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I want to share with you one of my family’s favorite events to attend every year: The Autism Walk & Expo of the Hudson Valley. We look forward to heading to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds every April for this event! This walk event is super family friendly and it is the biggest annual fundraising event for our local chapter of the Autism Society of America.

I confess this event was one of my favorites before I had kids. I was a board member and the marketing chair for Autism Society Hudson Valley for nearly seven years. I left when I was pregnant with my twins (five years ago, yikes!). But, my heart never let go!

set up

For seven years in a row I helped with all the behind the scenes support to make this event happen. I handled print media, gathered donations, procured the entertainment, stuffed goody bags and set up signs the night before. I loved every second of it. But, you know one thing I didn’t get to do each of those years? Actually participate in the awesome activities happening at the event!

My kids weren’t even a year old when we took them to their first walk event. I remember pushing our giant red, double stroller through the grass and taking everything in for the first time. It is truly an amazing event where families with children living with autism can find support. No one is judging you if your kid can’t be near the loud DJ, or they are having a meltdown because they are over stimulated. In fact, almost every parent attending understands “over stimulated.”

Drums at walk

I may be a tad biased with my past experience, but let me tell you why this is my families favorite event of the year. Not only do my kids have a great time banging on drums, petting the Llamas and jumping in the big bouncy houses, but we get to help a lot of local families who are in need of services and advocacy.

Ribbon cutting

The walk portion of this event is the most important part. Most of the funds raised by registration fees stay right here in the Hudson valley serving our local families. (A small portion goes toward autism research). To register as a team, or as an individual you can download registration form below, or stop by the registration tent upon entering the fairgrounds.

2.29.16 Walk Reg

Autism Society Hudson Valley provides grants for persons with the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), or a parent, a professional or caregiver working with a person with ASD. Grants can be used for a variety of reasons; including but not limited to, health & safety concerns, therapies, social skills classes or recreational activities. (These grants WILL NOT cover daily living expenses or household bills). For more details you can download the grant application form below. The Autism Society Hudson Valley also brings guest speakers and conferences locally for parents and educators.

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The Expo portion gathers local service agencies under one big info tent. This makes it convenient for parents to walk through and pick up information about an agency, or talk with an employee representative. To keep the kiddos entertained there is usually a bouncy house, sand art, drum time, karate demonstrations and a little fair with activities. Specific activities may change each year, but there is usually plenty of fun for everyone!

This event takes place rain or shine, so be prepared to bring appropriate gear. You can always duck into the grand stands if necessary. The walk happens along the track and strollers are allowed, but no skate boards, bikes or scooters. Food for purchase is available, but breakfast is typically served in the morning at no charge and a few snacks and bottled water is available too. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. You won’t want to miss the traditional ribbon cutting ceremony and countdown to walk start! Walk begins at 10:30 a.m. It is a 1-2 mile walk around the track.

As you take your lap around the track, be sure to take a moment and look behind you. Experiencing that sea of compassionate walkers and volunteers moving together to make a positive change for families living with autism is breath taking. I guarantee you will need a Kleenex!

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here. You can also find her musings and popular shares on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Finished bottles.

Sensory bottle fun!

 

By now you have all found these sensory bottles on Pintrest, random Facebook posts or even in a family magazine. I was dying to try them out. Not only am I dying to try them out, I also promised my friend Amanda I would make these for a blog. So,here ya go Amanda!

Here is what you need:

Materials all found at the dollar store.

Materials all found at the dollar store.

Water Bottle

Karo Syrup

Warm water

Super glue

Under the Sea theme:

Spiky rubber balls (sea urchins)

Sea shells

Green glitter (for sea weed)

Outer Space theme:

Jax with rubber bouncy balls (swirly ones look like planets)

Silver glitter

 

Start by pouring the Karo syrup into empty water bottle. An easy task for little hands.

Pour Karo syrup into empty water bottle.

Pour Karo syrup into empty water bottle.

