Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Graduated

It seems like it was eons ago when Jayce's number on the PDD Waiver finally came up. He was 4 and a half years old at the time.

Three years later and my boy has graduated the Applied Behavioral Analysis program at HOPE Reach.

His therapists threw him a party to celebrate:






His party could have been anywhere... but he chose Chuck E. Cheese. 


Jayce and Jaina love this place.




Jocelyn had never been. This was her first experience with The Mouse.




Our team supervisor brought a friend for Jocelyn that night, too!




Jayce, we all are so proud of you! And you have a ton of therapists that are proud of you, too!




Many many thanks to all of the therapists from HOPE Reach over the years! We have made the best friendships with these ladies!


Because I waited 3 weeks to actually get these pictures posted, I can tell you that Jayce has done an amazing job transitioning from having a therapist every afternoon in our home to having none. He comes straight in from school, starts his homework, gets the timer for his reading assignment, has a snack, practices his piano, and then has free time before baseball practice. Sometimes he uses his visual schedule, sometimes not. And he's only had ONE fit. That's huge for Jayce!

It feels weird to not have Ashley or Hannah or Meg or Marley or Kimberly over every afternoon. But now we can hang out with these awesome ladies any time we want (and Jayce doesn't have to do any work!) And thanks to FB and Instagram and texting, we have kept in touch.

(Hannah, if you are looking for your picture of us, tell Chris that he needs to practice holding the camera steady! Too much blur to post the picture! LOL!)

Its been a wonderful three years with huge goals met, successes, and social gains for my boy. Let's hope he keeps it up!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Matchy Matchy

When I find a brand of clothes I like for my kids, I tend to stick to it. Some people without kids might not understand the incessant need to buy your daughter a new Gymboree dress at each of her birthdays, but moms of girls who like Gymboree know how it is :)




Then there was Old Navy for Jayce. Admittedly, little boys' clothes are not as fun to buy as little girls' clothes. But there was something sweet about buying little overalls for my little man.





Oh my... why did my big kids have to get so big??? I need to go hug Jocelyn right now and hold her on my lap. While she still fits on my lap.

I'm a little obsessed with Carter's brand clothing for this third kid. And since Costco carries it, that means Brian is willing to buy it. (He'll buy anything at Costco).  And hey... if you find something you like, there's no reason not to stick with it!





I know. I have serious problems.

But damn... my kids are cute.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Its a Baby Shower!

When my good friend and neighbor announced that she was expecting a baby, I think I might have been just as excited as she was!

I had the honor and privilege of throwing her a baby shower today. It was a blast!




Tiffany is crafty (in a good way!) and helped make the decorations. Her colors in the baby's nursery are a Tiffany Blue and bright pink. Some guests wondered if we were trying to announce twins or something :P Nope! Its a girl!


Cupcakes made by Cakes by Dodi




Tutorial for Tulle Garland here




Invitations by Daylight Designs


I can't wait to post pictures of their new baby! Just four more weeks!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Snow Mountain

My parents bought us season passes to Stone Mountain Park for Christmas this year. Believe me, we have already put them to good use. My kids LOVE that place. When they saw a newly erected Snow Mountain on the lawn, they couldn't wait to go tubing and play in the snow!

Ironically enough (or was it just a coincidence? Is it true irony?), the weekend we went down to Atlanta to play in the snow machine snow, it actually "for real" snowed here.

And not just a light dusting. No, some areas got up to 4 inches!!!

And we missed it.

Honestly, I think I was more disappointed than the kids were!  (Please don't remind me that this would have been Jocelyn's very first snow!)

But we had fun at Snow Mountain anyway. It was not advisable to take pictures while we were all tubing down the lanes so our picture proof is somewhat limited.





Jayce experienced a little sensory overload and also a lot of anxiety about going tubing. But once he went down once (as a family, with me and Jaina in the same big tube), he wanted to go again! We got to take 6 runs before our allotted time was up.

The kids could play on the Little Kid lanes as much as they wanted, though.



Pulling your tube up was quite the work out for Jayce. Many kind workers helped him while we were there. 




We also got to hang out with Aunt Jami (Who turned 23 years old last weekend! God, does that make me feel old!)


Then we went over to my brother Jeff's house to see him and his girl friend Pam.

Pam and Jocelyn watched Dora. It was one of the only ways to keep her from messing with all the cords and wires at Jeff's house!


Jayce had taught himself how to play Poker on his Nintendo DSi. But Uncle Jeff taught him the real way to play. With chips and everything. Jaina was the triumphant winner and would have taken home quite the earnings if they had been playing for real money. (which she fully intends to do once she finds someone to play with her).


I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't take a single picture of Dad or Kim the entire weekend. My dad isn't feeling so hot these days; he needs more reconstruction surgery on his ankle and foot. Kim spends her free time taking care of him. Although we go primarily to visit them, we also try to entertain ourselves and not crowd the house with childhood antics.

The kids are already planning our next trip at Spring Break :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Miss Jessie's

I love kids.

Not just my own, but other people's kids, too.

 I've been babysitting since I was 11 years old. Looking back at that fact now, as a mom, makes me shudder. Who on earth left 4 kids (including a baby) alone with an 11 year old for 12 hours?

Babysitting was my primary source of income as a teen. Even after I secured a job as a hostess at The Italian Oven Restaurant, I kept one weekend night free so I could babysit for my special families. As soon as I arrived at college, I signed up in the office of Career Services as a potential babysitter/nanny for any local families.

I even worked at a day care. And that, my friends, is one of the main reasons I am a stay-at-home mom. I worked at one of the finest day cares in Atlanta that boasted an indoor sand box, an outdoor splash park, dance lessons, French lessons, gymnastics lessons, art classes, and a baby/caregiver ratio of 4:1.

When Jaina was 18 months old, I answered the call of a panicked neighbor who wanted to remove her 3 month old son from his daycare immediately... but had no idea who would watch him. I offered to take him from 7 AM- 4PM Monday through Friday until she could get out of her contract at work.

And so my husband dubbed our house, "Miss Jessie's Daycare".

I'm pretty used to it being my three kids plus an extra kid here and there. I currently babysit a 2 year old two days a week on a steady basis and have since she was 3 months old. My across the street neighbors started a church in their home and asked me if I would consider keeping the nursery kids (aged 2 and under) at my home during Sunday and Wednesday services.

Last week was a bit unusual since I had several extra kids around! It really did seem like I was running a daycare. I had two extra kids (all my van will hold since I have three kids of my own AND pick up Jaina's best friend from school as well) every single day last week. Boy was I tired at night! I have to hand it to the little kids though.... everyone did amazing! Even the little boy that had  never been to my house ever before!

Because of privacy, I typically don't take photos of my babysitting kids or share them on FB or my blog. I'm making an exception for this cutie since her momma is a close friend of mine and her kids have appeared on my blog before.



I actually had a dream the other night that I opened up my own daycare down the street. It was pretty funny. I couldn't decide if the kids should be separated by age or left to play with each other, like in Montessori style school. I was hiring teachers that complained about clients using cloth diapers. And I couldn't figure out what the name of my natural parenting-style daycare would be called.

Ah, well, back to reality around here. We had a crazy busy weekend in ATL so there is a mountain of laundry and a bunch of blogging to catch up on. Thank goodness its just my three (and my one extra on Tuesday and Friday) this week.