Traveling With Autism: Mini Vacation Grand Forks 2018

Summer Mini Vacation in Grand Forks, North Dakota

(This is not a paid for article, we paid for our stay at the Canad Inns Grand Forks.)

 

Day In The Life

In the past I avoided doing a lot of “Day in the Life” of aka DITL. But then I started to think about this blog, and what I want from it. My blog is a place for me to share my journey. The regular DITL stuff is part of my journey. I learn so much about myself, my kids, autism,and what life means to me during those regular days.

I also learn a lot about my family and myself when we go away together. By blogging about this trip, it allows me to go back and see how far we have come. I hope to share more about our journey. I also hope by sharing I can help other autism mom’s along the way. Even if it is just seeing real life struggles happen to other mom’s and that your not alone,

Mama Can’t Stand When People Stop Her From Preparing

Wednesday we were suppose to spent cleaning the house and getting ready to leave for a long weekend away from home. But Wes and my dad went back to the hubby shop to get a part for his car then we went back to his place to hang out. Travis and I drove around and went out for lunch. Then I had to do some last minute running around. You know, make sure we had enough gluten free snacks for Z, pick up some raw cat food for my dad to feed the cats while we were gone, etc. We came home in time to make dinner. Next thing I knew my parents dropped Wesley back off at home and we had to leave to go pick up my stepdaughter.

I’m the first to admit I was stressed out. I wanted to have everything done early on and get to bed early. But as we came home from getting Chloe, it was time to get Z to bed. I was frustrated and anticipated a long night up finishing up the house. But while I did bedtime routine with Z, Travis and my big kids made sure the last bit of the house was picked up, which left me with only a few small things to do. I love that they are old enough to help out more. This meant I was able to get a good night sleep which I was so grateful for.

Mini Vacation: Grand Fork, North Dakota Here We Come.

Thursday morning we all piled in the van, made a pit stop at Tim Horton’s for coffee and headed south to North Dakota.We listened to an awesome Spotify playlist hubby had put together the night before. While waiting at the border, I’m sure the people waiting in line next to us must have thought we were crazy while we danced to the Village People’s YMCA.

After we crossed the border we stopped in the border town of Pembina, North Dakota. I had to stop at the parcel pick up service and get all the homeschool materials I had bought on eBay and some Facebook Homeschool Buy & Sell groups. It saves me so much money having them shipped there instead of to Canada. Look for a post in the future how I save money on curriculum this way.

We of course had to stop at the truck stop in Pembina for a washroom break. There my hubby with his sweet tooth grab us some American treats. Even though I am following Weight Watchers, I allowed myself to enjoy a few treats here and there. The big kids chowed down on some candies and chocolate while we jammed out to Disney Music.

Are We There Yet? YES!

Finally we made it to Grand Forks. We were too early to check in to the hotel, so we stopped in at Walmart.

School Supply Shopping

After we picked up some food for the hotel, I brought the kids to the school supply section. I had done most of their supply shopping the week before, there were a few things I knew I could get for cheaper, or better quality on our trip. The kids picked out there zipper binders, and I was sure to grab an extra to keep as a backup should one of their zippers break. They both wanted the fancier, aka more expensive ones. But they both managed to destroy their binders last year, so they got the cheaper ones with the promise if they take better care of their supplies we could splurge next year and get the fancier ones.

It is Just a Pencil… NO! Its a Ticonderoga

I was also able to get some My First Ticonderoga pencils for Zakari. Last year I based on a recommendation from Erica at My Busy Bees and Me, I order a box of these pencils. I searched high and low, at every store in Winnipeg, Canada I thought might carry them. But I came back empty handed. So I had to turn to the internet. They were expensive and the cost of shipping nearly put me in cardiac arrest. But in the end they are worth the cost.

So this year I decided I was going to look in the USA and try and avoid the extra cost if possible. I was able to find 2 packs for $1.50 a pack. Since I had paid over $1.50 a pencil last year, I bought a case at this price. For kiddos like little Z who have fine motor skill issues, these pencils are worth the cost. He has a much easier time keeping a proper pencil grasp with them.

Can You Say Chick fil A!!

