Saturday, June 26, 2010

Camp Metzl

We had change plans quickly this week after I showed up with Josh at vacation Bible school on Monday only to learn that VBS actually starts this coming Monday. Oops. Instead, we've played with neighborhood friends, visited "Camp Emily" and played with Vivy and Walt and basically tried to think of anything we could do to avoid the awful heat. We set up the easel yesterday for a water color session, which I don't think lasted as long as it took me to set it up.

If you look closely at the picture, you'll notice that Molly's nose is slightly purple. She fell on the deck yesterday, and about 30 minutes later her entire nose was purple. Thankfully, it faded quickly.

Josh, for some reason, only likes to draw cheetahs right now, so here's his watercolor version of a cheetah.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Beach life

Unfortunately, Josh's incident with the parked car was only the beginning of 24 hours of mishaps at the beach. Josh's bike crash was shortly followed by a minor issue involving Chris, my dad's SUV and a tree and Molly giving herself an unauthorized haircut.

We toasted at dinner tonight to our last night at the beach and a thankfully calm end of the week, although we are still careful around parked cars and trees and have hidden the scissors.

Here are some photos from the beach, a dolphin-watching boat trip and Chris and Josh's shark fishing trip, in which they actually caught something this year.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bikes, beach and the law

Chris and I have procrastinated on teaching Josh to ride a bike for more than a year, as all of our attempts have deteriorated into Josh sobbing, whining and carrying on that he can't do it. One of his therapists told us that it is especially hard to teach kids with Josh's issues to ride a bike, but she encouraged us to persevere.

So for the past few weeks we have run with Josh up and down our cul-de-sac, balancing the bike for him and wondering if he was ever going to get it. We arrived in Hilton Head Island on Sunday with my family, and yesterday he amazingly started riding the bike by himself around this cul-de-sac. I ran behind him cheering and nearly in tears; we have come a long way from where we started.

Today's bike riding session ended in a spectacular fashion when Josh got up too much speed and crashed into a car that was parked illegally on the street in our cul-de-sac. Needless to say, Josh has now met his first real-live policeman, asked for the first time in his six years whether he was going to jail and learned a good lesson in responsibilty. The situation ended peacably in the best possible manner, and we are thankful for kind policemen and gracious neighbors.

We moved on this afternoon to a famous seafood restaurant in Hilton Head, where Josh and Molly tie-dyed T-shirts before dinner. Josh, we learned, tie-dyes much like he colors; haphazardly with little regard to the lines.

We took the kids to a nearby playground to pass the time during our long wait for a table, and then enjoyed our first meal out with my parents and my brother and his family since Josh was born.

Elizabeth, Molly and Abbey

Molly begrudgingly shares her pre-dinner, non-alcoholic strawberry daquari with Elizabeth.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Baby love

After 6.5 years of never showing an interest in a baby, including Molly, Josh has become quite smitten with Walt. He likes to talk about how cute Walt is, and today we had another first: Josh's first time holding a baby--at his request. As you can tell from the picture, the feelings are mutual!

I tried to take a picture of Vivy and Molly as well, but they weren't as interested.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The End of Kindergarten

This has been an emotional week, as kindergarten has ended for Josh for a second time today and we have said goodbye to teachers and school staff who have become friends over the past two years. At Josh's IEP meeting last week (the team of school staff who determine what services Josh will receive from the school system), he was placed in a first grade classroom for full days, which means he won't be pulled out of class for "resource" time during the day. This is huge for us, and it means that he can progress with typical kids his age.

I burst into tears at Josh's end-of-year party yesterday when I said goodbye to the assistant teacher in Josh's class. Josh has grown and changed so much in his two years of kindergarten, and we are in a much better place than we were in 2008, when we were still confused about what was going on with Josh and how to help him.

This photo is of drawings Josh did of his family in September 2009 and in late May 2010. Even though he's far from a great artist, his attention to detail and drawing skills have greatly improved this year. His handwriting, I'm afraid, may got the way of his father's, but we figure he'll just be using a computer as an adult anyway, right?

Here are Josh and Molly this morning:

Molly attended the end-of-year party with me, and she was very mad that she couldn't participate in the water balloon throw, which ended in a water balloon fight. Once we got back in the classroom, though, she was surrounded by kindergarten girls helping her do crafts, so everything worked out fine.

Josh decided to throw a water balloon with another mom, which didn't end up too well for him.

Here's our room mom, Addie, who was holding the water balloon bucket and got mobbed by kindergartners who had no interest in organized water balloon throwing and wanted to just throw the balloons at each other. She emerged from the mob muttering, "I knew I should have done a bucket toss instead." One more reason I will never volunteer to be room mom!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dancing, donuts and a good cause

I'll just start off by saying this is one of my favorite pictures of the kids, ever.

We have some friends who just had a baby with Down Syndrome, so we joined several hundred people this morning in an awareness walk for Down Syndrome research. We got to the starting site very early, so the kids entertained themselves by dancing (pictured above).

The morning did not start off quite so cheery, however. After going through the gamut of "I'm hungry," "I want to go home," and "How many minutes do we have left," the kids got over themselves and decided it wasn't so bad after all.

We walked about two miles, and Josh walked the whole route with minimal complaining.

The real fun began, however, when we returned to the event site to tables of free donuts and pizza at 10 a.m. Within minutes, Josh and Molly were back on the sidelines dancing, this time with donuts and pizza in hand. On the way home, Josh begrudgingly admitted that the day was "a little fun."

Friday, June 4, 2010

Memorial Day

We had a very busy Memorial Day weekend, even though Chris was in Chicago at his cousin's wedding. On Saturday, I took the kids to a park to have professional pictures taken, then drove almost an hour to our friends' annual barbecue, where they actually cook a whole pig all night to make the barbecue. We were exhausted when we got there, but sitting in a lawn chair eating barbecue and coleslaw was totally worth it! Our friends are excellent party hosts, and the kids were thrilled to find a bucket full of bubbles to play with.

It rained non-stop on Memorial Day, and our only consolation was leftover barbecue and a surprise visit from our friend Amy from Wilmington, who was in town. We're hoping for better weather this weekend.