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Kristen headshot

Kristen is a home­maker, home­schooler, and a home­keeper. Her experience includes nineteen years of practice, raising three kids, a husband, and a dog. Writing about her life helps her stay sane. She believes that sharing stories helps others by providing opportunities to share advice (and helpful hints) about homeschooling, and raising kids on the autism spectrum, while supporting marriages and families that are striving to thrive.

Shannon headshot

Shannon Enos is a wife, recovering Pinterest addict, and homeschooling mom of two young girls. Her hobbies include analyzing music with her husband, pretending she’s going to finish that crocheting project she started 4 years ago, and making lists of things she has already completed just so she can cross them off. Shannon values truth, education, the arts, open minds, humor, and “Nashville" binges on Hulu. She believes that learning happens everywhere, whether you’re paying attention or not.


Pink Owl

We have had some crazy happenings in our house over the years, especially in regards to parenting and family-ing with autism spectrum in the house. My husband and I got into a laughing fit while we were reminiscing the other day.  I had been talking to him about trying to come up with a crazy-funny story to write about, and he was, like, “are you kidding?!?”  I wasn't kidding. Sometimes I feel like all the creativity has just evaporated. I tend to idle a little high, anyway, and bend toward the anxiety side of thinking (shocking, I know). So, I answered, “what do you mean?”
“What do you mean, what do I mean,” he says, “you could write a book!”
“Well, we've had crazy… I’m not sure it’s funny.”
He laughed.  “It's all funny!”
Hmmmm… Really? I thought about it for a second- maybe two- and then started laughing.  In hindsight, a lot of it is kind of funny.  The stuff of life, the everyday, the mundane, it can be pretty funny.  I often think about how deep and meaningful things are.  I can easily get caught up in the frustrations, and the pain, but the everyday?  It's just stuff, right?  Sometimes, maybe.  It's hard to find humor in the meltdowns; except that sometimes, the humor is what keeps me sane.  If I'm not laughing about something, I'd probably be crying.  Now, crying, of course, is necessary, and important, and I'm not advising in any way that laughing at someone else’s expense is appropriate. There is a time and place for everything.  But, changing a perspective, in hindsight, anyway, could be good. It could be funny, even.
Not too long ago, I was home alone with the kids and the dog. I mention the dog, because usually the dog would be with Mark at work.  We haven't had the dog very long, and I'm always afraid I'm going to wreck him, as in, mess up his training, because he's a working search and rescue dog.  He's, like, a rock star (to me, anyway).  So, because the husband wasn't home, we were having pancakes for dinner.  I only cook if Mark is home- partly because I've raised the pickiest eaters in the world, so why bother cooking something that only I will eat, and partly because when he's not home, I'm done at, like, four o’clock. I'm ready for bed. Sometimes we even just have cereal on nights that Mark is at work.  I digress, and eating/cooking/food issues are a whole other story altogether.
Pancakes.  The most perfect food in the world is pancakes. Even I don't mess them up.  This is an important part of the story. Pancakes are the only food I never mess up.  
Tommy is always, consistently, very talkative around four o’clock in the afternoon. It's like he gets his second wind, and realizes it's time to communicate.  Plus, I think he sees me cooking, and he knows I can't just walk away from him especially if he's talking about something that doesn't make any sense.  Which is most of the time.  So, I've mixed the pancakes, the stove is on, and Tommy has me cornered.  It's the perfect time to launch into painstaking detail about some obscure capoeira martial art in the time space continuum and fighting the Mongols in ancient China, and, “Mom. Right? Mom. Don't you agree? Mom? Can't you see me doing that? Mom? Maaahhhmmm?”
Me: um-hmm, um-hmm… Flip pancakes… Um-hmmm….
Katie enters the scene.  For whatever reason, Katie and Tommy don't ever seem to understand or acknowledge each other's talking. So, she just starts talking over him, because she is louder and younger and has estrogen, and she talks really, really fast. It's weird. For both of them, it's like they just don't hear each other.
“So, Mom, there's this new Barbie and she, like, dances and does gymnastics and ice skates, and she's at Target and maybe Walmart and she is only fifty dollars and I need my allowance so I can get her,like, tonight, Mom, are you listening, it's really important, tonight, Mom, Tommy, I was talking!! You're interrupting! Mom!?”
Obviously, conversational speaking is not a strong point for either of them. I'm about to address this, so, of course, my over-achieving smoke alarm decides to go off at this exact minute, because why? Because I'm cooking? I'm cooking!  I'm not even burning anything-- it just senses me in the kitchen, so it has to alert the whole house that I'm cooking, and that something is probably going to catch fire, which, by the way, has only happened… less than five times….So, I'm offended by my smoke detector. By the way, my smoke detector has some serious nerve, because, if Mark is ever cooking, I promise, the alarm won't alarm.  It's true.  
Apparently, the dog is offended by the smoke detector, too.  He comes trotting into the kitchen, knocks over Katie, who proceeds to start screaming. Loudly. So, the dog starts barking- not at the smoke detector- but at Katie. Loudly. The smoke alarm is beeping. Loudly. Tommy starts yelling, “Turn it off, turn it off!!” - and he's hitting his face like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man.  In fact, when Tommy was younger, we would call his tantruming a “Rainman”, or we’d say, “He’s rain-manning.”
And he is doing it how??? You guessed it. Loudly.  
And I’m not allowed to tell the dog to stop barking, because it’s his job to bark...
I'm wondering- Can we get a reality TV show? Where are the cameras? I think we’d make a really good reality TV show. I could cry, for sure, but laughing is sometimes just as effective to reset a situation.  So, I'm laughing, but kind of in a hysterical way.  This, of course, is when Mark decides to call to check in for the day.  We have an unspoken rule that all calls need to be answered.  We are not allowed to ignore each other’s calls. I take a deep breath.
“Hello. We are having a situation. I can't talk.” I am sure it sounded like I was at NORAD announcing ‘DEFCON 1’. He answered very professionally, “copy.” Click. It was that easy.  Without missing a beat, Danielle strides into the kitchen with a magazine, and starts fanning the offending smoke detector. Bless my neuro-typical child. She and I make eye contact, and we are both just shaking our heads.  Within a few minutes, she had Tommy distracted, and I was listening to the virtues of adding yet another Barbie to Katie’s collection.  As soon as the pancakes were on the table, I called the husband to assure him that we were not being attacked, and that the dog was fine, but did not appreciate a screaming little girl.  He even gave me kudos for handling the situation appropriately. Happiness.
This is what I mean about laughing. This is just a snapshot of twenty minutes on one day in the life of our family.  Is it always so crazy? No. Can I always laugh?  Well, no.  Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I'm so silent that everyone asks if I'm ok. But laughter sure makes life feel good.  When we can all look at each other and not take it all so seriously, I think we move forward with positivity; we learn a few lessons, and we thank God for another opportunity to smile in the midst of challenging times... and many of those challenges do make funny stories after all:)
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The Table at St. George’s

The Table at St. George’s is a market-style food pantry serving the extended local community. Visitors are invited to select their own items from a variety of fresh food, including locally grown produce. The Table’s mission is to encourage healthy eating, build relationships with those in need, and blur the lines between those serving and those being served.