It was still too soon to go check in, so we went to get lunch at my favourite American Fast Food joint Chick Fil A. Honestly it’s a blessing to my waistline and wallet we don’t have a location in Winnipeg. Little Z loves the fries and grilled nuggets there too. I swear I do the happy dance anytime I’m waiting in line at Chick Fil A. We also have to plan ahead for Z. He really can’t have many proteins at other restaurants when we are on the road. But of course it is closed Sundays. So we have to buy extra grilled nuggets on Saturday to put away for the next day. When we got to the window, I indulged in my Spicy Deluxe Chicken Sandwich and waffle fries. When it comes to Chick-fil-a I forget all about Weight Watcher. Afterwards we headed to the hotel.

Check In & Tim Horton’s

We arrived at the hotel 20 mins before check in. We decided we would try and check in on the off chance our room was ready. Of course it wasn’t, but they had us choose which theme room we wanted. Travis picked out the Circus room. The front desk staff said they would call the cleaning staff and have them clean that room next. After waiting for a few minutes we decided to go get some coffee at the American Tim Horton. They sure know how to roll out the red carpet for us Canadians in Grand Forks. Bringing us the comforts of home.

We came back about 30 mins later, and now it was after our actual check in time and our room still was not ready. Before I could even say anything, she handed us 5 free vouchers for the breakfast buffet. We waited about 15 or 20 more minutes and then we were give our key, and our package (3 pizza vouchers and passes for the water park). We made our first trip upstairs with our luggage, and the kids. Afterwards I went back down with the luggage cart and brought up all my parcels.

Box Day! Homeschooling Mom Simple Joys

While the kids picked their bunks, and Travis relaxed, I got down to business with all my boxes. I wish I had taken a picture. It was quite ridiculous actually. 16 packages, 3 were full curriculums(Two levels of Bookshark and 1 Calvert). I had to load up one of those luggage carts to get it all up to the room in one trip. The boxes had taken up the whole back trunk of the van and I knew it could be condensed into fewer boxes. I even brought a large clear tub to package all the chapter books I had purchased. Apparently I purchased more then I thought, because the container didn’t hold them all. Nothing is more fun for a homeschool mom then going through 16 packages of new curriculum and read aloud books.

Wishbone, Magic Tree House, Puppy Place, Kitten Corner, Bailey School Kids, Usborne early chapter books, the list goes on. It was so nice to be able to get all those books for a fraction of the cover cost.

Pool Time!

Soon all the new and wonderful homeschooling materials were all packed up, and everyone else was rested up. Z was standing at the window that looked out into the pool area longingly, ready to get going. So once everyone was in their swimsuits we headed downstairs to explore the pool. We were just outside the pool doors when I was stopped by a woman. She asked how long we were staying and I told her till Sunday. She then handed me 2 free pizza vouchers that were to expire on the Saturday and asked me if our family would use them. They were leaving and didn’t want them to go to waste. We thanked her and told her we would make sure they were used.

We continued to head to the pool area. For being a hotel pool, it was awesome. There was a large climber with a huge bucket on the top that poured down on the kids every 10 minutes or so. If you were brave enough you could climb to the top of the structures and slide down one of the 2 fun slides, But not without the risk of getting doused in gallons of water. The structure also had switches and valves that allowed you to adjust the water flow from all the fountains and spouts.

And Then We Were Flushed…

Then there was the huge toilet bowl style water slide. Riders jump on a tube (either singles or pairs) and blast down a dark tunnel. In the middle of the slide you would go around and around like your being flushed down a toilet. After each round your tube gets turned this way and that way. You never know if your going down the bottom forward or backwards.

Once your sucked down the bottom you come splashing down into the lazy river and float off. Travis and the big kids loved this slide. I couldn’t even tell you how many times they went down.

Zakari on the other hand was not crazy about it. Travis took him down once and then he refused to go again. Whether this was a sensory thing because of his autism, or just a typical fear many kids his age have I don’t know. However our method stayed the same. We gently help him get out of his comfort zone. If afterwards he is still uncomfortable with it, we accept it and move on.

So every once in a while Travis or one of the big kids would come and watch Z for me so I could go down could enjoy the slide and lazy river too. I think the kids thought it was entertaining when I would scream while going down the dark tunnel to enter the toilet part of the slide.

Kids…. Enjoyment at their mother’s expense.

