Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Third Child Syndrome

B is our third child.  Our third boy.  There are five years between he and Zac, seven years between he and Sam.  He wasn't an uh-oh baby, we planned on him.  We just didn't plan on him when we were planning the first two.  He was a delayed plan. 

There are lots of little snags in our delayed plan.  First of all, we had gotten rid of almost all the baby stuff.  But the one that I remember most is that we forgot stuff a lot.  We had already grown accustomed to everyone putting on their own shoes and packing their bags to go places.  B had more shoes than he'd wear because we'd get some place and look at each other quizzically, "Did you grab his shoes?" Not I.  Not I.  Let me run into Target and grab another pair.  It is worth noting here that we didn't put shoes on him at the house because he'd throw them off in the car anyway. 

We almost always got places with the diaper bag.  It just didn't always have what we needed inside - like wipes or diapers or formula. 

Over Christmas break, I discovered another thing that slipped through the third child crack - Build A Bear Workshop. 

Since I had boys we were regulars at BBW.  But it was a special treat a couple of times.  Once Sam made a dog, picked out a Buzz Lightyear outfit for it and named it Buzz Barkyear.  BBW holds a special place in my heart.  I loved watching the boys in there. 

For Christmas my momma gave each of her grandsons one of my daddy's watches.  One needed to be repaired but the first place she took it couldn't do it but referred her to a place in the mall.  We dropped off the watch then headed out to cruise the mall while it was repaired.  This mall doesn't have a BBW store but they had set up a large kiosk for the holidays. 

When B walked by, he was amazed. "What is this?" My heart sank when I realized he'd never built a bear.  I explained it to him and off he went. 


adding filling

prepping the heart

inserting the heart

finished product

shopping for brothers is more fun with a friend

And again, B taught me a lesson - don't count him out.  During the prime bear building years, he couldn't handle it.  Without really thinking about it, I had written it off as something he couldn't do because of his autism.  Wrong again, momma.  My boy does things on his timeline.  He was older than our other boys when he built his first bear but he loved it just as much as they did.  I am so thankful B reminded me. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Live Love; Live Loved

In the summer of 2012 I read a book called Start with Why by Simon SinekSinek's book is based on the premise that if you don't know why you do something, it's harder to do what needs to be done.  I can honestly say, this book changed my life. I did some work to figure out my why.  I landed on service.  Every thing I do is based on the idea that I want to serve people.  I wrote some about it here. I'm so serious about it that I had it tattooed on my wrist so I would see it often and remember. 

My mind is a strange place.  There's a lot going on in there. I forget things quite often.  I also get wrapped up with a new project and forget about important stuff. I have to keep things front and center.  I have lots of post it notes and notecards all over my office and computer to remind me of a wide variety of things. 

As you know, I struggle quite a bit in the fall.  And it got me thinking about my why and the direction life is going.  I am still committed to service.  But in the fall, I started thinking about the manner in which I serve.  You can serve someone and not be nice to them or not be concerned about them or the outcome.  I found myself doing this a few times in the fall.  I was so focused on what needed to be done that I didn't attend to the people.  I want to serve out of love.  I want to serve with love. 

Additionally, in the fall I thought about being loved.  We experienced an outpouring of love after my father in law died.  My friends loved on me after my anaphylaxis and when they found out I was struggling in the aftermath.  I know GOD loves me and I want to remember that as well.  I want to live remembering that I am loved. 

This year (and every year after) my overarching reminder is to live love and to live loved.  I denote the idea this way.

This was my Christmas present to myself.  Ryan and I both got new tattoos the week after Christmas. 

{That gasp you might have heard is probably my momma because I did not specifically show her my tattoo after I got it. I don't think she approves of my tattoos and I hate to disappoint her.  Sorry, Momma.  But none the less...}

Do you have an overarching theme for your life or this year?  How do you keep it top of mind?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


Over the past few weeks, the Bartis pet population has exploded.  On December 24th we just had our dog Cub.  Today, January 10th, we have 4 additional friends.

Each year we ask the boys to fill out a Christmas wish list.  It has three sections: momma and daddy; Santa; family and friends.  In the momma and daddy section there are 4 boxes: want, need, wear, read.  Under the 'need' category this year B wrote "pet".

I've known that he's wanted a pet of his own for a while.  He had a hermit crab but I mostly took care of it.  He really wanted to take care of an animal himself.  One of my good friend's daughter had a gerbil she wanted to give away.  At 9 pm Christmas Eve, Ryan and I picked up the newest edition to our family.  Then we almost forgot to give it to B on Christmas morning!

Here's the video of him getting it (even though my friends already made fun of my morning hair on Facebook).

He's since changed his name from Sweetie Pie to Peppermint because it's more 'boyish'.

So far so good on caring for Peppermint.  B feeds him.  We got a ball for him to run around in while we clean his cage.  I say 'we' because that part is really a two person job. Also, neither of us has actually held Peppermint.  He's a little "nippy" as B likes to say.  Good thing he'll crawl into and out of his ball on his own!

Zac decided to use his Christmas money to get an aquarium.  Honestly, I was surprised.  We were in PetSmart getting a ball for Peppermint.  Zac and Ryan started looking around.  When I found them, Ryan told me Zac wanted to get an aquarium.  I tried to talk him out of it but he wasn't having it.  He got an aquarium starter kit, heater, insert, food, water treatment, plants and 6 fish. 

Long fish story short - the first night was a fish death camp.  Only 2 survived.  Ryan & Zac spent the next two days going back and forth to PetSmart getting the water and fish and inserts right.  He now has 3 tiger fish.  He had a sucker fish that died yesterday. 

