Monday, April 25, 2016

Why Inclusion is So Important

Colin's birthday party was this weekend and the attendance of friends was a mix from different areas of Colin's life. It was a great turnout and it was so nice to see him socialize on a day that was all about him. When the instructor was introducing Colin as the birthday boy, one of his friends said "he's my best friend!" and then simultaneously, other kids started saying "mine too!". Just think of all of the things Colin is learning from his friends AND all of the things his friends are learning from him.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Happy 7th Birthday Colin!

Happy 7th Birthday to our sweet, loving, determined and handsome little man. We are so thankful for all that he brings to our lives and for how he has changed all of us in so many ways. All of our kids birthdays and birth experiences are special, but Colin's always brings back so many memories because he was the baby who truly changed Chris' and my perspective on life. We were given a very unique gift in Colin and although there are aspects of Down Syndrome that are not always easy, it is the very essence of who Colin is and we would never change that for anything.

Colin loves all things sports, playing and watching. He especially loves soccer, basketball and baseball and has picked up a new interest in golf. He loves his ipad, superheroes and swimming in the pool. He has had a really great year in school and is growing and changing every day.

Today we are going to celebrate Colin for all that he brings to our family. We love him so much!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Spring Break: The Finale

On Thursday, I met my parents at the Turtle Back Zoo. The kids were excited to go although Colin was acting a bit more fearful of the animals than normal. He's always been that way and doesn't want to go too close, but this time, he wasn't interested in looking from afar at certain exhibits. 

They all thoroughly enjoyed the train ride and couldn't wait to get on. They very patiently waited until it came.

It was fun watching Cody because he was very intrigued by the whole ride and the scenery. He had the cutest look on his face as he was checking everything out.

Thursday night, Colin had Karate and thankfully my sister watched Cody and Kailey for me because Cody is too hard to bring there. He wants to be out there participating himself and because it coincides with dinner time, by the end he is very difficult. In addition, Colin is still in a place where he really wants us paying close attention, so if Cody is drawing our attention away, then it distracts Colin at times.

Friday was our errand day. We had some things to take care of like getting Colin's glasses fixed (one pair is currently missing in the house and the backup pair was sitting crooked on his face), picking up the party favors for Kailey's birthday party, and a few other stops.

Originally, we were going to stop at Colin's school to play on the playground but when we were headed there it started to rain so we didn't make it until the afternoon.

Colin was eager to show everyone where he plays for recess and Kailey and Cody had fun exploring. Kailey was sure to remind me that next year, she would also be playing for recess in the same spot.

Here is a perfect example of Cody needing to do everything the other two are doing (and I was shocked I barely needed to hold on!)...

Spring break also brought us some sleep troubles with Cody as he managed to crawl out of the crib onto the dresser next to it. Because we aren't ready for him to be able to get out of the bed by taking off the front, we decided to take a suggestion and turn the crib around so the higher part is facing out. However, we are currently listening to him voice his displeasure about it as he is screaming from his room.

On Saturday, we finally celebrated Kailey's birthday with a Karate party at the same place Colin goes. The kids had so much fun and she really enjoyed having a day for her. 

Today, we finished the week with a playdate with my childhood friends. It went from being the four of us, to the eight of us once we all got married, to the NINETEEN of us with the addition of all of our kids...all 6 girls and 5 boys of them. 
We finished our afternoon finalizing some things for the start back to school and work. As much as I am not ready for that, I think we all need our normal routine back again. It sure has been a great week! 


Cody was excited for his first fudgesicle

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Spring Break Part 1

Approaching this spring break, I was ready for many reasons. My students at school definitely needed a break, my kids at home needed a break, and I was coming off of being sick for awhile, exhausted and in need of a break myself. However, I was a little worried about how I would occupy the kids for an entire week without us killing each other and also, that would accommodate the difficulty it can be to take all three places alone. Aside from one day early in the week spent organizing drawers and closets, I managed to do one thing each day this week which resulted in a very good week.  However, I sort of feel like now, I need a vacation from my vacation (or maybe just a slight break from the kids!).
Needless to say, we did have a fun week which started off with opening season at the boardwalk for the rides. The kids absolutely love the boardwalk and were pleasantly surprised we were able to go already. They had been waiting for Colin's birthday since that's when we told them it was going to be. 
Cody was not thrilled with the "everybody pose" idea at first.
Rides at the boardwalk just got taken to a whole new level now that Cody is big enough and wanting to go on the same rides as the other two.

In fact, Cody was our "I'm going to cry because the ride is over" kid this year. He'd get over it really quick but was then ready for the next one as soon as he was done crying.

Monday was my cleaning and organizing day and I was pleasantly surprised that they were pretty good about finding things to do to occupy themselves. I think everyone needed the downtime since it really was the first day they were getting it too.

Practicing their egg on spoon races.

In fact that day, Cody took a nap that was double the normal length of time (3 hours instead of an hour and a half) so that was very helpful.

Tuesday I decided to try out the Monmouth Museum at one of the local colleges. I had heard so many good things about it since there were two separate children's wings but I was slightly concerned about the logistics in doing it alone. However, since it was such a nice day outside, it wasn't too crowded inside. The one room was geared towards 6 and under and the other room was geared towards 5/6 and above. The younger room was like a big playground which was great except all 3 would scatter and I would completely stress about where everyone is. It was a smallish and totally contained room but I do not like not knowing where everyone is at all times.

It turned out to be a lot of fun and the kids were really good and cooperative.

On Wednesday, we were headed after lunch to visit two friends of mine who had just had babies, but we needed to fill some time in the morning. We decided to take a walk to see the boats on the river down the street from us.

In the one area, there is a boardwalk type path that takes you out onto a deck on the river itself but then they wanted to throw rocks in the water in a different area. However, that section didn't contain them and it just made me too nervous because Cody has no understanding of boundaries right now. I feared I would be in the river fishing him out before I knew it.

It was a great start to the week!