Sunday, April 21, 2013


My first year in college was a huge year for this chick.
I started living.

I spent 19 of my years living half ass- afraid to fail, so never really trying.

It was December 22nd 2002.
I was at my parents house, weighing in at an uncomfortably high number.
I had no clue who I was or who I wanted to be.
But I knew I needed to find out.

I needed a path that would push me emotionally and physically on a daily basis.
Showing myself, and proving to myself day by day, that I can, and I am capable.

Thats when I started training for marathons.

I literally grew my soul, one step, one mile at a time.

When Jake and I stated to plan our family, I knew one of the most important lessons I wanted to pass onto my children was that of Tenacity. I didn't want them to turn 19 and realize they hadn't yet lived.

I wanted them to have a fight in them.
To believe in themselves.
To try without the fear of failure.

Quinny was born with tenacity. That lady Lou has fought through so much adversity- and she does it with such gumption.
While Quinn's tenacious side is more obvious, out little Carter Roo stands, oh so pretty, in the shadows of Autism.

Carter wakes up at 5:30a, not because she wants to- but because her sister wakes her up. And when she is awakened, she smiles and hugs her sis.
After Quinny takes a toy from Carter, and then (Quinn) melts down when I return it to Carter- Carter ignores the play she was just engaged in, and rubs her sissy's back, "it's ok sissy, it's ok" she says.
When Quinny's had too much, and her aggression is getting the better of her- Carter climbs on the couch to give her sister space.
When you ask Carter who her best friend is, without fail: "sissy".

Talk about tenacity.

She sees her sister.
She loves her sister.
She fights for her sister.

Quinny fighting to keep it together and Carter holding her tight when she can't- without a DOUBT- my life's proudest moments.

I think Crew Man his hands (and heart) full.

Help Us Celebrate Quinny's 5 years

One of Quinny's greatest barriers, brought forth from Autism, is her inability to navigate the social world independently.
Quinny literally has to learn her way through the social mine field, hoping to understand and memorize every nuance that could, should or will be.

SO what does this chick do? She literally memorizes and figures it out through questions:

What does that face mean?
Why are they laughing?
Why is he crying?
Isn't that teasing?
You told me two days ago I could play with a crown, why can't I play with every crown?
What color is their house?
What car do they drive?
What is their favorite food?
Why are they in the chill out spot, if they are not in chill out?
What's their husbands name?
Where did they get married?
What is their son's name?
Where is he?
Does teasing make you sad?
Who lives with them?
Why don't mommy's live with their mommies?
What did they eat for breakfast?
If you say "to die for" will you really die?
She wakes up in the morning asking me about the woman she talked to at Chipotle "why did she drive a green car mom? What was her son's name? Does her son live with her?" And the last thing she talks to Jake and I about before she falls asleep, "why did Carter have a mad face on when I took her dinosaur away?"

Her autism specialist said that Quinny was the HARDEST working kid she has ever worked with. She works her tail off to understand and compartmentalize this unpredictable and confusing world she lives in.
Asking questions and memorizing the social relationships relaxes her anxieties and allows her to have some (and I mean a small some) of her day being spent, just being a kid.

But for all the confusion and anxiety this barrier brings her, once it clicks in her mind, it builds her self worth and social confidence.

Part of Quinny's daily therapies are social stories. Social stories are little books and pictures that myself and her therapists have put together to give Quinny a VISUAL of the confusing aspects to her days.
We have a social story that gives her pictures to walk her through the bed time routine.
We have a social story that gives her pictures to walk her through how to touch babies and younger kids gently.
We have one for grocery shopping, following library rules, listening to people's rules outside of "Mommy's rules"...etc.

Now it is time to bring some more peace to this little lady's life by creating her SOCIAL social story.
Pictures of those in her life, put into a book she can read whenever her anxieties of life get too much.

This is where our community comes in.

If you are willing, we would ADORE everyone who is a part of her life, or our family's life to create their own page for her social story book.

This book will be not just be teaching her about individuals and families, but it will be helping her to understand social relationship levels: family, extended family, kid friends, family friends, mommy and daddy friends, neighbors, school and therapy adults...etc.

For those who are game, the following would be beyond rad to include:

Pictures of self and or family members with names.
Picture of front of house.
Picture of favorite past times/ activities.
Pictures of favorite foods/ movies/ books etc.
(Hopefully) a picture of how she is a part of your life (pic with Jake or I, with her...etc.)
And (my favorite bit) a little note of encouragement that she can read, and re-read and read again for all the days in her future.

I will be more than happy to pick up your page when completed, or will send you an envelope to send to us.
I ask for all the pages to be turned in no later than May 15th so I can have a bit of time to compile into a book (before her 5th birthday May 23rd).

Email me pictures and I'll put together the page!

Please email me:
or Facebook message me: Jillian Snell
or call/ text me: 503-523-7600

If you're up for this!

For those of you who are- truly, truly- thank you. :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston and Bigger Picture

To think just two years ago I was training to qualify for the Boston.
To think of the numerous times we rowed on the Charles.
To think that such beauty, determination, strength, dedication was covered with rage and hate.
It has got to stop.
The only way we can stop this is by teaching our children about kindness.
Teaching our children about tolerance.
Teaching them about love.
We teach by doing.
BE a better teacher.
BE a better human.

Homemade Formula

As Crew turns seven months, I've been working on getting him used to a bottle.
It's been tough.
He's a short meal nurser- so I spend most of my day carrying around a 23 pound baby on my boob...for my sanity (and ability to be a loving, patient mommy) it's time.
I pump throughout the day.
But even with pumping, the Mama well is drying up.

So, I've been making Crew his own formula- made from fresh beautiful organic goats milk that my wonderful farmer friend delivers to our house.

(She is also the farmer friend who adopted our three dwarf nigerian goats when we moved out here. She's a pretty rad chick).

The reason I use (and adore) goats milk is because it is the (along with Camel) the most similar molecular make up to that of human milk- so it's SO much easier on a baby's belly.

Goats milk is missing some key minerals from that of human breastmilk, so I just supplement them in.

I also am giving Carter the formula I mix up- she gets 8 ounces a day. But because this is an animal dairy product, the main protein is Casein, being yuck yuck for our Quinny. I use the same supplements for Quinny each day, but I add them to different foods she eats (flax oil in her oatmeal, multi-vitamins in a smoothie, Coconut oil to her coconut yogurt etc.).

On the supplement note:
We have been taking Quinny to a Naturopathic doctor in Portland- under her (Dr. Sarah McCallister) guidance we have been making even bigger life changes to help heal Quinn's neurological system. As the process is a bit overwhelming (can you believe it, Jill overwhelmed??) I have not posted the progress as of yet- but soon I'll fill up pages of this incredible, life changing, empowering experience.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Clever Dude

One of the reasons I have such a giant crush on my husband, is his creativity.
This dude can think of just about anything and uses just about anything to make something rad.

With the price of a swinging baby gate out of the budget this month, Jake took the broken crib we had hoarded in the attic and MADE a swingin' gate!
Sometimes (and I mean sometimes) it's fun to be poor!