Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Misfit pictures

I was looking over pictures I took from the month of August. Most of them were already posted because  they fit in a blog post of similar pictures (like Dallin's first day of school), but some of the pictures stood alone, misfit pictures, not really requiring an entire post of their own, but still worth seeing.

Like the day I looked out into our front yard and saw about 30 geese on our grass. 
 They were just hanging out, slowly making their way across to the neighbor's yard. This particular gaggle of geese lives near a pond about a mile away. They have their own "Geese crossing" sign and are known for making motorists angry as they take their dear sweet time crossing the four lane road. I'm still trying to figure out why they came all the way over to our house.
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We went to the pool a few times this summer. One trip was with Dallin's friend Kendal and her family.
Those two have such a fun time together.
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My aunt had a birthday, and since we couldn't be in Utah to celebrate with her, we sent her a picture of the boys wishing her a Happy Birthday. I wanted to share these pictures because I love their facial expressions.
First try on taking the picture: Connor totally got it, but Dallin was still trying to figure out what the picture frame was for.

We got a good shot after a few tries. 
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Dallin had a play date that required me shuttling his friend to and from our house. Of course, I had to take my two boys along in the car, so we fit all three of them with car seats on the back seat.
It was a VERY snug fit and I wouldn't feel comfortable driving a long distance on a highway the way they were strapped in, but for 5 minutes on side streets they were fine. In the future when we have a third child, we might need to upgrade to a bigger vehicle. Or find really narrow car seats.
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Connor is tall enough (and has enough stability) to jump on our kid trampoline and hold onto the bar. Dallin couldn't stand to see Connor get all the spotlight, so he had to "jump" in.
video
I love hearing these boys laugh together.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Back to School

School for Dallin started again this week. He is going to the same Preschool program for delayed children, but this year he is in a different class at a new school building. There was an open house the day before school started. We knew that the new school was further from home than before, but it didn't really hit me until we made the 20 minute drive, most of it through farms and corn fields. Literally, there is nothing but corn for miles around, then the school, then more corn.

Dallin had so much fun seeing his new classroom. We met his new teacher. He got to play with his friend Kendal.
 She also has Williams Syndrome. They were in the same preschool class last year, they did the walk for WS  together in the summer, and now they get to be in the same class again. He also knows a girl from church in the same class. He's pretty popular with the ladies.

The next day he was up early at 6:30am. I think he could sense something exciting was going to happen. I got him all dressed and ready. He was really excited to see his backpack again.
 His preschool class before was in the afternoon. This year he is going in the morning. The bus picks him up at 8:15am to get to school by 9am.

While we were outside waiting for the bus, we could see the rest of the neighborhood kids waiting at the corner for the elementary school bus. Dallin was excited when he saw their bus pull up, but we told him it wasn't for him. Then we saw his bus coming around the corner a few minutes later. This was his reaction:
video
(Please ignore the loud train in the background)

I think at first he was still doubting that the bus was for him. It wasn't until it stopped right in front of our house and opened the doors that he got really excited and starting jumping and cheering. If only he had done that on camera...

At first, I was a little worried about having him up, fed, dressed, and ready for school by 8, but we've done really well with our time in the mornings. It helps that I made this chart to remind us of what needs to be done in the morning before school. I got the idea from this post at the IHeart Organizing blog. I made a chart that more specifically meets Dallin's schedule.
There is a similar chart for bedtime as well. I like that it has images along with the words, so even though Dallin can't read, he can recognize the pictures and know what needs to be done next. This will help his independence and make him a little more accountable. I also like that it helps me remember to give Dallin his blood pressure medication each morning. He's been on it for 2 years now and all of a sudden I keep forgetting it in the mornings. And we won't mention the time I accidentally tried to give the medicine to Connor, and I couldn't figure out why he wouldn't let me put the dropper in his mouth.... I might be losing it. I've been good about Dallin's medicine this week though!

He's only had 3 days of school so far, but I can already see him talking more and being more independent. Sometimes I feel a little guilty that I'm sending him off for someone else to teach him things I could be doing. But his teachers are really great and he's getting therapy and so much more than I could do at home. And it gives me a little more time alone with Connor. I just realized that Connor is 10 months now and is picking up a lot of things quickly (like waving bye-bye, clapping, saying ma). It's the perfect time to be working with him and teaching him new things.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mom and Dad Easton Part 2

On Wednesday we decided to go to the outdoor Wolf sanctuary.  We planned to get lunch in the nearby town of Battle Ground, IN. We knew it was a small town, but we thought surely they would have a few restaurants to choose from. There were exactly two restaurants in this one stop sign town: a pizza place open only for dinner and "The Eye Opener Cafe."
I bet they get quite a bit of business being the only place to eat during lunch.
 It was traditional diner food and we were pleasantly surprised to find it tasted pretty good.

