Happy Independence Day and holiday weekend, all! Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays because I’m a sucker for fireworks, and I like casual, low-stress holidays that don’t involve a lot of advance planning. As usual, we spent our July 4th at Chris’s parents’ house, as Chris likes to bring the boys to see the neighborhood parade, which is quite cool! Sam was really into it this year, waving at people in the parade as they passed by, and he was very excited to see the fire truck in the parade! Theo and his cousin, Nik, were most excited about gathering candy that people in the parade tossed out as they went by. 🙂
After the parade we walked down to the park at the end of the street, where they always have a bunch of people for the July 4th festivities. Sam wandered all over the place, and the older boys played for a while before lunch. Then we all went back to Grandma Kathy and Papa’s house for some swimming. Theo had the week off from swim lessons (he starts again tomorrow), so it was good for him to get some pool time! He’s really doing great with his swimming, and we are so proud of him!
We left in the mid-afternoon with two tired boys who promptly fell asleep in the car on the way home, which meant they were well rested for the evening’s excitement: fireworks! We weren’t sure whether we’d go, as the show close to us wasn’t happening this year (the church that has put it on for 25 years pulled out this year), but Chris found another show about a 30-minute drive away, so we decided to try that. It was a success! Crowded but not stressful, and the fireworks were great! The boys got to bed three hours late, but do you think they slept in the next morning to make up for it? Nope!
We also did some hiking this weekend—I was hankering for a hike in the redwoods, so we went to a place in the Santa Cruz Mountains, near Half Moon Bay, and ended up doing a nearly four-mile hike. Sam did most of it in the backpack (though he did toddle around while we stopped for a snack, as shown in the video below), but Theo walked the entire almost four miles on his own! We let him use our little point-and-shoot camera to take pictures along the way, which he had a lot of fun with.
It was definitely a good spot to hike because it was cool—our area was slated to be in the mid-90s, so we were glad to escape the heat! After the hike and a lunch stop at a deli, we decided to make a quick stop at the beach. It was overcast and chilly and the surf was rough, so we couldn’t let the boys splash in the water at all, but they both had fun playing in the sand. Theo and I dug holes big enough for him to climb into, and then I buried him up to his chest so he could break out like a gigantic monster, which he found quite amusing. 🙂
As for the Sunday…it is best that we not speak much of Sunday. It was a complete bust. Unless you consider a certain member of this household earning his longest timeout ever (after we drove 20 miles and then turned the car around when he stepped too far over the line) and spending pretty much the entire afternoon in his room some sort of success. Badge of honor for a two-hour tantrum, perhaps? Medal for longest timeout earned to date? Nah, we don’t consider that a success, so let’s just not talk about Sunday. Except to say that Chris and I caught up on a couple episodes of Mad Men and ate leftover pizza while one son napped and the other one served time…which was somewhat relaxing.
Which actually makes a rather appropriate segue into a note that I had two midweek blog posts, if you’re interested. Click here to read Why I Don’t Talk about Autism, and click here to read my third Blog Hop post, A Letter to My Younger Self.
The week itself wasn’t particularly noteworthy. Sam napped a lot in the afternoons—I think they’re wearing him out at Early Intervention! He had a swim day there on Wednesday, where they set up a bunch of wading pools and did water activities. Supposedly they took some pictures of him for me, but I haven’t seen them yet. We also took on day off EI to go visit my friend Jisun. I haven’t seen her in months because she’s busy growing another lil’ baby and was extremely sick the first trimester, so it was great to catch up with her now that she’s feeling human again! And Sam got to play with her three kids and with another little friend, Oliver, who we also know from the Down Syndrome Connection. Interestingly, Ollie is going to go to a school we strongly considered for Theo, and his mom will be working there next year, so I may have to pick her brain about sending Sam there, if we run into a lot of problems with the district and Sam’s placement. It’s a private school, so there’s the tuition to factor into the equation, but the bigger issue is the distance from our house—it would be a royal pain to get the boys there every day. Still, it’s supposed to be a great school, so it’s definitely a possibility for Sam someday (and Theo would likely do well there, too, if it came down to it).
Theo did lots of crafts at day camp and got to go on a field trip to the ice cream shop (lucky!). Oh, I also got the “we’re sorry, Mrs. Small, but you’re going to have to tell Theo he’s not allowed to kiss other children at camp” line. Little Romeo! It’s actually a rather cute story, in my opinion, and the teachers weren’t upset—it’s just a camp/school policy, and I do understand why it exists.