 

Next, add in all of the themed items and fill the bottle with warm water. Add in glitter and replace cap. Shake vigorously. Before you glue the cap on, double check if you have plenty of glitter (can you really have too much?) and that everything is incorporating (no clumping).

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Add in the Jax for stars.

 

Add sea urchins

Add sea urchins

Remove the cap and apply crazy glue in a zig-zag fashion across the threads of the top of the bottle. This will ensure a water proof seal between each thread. Replace cap and tighten. If you do not have crazy glue a hot glue gun works too. You just need to use a glue that is not water soluble and dries quickly.

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Secure the top with crazy glue to avoid leaking.

 

Here are the finished bottles. Just note that once the spiraling settles, the objects and the glitter will float to the top. The kids will love shaking them up all over again!

Sensory bottle fun.

Sensory bottle fun.

This is easy enough for an almost four year old to make with help. My girls really enjoyed making them! I have them available to play with while I am trying to get the dishes done, or get dinner finished. It’s also a great take a long in the car.

Have you made a sensory bottle before? I’d love to see a pic posted in the comments section below!

 

Welcome to Week 3 of the No Frills version of The Whatever Mom! Hope you are enjoying my personal insights into this parenting gig!

 

We had the luxury of going to dinner at two different restaurants this weekend. We are lucky if we eat as a family at a restaurant two times in the same year. This was pretty exciting for all of us. I am not ashamed of the dance of joy I did when my food arrived… food I didn’t have to plan for, shop for or cook! I was even more delighted that I didn’t have to wash the dishes after our meal either. And, this happened TWO DAYS IN A ROW!! If you’re a mom you know the joy of which I speak.

You may be shocked to learn that dining with little ones is not always a relaxing experience. I have to say I am pretty proud of the way my kids behaved and we didn’t even have to bribe them! We reviewed the rules with them before entering and again once we were seated.  Hubby and I were so excited to be out among the living! (I even wore make up and left the frumpy pants at home! I was that excited!). My excitement, however, was dampened when we were seated near a woman who was clearly annoyed by my child’s enthusiasm for being out in a restaurant.

My girl wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary for a 4-year old (I was actually feeling really grateful for that!). But, nonetheless this woman is shooting me looks and glaring at me as if to send the message “do something about your kid.” At first I felt like I needed to rush in and appease this woman’s expectations for my child to be seen and not heard. I felt like I needed to apologize for her discomfort sitting near a small child. Then I realized it isn’t fair to punish my child when she really wasn’t doing anything rude, or breaking any rules.

I shared last week my kids can have terrible tantrums in public, but they can also be really good in public! No, really! I felt like we were having a good night and my kids were being charming. So, why all the scrutiny from this onlooker? Is there truly NO place for parents to go without being watched and quietly critiqued? My emotions took several twists and turns as we ate our meal and I felt the burning gaze from this woman. Here are the cliff notes of my inner monologue:

I will not apologize for who my children are. Both of my girls are talkative little story tellers full of excitement and energy. I will not expect them to stop talking because it is bothering someone else to hear them. Although most mornings I’m wishing for a pause button on their conversations while I finish my coffee. Only because they wake up like this and its hard to fain interest so early in the day. I could have shushed my child for talking too much, but it wasn’t bothering anyone else except this one person. I was raised in an environment where children were to be seen and not heard. It didn’t stop me from talking. In fact, I think that’s why I talk to every single person I meet because I was rarely allowed to share my thoughts. (And now I have all of you!). I ran through the check list of things in my head: my girls wasn’t shrieking, jumping, yelling, kicking, running or throwing things. She was just being bubbly, chatty and a little wiggly (in all fairness so was I). That’s who she is as a person. I will not ask my daughter to squelch that so someone else can feel better for the 1 hour of their life they have to sit near her.