Kiddie Pool, Learning to Swim with Autism

The kiddie pool was beach entry style. It had a double slide, 3 spraying fountains, teeter totter and a single baby swing/jumper. This is the pool that also leads to and from the lazy river.

Zakari spent hours in this pool floating, sliding and playing on the other pieces available. Because he was able to touch the bottom of the pool, he felt comfortable practicing floating.

When it comes to learning to be comfortable in the water, I find that with Zakari, he needs to be in a safe zone where he can gently push himself. If we try to push him he panics. But if he is allowed to his own devices, in a safe and supervised manner, great things can happen. While we have to sometimes push our children with autism, we also have to allow them time to explore and discover on their own. This method doesn’t work so well during a 30 minute swim lesson, and the instructor does have to push him along a bit. But we do our best to give Z lots of opportunities to have free time in a pool where he can touch the bottom.

The Big Kid Pool

Finally the slightly deeper pool was the pool my oldest hung out with other kids he met. It was about 4 feet deep, and the big kids enjoyed meeting people while playing water basketball in it. Next thing you know the group of them were going down water slides together and running under the huge bucket of water and getting soaked together

Traveling With The Big Kids

After a few hours of swimming we all started getting hungry. I ordered the big kids a pizza from the hotel by the pool and we went upstairs to get changed. By the time we got everyone sorted out, I ran downstairs and picked up the pizza. The big kids hung out in their room playing video games, and listening to music while Travis, Zakari and I headed out. I love that my big kids are old enough to stay back and hang out if they want. Sometimes they just want to relax while we have running around to do and we don’t have to drag them against their will with us.

Walmart and Supper Run

First stop for us was back to Chick-fil-a to get Z some grilled nuggets. Then we went to Walmart to get some snacks for the hotel. We did not want to have to spend too much money poolside on snacks if we could help it.

I just about fell over with how expensive produce was. It seemed that fruit cost the same price at home, but you have to add 25% to that price for exchange. Cereal, candy, junk food, all seems to be so much cheaper in the USA, but produce is another story. Yikes.

We grabbed a few things we needed, and then went across the parking lot to the Panera Bread drive thru. We had eaten at Panera Bread once when we were in Philadelphia and really enjoyed it, especially my husband. After we were served we took our dinner and Walmart purchases back to the hotel. Once again the soup and sandwiches were delicious. We both really hope Panera decided to start opening up shop in Canada some day.

Magic Tree House. The Perfect Book

Reading as always been a great way to get Z to relax. It also helps him fall asleep. So when we travel I always bring some books to read aloud. Zakari loves the Magic Tree House, so it seemed like a no brainer to grab the next one in the series to read. I didn’t even look to see what the next book was about.

When we started to read Buffalo Before Breakfast (Magic Tree House 18), I realized that it was about the Lakota Native Americans who lived in North Dakota in the 1800’s. I could not have planned that better. We were able to talk to Zakari about how this story took place in the same location we were, but hundreds of years ago.

As I read he drifted off to sleep. Honestly having my child fall asleep in my arms while I read to them is the best part of my day.

Rough Early Morning Wake Up

Around 4:30 am, Little Z woke up and had no idea where he was. He was in one of those startled states, where you cannot console him. After about 45 mins of trying to settle him, I was scared the big kids would be woken up, or the people in the next room could hear him. I did not want to be kicked out. So I quickly threw in my contacts, grabbed my purse and took Z to the van. As soon as we hit the fresh air, he seemed to snap out of it. He settled down, and I drove around, not sure what to do at 5:15 am.

For a little while drove around parts of Grand Forks I usually don’t travel. During that little journey I found a thrift store I never noticed before. Mental note, find time to go check out the books there… While I was in the parking lot checking out the times, I text my mom, and told her to call me if she was up. She’s one of those crazy people that choose to wake up at this time, ON PURPOSE!

Mom To The Rescue & Walmart Therapy

But Grand Forks is not very big, so that did not take me long to drive around. Finally I decided to take the long way to the new Walmart that is a bit further from our hotel. I stopped to see what time Kmart opened at, and drove through the older area of the city. This whole time Zakari was completely content. I hoped my family was getting in some good sleep.

