HOUSTON, TEXAS

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Hi friends! I wanted to put together a brief post gathering some resources and ways to help the victims of hurricane Harvey. It's completely heartbreaking to see so many displaced families and the devastation left by all of the flooding. It's so easy to move on and forget the seriousness of this situation for thousands of families, especially when we are in different parts of the US and don't have a direct connection to everything taking place. I encourage you to not only pray for these families and the recovery of this city but also to donate. Even if it's just a few dollars. Every bit helps and go such a long way in providing the resources these families need. 

Quite a few of these resources were provided by you and my friend Emily over at Freckled Fox. A huge thank you to everyone who has come together to provide ideas and resources. I've divided up different ways you can serve and donate below. Thank you so much for supporting Houston and loving on these people. xox

GENERAL DONATION...

The JJ Watt YouCaring fund page - It has already raised over $5,000,000! YouCaring is a great resource for donating funds since this platform takes significantly less that others like GoFundMe. 

The American Red Cross - Donation opportunities set up that are all tax deductible. Also looking for blood donations. Carter Bloodcare & South Texas Blood & Tissue are also accepting blood donations.

Samaritans Purse - They are sending disaster relief units around the area with volunteers and resources for the families. A great place to volunteer too for the coming months!

Grace Church - Local church raising funds to be on the ground helping people, providing emergency supplies, shelter, repairs and immediate assistance to hurricane victims and their families.

The Salvation Army - Providing food and water to first responders and preparing for massive feeding efforts for residents.

Youth with a Mission - Works with homeless and currently raising funs for a disaster relief trailer.

SMALL BUSINESS DONATING PROCEEDS...

Texas Forever T-Shirts by Chip & Joanna Gaines - 100% of the proceeds for the purchase of their Texas shirts go towards helping the victims. Running August 28th-September 30th.

Lindbergh Candle Co. - 10% of all our proceeds will be going to the Harvey relief fund throughout the remainder of 2017, including our proceeds from our show at Indie Craft Parade in Greenville, SC.

Armed with Hope - A small business offering 20% off with code HELPHUSTON and contributing 100% of proceeds to Convoy of Hope which takes volunteers and delivers emergency supplies.

BABIES...

The Texas Diaper Bank - Based in San Antonio, they are putting together relief kits for families with little ones that need clean diapers for their sweet babies.

ANIMALS...

Animals - Many pets of been displaced from their families and the SPCA is taking in hundreds of animals. They are accepting donations to help with a lot of the costs and also have foster opportunities available. 

Best Friends - Rescuing animals and providing support for local shelters.

Austin Pets Alive! - Transported more than 235 animals to its shelter. Seeking donations as well as people who can adopt animals. Need financial donations the most.

SHELTERS...

Coalition for the Homeless of Houston - Coordinates city's response to homelessness. They have been providing updated information on shelters with available beds.

Airbnb - Set up urgent accommodations site where people can open their homes to evacuees from the storm or find shelter themselves. Service fees are waived for those who check in by September 1st.

FOOD BANKS...

A number of food banks will be aiding the affected areas. Consider donating money instead of food, as it allows a food bank to use your donation most efficiently.

Feeding Texas - Statewide nonprofit that works alongside relief efforts.

Houston Food Bank
832-369-9390
houstonfoodbank.org

Galveston Food Bank
409-945-4232
galvestoncountyfoodbank.org

Food Bank of the Golden Crescent (Victoria)
361-578-0591
victoriafoodbank.org
Closed Friday

Corpus Christi Food Bank
361-887-6291
foodbankcc.com

Southeast Texas Food Bank (Beaumont)
409-839-8777
setxfoodbank.org

Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley (Pharr)
956-682-8101
foodbankrgv.com

Brazos Valley Food Bank (Bryan)
979-779-3663
bvfb.org

Central Texas Food Bank (Austin)
512-282-2111
centraltexasfoodbank.org

San Antonio Food Bank
210-337-3663
safoodbank.org


There are SO many ways to help, and these are just a few! If you have an organizations and small businesses close to your heart that are helping with Houston relief efforts, please feel free to share in the comments below.

