Friday, October 31, 2008

Practice Trick or Treating

Even when George's vocabulary could be counted on two hands, "Trick or Treat" came easy. There is something to be said for immediate rewards. But for some kids at his special needs preschool, the idea of going to strange houses and speaking is extremely stressful. So they do practice trick or treating in the classroom with the parents and teachers.

practice trick or treating

Truly a precious sight to see some of these little ones trouping around the classroom in their costumes (George removed his cowboy outfit before the party began). Their eyes revealed their nervousness as they approached, but they carefully shaped their mouths around the magic words, accepted the candy going into their decorated bags, then quickly whispered or signed "thank you" as they scooted off to the next parent.

George had none of that nervousness, but had to be reminded after each stop to continue on. He was much more interested in exploring the contents of his bag!

Mmmmmm, candy

George's other favorite part of yesterday's party was his classmate's angel costume. He has always loved soft fabrics and textures and he couldn't resist the feathery outline of her wings.

soft angel wings

The entire time they were at their circle time, singing songs and doing show & tell, his hand was running along the edges of her wings. This is a stimming activity for him, but a non-invasive one that the other child didn't mind and that didn't keep him from participating in the class activities. It was wonderful to see him sitting with a group, singing, making verbal choices, and enjoying his classmates and teachers. Once again, the choice of this school is reinforced and I'm excited for the upcoming months and the changes they will bring.

George saw the trick or treating picture on his activity schedule this morning and has been carrying around his pumpkin ever since. Tonight will be fun as my little mouse goes door to door with his sister cat. (Can it get any cuter?) Pictures to come tomorrow, I'm sure!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Homemade Burglar Alarm

My friends and I talk about how we have a hard time sleeping when our husbands are gone, waking at every noise. Looking out my window at deer running down our steeply sloped gravel driveway, I see why I'm awake a lot.

But really, my friends and I agree that, should an univited visitor actually make it into our tightly locked houses, he would have a tough time.

There are the animals to contend with. In my case, a dog that would maybe growl a bit and then glue her nose to the visitor's shoes. And the cat....
Well no, the cat would just look irritated at being woken up, no real threat there.

This house is pretty old, it makes a lot of noise. So unless the visitor knew the exact hopskotch pattern that gets you through the hallway without squeaks and groaning wood, I'd hear him coming.

And then there is the ultimate burglar deterant in which my friends and I all seem to have invested.

Thomas tracks/mess
I dare anyone to get through my hallway at night without tripping/bleeding/stepping on a small, noise-making, smiling train.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

We were brave

We took George with us to the pumpkin patch, after all.


Bought our tickets for the horse-drawn hayride and some hot apple cider.


Enjoyed the ride out to the pumpkins, joking with others on the ride and identifying all the John Deere tractors.

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Headed out to the pumpkins.

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And then George and Daddy rapidly got back on the wagon to head back to the barn. Emma and I stayed out a while longer to choose the pumpkins, George had no interest in it and wasn't about to wait for us. (He wasn't about to let Daddy out of his sight, either.)


So, we dealt with screaming, but we divided and conquered, allowing Emma to do all the activities she wanted. She chose a big pumpkin, I chose a smaller, weird shaped one. She carried my pumpkin, I carried hers. She tried to feed an apple to a very disinterested donkey. She got us lost in a corn maze. She talked me into donuts for lunch as we left the farm's market.

Not the most successful day ever, and she probably would have liked us to leave George with a sitter. But this is the family we have, the brother she has. And little by little, he's learning how we do things and that he has to participate as best he can.

We'll see how pumpkin carving (and dealing with the guts!) goes tomorrow.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Love Thursday

We keep receiving love messages in our food, what is the universe trying to say to us?

Love Thursday Popcorn shrimp!
Shutter Sisters: Love Thursday

Keep looking for love, you never know where you might find it!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Goats, hayrides, and pumpkins....good times

We prepared with a social story and activity schedule. We talked about choices and behavior. We sang songs and watched videos and got excited. And then it was time. Time for the preschool visit to the farm and pumpkin patch.

I have to say I dreaded this a bit. Last year we made the decision to take only Emma to the pumpkin patch because George's behavior there is usually not the best. He loves, loves, loves the tractor-pulled hayride. He hates, hates, hates getting off of the tractor-pulled hayride. But we were going, this year, with his special needs preschool on a cold, foggy school day. The perfect group to be with and probably not a day filled with crowds. So, George, Gramma, and I plowed through the fog to the farm.

We started by feeding the goats. That went fairly well for about 3.5 minutes.