As I pulled into the Walmart parking lot, my phone rang. It was my mom. Such perfect timing, she had wanted me to look for some American groceries for her. I figured now was the perfect time, since Z and I were just killing time. Before I went into the store, it was great to just vent to her. I’m not naturally an early riser. I’m also not always the most pleasant person when I’m awoken before I’ve slept enough. So it was nice to talk to her and get my frustration of my chest. I was able to get back into happy mama mode.

School Clothes Shopping

We walked all of Walmart, and got my mom’s shopping done. While looking at the boys section, I found some fresh t-shirts for Wesley’s back to school wardrobe. Before leaving I grabbed some stuff for Zakari and I to eat for breakfast. I’m love to say I bought some health fruit for myself, but that would be a lie. Besides like I said before fruit is SO expensive here. I had a delicious glazed yeast doughnut. You know what, I don’t even feel bad. I was tired and needed a sugar rush. Good Old Weight Watchers got kicked to the curb. Well not completely, I only bought one doughnut. Before Weight Watchers I would have bought a package, ate a few, and brought the rest back to the hotel. Not this time.

Pumpkin Pie Pop-tarts to the Rescue

I was about 6:50 am when we had seen all there was to see at Walmart. So I googled Targets hours and was surprised to see they opened at 7 am. I knew it would take me about 10 mins to get there. So we checked out and took off.  At Target I was able to find a few school supplies that were a good price. I also once again smacked Weight Watchers in the face. I mean come on, who can turn down Pumpkin Pie Pop-tarts.

It was still early, and I didn’t want to head back to the hotel yet, so Zakari and I went to a grocery store and did the aisles. When we got back to the car Travis called me to check to see if we were OK. The kids were still sleeping, but by now it was almost 9 am. So we hit up the Tim Horton’s, (because that’s what a good Canadian does when they need coffee)and head back to the hotel.

Traveling with Autism

Mr Zakari seemed to be in a much better mood. It is hard traveling when your little one has autism and anxiety. But setting realistic expectations is so important as a parent. It is hard when you have all these big plans and sometimes they are too big of plans for our special kiddos. Thing is to go in baby steps and that with practice it will get better.

Roll With The Punches

Even traveling with neurotypical children can be a challenge. I have learned we just need to roll with the punches. Some times I just want to lock myself in our house where it is safe. But that is not what is best for our family. Zakari needs to learn how to go out in and deal with the over stimulation the world has to offer. But we have to help him him learn to cope. These experiences mean so much to him. Even though he doesn’t talk about them, we know it is meaningful because of how he behaves after. He loves looking back at pictures of himself weeks and even years later. Or when we return he asks to do things we have done before there.

No matter how difficult it can be sometimes to travel with a child with autism, the life experiences are much more important. Both to the parents and the kid.

What We Bring To Help Our Son With Autism:

  1. Ear Defenders: When things start to get too loud, we can easily help him block out some of those noises by putting on a pair of ear defenders. I know some kids wear them a lot, but Zakari just uses them to regulate himself and then he takes them off.
  2. His own blanket and pillow. The comforts and smells from home helps my son relax and eventually fall asleep.
  3. Books: As mentioned above this is a great coping strategy for our son. I cannot encourage people enough to read to your child with autism. Even thought they may not seem like they are listening, they really are.
  4. A fully charged iPad & Leap Frog Epic and chargers
  5. Catnip Fennel. Now I take this with me everywhere we go. It is so helpful for dealing with upset tummies and it helps calm the nervous system. It is a product that has helped us so much over the years. During those meltdowns that we cannot figure out the cause, a lot of the time Catnip Fennel is able to help defuse the situation.

Breakfast Than Back To The Pool

We came back into the hotel room and I got the big kids up. Zakari looked out the window longingly at the pool again while every got ready.

Friday was an awesome day to spend by the pool. The kids swam their hearts out. When lunch time came around we ordered pizza, fries and chicken strips by the pool for lunch. The kids waited for the bell to start ringing so they could run with the other kids under the giant bucket and get soaked. Everyone had so much fun.

At dinner time the kids wanted Pizza, so seeing we still had the free vouchers we had gotten at check in and from the woman in the lobby we didn’t see any problem with that. Travis and I ordered Buffalo Wild Wings. It was so yummy. I just love their food. Another restaurant that we don’t have in Canada.

