Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pumpkin Patch #2

This past weekend we went to visit the pumpkin patch again, this time the one that we've been to before.

The boys loved pulling / pushing the wagons :).

Bitty had an easier time with the wagon than he had with the wheelbarrow the prior weekend.

Showing me his little bitty pumpkin :).

Cuddlebug and Bearhug making me laugh with their silly faces :).

♥ ♥ ♥

We went on a hayride...

...which the boys loved!

Except for all that, umm, hay...  (that was Cuddlebug's comment, lol)  He cleared away the hay around his feet :).

They had fun playing with the hay though.

There was a stop along the way to feed the catfish in the pond :).

I love this one... makes me fall in love with dh all over again. (sigh)


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Redirect... FAIL

We were at church Sunday and Bitty was wired, running up and down the halls with the occasional screech. He's been really having a hard time at church lately, but that's another post.

I took him for a walk and he was finally starting to settle down but I sensed he was on edge and would soon take off running again so I tried to distract him with the paintings on the wall.

"Who is that a picture of?" "What are they doing in the picture?" etc.

He wasn't really interested but as we passed the bulletin board I tried again.

"What does that say?"


So much for trying to distract him *quietly* (sigh).

"Ssshhhhh... not so loud, angel."

He looked at me and pointed to the exclamation point at the end of the phrase on the board as he patiently explained, "Dat means WOUD or excited."

Oh... the exclamation point means loud or excited... of course (smiling now and stifling a laugh). He's learned all about punctuation at school.

"How about if we try an excited whisper?"

He did his best excited "whisper" which was not really a whisper but wasn't an ear-piercing yell either.

"I know da scwiptures are TRUE!"


Note to self: next time you try to distract Bitty with reading something, make sure there are no exclamation marks in sight.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

We took the boys out for an early-fall trip to the pumpkin patch. The one we usually go to wasn't open yet, so we tried a new one. Turns out this one sells fresh-baked pumpkin pie too... YUM!!! :) These were taken on Saturday 9/17.

All three boys together... Bitty doing his "puppy dog" face :)

Bearhug helping Bitty with the wheelbarrow.  It was big and rather unwieldy for someone of Bitty's size to maneuver.

Helping Dad push the wheelbarrow :)

Bitty and his puppy face again, lol.  Just like the Baby Einstein Neighborhood Animals puppy :).

Cuddlebug and Bearhug exploring

Getting better with the wheelbarrow... all by himself!

Bearhug blending in with the pumpkins :)

Checking out the pumpkins... many to choose from!

Still working that wheelbarrow... not sure if he was frustrated or just concentrating.

Bearhug and Cuddlebug were pretty excited about their tiny pumpkin squash (they pointed out MANY times that the sign said that one was a squash, not a pumpkin, lol)

That's actually not a yawn, that's Bitty doing his "Kirby inhaling everything" impression.

We had a great time, and everyone was excited to go back the next weekend :).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

(Almost) two months down...

So we are well into the school year, and it is almost time for teacher conferences (already!) and I am just now posting an update. Ack! My blog is also a journal for me so I'll try to catch up with the highlights. Apologies in advance if any of this is repeat, I didn't see it already posted but can't remember and may have missed it.

So far things are going pretty well. Cuddlebug and Bearhug are enjoying 5th grade and are excited to have the same teacher that Cuddlebug had in 3rd grade. She's really energetic and does a great job at keeping them engaged. They have the same resource teacher and parapros as last year, which I'm glad because they are all awesome with the boys and the continuity is good for them too. Their resource teacher is working very hard (starting last year actually) at helping to prepare them for the transition to middle school.

Although they complain of being bored sometimes, other times they are definitely feeling challenged (and sometimes I think it is not so much boredom as it is the transition to having less free time than they did during the summer). The pace seems to be faster in 5th grade. So far they are handling it well, which is good because I have a feeling it is only going to be more so as they go into middle school next year. They are each in one accelerated class - Bearhug is in accelerated math (same as last year) and Cuddlebug is in accelerated science. They've been studying and working hard, and I'm really proud of them.

Bitty is doing well in 1st grade. He has the same teacher that Cuddlebug had in 2nd grade, she is really nice and has a firm but calm, patient approach which is a great fit for Bitty. He has a new resource teacher this year and we are really happy with her. She does a great job sending daily feedback home so we know how he's doing and where he may be struggling. He had a rough time this past week as they were doing some standardized testing for part of the day on M-W and I think it threw off his routine. He seemed to be doing a little bit better by Friday, so hopefully this coming week will be better. His teacher did say he wasn't being disruptive, which is good, just that he was really having a hard time staying on task and seemed confused about what he should be doing.

