Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Spring Flashback

March, 2006

Spring Break: Day Two

We were all set for some fun in the sun on this beautiful Tuesday morning! The forecast was calling for sun and 60's today! The only day this week that didn't have a chance for rain.

The sky was gorgeous when we left our house at 9:15 AM to head to the local Zoo.
Clear, sunny, in the 50's, quickly warming up to the low 60's for the high.

About 10 miles from the zoo, we hit a wall of clouds. I'm not talking partly cloudy by any means. This was completely overcast. We parked our van and got out only to find that it was a lot colder there than at our house! That's what I get for only checking the weather for our zip code on!

However, the animals must have loved the cool temps because they were very active today.

This is our red panda on top of a toy red panda. 

The kids couldn't wait to see the two red pandas that our zoo has. Unfortunately, only one could be seen and he was hiding in the corner. I guess he didn't feel like having a photo op today!

After we saw all the animals, we headed to the park to play for a bit.

We had met another blogger and her sweet girls at the zoo this time and had planned on a nice picnic outdoors. But by the time we got done with the zoo and the park, we were brr chilly cold!

We picnicked inside our van together instead and had a lovely time snacking on sandwiches and fruit. 

On our way home from the zoo, Jayce spotted a friend's van turning into their neighborhood. "Follow that van!" he shouted!

So, I did! And we had a long play date together that afternoon at their house. I love having friends that don't mind at all if you drop by unexpectedly :)

Operation Do Something Fun on Spring Break Day Two was a success!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Break: Day One

We leisurely awoke this morning at 7:30 AM, our first official day of Spring Break, to the sound of rain. And a bitter 39 degrees. Um, that's not what we signed up for, thank you very much!

Luckily, our park playdate with MOMS Club was relocated to Chuck E. Cheese.

Unlike the majority of moms in my area (maybe even in the nation!), I don't really hate Chuck E. Cheese's. I kinda like their pizza. And if you go there during the week, its usually pretty empty. As long as I have another friend to talk to while I'm there, I'm good!

My friend Jessica remarked that she may be taking my daughter to Vegas with her one day :)

She was playing one of the games like it was a slot machine, pumping tokens in as fast as she could.

She must have done something right 'cause she hit the jackpot numerous times.

Total tickets: 667

The sign on the camera in front of the red car reads, "Look here for picture." Jayce is very literal, as you can see!

They played many rounds of air hockey. Jayce wanted me to let him win, but I am ruthless when it comes to air hockey.

Sorry bud. Can't retrieve the puck that way after I've scored on you... again :)

Fun was certainly had by all!

Stay tuned for Day Two tomorrow :) The weather will be nice and we have outdoor plans!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Heart Faces: Slice of Life

I was determined to grab a photo that represented my children TODAY and not go through my files from previous weeks. I've been majorly slacking in the "documenting our lives" category. That's why I love this weekly photo challenge because it always makes me pick up my camera with a purpose again :)

Yes, my son gets his name spelled out in Easy Cheese on Club Crackers at least once a week :)

Be sure to check out more "Slices of Life" at I Heart Faces today!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Peaks and Valleys

Sometimes I like to pretend that we've never heard the word autism around our house. And sometimes its really easy to pretend that it doesn't exist within these walls. Like when a new friend says, "He has autism? I would have never guessed!" Or when his teacher says, "He's caught up with all the other kids in the class with many of his skills!" Or when our ABA Supervisor takes mastered programs out of our notebook and doesn't replace them with new ones.

For the past 12 months, we have truly seen a light at the end of the tunnel. We've seen Jayce grow leaps and bounds in development. He's matured so much and come so far socially.

But many professionals and friends alike have warned me that autism isn't something you "fix" or a sickness that goes away. Autism is the name for how Jayce's brain is wired. How he learns, how he thinks, how he feels.

Although he has made significant progress in some areas of motor skills, social development, and behavior, its still a work in progress.

There is a theory that kids on the spectrum seem to cycle through difficult periods every few years, sometimes even sooner.

So far that's been the case for us. We go through periods of happy bliss with Jayce, taking pride in the typical 5 year old (almost 6!) behavior he exhibits. In the past year we've seen a reduction in his tantrums, stimming, overreactions to stimuli, inappropriate reactions, perseveration of objects/subjects, and anxiety.

