weekend

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We did lots of Easter-y things this weekend, including egg dying and hiding and finding and bunny ear wearing and hammocks cuddles. :) It was a gorgeous weekend! Spring has finally come! :)


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year of the peep

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When it rains, it pours. I was bit by the peep bug this Easter season and I decided to just go ahead and embrace it. :) I made the boys jumbo peep pillows for an upcoming road trip. I used fleece, so they are SUPER soft…and there was extra fleece which I cut into squares to use as blankets.

I didn’t really intend for them to be THIS big. I always cut things out thinking the seam allowance will REALLY shrink things down…so I overcompensate. Oh well. The boys will love them!

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We have lots of plans this weekend for eye dying and hang outs! Lovely weekends to you all!


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I had so much trouble with these guys!

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I wanted to make cookies that looked like marshmallow peep bunnies…but my flood icing was too thin and I couldn’t sink in eyes with icing and had to go with candy eyes. And…they just don’t look like peeps at all! But…they DO look like silly bunnies…and that ain’t bad. :)

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Last night each kid had one after dinner…but Isaac was so creeped out by the eyes that he ate around them! ha!

Each time I make cookies like this I learn new tricks for next time. :) So…lessons learned!


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growth spurts!

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My kiddos are going through intense growth spurts right now. Or…maybe it is more fair to say…my kids are working through all kinds of ideas in ways that I can recognize. :)

After weeks and weeks of primarily being obsessed with minecraft, I am excited for the little changes in interest happening around here. Dave also plays minecraft and since he knows the game he has a better of understanding of what they are learning by playing that obsessive game. He gets impressed by their “builds” and the way they design things…meanwhile I work on managing a growing ball of anxiety that this time on minecraft is rotting their brains. It’s just hard for me to see the value of it other than using it as incentive.

But! This weekend Dave downloaded a program called Blender. It’s for digital animation and since it looks a lot like photoshop, there are definitely skills developing that I recognize. Andrew watches YouTube tutorials with a notebook and pencil in hand. He yells “pause pause pause!” when there is something he needs to record and we pause it to give him time to take notes and then start it up again when he’s ready for more. He’s taken to it quickly and can’t wait to learn more. I LOVE that about him. His intensity sure is great fuel for learning. :)

And Isaac been talking about the states a little here and there over the past couple of weeks. He’ll mention Texas and Florida and Rhode Island…but not in ways that make much sense. Like “are you in Rhode Island, Mommy? Are you in Texas?” Yesterday I was surprised at how many states he listed. “The states, Mommy, help you KNOW where you ARE.” So, I got out our puzzle of the United States and I printed out a map and he was SO excited. “I need to learn the states, Mommy!” He ended up making sketches of about 8 states, all with smiling faces. :) SOOO cute! This boy is drawn to learning in sets…so I’m guessing this is his next set to tackle. We’ll see though.

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I love watching these boys learn. ;)


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weekend

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This past weekend Andrew and I got to see my nephew Dillon play in the National Championship for his division of ice hockey. We’ve never seen him play and we LOVED it. It was sooo exciting! After one game, Dillon gave Andrew a puck…and Andrew had a serious case of stars-in-the-eyes. :)

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We also met up with our friends at a playground in Queens.

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It seems as though Spring might come out to play pretty soon.  It was a chilly day, but we definitely made the most of it.

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Also this weekend, Isaac measured me.

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and the table.

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Andrew did some circuitry.

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and so did Isaac.

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and the Easter Bunny made an early visit!

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It was a great weekend of seeing all kinds of pals! One week until Spring Break! I am so excited!


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full week!

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Man! This week was a full one! At least for me and Andrew…with his 3 days of state testing and my Autism Awareness observing (and peep banner making!)…there was a lot going on. I asked Andrew if there was a special snack he wanted me to make and he suggested homemade pretzels. It had been a while since I had made these bad-boys, so I decided it was time to give them another go. And shucks, this kid took A LOT of tests this week…he’s earned himself something fun. :)

My nephew is in Northern New Jersey this week for a National Hockey Tournament and Andrew and I are trying to catch as many games as we can! It’s super exciting! I’m planning to be at the rink some this weekend shivering with Andrew…who thinks the intensity of hockey is AMAZING. :) Good weekends to you all!


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Peep Banner!

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I saw this banner last Easter and this year I decided I wanted to add these banners to our small box of Easter decor. So I took some time this week to put these banners together.

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And I love them! They are so adorable!

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I found the tutorial for this project (including a printable bunny pattern!) here. Check it out if you are feeling the need to decorate your home with low-calorie peeps, yourself. ;)

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Sure makes for a great seasonal backdrop for our regular shenanigans.

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Easter season, here we come!


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World Autism Awareness Day

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Today’s going to be jam packed filled-to-the-brim…but ironically, I won’t be seeing my kids much! I am rushing over to the preschool this morning to get posters hung before parents arrive for the Autism Celebration and then I am headed to the UN for an event for World Awareness Day. I’ll be home late and hired a sitter and feel a little strange to be doing all these autism-y things…but without my kids!

