Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Their Best Week as Brothers, So Far...

Prom was a great success! I so appreciate all the kids that were part of the group and how they included Austin. I was a little nervous about the plans because they were really up in the air until the last minute, but it all came together and the kids had a lot of fun.
I had a really hard time deciding what pictures to post without making this blog post three miles long, there were so many! So I selected a few and made a little movie for your viewing pleasure.

Thanks again to all those involved!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

April Showers and Flowers

I love our trees. I get so happy in spring when they start making little buds that turn into blossoms and leaves. (I especially like when the buds turn into fruit!) We had such a nice beginning to our week and I knew a storm was coming so I took these pictures so I could remember how beautiful it all looked before the storm. Enjoy!

This tree is in our back yard just outside of our bedroom window. I love to look down on it and see the blossoms in the spring. There are always birds sitting in ti throughout the summer.

This tree is in out front yard. It will be an explosion of pink in about a week!

This is our shade tree in the back. It is a maple. The leaves are little right now but get super big in the summer.

The little lettuces are just coming up in my salad table. But these are the radishes!

This is the spinach; also in my salad table.

Baby plants are so cute just like all other baby things! Happy Spring, everyone!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...

Who did Austin ask to the ball?

As far as I am concerned, it is the luckiest girl at Syracuse High School!

But its' a long story:

Austin is 17. Despite having Autism he does very well. He has an extremely tender heart, he is very good at following the rules, He is a hard worker and very helpful. He struggles a little with his social skills and some things at school but the kids his age have known him since kindergarten and understand that that's just Austin. But, still, he is a bit behind the other kids his age. With some very hard work, he is a few weeks away from getting his driver's license. That is a big thing for him. Also, he has yet to go on a date. I haven't been concerned about that. He usually gets the urge to do things when Kyle starts doing them (like getting his driving permit and license). Kyle is only 17 months younger than Austin. That makes for an interesting dynamic in their relationship. Kyle is younger but in most ways he is like the older brother. That was really hard for him a few years ago but I think he's understanding more what that means for him. He is trying really hard to be a good brother. Also, Kyle's 5th birthday was only a few days before the cut off for kindergarten. We had a hard time deciding weather or not to put him in school or keep him home one more year. We ended up sending him when he was 5. He is younger than almost everyone in his grade and just one year behind Austin.

But that's just some background info. Here's where the story begins:

Last week at lunch, Kyle's friend (and our next door neighbor) mentioned that she had not been asked to Prom yet. She joked that she was going to ask him but didn't think we, his parents, would let him (our rule is no dating until 16, he's a few months away). Kyle and I were in the car and had time to talk. He mentioned this to me and asked what I thought. I told him that the ONLY person I would even consider that for would be Gracie. She is one of the sweetest girls I have ever known! I thought that was the end of that but I should have known better. (These kids are teenagers and extremely resourceful!)

When Jim got home from work, I had Kyle tell his dad the story. Then Jim and I talked about it privately. We decided it would be considered if Austin could be included somehow. Well that was all it took. Wheels started turning, flying fingers started texting and before we knew it, Austin had someone lined up to ask to the prom (Gracie's sweet friend). I guess this type of scheme takes a village!

So here's something I learned when I moved to Utah. You can't just go up to someone and ask them to a dance. It has to be a super creative and interesting scavenger hunt or puzzle that asks your prospective date. The answer should be equally creative. A couple members of this "village" of friends helped come up with how Austin should ask Katie and on Saturday he asked. She was at play practice and we went over to her house. We put a note on her front door that said, "Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who will be my date to the ball?". Her sister was given the task of being her fairy godmother and guiding her through the house, where on several mirrors, we put a single letter of Austin's name. The last letter was on the mirror in her room along with a note that read, "Because you are the fairest of them all, will you go with me to the ball?"

