Sunday, December 3, 2017

Snapshot Sunday, Part II

Lazy Sunday at home with Connor and Bruno, watching Home Alone by the fire and enjoying the Christmas decorations ...

Snapshot Sunday

I LOVE this photo. Xander was not terribly excited when I told him Thursday night was the first night of his Special Olympics basketball practice of the season. He kept saying "bad boy, basketball" the whole afternoon.

Until we got there. It was a small turnout for the first practice, so there was lots of one-on-one instruction which really helps him. He practiced a defense stance and actually enjoyed it and was doing well with it by the end of the drill. He learned how to rebound, even running past people and pushing a few people to get to the ball. He's always struggled with understanding you can be a little aggressive during defense in sports (you know, that whole "be nice, don't take things away from others" the rest of the time is pretty confusing when you start shouting "take the ball" during practice and games)! He made five rebounds during drills, and was SO proud of himself. He kept looking to the sidelines to see if Connor and I were watching and cheering.

And then he closed the gym down. Coach Leslie and all the other players were wrapping up and ready to go home after a long day of school then after school activities. It was 7:30p. Xander was still at the far end of the gym, shooting from his favorite spot, even after they shut the lights off in the gym ...

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Another Christmas Tradition

The annual Shutterfly ornaments ...

Josh wanted to know why the pictures were of the kids eating. I said, well, what else do they love to do!  It just worked out that way this year.

Connor was at Buffalo Wild Wings right after a favorite hair cut and jumping off Grandma and Grandpa's boat at the lake. The back image, that isn't shown, was an ocean picture from one our two beach trips this year.

Sawyer was eating pizza at Pizza Hut and coloring in the backyard with his beloved sidewalk chalk. The back image, that isn't shown, was an ocean picture from one of our two beach trips this year.

Xander is our most active and involved kid. His two images were last year's variety / talent show where he sang "Counting Stars" by One Republic and played his guitar and the other was after scoring his first goal in an actual Special Olympics basketball game. The back image, that isn't shown, is one of our kayaking adventures this summer.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Too Much Fun

For the first time in a long time, Xander found somewhere he wanted to stay and never leave. He was out with his buddies Scott and Sey for the evening, and they started and ended at Monkey Joe's. He was having so much fun he didn't even want to leave to go get dinner. Not even at the mention of his beloved Arby's ...

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A Little Unwell

Earlier this week on Monday, Sawyer had his follow up ENT appointment. Results were not great. Ears are still red, both previously inserted tubes are now out, and he's retaining fluid in both ears. Needless to say, he failed the hearing / audiology tests pretty spectacularly and isn't hearing very well at all. He's scheduled for his second tube surgery next week.

On Tuesday, Connor continued complaining that he couldn't hear out of one ear. So we took him to the pediatrician for a ear check. Raging ear infection in his left ear. They were not at all surprised that he couldn't hear. And this is for the kid who rarely gets them.

Wednesday I had to try to catch up on work, because I was falling behind with all of the kids appointments, runs to the pharmacy to drop off and pick up prescriptions, and just everyday life of therapy and after school activities.

I've had a persistent cough for about a month, nothing too serious, just more annoying than anything. In the past week or so, I've felt like I was coming down with a cold. Fuzzy head, headaches, scratchy throat. Again, nothing terrible, just a little annoying.

The holidays. They're busy and chaotic. Work always gets busy this time of year, proposals needing to go in before the end of the fiscal year.

So I finally forced myself to visit the little clinic. The medicine in the photo is mine.

Persistent cough. Slight cold.

Actually, a left ear infection, bronchitis and pneumonia.

Good stuff.

Antiobiotics for the infection and pneumonia. Cough medicine for daytime and nighttime. And some prednisone for my swollen glands in my throat.

Now if only I could finish up some work and actually get a little extra sleep, like the doctor recommended.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Ice Skating Twins

Two different boys, two different days to try out the downtown holiday ice skating rink set up outside at one of the city parks for the season.

First to go was Xander with his buddy Jack ...

Xander went last year, but it was much colder. He prefers the 60 degree weather for outdoor ice skating, he says!

The very next day, Sawyer and Aunt Kelly headed downtown after our weekly speech therapy appointment for the boys.

Skating, walking around the park, walking in the beloved pedways, then going to Pies & Pints for dinner.

Rough lives that our boys lead, really.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Cutting Down the Christmas Tree

Or not, as it were.

When Josh and I moved into our first house that we built together, back in 2003, a Christmas tree farm just down the road put out signs to sell trees. Since we had gotten married, we had used the fake one that I bought in college (when I wanted one, but was still traveling home several weeks and knew a live one would be a fire hazard).

In 2003, we went to cut down our first tree at the little tree farm.

Things change, a lot, in 14 years, apparently. The little tree farm is not so little. And it's certainly not so little known. Because they had sold out of trees about two hours before we arrived. On Sunday, at 4 p.m. Just two and a half days after they opened on the day after Thanksgiving. We were not one of the 1,000 lucky people to cut down a tree this year.

Instead, we got a pre-cut fir tree out of their barn.

It was still raised and cut off the little tree farm, but was not quite the same as cutting one down yourself.

The boys still walked the fields, just because ...

Xander was very disappointed. He wanted this one, but it was no longer for sale.

Connor said he should have stayed longer at Grandma and Grandpa's house (they brought him home a few hours early so he could go with us for the annual tradition).

Sawyer was just mad that we were standing in the barn instead of wandering around the farm like usual.

We got a beautiful tree. And it looks great. But it was not the same.

