Thursday, August 11, 2016

Olympics Break!

I was on a blogging roll... and then came the Summer Olympics with it's late nights and a son who wants to stay up late to watch.  Whew!  I am eager to blog again, but it might not happen until the Olympics are over.  Until then... Go USA... and China... and Ethiopia!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Monday Fun Day Week One! (Books and Gardens)

Monday is Brandon's day off so it has become our family day. Last summer we started a family tradition.  We try to do special non-typical family adventures each Monday after the completion of summer school.  We don't have the full line up confirmed yet, but we have some fun ideas for this summer.  There is a special venue near us that will be at the top of our list for several years.  It is a huge flower garden with statues and play features from various books.  It is so very well done.  Each time we go we see new things we love.  This year half of the park was under construction.  This worked out pretty well for us because M is still in Park and Rec in the afternoons.  We were able to have a fun morning adventure and get home in time for lunch and park drop off. One of our children likes to move about very quickly.  This child also likes to budge in line and invade others personal space.  Another of our children likes to worry about how quickly the other is going and fret continually about going too fast to enjoy things.  By the end they were both enjoying themselves and even enjoying each other at times.

M and T: We like to help clean Harry the dirty dog. 
T: I know this story about the giant and the beanstalk! 
M: Every time I come here I like to make music with this little guy. 
The park has these super fun frames.  Each time we come I beg the kids to take a pic in one and they never do.  This time they said yes and we all loved it!
M and T: We really look like we are in a frame!
Funny Faces
T: I was Laura cooking a meal!
I showed the kids what the washboard was and we talked about how hard it would be to wash clothes. 
M: Mom, this is easy! 

The wagon!  We have several photos of the kids in it through the years . This time M asked, "Is this the real wagon that they used?"  So precious.  Nope buddy, not this one.
M:  This really isn't that comfortable. 
T: The horses were getting a little wild. 
T: This little bear needed a hug! 
M: Sometimes it feels good to get your anger out. 
M has become obsessed with "A Magic Treehouse" books this summer.  Actually, we are all loving them.  We were excited to see their version of the treehouse!
M: We really know those books. 
M: Now I am like Jack from the books. 
M: Anyone home?  T: Come on in!
We decided this would be an extremely dangerous stove. 

M: Check out this tin rooster!
T: And I found a tin bird. 
M: I can see myself in this big mirror spoon. 
T: I love you little cow.  (Brandon happened to catch her kissing the cow.  Not a posed photo, just her personality.) 
T: He was the perfect size to ride. 
M: I can be cute with the cow too, see?

A very hungry M! 
T: Where are the frogs?  I see the lily pads!
T: It would be fun if it rained corn on the cob. 
M: Yes, I would love to eat corn on the cob right from the sky. 
M: I was just taking in the view. 
We spotted some duckling statues across the pond. 
Story time!  "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs."  A perfect way to end our time at the park. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Summer Living... moments of joy!

I have been posting photo blog posts almost daily now for about three weeks.  The photos are filled with joyful moments.  "Typical" in our home is NOT the highlight reel of the photos I share.  I wrestle with this as I post so I just wanted to be real for a minute before I post yet another precious highlight reel. Mixed in the middle of the photos is a mess. "Typical" involves two dysregulated kids and two weary parents  We continue to be thankful for our therapist and the road she is leading us on.  We have taken steps back this summer and we are heading to a specialist later this month to discuss another avenue of anxiety treatment.  We covet your prayers and we continue on this long journey.

And now for those sweet July moments...

One morning T really wanted to help make her fried egg.  She is such a mover and a shaker and I feared that this would be a big problem next to a hot stove.  I often try to direct her away from helping me cook, but then get convicted because M helped me so much at that age.  She was thrilled when I said she could help.  She cracked the egg and flipped the egg.  She did great.

T: I was making my own egg!
T: I even flipped it by myself. 
One of our dear friends is a photographer.  She happened to have several tutus and other fun costumes that she no longer needed.  T had the thrill of her life looking through the bag of treasures!  She could not believe there was a real Ariel dress.  While she has never seen the movie, she does love mermaids and she feels like a real mermaid in this dress.  She wears it often.  It is hard to walk in, but she makes it work.
T: It's me.  T mermaid.

The house band!
M and T: It just works better when we are separated. 

T: I needed an outdoor microphone stand.  The rake worked well. 
For months T has been interviewing our family and others as well.  She typically asks questions like, "What do you like about your husband?" or "What do you like about summer?"  etc.  One day she shocked us.  She asked her first question and wrote the scribbles visible in the upper left paper (on pic below).  Then she asked her next question and I gave a long answer and she asked how to spell it.  She did her best to spell the entire answer.  Sometimes M would help her with a letter than she didn't know how to make.  It is so excited to see her explore writing.  The second note on the top row shows the answer to her first question.  She didn't ask for help from M.  I have tried hard to remember what she wrote, but I can't remember all of it. "I like the way he...?"  After the first longer answer I got right to the point with short answers.  With M's help you can see that the bottom left one says,  "He is kind.  He is fun." The bottom right one is the tricky one because that is the one she left out the letters she didn't know how to make. It says, "I like that he ...."  She comes up with some very creative ideas.  Her interviews are precious.

T's interview notes. 
Making a castle bridge. 
T: Daddy look.  I can hold up all these tiles together. 
T: Daddy for a very comfortable way to carry me. 
M: Ready cowgirl T?  T: Yes, I just have to make sure my fish bag is secure. 

M: Hold on tight, it is about to get bumpy. 

Charissa and I have been enjoying many after bedtime walks this summer.  We decided that after a four years break, we are going to walk every street in our community again this year. One night we had quite an adventure.  We assumed that two subdivisions connected but came to the end of one and saw a huge pile of dirt.  We couldn't see around the pile, but were sure that houses were on the other side so we walked around it.  Once we got around it we discovered that we were in a corn field.  We walked back to the subdivision through the corn and then found a more direct route needing to walk through more corn again.  We were very careful not to disturb any plants.  We walked on the edge of the field where the stalks were not very high so we were always safe.  I had several strange bugs crawling under my clothes when we got out of the corn.  Just typing that makes me itchy all over.  It was such a special memory.  I think I laughed the entire time we were in the corn.  I felt like a college student again.  I am so thankful for our friendship and the physical, emotional, and psychological benefits of our long walks! 

Our view after going around the big mound of dirt. 
Lost with corn over our heads... the most relaxing part of our day! 
The kids have really gotten into drinking from these cheap baby bottles lately.  They have to suck hard to get water out which is great for regulation so I encourage it.  M came up with a creative idea on night at dinner.  The idea backfired, but was so precious.

M: I thought maybe I could use a straw to get the water out more quickly.  
M: Then I thought maybe I could tip the bottle up.  That didn't work well either.
What do we do when we need to leave somewhere and the kids are not regulated?  We put them on top of the van of course!  No, we don't drive anywhere.  We just provide a change of scenery.  It works well!
M and T:  We are on top of the van! 
We all love our Friday Night Group potluck nights.  One woman called before the last potluck asking if she could bring things for an ice cream bar.  Brandon told her that she could and that he really liked ice cream.  I am not sure she knew that it is seriously one of his love languages.  Brandon loves ice cream.  He filled the bowl so full.  It was a sight to behold.  He had a layer of ice cream and a layer of toppings then another layer of ice cream and another layer of toppings.  Impressive!

He enjoyed every bite!