Sending so much love and prayers your way Texas. We love you! 

Lately...

Dear Diary,

Why is it already the end of April!? We got sick near-ish the beginning of April so naturally this month became a time warp and I feel like one of those abductees from X-Files that lost time. It should be only mid-april rn...NOT days away from May! I'm learning to accept this and move on. ;)

You know what I love about this blog? It has no rules. I needed this space, just someplace to post when I want about what I want with really no rhyme or reason or schedule. I have intentions for the future. I always do. ;) But for now, this is my little getaway space free of expectation and I love it. Today, I really just wanted to brain dump on you and share a little bit about whats been going on as of late and a few things I'm really into...

1. You know what takes forever? Insurance! We've been in the process of getting Soren "started with ABA therapy" for months and months. We are on the literal verge of getting things going and I'm doing my best to be so so patient. I'm SO excited about getting him started and I know it will make such an impact on him and in our home. So I'm counting down the days. Last I heard, they were working out scheduling so....I'm crossing my fingers for May! 

2. I went to an amazing conference last week called Business Boutique and it rocked my world. It is probably one of the most practical, applicable and actionable conferences I've ever attended and is perfect for my dreamers, starters and builders out there that are creating or growing their own business. I found all of the information super applicable for any woman whether you have kids or not and whether you are a small biz owner, blogger or part of an MLM structure. SO good! They are doing their full 2.5 day event in November in Nashville and I'm so going! Christy's book, Business Boutique was also released recently and I can't wait to dive into it.

3. Podcasts! Twice a week I drive Soren to speech and OT and 1-2 each week, after the kids go to bed, I head out for a meeting or some other type of shenanigan while Jon's at home. I've been working on being more intentional with my car rides and do some podcast listening. Lately these are my LOVES: Business Boutique, yep she also has a podcast, so good! The Goal Digger, a good variety but mostly business focused. The Marie Forleo Podcast, she's a business genius and I love her. And for fun...Rose Buddies, I love their reviews on The Bachelor franchise...hilarious! Lore, creepy folklore told in an amazing way. 

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4. So this month I bought actual, real live plants. I'm usually known for having a slew of fake plants all over my house from Hobby Lobby and Target. They look great and I only have to dust them! This month, however, I made the leap and bought myself some somewhat hardy plants to work on taking care of even though I've typically been the opposite of a plant lady. I guess being a plant lady is learned and is a choice?? Hah, well...I'm happy to report that all of my babies...the ferns, the rubber tree, the snake plant, the hens n' chicks and the herbs are HAPPY! And growing! *movie clip from Hook plays...."You're doing it Peter!! You're doing it!"*

5. This Sunday my family and friends are getting together to participate in the Autism Speaks walk in Atlanta! I've never participated in anything like this before so I'm not sure what to expect but I'm so proud and excited to be walking alongside my loved ones in honor of Soren! I'm even making matching t-shirt because I'm in hardcore mom mode rn. ;)

6. For the remainder of April, 10% of the proceeds from our candle company, Lindbergh Candle Co. are going towards Autism Speaks!

7. Did you know I have an obsession with essential oils? Come hang out with me over on my @MamaTribeOils instagram account where I make A LOT of DIYs and post fun tips and recipes for using your oils!

8. So about the whole YouTube thing...guys, I want so bad to get back into the swing of things. I don't know when this will be if I'm being honest. It will happen again, just not sure when. I miss it so much tho!

9. Aria's favorite words right now are "Cracker" "Good Girl" "MORE!" "Ball" and "Baba". She is also a dancing fool. Can't wait to put her in dance when she gets a little older. :)

10. Jon and I are celebrating 7 years of marriage in May. We are doing a mini getaway for two nights with a huge priority on going out to eat and eating really good food! CANNOT WAIT.