Little Too Busy Saturday

We woke up Saturday morning, and after lazying around we decided to head down to the pool. Before we left we noticed the lazy river and the kiddie pool were taped off. I called the front desk and there had been a pool fouling, so we needed to wait till it was properly treated.

Finally after an hour or so the pool was reopened. We went down and it was BUSY. Thursday and Friday we had been so spoiled. There was a good amount of people at the pool. Today the pool was swamped with people. Zakari was not having it. Several times he asked to go back to the room. So I decided to take him back and we went shopping.

Thrift Store Shopping

After we went back to the hotel to change, we headed to the car. I wanted to check out the thrift store I had seen on my early morning travels the morning before. We arrived, and of course I went straight for the books. Sadly I was only able to find one book we were looking for. I was impressed with some of the toys they had. They had some real classics from when I was a kid. But I knew we didn’t really need them, so I left them behind.

Little Z was tired. Of course when I had suggested a nap in the hotel, that was met with him jumping on the bed and running around like a crazy head. I really could have used a good nap, but now that we were out I wanted to at least check out Kmart. Sears was the last stop I made. They had just 8 days before they closed their doors for good. We looked around a bit, but Zakari was just not having it. So we headed back to the hotel.

Supper Plans

This weekend was just meant to be a get away. Get in some swimming, eat some good food and hang out as a family. The kids were not hungry yet, and we wanted to take them to the arcade at some point in the evening. So Travis, Zakari and I went out on our nightly supper hunt.

We stopped at Chick-fil-a because we needed to get Z chicken for that night and Sunday because, they are not open on Sundays. Then we tried The Noodle Company. It was just OK. I’m not sure I’d go back again. But I’m glad I tried it.

Arcade & Dippin Dots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The one thing Chloe wanted to have while we were in the USA was Dippin’ Dots. So when we got back we went to the pizza place/ arcade. We had two vouchers left for pizza, so the kids each ordered one. While we waited we loaded up the arcade cards and the kids had a blast playing all the games.

 

We got Chloe some Dippin Dots for helping us out so much with Zakari at the pool. She went up the play structure with the slides and huge dumping bucket all weekend to keep an eye on Zakari. With my contacts I couldn’t keep up with Zakari and not get chloride water in my eyes. I did not want to lose a contact, nor do I like water that much.

When the pizzas were ready, the kids cashed out their tickets, and we went back upstairs.

Packing Up To Go

When we got back I started packing and organizing our stuff. We wanted to be up early and be able to try the breakfast buffet we had free passed for. The big kids ate their pizza and enjoyed one last night of snacks, video games and movies.

Sunday Rough Morning

Zakari had a rough night. I almost wanted to pack up the van and head home in the middle of the night. But Travis talked me out of it. Luckily we got him settled and he finally fell asleep. Only to wake up again at 4:30 am. He wanted me to take him to Walmart again. Of course I didn’t want this to be a habit he got into. But even if I wanted to take him, I couldn’t, Walmart was closed until noon.

Once I read him a few chapters I was able to get him back to sleep. But now I’m worried. Travis and I have not slept well enough to be driving him as safely as we would like. Travis had a pounding headache at this point and needed time to sleep it off.

Late Check Out

I called the front desk and explained that our son had a rough night, we were not sure if he was feeling well or not. We ask for a late check out. They were amazing, they said that even though they don’t do late check outs, they would give us an extra hour or two. We were so grateful, so even though we slept through the breakfast buffet, we were all well rested.

We packed up the trolley, brought all our luggage and my packages to the van, and then checked out. Overall I was very happy with our stay. 3 hours away from home and the kids had a blast. Perfect mini vacation.

Last Minute Shopping

Once again I’m so grateful for big kids who are old enough to babysit. I wanted to run into Sears and have a better look. Travis was not with me the day before so he wanted to look around too. But Zakari was NOT interested in shopping at that moment. So the big kids babysit him in the van. We of course left it running and they locked the doors behind us. All of them were happy playing on their iPads while we spent a few quick minutes looking around. We stopped at the candy store in the mall and went back to the kids.

