Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Remembering Gratitude

Hey there.

How are you?

I know that things seem surreal and sometimes unfair, but let's remember what we're grateful for.  I can get really out of sorts and miserable when I forget the wonderful things in my life.

I bet you can too.

Here are some of the things I'm grateful for:

- I live in Copper Harbor in the fresh air with already quiet streets and a supportive community
- I have a wonderful man who loves me even though I haven't seen him in two weeks cuz the government says we're not supposed to
- My kid is really pretty awesome
- We still have enough food in the house to get through a few more weeks
- The General Store is still serving us locals who refuse to travel south
- We have clean water to drink
- The sun shines more often
- There are rocks to throw by the creek
- Overall, my heart is at peace, and I continue to grow and learn about myself and my place in this world
- The internet is working, so B and I can have conversations with other humans and see their smiles
- I can take a hot shower
- We are healthy
- My kid is seriously awesome

Thanks for listening.  This list is not complete, but it's a start.  

Have you written a list like this lately?  You should try it.  It will make you feel better.

Now for goofiness sake, here are some pictures of the things Brady P. has put on in the last week.  After wearing an over-sized/non-functional article of clothing one time, he understands why he won't wear it again, so I don't even have to tell him "no."

I learn best from my own mistakes, and I'll let him do that too.  As long as he is safe!

Mom's jacket and Grampy's hat

Mom's hat, gloves and boots!

Mom's sunglasses

A... wig???

At least there is never a dull moment.

Be grateful.  Be smart.  Stay safe, and stay at home.  Just do the right thing.  This is a good time to learn what that means.

See ya!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

My Days

I'll just let Brady P. Tell you about it...

* * *

Hi.  This is Braeden.

Mommy and me have been hanging out a lot.  We have fun. She is cool.

I get to do fun things every day.  We always have a yummy breakfast with berries and oatmeal.  Oatmeal is so yummy.

Sometimes when we eat, I notice mommy looks sad.  I look at her and say, "Hug."  Then I get to jump in her lap and hold her tight, so she knows I love her and everything is going to be okay.  I want her to be happy.

We have been doing school work, too!  I like to do school work.  Mom takes my little cymbals and dings them three times when it is time for me to take my seat at the table.  Sometimes I get to ding the cymbals.  I do a good job, too.

Mom has cool hats and mittens and boots.  I like to wear things from her basket when we go outside.  She lets me.  Except for her boots.  One day I wore her black puddle boots outside, and she had to carry me down the steps because I couldn't walk down them.  I couldn't walk fast down the road either.  But then the wind got chilly, so we turned around and went home.

I like that we get to throw rocks.  Mom puts me in my chariot, and she rides her bike to the creek.  I always yell for her to go faster, but she says, "I am going up a hill!" and she just keeps going slow until we go down the hill.

Yesterday I tried casting with my red pole.  Mom explained the reel and the button and the throw and switch hands, but I think I just like to whip it back and forth.  Mommy says I have a good fly-fishing cast.  Dad and Gramps both said they will take me fishing this summer.

Sometimes we go for a walk to the turn.  There has not been many cars at all, so she lets me walk in the middle sometimes because I have been a good listener when she tells me a car is coming.  I get all the way to the side of the road to stay safe.  Sometimes I even see the car coming, and I get to the side all on my own.  She is really proud of me!

I try to be good for mom because she really loves me, and I love her.  But sometimes I throw things.  Like her pajamas off her bed.  Or my pencil during school work.  Or the pillow off the couch.  Or my glasses after we read a book.   Or the book.  She always gives me a mad look and reminds me not to throw.  The other day I threw my maraca and it broke and we had to find all the beads that were inside.  She said that's why we can't throw things because they might break.

I have a new favorite song!  "Ants in my Pants!"  I make mommy play it 100 times or so each day.  I always take out my red and blue ant toys and pretend they are in my pants when I dance.  It's a funny song.

We read books, too.  I am getting good at reading, and I love it when Mommy looks at me with a surprise face because I read a page really good.  Sometimes I think she forgets that I can read, but I am a good reader.

At night she snuggles with me in my bed.  She is not there in the morning, though.  And she said that when I wake up in the middle of the night, I have to close my eyes and think about the good things until I fall asleep.  I like it when she tells me about the good things.  It makes me feel good and safe and then I fall asleep and have good dreams.

I hope you have good dreams, too.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Making the Best of It

Okay, well, I thought last week was crazy, but...

