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Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Year of Sports

This year I am determined to introduce the boys to sporting events. 
We live so close to Indianapolis and in a city that has a lot of great sports teams and events.
While they like to play some sports, they are not really into sports.

READING is their thing.

Brennan's 8th birthday. 
They couldn't finish opening the gifts because the first one was a book and they stalled.

 When I ask them where they want to go in town on a free afternoon, the list always includes our local library.

Here they are at the NY Public Library, making themselves at home.

And if they aren't reading, it's because we've let them play with their DS's.
Airport, returning from NYC this summer

They have tried out most of the park and rec sports over the years. 
Last year though I asked them to both pick their sport and we'll stick with that throughout the year. 
 Brennan picked swimming and Thomas chose tennis.  Awesome!

I asked in the car the other day if they knew any famous swimmers or tennis players.
LeBron James?  Uh, no.  He's a basketball player.
John McCain?  Clearly, we have work to do.

So, whether we all like it or not we are embarking on a Year of Sports where we attend local sporting events and get a flavor for what it's like to be a sports fan.

On Thursday we went to a high school tennis tourney.
One of the local schools was playing their big rival.

This may not look like a rabid fan to you - but the fact that he was up getting a closer view of the really good players was awesome. 
And he didn't even ask if he could take a book!

We stayed about an hour and I asked for some feedback.
His first comment was "I really need to work on my serve with Dad on Saturday." 
Well, alright!

And last night we went with friends to see our two local high schools battle it out on the football field, on ESPNU, no less! 
One of our teams' quarterbacks was rated #2 in the nation so ESPNU came to broadcast the game. 
We have talked for years about taking the boys to a local high school football game. 
Last night was a terrific first experience.

We moms and kids arrived early because they were expecting a massive crowd.
Brennan enjoyed watching the cheerleaders and getting some special attention.

The dads arrived and the game got underway.
Tons of school spirit. 
We don't have a real allegiance yet to either of the high schools but it was fun to see the local rivalry.

And serious team spirit!

Frat boy in the making.

Thomas especially loved the football game. 
He hung out with his friends, loved the food and the activity. 
He'd love to do it again, I'm sure.
Fun Night!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Y'all Come Eat!

I've launched my new blog today!
I hope you'll consider Following Me at http://www.yallcomeeat.com/
I'll be sharing my favorite recipes along with 5x7 recipe cards that you can print out.

A huge thank you to Jill @ Sneaky Momma Blog Design for her assistance.  I couldn't have done it without her - and I mean it!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wine Club - Sauvignon Blancs

Another wonderful evening with our wine club on Saturday night.
This is a fantastic group of people we've pulled together.
It's one of my favorite events each month!

This month Mike & Mary hosted us and we sampled Sauvignon Blancs.

Mary is an amazing cook - I've shared her blog with you before.  Check it out here!
The table was set up with absolutely delicious treats.

We all loved the soup (in large shot glasses!)
I am looking forward to trying out the recipe for my family and sharing it with you.

Mike did a great job on the cheese plate!
I'm not sure I'd tried Ballyshannon before but I loved it.  Light and creamy.

The weather cooperated beautifully.
We enjoyed sitting outdoors when we started the wine tasting.
A plus was that .38 Special was playing at a nearby park.
We were able to hear them in the background.

Mary grows a lot of vegetables and herbs.
Check out her tomato plants!

Everyone had a fun time catching up.
Jan, Charlie, and Jayne

Jeff, Karen, Dave, & Rosann

Vinita and Ginger
 Beans entertained us all 

The desserts were delicious - red velvet cupcakes and mini cheesecakes.

Oh, right - the wines!
Sauvignon Blanc was a great choice for a light, summery wine out by the pool.
Our top 3 winners, from left to right, were:

John and Ginger were the big winners with the Kendall Jackson (what a surprise that it was the winner!) 

A beautiful summer evening with friends!

Winner of "Sunrise in the Cloud Forest"

~Lavender Dreamer~
at her fun blog ~Lavender Dreams~

Please email me your contact information and I'll get the book in the mail this week!
And thanks to everyone for linking up this month!
See you here on September 20th!

Friday, August 19, 2011

What We're Reading #7 and a Give-Away!

I hope you have had a fantastic summer!  I love good summer reads and wanted to share those that I've finished over the last month. 
Join us by linking up with Ricki Jill at Art @ Home beginning tomorrow! 
We'd love to hear what you've been reading!

Trapped is a great Young Adult novel.  I read about this book in an NPR article earlier this summer about how Young Adult is becoming mainstream for adults as well.  I don't care for the labels - a good book is a good book!

This book takes place in New England.  Seven high schoolers get trapped in their school during the worst storm in history.  It's well written, fast-paced and a cool read during the hot month of July!  It's sort of a mix between The Breakfast Club and Lord of the Flies.  Check it out!

Also recommended in the NPR article was the book Flipped.  Not until I picked it up and started to read did I realize I had recently watched the movie (directed by Rob Reiner) and liked it so much I mentioned it on facebook!  Flipped is a heartwarming story of two families who live across from each other.  The youngest sibling in each house friends/ignoring relationship in their tween-young teen years.  It's really a story about developing integrity at a young age.  I'd recommend the book and the movie.  In fact, I'd like my boys to read it soon.

