Sunday, May 7, 2017

Flag Football Sundays



I really need to remember to take the good camera to a few things these days. The iPhone camera is usually pretty good, but we sit pretty far away during flag football Sundays. Connor's carrying the ball on offense, though it's hard to tell. He's usually a defense player, but gets a few offensive series, too. The team played well, but came up short. Connor had a great defensive game, two pulled flags and three pass interceptions. He picked up a few yards on this offensive play, but normally he snaps the ball on offense. Just another Sunday of sports ...

Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Night Out



There was a time when he didn't talk. When those first words he'd started to speak, just faded away until they were gone. They came back, eventually, but functional communication has (and likely always will be) somewhat of a challenge. He's come so very, very far ...

On a random Thursday night, I took two of the boys out to dinner. Dad was at work. Sawyer was out with Aunt Kelly. It was just me and Connor and Xander. And Xander had a plan.

"We wait for Connor," he told me.

Okay, I agreed. We will wait for Connor.

"We wait for Connor, then Buffalo Wild Wings. Chicken fingers, french fries, ketchup and a Coke."

And that was his plan. We would wait for Connor to come home from middle school (he rides the bus in the afternoons). And then we would go to dinner. At a very specific place. To have a very specific thing.

And I love it.

I love the words. I love the plan. I love the understanding that goes into all of those words and the plan. I love the functional communication that lets him tell us exactly what he's thinking and what he wants.

We don't always get that.

So we embrace the days we do. And when it's practical, we indulge him with what he wants. Not every night, but maybe once every week or two. We let him take the lead, and plan what we're going to do on our nights together.

Because there was a time when he didn't talk, when the words faded and went away.

And we are so incredibly glad that he's found his words, and his own way to communicate the things he likes and the things he wants. We'll keep working on answering questions, identifying emotions, appropriate conversations, and all those other speech goals.

But sometimes, we're just going to take him at his words. We waited for Connor. And then we went to Buffalo Wild Wings. Where he did, indeed, get his chicken fingers, french fries, ketchup, and his Coke (actually Pepsi).

Chalk Art



Sometimes it's even prettier after it rains. I love Sawyer's chalk art. It's always in the same place, and usually a similar type pattern, but the colors are always a surprise. Our own Jackson Pollock ... wonder if he would switch to giant canvas and paint. We could be rich!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Summer is Here



Okay, we do still have a few weeks of school left. But Sawyer was one very happy boy to see that the paddle boats were back in business at the local city park. He paddled and clapped the whole time they were out on the water. Someone is ready for warmer weather and water fun!

We're not thinking about what the ear tubes mean for swimming. Not yet, anyway. Perhaps he will be one of those kiddos that gets ear tubes every fall, and they simply fall out every summer in the water. Time will tell!

And he says Aunt Kelly is the best, because she always has great ideas for their community living support (CLS) outings!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Carnival Fun



Happiness is movement ... pretty much any kind of movement, but especially fast and jerky movement, like this carnival ride behind the mall. Sawyer is in heaven ... and Aunt Kelly is the best, he says.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Art by Connor



History. Battles. Star Wars. These are the things that interest Connor the most. And these are the things that he's taken to drawing and building with Legos. Now ... if only they would come out with a World Wars Lego set with tanks and planes and guns ...





Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Next Chapter ...





Guess someday might be a little closer than we thought ... standing in front of the lot we just agreed to purchase ... planning for the dream home in a few years ...

(... and yes, the boys are almost as tall as Josh these days, even standing flat footed in their sock feet after getting their shoes muddy walking around on the lot!) 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A Day with Connor

Brothers are out with their CLS workers, so the big boy and I decided to take a bike ride up to the local Rails to Trails path and back ... Connor trying out his new adult bike for the first time and his new adult helmet (our boys have big heads to go with their tall and big bodies) ...

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Spring Break Fun

This video of Sawyer and Xander watching the penguins is too cute not to share ...

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Spring Break Fun

Day two of Spring Break with the twins (Connor is at the lake with Grandma and Grandpa for most of the week). Today, Aunt Kelly and I took the boys up to Cincinnati for the day. We went to the Newport Aquarium and the Levee. Sawyer was more impressed with the aquarium than Xander. Both boys loved the stop in the candy shop on our way back out. And both boys hated the serious wreck that caused major traffic delays on our return trip home (an extra two hours for a total of three and a half back).









The frog playground area was a favorite spot for both boys, but a little crowded and also getting a little small for the boys (who keep getting bigger and bigger) ...

   



Xander's favorite thing of the whole day was this light wall ... he would have stayed here all day and considered it $90 well spent. Sigh.



Loved watching Sawyer watch the fish ... his expression was pure joy!



Stim heaven ... Sawyer's happy hum and happy arms while watching the very active and very fast penguin exhibit (perhaps his favorite area of the day) ... even Xander was a little impressed ...



Aunt Kelly tried to get Sawyer's happy smile, but kids were running everywhere and it was a mad house ...





The Shark Walk ...



And the river ... one of Sawyer (and Mommy's) favorite things to see at the aquarium ...

Monday, April 3, 2017

Spring Break Fun

Sawyer is with Aunt Kelly on a day trip to Louisville to check out a new indoor entertainment complex. He got to play arcade games and try out a ropes and harness course on the upper level ...





Xander and I spent the day around Lexington ...

