A family's story

Posts tagged ‘Family “Fun”’

Try Something New


With kids, trying something new can be a little scary. With special needs kids, trying something new can be downright horrifying. Will they tolerate noise? Will they be okay out of routine? Will they enjoy themselves? Will they use their manners? Will they use expected social behavior? Will they communicate their needs to us? The list goes on and on and on…However, we only truly grow when we have these new experiences and determine whether or not we like them, and whether or not we want to incorporate them into our lives.

Last Saturday Hubz had a suggestion to beat the winter doldrums. He suggested roller skating–again. Now, we had toyed around with the idea of going roller skating since last summer when Tate would try to wear our neighbor’s roller skates around the block. I had always put it off–finding something else for us to do instead. The thought of wrangling our three boys onto a rink, while all of us were wearing wheels was a bit daunting. On Saturday, though, I had run out of alternate plans and excuses. We had ZERO going on that day. We had a lot of boredom and ennui with the TV programming and being in the house together–since winter just doesn’t want to loosen its grip on our area! I hesitantly agreed to go roller skating with all three boys.

Hubz’s suggestion was met with mixed emotion. Tate and Cole were willing to try it out. Jake wasn’t too sure. We sold it to the kids as a fun-filled activity, where there were some arcade games and fun with their cousins. (Hubz asked his sister’s family to join us there..and luckily they were free!)

I started to feel overwhelmed as we waited to get into the rink. It was crowded. I think everyone in our area had a similar idea–let’s go do something active INSIDE while it was frigid OUTSIDE. And it was dark, with strobe-lights and flashing lights. And, of course, it was LOUD. Music blared from the speakers. Kids shrieked with glee–and fear. Everyone was talking over each other to try to be heard…I felt my heart rate increase, but tried to play it cool for the kids. We found Hubz’s sister and the kids. They were already in their skates.

I made my way to the counter to obtain skates for our ragtag bunch. The staff member who waited on me called me “ma’am”. Ugh. Gut punch. I felt really, really old, anyway, and then he “ma’am-ed” me. I asked for the five various sizes of skates, and he eagerly brought them to me. I noticed that they had these walker-like contraptions for beginner skaters–or skaters who might not be super coordinated once they had wheels on their feet. I asked for two.

Getting skates on three children, none of whom had ever really been skating before, was a sight. There was sighing. There was whining. There was scripting. There was reassurance being handed out like candy. “You will be fine.” was my script of choice. By the time all five of us had skates laced up and ready to go, Hubz and I had droplets of sweat on our brow. Hubz shot me a look and asked what he had been thinking. I just wryly smiled back at him.

We entered the rink with trepidation. BAM! Jake was down. BAM! Tate was down. Cole was a speed-demon with that walker- thing. Of course he fell a few times, but he got right back up and skated around the rink again. His issue was that he got bored with skating around in circles and wanted to sit down right-in-the-middle-of-the-rink….which is highly frowned upon by the teeny-bopper “refs” who rule the roost there. Oy!! (Also, did you know that you cannot wear your hipster-Vera-Bradley-mom-bag while roller skating? Yeah, me either. I spent about $1.50 putting things into that darned locker that day…)

For a little while, things seemed ok. All three boys were trying…and that gave me and Hubz a little relief. But, just as soon as we were like, “Ok, this is cool”, things started to unravel. Jake did not like it. He cried in frustration. It was too loud.  Too demanding. He struggled to stay up, and he was slightly too tall for the “walker”, so his back was starting to hurt. He was done about 30 minutes into our “fun” day.  To his credit, Jake did keep trying, and he listened to suggestions to try to make the experience a bit easier. However, skating was just not his thing that day.

Tate, however, loved it. He loves  movement. He loves repetition. He loved going around in circles over and over and over again. He loved the breeze on his face when he went faster with Hubz. He loved the bumps of the floor beneath his feet. The constant rhythm of the wheels going round and round and round. I think he also really enjoyed the pattern of the lights that were flashing about us. He lasted the longest of our 3, going around a few times with just Hubz, as I sat with our two other boys who were even over the arcade portion of the visit.