Afterwards we made one last stop at Walmart. Of course Zakari loves Walmart, so he insisted on coming with us. We grab a few snacks for the road and some more Tylenol to keep Travis’s headache at bay.

McDonald’s, Worst Service EVER

My big kids wanted to have McDonald’s for lunch before we left the states. I swear that was the worst managed McDonald’s in North America. They messed up our order twice, over charged me, and when I asked for something for compensation for our wasted time I was offered 3 free coupons for ice cream or cookies. Offered might now be the right word. The manager rolled her eyes at me, then said she guessed she could get me some coupons. A few weeks later when I went back down to the USA with my parents, they stopped their for coffee and they had an equally terrible experience.

Plus I had a ridiculously hard time cashing in those coupons, they tried to make me wait for a manager to get off their lunch break which would be in 30 mins. I explained that these coupons were given to me for wasting our time. He was able to get us the cookies. At least they were good, but I refuse to ever go to that location again. I will drive down the road to get coffee from now on.

Last Supper Before Heading Back to Canada

Travis and I decided, after long, and painful deliberation we were going to try Erbert and Gerberts. I’m so glad we did! It was so much yummier then Subway.

We ate, filled up our tank and hit the road home. All I could think was, well the moment of truth is coming up. I have to declare what I spent to the border patrol. Which means I have to admit to my husband how much all those boxes cost.

Back Home Again

We landed up making good time, and getting home safely. We were all glad to be able to sleep in our own beds that night. It was so much fun being able to spend time with our kids.

What We Would Do Differently

This was a learning experience for us. We want to take a trip to Great Wolf Lodge next summer and this trip was a great practice run. This winter though we might head back to Grand Forks Canad Inns.

However we will be doing a two things different.

  • Going for 2 nights instead of 3. I think we all had our fill of swimming after the second night, and the money we save in hotels can allow us to do this trip more often.
  • I would not go on the weekend again. Saturday was WAY to busy for Zakari. Looking down to the pool on Sunday, it also seemed crazy busy.

What is your go to tip on traveling with a child with autism?

Summer Life With Autism & Year Round Homeschooling

Summer Life With Autism & Year Round Homeschooling

summer

Summer is officially over. My big kids are back at their respected schools, and Little Z is back to the homeschool grind. Well not that we really stopped learning since we are year round homeschoolers. But we did pull out the new curriculum a few weeks ago.

Life has been very hectic the last few months and I had taken a long unplanned hiatus from blogging and YouTube. I just felt that I was being pulled away from this platform. Instead I needed to put all my energy into my family. Last September my body was getting so run down. I got sick 2 times that month. It made me see I had to slow down.

Now with this fresh start of a new school year, I am hopeful that moving forth with this blog is the right thing to do. I miss sharing about our lives and journey. It is therapeutic to me, and I need that right now.

Attack of the Disappearing Blog

Something that made me realize how important this site is to me was when it went down. A few months ago my credit card number information was stolen. Someone in the UK had a blast buying things off of Google Play, and grocery shopping. So obviously my credit card was canceled, and fraud claims were put in. Thank goodness I didn’t have to pay anything for that. But when I received my new credit card, I forgot to change the number on my host site. For some odd reason I did not receive any emails from the company saying this was going on and my site was taken down. Thankfully I noticed soon enough and was able to do a disaster recovery.

The thought of my site that I have worked on and off on for the last 8 years being *poof* gone made me sick to my stomach. This made me realize I needed to get back here and start sharing our life journey again. Even if what I write about helps only one other mom, it’s all worth it. Plus on a personal level, its a log of how far my family has come during these last 8 years. I explained it to my husband as if all our family pictures burned and I had no way of getting them back. I’m so grateful to have my little piece of the internet back safe.

All About Day-camp

This summer just seemed to go by so fast. In July, Wesley was involved in two day camps.

The first full week off of school he attended a camp for kids ages 10-14 years old. They had 1:1 camp counselors that switched each day. This way the kids would focus on building relationships with their peers, and not as much with the adults. The best part was Zakari’s old ABA tutor, and the respite worker that took Wes to camp last year was a counselor there! They worked on social, life and planning skills. Some of that activities they were involved in were Skyzone Trampoline Park, archery, bowling, Shapes Gym, swimming, and sports. Lunch preparation and cleanup tasks were rotated so campers actively participated. Something else that impressed me was they showed the kids how to do some basic auto maintenance like checking oil, tire pressure and adding oil and other fluids to a car.