Lunch at Arby's, his choice ...



Watching for big trucks on the interstate bridge from the Rails to Trails path ...



Playground fun on the teeter-totter (haven't seen one of these in years)!



Still watching for trucks on the interstate, just doing it from the top of the slide ...

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Spring Break Fun



Connor always talks about this tank as we make the drive from our house to visit family in western Kentucky. We travel through Fort Knox, and this one is on display as you drive through the base. We had some extra time on our trip, so we pulled over and stopped. Connor could probably tell you the type of tank it is and what war it was used in, but I'm clueless. He was impressed though, and loved seeing him smile and getting a chance to break up the long drive.

Snapshot Sunday



There are not words to tell you how amazed and impressed I am by this kid every single day. He played (strummed) the guitar and sang "Counting Stars" by One Republic at his school's Variety Show. He's brave and fearless, and so talented at the things he enjoys.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Middle School Visit

How is possible? The twins are finishing up fifth grade and moving to middle school next year. It was hard to believe with Connor last year, but it's even harder to believe for Sawyer and Xander this year. We did early start for three years in the back of what will be there middle school next year. The building is a little familiar. But that was also six years ago, because they've been at their elementary school the past six years, and it's going to be hard to say good-bye in a few more weeks. Incoming special education students were invited out today to visit the middle school on a field trip from their own schools ... the good news is the boys seemed happy. There were arts and crafts activities set up, a sensory table in the hallway, pizza for lunch, and even corn hole to play. The school has a pretty amazing peer leadership program that helps the transition for all sixth graders, and a special subset that works with the special education kids as well. We are hopeful the transition is going to go well ...





   





Special thanks to the boys current teachers, Mrs. K and Mrs. B for sharing the images.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Variety Show

While Sawyer was off getting his chronic ear infections taken care of with surgery for tubes, Xander was busy getting ready for his big performance in the school Variety Show. He was playing guitar and singing "Counting Stars" by One Republic. He rocked all three performances ... two at school for the students (broken up by age group to help overcrowding in the gym) and one in the evening for parents and friends. He is so fearless, and has come so very far. I still remember when he didn't talk at all, when the words faded and we only had signs and sounds. And here he is, eight years later, singing in front of the whole school like he was born to do it. The people who know him best, who have worked with him and seen his progress over the years, were all in tears. Happy tears. Because our boy has come so very, very far. Past teachers were in the audience, driving in to cheer him on as he performed. And he LIVES for the applause. He loves the spotlight and the cheering.

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The Sick One

All winter, Sawyer has battled ear infections and illness. He's missed more days this school year than in all of his previous school years combined. We went six straight weeks with an ear infection, multiple visits to the pediatrician and eventually an ENT, and tried multiple types of back to back antibiotics. Nothing worked. And the audiology tests confirmed that he wasn't hearing well because of all the fluid in his ears. After multiple visits and audiology tests, the ENT determined ear tubes was the best option. So today was the day ...  early morning appointment, waiting with iPad, icee from Sonic, then recovery at home with more iPad time ...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Maybe Someday ...



A rainy day adventure ... looking at more property out in the county for later on. Beautiful horse farm in the back yard ... sunsets to the west just over those hills ...

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Bruno



After having the boys off from school yesterday, Bruno was feeling left out. We took him on a walk before we left for the rest of the afternoon, but he wanted to walk again today. I decided it was such a beautiful day we would pack up again and head to the local Rails to Trails path instead of just walking in our neighborhood. This is our halfway point, so we stop to take a break on the rocks and watch what's going on from our safe place.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Chef in Training



While we ultimately did not get to take these anywhere, Connor was being helpful and learning how to make these yummy Oreo truffle balls. We were planning to surprise our family by showing up for my aunt's birthday on the other side of the state for their get together. But as Sawyer decided to start throwing up this evening while he was out with Aunt Kelly, we're going to keep our germs and our truffle balls at home. Looks like we better start exercising now, because that's a lot of truffle balls to eat!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Snapshot Sunday



A beautiful view of sunset on the Elkhorn Creek. As always, Josh and I keep our eyes on property a little further out of the city with a little more land to roam for the boys and a little bit more distance from the neighbors. It's on our someday list. We checked out a lot that backed up to the Elkhorn Creek and offered this spectacular view, albeit down a rather steep and significant hillside where half of the property was down the hill. Gorgeous view, but in the grand scheme of things, not the safest location for the boys ...

Saturday, March 11, 2017

State Tournament

Today Xander participated in his first ever state basketball tournament for Special Olympics. We had to leave incredibly early, which was not anyone's idea of fun, but we managed just fine. Xander got his beloved Chick-fil-a breakfast on the way, so he was pretty happy.

Once there, the tournament happened in stages. We played our first game, and were lucky enough to win. Xander scored six points, two baskets and two free throws. He was so excited. It was the most he's played and scored during a game all season. His smile lit up the whole room!









This is the "Hey, Mom, did you see me just score" face ...









The team won their first game and advanced to the next round. Xander had an icee and cookie between games ...



The second game was a little harder, and Xander didn't play as much.



And he was disappointed to come away with a ribbon (and not a shiny medal) ...



I was afraid he wasn't going to take the ribbon. He did. And then he immediately dropped it on the ground and stomped on it. Clearly, that's how he felt about not winning and not getting a shiny medal. Have I mentioned he's our most competitive child?