Well, she answered! Her note said, "It would take an army to hold me back from going to the dance with you! YES!!!" And of course, I had the camera handy:

The idea was to set up little army guys all over his room. They started trying to stand them all up but that wasn't going to work at all!

Then they just started scattering them all over the room. That was much faster.

Some of the members of the "Get a Prom Date for Austin" village. His date is the cute girl second from the left.

Along with the army guys, she left a little toy gun. He was super happy that she said yes but he REALLY liked getting that gun!

The next morning I looked in his room and noticed he had separated the army guys into neat little piles. That is so Austin! I just had to take a picture.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Busy Bees with Blistered Green Thumbs

For years I have been trying to talk Jim into doing something different with the corner of our yard that is a half-court sized piece of concrete. I knew we needed to do something different with it the first time our kids suggested it would be the perfect place to build a half-pipe. Jim grew up playing and loving basketball. Just our luck, not one of the boys has had a desire to play. so I suggested a swimming pool. That made Jim nervous. He told me we couldn't swim until he got home from work. I stopped begging after a few years. Then he got into the wood working thing. I thought maybe he could build a shop on the "court". He's still thinking about that. Meanwhile, our three car garage has turned in to a one car garage with a wood shop. In recent months, he has been inspired by his brother (who has a giant garden) to expand our own garden... by DOUBLE!!! This requires the removal of some grass and 1/4th of the basketball court.

The boys had spring break last week and we decided to stay home. Jim thought breaking up concrete would keep them busy, and it did. On Friday we had run out of things to do so that's when they started. They borrowed a sledge hammer from the neighbors and went to work.

We weren't quite sure what to do when the wheelbarrow got full. I called Jim and he told us just to dump it on the side of the driveway. (I'm sure our neighbors love that.

They got one or two loads done but it was really slow going. You can't fit much in a wheelbarrow before you just can't make it roll!

When Jim got home from work he helped them out for a while but it was still slow going. We decided it would be worth the expense to rent a jack hammer. So, First thing Saturday morning he went and got one.

It was noisy (sorry again, neighbors!) and he told me we might have to replace all the fillings in his teeth, but it was so much faster! Eventually there was enough room so they could start some piles of rubble right there and didn't have to use the wheelbarrow anymore.

Jim had to leave for a little bit so they all got a chance to use the "power tool". Josh got the most use out of it. He got really good at it

Even the neighbor, Alex, got a turn. (Later that night we went out to dinner with Al's parents. They asked us how we got their son to haul concrete rubble for 10 hours and they can't even get him to clean his room!)

Finally, by the end of the day, they got it done! It was hard work, they still have some sore muscles, but they did a great job and i'm so proud of them all!

We still don't know what to do with the rubble but we have a few ideas. Hopefully we can get it cleaned up soon. It is almost time to transfer some of our baby plants outside. But whatever happens, I know in years to come the boys will have conversations that will sound something like this, "Remember that spring break when we didn't do anything fun and dad made us break up concrete?"

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Winter Break or Spring Break???

I was so excited for Spring Break. (Mom's need a break from the work, too) We were going to go to St George but decided not to because no mater how much we plan on being frugal we always end up spending more than we wanted to. It is just way to fun down there! Then we decided that we should stay home and work on the yard. We have plans to expand the garden by about double. Jim wants to build more beds. We are going to take out some of the grass and possibly some of the basketball court. He also has finalized some plans for the deck and is pretty excited for that project. I am too. It has been more summers than I care to admit that we have not had a usable deck. (Good thing we get a tax return this year!)

Well, the weather is not really cooperating. It was raining of and on all weekend. We got some stuff done on Saturday. Jim built me a Salad Table and yesterday, Monday, I wanted to get the seeds in. (Lettuce, spinach, green onions, radishes and some herbs.) It started raining about lunch time and by dinner the snow was flying! this is what my garden looks like this morning:

So instead of being in the yard the last five days, I made this:

I think my sister-in-law is happy the weather turned. The hat is for her!