Thanks for catching up with me friends. Chat with you again soon.

With love, Sav.

About Our Soren Lind

Dear Diary,

"Your son has Autism."

I sat in a small room for an hour going over page after page of Soren's diagnostic results. The words were not a surprise. We had been anticipating his diagnoses for 12 months since his second birthday. But it finally became real and it became part of our story.

My last post about our sweet boy went in depth regarding his speech delays. At the time I was writing that post we were aware that there was likely more to it than just a speech delay but we were playing the common waiting game of appointments, assessments and follow ups.

At year two Jon and I knew he was delayed in his speech. We didn't know why at the time...we mostly thought that is was because he was 1. the oldest and 2. a boy...sometimes common reasons for a speech delay. Our pediatrician (who is pretty great!) recommend we pursue Babies Can't Wait which is an early intervention program that provides speech therapy and other incredible services for babies under three. We started with a speech therapist. Mary came to our house weekly to work with Soren. Soren definitely struggled through these sessions but now and then he would respond and engage which always brought huge smiles to our faces! We started seeing more and more red flags pop up in his development over 2016...his speech didn't seem to improve, he seemed to crave sensory input, he didn't prefer playing with kids and very often focused in on his own activities. Around August we put him in a 3 day preschool. We hoped it would encourage his development and speech to be around other kiddos, however, Soren desperately struggled. He had a difficult time participating in the day and often experienced melt-downs. I remember attending a few parent-teacher meetings where the teachers expressed their concerns with Soren. At that point we were still learning more and more about Soren so I just didn't have answers for them. I wanted nothing more than to understand what he needed and what we could do for him as a family and our experience with his preschool propelled that desire and passion forward.

I began researching and reading and asking questions and doing everything I could to learn about our buddy. I especially loved reading "The Out-of-Sync Child" that really dives deep into Sensory Processing Disorder. We had somewhat landed on the thought that he might have Apraxia of speech and SPD (sensory processing disorder). This gave us a starting ground to discover more about how we could parent and teach Soren. The book especially provided SO much context and resources that we started feeling like we were getting answers.

Not too long after we started Soren into preschool we unfortunately had to pull him out. The teachers, as lovely as they were, just weren't equipped and confident in working with Soren. I remember his last day, I sat in the car and just cried for him after I dropped him off. I knew he enjoyed his time there but I could also see the deep struggle and the need for something more. Picking him up was the hardest. His sweet teacher fought back tears. I did too, but did everything I could to hold it in.

I realized that day that I needed to grieve the fact that Soren wouldn't be "normal" so I could truly celebrate that he would be special, and unique and brave and see the world with such an incredible mind.

While we were waiting for appointments to line up with the school system and with a pediatric psychologist for an official diagnoses, we started the process of finding him a new speech therapist and an occupational therapist. Thankfully we found a recommended therapy service close to us with amazing therapists that Soren just loves. He's been going to OT there for a handful of months and just recently started his new speech services there too.

In December and January we went through many assessments to get him a diagnoses around his three year mark. Part of me felt a deep sense of urgency to get him on track with the therapies he needed and another part of me had to remind myself that we are doing good, we are taking the right steps and we just need to be patient and proactive.

For both of the separate assessment days (one through the county school system and one through a pediatric psychologist) I found myself so emotional. I remember the first day of his pediatric assessment the psychologist stopped, looked me in the eye and asked me, "how are you doing?" I stopped, tears welling up in my eyes and I told her that this means everything, we've been waiting all year to get answers and we are finally on the cusp of knowing. She told me that day before the final testing that she believed his speech delay and his sensory seeking was a symptom of autism. This was the first time that word was confirmed and it changed everything for us. She set up a time to do the final testing but suggested we prioritize speech, OT and seek out ABA (Behavioral Therapy) services for Soren. I was proud to know we were already on the right track.