... we won't even go into the details of this week because you already know from your own life!

It's back to me and Brady P. 24/7.

Have you ever hung out with someone all the time like that?  I mean ALL THE TIME?

Even if I have somewhere to go, he comes with me.  We eat together, play together, go outside together, learn together, go potty together (sometimes) and so on.

Luckily, and this is how I stay sane, we do not sleep together.

He goes into his own bed.  At first I lay next to him and wait for him to fall asleep.  Then I pray to his guardian angels to watch over him at night so I get a break.  Then I sneak out.

Close his door.

Take a big sigh.

I am not necessarily a religious person, but I know when I need to ask for help.  Nobody else is here to take care of him throughout the night, so I just pray.  So far, it's working.  

Thank you!

I would like to assure you that our days are most lovely together.  We do not battle each other hardly at all.  As long as I keep the young buck fed at an alarming rate, we do just fine.

Pretty wonderful, really.

Remember that person you may or may have not been with 24/7?

Well, imagine they are hilarious and always do random things to be a goofball.  Imagine they eat whatever you make for meals and they are polite about it and seem to enjoy it.  Imagine they love you unconditionally, and you get sweet kisses and hugs throughout the day.  Imagine you feel the need to put your whole heart into that person, so all the extra efforts you make to assure they are learning to be their best self are worth it.

Goofball puts on Mom's winter wear

Playing frisbee on the dry roads

It really makes for a amazing time, and I am sooooo grateful.  When I heard school was called off for three weeks (at a minimum), I almost panicked.

But I am taking this as an blessing rather than a curse.  Luckily I have several jobs that are flexible and one of them was the school!

I lucked out there big time.

And I am not worried really.  This won't last forever.  But while we are in this situation, we will make the best of it.

Besides... the mouth of Fanny Hooe Creek is starting to melt off and we just discovered rocks to throw!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Missed Ya!

Oh, man.  It's been a crazy week!

I'll catch up with you next Wednesday.  Smily face.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Such a Little Man

Brady P. is going through some changes right now. 

He is not a toddler anymore.  He is maturing and developing in ways that continue to shock and awe me.

For one, his sleeping habits are different.  It used to be that I got him all ready for bed, we'd run and jump on his bed, he'd snuggle in, I'd give him a kiss and walk out his door, closing it behind me with a sigh of relief.

That doesn't happen anymore.  Now he is getting out of his bed around 1am nearly every night to come snuggle with me.

I was very resistant to this as first because I worked so hard to get him to the point where he would stay in his room all night, and I wasn't going back.

But he is changing, and having dreams, and he wants to feel protected.  Once I gave up the reins and let him snuggle with me until wake-up time, we both slept better and he was much more accommodating to me throughout the day.

Like, every day.  I am grateful.

In another area, he is eating a LOT.  And growing in all directions.

He is also starting to use full sentences.  "This one is big!" when he points to his ice cream cone.  "What does this say?" when he sees new words in a book he's reading.  "Let's go, guys!" when shouting for his favorite hockey team.

Each time he busts out a new sentence, I am amazed.  It's all so new to me, that it still blows my mind when I realize he will speak like an adult someday. 

I think his passion for reading has a lot to do with that.  What a gift!

He is even working on spelling words himself.  Wow.

And he wrote his letters like a champ in school today!

These are all things I've been noticing and adjusting to in our life.  But when his coordinator from the ISD came to see him yesterday, she was floored.

She looked at me with huge eyes and said, "He is just blowing me away!  We're going to have to amend his IEP because he has already achieved many of his goals for this year."

We looked through his IEP, and, sure enough, he has checked off some important goals in speech and fine motor skills.  When we set those goals in June, I thought they were pretty lofty, but he is surpassing them!

Do you know how proud that makes me?

It's so fun to hang out with him and watch him interact with other people, observe objects and processes, entertain himself and interact with me.  We definitely have a beautiful relationship that just took a new turn for the better as I watch him understand more about his surroundings and I let him take the lead.

He has opinions and preferences, and when I follow him around, I learn a lot myself.

Our children are definitely our teachers.

One thing that hasn't changed is his compassion for people.  If he sees you crying, you will get a hug.  If you hurt yourself, he will kiss it.  If you are sick, he will tell you to be happy.

It's nice to have a little angel around.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Dancing King


I'm sorry, but our Saturday did not go as planned, so I don't have any pictures of the scene.

I'll tell you about it instead!

