Monthly Archives: February 2012

Big Brother and the Big 5

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a balloon-themed party with friends

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a birthday dinner with family, including his new found love….a fijit toy

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birthday breakfast…..a balloon cookie!

Five years ago today a little boy was born in Hong Kong. Although his next four years would involve neglect, abuse and then institutionalization in two different orphanages, he never gave up. What a miracle child he is! I love this birthday boy and I’m grateful that God brought him into my life.

I started a new birthday tradition of asking the kiddos a standard set of questions each year. I asked Big Brother some birthday questions and although he had trouble understanding the questions, he did awesome! After each question, he would look at Little Man for help as Little Man usually helps him out when he is unsure of how to respond :) Little Man was good about keeping quiet and Big Brother did the best he could. It was good for him and I think we found a new, fun way to work on our communication skills!

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How old are you? 5 (we practiced that one all weekend!)

What is your favorite color? pink, white.

Favorite animal? elephant

Who is your best friend? Mommy (melt my heart!!!!)

What do you want to be when you grow up? He had no idea how to answer this :-)

Favorite movie? Dragon Tales (He’s never even watched an episode, but it was the last thing Little Man had watched a few days back)

Favorite book? something I couldn’t make out but it ended with Jesus. the boy loves him some Jesus ;-)

What makes you happy? Mommy, Little Man, love balloons

What makes you sad? balloon pop

What is your favorite thing to eat? sandwhich

What is your favorite song? Good morning song

What games do you like to play? toy game, like blocks

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Sweet boy!

Big Brother also had a psych evaluation today, too. Ah, the life of a special needs child. It was….um….interesting. But that’s for another post. Tomorrow, maybe. I need to sleep on it first.

Happy Birthday Big Brother! We love you.

In a word

one-on-one full-support will be necessary

autism room

psychological evaluations

medication

no progress being made

obsessive compulsive

violent outbursts

oppositional defiance

self-injurious behavior

There have been many words tossed around lately by both us and Big Brother’s teachers. We are gearing up for his IEP and trying to figure out what next year should look like. We are heading in for some full psych evaluations next week at our local children’s hospital. More appointments will follow. Many more. We will also be heading to the autism clinic for full evaluations.

Big Brother has been home for one full year now and we finally feel that he is no longer a “moving target,” so to speak. We are at a place where the adjustment period has ceased, adequate time for language conversion has been reached and the effects of institutional autism have had time to fade. We are ready to know where we stand….officially.

And yet, in the middle of all this, I find that it really doesn’t matter. Yes, we need to know where to go next and how to do it. But he is my son and no matter what labels and words will be used to describe him, I know the true words that go beyond all of those sputtered by outsiders…the words that describe who he is and not how he is.

curious

sweet

eager for love and affection

creative

resilient

intelligent

strong

hopeful

silly

joyful

loved

wanted

chosen

Next week will begin a new chapter for us. We are ready. We are hopeful. But most importantly, we are moving forward together as a family. We are too blessed to be stressed.

Love Is Enough

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{dinner date with my two little Valentines}

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On this Valentine’s Day I’ve thought long and hard about what I want to say about love….and I ‘ve come to the unpopular conclusion that yes, love IS enough. This blogger took the words right out of my mouth…

“Love is enough in adoption. If you are ready to say you love them a thousand times and never hear it back.

It’s enough if you are willing to lay down your comfort zone, your friends, your family, and go with a child into dark places.

Places other people run from. Places that scare the pants off you…”

Read the entire post here.

Hope you all enjoyed a day filled with love! xo

10 Things Big Brother Wishes You Knew

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1. Although he may seem different from other kids his age, he’s not really that different. He thinks blowing milk bubbles is fun. He loves playing angry birds on the ipad. He laughs when someone makes a silly face. He hates taking naps. He thinks playgrounds are awesome. He enjoys all the things that so-called typical kids do. He really is just a kid.

2. Just because he has trouble speaking and is not able to carry on a conversation doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have something important to say.

3. Just because he seems to ignore you or not answer when spoken to doesn’t mean he is oblivious to you. In fact, he is glad you have stopped to interact with him and it means a lot to him, even if he doesn’t show it. Hours later, he will tell me all about your encounter, repeatedly :-)

4. Just because he has frequent bouts of frustration and tantrums doesn’t mean he is an unhappy child. It just means that he often has trouble interacting and reacting to his environment. In fact, he is one of the happiest children I have ever met.

5. Balloons are awesome. So awesome, in fact, that he cannot imagine why anyone would think it strange to carry one around as a constant companion.

6. Attending school is challenging. He really is trying to do his best, even if it doesn’t always appear that way.

7. There are events from his past that have resulted in the difficult behavior you may witness today. He is not a bad kid. In fact, he has a heart as pure, innocent and sweet as an infant’s.

8. It’s okay to make strange noises when frustrated or happy. You should try it sometime.

9. He wants everyone to focus on what he can do, not what he can’t.

10. He does not need or want to be “fixed.” He wants to be loved and accepted for who he is.

Cultural Identity in Hong Kong

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photo by Michael Wolf

I came across this photo yeaterday and immediately recognized it as an image taken in Hong Kong, even without having any caption or identifying information to confirm my suspicion. I clicked on the image and this is what I found….

Michael Wolf was born in Munich, Germany. He grew up in the USA and studied at UC Berkley and at the University of Essen in Germany. He has been living and working as a photographer and author in China for ten years….

Wolf has been intensively concerned with the topic of vernacular culture for many years. His most recent work deals with the issue of the cultural identity of the city of Hong Kong. The exhibition “Architecture of Density” shown in New York in Febuary 2004 is a part of Michael Wolfs recent Hongkong project.

Thames and Hudson will publish Michael Wolf’s new work “Hongkong, The Front Door/The Back Door” in 2005.

Pretty cool, huh? Check out the entire gallery here: Architecture of Density

We’ve been busy

Sorry for the blogging break. We have been very busy for the last couple of weeks with school and new projects. The mild winter weather has also enticed us outdoors more than usual for this time of year, so we’ve been soaking up the good weather as much as possible!

I’m back and can hopefully stay on track now. I’ll just show you some of the ways the boys have kept us busy!

Busy playing (can I stress playing together and not just parallel play!!):

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Busy learning new skills like planking and brushing teeth independantly:

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Busy turning flips:

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Busy twisting balloons:

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And climbing the walls, literally:

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Busy getting muddy:

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Busy digging for moles in the backyard:

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And busy playing heavy ball game, as Big Brother calls it, or also known as bowling:

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Cool {free} stuff for kids…

{…particularly for ones with special needs and balloon obsessions!}

Nature inspired crafts and learning adventures:

Source: exploringnature.org via Hiking on Pinterest….

..

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Free cards you can print out at home (to handout to the other moms on the playground as they watch with gaping mouths and shaking heads as you carry your screaming 5 year old to the car):

Autism Awareness Cards to Handout in Public

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Science experiments using balloons:

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Want oodles of more fun {and free} ideas? Follow me on pinterest….I’m on a mission to bring the love of learning and adventure to my kiddos in their everyday lives!