There will be no Christmas card photo of the boys in the field cutting down the tree or riding in the sleds they use to haul the trees back to your vehicle. There were just a few quick snaps that we took as we walked around the bare rows of trees, and the disappointed looks on Connor and Xander's faces when we told them, no, we could not cut down the few remaining trees that were standing (some had been bought and reserved early, some were just being left to have trees in the coming years, as it takes seven years for a full tree to grow on the farm).

We still had a pot of chili back at the house. Grammy, Pappy and Aunt Kelly all came with us and helped us "pick out" our tree - albeit a little differently this year. They all had chili and grilled cheese dinner with us, and stayed to help us hang lights and ornaments and get into the Christmas spirit.

Guess we're camping out next year on Thanksgiving night if we want to cut a tree ... or we'll look into some of the other nearby farms a little further from home that have larger supplies ...

Snapshot Sunday

Bruno really wants to help taste test the desserts we made to take to our family's Thanksgiving celebration. You know, just to make sure they're okay for everyone else!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Friday, November 24, 2017

Late Birthday Present

Most years after Thanksgiving, Connor goes home with Grandma and Grandpa to spend the long weekend at their cabin on the lake with them. This year, because they were out of town in the mountains on his actual birthday weekend, they saved his birthday present for the following week ... more Star Wars Legos (shock, really) ...

And yes, he built it in just a couple of hours ...

Another Adventure with Aunt Kelly

Another day, another adventure for Sawyer and Aunt Kelly ...

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


It's been a long time since we've been able to talk Xander into bowling. There used to be two bowling alleys in town, but one of them shut down and the other was has gotten more crowded with league play practically every evening (when he's usually able to go). This was Thanksgiving break, and he was able to go during the day when it was less crowded. He had a great time with his buddy Scott. He even ran into Aunt Kelly and Sawyer, who apparently decided bowling on a day off from school sounded good, too!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Snapshot Sunday

Sawyer's happy place, walking in the pedways downtown. He loves to watch the cars go by.

Board Game Fun

One of the skills we work on at occupational therapy each week is social skills. Waiting your turn. Following rules. Winning with grace. Losing with grace. Playing age-appropriate games.

Xander is making progress with all of those things. We're still working on losing with grace. And sometimes, we revert back to some older games that may not be age appropriate, but look at that smile. Who wants to play a little Chutes & Ladders?

Hint. It's not me. The game is a trial in frustration and annoyance. I totally get not being able to lose with grace on this one. You get all the way up near the top, then have to slide all the way back down. Or worse, you keep sliding back down on the same exact ladder. Me and the little girl in the pink dress who eats the cookies are going to have a few rounds one day. She gets me EVERY single time.

Xander always says "bad boy, slide" when he has to go down.

But, here's the progress, he now follows that with "you try again next time" instead of just throwing all the pieces off the board!  :)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Going, Going, Gone ...

Xander spent the afternoon out with his buddy Scott and his buddy Sey. They went roller skating and played laser tag. Love to watch him fly around the rink ... his happy place ...

The Artist

Connor has started enjoying art more and more. He loved his art elective last year when he started middle school (and is anxiously awaiting the fourth term to get it again this year). He joined the school art club, which meets once a week after to school to work on projects.

The first project was for entry submission to "Improbable Baubles" at a local art museum (the entire school district participated). We spent our Saturday afternoon driving out to see the exhibition of kids art work. With so many entries, his submission didn't make the official display, but did make the display book for each school.

We also liked the "shell grotto" that was open at the museum house as part of the exhibit ...

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

More Trampoline Fun

SkyZone this week ...

Tennis with the Big Boy

Part of his birthday present from Grammy and Pappy was more tennis lessons. The last round was not as good as what any of us expected (a lot of standing around, practicing moves but not really hitting balls against coaches or other players). This tennis camp is much better. He's actually hitting against coaches, getting feedback on his swing and moves, and then he's getting to volley with a lot of different skill-level players. He's actually having fun and learning something this time around ...

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Snapshot Sunday

Back yard hoops in flip flops in November ... got to love the weather in our part of the world! Xander never gets tired of shooting hoops.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

And a TEENAGER ...

How did that happen? The big boy turned 13 Wednesday ... even though it was a school day, much to his disappointment.

On his actual birthday, a Wednesday, both his brothers had their weekly speech therapy appointment. We decided that Aunt Kelly would take him out for some fun one-on-one time on his actual birthday while we did therapy, then everyone would meet up later at his favorite restaurant for dinner.

So they went to M2B to race the fast (as in 45 mph fast) go carts.

We met up with family at his favorite asian restaurant, where he enjoyed pad thai, egg drop soup and pot stickers. He also ended up trying some of my dan dan noodles.

We also showed him his presents from the family ...

A Star Wars Lego mini from Sawyer ...

A Diary of a Wimpy Kid book from Xander ...

Yet another Star Wars Lego from Mom and Dad ...

Lots of the same cards (seriously, there were like two cards for 13 year old birthdays at all the stores) ...

And he got to see the Star Wars mural Dad finished and hung in his room over his Lego table ...

And then when Friday rolled around, the real fun began, at least for him. Two friends were invited over to spend the night, his buddies H and B. We made tacos for dinner. They played Xbox and Legos and Nerf Wars and watched movies late into the night.

Saturday we fixed them a big breakfast, then Dad headed out with the three amigos for Connor's birthday of fun with friends. They started at the movie theatre to see the new Thor movie (complete with popcorn, Cokes and candy), then made their way to Malibu Jack's where they played arcade games, rode more go carts (his two buddies have later birthdays and were not old enough for the fast ones at M2B), and played laser tag. And then they came home for dinner, and we dropped them back off at home.

And we finally remembered the ice cream cake ...

Happy 13th, Big Boy!