Monday, June 28, 2010

Gymnastics Class (May 5th - 26th)

Last month our little monkey's took an intro. to gymnastics class through the local parks and recreation. It was four fun Wednesday's where they got to tumble around and burn a bit of energy. This was their first non-parent participation class so it was a bit different sitting in the hallway verses helping them tumble like I have in past gymnastics classes. It was satisfying however to watch them take direction from someone other than myself. I have to say I was very impressed with how well they listened and behaved during that 45 minute class. I read somewhere that it's how your children behave out of your presence that you should be most concerned with.
They made me proud!

Jack's Preschool Open House (May 6th)

Jack had an immediate connection with his teacher, Mrs. Lance when he joined his new school earlier this year. She's been great with Jack and we are so thankful for how wonderfully she embraced him and our family.

His classroom was decorated in an ocean theme and was filled with seahorses, mermaids, scuba divers, fish of all colors, and many other sea life and treasures.

It was obvious that the kids had worked very hard decorating the room and Jack was very proud of himself and his classmates.

and away they go!

Benjamin finally got his own scooter - yeah!! Thank you Dad, a.k.a. Papa.

He's a natural and figured it out right away with very little instruction. These pictures and video were taken they day he got it (April 28th). You should see how good they both ride now - 2 months later. It's amazing the difference a little bit of practice makes.

Some Serious Kite Flying (April 5th)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day Dad


Friday, June 18, 2010

List of books worth checking out

List of books where people with disabilities are shown in a positive light

There are characters who have autism, down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, visual impairments, hearing impairments, speech delays, dyslexia, spina bifida, synesthesia and who use a wheelchair. The list was created using the winners of the Dolly Gray Award and the Schneider Family Book Award and lists compiled by Sandy Lahmann, Cherl Pesto at Disaboom and Mary Anne Prater & Tina Taylor Dyches from Teaching Exceptional Children.

* Very Special Critter, Mercer Mayer–Little Critter discovers that the new boy in class is really not so different from anyone else, even though he is in a wheelchair.

* My Friend Isabelle, Eliza Woloson–A young boy the activities he shares with his friend Isabelle, a girl with Down Syndrome.

* Susan Laughs, Jeanne Willis /Tony Ross–Rhyming couplets describe a wide range of common emotions and activities experienced by a girl who uses a wheelchair.

* Harry and Willy and Carrothead, Judith Casely–Three boys overcome prejudicial ideas about appearances and become friends.

* Hooway for Wodney Wat, Helen Lester /Lynn Munsinger–Classmates make fun of Rodney because he can’t pronounce his name, but it is Rodney’s speech impediment that drives away the class bully.

* Dad and Me in the Morning, Patricia Lakin–A deaf boy and his father share a special time as they watch the sun rise at the beach.

* Best Friend on Wheels, Debra Shirley–The narrator meets Sarah, a girl in a wheelchair, and they become fast friends.

* Kami and the Yaks, Andrea Stenn Stryer–Kami, a young Sherpa boy who is deaf, rescues his family?s yaks and livelihood during a violent storm.

* The Deaf Musicians, Pete Seeger /Paul Dubois Jacobs–After losing his hearing, jazzman Lee learns to make music in a new way.

* Looking out for Sarah, Glenna Lang–Describes a day in the life of a seeing eye dog, from going with his owner to the grocery store and post office, to visiting a class of school children, and playing ball

* Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum, Robert A. Parker–Tatum came from modest beginnings and was nearly blind, his passion for the piano and his acute memory for any sound drove him to become a virtuoso who was revered by both classical and jazz pianists.

* Alphabet War, Diane Burton Robb–Learning to read is a great struggle for Adam, but with expert help, hard work, and belief in himself, he wins “The Alphabet War.

* See the Ocean, Estelle Condra–Driving through mountain fog to the beach, two young brothers compete to see who will first see the ocean, but it is their blind sister Nellie who senses it first.

* Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin Jr./John Archambault–A grandfather and his blind grandson reminisce about the young boy’s birth, his first horse, and an exciting horse race.

* Thank You, Mr. Falker, Patricia Polacco–Trisha could paint and draw beautifully, but when she looked at words on a page, all she could see was jumble. It took a very special teacher to recognize little Trisha’s dyslexia.

* Mama Zooms, Jane Cowen-Fletcher–A boy’s wonderful mama takes him zooming everywhere with her, because her wheelchair is a zooming machine.

* My Pal, Victor / Mi amigo V?or by Diane Gonzales Bertrand –Two boys enjoy the summer doing all of the things that boys do despite one boy’sdisability.

* Two Tracks in the Snow, Louella Bryant–Ari, a boy who uses a wheelchair, uses his monoski to teach Will how to snowboard.