Anyway…the story… According to Theo, he told a little girl named Melissa that he loved her. She responded by giving him a hug and kissing him, so he kissed her back (on the cheek). Sweet, right? At least he’s kissing for the right reason—he thinks he loves her! So we had to have the “you didn’t do anything wrong, and it’s nice that you love her…but you aren’t allowed to kiss other kids at school or camp” talk. Apparently, little Melissa’s mother wasn’t so thrilled. Ah well, she can take it up with me if she has a problem. It sounds completely innocent, and the teachers thought it was innocent. I’m kind of glad to see him showing his tender side, to be honest. I’d rather hear about him kissing someone than punching someone!
Next week at camp, Theo has all sorts of fun activities to look forward to. His best friend Gavin will be there, which he’s very excited about. They have field trips to the bowling alley, the pizza parlor, and the Jelly Belly factory (super fun!). I think they may also have a special crafts thing where they create things out of duct tape, which I think he’ll dig.
Aside from Early Intervention, Sam spent the week throwing books at us. Literally. Sam has discovered books, and he is obsessed! He wanders around holding books all the time, and when he finds anyone he thinks is available to read to him, he throws the book at them, signs “book” or “read,” plops down on his bottom next to them, and bounces with unbridled glee. It’s pretty impossible to turn him down, as he’s so excited about it! He’s particularly in love with Sandra Boynton books, which we both enjoy too, and it’s not uncommon for him to have us read 15 in a row before we finally throw up our hands and say, “Uncle! Uncle! No more!!”
Mr. Sam is Mr. Independence lately, too. He no longer wants to ride on his tricycle or in his car for walks; he wants to walk on his own! This means we don’t get a whole lot of exercise (tiny legs don’t go terribly far, after all), but it is fun to see him trudging along with such a proud look on his face! Here’s a short clip of him on an evening walk….
He’s also trying to talk a lot more. All of the words sound pretty much the same, but we can tell that he’s trying to repeat the words we encourage him to say, which is a big start! Exciting times around here….
As for me, I’ve almost finished writing a book about computer animation (I know—seems out of left field!). On the work front, let me share a tip with any readers who like mystery/crime/suspense novels. I rarely edit fiction. However, I love to read fiction. A while back, an author I’ve worked with on nonfiction books asked if I’d edit his fiction book. I agreed, excited to have the chance to work on some fiction. As it turns out, it was even more of a pleasure than I expected—I wholeheartedly enjoyed the book! If I hadn’t edited it and had just bought it to read, I would’ve been glad I spent the money, because it’s a good, fast-paced read. I’ve edited the second one in the series now, and it’s even better, in my humble opinion. (Both are very good—perhaps the plot of the second one was just more in my area of interest. The first one is more political and historical intrigue, and the second one is more corporate intrigue.) I’m about to start editing the third one in the series, and I’m really looking forward to reading it.
Only the first book has been released (just this week), but Books 2 and 3 are soon to follow. So if you’re looking for a good mystery/crime/suspense novel to read, I highly recommend it. I found it to be a total page-turner with really engaging characters—and as I said, if you enjoy Book 1, Book 2 is even better! (Can’t speak for Book 3 yet, but I have high hopes! I’ll have to let you know about that one in a few weeks….)
And no, I don’t get any sort of reward for recommending this; I worked for a flat fee. 🙂 I just happened to find it a very good read and thought I’d pass it along. The first book is called The Murder of Henry VIII (click here to see it on Amazon), and the second book is called Pollute the Poor and will be released before too long. (I think the author is hoping to do so in a month or so.) It’s available as a paperback, and there are Nook and Kindle versions for people who prefer e-books.
Anyway, book plug over. I just know a few people who follow this blog are avid readers, so I thought I’d share in case anyone was interested!
I’ll wrap this up by saying that it’s almost time for me to launch our fundraising effort for our 2014 Step Up for Down Syndrome walk, which will be taking place the first Sunday in October. We hope you can join us, but if not, you can be with us in spirit! I told Chris I wanted to beat our fundraising goal from last year but that I’m a pretty lousy fundraiser, and he came up with a great idea: Each week, we’ll take the people who donated that week (no donation is too small!) and draw a name. That person will win a special prize, which we will mail to them! We just need to hammer out the prize list and get the donation page up and running, and then I’ll post the details here. (If a certain six-year-old keeps acting like a turd, the weekly prize may be that I’ll ship him to your house for a week!!!)
In the meantime, hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend! And assuming the six-year-old doesn’t have me arrested or sued before then (as he threatened to do), I’ll be back next week with more adventures from the Small fam!