So here we are in March of 2017. Since my initial meeting with the doctor, Soren has officially been diagnosed with Autism by both the county school system diagnostics and our pediatric psychologist. We are still working through the insurance and paperwork process of getting Soren into ABA but we should be starting those therapy services within the next week or so! While speech and OT are outside of the home a few hours a week, ABA is inside the home for several hours each week (15-25!)...they will work with Soren 1:1 and with us on things like sitting at the table, playing with others, potty training (yes!), social skills, speech...I can hardly wait to get started and at the same time I'm intensely praying for a therapist that fits within our family well and that Soren loves, especially since this person will essential become part of our family!

We really felt strongly about early intervention with Soren and pursuing therapy services. Everything I've read has said over and over again how valuable early intervention is for children with autism.

So, where are we emotionally? Jon and I feel passionate about the fact that Soren was meant for us and we were meant for him. Soren is Soren no matter his diagnoses. We celebrate his diagnoses because it empowers us to know how we can help Soren thrive! All we want is for Soren to be his best self, we want him to experience everything life has to offer and to never feel held back by Autism, instead we want him to view Autism as a beautiful part of him...something that makes him incredible and wonderful!

The hardest part? There is a huge difference between a tantrum and a melt-down. I like to compare an autistic melt-down to something like a panic attack. It's triggered by one or a series of things that sends him off into an emotional breakdown. During these times it's hard to console him, it's hard for him to communicate with us and our hearts break so much for his agony. Not too long ago Soren had a meltdown that lasted nearly 1.5 hours. Jon sat outside with him...stroking his hair, holding him and speaking truth to him while he cried and cried. I fell into the arms of my friend that day because I was so overcome by Soren's sadness and for not being able to understand him.

Most of the time he's so creative in expressing his needs, he uses constant jargon to tell us stories and lots of actions to communicate what he wants...but in those moments he tends to loose that ability and we're left with him so frustrated and sad that he can't make us understand what he needs and what he's saying. All we can do during those moments is hold him and love him and be there. These are the moments that are the "stuff of parents"...being a rock and a haven for your babies, letting them feel your love and know your love in the hard times is sometimes all you can do and usually just what they need.

I think when I hear him say "I love you, Mommy" for the first time I'll melt 1,000 times. The doctor predicts that he'll be talking between 4-5 and we await with joy for that time. For now, we are celebrating the little things, Soren has taught us THAT more than anything. We celebrate when he says a word, we celebrate when he listens and when he is teachable, we celebrate him learning independent tasks, we secretly video tape the moments he interacts and plays with his sister, the giggles are so contagious! :) He has challenged us to be present in our parenting and to see beauty in simple moments. For that I will be forever thankful to him.

Even though he's not saying "I love you"...we feel it in every hug and in every little kiss and in every cheesy smile that he gives us. :)

Soren is a brilliant boy. He brings an incredible amount of joy to our lives constantly. I envy his energy and passion. The laughter, fun and joy that he has managed to bring to our family was everything we needed and everything we prayed for. We adore watching him get excited about his favorite show, Curious George, or dance around to music in the kitchen after dinner. He ADORES being outside and going to the park. His eyes literally sparkle and are filled with so much wonder. (I can't wait until we can put him into something like Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts! I think he would LOVE it!) He is affectionate and saves lots of kisses for his mommy...Jon and Soren have such a special relationship too, I can already tell that Soren looks up to Jon in everyway and is happier when he gets time with his daddy. He's great at puzzles, loves to color and is SO silly! We are SO proud of our boy and we love him with a crazy, fierce and big kind of love. As parents of Soren we feel so much honor in doing right for him and at the same time we hope with everything we are that we can continue to grow into great parents for him and for our little Aria.

