Being the Best


Isaac wants to win. He wants to win games we play, he wants to be the first to get his shoes on, he wants to be the fastest kid on the scooter. If Andrew pulls ahead in any area, Isaac screams and cries and yells at Andrew, in a panicked voice, to “slow down!” and “let me be first!!” Yesterday they were scootering up and down the block after school and Isaac was so furious that Andrew could scooter faster than him that in an effort to pull ahead of Andrew, they crashed. Isaac got a gash on his forehead, which paled in comparison to the frustration he felt in not being the fastest.

He meets with a social worker at school and part of what she works on with him is game playing with peers. Learning that it’s okay to NOT be the winner every time. When he gets worked up, I tell him “sometimes Andrew is first and sometimes Isaac is first, and either way is OKAY!” But honestly, he’s not buying it. Number one is, well, number one.

Part of me feels sympathetic. Andrew will be bigger and faster and better than Isaac at a lot of things for a long time. Isaac will likely catch up at some point (and there ARE things that Isaac can do that Andrew can’t!), but I think mostly he just feels frustrated to be littler.

He tells me he wants to be twins with Andrew. He asks me, in an accusatory tone, “WHY didn’t you born me in 2005?!” (the year Andrew was born)

But I also just want to teach him to cope. Which I find a little hard to do. How do you teach that? He won’t always be first. He won’t always win. Drive is great, but so is feeling okay when you lose.

They say redheads are hotheads, are stubborn, have tempers. And I say, from my very small sample set, it’s true. There’s fire to those red curls. :)



In other news…CAKE! Lemon Yogurt Cake! from Passion for Baking. Scrumptious!! And a nice cooling dessert after a heated afternoon. :)

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Road Trip with Kids

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My mother was the master of the road trip. She would buy us little toys and coloring books and she kept them up at her feet in the front of the car. She’d distribute something new after meals to keep us entertained for a while. She also planned stops at cool spots along the way. Her greatest road trip feat (in my perspective…my brother and sister might have other favorite road trip memories) was driving my sister and I across the country to South Dakota where my dad had recently been stationed. My brother was in college, and my father was already in South Dakota working. So, it was just my mom, sister and me….and two pet rabbits we kept bunked in cages in the backseat. She planned the trip so that we would stop in at friends’ and relatives’ along the way…which meant that trip started in Virginia (where we had been living), took us through North Carolina (to visit family), Mississippi (to see friends), Louisiana (more friends), and then up through the Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa strip to get to South Dakota. I saw A LOT of the country in those few weeks of travel. :)

So, when I was planning this trip, I had some ideas of how it could go smoothly. :)

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Besides the peep pillows and little blankets I made, I got a little basket to sit between the boys with clipboards of paper, a bag of pens, books, and some minecraft toys. Then, magically, the Easter Bunny would periodically leave little presents for the boys. We’d get back to the car from breakfast or lunch and there would be a little present on each of their seats! And the presents were these great little travel games! Smart, smart Easter Bunny! One of the favorite travel game he left was a License Plate Scavenger Hunt…which I totally recommend!

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The boys did spend some time playing on the iPads…but I really tried to limit it. And I feel like I was pretty successful! Thanks to the Easter Bunny of course. ;)

We also brought along the boys’ scooters which fold up really small. Whenever the boys started getting squirrelly in the back, we’d stop for some scootering.

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And we found this weird/cool drive-through safari. :)

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Another thing I did to prepare was to create a playlist of silly Minecraft parody songs for us to listen to. It was a HUGE hit!

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So, most of our trip looked like this:

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When it got late, we put the boys in their jammies, snuggled them down with their peep pillows and blankets and here, with Easter glow wands!

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It was really, really successful! I’m so pleased with how the road-trip part of the road trip went! And the boys enjoyed themselves, but when we walked by our car yesterday on the way to the grocery store, Isaac said “nooooooo!!! no driving in the car! the car is SICK and needs to REST!” Roger that, Isaac. We’ll leave the car alone for a while. :)

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Spring Break!


For Spring Break this year, we drove out to Chicago! It’s a 13 hour car trip from New York to Chicago and we broke down the driving mid-way with hotel stays in Pennsylvania (on the way there) and Indiana (on the way back). The boys did great in the car…and when things got a little wacky in the back seat, we just stopped and let the boys use their scooters to burn off steam in nearby parks.


In fact, as soon as we arrived in Chicago, we celebrated with some hardcore scootering!


Before this trip, my boys were clumsy and awkward on their scooters…now they are total pros! I love it! :)


The trip was a mix of seeing the cool scenes of Chicago…and gorging on Science Museums…as we tend to do. :)


We LOVED Millennium Park!



It had this cool fountain, with giant moving faces illuminated on it and water flowing down it.  Every now and then a stream of water would come flowing out of the mouths of the people projected.  My boys LOVED that part!! So silly!

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We also loved their Museum of Science and Industry AND their Alder Planetarium!  And when I say “we” loved it…Andrew takes first place in how much he loved these places. :)


And when Isaac would get tuckered out from too much museum, Dave or I would get him a snack and find a quiet place to relax.


Like this “campfire” play area with a ceiling of stars!  So cool!


Meanwhile Andrew was learning how to launch into outer space.



We’d spend the mornings at museums and the afternoons doing city exploration.


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We LOVED Chicago!!


The whole reason we went, was so that I could go a photography workshop.  I learned a TON.  It was definitely worth the trip!


On the way back we visited a drive through safari, where we fed llamas, bison, deer and zebras right from our car window.  Honestly, the whole set up was a little strange….but Andrew thought it was fantastic.

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And although Isaac liked watching Andrew feed the animals, when an animal got close to his car window, he’ll yell “Back up, please!!” No crowding, Isaac, guys!

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We also went for a walk in a state park at Lake Erie…where…um…Andrew said his shirt “fell off”.  ???? oh boy.


It was a great trip!!  And we LOVED that it was a road trip!  I’m trying to talk Dave into our next road trip being a journey out to South Dakota! I lived there for a year when I was a kid and I would LOVE to show it off to the family.  So far, he’s not biting…but just give me time. :)


Hope you all had lovely Easter weekends!!

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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


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!


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!


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. :)


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!


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.


I love watching these boys learn. ;)

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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.












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.


Also this weekend, Isaac measured me.


and the table.


Andrew did some circuitry.


and so did Isaac.


and the Easter Bunny made an early visit!


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!



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!


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.


And I love them! They are so adorable!



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. ;)


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



Easter season, here we come!

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