Saturday, September 25, 2010

We Want Cake

Josh's birthday is tomorrow, and this is the first year he has ever asked for a real birthday party. Since we've gotten away with small gatherings for six years, we decided to go all out and invite his whole first-grade class to a party at the bowling alley.

I was thinking six or seven kids would be a nice, manageable group. Seventeen showed up, and chaos ensued. At the height of the craziness, all 17 were chanting "we want cake" as Emily and I frantically tried to serve cake to the restless mob.

Cake service team in action. Notice the frustrated party-goer with her hands on her head who was one of the last to receive cake.

Josh and Molly before the party. The bowling alley turned on its "cosmic bowling" lighting during the party, and it was too dark to take pictures.

Josh had his picture taken before the party started, and it became the backdrop on the scoring screen.

We had a no-gifts party, so last night we let Josh open his presents from family. Afterward, Josh declared that all of his dreams had come true on his birthday. Hopefully the crazy party also fulfilled a dream, because I'm not sure we'll be doing that again for awhile!

Crane from Grandma and Grandpa

Telescope from Gran and Grandad

Kids and Grandpa

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Running with Headphones

Josh participated in a big fundraising "Fun Run" at his school today, which was the culmination of a week of raising money by asking people to pledge per lap. The organization set up a small track for each grade, and the kids ran up to 35 laps while parents cheered on the sidelines. Normally, this would be great fun, but Josh occasionally freaks out in chaotic, loud places, and the beginning of the Fun Run was difficult for him.

He was the first out of the chute when his class was introduced. He disappeared a few minutes later and returned wearing headphones, which the school provides for him during fire drills and especially noisy days in the cafeteria.

There's nothing like being the parent of the kid wearing headphones during a running event.

The kids stopped after each lap while their teacher marked off a lap on their t-shirts. Josh ran the maximum number of laps, which was a little over two miles. Usually we can get him to lose the headphones with some bartering, so today I told him I would time him with my watch every lap if he would give me the headphones. It worked.

Many thanks to those who sponsored Josh for the Fun Run. The kids at this school raised almost $90,000 (!!) through this event, and we were glad Josh was able to contribute.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Dancing Queen

In an effort to instill grace and poise at an early age, we've enrolled Molly in ballet and tap lessons, which started today. She complained initially that the tights didn't have enough "sparkless" (sparkles), but I've assured her that a few times a year she'll get to wear plenty of sequins and sparkles at dance recitals.

She pulled the typical wailing and clinging when I tried to drop her off at the class, but after the instructor pried her off me, she did very well. She even did a few tap moves for the camera when we got home.

As for me, I get to sit in the dance school's lobby and read a book for 45 wonderful minutes while Molly's in class. Bliss!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"Camping"

Josh was out of school on Thursday and Friday for teacher workdays, so we came up with a big plan to take the kids tent camping in the N.C. mountains for a few days. After thinking that over, we decided we could think of 10,000 things we'd rather do than spend two days with the kids in a tent, so we rented a "camping cabin" instead.

We were pleased to find that our cabin had electricity, bunk beds, a double bed, a ceiling fan and a porch. The bathrooms and showers in a nearby bath house were cleaner and nicer than a hotel, and we enjoyed cooking our meals outside. I think tent camping may be a thing of the past for us!

We spent yesterday at Chimney Rock State Park, which was developed around a spectacular rock formation in the 1940s. It even has a 26-story elevator that was drilled through the mountain to allow more access to Chimney Rock.

Chimney Rock

We took the elevator to the top, then climbed a staircase to Chimney Rock and a few higher outlooks. Then we thought it would be a good idea to walk down the 452 steps to the parking lot. Our leg muscles are paying for that today!

We then ate our picnic lunch and bribed the kids with an ice cream from the gift shop if they would hike with us to a waterfall. I was very proud of Molly--she climbed down the mountain steps by herself and hiked to the waterfall and back with minimal complaining.

The top of the waterfall was more than 400 feet above us. Chris helped the kids climb over some rocks so they could sit at the base of it.

Ice cream is a powerful motivator

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First day of preschool

After a loooooong summer break, Molly finally started 3-year-old preschool today. This is our eighth year starting a child at this preschool!

Molly was excited to see her friends and start school until we actually arrived at the school. I thought she was going to have a meltdown because we went in a different door than we are accustomed to, but thankfully she pulled it together. She's just lucky Chris wasn't trailing behind her with a camera, as some fathers were doing to their children.

Molly's teacher is Miss Sharon, the same teacher Josh had as a 3-year-old and who was pivotal in us understanding Josh's issues. It should be an interesting year.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Matthews Alive!

We took the kids to the Matthews Alive! festival tonight, which is one of the largest Labor Day celebrations in the state. There were thousands of people there, and Chris and I went into sensory overload long before the kids. Luckily, we could use the excuse of "we're out of tickets" to get out of there by bedtime.

We stopped on the way to the festival so I could interview this family for a story for the newspaper. They recently created an allergan-free Italian ice product and are selling it around the area. For us, this was a good thing as Josh and Chris could eat it.

Josh received an inflatable space shuttle for his efforts at this game, which immediately sent Molly into wails of jealousy. Unfortunately for her, we were out of tickets!