Gage turns 5 today!

I cannot believe my little man is 5 years old today.  He is funny, smart, loving, goofy, social, curious, and opinionated. He continues to surprise me with his progress. I spend a lot of (way too much) time worrying about the important day-to-day struggles but today I just sit and appreciate him and how far he’s come.  We had his (crazy) birthday party yesterday at the nature center where he went to camp and he had a blast.  I like parties and I like to invite all of Gage’s friends because I want anyone who wants to help him celebrate to come. We had 21 kids (and 2 newborns) plus parents.  It was chaos 🙂  The naturalist spent and hour with he kids, taking them on a walk outside to dig in the dirt for things to feed the center’s turtle and they were able to pet a snake.  It was when they came back in for the cake  that things got silly.  We started singing Happy Birthday and I realized I had only put 4 candles on the cake!!  I had to stop everyone and add one, jeesh!  So we sang again and a friend next to Gage blew out the candles.  Tears came and we relit the candles and sang AGAIN!  But he was upset and despite lots of moist blows could not get that 5th candle blown out (more tears).  But after that things went back to normal until the last few of his friends left and then he was sad 😦  My guy does not mind a crazy party!

Here he is through the years….

5!

5!

 

4th birthday4!

bdcake13!

2!

1!

And his birth story is here 🙂

Sundays with Gage – a new era

Gage started all day Pre-K last month, 6.5 hours 4 days a week, and he is doing well.  He has one class in the morning and one in the afternoon, so two different teachers and friends, and he seems to have adjusted.  He loves eating lunch in the cafeteria with the big kids and has even managed to embrace ‘rest time’ on his cot, a thing I cannot even picture since he has not had a nap in well over a year (oh how I miss those naps!).  He is learning to draw new  things and his morning class even cooks once a week, usually something that Gage can’t eat.  The food is the bane of my existence right now.  I have to send in snack for both classes and send his lunch and if I want him to be able to cook I have to send in alternative ingredients.  I admit I’ve been grumbling about them cooking in class, but he has turned into my little helper at dinnertime, always wanting to help me with a recipe, so I should probably quiet the complaints.

So what have I been doing?  The first week I cleaned house and waited for a call from the teacher to come pick up Gage… which reminds me of a funny story I have to share. During the third week I went to pick him up and kids were filing out of the school with their class and the alarm was ringing.  After 10 minutes I finally went and found a teacher and asked what was going on. She said they weren’t allowed back into the building until the firemen had come and checked the building and turned off the alarm and then she said the words that had been what kept me close to the phone that first week.  She said that it had been the second time that day that a student had pulled the fire alarm.  I nervously laughed and said, “I hope it wasn’t my kid.”  She said the first kid had been sent home – I later find out it’s Gage’s friend from his morning class. LOL.  I never did find out who the second kid was but as long as they didn’t catch my kid I’m good.  He still thinks it’s funny that his friend pulled the alarm. I would be more worried about this if I didn’t know that he hates the piercing sound.

As Gage has gotten more comfortable at school, I have easily adjusted to my free time.  That second week I think I came home and took a nap every day. I’ve started decluttering the house, cooking new recipes (none of which Gage really likes), and planned play dates for me and for Gage 🙂  To put it simply, I am in a very good place.  I feel more relaxed and myself than I have since before Gage was born.  I can credit Gage’s school for much of my comfort.  Some of these aides or class therapists have known Gage for over two years now.  He is in very good hands and I get to let my body decompress.  I think I am going to like this school thing!

A few pics of this first month of the school era

IMG_4112First day of school!IMG_4253His OT intern left after 4 months 🙂IMG_4305We’ve had a few playdates.IMG_4149And he’s still loving horseback riding!

Sundays with Gage – Happy and a great time for a Mom ‘vacation’

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Autism can be a series of highs and lows.  When I last talked about it in March we were coming out of some hard months and justlikethat we got this cutie who has been happy ever since.  He’s pictured here with his favorite tutor/babysitter Meagan who has been with us for almost two years.  (Prepare yourself for a tearful post when I talk about us losing 3 of his ABA tutors within a week, but not yet)  I met and now am Facebook friends with a very gifted autistic young man and at least once a week one his posts includes, “I feel gleeful!”  And that pretty much sums up where we are right now.  Gage is back to his loveable, stubborn self and I feel gleeful.

Two months ago when things were rougher around here I decided to take the plunge and sign up for the Autism One Conference in Chicago.  The conference is this week and I’m excited.  I plan on lots of sessions on diet and toxicity and many more on cutting edge treatments.  This conference treats autism as a medical condition and I’m ready to learn.  My cousin from Kentucky will be joining me and I look forward to some quality girl time.  I leave early Tuesday and won’t return until Saturday after Gage is in bed.  That’ll be the longest I’ve been away from both of my guys ever.

I couldn’t do this without my extraordinary parents who are taking over Gage duty this week.  I am always grateful for all the love and support they give me and Gage and Jason.  It’s been over a year since they moved to be closer to us and we couldn’t be happier.  I am sounding awesomely gleeful aren’t I?

So, tell me, what is making you gleeful today?