Yesterday I took some time to use the template I made for the school’s posters to make two posters of my own kids. I didn’t add them to the mix this year because there was already such a big turnout for that project. But I felt like it was important to do anyway…even though all I am doing with them is posting them here and on instagram. It’s not an easy thing for me to see my boys beautiful faces next to “My child is autistic.” I always get emotional when I do it (three times now!). But…it feels like a good emotional. Like a brave and hard thing. And I SO value the parents that sign up for this poster project and trust me to put something together of THEIR kid with that message. I’m so grateful for them. :)

Alright! I’m off! Have a great day! :)


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Producing a Personal Narrative

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On Isaac’s current IEP, one of his goal s, my favorite of his goal s is: produce a personal narrative. What’s that, you ask? It’s not as fancy as sounds. It’s just means: talk about something that happened to you. Tell a story about yourself. It can be about ANYTHING. And this goal, more than any other, I am EXTREMELY invested in.

For three years now, I’ve gotten Isaac off of his school bus and asked “How was your day?!” or “How was school?” only to be ignored. Now that he gets off the bus with Andrew, he’s heard how Andrew addresses this mama-pestering and now has a few one liners in his arsenal. He’ll say to me “Good!” or “Great!” but…that’s about it.

There has been slow movement in his ability to share a personal narrative over the last few months. But…my figuring out what happened in school is still as much about my sleuthing ability as it is about his ability to share. And since I SO BADLY want to know SOMETHING, and since I feel like his ability to share is *just about* there…I have to be careful to not let my sleuthing turn into heated interrogation. I have to resist the temptation I feel to force Isaac to talk (as much as I am able to…which isn’t much). Forcing him isn’t really encouraging the kind of open communication I want with him. Andrew’s at a point right now, where he will tell me *right away* about something hard that happened in school. Even when he’s at fault and he got in trouble…he comes to me to talk about it. and I LOVE THAT. Gosh, who wouldn’t love that? I want that with Isaac too. But how do we get there?

His Speech Therapist told me that Isaac won’t be able to tell a story about the past until he is able to tell a story about the present. She suggested we practice talking more about what is happening right now. So I try to show him how to use language to put a story together. We practice this every afternoon.

I also tried another system to help him talk about school. It’s called “Give Those Kids Candy!” :) After snack, while we are still sitting together at the table, I pay them in Skittles to share stories about school. This doesn’t always work with Isaac. But…it sometimes does. He shares one fact about his day, and I give him a skittle. Some facts that he’s shared have included “Mercedes was absent”, “we sang in Music class”, “we had outdoor recess”. These might seem simple, but after years of nothing, these little tidbits are music to my ears.

I also use photography to encourage growth in his personal narrative skills. Every Monday I send in a few photos from the weekend, with little descriptions written on the back of each photo. This started after Thanksgiving Break when his teacher said “send in photos if you have any!” If I have any? ha! So, I started doing it after every weekend. She tells me that she sits with him on Monday mornings to talk about the photos. He tells her as much as he can about them and then she has him sequence them in order of occurrence.

And then yesterday, after school, Isaac did a few things that really surprised me. After snack, I was doing other things and I was not in Skittle-mode. But, he got out some paper and wrote “What did you do for indoor recess?” then he drew a line underneath that and on the line wrote “auditorium”. On another paper he wrote 8-1=7…which meant there was one student absent from his class of 8. And on the third paper he wrote “What did you do in morning meeting?” He drew a line under that and wrote “ABC song and Counting to 100 song”. Then he brought me the papers and asked for three skittles. :) It was awesome!

Then before dinner, he bowed his head and closed his eyes for the pre-dinner prayer we usually do. He said “I’ll pray! I’ll pray!” and then he recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Ha! I didn’t even know he knew the Pledge of Allegiance. He also performed his ABC song (you can see a video of it here) and he told me that he calls Tomasz, his classmate, “Tomasz-y”.

Holy smokes! It was like Personal Narrative Afternoon! I LOVED it! :)

It’s sooo important to me that he be able to share things. Partly it’s important because I am a nosey mama. But it will also affect him in academic areas…like being able to talk and write about the book he read is a crucial school skill. It will help him access prior knowledge in other academic areas so that he is more able to build upon things he already knows. And, dang it, it feels like a safety issue too. If something bad happens (and I hope it never does!) he NEEDS NEEDS NEEDS to be able to report it. I hear too many scary stories of Special Needs kids not being able to report things and how that can have terrible consequences. So, instead of letting that keep me up at night, I send in photos to his teacher, and keep a fresh supply of Skittles on hand and blabber on to Isaac about the seemingly obvious story of “what’s happening right now!”

And can you believe it, but something seems to be working. :) Just wanted to share that little victory today!


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weekend

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It was one rainy weekend! But the boys didn’t mind at all. They put on their rainboots and went out on the porch with umbrellas. They loved it!

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Isaac wasn’t feeling so great this weekend. He had a mild case of the tummy-troubles. So, he did a lot of relaxing. He spent a lot of time in his net swing.

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Or resting on the couch with his guitar.

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But Andrew took advantage of the rainy day to test for acid rain. His latest science kit (he gets twice-a-month-science-kits from the Young Scientists Club) was about acids and bases. It included pH paper and litmus paper and he really enjoyed doing the tests with this kit.

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The next day, we did a lot of resting again…but I did talk everyone into a walk on the beach.

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Andrew protested the most…but had the best time. Oh this kid.

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He loved the windy adventure!

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While we were down there we saw a group of Polar Bear Club members swimming! Wild!

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We stuck to the sand.

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And the little pier.

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And then we walked down the boardwalk to…

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Nathan’s!

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Where we ordered hot dogs and lemonade.

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It was a nice, restful weekend. Hope yours was a good one!


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