This road is new for us but we are ready and hopeful. We have an incredible community of family and friends that shower love on us constantly and help us with SO MUCH. We anticipate these next few years as Soren understands more and more and is unable to communicate as much as he would like to be the most difficult BUT we are praying and hoping and excited for him to continue hitting milestones and growing. We know that there is a lot ahead for Soren but we also know that he is capable and smart and kind and incredibly gifted. My prayer is that we, as his parents, can really foster those strengths in Soren throughout his life.

I recently finished a book called Daring Greatly by BrenΓ© Brown and at the end of the book was a beautiful parenting manifesto that resonated so much with my heart and what Jon and I hope to cultivate in our home with Soren and Aria.

I would love for you to read it...

Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and lovable. You will learn this from my words and actions - the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.

I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. You will learn that you are worth of love, belonging and joy every time you see me practice self-compassion and embrace my own imperfections.

We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.

We will teach you compassion by practicing compassion with ourselves first; then with each other. We will set and respect boundaries, we will honor hard work, hope and perseverance. Rest and play will be family values, as well as family practices.

You will learn accountability and respect by watching me make mistakes and make amends, and by watching how I ask for what I need and talk about how I feel.

I want you to know joy, so together we will practice gratitude.

I want you to feel joy, so together we will learn how to be vulnerable.

When uncertainty and scarcity visit, you will be able to draw from the spirit that is part of our everyday life.

Together we will cry and face fear and grief. I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it.

We will laugh and sing and dance and create. We will always have permission to be ourselves with each other. No matter what, you will always belong here.

As you begin your Wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that I can give to you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly.

I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply seeing you.
— Brene Brown - Daring Greatly

Before I wrap up this novel of a post, I wanted to personally thank all of you for your incredible support and encouragement. When I wrote my first post about Soren I was able to connect with so many of you and hear your stories about your own children, grandchildren, friends and siblings. It means everything to me and it's such an encouragement to feel a tribe of people along side my family, to resonate with your stories and know that we are in this together.

So THANK YOU from the very bottom of my heart and on behalf of my entire family. It is a pleasure to share our lives with you.

With love, Sav.


During the month of April we will be recognizing Autism Awareness month. On April 30th we will be walking with friends and family in honor of Soren for the Autism Speaks walk in Atlanta. We are hoping to raise $1,000 as a team to generate funds that fuel innovative research and continued support and services for Autism. To learn more about how you can participate, hop on over to our team page here. Also, as many of you know I run a candle business called Lindbergh Candle Co. we donate 10% of our proceeds to St. Jude but during the month of April we will be donating 10% of our proceeds to Autism Speaks. xox

Post Credits: Photographs by Natalie of Four Corners Photography during our Star Wars PJ session near Christmastime. :)

THE GIRL WHO TURNED ONE & MY THOUGHTS ON THE NEW YEAR

Dear Diary,

On December 30th 2015 my water broke in our living room around 9:00AM. I called my parents and promptly stated..."water broke, water broke...911!" That was their cue to hit the road (thankfully they are only 20 minutes away) and take over Soren duties while Jon and I drove to the hospital. 

The delivery was quick, she was here and we were in love. She laid on my chest for the first hour of her life. Getting checked, cleaned up and learning the warmth of her mama. That first hour we met and held each other was magic. I was awe-struck and could FEEL my heart growing inside of my chest. Aria Fox Wallace was here. 

After the doctors cleaned her up Jon scooped her in his arms. He paced the room with tear filled eyes and took in every detail and moment of her. All of me wanted my sweet baby back in my arms but I stopped myself and watched as the daddy/daughter bond was created in front of my eyes. She, the fourth in our family of four became the bright spot and the sweetness and the joy our family was looking for. For a year that brought us great concerns, challenges and tremendous growth, she was our constant smile. Watching our Soren become a brother made my heart swell. And while he pays her little attention, the attention that most often is given is filled with softs pats and delicate play.