Brady P loves to dance.  He also loves to watch live music.  He is so curious about instruments, musicians, sound boards, speakers, etc.

So when Zik's has live music each Saturday night in the snowy months, I have to take him!

We'll walk over, all bundled up, and once he gets inside, he'll run to the end of the room where the musicians are set up.  If they are already playing, he'll start to dance, coat, mittens, hat and all!

If they're still setting up, he will carefully examine every foot pedal on the board -- even if there is only one.  He will push the buttons and turn the knobs, if the musicians let him.

I always make sure that the musicians know who he is, and we feel out their temperament toward letting a 5-year-old fiddle with their buttons and knobs -- totally affecting their sound.  Ha!

The bartender will come over and say hello because she loves him too.  One night she said, "I hope the musicians know that Braeden is in charge of the music here!"

It's true.

He gets people dancing.  He charms people's hearts with his dance moves and curiosity.  He brings in more tips for the musicians.  He learns all the instruments' and musicians' names.

And then, before nine o'clock, he has to go home for bed.  Mom says!

An artsy shot of B lounging in the lounge one day

I have had random visitors, locals and musicians tell me that my son made their night because he is so precious.  I mean, how can I do all these people a disfavor by keeping him home???

As long as we are both feeling good, we can go.  So we go.  To feed his curiosity and show off his moves.

One night, he busted out this sweet backspin move followed by an on-the-back full body wiggle.  The crowd went wild!

And on many nights, I have watched the musicians stare straight at him while they sang or played their guitar or drums.  I swear, they are either inspired by him or playing for him. 

That means a lot to me.  He inspires me every day!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Transitional Week


I have an idea for a new post, but I want to get some pictures for it on Saturday.  I will post that one next week.

In the meantime, if you haven't already checked out the Dino ABCs video, here's the link.  

Brady P and I are probably the only people I know who could recite them.  But want to know an even cooler thing about it?  He doesn't even say the same names each time he goes through the alphabet!  That's right.  He knows so many dinosaurs that I never know which one he is going to say for each letter.

Pretty stinking' amazing.

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, February 14, 2020

Dino ABCs Video

Here is the link to the Dino ABCs video on YouTube!

If you are viewing this through the email, copy and past the link below.  It's safe, I promise!


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

A Jurassic Tease


I've got a real treat for you!

But it's not ready yet.  Ha!

I'm traveling the next two days, so be patient with me.

Want to know what it's about?

Well, last weekend I attended my first Michigan Technological University hockey game.  It was part of their Winter Carnival event.

At one point between periods of the game, the announcer quizzed two students (college age, I think).  The question was: How many dinosaurs can you name?


The girl they selected named four dinosaurs and the guy named six (but technically, he got one wrong.  I know these things).

Craig and I looked at each other and laughed because we know that Brady P. could name waaaaaay more than that.  I don't remember how much time the contestants had to name dinos, but they ran out of ideas before they ran out of time.

This hot, valiant feeling ran through my body.  I realized that I must show the world how smart Brady P. is at dinosaur names!


(That's me pulling my sword from its sheath.)

You can laugh.  It's a bit dramatic.  And dinosaurs are extinct, so why does it really matter?

Dino Lives Matter

But I believe that you know.  You know why it matters.

I'm working on captioning the video I took of him saying dinosaur names in alphabetical order, so you can see how amazing it is.

So the whole world can see how amazing it is!

And then it will go viral, and we will get on a talk show where everyone can see how cool that little boy is.  It's trending, you know...

I'll post that video as it's own, when it's ready.

Stay awesome!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020


Brady P. has been into puzzles lately.

Pretty much every day we do at least one of those big floor puzzles.  Anywhere from 32-60 pieces.  And he is getting really good at it!

He's got many to choose from: dinosaurs, Charlie Harper animals, pirate ship, farm and (his new favorite) the United States of America.

It's quite charming to hear him say "United States of America" because, well, that's a mouthful!  He says it so fast that sometimes it just sounds like "Jamaica," but at least I can recognize what he's getting at!

So we'll sit down and do a puzzle or two in the afternoon.  The puzzles sit on the floor for a little while and when he comes back to one, he'll pull a few pieces out, bounce that little index finger in the air and say, "one more time."  Then put them all back in.

I find that quite unique.  I haven't known anyone else to do that before, but I like it.  If we leave a puzzle on the floor, he will do part of it over. 

He will actually do it several times and pull apart different corners or edges of the puzzle.  And he always gets it back together 100% on his own.

What a guy!