In the wide (and very popular) genre of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Matched (you can see my reviews of those at the link below) comes another story that is destined to be a series and possibly a movie - Delirium.  In dystopian Portland, Maine all 18 year olds go through a process of having their brains altered to remove the need for love.  The 18 year olds are also matched up with a companion that they will marry after college.  Of course, there's a love story, a dramatic life-altering decision to be made, and engaging characters.  I'd certainly recommend Delirium if you enjoy this genre.  If you haven't stepped into this world of books yet - I'd start with The Hunger Games series and Divergent.

I'm happy to share this next book with you and will be giving away a copy this month as well!  It is the second novel by Bert Johnston.  Bert is a retired Presbyterian minister who lives in Mobile, Alabama.  Sunrise in the Cloud Forest is a mystery set in a mega-church in Mobile.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I found it fast-paced and the characters really well developed.  Bert is the father of our friend Mike (who you'll remember from the book club and wine club photos on my blog!).  So take a break from the vampires, wizards, and post-apocalyptic government-mandated worlds.  Pour yourself a glass of sweet tea and escape to Mobile.  A great read!

And I just finished up Rob Lowe's biography Stories I Only Tell My Friends.  I don't read many memoirs but I really, really, really enjoyed this one.  I'm an 80s child so a lot of his memories recalled my own.  Rob has led a pretty fascinating life and has turned a few scandals and a rocky childhood into a pretty impressive second half of life.  It was touching and funny and down-right honest.  I believe he had early childhood encounters with many of the most famous entertainers of that time.  Loved the Cary Grant encounters :)

So, please link up at Ricki Jill's blog so we can hear about What You've Been Reading! 
And if you would like a copy of Sunrise in the Cloud Forest  by Bert Johnston, please leave a comment or send me an email and I'll enter you for the drawing on Tuesday!

And just a reminder that I'm kicking off my cooking blog this weekend. 
If you'd like to follow me there, I'd love it!
Here's the link to Y'all Come Eat!

You can read my earlier book review posts by clicking here

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Random Late Summer Photos

I wanted to share a bunch of late summer photos!

Thomas and Elliot enjoying Elliot's new ride

 Krista coaching Brennan this summer

Krista is fantastic and Brennan made great progress on his strokes, flip turns, and race times

Brennan begged for an algebra or calculus workbook.
We happily complied.  He was sooo excited when it came in from amazon.

iPhone photo
He immediately got to work (see the discarded banana?)  I had to send this photo to David at work.  I knew he would be super proud.

Boys getting their back-to-school haircuts with Miss Kristen

We had friends over to swim and a cookout on Saturday night and had a blast.
These 7 kids are growing up waaaay too fast!
I hate that I took such a blurry photo.

The boys' school had a 6th grade breakfast yesterday.
It was a ton of fun and the kids did a scavenger hunt as well.

Thomas and friends.
Photos courtesy of one of the 6th grade moms.

The very sweet 6th grade teachers. 
Thomas's teacher is the 3rd.  She's fantastic! 
I think this is the only grade without at least one male teacher!

A great summer!


It's been a long time since I've written much about Autism or Asperger's.
As the new school year gets underway, my mind heads there again after a relaxing summer with Brennan.

1st day of school last year

Brennan is now in a gifted program at school where he will spend the next 3 years with the same group of kids - which will be helpful. 
Because the better someone knows Brennan, the more they appreciate who he is.

Picking apples during Fall Break 2010 

There are people who "get" Brennan immediately, and for those people I am so, so thankful.
They spend just a little time with him and come to me with wide eyes telling me how amazing he is.
I just smile and thank them because I know that they see him the way that we do.
As an extremely bright, sweet, polite, mature, loving kid who is going to do great things with his life.

9th birthday party in January 2011

But regularly I am also confronted who those people who don't "get" Brennan and see him as a frustrating, difficult to communicate with boy.  I have seen people roll their eyes at him, snap at him, and patronize him.  As you can imagine I get really, really upset and seethe at their immature reactions.  Brennan misbehaves less than most children his age.

9th birthday, standing by his favorite instrument

While I'm irritated and am dealing (quite honestly) with the shock I feel when someone treats my son this way, Brennan grins and bears it. 
And that breaks my heart but I am so proud of him for just maturely "taking it".
Brennan instinctually knows that there are people who don't like him, don't try to like him, and that he'll never connect with because they just don't "get" him.
He understands that, accepts it, and tries again anyway.
And these people, time after time, treat him the same way.

Christmas 2008

I think it comes down to one word - Patience.
Those who want to see the amazing sides of Brennan, always will.
They will be shocked by how terrific he is, will tell me, will tell their friends, and it'll get back to me. 
I love it when that happens because I am so proud of who he is, and autism really doesn't play into that.

18 months old, Mexico

And I keep holding out hope for those who roll their eyes when they think I'm not looking, or snap at him because it takes him longer to process instructions or communicate clearly what he's trying to say.

If they could only employ a little bit more Patience, they could see him for who he really is.

2 years old, Media Luna, Mexico 

I spend a lot of time with elementary aged kids.
I know how difficult it can be to connect with any child, but especially those with a special need.
But it's worth it.

And I want to be one of those people who tries just a bit harder to connect.
I never want to make a child feel like he's not important enough to receive my patience.

Young Eagles Program, August 2011

To all those parents out there who model this to their children, I am eternally grateful.
When a child tells me how cool Brennan is, I know that I partly have their parents to thank.

And for all of those who get frustrated and impatient with Brennan, I ask for just a bit more Patience.
I promise, he's worth it.

First day of 4th grade, August 2011