Unfortunately, much of those behaviors are back for another go around it seems. I am happy to report, however, that they don't seem to be as bad as they were last year.

It still breaks my heart to see my baby so upset at the drop of a hat. My ears had grown accustomed to only listening to happy playing or simple sibling squabbles (Jaina would be proud at my alliteration!). Now I'm interrupted several times an hour with Jayce's shrill screams for a myriad of reasons. He may have seen a bee outside his window, or gotten a drop of yogurt on his shirt, or lost at a game he was playing with Jaina, or thought the wind outside may be turning into a tornado.

We've had a lot of changes around here lately; a new van, new therapists, a new assistant teacher at school, new allergy medicine. Jayce can handle change if its small and he is well prepared for it. Part of the problem is that we take for granted that Jayce still needs us to help structure his world. We've gotten so accustomed to seeing Jayce act like a typical little boy that we are quick to lose patience with him when he's not.

So, its time to pull out our old tricks again. Back to a structured schedule, a sensory diet, lots of social stories, and tons of patience.

'Cause he's totally worth it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

Life's been moving at the speed of light lately! I feel like I have so much to say and document, but no time to be chatty.

Here's what's been going on in a nutshell:

-The kids celebrated St. Patty's day by our traditional trip to the duck pond. Jayce was scared of the ducks this year! Oh, and of the bees. Even though I didn't see any. I had to carry him to the car! And he's getting heavy!

-Oh! And we made pillsbury slice and bake cookies with shamrocks on it.

-Brian and I went out that night with our neighbors plus their relative from Indiana. We ate at the local Irish pub, listened to a local band play Irish music (where was my original Jump Little Children when I needed them?), and I watched as my husband and neighbors drank Guinness, Green beer, Irish Car Bombs, and Jagermeister. Not sure the last thing had anything to do with Ireland. Except that it comes in a green bottle.

-I was the designated driver. Although everyone else took Friday off from work, a mother's work is never done and I don't get "days off".

-We bought a van on Friday!! :)

-Jaina, her friend Aaliyah, and I joined Monica and Tracy at the Tarpon Sharks show on Friday. Synchronized swimming is fun to watch! :)

-Jayce has been having some issues this week with behavior. Too tired tonight to go into details, but I may do that later this week. Hopefully its a short lived phase!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I Heart Faces: Sun flare

I scoured through all my recent photos searching for just one decent photo of my kids with sun flare. I struck out. 

Luckily, this little girl saved me from not participating in this week's challenge!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring can't come fast enough!

If dealing with Influenza Type B, multiple cases of Strep Throat, several sinus infections, warts (on Jayce's hand), and pink eye weren't enough for us Walkers, it seems as if Jaina now has a stomach virus. Its either that or she just likes throwing up 7 times in 12 hours. I should have taken a picture of the laundry pile I had at 3 AM this morning. It was almost comical.

Oh, Spring.... where are you?

We vow to spend at least 1 hour outside playing each day. We'll soak up the Vitamin D from the sun, drink some Vitamin C from some juice, eat our green leafy vegetables for plenty of calcium, and attend the chiropractor faithfully.

And then can we stay well? Please?

The following photos were taken a few days ago while the weather was almost Spring-like :)

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

For Ana

I normally don't talk to squirrels or attempt any kind of wild animal photography, but when one hopped up on the trash can less than 5 feet away from the picnic table I was sitting at, I immediately thought of my friend Ana. She knits, she crafts, she designs cool blog headers and logos, she collects vintage pyrex, and she also talks to squirrels sometimes. 'Cause that's just how she rolls :)

So, in honor of Ana, I had a quick conversation with this little guy.

"Why, hello there little squirrel!"

"No, its okay! Don't be alarmed. I'm not going to shoot you."

"Well, techincally I am going to shoot you. Who came up with the idea that the verb shoot should mean the action of taking a photograph anyway?"

"I'm sure everyone at the park is looking at me funny now."

"Where are you going now, little guy? I can't believe you haven't hightailed it outta here yet."

"I also can't believe I'm talking to a squirrel."

"Yeah, YOU! I said I was talking to YOU!"

"Well, fine then. I guess this conversation is done."

Monday, March 07, 2011

I Heart Faces: Best Face of February

I'm sorry to say that I didn't get my camera out much during the month of February which gave me limited choices for my entry. However, this photo, taken of my son Jayce, is certainly one of my favorite faces of all time :)