Every month we watched her grow. She is the dictionary term for a "sucker baby"...you know, those babies that trick you into thinking all babies are this cute and well behaved and sweet and then you believe it, get pregnant again and realize all babies ARE DIFFERENT. ;) Btw, I will note that one of my goals for 2017 is NOT to be pregnant so I've resisted our sucker baby for now!

Being able to celebrate her first birthday at the end of December was a dream. I blinked I was standing in a room with all of our closest friends and family singing Happy Birthday to our second baby, already. The smell of her newborn head as we cuddled in the hospital was so clear in my mind and to be here now is honestly scary but SO incredible. 

I often think about her owl-like eyes, tiny lashes that curl out and give her the sweetest femininity. Her tiny and perfect lips, her soft fair skin, precious grasping hands...those toothy smiles! I can't get over them. I loved being able to celebrate her. Although Soren has his developmental struggles, we want both Soren and Aria to feel acceptance and unconditional love from us. We never want Aria to feel like she has to compete for our attention. Although we are desperately learning daily what it means to be parents, with complete confidence I know my children will know what it is to be loved. Jon and I love them undyingly...and so do the many many family members and adopted family members (our beloved friends and community). 

Let me tell you a little something about Aria's personality...she LOVED her party. I went all "winter one-derland" on every room on our main floor. I can now cut a pretty freaking fantastic snowflake. ;) She was in every moment. She loved having her favorite people there. She loved opening her gifts. She LOVED her cake. She loved being sung too. She the loved the attention. I can tell her heart for her people is filled. My little extrovert. 

And here we are finally in 2017. On a personal level 2016 was challenging on so many many levels BUT and I do want to highlight that it was still so good. The turmoils, the unknowns, the dark places...all of it grew us. It challenged us, it challenged our faith, our family, ourselves and it felt frightening and good to be stretched. I would not change anything that happened. I am thankful for it. I am thankful for the opportunity to see health flourish in my beloved ones. I am thankful we are all here, alive! I am thankful for a God that gives an ocean deep of hope. I have to rest in that daily, and that brings me joy.

2017 for me is intentionality and joy. 

I hope to share more of our story and more of my ideas and goals for 2017 soon. Until next time. xox

The Boy Who Won't Say Mama

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Dear Diary,

It started in January 2016. Our boy turned two years old. Intelligent, strong, full of energy and those baby blues that look like the sea killed me EVERY time. So much wonder behind his eyes and SO much love for his family and life and playing. My once small baby, born when the snow fell in Georgia, was now two. So much ahead of him and so much we looked forward to. 

I remember when I was pregnant with Soren. I prayed for a boy with energy and joy. I knew that's who he was and seeing that's who he IS gives me nothing but joy everyday. He is everything I knew he would be even when he was just a small thing growing inside of me.

Soren was always quick on his feet. Mastered motor-skills both fine and gross well before other little ones his age. He has also always been very aware of himself and his placement in space. It's rare to see him fall or trip. Along with this, Soren also became my "runner"...strollers have been a personal lifesaver for me with my little explorer.

When he was a baby we worked on all of the basic words, "da-da" "ba-ba" (bottle) "ma-ma"...for a short phase in his life he said "ba-ba" every night. Matter of fact, I believe it was his first word. During bath time he would stand up and proclaim, "ba-ba!"...he looked forward to this moment all day. Cuddles, songs and his beloved ba-ba.

I remember his two year check-up. Jon and I had already had conversations about our concerns with his speech. He didn't say much. His words were inconsistent, rare and mostly consisted of, "uh-oh" "done" "da" and the occasional attempt at the word "juice". ;) We knew at this age we might expect a handful of more words and maybe a few two-word sentences. But his words were hardly there, I could count them on one hand. My heart started beating fast as I realized the concern on the doctors face. She asked me a series of questions and I remember my fears being affirmed and at the same time deepened. The process was set forward to begin early intervention. We started with hearing screenings, a brief surgery to get tubes put into his ears and started Soren into speech therapy. Between weekly speech sessions, Jon and I worked on signing, flashcards, pointing out objects to get him to mimic us, we lived for the receptive moments. The times when we was open and receptive to learning and hearing were rare.