Cole was just lazy. He did his laps around the rink. When nothing super exciting like ninja-skaters or Jedi-knights came out of the woodwork, I think he was bored. “This is it?!” He wanted to play chase games with his cousin…and he knew that he would be much faster on foot than on those stinkin’ skates.

We wrapped it up after about an hour. The kids were done, and Hubz, his sister, brother-in-law, and I were suffering from throbbing ears and headaches. (Seriously, what the heck was with the strobe lights and fog machines and concert-noise-level music?! Ohhh…that’s why that kid “ma’am”-ed me….)

As much as I didn’t want to go, I’m glad that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and tried something new. We never know what an experience will hold unless we try….and we learned that skating does not hold much allure for at least one of our children. The other two may happily go again in the future…and we know that Tate will filter out the unfavorable parts because he loves the motion and repetition.

**On a side note, if you’ve been to a roller rink on a Saturday afternoon in February, have you ever noticed that some of the adults there are stuck in a time warp? I was all, wow, the 80’s never left…the big hair, the moves, some of the music, the outfits. It was like I was 12 again…..

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

This past Sunday we ventured out to my dad’s country club for brunch with Santa. This year, we had our best visit yet….and all 3 boys were so well-behaved. I mean, I know “the big guy” was there and all, but seriously, all 3 boys went through the buffet line without any issues. They handled it perfectly..and Jake even tried a few new foods (which was cause for celebration). They talked to Santa without any meltdowns and were pleasant conversationalists during our brunch. It was a great pre-Christmas celebration!

Here are a few pictures of our visit….


Jake and my dad wait for Santa to arrive


Cole giving me some love.


Tate stimming with a tire gauge, happy as a clam, and smiling for a picture with me!


Cole being Cole…taa-daa!


Tate watching Santa’s arrival


Jake and Cole watching with piqued interest.


Santa arriving in his BLACKHAWKS helicopter. So, all you other hockey fans out there…take note…Santa is a Blackhawks fan.


Tate asking to take a picture of Santa with my phone.


Hubz, Cole and Tate braved the cold to see the awesome helicopter up close..and posed for a nice pic, too!


We’ve been good ALLLLL year….


A rare family photo…


Tate being silly


Cole singing to the world.


Tuckered out from too much excitement


Over the river and through the suburbs to our house, we go….


Photo Friday

Yesterday was Independence Day. We celebrated with a trip to the zoo and a cookout in our backyard. The boys had thought about sleeping in our tent, t

Thankful Thursdays–Vol.2, Issue 1

Last year I tried to do a “Thankful Thursday” post each Thursday of November. I am going to do the same this year…because, well, I have a LOT to be thankful for this year. To start, I am incredibly thankful for our 2012 Halloween experience. It was such a good day that I really don’t know where to begin.

Hmm….well, Tate decided a week ago that he was going to be a spider. Like I said in my prior post, it was ironic, in that he is fascinated/repulsed by spiders. On Tuesday night I readied his costume for school. I pinned his spider legs onto a gray and black hoodie. He was skeptical, and kept telling me that he didn’t need the costume. I reassured him that his friends would all be dressing up, too. He perked up a bit with that. I told him that Jake would wear a costume in his classroom. He allowed me to put the spider-hoodie in a bag and set it next to his backpack.

That night, we talked, again, about the Halloween party at school. I did a rough social story about his party, and the games that would be played, and the snacks, and the costumes. I made sure to include that he would be with his mainstream class, and that there would be 21 (too much, mommy!!) kids, and how if he got “scared” or “nervous” or “tired” he could go back to his homeroom. He seemed ok, and he slept through the night…until 4:30 am…but hey, that’s better than where we’ve been!

