Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Special Exposure / Wordless Weds: Now

It's been another tough couple of weeks. I feel like a broken record, but so it is. We've had another loss in the family -- someone who was far from our daily lives, but part of our family history. Closer to home, a friend and their family suffered a great loss. Dealing with money issues feels like trying to slay a Hydra, and our wonderful respite care person is moving on and out of our daily sphere of living.

These are the times when I feel like crying, but feel best when I can just stop and just be in the Now. Hug my kids. Kiss my husband. Sit outdoors in the green and colour that are fueled by summer. And breathe. Love what I still have, while it's still here with me, in the Now.

For more images from the heart and to share some of yours,
visit Special Exposure Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Special Needs.
5 Minutes for Special Needs

               and ... Wordless Wednesday

Monday, June 25, 2012

They Learn From Us

James had an unsettled session of summer school this morning. He yelled and said "NO!" when spoken to by teachers. After writing, he balked at doing any work. He was supremely unconcerned about listening and following directions.

When I picked him up, there was his checklist waiting, with a list of sad faces.

First, I had him apologise for yelling at the teachers. Then I told him we would discuss his day at home and maybe write a note to his teachers. That we would try again tomorrow and have a better day. This sounded like a Plan to us all.

So after lunch I had James sit down and write a note to all his teachers:
"I am sorry I yelled. I will try to listen (up at top) more."

I then asked the kids to do an offline activity while I ate my lunch and checked my email. While doing this, I found an email that indicated a payment that I did not remember making - panic attack.

James' big sister decided to help out by telling James it was time to play KJS. As he kept asking "What you doing, Mommy?" and "I'm right here! Who you talking to?" while I was trying to straighten things out over the phone, I could hear his sister saying "James, you need to pay attention, or you're going to get an unhappy face!" And he listened!!

They went into a bedroom and played KJS;  his sister later informed me that his earned all smiley faces. I love those kids to pieces. We are now going swimming as a reward. The email/financial issue? Resolved, thank goodness!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Swim Debate

This might be the year we enroll James in group swim lessons. Even though he refuses to get his head wet and is not thrilled with being splashed he needs to have some water skills, loving the pool, river wading, and ocean surf as he does. In the past, I knew that James would not pay attention in class, and be more of a disturbance than a learner/participant.

Looking at him this summer, I can tell his abilities and needs have changed. He's tall enough and bulky enough to not get knocked off his feet, cutting down on his anxiety. He has 2 years of full inclusion under his belt, and we know he's positively motivated by his peers to do the same activities. He's had over 3 years of poolside cheerleader for big sister's swim classes.

I spoke with one of the program leads, and after watching him and sharing she worked with full inclusion students in a neighbouring school district, she agreed this might be a good year to try this. Now to get the funds for the class ...

Special Exposure / Wordless Weds: Summer

Summer began here officially yesterday afternoon, but we started celebrating at the top of June:
Ice cream on a hot day
Wading in the pacific ocean
Visitng Dis-nee-lan'
Hot air balloons
Watching them launch before summer school
Solar Living Center
Running around outdoors in the sunshine

For more images from the heart and to share some of yours,
visit Special Exposure Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Special Needs.
5 Minutes for Special Needs

               and ... Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Moving on From a Chair

One of the few pieces of equipment we've needed and used for James to help with his Autism Spectrum Disorder needs is this chair:

This chair was ordered by his North Bay Regional Center case manager for James when he was just over 2, when he was first being evaluated and diagnosed with some pretty severe developmental delays. We've used it every day in this house up until this past weekend -- that's 5 years of togetherness. It became almost like a member of our family.

This chair was awesome, because we could snap James into a 3-point harness, which kept him in his seat (he'd wriggle or fall off a regular chair and was too large for a high chair). The footrest was helpful to keep his feet still at meals and ground him for homework sessions. The seat itself was adjustable, and there were a couple of years where we'd be adjusting that sucker every month or so.

It had its down sides; for a while it got used for Time Outs, until James started to not want to use the chair at all.  We've all suffered painful whacks to our toes on it's splayed legs. Lately, James has gotten too big to sit comfortably on it. It was time to give it back to the Regional Center, for another family to use.

So that is what we did on Tuesday. James said goodbye to the chair and patted it. I loaded it into the van, and we dropped it back off at the Regional Center.  While I dislike saying goodbye to another piece of James' younger years, it also feels good to be giving back.

Father's Day, Green Style

For his special day, James' dad wanted to visit as a family a place that he loves to explore with the kids when he's giving me a break -- the Solar Living Center in Hopland.

Eager to be eco-friendly, we piled into our new Leaf and took off up the highway. The scenery was beautiful and the weather gorgeous and warm, not sizzling hot like the day before. When we arrived, we were dismayed to see charger stations, but no cords that we could use. Ah well, we decided to explore first and worry later.

While James' dad talked solar shop at the alternative energy counter,  the kids swung on the hanging chairs, chased butterflies, and ate ice cream treats. They loved to play by the water!

After a bit it was time to charge at an outlet that was fairly close. Our best bet was back the way we came, at Coppola's. I teased my husband, "Happy Godfathers' Day!"

It took a while to get the car properly hooked up, so I fed the kids some lunch from our reusable picnic bag. Then we headed into the gift shop, where James wanted to drive the Tucker and climb aboard the model ships from the movie Marie Antoinette. So we took Monkey Man outside, where he gave his dad a tour, asked to go swimming, and finally helped us down gelato at the snack counter.

After an hour or so we returned home, happy from a family day trip, in which we burned no fossil fuels at all.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Magic Marker Monday: Word Wheel

Summer school work that comes home in James' backpack is refreshingly meaningful this year. Also, well-thought out and relevant for what he's been learning in school.  Such a nice change from last year!

On Monday, James brought home a word wheel. His teacher this year said is was helpful for her regular classroom with full inclusion students, and she said it went over well in the class that day.
Nice sun and detail on that pail!

The wheel underneath has 5 letters and matching pictures.

When we got home, we practiced words together. James' big sister was quick to remind me she'd made a ladybug word wheel back in Kindergarten. That made James beam.

I'll bet we can fit a few more summer-themed wheels -- maybe one like a clock (dock, sock, rock, lock) or tree (knee, see, bee, whee) ...

For more great masterpieces or to share some of your own, visit
5 Minutes for Special Needs for more Magic Marker Monday.

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

SOOC Weekend: Ballooning

James and I got up to a glorious summer morning. We decided to go check out the annual hot air balloon festival in our town. I took over 200 photos and here is the best SOOC shot:

Looks like candy floss!

The other are 15 of our SOOC favourites:
View from our house

View from the town's man street, this morning.

Baseball Guy!!

From the playground, watching balloons fill up on the field.

Up, up, and awaaaaay ...

Our favourite Sushi balloon

Pepé LePew!!! Mon Cheri!

Through the trees, from the playground.

Fun to watch the balloons ascend and descend. Perfect weather too.

Meanwhile, James adored being able to play, first thing in the morning.

He gave just about everything here a workout.

"I'm here! Look, Mommy!"

Panda again

The Panda is giving rides!
This gives a pretty good perspective of how huge these things are.

Here's hoping that you're enjoying your summer!

Linking up again with Murrieta 365 for some SOOC show and share. I am bending the rules a bit with my words and multiple images, but otherwise it's all SOOC.