Monday, August 27, 2007

The Cleveland Zoo

Saturday we took a trip to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo with friends. Despite some rain in the afternoon, we had a really great time. Xavier and Ben had so much fun with the other kids and seeing all the animals, including elephants (they were getting their baths when we were there!), giraffes, zebras, stingrays (in a "touch" tank!), a hippo, monkeys, gorillas, chimpanzees, etc. I thought it was interesting that the chimpanzees were watching us just as much as we were watching them!

Here's my favorite picture of the day - I said "Xavier, mommy is going to take your picture." He looked at the monkey, and then turned towards me, smiling big.

How do you compare to the height of a newborn giraffe?? They're 6 ft tall at birth - Xavier, Ben, and Abby are about half as tall!

The kids had fun standing under a fan blowing cool mist - a welcome reprieve from the humidity!

Here are the lions, which, miraculously, were awake when we went by. Apparently, they sleep 22 hours a day!

Ben and Abby watching the lions.

And here's Ben making me nervous teetering on the brink of falling off of a wall by the lions.

Ben and Abby playing on a climbing structure. Ben said, "I'm going way up there, Mommy!" (Ben ends almost all his sentences with "mommy". Its very funny.)
He also told me, when we were looking at the hippo, "I want to go swimming with the hippo, Mommy." Um, no Ben, very bad idea.

This poor gorilla looked so forlorn and lonely. Or maybe he was just sensing the rain coming? Here are Nick and Ben watching him fiddle with a rope. He alternated between that and...

scratching his belly. :)

Xavier and Abby enjoying a relaxing moment at the end of the day.

Xavier was very happy when surprised by a zebra from our friends! Benny got a kangaroo, which he quickly named "Abby". Thanks again Lisa! Looking forward to seeing you all again soon!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Getting stronger!

Xavier is doing so well with his sitting! Here he is supporting himself on the edge of our couch, can you tell how much he's concentrating? (no smiles!) This is actually pretty difficult for him to do, but he can use his arms for support and balance in this position for about 30 sec to 1 min. After that he falls forward,(we catch him), and he smiles very big because he knows he's accomplished something!

Moving on (but not forgetting!)

Today was our family's last day at the Gault Family Learning center which provides Early Intervention services for children ages 0-3 with developmental disabilities in our county. Xavier received therapy services there from July 2003 to August 2006 and Benny from March 2006 to today (August 22, 2007). So for four years, the wonderful ladies there have been helping us give our boys every opportunity through therapy, creative adaptive ideas, friendship and support to help them live up to their individual potentials. We are so very blessed to have been able to know them - they have impacted our lives forever and we appreciate them more than words can convey. We carry with us their positive attitudes and belief that our boys can accomplish anything. So thank you Ramona, Cathie, Audra, LeeAnn and Cindy - we love you all and will miss you dearly, but promise to visit and keep you updated!

Here are some of the activities Benny has had fun with in therapy:
Scooter races with Cindy, Audra, and LeeAnn!

Tunnel time! Benny loves this, especially since the reward at either end of the tunnel is a pretzel. Ben is the lump in the middle. :)

Fine motor activities like sewing and cutting with Cindy.

And here's Xavier and Nick observing all the different activities in the room. Xavier loves to visit and especially enjoys his time with his former physical therapist, Cathie!

From now on, both boys will receive therapy services through our school system (just as Xavier has since last September). On September 4th, Xavier and Ben will start preschool together, they'll be in the same classroom! We look forward to a great school year, with both of them having lots of fun and learning new things - its so fun to watch them grow!



Here we are on a lazy Sunday afternoon!

Monday, August 13, 2007

I have one word for ya...

TRAINED!!! Benny is officially out of diapers! For over a week now he has been accident free - clean and dry all day long in his "big boy underwear"! We are so very proud of him, almost as proud as he is! He keeps saying, "I getting bigger! I growing up!" The other day, I said, "oh Benny, Mommy loves you so much, baby!" He frowned and said, "I not a baby anymore, Mommy. I a kid." Yep, you're right Benny - not a baby anymore! Mommy and Daddy love you so much and are so proud of our big boy!

Benny being cute:

Monday, August 6, 2007

Volleyball and horsebackriding

Last week at Little Gym, the theme was "fun at the beach" and Benny had a really good time playing volleyball with balloons. Its pretty much a safe bet that where there's balloons, theres bound to be fun. Benny is in the blue and orange shirt left of center.

And here's Xavier on his horse CJ, sitting by himself. According to Heather, his super duper PT, he can make it to a count of 23 sitting without assistance. Awesome! We continue to be so thankful for Xavier's strength and determination...and for the therapists and teachers that give him and us their time, support, and expertise. You make a difference in our lives!!

The "Rogue's Hollow" Festival!

Every year our little town has a street festival called the Rogue's Hollow Festival. Rogue's Hollow is an actual place within our town that has a history rich in stories of the old days when our town was a major coal mining area. As the stories go, the hollow where the mines were located was so full of corruption, greed, and crime that people would go miles and miles out of their way on their horses and buggies to avoid the area for fear of being burglarized or murdered! Hence the name "Rogue's Hollow". Luckily, the festival has nothing to do with Rogue's, just a great time to gather with friends and neighbors to enjoy live band music, a parade, games, activities, fair food, and local vendors!
Here's a picture of the four of us as we wait for the parade to start that kicks off the festivities:

Papa Paul and Benny looking down the street, "Are they coming yet, Papa Paul?!" Ben was so excited for the parade to begin!

The boys and I enjoying lollypops!

Xavier loved hearing the drums in the bands and the horns on the cars!

Xavier, Ben, and my dad waving at the cars:

By the end of the parade, Ben had quite a bag-full of candy! He quickly became an expert at holding out his hands when the floats went by and then racing after what fell to the ground! He said, "I get candy! I so excited!!"

Nick and Xavier after the parade, listening to the band.

Xavier and Ben had such a fun time playing with balloons. Xavier liked hitting his and watching it bounce right back at him.

Ben rode this little train 4 times - he couldn't get enough!

Ben and cousin Kathryn, he was having fun entertaining her with his balloon.

Xavier and I dancing to the band music!

"I wipe it all over Mommy!"

Yep. That's what he did. Friday afternoon, Benny was playing in his room after his nap...or so we thought. Then we heard him at the top of the stairs saying, "I wipe it all over Mommy!" Our lotion bottle is nearly empty, but Benny is very moisturized!

Our home gets a new look!

Before -


Thursday, August 2, 2007

How does this work??

Seems as if Benny is really taking after his Daddy, who is an engineer and curious guy by nature. On a recent trip to McDonalds Playland, when he wasn't running around burning energy, Ben was trying to figure out how everything was put together and how it worked. From the swivel seats to the airplane propeller in a tunnel, he was very inquisitive in watching how things function. Another engineer in the making? -we'll see!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Summertime foods!

Both the boys love to eat, and summertime foods are some of their favorites. Benny devours corn on the cob - just loves it! Check out what he did with his empty ears of corn the other night while we were in the kitchen cleaning up...I swear - we really do discourage playing with food, but this photo opportunity was too good to pass up!

Here's a few pictures of the boys enjoying strawberry shortcake last night (courtesy of my friend from work, Lisa, thanks so much!)