The weather is finally starting to cool off a bit and we are loving the chance to spend time outside without feeling like we're going to melt, lol. We got excited about fall and have already made two pumpkin farm trips - last weekend and this weekend. I know it's early, but it was really fun and we'll go back as it gets closer to Halloween to get a bigger pumpkin for carving. :) In the meantime we got some hay and fall decorations to go with the pumpkins on the front porch, the leaves are starting to change colors, and it is definitely looking like FALL around here :). At the moment the house is quiet (shock!), if it stays that way for a little while I may be able to get some pictures up shortly...

Expanding wardrobe - "Pokemon" shirts

When Bitty started kindergarten, we had a goal to get him to wear something other than just his Thomas shirts. After all, with two older brothers he had a decent collection of nice clothes that he wouldn't wear.

We made a "rule" of wearing horse shirts (polo, for whatever reason he likes the horse but wouldn't wear any of his other brand shirts) to school and saving the worn out Thomas shirts for home. And it worked :).

By the end of the school year, he had developed a fascination with his favorite color - pink, at the time - and wanted to wear his pink polo shirt every day. Due to laundry conflicts, we convinced him that red was "kinda like" pink and he had several red shirts so almost every day of the week he wore either pink or red (with the occasional green when pink or red were unavailable).

Over the summer, his favorite color changed to red. We made a new "wardrobe" goal for 1st grade - to expand the possibilities of "acceptable" clothing to include colors other than red, pink, or green.

Whenever he wore pink, he called himself "Kirby". Then he decided that his pink shirt was Jigglypuff , and his red shirt became his Kirby shirt (Kirby wears red shoes, and I'm guessing he wanted his favorite color shirt to be named for his favorite character).

And that gave me an idea - because as is so often the case, "our" ideas really come from just following his lead :).

Bitty is increasingly into Pokemon these days (autism hasn't prevented him from wanting to do whatever it is his big brothers are doing, lol), so I figured if the pink shirt could be Jigglypuff, then maybe I could get him to wear his yellow shirt by calling it Pichu.

It worked :). That opened up all kinds of possibilities... after all, there are hundreds of different Pokemon, with characters of all colors, so if we could expand the Pokemon color-coded shirt thing, we could get him to wear pretty much anything in his closet.

So now we have:

(I know, a couple of those aren't Pokemon but they are among his favorite video game characters).

When it's time to get dressed in the morning, I just ask him which character he wants to "be" that day and he chooses the corresponding shirt color. Or some days I might suggest a character. It's great from a pretend play perspective, and I love seeing him wearing more of his clothes. I also love that sweet little smile when I ask him "are you (fill in the blank) today?" and he proudly nods.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In memory... Kristen Fiedel

Click here to read more about Project 2,996. The goal is to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11 by remembering them.


Kristen Fiedel, age 27, worked in the finance department at Marsh & McLennan, on the 98th floor of WTC Tower One. She'd been there for less than a year; prior to that, she she worked at New York Life Insurance while pursuing a degree at Berkeley College.

She was a single mother to then 3-year-old Lindsay, and was very close with her family. She lived just two blocks from her parents, and she and her daughter spent a lot of time with them.

On weekends, she and her mother and her daughter were "inseparable" and had a great time going to the mall, parks, or concerts together. They especially loved shopping together for toys and clothes for her little girl.

She is remembered as a kind and loving person. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends today.

We will never forget.

We remember


Ten years ago...

I was almost to work when I heard about the first crash on the radio in my car. I called dh to tell him to turn on the news (he was at home with our then 3-mo-old boys). At the office, we were getting updates on the internet, and I will forever be haunted by the images of people who were trapped in the upper floors jumping. After the second plane hit the WTC (and other planes were still missing at that point) they closed our building. I think most of downtown Dallas shut down, it seemed eerily quiet. I couldn't wait to get home to my family. I spent the day holding my boys and watching the news, numb with shock.

The other day we were watching footage from 9/11 on TV. We have explained to Cuddlebug and Bearhug what happened that day (as best we can, who can truly explain such horror?). Bearhug said quietly, "I wish the terrorists didn't do that."

I was already in tears but his simple statement really choked me up.

Me too, angel. :'(

I will never, ever forget.

May God bless those who lost their lives that day and their families. May God bless the military, firefighters, and police, and their families, who sacrifice every day to keep us safe. May God bless America.

Remembering Joseph Maffeo

Cross-posting from my other blog... click here to read more about Project 2,996. The goal is to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11 by remembering them.