* Silent Lotus, Jeanne M. Lee–Although she cannot speak or hear, Lotus trains as a Khmer court dancer and becomes eloquent in dancing out the legends of the gods.

* Crow Boy, Taro Yashima–A lonely boy in a village school in Japan learned all the calls of the crows as he left his home at dawn and arrived home at sunset on school day.

* Ian’s Walk, Laurie Lear–A young girl realizes how much she cares for her autistic brother Ian when he gets lost at the park.

* Featherless (Desplumado), Juan Felipe Herrera–Although Tomasito’s spina bifida keeps him in a wheelchair, where he often feels as confined as his flightless and featherless pet bird, he discovers that he can feel free when he is on the soccer field.

* Keeping Up with Roo, Dan Andresen/Sharlee Glenn –Gracie has always had a special bond with her Aunt Roo, who is mentally disabled, but that relationship starts to change when Gracie beginsschool.

* Dad, Jackie, and Me, Myron Uhlberg-A young boy shares the excitement of Jackie Robinson’s rookie season with his deaf father.

Click HERE for the link to the original article

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Defining Moments

There are moments in life that really make you realize how much your children are changing and how quickly they are growing up. I had one of "those" moments last month when Jack and I went to the dentist together. I hadn't realized when I booked the appointments that he and I would be seen simultaneously verses one right after another like we always had before. This time he and I sat in separate rooms both getting our teeth cleaned and x-rayed at the same time. I could hear him talking with and answering the hygienists questions. He sounded like such a big boy. It was an odd feeling not to be sitting right there with him, assuring him that everything would be fine. At times, I felt the urge to help him answer questions directed toward him, but I didn't and ultimately he didn't need my help. He was very polite and respectful and I was truly proud of how he handled himself.

My first born, my Jack, my sweet 5 year old boy is growing up.

The following day (May 11th), I took Benjamin to his very first dentist appointment. At this appointment Benjamin and I had a few defining moments together as well. Benjamin is 3, but most days acts older, more like his 5 year old brother. Not that he doesn't throw typical 3 year old tantrums - he does (trust me). However, Benjamin is athletic, well spoken and a relatively good eater so I sometimes forget the age difference between the boys.

As we were waiting in the lobby to be called, Benjamin looked at me and said "mommy, I want to leave. I"m scared and don't want to see the dentist" His face told me that he was genuinely scared and REALLY did not want to do this. At that moment he looked very much the 3 year old that he is and my heart hurt for him. I was disappointed in myself for not preparing him more or even realizing that he might be afraid. I held him on my lap and assured him that it would all be ok - and it was. Look at this scared little face.

Benjamin did an awesome job!
He opened up wide, he didn't bite her (thank goodness) and was just super polite.
I was very proud of him for sharing with me about his fears and for facing them so gracefully. I treated both boys to ice cream later in the day to show them how proud I was.

See you in 6 months Dr. Wathen!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Benjamin the Bus Driver

If you get the chance to visit the Children's Museum at La Habra don't forget to pick up one of their brochures - you might just see someone you know.

Someone from their corporate office saw this picture of Benjamin on our blog and asked if they could use it in some museum literature. Of course I said yes, but had no idea he would be on the cover of their main brochure. It was pretty exciting to walk in to the museum and see his adorable picture staring right at us. Jack kept saying "Benjamin you are famous!" Benjamin felt super special.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Father's Day Fun!

This ad is currently running on the Lakeshore website

Photo shoots at Lakeshore are always so much fun! This little (big) guy sure loves promoting his Dad's work. Yes, if you were wondering that is Branden's hat, tie and sweater. He even had on Branden's shoes but they were cropped out. Speaking of being cropped out - Benjamin was actually in the shot as well but was cut out. It's an adorable picture and I will post it after the Father's Day promotion is over. We have chosen to NOT tell Benjamin he didn't make the ad :-) DIdn't really see a need to make him sad. Let's just see how long Jack can keep it to himself.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I hope you did too

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New family photo

Did you see it at the top of the page? What do you think? Who's the photographer you ask?

Well, it's our good friend Cielo Roth. Cielo is currently in the process of updating her photography website after taking some time off to be a full time mom to her two beautiful daughters. So can you guess how excited I was when she asked if we might be interested in a complementary photo session. It took me about a half of a second to answer - YES!

We met up with her at Wardlow park in Long Beach on May 1st and she snapped away. The boys were being super crazy and how she managed to keep her sense of humor was beyond me. She was a true professional and made it really fun for all of us. This was our first official family picture since Annabelle was born and I am very thankful for it. Here are a few of our favorites. Outside of the fact that I am almost 20 lbs over weight (ugh!) and have some seriously flat hair I think they came out really good.

Thank you again Cielo for capturing our families smiles!

*Can you believe that we have been together almost 21 years - wow!!