Summer Fun!

G has been a busy little dude!! Here are some snapshots of the past few weeks:

First up after school was out, the Austin Zoo. Both kids love animals, and while the Austin zoo isn’t the most amazing, it’s very close to home! Then it was already the Fourth of July – Here’s a pic of us getting ready to leave and then watching a neighborhood parade – Graham wasn’t sure about all the noise but seemed to enjoy seeing the firetruck!

Fourth of July!
Fourth of July!

 

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After a BBQ that day we headed up to Dallas to meet G’s grandparents who live in Arkansas. Dallas is midway, and they were so generous (and brave!) to offer to take the kids for a week!! They had a plethora of adventures including the zoo, alligator farm, crystal hunting, swimming at a lake, and one of my favorites, The Wonder Place. Seriously, if you are ever in the area with kids, I LOVE this place – it’s like a big play gym and children’s museum rolled in one, and is GREAT for kids with special needs. G loves it, and I came back last year from a visit and immediately wanted to open one in Austin. Then I remembered the chaos of my current life, and put it on the back burner…. 😉

The following weekend we were back in Dallas to hang out with more family and celebrate Daddy’s birthday, and G pretty much just lounged in the pool ALL day – the kids LOVES swimming!!

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The next week was Mama C’s first full week with the kids, and it was BUSY! We went to a new therapy gym here in Austin, opened by a former occupational therapist, Little Land Play Gym. We went to The Jersey Farm in La Grange with friends visiting from out of state, and it was a blast. G really loves animals, and the goats are a definite favorite! He also loved the hayride!

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We also went to a local event, Children’s Day Art Park which was showcasing mariachis (G loves mariachis!) and sis got her face painted.

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And the highlight of that day, G got a haircut!!!!The curls are still there and he is adorable as always! He obviously loves it 🙂

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Later that week we headed to Llano with 4 other families and G had a super time. It was really sweet to see our long time friends meeting G for the first time and loving on him.   2015-07-18 10.16.52 2015-07-19 11.36.21

G had a great time, and of course loved swimming in the river, being his favorite activity and all!

After that long weekend, we had another busy week full of swimming with friends, The Wildflower Center with G’s former nanny and his former Physical Therapist, a Secret Beach here in town, and of course, therapy, therapy, therapy.

We have a new speech therapist (for which we are just paying out of pocket, if you recall one of our recent blog posts), so he has speech, occupational, physical, and vision and orientation/mobility every week. In addition, he is a practice patient at the local PT school in town, so he is visiting a bunch of sweet young ladies every week on top of his usual therapy. He loves being a flirt, so he doesn’t seem to mind, and since we are down on our allowed visits, we will take whatever we can get!

And lastly, we have noticed an immense increase in his vocalization in the past few weeks, which has been amazing!! I swear he said “Minnie Mouse” last night!!  Daddy P and I are in agreement that is his first word, although we admit, we only heard it that once. She was on a balloon, and we kept saying it, and he said it so distinctly! Anyway, here are a few videos for your viewing pleasure!
The first one shows his chattiness, and please excuse my persistence on the Minnie Mounse..it had happened just before this!

The second one reflects G’s comprehension, which is another thing we are so impressed with. While he doesn’t verbalize back, we know he is listening and understands much of what we say! (you also witness an apology from big sis after she took his beloved minnie balloon and let it go up in the sky…welcome to sibling love!)

The end of the waddler days…

If anyone is looking for Mama C, I am cuddled up in a corner with a box of kleenex crying over the last day of school (which was yesterday)….!

Oh man, what a mess I have been! The thing is, G has been with these teachers longer than most (1.5 years) – they have believed in him, encouraged him, and led him to accomplish so many thing – many that we didn’t know if he would ever do frankly. Within a month of starting at Rise, he started clapping, something he had been working on forever. He started sitting independently, he started rolling….now, he “sings”, communicates via signs and vocalization, makes choices, crawls (and is even seen on all fours more often, as opposed to the army crawl!), loves rainsticks (instead of despising them as he did a year ago!), eats with a fork intermittently, progressed with his sensory sensitivity, is a jokester, had his first crush…and the list can go on forever….

The thing is, we know G was a challenge going into this school, even for a school meant as an inclusive environment – he is on the far end of the spectrum of abilities, and there was a time when we weren’t even sure they would allow him to attend and had to wait for them to determine if they could handle him. These teachers and therapists embraced him, loved him, and led him to such immense progress. There are no words deep enough, no object of enough value, and no amount of gratitude that could even begin to express how much we value the staff of this school. I wish I could even express a tenth of how thankful we are for this group of people, but there is no way I can. Instead I just cry 😉

As Peter kindly pointed out, we will see them again in 5 weeks. okay, okay, I know. But these are the first teachers we entrusted our baby to, and they will always hold a special place in our hearts! And, with the end of the school year, G’s first crush, the adorable lil P, is moving away. That makes me cry too…I guess I don’t do well with change 😉 I only found out today one of his teachers won’t be returning, and that almost sent me to the looney bin.

And as if I wasn’t emotional enough, here is a lovely quote from a very special lady (and teacher) in G’s life, written in a note:
“…From his beautiful smile, to his sweet spirit, & curious soul, my days were filled with his little blessings! I want you to know that I have learned so much from your son & he has left an imprint on my heart! Graham is truly capable of amazing things!…”

With all the unknowns that fill our lives, it is such a blessing to know Graham has an impact on others. We are so thankful for the love poured out on our little man and for being recognized for all the awesome things he does!

And all this over 3 teachers, 2 that he will still get to see next school year! His school therapists will all stay the same, and he will be loved by 3 new teachers that I am sure will be equally fabulous.  Go ahead and reserve me a bed at the mental hospital when he actually graduates from Rise in a few years!!

And to close out this awesome school year, some of my favorite pics from the last week of school, which included water day (with a slide!), a picnic, pajama day, dress silly day, and G’s favorite activity, swimming in noodles!

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