I will not feel guilty for having spirited children. It is amazing how other people’s glares or judging stares can make us immediately feel guilty. It can make us feel like we have already failed as a parent just walking in the door. I am not entirely sure where this pressure comes from, but I often find it stopping me in my tracks. I want my children to be perceived as the beautiful little people they are. Trust me, they are NOT without faults (hence the reason this blog is not titled,Damn Right My Twins Are Better Than Yours!). My children love to be fully engaged in what’s happening around them. They will soak in all the details and discuss them and ask a ton of questions about them. They notice details like the ceiling fans are not moving and want to know why. They’ll notice every last do not smoke sign, point them out and then count them.  They notice there are two forks on the table and ask why and then rearrange them in an order they like best. It’s just who they are. Again, no one’s throwing knives or running across tables here. It can be completely exhausting to get through a meal with this intensive Q&A (I almost always finish my wine before my meal). But, my child wasn’t asking this person 1,000 questions. So what am I really feeling guilty about here?

I will not explain my children to other people so that they are more comfortable. During this trip we also met up with family. We had to skip out right after our meal to get on the road and  make the 3 hour drive back home. Oh how I wish we could have stayed longer and really soaked up the extra time with everyone. But, I could see how hard my kids worked to get through the last 2 hours in a restaurant, after they worked hard to get through the 1.5 hours at church after not getting nearly enough sleep the night before. I knew in my mother’s heart I could not push them a minute longer let alone another 2 hours of socializing. I spoke with my husband who agreed we should take this opportunity to exit. Not everyone understood why we were leaving. I really wanted to explain that I was saving them (and myself) the torture of a one hour shrieking meltdown once my kids had reached their max. I wanted to explain how Sensory Processing Disorder works; how I am the expert in my kids and I know what’s best for them. I wanted to explain that the last two years of extreme meltdowns has taught me how to recognize when my kids are going to blow. I didn’t explain anything. They just observed my kids being awesome, why can’t we just leave it at that?

On this Whatever journey of mine, I am learning to let a lot go. That includes the pressure from strangers to guide my children in a way that makes THEM comfortable. I have to spend 24/7 with these little people. I also have to make sure they grow up to be productive members of society. I can’t cave under the pressure from outsiders and adjust my parenting style according to the standards of every stranger annoyed by my kids. I have bigger things to worry about in life; like making sure my kids aren’t throwing knives and jumping over tables.

I wanted to be angry and for a second that mama bear in me started to imagine ripping this woman’s face off. But, instead of getting angry (or removing body parts) I gave her a little tip of my glass and said, Whatever!

 

I am having bumper stickers of this one made.

Have you ever had a situation where you felt you wanted to defend your child to a stranger?

 

Last week, fellow blogger Discount Diva gave out medals to moms with children who throw tantrums. As a mom of two children with epic tantrums I am not looking for a medal, just simple understanding and space to be a parent. Let me take you through a recent experience and break down for you what I, the parent, was thinking and feeling.

The library is one of our favorite places to go. It is rare  my girls have an epic melt down there; maybe a little whining if they are not ready to leave. I usually remind them we can always come back and they’ll move on. So, I was at a complete loss as to why my one daughter went nuclear while we were at the library a few weeks ago. She knew it was time to leave and she was ready to go. We stepped into the bathroom to change her since she had an accident that soaked through her pants. As I tried to take her shoes off so I could change her she started getting whiny. This is where I start taking deep breaths because things could go either way here. She can continue to simply whine or start to completely wail. I changed her and asked her to wash her hands. Something happened from the time the paper towel hit the garbage can to the second she stepped outside the bathroom (I still have no clue what it was). She was on the floor flopping, kicking and SCREAMING. A high pitched, ear shaking scream. The kind that causes mass panic that a child is being abducted. Now here is where experts diverge. One group advises you not to react. Just keep the “demand” on her and expect that she will change her behavior. The other group advises to stop what you are doing and get down on the floor and hold your child. I have both experts arguing inside my head. I have another child in tow and I am carrying several bags packed full of kid gear who do I focus on first? I go from taking deep breaths to survival mode in only a second. It’s fight or flight and I’m looking to flee to the next open door!