Mailbox Monday – February 9

mmb-300x282Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Gage received a thoughtful gift from Kay. A train postcard, two train books and an engineer cap.  Thanks so much Kay – you’re the best! (the hat does fit, but I only had time to throw it on his head before he was on the move again)

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Last week I went to Barnes & Noble for some retail therapy.  I bought lots of gifts and one for myself.  Since I loved Garden Spells I am excited about this one.

IMG_2290First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

It’s October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly. As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree… and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.

What was in your mailbox this week?

Weekends with Gage – Caterpillar to Butterfly

This week Gage came home from summer camp  with a little caterpillar he’d made out of a milk carton and he was so proud of it.  When I say made I’m pretty sure he just put the green paint on, but he was excited about it.  We do read The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Very Hungry Caterpillar  so I thought it would be fun to make a butterfly to go with this caterpillar.  My mom cut out some beautiful wings and I collected some things to glue and stick on.  He was having a hyper day so I wasn’t sure how receptive he would be, but he saw the set up on the table and started saying butterfly and getting excited so I thought we had a chance.  He lasted about 5 minutes, but that’s okay.  He glued, stuck, and markered it up.  My mom and I put the antennae and cotton bodies on after.  Ta-da.  Crafts are not his favorite thing so I’m going to have to think of something more active for this week.

butterflythe set up Those cardboard rolls in the middle were going to be our bodies until we went with something simpler)

butterfly1Carefully placing a blue pom pom that he will try to move a few times.

butterfly2Having grandma make one too was part of the fun!

butterfly3And the finished product.  Can you tell which one is Gage’s?  I put his caterpillar above  it as a hint.

France 042There’s no butterfly here now but it would be the perfect place for one 😉  This was taken in a village in the French countryside. Sorry I don’t know which one.(courtesy of Bookbath)

 

 

Happy Easter Eggs :)

Yesterday we tried the extra cool Easter eggs we found on Pinterest here.  We only had the pictures for directions so here’s how we did it.

005Gage helped Grandma crack the hardboiled eggs.

007We added food coloring into the cracks and let them dry in the frig overnight.

010Then Gage helped peel of the shells (since he only did one and ran away I didn’t get a picture).  We skipped one step in the directions, rinsing off the shells, and wonder if it would have prevented the color from going all the way to the yolk.  Gage licked one and I ate the yellow one and it was delicious 🙂

Happy Easter everyone!

Sundays with Gage- Reveling in the The Game

I grew up about 45 minutes from Columbus and have a dad who is a Scarlet & Gray fanatic it is no surprise that I ended up spending 4+ years on campus becoming an OSU alum.  Football is king (although we go through eras of basketball excellence) and The Game, the one against that team up North, is important, like really, really important.  Lots of trash talk and alcohol consumed (at least I’ve heard ;)) for the rivalry.

Our esteemed coach, Jim Tressel, messed up and let the team and university down a few years ago, so he was fired and our Buckeyes can’t play in any bowl games this year.  That made this game their national championship, a win would cap an undefeated season.  The excitement was high and the pressure was on.

Gage had a hard time containing his energy.  Took a nap for the ages and woke up with a minute to go 🙂  We’ll have to work on his game watching abilities next year.  We won 26-21.  Go Bucks!

Going to college with Gage

My cousin’s daughter, Claire, started her first year of college at Baldwin Wallace University, only 30 minutes away from us.  This is exciting since it’s been a long time since we’ve lived that close to any family.  We finally made the drive over on Friday to visit.  It’s a great campus with lots of beautiful buildings and homes and in true toddler fashion Gage’s favorite part was riding the elevator.  He wasn’t interested in the steps or much else when he caught sight of the elevator. After more than a few rides we headed home.

A fun trip was had by all.

A health update- Last Sunday we took Gage back to the hospital and he received more steroids for his croup.  On Monday, I was ready to throw in the mother towel and check myself into mommy rehab.  Come to find out that ‘roid rage can happen to toddlers too.  Who knew?  Thankfully, by Tuesday he was more himself and life got back to normal until early Friday when I started to feel sick.  I did what any tired and worn out woman does when she can, I called my mom.  She’s here helping out while I get some extra sleep and down time.  I really do have the best mom 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloweening with Gage in November

Because of Sandy our trick or treating wasn’t until tonight.  To say that Gage was not happy before we went is an understatment.  I thought for sure Halloween would be a bust.  The first house was iffy, lots of turning around and saying ‘no’, but after that he warmed to getting candy like a champ.  He said trick and sometimes treat (never together), sometimes asked for more (and sometimes just took it) and said ‘thank you’ very nicely for about half of the houses.  He also knows that candy is something he wants.  Unfortunately, there isn’t any from his bag he can have (I don’t trust him to eat Swedish Fish yet).

Gage rode around in his wagon and hit maybe a dozen houses before calling it a night.  If it hadn’t been 40 degrees I think he would have wanted to go all night.  He loved it.  Halloween success.

Jason’s mom is down visiting so she got to go too (and she can help us eat the candy!).

Sundays with Gage – the Beach edition

Jason and I have lived in Cleveland for 12 years and we’ve never visited a Cleveland beach.  We visit Kelley’s Island every summer and that’s Lake Erie, but it’s also over an hour from Cleveland.  It was beautiful day yesterday so we trekked to Edgewater Beach (about 30 minutes away) and let Gage have some fun.  My favorite is the last one.  No child was injured during this photo shoot 🙂