I really like how Zac's aquarium turned out.  I'm glad he didn't talk me out of it. 

This is Bubbles.  He likes to hang out in Spongebob's Pineapple.  I can't decide if he's my favorite or if the orange tiger fish Dabo is my favorite!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

I missed you!

Hello there! It's been a while.  Glad to see you back, thanks for coming back!

I hope you each had a great Christmas (or whatever winter holiday you celebrate) break.  I had a great break.  As I told you before I took my break, I had 2 goals:  spend time with the boys and read.  Mission accomplished!

We hung out and watched every football game that was aired.  We ate.  We watched movies.  We slept.  We did Christmas-y things.  It was nice.

I read a fiction book, a book for school and a spiritual book.  I'm going to give you a brief overview of them later this week.

I have stories to tell you about my boys and our celebrations.  I want to tell you about the books I read.  I want to tell you about my focus for this year.  I want to shared some other things I learned.  All in due time. 

Today I just want to say that I'm thankful that you're here.  I rested during my break but I did miss writing for you. I missed telling you my stories.  I hope you missed reading them. 

See you tomorrow. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Taking a Break

Did you know that Christmas is less than a week away? Did you know that I'm not done shopping? Did you know that I have no idea what to get for the people left on my lists? Did you know that I haven't even thought about wrapping the things I have purchased?  And did you know that I still have 2 1/2 days left at work before Christmas break? To quote my friend Andrea "What the what!?!"

The shopping and wrapping isn't that unusual, actually.  Ryan and I generally go shopping the day after school gets out for break.  It's a huge, marathon day of fun.  The trouble is that this year we get out much later.  We've done some shopping but we still have a ways to go. 

I do have a lot of things left to do before Christmas.  As I'm sure you do as well.   Last year I wrote about my list making and the not letting my lists overshadow the people I'm doing things for.  To that end, I'm going to take a break from blogging until Tuesday, January 9, 2018.  Look at me, not even freaking out about typing 2018 (liar, liar pants on fire). 

I have 2 major things to work on this break. 

#1.  Hanging with these dudes

#2.  Reading these beauties

Watch out for funny B stories in the new year and some book reviews! 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years, friends.  I hope you'll return in January. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Finding Your People

I've worked with middle schoolers for my entire career.  For 17 years I've watched kids struggle to find their place, their people.  I always feel bad for them because I know how that feels, to not know who you're people are.

As a girl, I lived in the same town my whole life.  I did have a little friendship issue before my senior year but I was about slide right into a new group.  In college I had my sorority sisters.  As a grown up, it's been a little more difficult.

I am so blessed to have found my people.  I am double blessed to have two groups of people.  And I got to spend time with both sets lately.  I got to spend the weekend with my sorority sisters and I got to eat dinner with our local friends.  Both were so good for my soul.  Lots of laughing.  So, so much laughing.

Here's the deal, the world is full of broken people.  We're all broken.  Some people can't handle your kind of brokenness and you can't handle theirs.  You might be a generous person.  They might be too broken to receive your generosity.  They may think you want something in return.  They may hoard it and try to keep you from being generous to others.  These are not your people. Your people wouldn’t use you. Your people wouldn’t keep you from loving others.

The key is find the broken people who fit with your kind of broken.  That way, you each give what the other needs and receive it with an open heart. Your people love you the way you are while pushing you to be better.

Take heart, it might take a while to find your people. You might have to try some people out and then find out they aren't your people.  It can be a painful discovery but it's better in the long run.  No one has a ton of free time, make sure you spend it with people who love you for yourself and who make you laugh.  For me, the laughter is the key to knowing your people. When you can laugh together you can love each other.

I hope you find your people! I'm so thankful for mine!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Well, the flu bug has hit our home.  Last Thursday Ryan came home around noon and went straight to bed.  Friday he went to the doctor and tested positive for flu. 

That afternoon, I got Ryan all medicated up, Lysoled everything and we cleared out. 

Monday afternoon, our school district announced that we would close on Tuesday and Wednesday because we had too many kids and staff members out due to the flu.  Since Ryan was over it and no one else felt bad, I thought we'd have a 2 day mini vacation.  We'd visit Santa maybe do some shopping. 

It was not to be...

B got in bed with us early Tuesday morning to inform me I hadn't put anything in the advent calendar.  Then promptly went back to sleep.  Which was odd.  When he woke up a couple of hours later, he was burning up.  We called the doctor. 

The thing with B is that he has a high pain tolerance.  He kept telling us that he didn't feel bad, he just had 'croaky' voice.  I'm so glad we went ahead and took him to the doctor.  He tested positive for the flu. 

This time we got more than Lysol, we all got tamiful, except for Ryan who was almost done with his tamiflu. 

The flu hasn't slowed B down much.  He played right up until time to go to the doctor.  He played when he got home.  He did lay down on the couch for a bit but even then he was plotting to open his petting sitting business this summer. 

The biggest struggle is the medicine.  B does not like liquid or chewable medicine.  The trouble is that tamiflu doesn't come in a pill for him.  Oh joy - a liquid.  The first dose of tamiflu came right back up, if you know what I mean.  I think we might have figured out a work around and, fingers crossed, the second dose will stay down. 

So many of our friends are sick right now.  I'm so thankful we have a great doctor.  I'm glad B got sick when we had the 2 days off school and work.  It's less stressful than getting a sub and worrying about him getting behind on his work.