There is no end to the screaming. No amount of gentle tones or soothing hugs is getting this kid to move. As we inch slowly to the door she’s screaming, “No! No! No! I don’t want to go out the door! I don’t want to go home! I don’t want to leave this place.” I start preparing my response to the CPS worker who will be greeting me when I get home. I try to muscle her through and tell her this is NOT OK. You NEED to get up and walk to the car NOW! I can feel my temperature rise and my heart beat escalate. Nothing is working and as we make our way out the door she’s screaming, “pick me up! carry me!!”

My mind is now a blurry fuzz of options: 1. I can walk away and leave her there- except we are on a busy corner with heavy traffic. 2. I could attempt to (painfully) carry everyone up the hill. 3. Just flop on the ground myself and start screaming. 4. Remain calm and drag her.  I went with #4 and I keep my focus on just making it to the car. My mind is split between just taking baby steps toward the car and praying the other kid continues to be cooperative. If they both melt down at the same time I have no choice but to just plop down with them for one hell of a cry. Not even a good cry.

That’s when “Super Grandma” jumps in with her two cents. “My grand kids act like that I just step over them.” Oh, ha ha … yes I already thought of leaving my volcanic child here on the corner of a busy street while I walk to my car 10 cars away. I smile, nod, ignore her remark and keep walking. Then I heard the words, “just a bad kid.” I swear I could feel my hair catch fire. If I wasn’t so focused on keeping it all together I would have turned around and verbally blasted this woman.

A child having a tantrum (even in public) is only a small snapshot of their day. We don’t see the bigger picture of their day. What grandma failed to recognize is how hard I was working to keep it together and not flipping out on my kid in public. She also doesn’t know about the many sleepless nights I spend wracking my brain trying to figure out what I am doing wrong as a parent, or how I beat myself up because I’m failing at this parenting gig. Lady, I can assure you this is no cake walk for me. I do not enjoy, or ignore the fact my child can’t control her own emotions yet. It is actually painful for me to watch and feel powerless.

This day it was only one kid melting down. I have experienced tandem tantrums. (That’s where both kids melt down at the SAME TIME in PUBLIC. Usually when we need to get some place on time). I have heard a lot of hurtful remarks, “there’s something wrong with your kid!” “My kids would NEVER act that way.” “You’re kids are hyper.” “Good luck with that one.” “Her behavior is over the top.” “How do you put up with that?” “She’ll NEVER learn to cope with the real world.” These comments have come from teachers, strangers and even friends and family. They are all hurtful and none of them help me resolve the issue. They all feel like an F on my parenting report card. It’s hard to not look at my kids and think, “why can’t you just be like all the other kids?”

I have learned to deflect those comments by reminding myself how beautiful my girls are. The way their smile lights up a room, how they can be absolutely charming and how incredibly smart they are. I try to remind myself that they are still learning to navigate how the world works and their place in it. It is my job to teach them how to cope and how to identify boundaries. In those moments when I am under fire by other parents (and grand parents), it is MY responsibility to role model for my girls how to handle adversity. How I respond to those comments is going to teach my children how to respond to those same personalities when they are adults. Kids aren’t going to have it right the first time around. It takes practice and it takes repetition. My kids may not fit into any one size fits all check box and that’s a good thing. I have been called “persistent” “bossy” and “defiant” too. It is those traits that have made me the most successful in life.

So Super Grandma, go ahead and make your judgments when you see my kid melt down in public. You can assume the worst of me as a parent. But, keep it to yourself. If you really want to help give me a thumbs up, tell me it only lasts a short time and maybe offer to hold my bags while I walk my kids to the car. If you can’t do any of those things then please follow this protocol:  take your right hand out of your pocket, place it over your mouth and keep walking.

To my friends and family, before you quickly judge that mom at the store who is just loosing it on her tantruming child, or you see her trying to wrestle her kid into a car seat while the kid is kicking her in the face, just think she isn’t enjoying this moment. Remember you don’t have the whole picture. This is one small peek into their day and is not an accurate reflection of this persons parenting style. It’s easy to forget that, so I offer up the same protocol listed above.

