Life as we know told by Heather

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Autism Harvest

A few Saturday's back it was Autism Harvest day at our favorite pumpkin patch. On opening day, children on the autism spectrum and their families are admitted free. There are vendors and snacks and all children in your party get to go home with a free pie pumpkin. This was the first year I took them by myself and although we had fun I certainly didn't expect we'd be there for six and a half hours. We went on a hayride and then they rode the Banana Boat. As usual, Xander had to be in the first car.

Then the corn.

Posed for some pictures and then went on the tunnel slides.

Xander rode the John Deere giant bicycle.

They jumped on the inflatable "pumpkin."

(I do wash Xander's socks, they just had to walk through dirt without their shoes on to get up there).

We went to the hay barn.

(Don't let this picture fool you. A few hours later they screamed, "I hate you" and "You're the worst brother/sister ever" all the way to the car.)

Jordis got up the nerve to feed the goats this year. I was so proud of her!

Xander rode the zip line and then they played for a long time in these barrel things. The other little guy is a friend that Xander made. We hung out for a few hours with Cole and his mom.

We were hot and tired after being there all day, but the kids love this event so I was excited to take them again this year. We're already looking forward to Autism Harvest 2011.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Labor Day

Unlike most families, we don't really think of Labor Day as a 3-day weekend. Our weekend has been Sunday/Monday for the past few years, so there's not an extra day off for us. But my mom and step-dad invited us over for the holiday and I'm not one to pass up a family get together. We were going to go to their house for a cookout, but in the end they brought some fried chicken and a few sides over here and I had some watermelon, baked beans and made some chocolate covered strawberries. It was cool enough that we could use the fire pit after dinner.

We even made S'mores.

Xander decided to entertain us. He had his own repertoire, but we bribed him with $1 to sing Country Roads. He only knows the chorus, but he puts an excellent twist on it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Meet Mortimer

Sorry for the blurry picture, but this is was our new pet, Mortimer the Mantis.

The critters came out late this summer, but in full force, and for some reason we always seem to catch the ones that have a pre-existing condition. We caught a fabulous caterpillar one day, and the next morning when I went outside to take its picture it had already made itself a little cocoon.

A few days later Jason caught the kids a praying mantis. The closer I looked at it I realized it very much resembled the pregnant mantis we had last year that ended up laying eggs in the bug catcher. So when we went out to the bus stop the next morning and found Mortimer, we were able to convince Xander to let the female one go for the sake of the babies.

Mortimer was probably the biggest praying mantis I've ever seen. It made me think of the
Orkin commercials where the giant pests come and greet the homeowners.
He was feisty, too. Not content with his sticks, grass or water that we provided, he would actually knock on the door. A day or so later we came outside and got excited because we found another mantis above the front door. Then we realized Mortimer was gone. He somehow got the door open, escaped, and got the door closed again. He was perched right there above the front door as if to taunt us. He would even look at us if we called his name.

Another caterpillar has since come along and he, too, has made a cocoon in our bug catcher. So we have two bug catchers side by side on the front porch that Jordis checks on every day. We did a little unit on caterpillars one day while Xander was at school and this was her craft.

She was pretty proud.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

First Grade

Xander just completed his first full week of first grade. He started last Wednesday and I'm glad they ease into with just a few days because he was worn out.
A few days before school starts they have an open house where you can drop off your supplies, meet your teacher, check out your classroom and go to the cafeteria to have a treat and mingle with other people.

I loved Xander's teacher from the moment I walked into the room. She was welcoming, friendly and had a very clean and organized learning environment. She already had nametags on the kids' desks and mailboxes, her books were organized into categories, and she had fun lamps, rugs and pillows in the reading center. It looked like a fun place to come to every day and, compared to last year's teacher, I was very impressed. On top of that, he gets two teachers. The intervention teacher is also in his room most of the day as well, so I'm hoping that will be very helpful for him.

On the big day, Xander was super excited! He was up and dressed earlier than he's been in months. I bought the kids a special treat of chocolate donuts to celebrate and Xander ate his on the plate he made at the paint-your-own-pottery store.

We made chocolate chip cookies for his teachers.

He got to use his Transformers lunch box and fun food containers inside.

And best of all, we finally let him wear his new light-up Skechers. These aren't just any light-up shoes. You could wake the dead with these things. I could see him coming up the stairs from my bedroom with the door barely cracked open. God bless a good sale and Jason's mom's store discount, or this kid would not be wearing shoes that cost more than his parents' shoes.

Jason took Xander to buy his annual first-day-of-school outfit and he had to have a Toy Story t-shirt. He also picked out some new jeans.

We awaited the bus with great anticipation. I love that the bus stop is at the end of my driveway. I hope it continues to stay there as long as we live here.

Xander had no trouble getting on the bus this year, and I had no trouble saying goodbye.

(And in case you were wondering, I made sure he didn't get on the bus with a firearm.)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What time is it?

That's right, it's time for FOOTBALL!

Go Bucks!.....and Saints and Bengals and Cowboys.

(and I guess LSU for Jason)