Sunday, September 7, 2014

Bodacious Birthday

Happy Birthday Connor!

It feels a little surreal to have a 9 year old.
I feel so lucky to have a Connor in my life.

This year Connor knew we were saving for a special trip, and there would not be a big party.

I am a lover of themed parties, so I had to sneak a theme in with a secret invite to one 'ninja' pal.

Connor had NO idea what I had planned until he woke up!

He loves the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as much as I do, so it was a very happy surprise.

Who doesn't love Turtle Power!?!
Surprises are Rad.

We had a Totally Tubular Day!

The Shredder set traps all over the place!
The Ninjas had to use their "mad" skills to get them down


We played with Secret Ooze (that farts), 'Hit The Shredder', throwing Ninja Stars...

...and the turtles trained outside using Silly String and Shields.

Taking 10 paces before the war.

"Yes, Oroku Saki, I know who you are.  We met many years ago in the home of my master, Hamato Yoshi!"

"Never lower your eye to an enemy."

Boogie Boarding our way to 'Pin the Pizza Toppings'.

We had a handsome pizza delivery guy.
"Pizza Dudes got Thirty Seconds."

Did somebody say pizza?

"Pizza, the Magic Word."

Time to blow out the candles with a birthday wish!

Wait! Didn't I just blow those out??

What is going on here?
The candles won't go out.

Even a ninja can be fooled by dad's Trick Candles!

April O Neal Princess Here...
Where did those turtles go?

"I love being a TURTLE!"
What a wonderful day, with these two Bodacious Boys.

"You live, you die, you fight as brothers.  Remember nothing is as strong as family."  -Splinter

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Toddler Time

Oh my precious toddler, how I love you!
You are inquisitive, and sweet, and loving, and precious.....
but oh how you are a like a mini headstrong, confusing, teenager!

Monday, September 1, 2014


Everything has become scheduled around here, running like a machine.  
Drop offs, pick ups, dinner plans, homework, bath, cleaning, school work, church planning...  every hour is filled with a block.
I have become the Drill Sergeant.
I am already feeling that familiar tug of everybody needing a piece of me.

The school year has started.  

We have an intermediate child in the house, and you can tell it with each sassy and inappropriate fart joke. 
We have a two year old, and you can tell it with each tantrum of independence. 
My children are growing and this is a blessing,
but with age comes less control (not my strong suit).

I had the rug unexpectedly pulled out from under me a few times last week....

lucky I had these FAB new bangs as I was going down!

In the words of Gloria Gaynor...  I will survive, oh as long as I know how to love (swiss cake rolls), I know I will stay alive!

So far I have had plenty of opportunity to draw from my summer training at 
(We are so lucky to have this world- renowned program so close to us, they are the cutting edge of what works for children with autism.)

I went with my pretty, smart, and young coworkers.
This is Ms. N.Cool,  
and you may recognize Connor's 2nd grade teacher in this photo. 
Ms. B will soon be Mrs. P....exciting.

I decided there are a few benefits to being the "old" teacher,
such as: 
-I know what 'nightcap' means.
-The new name brand in my life is  Tonka (and its a lot cheaper than Prada and Pandora). 
-I remember when longevity use to mean more than how long I was going to live. 
-I no longer believe that nothing tastes as good as thin feels, I now KNOW nothing taste as good as chewing uninterrupted feels.  
-I don't care if I accidentally left my zipper down (ie. I can roll with the punches). 
-Laughter at ones self is a wonderful and necessary skill.

This was my TEACCH team.  
They were from ALL over the place.
By the end of the week I was fast FB friends with my pals.
Another great thing about being "old" is that you can make fast friends pretty easy if you are willing to let loose.

Mrs. K. was pregnant with a little boy (he will have two younger sisters). 
It was amazing how much he grew in one week!

K. is a preschool teacher and she even joined us for a few meals....

..AND she brought me donuts one morning!  
I heart donuts!

As a special ed. teacher, I was somewhat familiar with the strategies.  With this school, I was able to put everything into practice and work with the children.
I met a lot of amazing children and amazing parents.
(I just wish I could get updates on the children.)

Here we are structuring an outdoor game.
Needless to say my soccer skills stink.  
I tried to say North Carolina was a football state (but I ruined that by using words like home plate in football).

Then I just blamed my pretty jeweled flip flops and became the "manager".
As a team we worked daily to reconstruct great tasks for children.  
Here is a link to more TEACCH tasks.

This is Mr. E.    (He is good at soccer.)
In his country very little is known about autism.
He plans to go back and change things!
He will teach others that children with autism have so much to offer the world.
I thought he was pretty awesome, and I hope you all pray for the great work he is going to be implementing.

Last year our other colleagues went to TEACCH and they bragged about their hotels providing lovely plush robes.  
Of course, the first thing I did was call and ask for my "lovely, plush, robe".  The young fellow at the front desk had no idea what I was talking about....  "but our colleagues had lovely robes, I would like mine too, please".

I loved getting to know Ms. N.COOL even better.
No robes... but we did have these FREE headphones we could brag about (that we actually grabbed on our way to the hot tub, not to work out or anything).

Oh and the food....the food.
the food.
the food.

It was so, so good.
We. Ate. Out. Nightly.
(this is very decadent for me)

These pictures make me salivate.
Can I just say I met a new love I would trade my first born for:
The Cheesecake Factory.

This year, I am alone with a big, huge classroom, Mrs. E. and.... 
an additional new TA:  Ms. M.

We tried to take a decent selfie picture together but it just looks like I'm trying to put M. in a headlock and E. looks like she is trying to hog the picture.   
We are so hoping our teamwork goes better than this picture. 

The New Setup:

Reading/ Sensory Area

Task Closet:
I am fortunate enough to have enough space, I was able to create a mini AU closet for our AU Team to design and build tasks for any child that needs it.

FanTASKtic Stations

Teacher Stations

I was experiencing so much anxiety about 'the rug being pulled out from under me'.  
When I went to church I was given two precious blessings from two women.  One gave me this school basket (I've already used most of the materials to make visuals), and another shared that she felt the call to pray for me over a specific situation.  
I have felt that prayer 
and it has been amazing.