I rarely share how hard it is to have twins because I don’t want anyone to think I am looking for sympathy. Motherhood is just hard no matter the cards you are dealt. With twins, most people assume one twin is “easy going” and the other is “difficult.” I am blessed with two formidable little ones even Hercules would bow to.

My Netflix subscription has just been validated with the addition of all 7 seasons of the show Californication. While the show is not for kids, my point will be. The story is set around a self-loathing writer named Hank Moody played by David Duchovny. Hank is an alcoholic, sometimes drug addict, sex addict who is trying to repair his relationship with his daughter and her mother. I’m not going to review the show (though I highly recommend it), but it had me thinking. This character has so many issues, but the one thing that he holds above all is his relationship with his daughter.

I have been blessed with 3 awesome boys. They are funny, entertaining, and I feel lost without them around. I think about them constantly. There are times I come home and they can’t wait to tell me what’s on their mind and there are days they won’t say hello for hours. They each take turns playing the role of my wing man.They are all alike, but yet could not be any more different.

The one thing they don’t give me is that look a daughter will give. That look I see on this TV show from a young girl who loves her father so much despite all his indiscretions. I have a feeling that in real life, the relationship flips when the kids get older, but by then, you miss some key bonding years. When they want something, they ask their mother. I am always the second person they want to talk to about their day. My niece travels to Pittsburgh with my brother to see the Steelers play every year. I take my boys to a Yankees game and they keep asking me why mom didn’t come!

I love my boys more than anything, but once in a while, it would be nice to be looked at through the eyes of a daughter.

So…Is this all in my head or is there some truth to the different relationships we have with our children?

My son Luke will be turning 11 this week. I started this blog a year ago and have found it somewhat therapeutic sharing my thoughts where he has been the nucleus.
I just sent a text message to Luke that I will share with you, and then I’ll explain. The message was “Morning Luke! Remind me that I have to talk to you later ok? I love you”.

Couple of points:
• From a grammatical perspective, this message is flawed
• The fact I am texting my son to remind me to tell him something when I see him is a flawed action
• The biggest flaw? My soon to be 11 year old will not be able to read this text until his 8 year old brother makes him aware of it.

Like most people who decide to have children, our lives changed dramatically when we had Luke. It will change many times over in that timeframe, and most days, I got it all covered. There are some days, like today, that I do not. We have seen Shane outgrow Luke to an extent. It was tough to accept. Yesterday, the beginnings of that scenario reoccurring took place.
Luke and Cole have been a team all year. Cole looks up to Luke like a little brother should. Every night after dinner Shane and I shoot the basketball around in the driveway. We ask Luke and Cole, but they usually say no. Recently, Cole has been showing an interest in basketball and when he opted for dribbling in the driveway instead of playing “Slugterra” with Luke, the look of confusion on Luke’s face was then tattooed on my brain. So much so, that I am thinking about it 16 hours later.

I think I have come up with a remedy. I will take Luke’s imagination and rekindle mine. I used to love playing out scenario’s from my favorite television shows when I was kid. Whether it was the Dukes of Hazzard, Star Wars or G.I Joe, my mind was always going. That might be the best birthday present I can give him.

My advice to anyone who will listen. Life is full of flaws. Hell, I am severely flawed! Don’t get wrapped up in what you think should be happening and enjoy what is actually taking place.
I spend so much time thinking of ways to change or fix Luke when I should be devoting that time to how Luke is going to fix me.

To anyone who is reading this. Thanks for reading the last year and thanks for listening.

My company recently acknowledged my volunteer efforts with Beautiful People and rewarded me with tickets to a Yankees game in their Luxury Suite. A great gesture on their part yes, but I’m not sure the word “volunteer” really fits my situation. I mean what’s my other option? Sit around and not have Luke participate in anything? I’m kind of just being a dad so Luke could just be a kid.