We were told over and over again by ourselves and others:
"He's a boy, they always take longer."
"First born children tend to take longer to speak."
"Just you wait, one day he'll wake up and start talking!"
"He probably CAN talk but just doesn't want to."
"As soon as he starts talking, you won't be able to keep him quiet!"
and our personal favorite...
"Einstein didn't talk until he was four!"

We hoped preschool would be a turning point for Soren. It was something we worked towards and we put a lot of hope in...a time to be around little ones his age a few times a week. We hoped it would propel him forward and inspire him to see other kids his age talking and communicating. However, preschool proved to only be a point of stress, anxiety and frustration for Soren. He didn't hate going but he had an extraordinarily hard time doing what the other kids were doing.

Seeing Soren attend preschool for a few short months made us realize there might be something even more to this then we originally thought. More red flags, more worries and more unanswered questions.

I was called into several parent-teacher meetings about how they could best work with Soren and practices we have at home that could translate there...my heart was so heavy. I hated the day I had to pull him out, I held back tears and watched his teacher do the same. It was heartbreaking. We wanted so much for it to be great for him, but our sweet boy needed more, more than preschool could give him and more than we were giving him.

Our journey with doctors, pediatric psychologists, occupational therapists, books, resources, conversations, phone calls, appointments, began. At this point we knew it was beyond a speech delay, we could feel it in our heart and see it in Soren. Our mission became to find answers so we could give Soren the tools he needed to thrive and be himself.

As Soren began realizing more and more about the world around him, I could read a fascination in his eyes and an incredible intelligence. At the same time, Jon and I watched as he grew with age he grew in frustration.

We knew he so badly wanted to communicate with us; tell us his thoughts, desires, feelings...tell us he loves us. What I would GIVE a thousand times to hear those three words.

Meltdowns became more frequent as he approached three.

Soren, however, has always been very clever and found many ways to communicate with us to the best of his ability. We would grab us by the hand and lead us around the house to show us what he wanted to play with, eat, watch or do. And even though Soren couldn't say anything, he SAID so much. He loves pulling us down to eye level and going off on 15 minutes rants in his own language. He has SO much to say, so many hand gestures, facial expressions, movements. Usually we can't help but sit and smile at him during these times. We dream of the day when we can get insight into that little mind and hear his stories. Although his words are few, even now he communicates and speaks in his our language constantly. His mind is going 24/7. I love watching him work. He loves puzzles and coloring the most. He can put together a magnetic map of the United States perfectly without help. I could never dream of doing that at his age!

At just over a month out from his third birthday, our little Soren still only speaks a few understandable words. Every now and then he'll actually surprise us with a new word, but I think he's just teasing us because 9 times out of 10 he won't repeat the word or phrase again. ;)

Since our first moments realizing something was different we've learned SO much and encountered so many amazing people and programs that are all working to help our Soren. We are currently in the process of learning a lot more about Soren and we look forward to continuing to share that journey with you as we gain more knowledge.

Jon and I wanted to share this story with you because we wanted to celebrate Soren. To us, no matter the diagnoses, no matter the journey, Soren is who God created him to be. I don't want a different Soren, we just want to give him everything he needs to thrive and be the best Soren he can be. I remember when I first feared the worst, I sat at our table in the kitchen and wept. I feared for his future, for his relationships...but now I sit here in freedom, grace and incredible peace. Knowing more about him is empowering. Knowing how we can help him and educate him is worth more than anything. We are thrilled for his future and we are overjoyed for the man he will become one day.