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Then the tractor went by and it was meltdown city. The crying continued until we loaded onto the (wet) hay and headed off to the field. Getting off the tractor started the crying back up, so we quickly grabbed our teeny pumpkins and loaded back on to the wagon to wait for all the other kids to finish. Luckily, we weren't the only ones more excited by the ride than the pumpkins. The wagon filled back up quickly!

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So, better than previous years, but I think we'll stick to taking Emma separately so she can enjoy taking her time. However, it was good for George to experience this with such a great (and understanding) group, they stuck exactly to the schedule set up in their social story and it went like clockwork!

Later, there was a Pumpkin Hunt at his other preschool. Teeny, tiny pumpkins hidden throughout the playground were found within seconds!

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Afterwords, all the parents and siblings stayed for their closing circle and singing time. This was the first time that George not only didn't need/want to sit in my lap instead of with his classmates, but he participated and sang along!!! HUGE progress for my little guy!

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(The blue blob on his cheek is the remnant of a face painting project.)

A very full, very fun day. Now we're off to Gramma & Papa's for pizza, then George and I are going for our Wednesday night swim! Whew, I'm exhausted!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ewww, sticky goo!!

What do you do when it's cold and wet outside and you're tired of playing Superheroes?
You make Gak, of course!

This was a great project for both kids. Emma helped put the ingredients together (white glue and liquid starch), and both stirred them together and mixed in some food coloring. Emma had fun showing George tricks. George (who seems to be completely over his tactile issues) rolled, stretched, and squished his blue goo.

It is such a relief to have my two kids finally finding a middle ground they both enjoy. All weekend they have played together, Emma has read stories to George, they both played with this goo for an hour, and then back to dress up and jumping in his room. For so long, Emma has been upset at having a sibling she couldn't play with. For so long, George has been unaware of a similarly sized creature sharing his home. Now, they have a relationship. Not always a peaceful one, but that's normal. And normal isn't something we see much around here, so we'll take it!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

SOOC - Superheroes

I get really frustrated with my camera sometimes, it takes lousy action shots, especially indoors. No matter how I adjust the manual settings in my point & shoot, all I get is blur. But sometimes, the blur of the action is just right. Yesterday I captured some superheroes in action:

I'm sure they're glad that the photos are blurry, so they can keep their identities entirely secret!

Don't forget to visit other blogs sharing their SOOC (Straight Out of Camera) shots this weekend.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

And it's not even Halloween yet!

I volunteer in my daughter's class Monday through Thursday, during their reading/creative writing time. For the most part, I've come to love it. Those kids are scary smart, and yet still cute and cuddly when they want to be. But they are kids. And kids are honest. Brutally so.

Twice now I've had a child comment on how I have blue under my eyes. That's not some new blue eye shadow fashion statement going on here in Orygun, just simple dark circles. The kids are fascinated. Apparently my under-eye concealer isn't working so well!

I actually get a fair amount of sleep, I go to bed pretty early (although I do have a tendency to read for, uh, a while). The cat regularly sleeps beside me, but when Jason's gone, I have an additional visitor to the bed. Our 45 pound Australian Shepard sprawls out on my other side. Both animals sleep on top of the down comforter. Right up against me, one on each side. Guess how much I can move. Guess how insanely hot it gets under those covers! Guess how much sleep I get.

There are no pictures for this post, sorry. I have on 4 layers of concealer and I'm thinking even that may not be enough. Good thing I don't work in the classroom today, I might scare a few 7-year-olds!

Any make-up recommendations for someone with see-through skin and freckles?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Two weeks into October

So, I've discovered something. When Jason takes leave from work for two weeks I feel like there's nothing to share here. But of course, so much has been going on. Come see:

Looking through the tree

Stretching across a tree

autumn leaves

smiling sun flare

taking a break

walking together

looking at the river
Okay, so all those pictures were taken yesterday. But the rest of the past two weeks have been much the same. Lots of family time, outside enjoying the crisp air; lots of projects and renovations, getting the house ready for winter; lots of time away from the computer, being together. So maybe I forgot to pick up my camera most of the time. But I was busy, making memories with my family instead of just watching.
Jason goes back to work tomorrow, I'm sure I'll have camera in hand more often so I can keep him up to date with our activities. The next couple of weeks will bring field trips, Halloween preparations, and more projects. I'll share them here and go back a bit to fill in the gaps. (The kids survived their first evening with a non-family member babysitter! And Jason and I went OUT!) I hope everyone is enjoying the change of seasons as much as we have been!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

My Darling Princess

Isn't my sweet, little girl just adorable?

Oh, wait a sec', something in that reflection reminds me of someone else.

Ah, yes, of course. Isn't my sweet, little boy adorable? He sure does love those manly Barbie movies and Cinderella dresses!


5 Minutes for Special Needs