I was a little nervous about taking the boys to the Bronx without my crutch that is my wife, but figured how hard could it be? We’re in a suite, so the kids are contained. Any father would agree that the toughest part about taking your kids to a sporting venue is the disgusting bathrooms, so that was covered with a private facility. We figured out what I will call the fastballs (Luke’s medication, snacks for the car ride), what I didn’t count on was the curve balls that were thrown my way.

Possibly the last time we see Derek Jeter

Possibly the last time we see Derek Jeter

 Mickey Rivers signing for the boys

Mickey Rivers signing for the boys

First Pitch, Curve –
The walk from the car to the Stadium – simple math, I have two hands and three kids. I constantly say my children are lacking the street sense that I grew up with in Queens. It was nice that they did not see a difference in walking on River Ave as opposed to my quiet street in Warwick, but it was really bad that they did not see a difference! I would eventually round everyone up and make it to the game safely.

Second Pitch, Curve –
Luke’s food allergies – this is an area that my wife usually handles. Whether it’s cooking at home or eating out, she has it covered. The suite we were at had all the food you can eat, but unfortunately it had NOTHING Luke can eat. Thanks to a very concerned suite attendant, he managed to get me three sliders, no buns, for Luke. It took me 3 innings to take care of this, but all was good once the burgers arrived.

with Mickey Rivers

with Mickey Rivers

Third Pitch, Fastball (over the plate)
My time with my boys – My overall experience would be sent to deep center, over the wall. We never get to go to a baseball game. I haven’t been to the new Yankee Stadium prior to this. My company took care of me the way I took care of my kids. It was a late night, but one that doesn’t happen often.
When I grew up, I was ten minutes from Yankee Stadium and five minutes from Shea. To say we were at either stadium twice a month is not blowing smoke, it was just so easy to do and we did it. We don’t have that luxury now or the time, but appreciate the times like this.

As an added bonus, we got to hang out with former Yankees centerfielder Mickey Rivers, who after 2 minutes my boys were talking to him like he was part of my family. We then said our goodbyes to Derek Jeter.

So on a night where I was outnumbered 3 to 1, I think I prevailed as the hero. From Shane’s face of astonishment when he first saw the size of a Major League ball field, to Luke chanting DEREK JETER! To Cole’s fascination with Mickey Rivers’ gold tooth with the star on it, it was a night to remember.

I have spoken plenty of times about the organization Beautiful People -Adaptive Sports League for Children with Disabilities. Since we’ve been a part of it, the discussion of wanting our own sports park has been a hot topic. I am hearing we are closer to having that.
For those who don’t know, we currently play baseball on fields in the town of Wallkill, Soccer at Middletown HS and Basketball at the Goshen BOCES center. Sounds like a lot of driving right? In addition, there are “fill in” events such as Bowling in Walden, wiffle ball in Chester and Track & Field in Middletown. Many of these Beautiful People families are in the same situation as we are. Multiple children involved in multiple activities at the same time of these Beautiful People events.
All the buzz about us finding our own property is great, but it had me thinking, why is this so difficult? Every day I stare at this bracelet I have in honor of Daniel Fratto. on the bracelt is a favorite saying of Daniel’s, “How hard can it be”? I live in Orange County and I do love the open land, the minimal traffic and rolling hills, but it’s not all a “Sound of Music” type of setting. There is plenty of land that is literally doing nothing. There are run down barns and inactive farms that are an upstate version of an eye sore. Why not build a park that is just for these kids who have to go through so much? A place for our families to call our own and not worry about time limits. We could have concession stands, where, like when I was kid, we could give jobs and responsibilities to those with special needs who might not get that opportunity elsewhere. Little things that most wouldn’t even think about would mean the world to these kids.
With all the camps, gym time and practices most of us have access to throughout the year, we tend to take it all for granted. I am one of those people. BUT…I am also one of those parents who are part of the struggle as well and that part of me thinks the system blows.