So here's to our bright boy. Our boy filled with joy, laughter, LOUDNESS and cheesy grins. A boy that's hard to catch and easy to hug. A boy that's already so incredibly handsome. A boy that is gentle and shares precious hugs and kisses with his loved ones. A boy that would give anything to play and run, especially with his daddy. A boy who will have so many stories to tell and so many things to say.

We love you up to everything in the world Soren Lind Wallace.

That Time She Started Blogging Again

Dear Diary,

When I said goodbye to blogging over a year and a half ago, I was almost certain it was forever. Finding myself here now is...unexpected, but it was something I craved. Something I wrestled with over and over again. Not because I wanted what I said goodbye to, but because I wanted to share a new voice and a new heart.

It started during my pregnancy with my second, Aria. An uncertainty and an unsettled heart washed over me like I had never experience before. All of these feelings honestly centered around time. I haunted myself and my closest confidants with questions..."what should I spend my time doing?" "Am I making the most of what I have?" "Am I doing too much?" "Am I doing too little?" "What is my end goal?" "How can I become a better mother?" "How can my marriage thrive?" "How can I 'balance' what is most important and be at peace with the rest?" "What should I start doing?" "What path will be the best for my family?" -- I intensely and almost insanely desired (and currently desire) intentionality in everything.

I honestly couldn't tell you how many conversations I started with these questions and how much I've wrestled with each thought internally. It's been a WEIRD season. For a person who is naturally very driven, filled with ideas and confident in my direction, I felt almost none of that for most of the year.

These moments, however, have been so good for me too. I've been forced to stop and think and really plan out my time and my intentions. No kidding, like a geek, I've been spending the past two months intensely thinking through 2017 and how I can make exciting and healthy changes. I'm really kinda pumped for the new year...like a lot!

2016, however, was a surprise, one that I plan to unpack for you and share. It wasn't a surprise in the sense that is was "so hard" or "such a valley"...honestly, I've never felt more strength and GRACE in my entire life than during this year. When I look back at the events and circumstances that have transpired, I know without a doubt in my mind that God carried me through. God grew me, challenged me and encouraged me. We went through a lot as a little family, learned a lot and changed a lot.

Along with these circumstances, on the side I started growing weary of social media and the internet. At moments I enjoyed it and found a spark of passion that I once had and at other moments I grew to hate it. I grew to hate the worth that so many of us place in numbers and statistics. I grew to hate the embarrassingly horrible way people treat each other. I grew to hate the guilt I so often felt when comparing my ability to "have it together" or "be a great mother" when scrolling through the dreamy feeds of moms.

But a moment stopped me in my tracks...and this is when a dear friend shared with me that a friend felt insecure about the fact that she didn't always wear makeup or dress cute "like Savannah" for her husband and family. My heart hit the ground. That's never what I wanted. My desire is to make women feel supported and encouraged and inspired. NOT worried that they don't have it all together or wear makeup enough...THAT means nothing.

So this is why I'm here.

I'm here to take off my mask, to escape "sponsored" content, collaborations, perfect images and curated posts...this is my break from everything to share with you my story. I want to share the moments that fill me with joy, I want to share the heartbreak and the struggles, I want to share the REALITY of what it's like to be a mama of two at home and working to manage a small handful of businesses. I want to share that I'm the opposite of perfect or together and that I usually don't wear makeup and can be found lounging in PJs as much as possible...and not cute ones either. ;) I want to share the funny moments and the things that make me laugh. I want to share how God has molded my marriage into a ship that keeps both Jon and I afloat during the most frightening storms. I want to share my faith and how it brings me constant joy and hope.

I hope to make you feel connected here and most importantly NOT alone! I'm sure we'll have a lot of "AMEN MAMA!" moments together.

I have a lot to unpack, a lot of stories to write from the past and I'm sure a lot of stories to write in the future. So, I welcome you...to the secrets of a stay at home working mom. It's honest, it's unplanned and it's sometimes a little TMI. ;) I'm so glad you're here.

With love, Sav.