Xavier had a huge growth spurt this summer (in height...he's still as skinny as ever ;-) and a couple of weeks ago, he had to be casted for new AFO's (ankle-foot orthotics, "braces" that go from his toes to his mid-calf). Each time he gets new ones (this is his 3rd pair) we get to pick a new pattern. This time, I let Ben pick, so Spiderman it was (obviously! duh!). "So we can be matching.", he said. Ben has Spiderman tennis shoes. I wasn't sure if they'd still fit him (he's been wearing his Crocs all summer). Ben's feet barely fit...so I know I'm going to have to spring for a new pair of Spidey shoes for the winter (I just can't resist how sweet it is that Ben wants to match his brother...) Ben wanted me to take the photo below, to showcase their "Spidey shoes". :-) Xavier's giggling, anticipating a hug from Bennett - The boys love each other so much...
That's what Ben was shouting as he searched high and low, after I told him he could go out and play in the rain. We finally found the necessary footwear, he grabbed his umbrella, and headed out. This photo was not posed - and illustrates just how happy he was - ah, the joy of a simple, happy moment...:-)
One Saturday last month, Nick, Bennett, and I ventured about 2 hours away to Pittsburgh, PA to go to IKEA to buy the boys dressers. They have long since outgrown their small baby dressers, and the time had come to get them full fledged big kid clothes storage.
I have a lot of good things to say about IKEA. We'd never been there before, and the entire shopping experience was surprisingly enjoyable, convenient, and affordable. The store had just undergone a facelift, so everything was new, sparkly, and easy to shop.
It was a fabulous day, we accomplished our goal of the dressers...and much more. Oh-so-very much more. Jeez. We dropped a load of cash there. Darn the Swedish for making such awesome stuff! ;-)
Before shopping, we went to Quaker Steak and Lube, a famous wings joint 'round these parts. Ben liked the arcade style waiting area and the food was fantastically yummy. (or as Ben always says, "this is taaaasty, tasty!")
Then on to IKEA: there was a great space for kids to have supervised play, while parents shopped. Fabulous thinking on IKEA's part...nondistracted, happy parents = more $$ spent!
We even ate dinner there! The restaurant was cafeteria style, with lots of choices. For those of you who don't know, IKEA's motherland is Sweden...which is evident in the names of the styles of furniture, and the overall European flare to the store/products. We brought home some Swedish cookies, coffee, ligonberry preserves for Nick's mom for two reasons: she's Swedish, and as "payment" for watching Xavier for us for the day. hehe. Here's Nick and Ben being goofy eating dinner.
And here are photos of my boys and their new dressers...which I couldn't be happier about...I'm all about organization and decluttering things...I've kind of been a freak about it lately! hehe
Remember when I wrote a while ago that Bennett's laugh reminds me of Snoopy? Well, tonight, I heard Nick playing the link below on our laptop, and I honestly thought, "I wonder what video he's watching? I don't remember taping Benny laughing."
Yeah. I'm not kidding. This is his laugh to a tee. (sorry, you'll have to copy and paste the link into your browser):
Our town's street festival is always the first weekend in August, and its always a lot of fun.
The festival kicks off with a parade: Bennett was sooo excited for the parade to begin. Here are Xavier and I, after Xavier finally stopped screaming long enough to enjoy what was going on around him. Me and Xavier with my Dad and my sister Kelly. Ben and Grandma dancing to the band. Grandma helps run the information booth at the festival every year, and is very involved in all the planning. (Love this photo!) The next morning, we had a delicious pancake breakfast at the town firestation. Here are Aunt Kelly, Uncle Brian, and Bennett (who can't wait to go explore all the firetrucks and ambulances.) Here's Ben, showcasing his new belt, which he is completely obsessed with. The obsession was cultivated by the fact that he insists on taking off Nick's belt as soon as Nick walks in the door after work (I don't know how that got started), and Ben has now mastered taking off and putting on his own belt too. So funny. Xavier, watching the kids in the inflatable "bounce house" at the fire station. Ben was freaking out with excitement about this giant fire hydrant. Okay, this was hilarious. I had no idea running as fast as you can only to be snapped back by a bungee cord would be fun. But apparently, it is! Here's Ben, trying it out. At one point, Ben walked away from Nick and I, which he knows is wrong. And I told Nick, "Lets just watch, and see how far he gets." Well, he wandered right over to the dunking booth (which was occupied by our mayor), sauntered up to the line you stand behind to throw the balls, and held his hands out for a ball. I think the man handing out the balls thought that was cute, because he gave him 3 balls, even though Ben hadn't paid (but really, would a 4 year old be carrying around a dollar? hehe). Anyway, Nick and I watched, suprised and smiling about the fact that every ball Ben threw hit the target, but with just not enough force to trigger the dunk. On the last chance the man hit the target at the same time the ball hit, dunking the mayor. Ben shouted, (along with his "Snoopy laugh") "I made the man ALL WET!!!" HA! The end of a fun 2 days :-)
The last Sunday in July, we packed up to go to a nearby pool to enjoy the beautiful summer weather.
Before I tell you about that: Poor Xavier's irritability has been out of control the last several months. We try so many things to help him with transitions, etc., but nothing seems to be working anymore. So, sadly, screaming has become the norm at our household. And when I say screaming, picture this: a 5 year old on a roller coaster who is absolutely terrified. That's what the screaming sounds like. Yeah, pleasant. HA!
On the day we decided to go to the pool for the afternoon, Xavier was particularly cranky. He screamed all the way there, all the way from the car to the entrance. At which point, I, myself, had a little fit of my own, and decided I was not entering the pool area with him screaming like that. After being tolerant and patient with weeks and weeks of him screaming in the car, at home, in stores, almost everywhere, really, for a good portion of the day, at that moment, I'd had it. So I refused to go in, and have people staring at us while Xavier screamed. We packed up, turned back around, dropped Xavier off at Nick's parents' house (bless their hearts for being always willing to help us with him), and went back. I was resolved Bennett would still have the day at the pool he was looking forward to.
I feel terrible that Xavier is so irritable, anxious, and angry about things we don't know how to help him with. And for Ben, who has to endure the screaming and alterations in plans to accomodate it.
So anyway, the screaming behind us (for the next few hours anyway), we actually had a very fun time soaking in the sunshine and splashing around. We were sad Xavier wasn't there...but we're feeling some consolation in that we're in the process of figuring out how to help him...more on that later.