Joseph Maffeo, age 30, was a firefighter with Brooklyn’s Ladder 101. The day before 9/11, he chose to work a 24-hour overtime shift. He was still on duty when the call came in regarding the terrorist attack at the World Trade Center. He was one of 343 firefighters who lost their lives that day in the line of duty.

But this is not about Joseph Maffeo’s death, it’s about his life.

Known as “Joey Pockets” because he sewed so many pockets onto his gear to make room for gadgets, Joseph was a resourceful handyman who always seemed to have just what he needed for a job or project.

Growing up, he had two close friends – T.J. Beinert and Bobby Melloy – who spent so much time together that they became known as “the Three Musketeers.” As teenagers, his friend Bobby got an old Cadillac and the three of them sawed off the top to make it into a convertible.

Joseph met his wife Linda while she was working as a bank teller. He sold his share of a fishing boat he owned with his friends to buy an engagement ring.

Recalling the day he asked her out, Linda said, "I never gave my number out to customers, but he had the gentlest eyes I had ever seen."

He and his wife have a son named Christopher Joseph, who was just 1 year old at the time. He loved his family and is remembered as a devoted husband and father. He spent countless hours playing blocks with his son and was known to leave fresh daisies in his wife’s car.

Joseph stayed busy – he worked a second job building houses with his brother-in-law and was studying to become a lieutenant in the Fire Department.

Joseph’s legacy of kindness and giving of himself lives on through the Joseph Maffeo Foundation, a charitable organization started by his family to help their community.

My thoughts and prayers are with Joseph's family and friends today. We will never forget.

To read more remembrances of the lives of those America lost on 9/11, please visit Project 2,996.

Remembering Debora Maldonado

Reposting from last year... click here to read more about Project 2,996. The goal is to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11 by remembering them.


Meet Debora (Debbie) Maldonado. Nicknamed “Mouse” by her husband, Otelio, for her short stature, she was anything but timid. She is remembered as feisty and warm-hearted, a shopoholic who loved a bargain, a devoted wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend.

Debbie, age 47, was born in Panama. Her family moved to the United States when she was about 5 years old. She earned an Associate of Science degree from CUNY Brooklyn College. She worked as an executive secretary at Marsh & McLennan for over 21 years, and before that worked at American Brands. Her office was in the north tower of the World Trade Center, although she was actually packed and scheduled to move back to MMC's midtown office sometime the week after 9/11.

Debbie called her sister, “Miss Miriam,” every day before lunch and visited her mother every Sunday. She and her husband were high school sweethearts, together since she was 14 years old. She struggled with infertility for 16 years before becoming pregnant with their daughter, Krystal. Two years later, their son Chris was born.

She was a woman who embraced life. Her sister recalls a conversation they had in August 2001 while Debbie and her children visited her in Miami. "You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow." When her sister asked, "What are you talking about?" Debbie responded, "I’m going to enjoy my life now."

My thoughts and prayers are with Debbie's loved ones today. We will never forget.

Remembering Grandma Marian

Reposting from last year... a tribute to my Grandma Marian who passed away on September 11, 1992 after a long battle with cancer / leukemia. She was just 14 days shy of her 70th birthday.


Grandma Marian was a beautiful person - a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. She and my mom taught me how to play Solitaire, and whenever we visited we'd pull out three decks of cards and play Triple Solitaire (it's way more fun than playing by yourself). She was one of the most selfless people I know, always thinking of others. She loved life and never let anything slow her down.

Meet Grandma Marian:

I took this as we waited with her at the airport, she was flying back home after visiting with us. I love her smile here, full of sparkle and spunk.

Grandma Marian and my mom

Aside from playing games, the three of us had fun shopping together, but mostly just hanging around chatting together.

Three generations - my mom, my grandma, and me

Grandma Marian and me, back in the day

Grandma Marian left this world the year before I was married, so my husband never got to meet her. Neither did my brother's wife. Nevertheless, I believe she was there in spirit to witness both of our weddings and the births of her great-grandchildren. I like to think she spent time hanging out with them in heaven before they were born. :)

Grandma - we love and miss you, and I know we'll see you again someday.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Nature's playground

Dh discovered a new park that has access to the river in a shallow spot that allows for walking and playing in the river and the nearby mud.

LOTS of fun for sensory seekers. :)

Dh took this one when he first took the boys to the park.

We all went to the park together on another day. I didn't have my camera so I took all of these with my phone.

Feeding the geese

Digging in the mud :)

Drawing in the sand (that's a picture of Kirby, lol)


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I'm a mom of three boys on the autism spectrum, 11-yr-old identical twins and a 7-yr-old. My husband is a SAHD.


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