Tate made it very clear to me when he woke up on Halloween morning that he was going to school, there was no ABA that day, and that he would be a spider at school. I was NOT invited. “You stay home, Mommy.” I assured him that I would not be at his party. I did let him know I would be at school. I was working in Jake’s classroom during his party. He was indifferent, but didn’t panic, so I took that as a good sign.

Jake was super excited about Halloween. He was up at 4:30 am with Tate. I heard them chattering in Jake’s room. He talked non-stop when he finally emerged from his room at the approved 6 am time. He was also really excited that I’d be in his classroom later in the day. He gets a bit more scattered when his excitement levels are high. He couldn’t find his shoes…but he found both of his library books. He didn’t remember to zip his backpack, but he remembered to bring mittens in case his hands got cold at recess. We managed to get him out of the door in one piece!!

I was able to get stuff done around the house in order to prepare for Halloween. I finished up my party items for Jake’s class and loaded them into the van, with a little help from my main man, Cole. Then I did some pick-up and clean up around the house in preparation for a few neighbors and Hubz’s parents’ visit later that day. I was feeling accomplished..and not very rushed, which eased my anxiety about Tate at school for the entire day. With a party. And lots of sugar. And excitement. And 20 other first graders. Oy!

Once I got to the school, there was a flurry of activity as all of the moms (and a few dads) got ready to celebrate Halloween. The other room moms and I got the classroom mostly set up, and then we went to watch the school costume parade. I was a little worried that Tate would not be ok with seeing me at the parade, but I was wrong. He waved and said hi. He smiled. And he was wearing his costume!!! Jake smiled for me as I took his picture. He said hi, and I was so relieved that I still was semi-cool..and he wasn’t embarrassed to see me.

The party went well in Jake’s room. Third graders are a lot of fun–when you have to entertain them on a limited basis. They played games, enjoyed some crafts, made hilarious faces with our mystery boxes…and enjoyed some sugary goodness, thanks to a bunch of very generous parents! After the party was over, Jake and I walked to Tate’s classroom to get him. He was all smiles. His teacher told me how great he did at the party. He didn’t have to leave once. He kept his spider hoodie on the entire time. He participated in games. He laughed. He was happy. I got teary…she understood.

We came home to Hubz and Cole. Hubz had some chili simmering in the crockpot. The house smelled great..and I was on cloud 9 after making it through the 3rd grade party AND hearing about Tate’s great day at school. The boys had some great down time. We let them watch a little tv, and they had some decent snacks. They just got to be..and they needed it.

At about 4:30, Hubz took the boys outside to play with the neighbor kids. They were getting their excitement out before we embarked on our trick-or-treat adventure. A few minutes later they clamored back into the house to get their costumes. Tate was a little resistant (he’d already worn his costume that day), but he did put on his coat with the spider legs. Cole had a last minute costume change to Buzz Lightyear (his best friend at preschool was Buzz, and that totally sealed the deal for Cole to change his mind–thankfully we had the costume from when Jake was younger). Jake put on his Hawkeye gear–and proudly carried his bow and arrow! They even let me take their pictures on the front porch…and I had a couple that were actually acceptable enough to post on Facebook–whoohoo!!

My boys went trick-or-treating with the neighbors. They did great. Tate wore his costume. And rang a few doorbells. And said, “Trick-or-treat!”. And said, “thank you!”. He kept up. He had fun. He “got” the concept. Now, his bucket of candy will sit on the counter where it will be picked over by his brothers and me…he isn’t a big candy fan…and he doesn’t live for Halloween…but he got to be a part of something with his brothers and the neighbors, and he knew it. And he loved it. And it made me all teary-eyed to think that our little guy is so, totally progressing….and proving even us wrong, sometimes. I wasn’t sure he could do it…but he did. He got tired. He sat on the sidewalk a few times. He sometimes even just walked up to the door, but didn’t trick-or-treat because it would get to be too much….but he did it. And he did it well.

As the night came to a close, I think my boys did great. We bathed the younger two to help them calm down for bed. And to bed they went…where they stayed until 6 am today. Minor miracle.

