Taking the Scenic Route

The last day of 2009, the Snow Family celebrates.

31st December 2009

The last day of 2009, the Snow Family celebrates.

A happy, not-too-cold, winter afternoon with our newly created snow family.  Zora left the family with hats the night before (not her’s, but Zane’s hat that I knitted), and was dismayed when there was no hat on him in the morning (we took it back inside to keep the birds from flying off with it).  So, she made snow hats for them.  Zane brought out a carrot to complete one of the snowmen, and then both of them played and made new, little snow men (with hats).

A satisfying end to 2009.

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30th December 2009

Family Photo

We got the family photo back.  It was a little off center, so here is my corrected version.  :)

posted in Autistic Life, Zach & Jennifer, Zane, Zora | 2 Comments

30th December 2009

Building a Snowman

In the evening Zora got Zach to help her build a snowman.  It turned into a snowman family.

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27th December 2009

Zane turns eight.

Mom and Dad came up (thank goodness the weather allowed) and had a surprise for Zane.  Chuck E Cheese!

We had fun, and even though the place was crowded (obviously not the only people with near-Christmas birthdays that decided to go out), he had a blast.  No meltdowns, and an actual smiling face.  (when he gets overwhelmed, even if he is happy, he has a fairly flat expression…you really have to know him to know that he is happy when he gets like that).  That, in itself, made it a fabulous birthday for us.

We had pizza and hung out there for over 3 hours.  Zach and Zane headed off together, and Mom and Zora headed towards the littler kid area.  Dad and I floated between the two groups.  It was SO much fun to see both the kids having such a blast.

There was a “sketch artist” booth that we sat down in, and he giggled as he watched the computer “draw” our picture.

And Zora got her picture taken with Chuck E Cheese too.

Then we went home, opened the gifts (“Tech Deck” stuff & wii Super Mario Bros. game from us, big Mario figures from Zora, a Sequence game from Grandma & Grandpa, and a colorful Ball of Whacks from Grammie) and it was time for the cake and ice cream.

Zane requested another Mario Bros. cake.

And the all important candle placement…

And time to blow out the candles!

I can’t believe I have been a Mom for eight years now.  I have now officially been a mom longer than I was dealing with trying to be one. (if you don’t count the surgeries and stuff since I was 12-13yo to preserve my ability to have kids).  Awesome!

Happy Birthday to my favorite son.  You make me proud every day.

posted in Autistic Life, Birthday, Zane | 1 Comment

25th December 2009

Wonderful Christmas

The weather cleared long enough for my parents and Steve to make it here.  (although it wasn’t clear enough for Steve to go where his heart was this year.  ;-)   ).   It was low key and relaxed, as usual, and we all had fun.  The food included the 6 cheese crabmeat lasagna that has become the tradition, bone-in ham and green beans with bacon, lots of veggies & some dip, fudge, toffee, and almonds.  (and sent a lot of planned leftovers home with everyone)

By the time Christmas got here, I think we were more excited for it than the kids so we could see their reactions to things.  We did almost all our buying the week before Christmas, and with that, you would think we could find everything easier but we still ended up on scavenger hunts all over the house trying to find a few missing items.  (stashed too quickly, without thinking beyond “will the kids find it here”).

The kids woke up to their stockings and Santa gifts on the mantle.  I know that it took his elves a lot longer than they were anticipating to put those suckers together and did not get the sleep they were anticipating, even though everything else was wrapped.  lol.

Zane LOVES marble runs, and Zora loves having toys like her brother’s (and she likes marble runs too), so this was a huge hit.

Stocking booty!

When everybody arrived I was pleased to see that both kids were more interested in giving their gifts to grandma and grandpa than they were to open their own.  Grandpa got a beeping tire gauge with a big readout screen (easier for his eyes) and Grandma got a butterfly stepping stone the kids made for her flower garden.  They were so excited about the stepping stone, and Zora told grandma all about it several times, but since she can’t speak very clearly, and Oma didn’t have a reference for it, “bu-by tone” (butterfly stone) wasn’t making any sense, so she still didn’t know what she was getting, despite Zora’s inability to keep a secret.

The big hit of the day were the gifts that Steve and Dad made, and Mom decorated.  I sent them this idea I had seen in a few therapy catalogs a few months ago, with the comment that I thought the kids would like it, but how insane the price was for a relatively small woodworking project.  They came through in spades.  They were awesome.  They not only made it, but they made each kid a one-footed one and a wider two footed one, PLUS a balance board.

Shortly after this picture was taken, Zora stomped on it hard and the ball smacked her in the face, so I went to our massive ball collection (for a few years, that was the only toy Zane would really play with, so we ended up with quite the collection of them) for some lighter balls and they used those instead of this heavier one.  They also use them by making an obstacle course where they walk over them and all sorts of other creative uses.  They really are a great open ended toy.

Here Uncle Steve made Zane a very happy kid.

And Zora LOVES her new cars from Uncle Steve too.  This time he got her a convertible Mustang so that she didn’t have to break out the windows to stuff her little play figures in the car. She also got an RC car, but we need to get batteries for it.  (off to the side you can see those boards…Mom actually drew a Mario on Zane’s wider board…I was impressed.)

