so we just enjoyed it with the 5 of us. I was delighted to find out that Daryl bought a tiny heart box of See’s candy for Kaelyn as well, and thanked him for doing that.


The menu was heart-shaped waffles, toppings, scrambled eggs, and miniature shish-ka-bobs, that Kendrick made on toothpicks! Aren’t they cute?


We shared a happy meal together as a family.


The food was tasty and most importantly, there were no disappointments, no inflated expectations, and everybody did their part to help make it a special day. The boys cleaned up the dishes afterwards while the rest of us enjoyed a few moments to relax.

I think it’s possible this could become a Valentines Day tradition, only next year, I’ll send out some invitations ahead of time so people will have a chance to make it a priority on their calendars.

By KMc
© 2013 GraceWithoutTears. All rights reserved.

Broken Wrist (Graphic Photos)

There never  ceases to be excitement around this home.  Unfortunately, it seems to be of the negative nature a lot of the time.

A couple of weeks ago, up at 49 Degrees North Ski Resort, Darien broke his arm.  As a Ski Host up there, I am often busy doing my own thing and my kids ski all over the entire mountain without me.  After going regularly for 4 seasons now, I am not worried about them getting lost, and I’m generally not worried about them getting hurt.  All 3 children are proficient snowboarders and can keep up with all of their friends when they’re on the mountain.

On this particular day, I was helping two girls down the mountain the easy way, just before closing.  When I got them safely to the lodge, I was greeted at the bottom with a wave from the Aid Room.  There is nothing worse than seeing your own child waving to you from the First Aid Room.  It was Kendrick, who looked to be in one piece, telling me to come, and hurry!

I took off my skis and went inside to find Darien with a first aid ski patroller.  They had his wrist wrapped with ice on it.


He looked more disgusted than he did in pain, and I was disgusted as well.  My mind began churning regarding the finances and how we were going to pay for a broken bone, the necessary ER visit, and all the followup afterwards.  We had just been through a dislocated shoulder in May with Kaelyn, and all those bills ran us right around $6K.  I considered my options and if I could wait to see a regular doctor in the morning, but the Ski Patrol recommended we have him seen right away because the bone had looked rather displaced.

We gathered our things and headed to the nearest ER.


Once the bandage came off, it was clear that the bone was very, very broken.


This is not a natural position for a wrist to be in.  Thankfully, Darien was not in a tremendous amount of pain.  They took an x-ray and ultimately determined that they didn’t have anyone who could properly set the bone, so they sent us down to Sp*kane to see another ER doctor there.

Can I just say, at that moment, I was very upset.  TWO ER visits in one day???  Seriously??  My hopes that this might not be as expensive as Kaelyn’s shoulder were shattered.  And why couldn’t they just refuse me in the first place, if they were going to send me to Sp*kane anyway.


(Smiles because they just put a warm blanket around him)

The drive went smoothly and we arrived at our second ER.  Our doc was young and vibrant and full of energy.  He walked in announcing that he had set lots of arms like this, and immediately I liked him.  We talked about different options as I was hoping to avoid anesthesia, based solely on the fact that it is extremely expensive, and as cash patients, I was hoping to cut any corners that could be cut.


Darien was a trooper and went through all the motions with what seemed like a smile on his face.  They were able to do some local anesthetic, use traction, and set his arm while he sat there in a mild daze.


This photo shows some glazed eyes, I guess the drugs had kicked in a little more by this time!  It’s amazing what they can do these days with medical supplies and knowledge.  They got him splinted, x-rayed,  and soon we were ready to go home.

The good news is that, within the scope of broken bones, this was not a serious break.  The bad news is that I haven’t begun receiving all the bills yet.  I am hopeful we might get through this for less than $5K since he was not put under.  But with 2 ER visits in one day, it could be much worse than that.

Fab Abs

January Fitness Challenge

Sometime after Christmas, I stepped on the scale and was utterly shocked.  The number was just 5 pounds shy of the highest number I ever saw when I was pregnant with my first child.  And I’m NOT pregnant.  Something had to be done, and quickly!  My late night snacking habit and lack of exercise had to change, and immediately!

It wasn’t too long before a friend of mine posted this little calendar on her FB profile and simply said, “Who’s in with me?”  I immediately responded and said “I’m in!”


I started with Day 1 and worked my way through this calendar.  I also joined My Fitness Pal, and started tracking my calories and exercise diligently each day.  Boy, were my eyes OPENED!!  I was consuming 1000s of calories on junk food alone, and with no exercise to offset all the late night snacks, it was clear why the number on the scale had shocked me.

I set some goals, and I’m happy to say that since around January 7th, so just about a month ago, I’ve officially lost very close to 10 lbs.  My goal is 15 more lbs, a number I think I can reach, but more importantly, I just want to feel great, energetic, and I want to know that what I’m putting in my body, is serving a purpose in giving me nourishment and keeping my immune system alive and strong.  The best defense to disease is prevention, and with medical costs getting so high these days, the best defense for your pocket book is not to have to go to the doctor!

Besides doing the Fab Abs, I also did squats each day, adding 5 per day throughout the month of January, and finishing with 150 by the end of the month.  My current goal is to maintain Day 31 of Fab Abs, do my 150 squats, and jump on my mini tramp 20-40 minutes per day.  There is still room for improvement as I am doing girl push-ups, and I can only successfully do 2 minutes on the plank without cheating.  I’d like to be able to do “real” push ups, and hold a solid 2:30 plank before the year is up.

I have also been working on some flexibility, and occasionally I’ll do a Jillian Michaels DVD, if I really want to punish this body of mine!  I have a long way to go before I’ll feel fit, like the way I was during High School, but I feel so much better already, and I’m only a month into this new way of life.  I had aching muscles in my neck, and down the back of one leg, stemming from my tushie, and all of that pain is now completely gone!

And the best part is when I exercise, I can afford to have a treat now and then, which makes me happy because I still have a very strong sweet tooth!!

By KMc
© 2013 GraceWithoutTears.  All rights reserved.