So Tate’s birthday party last Saturday was a success.  When isn’t a 1 year old party successful when there are cake, boxes, and balloons involved? (Forget the toys!)  Although he did look a little sad when it was all said and done.

To top off the fun party day, the boys and I headed to the last Barnstormer “flitball”game of the season.  Liam, who loves all things athletic, got bored within a few minutes and popped on the ipod.  Seriously, that boy thinks he’s 13!  The other 3 had fun though!

Tate making love eyes at one of the Barnstormer’s cute girlfriends sitting behind us.

And we’re back from our whirlwind Kansas City trip.  The boys had a blast swimming at the pool, we shopped at some of the amazing stores that our city will probably never see, the boys saw one of the greatest soccer teams in the world, Josh ran into a pro baseball player, we ate cake the size of our heads, hung out with some extremely funny people (there may or may not have been magic involved), slept late, and the best part, I got to hang with my wonderful family (which I got zero pictures of but my sis took some funny shots you can see here).

Which one of these is not like the other? I cannot believe we got a good shot of everyone.  The more kids we have the harder it gets to take a decent picture.

I love how much the boys love to be together.  I caught Tate and Gav holding hands on the way.  How cute is that?!

Happy Birthday Tater-Bug

July 23, 2010

Happy, happy birthday little man.  Mommy loves you so much. It has been such an amazing (and fast) year watching you grow and change and turn into such an incredible little person.  You are Daddy’s boy through and through.  Your eyes light up every time he walks into the room and I love the way you lean into him when he holds you.   “Dadda” is your favorite word.

I love the way you love your brothers and get SO excited when they love on you.  I love how rough and tumble you are.  Not much phases you and when you fall, you’re always right back at it.  You try so hard to keep up with the big boys.  Liam cannot wait until you can chase him around (better start practicing that walking!)

I love how LOUD you are-making sure we know you’re around.  You’re proving to be the loudest and craziest boy yet.

I love how you snuggle me at night when you’re sleepy and the way you play with my hair while you’re nursing.  These are precious moments that I will cherish forever.

Even though you’re the littlest, you will always have a huge place in my heart.  I love you TJ!

Small Town Iowa

July 13, 2010

So……..we’re back from camping.  It was fun.  I’m not a camper.  My family camped once when I was in junior high and I don’t remember it at all (must not have been any fun).  And I’ve also camped a few times with about 30 junior highers.  Also not much fun.  (Except for maybe some rockin awesome water fights with giganto water guns…those were the days). 

BUT, the boys had a blast.  We started out our trip heading to Fairfield, Iowa (otherwise known as the Maharishi capital of the world) for Josh to do his triathalon.  We stayed in a hotel and swam our little hearts out.  Well, Tate did.  He’s a fish. The other 2 boys preferred the hot tub (my kind of “swimming”). 

We tooled around town a bit (not much to see) and Josh’s pit crew got his gear ready for the big race.

Josh finished 3rd out of his age group (way to go, babe!) and then we packed up the gear and headed to Honey Creek to Lake Rathbun.  We found a PRIMO camping spot away from everyone (we’re kind of LOUD).   As soon as everything was unloaded and set up we went in search of pirates. 

Good thing the boys packed their swords!

Unfortunately, due to the tons of rain we’ve gotten this summer, the hiking trail was under water as were all 3 beaches.  We didn’t find any pirates, only a tick and swarms of mosquitos. 

Tate especially thought it was AWESOME that we were all sleeping in the same spot.  ONE of the downsides to camping is that there’s no control over the light.  This kid could not fall asleep until it got dark, which is way late for him (plus he hadn’t napped at all either).  After a restless night of sleep that included frat boys and their loud music and thieving racoons, the morning dawned cloudy and rainy.  We decided to pack it up (why traumatize the newbie campers……and me……by cooping us up in a tiny tent all day?)  Between raindrops, the boys played on the awesome playground at Honey Creek Resort.

Overall, it was a great trip even though it had to end a day early.  We were WIPED out!

And now we’re counting down the days until we head to KC  for our big family vacation!  The big boys get to see Manchester United play, the girlies get to shop, and the littles get to swim some more!

Choices

July 8, 2010

I’m not gonna lie.  It’s been a ROUGH last few months.  Gavin is supposed to start kindergarten this fall and for the longest time we had NO IDEA what we were going to do.  We did Son-Rise for a year.  While that was awesome and Gavin made great strides, we and our team felt that by the end of the school year, Gav had met all the goals we had orignally set and was getting bored.  Now what?  We knew we needed to move to the next level, but we were unsure of what that looked like. 

So, we decided to home school kindergarten.  Our day would look a lot like our Son-Rise program, only more academic.  I began to get excited about this and even started looking into curriculum.  All the while, there was a nagging thought that kept running through my mind.  It was ALL UP TO ME.   I wasn’t worried at all about the academic-Gavin loves to learn and soaks everything up like a sponge.  It was the social aspect that I was worried about.  Social communication is one of the hardest things for autistic kids to master.  Could I provide enough peer interaction for him throughout the year?

And then I met Julie.  She was Gavin’s sub at ChildServe last week, is best friends with his advocate, and is a speech therapist in the autism department through Des Moines Public Schools.  She fell in love with Gavin immediately and after spending his ENTIRE speech therapy session talking through my fears and doubts, she gently encouraged me to enroll Gavin in school this fall.  The biggest thing she said that struck a cord with me was that the longer we keep him out of school the harder it will be for us to ever put him in school.  In reality, we were taking the easy road.

The conversation made me take a step back and rethink exactly why I had decided to homeschool in the first place.  Ultimately, I was trying to protect Gavin, but really, keeping him at home would be detrimental to him learning good social communication.  Sure, school will PROBABLY be overwhelming for him, but a good point she made is that the world in general is ovewhelming and he’s got to learn how to deal with it (in his own way).  It’s best to start learning how to deal with it at a young age.   The thing is, we can always home school later if we feel that would be a better fit, but if we don’t start Gav out in school, we may never try school and that would be a bad thing. 

So my sweet little Gavie will be headed to kindergarten (sniff, sniff) in about 8 weeks.  I’m savoring every minute I have with him this summer because life is going to be SO different with him gone every day.  

And Liam would LOVE to start school too (and is completely ready), but he would be extremely bored doing preschool for two years.   (I’m hoping to get him into tumbling this fall while G-Love’s at school). BUT, Liam is locked in to attend here fall of 2011.  He’s so excited!

And in more current news, we leave for our first family camping trip in T minus 15 hours.  Should be interesting!