Now, I knew the kids were taken to a “paint your own pottery” place here in town to make us “something”, and Zora’s inability to keep a secret let me know that it was a cup, but I just was not prepared for the tear-jerking presents that they presented.  Mom had been telling me that Zane was VERY SPECIFIC about what he wanted to put on each of our cups, but not what he put.  (One side of the cup is Zora’s handprints, the other is Zane’s specific picture).  Get ready for the kleenex…..

The big gift for Zach Zane, a Lego Mindstorm Robot kit.  In a year Zane can join the Homeschool Robotics team, which uses Mindstorm robots (although presumably they are much bigger, more elaborate sets for the team), and we thought it would be good to get him familiar with them so that he had half a shot at participating.  Plus, and this is the main reason we went ahead and put the money in this year instead of waiting, the robot is programmable.  Now, for kids it has a drag and drop type programming interface because Mindstorm competitions have more emphasis on building the robots, but it can be programmed in C (and others most likely) and it has a host of sensors on board (and with a mechanical engineer brother and a Radio Shack, we can add anything else we need), so Zach can use it to continue his autonomous robotic programming research.  I think Zach about went crazy waiting for it to be opened.  Zane was very excited too.  It was one of only three things he asked Santa for, and was very thrilled and spent a lot of time exploring all the writing on the package as soon as he opened it.

The happy aftermath.

Other notable gifts:

From Grammie:  A big playmobil horse farm/stable thing for Zora, Magna-Tiles building toy for Zane, and both of them got an Etch-A-Sketch.

To me from my folks:  2 covered pie plates…one pumpkin, one cherry/apple and a hat to match Zora’s hat & a cool coffee themed apron.

To Zach from my folks:  a propane tank for the grill.

It was a very nice, comfortable Christmas.  We are very blessed.

There are also more gift coming with Grandma Zandra, who planned on driving up this Christmas with Great Grandma Jackie, but wasn’t able to make it because the weather got so horrible.  We were disappointed she wasn’t able to make it, but it just wasn’t a good idea to drive through a blizzard that was in between us and them.  Hopefully she will be able to make it out soon.

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24th December 2009

Christmas Eve Chef

Zora helped make the fudge after she donned the apron and hat from Oma.

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24th December 2009

Snow Day! Christmas Eve Day

20 minutes to get bundled up

7 minutes playing

wet snowy clothes strung throughout the house

good memories

no more asking to play in the snow (for a few hours at least)

Attempted snow angels.

Mom realizing that they mostly outgrew their coats since the “try on the winter coats” this fall.

posted in Winter, Zane, Zora | Comments Off

23rd December 2009

Zora turns FOUR! (wow, where does the time go?)

Birthday party time!  Oma and Opa (my parents) came to the birthday party.  Originally Robert’s family was going to come at the same time, but since Robert had a bit of a cold he didn’t want to give to my dad, they offered to come after my parents left.  We had a lot of fun with them too, but my camera batteries died, so there aren’t any photos of that part of the celebration.

To start off, Zane wanted me to get all weepy with the utter cuteness of his present label:

I had a beautiful outfit laid out for her to wear, but she had other ideas and it was not a battle I had any intention of fighting on her day.  She topped it off with a “bow tie” to complete the look.  :)

While the pizza is in the oven, we decided that Zora had been tortured long enough and let her open her gifts.  She started with Zane’s gift.  (the dinosaurs she has wanted for a while).

She got a play pizza from Grammie, and a play birthday cake from us.

Oma and Opa got her an apron and “make” book (recipe book)

After the pizza (hence the pizza mustache), the CAKE!  She wanted a “Super Car Cake” with a pink car. (She kept eyeing the Dale Earnhart cake in the store, but you could not pay me enough money to look at a Dale Earnhart cake in my home.)  We were going to do more with it, but we have never worked with fondant before and it took longer than anticipated, so the finish line, flags and other details got left off. (and I forgot to get pink frosting for the name.  ah well)

And, the playing commences.

It was a great birthday.  Mom and Dad had to head out fairly quickly to dodge the blizzard on it’s way, but Robert’s family came and Zora and Eylish had a ball playing with her new play food, dress up, and watching a princess movie.  Awesome day, and wore our birthday girl out.

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22nd December 2009

Making the Cake (night before her birthday)

She was so excited to bake her cake, I couldn’t resist grabbing the camera to memorialize it.  She chose Strawberry flavored cake and, although we helped her with measuring ingredients, she is the one who did most of the mixing.

My proud little baker.

posted in Birthday, Cooking, Zora | Comments Off

22nd December 2009

The Last Nap as a 3 Year Old

A moments peace as she snuggles with “Pink Doggie”  (Eeyore) she got from Heartspring’s Christmas tree and her favorite “Monkey Shirt”.

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  • Zane's age

  • Zane is 22 years, 5 months, and 2 days old
  • Zora's age

  • Zora is 18 years, 5 months, and 6 days old
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  • Make a Joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands. Serve the Lord with Gladness! Come into his presence with Singing! — Psalms 100: 1-2

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