We went on to the Wolf Park.
The staff had just finished eating some pizzas, and I guess they usually throw remaining crusts and pizza boxes into the wolf pen for them to eat. One wolf got to the two boxes before all the others did. He peed on one box and then ran off with the other.
 
 He did NOT want to share his pizza.

 They took us on a little tour of the place and described what they do with the wolves, research, etc.
It was possibly the hottest day of the year, so we were really sweaty and exhausted. As we walked around the huge wolf enclosure, they kept throwing big blocks of ice into the wolf pen so the wolves could have a cool treat. They never once offered me a cool beverage...

We couldn't take the heat much longer, so we decided swimming was next on the itinerary. The pool is 1/2 a mile from our house, so Mckay took the boys over in the bike trailer.
 Dallin was so excited.


Connor was hesitant in the water at first, but as long as I held him close (instead of trying to make him sit alone in the water), he was just fine.
Eventually, he was comfortable enough to play by himself on the little sprinkler/splash pad.
 
And Dallin was in heaven the whole time.

Back home for dinner that night, Connor was making the funniest faces at us. He kept squinting his eyes, smiling and laughing. 

Thursday we went up north to the Sand Dunes on the shore of Lake Michigan. Along the way, we stopped at Albanese Candy Factory.
I now fully understand the expression: "like a kid in a candy store." Dallin's eyes got so big when we walked in. He was running around wanting to touch everything, and he doesn't even like candy. It was the excitement of lots of brightly colored small items in containers, all at his eye level.
He grabbed a shopping basket and began to fill it.
We just let him do his thing because it made him so happy and he filled the entire basket. When he walked away from it for one second, Mckay ran off with the basket and put all the candy back. 

At the Sand Dunes, we got the kids all strapped in and ready for a short hike.

The sand dunes are blown about 4 feet inland every year, and these tall trees are gradually being buried.
We hiked to the top of Mt. Baldy, the largest sand dune, and then back down to the beach.

Dallin loved playing in the sand.

Connor loved eating the sand.
He wasn't as scared of the waves as he was in California, but he still got nervous when the water reached him.
I loved his crawl on hands and toes so his knees didn't touch the sand.

Dallin tried to imitate it.

Mckay and his Dad had a rock skipping competition.

We got back to Lafayette and stopped for dinner at Steak and Shake.
Mckay's mom LOVES Steak and Shake. She ate there for the first time when they came to St. Louis for our wedding, and now she has to eat there every time she visits us.
They just built one in Colorado though, so I hope that doesn't mean they'll visit us less often now. We really loved having them stay with us.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Mom and Dad Easton Visit

Mckay's parents came to visit us from Colorado. We love having visitors.

They slept in Connor's room and he didn't mind being kicked out. But he would still crawl into his room every morning and climb on Grandma and Grandpa until they put him in his jumping seat.

We showed them the sights in our little city.


First we had lunch at Qdoba. Dallin was playing around with our trays.
 Maybe he was trying a Princess Leia look?

Then Mckay went to a meeting while we walked around the city for a bit. It was a sunny day so Dallin needed sunglasses and a hat.
 This hat belongs to his great Grandpa Easton, and he sure loved wearing it.

We walked on the pedestrian bridge that goes over the Wabash River.

Then we met Mckay at his favorite book store just off campus.
It's a small local business and they have rows and rows and rows of books, new and used. Mckay probably stops by 3 times a week on his way home from school each day. He might have a small book addiction...

Dallin and Grandma found a chair where they got cozy.


 The next day we went to the Indianapolis Children's Museum. We've heard many times about how wonderful it is, but had never actually made a trip there until now.  I left the diaper bag at home, so we were without diapers, snacks and the camera all day. Good thing I packed our lunches in a separate bag. Luckily, Mom Easton had her camera with her and took these pictures, which is why is why I'm actually in some of them.

Dallin hit the ground running as soon as we got inside.
 There were so many exciting things, he did not want to wait while we bought tickets.

He went on a dino dig.

And dressed up like a pirate.

Connor got to be one of the terracotta warriors.

There was a Lego exhibit. Dallin spent a loooong time there.
 He mostly went from table to table gathering up Legos and taking apart other people's deserted structures.

Mckay got to clean up the path of Legos left behind.

Mckay probably had as much fun with the Legos as Dallin.

It took him a while to build this.

we finally moved on from the Legos and Dallin shoveled mulch for a bit.
 It's amazing how willing children are to do work if they think they're playing.

 There was still plenty more to see at the Children's Museum but we ran out of time. We'll just have to visit again next time someone comes to visit. Who wants to join us?

I'm not sure which is worse: forgetting your camera, or thinking you forgot your camera when it was really sitting in the car in the parking lot the whole time. DANG!

Exhausted from playing all day and not wanting to make dinner, we went to Applebee's. Connor wanted to sit in the booth and eat fries like a big boy.

And Dallin wanted to sit on his Dad's lap like a little boy.

It was so nice to have them visit, whether we were sight seeing or hanging out at home.

More pictures to come from their trip...