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Aden and Alex attended their first field trip as kindergartens to Sharps Farm. We had never been so I didn’t know what to expect. First, we had quick lesson on bees- the queen, the worker bees, the drone bees- it was a refresher for me. Alex had a small meltdown when he didn’t get picked to be a bee. This kid loves being the center-of-attention. Luckily he recovered quickly.

The kids were given corn to feed the animals. Both boys did great with this.377387

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

385Next, we went on a hayride. But this wasn’t your ordinary hayride. Imagine hayride off-roading. We even went through a small river! It was a bumpy ride but of course the boys loved it. 368After the wild ride, we visited the popcorn field. The boys were allowed to pick one ear of corn to take home. Supposedly you could put the ear in a paper bag, microwave it and the corn would pop right off. The boys wouldn’t let me try. So who knows? 390398When it was time to pick a pumpkin, as usual the boys weren’t really interested. I picked two pumpkins and we were on our way.

Lastly, we had lunch near a pond.
410Overall it was a great experience. Of course it wasn’t without stress but when I think about how things used to be aka “the crying days” and I’m not talking about the boys crying…it puts everything in perspective.
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Sand & Surf in September!

After the boys first week of Kindergarten, we surprised them with our annual trip to Ocean City! It was a beautiful weekend, warm enough to go in the ocean. We arrived late afternoon on Friday, unpacked our things, and went to the beach. We arrived around 4pm which is the latest I’ve ever went to the beach in my life. It was nice, still warm, nobody there. We lasted 2 hours!!! Then it was home for dinner and bedtime. 056The next morning we rented a surrey and went for an hour bike ride on the boardwalk. In the past the boys have enjoyed this, not this time. They wanted to pedal, they were hot, and they were bored, oh the fun times ahead! 018After our bike ride, we hit the arcade. This is definitely the boy’s favorite thing to do. Each of them got $5 in quarters which would have gone fast without me and Jon’s supervision. As usual cashing in tickets for junk prizes was yet again a horrible ordeal. Alex wanted a toy car which was a bazillion tickets, whereas Aden wanted Army men that we already had at home! We played a few more games and Jon ended up winning a ton of tickets on this toss game. Alex got his car; Aden got his army men, end of story. Get me the hell out of there! 039We went to lunch at Pizza Boy on 11TH Street. It was adorable watching the boys share lemonade. 045After lunch we went to the beach. It was more crowded and the boys are fearless. Jon and I had to be on top of them or else they would be swept out to sea. I do feel more comfortable since they know how to swim but the ocean is no match for anyone who isn’t a strong swimmer or doesn’t understand current and undertows. And until they do understand these things, Jon and I will be right on top of them. http://youtu.be/ZWya-MISvkY

In the evening, we went to our favorite park on 125th. The boys rode their big wheels with Jon and me barely keeping up. They played on the playground. We flew kites for the first time which was awesome. Aden and Alex both thought you had to run with the kite which in this case was not necessary because of the strong winds. It was still cute watching them.110102My favorite part of the trip was our early dinner at Fish Tales on 22nd street. Located on the bay, this restaurant is perfect for families with young children. There are tables located directly in front of a huge pirate ship playground. Once we ordered our food including overpriced kids meals (it was worth it!), Jon and I enjoyed adult beverages while we watched the boys play. It was AMAZING.
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Another great trip to OC. Each year the boys are doing better and better. Can’t wait to go back next year! 007

A few days before the boys turned 5, they had a gradual entry into Kindergarten. I understand the need for a gradual entry but I was afraid the boys would think they would only be going to school a few hours instead of a full day. During orientation, it was definitely hectic taking one, keeping one home, arranging childcare. Aden went first and Alex wasn’t too happy about that. But in the end, everything worked out.

Orientation was great. Aden’s teacher is Ms. Miskimon and Alex’s teacher is Ms. Rivers. Yes, they are in different classes and will most likely remain in different classes throughout their education. I feel very strongly about this. Yes, they are twins but they are also individuals. Individuals who need to learn how to adapt without the other one. It is also important for developing their social skills with others. I felt if they were in class together, they may gravitate towards each other rather than branch out and make new friends. This is especially important for Aden. I also felt more conflict would arise if they were together all day. Yes, they can play nice together and help each other out but they also are quite competitive which results in fighting. I witness this at home on a daily basis. Jon says that’s what brothers do. Unfortunately I’m an only child so I can’t relate.

Here are a few pics of their first day of Kindergarten. Believe it or not, I did not shed any tears. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I learned to let go years ago. I was already prepared.
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224232Aden and Alex had their first full day of kindergarten Sept 3rd. Both were very excited as was I. I packed their lunches for the first time, ham sandwich for Aden, and peanut butter sandwich for Alex. They would be eating lunch without me for the first time in years. Instead of being picked up in front of our house, they now have a bus stop a few houses down. So many changes yet I had complete confidence that they would do just fine. 147150153156Both came home on “green” and with smiles on their faces. I thought they would be exhausted from their new extended school day. Nope! They were both full of energy and driving me crazy within minutes. That is our life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Dutch Wonderland

Before the boys started Kindergarten, my Mom and I took them on a day-trip to Dutch Wonderland in Pennsylvania. It was our first time there and the boys had a blast.156The theme park is perfectly designed for small children and the boys rode just about everything. They even rode their first big roller coaster!140139

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day wasn’t without stress. Not even 2 hours into our day, Aden was ready to go home. Yeah, we’re not ready for Disney World. After we ate lunch and relaxed, he was okay. I never know when Aden’s moodiness will strike and throw a wrench in our plans. Alex was no saint. He was whining and complaining about as much as he was smiling and having fun. Getting Alex to do something he doesn’t want to do is like pulling teeth out of a wild hippo- good luck!