So, yeah….a LOT to be thankful for yesterday…and every day.

 Tate and a classmate parade around the school.

 Jake stopping to smile at the camera–love that kid’s smile.

 Bye, mommy! See you later!

 My Itsy-Bitsy-Spider, Buzz Lightyear, and Hawkeye

 Look at my muscles!! (I love the expression on Jake’s face…”Um, dude, please…”


Almost Wordless Wednesday

Just in case we are ever in doubt about who is “in the driver’s seat” around here….







Eat my dust….



Don’t make me turn this truck around….


In other news, we took the boys to a local “Big Truck” show this past weekend. Jake is on the cusp of it being “too boring”. Tate was rather dysregulated through the whole thing, wanting nothing more than to swing on the playground near by. Cole was in little boy nirvana. I’m fairly certain he peed in his pull-up from all of the excitement.

Super Bowl-ed Over

The House of Hope gathered to watch the Super Bowl last night. Our teams weren’t in it, but in this house we just love football. And when I say “we”, I mean Hubz and I.

Everyone knows that watching the Super Bowl requires (1) an abundance of food that is in the “sometimes” or, more accurately, the “just-apply-this-straight-to-my-muffin-top” pile, and (2) cold beverages. We had both, so I thought we were set.

Hubz turned on the last of the pregame as we got our apps ready. I couldn’t wait to partake of some cheesy breadsticks, crab rangoon dip, potato skins, and veggies. (Gotta make them a part of every meal–5 a day!) I set the coffee table up for our feast. On special occasions we can eat in front of the tv!

As pictures of prior Super Bowl winners flashed across the screen, Jake was kind enough to remind both Hubz and me that our teams were in the pictures, but NOT at the game. Gee, thanks, buddy.

We had to pause the action just as they were going to announce the Walter Payton Humanitarian Award winner. Demands were being made for lemonade, cold pizza– not the hot cheese sticks we had just made, some avocado (because the baby carrots, broccoli, and pea pods were just too pedestrian for Jake), and treats. We had to wait a few more minutes to start the game for a tantrum break, brought to us kindly by our resident 2.5 y.o.

Ten minutes later we were able to start the game. Enjoyable is not a word I’d use to describe it. Hubz and I scarfed down an app here and an app there between playing referee amongst the boys, answering the 50 billion off-topic questions, stating yet again that football was the show we were going to watch tonight, and attending to a really, really stinky diaper.

When the boys finished grazing…and none of the 3 ate much…the requests for treats started to drown out the game-again. I had had the brilliant idea to buy cupcakes. Cupcakes with red and blue frosting. Um, yeah….not one of my better ideas. Cole had frosting all over his face, hands, arm, Tate’s shoulder, and somehow, all over his own foot. Tate had frosting all over his nose and upper lip. As I cleaned them up, I prayed the dye would fade by morning.  (Wonder what the protocol is for reporting parents who send their child to school with what appears to be a 5 ‘o-clock shadow, but is, upon closer examination, blue dye??)

We had paused the game several times between our dinner and getting all 3 boys into bed. Whew! Hubz and I collapsed onto the couch. I intended to gorge on m & m’s, however, my head started throbbing, and all I wanted was some water and 2 ibuprofen!

We made it to the 4th quarter…and I checked my phone. Whoops…so the Giants were going to pull it off. Aha! We did stay up to watch the end of the game…it was so exciting! I am glad the Giants won.

We went right to bed, which in hindsight was a good idea…Tate woke up at 10:45 with a cough, so Hubz went in and fell asleep in there. Cole was up at 11:30 with the same thing. I had interrupted sleep as Cole and Tate hacked all through the night. I was in the middle of a sleep session when Jake came into my room at 5:50, hacking up a lung and informing me that he had a cough…in the case that his spit in my face wasn’t obvious enough.

Today we are all a bit sluggish, and we are all feeling ooky…for various reasons. I hope we feel better tomorrow.

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