In the movie Field of Dreams, Ray Kinsella builds a ball field right through his corn field. Despite his financial situation, he does it for the love of the game (and because of voices he was hearing). His reward? He gets to have a catch with his dad. Well, in this movie, I am the dad. I just want to have a catch with my son. On his own field.

FMD-Field-of-Dreams

For more on Beautiful People please visit http://www.beautiful-people.us/

So my son Luke just wrapped up his final year at the Boces Satellite in Warwick.

I think it was the songwriter Dan Wilson who sang, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”.

This is the end of Luke’s 5-year run in this building. A building where he came into his own, made some friends and met some wonderful teacher’s and aides. I wanted to use this platform to say a special thank you to everyone who has been involved with not just his educational development, but also those who played a role in the boy he has become.

Luke with his Principle's Award

Luke with his Principal’s Award


All of this starts at home, but he is in school for most of the week and it’s so important that what we practice at home translates elsewhere and continues when he is in the care of others.

The end of the year awards ceremony is always a tear-fest for us. I kind of relate it to fighting a strategic boxer:

• From the get go you get jabbed at (you can feel the tears forming.
• A couple of songs go by, awards are given out one class at a time (you feel those tears rolling down your face)
• If you’re not crying yet, you will once the school year is wrapped up with a slide show presentation (Wham! Knock out blow and your balling)

This year we got a special surprise. Luke was awarded the Principal’s Award. My wife and I were not ready for this. Sure we have seen improvements with Luke, but to see his achievements recognized at school was something special.

The inscription on the certificate is as follows:
“Because of you our school is a better place to learn. You have proven to me by your actions that one person can make a difference. I applaud you for what you have accomplished and look forward to hearing even more great things about you in the future.”

I hope he looks at the end of this chapter with excitement and ambition to begin the next.

Happy Father’s Day to the other dads out there! I will leave you with my favorite father related quote:
“My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, “You’re tearing up the grass”; “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply. “We’re raising boys” – Harmon Killibrew

Sunday we will celebrate Father’s day. My husband Mike and Sara have been planning their day for a while. Both of them decided they do not want to go to a fancy restaurant, no breakfast in bed,or other boring, typical, Mother’s Day activities. They have a great relationship that is very very different than the one I have with Sara. They want to go on their own adventure which usually means they want to fish at the brook by our house. Sara has been fishing with my husband since she was in a stroller.  Dad takes her to pick up her fishing license every year. This particular year they came home with more than the fishing license. Sara bought a pair of wading boots and a fishing vest. When I asked her why she bought this extra fishing gear, Sara stated, “I want to look like Dad”.  Oh my gosh…… this would not be a good thing. My husband only wears jeans, t shirts, and is dress code stuck in l977….. I am letting it slide though because it is a great form of flattery when Sara wants to emulate her Dad. She loves to “work” with him on the cars, make home repairs, anything that he is doing is fine with her. Mike is great at fishing, he is great at fixing cars, he is great at telling a joke and Sara looks up to him. So yes, dress like your father, wear your waders and have a cool fishing vest.

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If Sunday is like their other fish adventures it will start at the top of our steep hill. They will spy the ground to see animal prints and determine which animals have been in the area. If they are lucky they might spot some of their favorite animals that they have sighted- deer, turkeys, a river otter, bunnies, a red fox,  and my favorite the Great Blue Heron. If we see the Heron we know we are in the good fishing spot because Heron’s are such great fishing birds. If we had enough rain that means you need your waders to get to the island, the best of the best fishing on the Moodna Creek. Mike’s maternal side will click in and Sara will have a hat for the sun, sunscreen, bug spray , bandaids just in case and plenty of cold water. Mike will lug a folding chair for his princess in case she gets tired and doesn’t want to sit down in the muddy banks. They will look for Indian arrowheads, and focus on how healthy the Moodna looks, and speak about pollution and protecting the wildlife. A simple day, but so much to enjoy , their time together , very very special. Hope your family has a special Father’s day too. Lisa Bock

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