My favorite part of the day was Exploration Island, sort of a spin on Jurassic Park, but here the dinosaurs won’t eat you.146152*Watching Aden point never gets old!

I also loved watching the boys ride rides. Take a look!

Frog Hopper: http://youtu.be/1L22XS11ujo

Wonder Whip: http://youtu.be/Z0dFVBVomTc

Their smiles, excitement- it’s contagious. It makes all the stress worth it. Can’t wait to go back next year!192

I have 5 year-olds!

This year we celebrated a huge milestone, Aden and Alex turned 5! I asked Aden and Alex what they wanted to do for their birthday. They said, “Pump it Up!” We had their 3rd birthdays there and were pleased with how it turned out. Since I was already planning my own fiesta, literally, I had to cut the size of their party. For the first time, Aden and Alex were allowed to invite who they wanted, 5 kids each. This was difficult for me to give up control of the guest list but I guess I should get used to it. After all it’s their party, not mine. The boys are getting into superheroes even though they’ve never even seen one on TV? I guess that’s a boy thing. Their superhero gene has been activated. This made choosing the theme easy. I made superhero capes for the kiddos which turned out really cute. Other than that, I kept everything pretty simple. 023The next day was their actual birthday which also fell on Labor Day weekend. I decided to throw a fiesta themed party complete with pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey and a piñata. My inner party planner came out and I had a blast with this theme. I just wish I could have hired someone to decorate, cook, and clean-up or at least clone myself. Parties are hard work.
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I knew I wanted to go all out this year. It’s been a rollercoaster ride over the past five years. Sometimes I still can’t believe I did it: the schedule, the routines, the lack of sleep, driving to and from therapies multiple times a day, it’s enough to drive anyone crazy. And I might be borderline crazy at this point, but I survived. Those days are over. Early intervention is over. I now have 5 year-olds who are entering kindergarten. What does this is mean for me? It means time to do all the things I haven’t over the past five years. Now that’s something to celebrate! 077

Summer Fun!

Before I begin, I apologize for the leaving my loyal followers without a blog for quite some time. It has been on my list of things to do but something more pressing always trumps it.

So here goes: Summer was a blast! I didn’t want it to end and summer is usually my least favorite season. The scorching heat, relentless mosquitoes, and lack of structure- yeah that about sums it up. Luckily we have amazing neighbors who allow us to use their pool. The boys were able to practice swimming, stay cool, and have fun!250We visited Jillian’s summer group at the playground- the boys participated in Jillian’s group when they were 2-3 years old and it’s always great to go back and see how much progress they’ve made. This year as Jillian tried to teach the class, Alex was front and center asking questions, trying to get her attention. I felt terrible that he was being so disruptive but then I thought there was a time that neither of them participated and I feared they never would. Jillian assured me, this was a good thing.216We visited Aunt Mary Lou who happens to have a community pool and playground you would find at a resort. The boys had a ball!241Thanks to Groupon and Living Social, we have 1-year memberships to the Science Center and Port Discovery, along with our zoo membership. Aden and Alex love digging for dinosaur bones and star-gazing in the planetarium. They are finally at an age that we can enjoy day trips and worry less about eloping or endless tantrums. Even still, I keep a close watch on them and probably always will. It’s not such a bad habit.
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4TH of July was a great. We went to our town’s parade which we haven’t done in years because of the noise. We also went to see fireworks for the first time! Unfortunately they were cut short because of dangerous winds but we’ll be back next year!354Aden and Alex did attend summer school but it didn’t go as planned. Aden sustained a leg injury or maybe growing pains…we never did figure it out! We ended up in the emergency room and he couldn’t put weight on his leg for a few days. Alex didn’t like the idea of Aden staying home. We dealt with major behavior problems outside of school. Alex refused to go into the building. He was on the ground kicking and screaming. It was awful. One day I was so stressed out and emotionally drained, I just took him home. Of course I regretted it but at that moment I couldn’t deal with anything else.465Amidst all the fun, we also made time for work, specifically activities that focused on kindergarten readiness. I purchased workbooks at Sam’s club and each day we worked on a new letter and number. I also purchased books from Lakeshore for tracing letters and numbers.
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Other than that, summer vacation lived up to its name. It was a chance for me to spend time with my boys. Because soon they would be kindergartners and the days of driving to and from therapies and having lunch together would be over. I maximized every day and every moment and gave them the best summer I possibly could. They earned it.008

Final Days at CARD

162Aden and Alex attended their last summer session at CARD, July 7-Aug 14. It was bittersweet going in knowing this would be it. In the past 3 years we’ve experienced good times, bad times, and somewhere in between. When I first began researching Autism, there was always a common theme: the earlier, the better. With early intervention anything is possible. This became my mantra. As each year passed, I knew the gap was closing on us, that the boys would be turning 5 and our time was running out. I was a bit obsessed with this notion. Doing everything I could, stretching myself thin, and giving Aden and Alex every possible opportunity that was available to them. I didn’t stop. I didn’t give up. I didn’t care if people said it was too much or not enough. I did what I thought was best. And it paid off. Aden and Alex and the progress they’ve made are proof that early intervention works.
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Watching Aden and Alex “graduate” and receive their certificates will be a moment I never forget. I wanted to share it with you:

Aden: http://youtu.be/iU5LSu96lL4

Alex: http://youtu.be/IOQF3hqGVXc

Looking back and reading past blogs, I realize just how far we’ve come. Our days at CARD may be over but what we’ve learned has built a foundation and we will continue to build on it for years to come. 107

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