He is also really into these opposite cards.  He is quite proficient in matching each of the opposites together.  Then he likes to sink them all back in the box.

Never ending entertainment, I tell ya!

And to recap our bowling event last weekend, it was a success!  A few families came.  All the kids made friends with each other (I could tell by how they were all chasing each other around at the end).  A few of the parents exchanged phone numbers and some picked up resources for future use.

We will do this again with older kids soon.  Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Brady P. Project Update

I've got some exciting news!

The Brady P. Project is proud to announce that we're helping to sponsor our first event!  Here's the flyer.

Pretty cool, hey?

The mission of the Brady P. Project is to spread unconditional love, advocate fairness for all human beings and help people learn about and respect Mother Nature.

Pretty much like saving the world, right?

We're doing it!  With this first event, families that have a child in school that might need help, but don't know where to turn or who to talk to, can now get out for a social afternoon of food, bowling, friendly conversation and resources to help make sure all their kids are on track.

One step at a time.

The Brady P. Project took shape when I (Braeden's mom) realized that my little boy with an extra chromosome is made of pure love.  He is in the moment.  He is all inclusive when it comes to people.  He is curious about nature and loves to be outside.  And he always wants people to be happy.

Well, gosh darn (as my Grandma Gertie used to say), we should all be like that!

So through this non-profit organization, I am trying to give people the opportunity to have resources available to make these things happen.  With our funds, we are able to donate to events and other organizations that follow this mission.

Do you want to be a part of the mission?  You can donate too! 

Here is the link to the WEBSITE.

No pressure.  I'm not that kind of girl.

But here is the cool magnet you get for donating!  We can even throw in a sticker if you donate in the next week because then I'll know you donated through this post.

I just had to put a shout out to the Project because I believe in it.  I believe in helping others.  I believe in kindness.  I also believe that anything is possible.


I also believe that if you follow your heart and do the right thing each chance you get, you will have a wonderful day.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Getting Out

Remember that little cold Braeden got?  Well, he had it for a month.

Yup, hacking and barking throughout the night.  Crying for me several times in the darkness.  Telling me his throat was "ouchie," so I had to squirt kid's cough syrup and pain reliever into his mouth.

That wasn't flying with me for many reasons.

So I had to figure out what the problem was.  I didn't want the goop in his respiratory system to turn into pneumonia (if that's really how it works), so I took action.

It was time to go outside every day.

I was already picking him up from school most days in his chariot with skis.  Easy to get from here to there, but he was pretty much sealed up inside it to keep the wind out of his face -- which he hates.

He also wasn't getting any exercise that way.

So I started making him walk home with me.  He likes to pull his red sled, so I put him in charge of that, and he walks and runs quite purposefully with it.  He feels proud.

Sometimes we'll go around a few blocks if it's sunny.

It's been wonderful for us both!

He even helps me move snow!  Well, he thinks he's helping.  He has his own shovel!

And when he gets bored with that, he uses his digger from Uncle Matt!

His cough is just remnant at night and he only calls for me once or twice.  I haven't administered medicine for about a week.  

Whew!  I think we're doing it!

I sure hope so because we all deserve to rest well at night.

Oh, and by the way... Brady P. is officially a big brother!  Aaron and Kelsi had a little boy last week!  His name is Cedar.  Braeden can say his name and knows that's his little brother down in Arkansas.

I think he really wanted a sister, but I'm sure he'll love this guy too.

Stay awesome!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Someone is... Reading!

I have to brag a little bit.

Okay, it's more like a lot.

It has brought me to tears to realize that...

... are you ready?

Brady P. can read!

He can open his kindergarten reader books and read many of the words by sight.  He is also able to sound out some other words and use the pictures as cues and context.

The boy has a photographic memory, so he also memorizes words easily.

He is very proud of this fact, and will read his books to anyone who will listen.

He might start out pretty quiet and shy, but when I remind him to read loudly, he straightens up and nearly shouts the words!

So, ummm, wow!

This little 5-year-old boy is reading and loving it!

Here is a little video for evidence.

Please enjoy.  And remember... anything is possible!

After I took this video, he read a new book about vegetables.  What really surprised me was that, even though some of the pages read "This is a ______," some of them read "These are ________," and he caught it!  He read the correct words the first time!

This lets me know that he is not just reading robotically.  And he is so sweet when he gets to a word that he doesn't know, and he looks up at me for help.  We sound it out together and keep on reading.

Those are some moments to cherish, I tell you!