The Mountains are Calling

“And I packed up my paints, gave CR a quick kiss, made sure to love on the puppies and give my friend a huge hug. Then I cried a little going home. The overwhelming feeling of love and thankfulness I cannot describe. I’m so very lucky, so honored to have been invited into this home, to add something special for such a remarkable family.”

This was Amber’s closing post on her Art Page last night.  Most of you have been following along the last 30 days on our Face Book Page, Autism Through His Eyes watching Cody’s new bedroom design come together.  The time came to a close yesterday when Amber took her paints and brushes and packed up.  What she does not realize is we were the lucky ones.  Her passion, focus to detail and love for painting reflected so beautifully on the walls in his room.  I am the one who will be forever so grateful.

Having a child that is non-verbal can be tricky at times trying to really understand his needs, emotions, wants, likes, dislikes and feelings.  You have to spend a lot of time to learn what these are by his expressions and desires he exemplifies in ways that you really have to pay close attention to understand.  One thing we do know about Cody Rivers is his love for the great outdoors!

When we were trying to decide how to transition his baby room into a big boy room, Brad and I spoke of many ideas but we were drawn back to Cody’s passion to the great outdoors.  We reflected to all the ways that we have observed the pure joy on his face and when we could tell he was most relaxed. These were times when he was playing in the water, throwing rocks into the river banks, the wind hitting his face while going for rides in our golf cart  or swinging or walking in the leaves in the woods to hear them crunch.  He loved catching the breaks of the waves on the lake this summer holding daddy’s hand and standing at the top of a mountain/hillside side looking down.  THE GREAT OUTDOORS IS HIS HAPPY PLACE.

I started sharing the ideas and my concerns with Amber that we can’t overwhelm him with too much at once.  Amber graciously sent us a practice drawing for a portion of the mural she will be painting for Cody’s room.  This was so Cody could gradually start seeing the changes that were happening to his bedroom.  She thought of all the little details which made us working together so much fun.  This precious bear is now 3 times this size and he is peeking around this cool cut out area (nook) in his room hanging out with his other huge stuffed bear animals. What I did forget to tell you, is most of Cody’s naps and evenings we have to scoop him out from the middle of his bears and put in back in bed. His bears are what bring him comfort and they make him feel safe.


Step by step the mountains are calling.  As the days went by you could watch her work take shape. Visualize this…. Lying in bed on a spring crisp morning, the sun is shining its warm golden light over the mountain.  You can listen to the sound of the river through the cracked open bedroom window letting the cool breeze in hitting your face. The snow-capped mountain peaks are melting the snow and its running down the valley giving the river a constant flow and a relaxing sound. The entire meadow is glowing under its morning warmth and the dew was plainly visible on the blades of grass nearby. Animals are waking and making their way down to the river banks where they are standing waiting for a catch or just a simple drink of water. Amber captured all of this imagination from laying your head on Cody’s bed pillow.  His room will be so peaceful where magical adventures will be created in his dreams. I am blessed to have a  dear friend with a creative soul give him a room full of adventure.  Happy 4th Birthday Cody Rivers!

By the way, Cody’s middle name came from the love his Mom and Dad also have for the great outdoors too!  We got married in the mountains on the Ruidoso River.


To Start – To Progress (slideshow)

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To Finish 

Published by mamalamaneustupa

Bio My name is Shelley Neustupa. I am a mother of two cool boys and a wife of 22 years to my high school sweetheart. My oldest son attends the University of Oklahoma. Boomer! My youngest is in 2nd grade and was diagnosed with Autism and Mixed Receptive Expressive Disorder at age 2. Since his diagnosis, I promised him I would advocate and educate as hard as he works each day in therapy. I began writing and have been able to touch many parents that may be new to this journey providing them with actual experiences (not candy coated), support and resources through my entries. Writing is my therapy and my hope one day that my nonverbal son will be able to take these diaries and speak about his own journey and how autism relates to his own experiences. Who knows he and his older brother may become National Speaker’s one day? Come along on our journey to better understand our lives through the eyes of a boy with autism, his Skilled Companion dog Jude, his big brother (and best friend) and mom and dad. My raw vulnerability captures the everyday moments of our journey and will bring even more awareness. A week does not go by where we do not learn something new about ourselves and I want to share these chapters with you. My Sons Undeniable Strengths… Extremely smart and figures out things quickly. Has a memory that allows him to remember more things than I could ever hope for. Persuasive by his personality and sheepish looks. Overabundance of stamina and strength. Loves the outdoors. Enjoys life and always has fun with an unforgettable smile. You can find us here: Writer: Autism Through His Eyes Facebook Instagram YouTube Pinterest Canine Companions for Independence News Interview Cody and Skilled Companion Jude - Our Story

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