Two weeks later Wesley started a second one week day camp. A van came right to the house every morning and picked him up, and dropped him off in the evening. This was so helpful to me as a busy work at home mom. The camp two weeks before had me orchestrating a drop off and pick up schedule with my family and my ex’s family. It was one less thing to worry about. He spent his week learning to cook with camp friends, enhancing independence, trying out adapted sports, and allowing him to develop & grow friendships with the staff and other peers. They visited the Human Rights Museum, a local water park, and spent the day at Camp Manitou.

Summer Reading Challenge

During May, FullTimeWifeLife whom I follow on YouTube announced she was hosting a Summer Reading Challenge. So Zakari and I signed up. He was able to collect $100 in pledges & he read over 1200 mins between June 1st & July 15th.

  1. 1 Fizz and the Police Dog Tryouts: Fizz 1
  2. 2 Fizz and the Dog Academy Rescue: Fizz 2
  3. 3 Fizz and the Show Dog Jewel Thief
  4. Outback Rescue
  5. Storm Rescue
  6. Bush Rescue
  7. Farm Rescue
  8. Hey Jack! Complete Collection with backpack (15 books)
  9. Animal Detective (Bear Grylls Activity Book)
  10. Secrets of the Rain Forest: A Shine-a-Light Book
  11. Animal Trivia Questions

Zakari earned a total of 25 books and a back pack. Plus his group earned $700 worth of books for less fortunate kids. It was such an awesome program we can’t wait till next summer to participate again!

As his mother I’m most excited about the Hey Jack! books. They look great for a kiddo who grew up on the Doman program. The writing a large and clear. I believe these will be the first chapter books he reads to be aloud this year. Thank you again Abby!

Summer book challenge

Where Did August Go?

The month of August just flew by. From the 3rd to the 19th, Wes was off with his dad. He spent time at his dad’s place, then a week at a cabin, and then out to Gimli for a car show before he came back home. Between the 12th and the 22nd my stepdaughter was off to Disney with her grandparents. So during the time it overlapped that they were both gone Zakari was an only child. I think it was nice for him to get our undivided attention.

The kids are blessed with an aunt who owns a pool and loves to have them over to swim. Three times during the summer we went over there and lounged in her pool. It is fun to see each year how the kids have developed their swimming skills through all their swimming lessons during the year. Even Little Z was more independent in the pool with his life jacket. I did not have to be standing and holding onto him the whole time. I was able to float or sit on the side of the pool within arms reach and enjoy everyone’s company. Its sad the cooler weather is blowing in and the pool is closed for the summer.

swimming

Forget August, Where Has September Gone???

Like I said we have started school. Zakari was the first to start. We were so excited to dive into his new Bookshark Kindergarten curriculum. We started a day early on Tuesday September 4th. This curriculum is just such a perfect fit for my son. Several of the books these last few weeks have sucked us both in. I can’t image what we would have missed if I had just put him in the Grade 1 level.

A week later we introduced Calvert Grade 1. No, I did not purchase the whole Calvert curriculum new. $1500 US dollars is way out of my budget no matter how good the curriculum is. But I was able to get all the textbooks & most of the materials from a mom on an American homeschool Facebook group for $80 US shipped. I had looked at this curriculum years ago when Wesley was homeschooling kindergarten, but the price tag blew my mind.

Next up was Wesley. On September 5th he went off to his first day of grade 8. Guys, he’s in GRADE 8 now! I’m not entirely sure how that happened. This is his last year in middle school, then he is off to high school. He also started back up with piano & his once a week evening group at the local school gym. Two weeks ago we met his new teachers at the school BBQ. I also met one of his buddies that he has lunch with.  I hope he’s off to a good start.

Then on the 7th we sent Chloe off to start grade 7. She’s already had one overnight camping trip with her class, and seems to be enjoying school. She’s soaking in book after book. I love that she shares my love of reading.

school

Portage La Prairie Here We Come!

September means Zakari’s favourite place is open again, the Portage La Prairie Aquatic Centre. We have already taken the 1 hour 20 mins journey out there. He loves that place so much. I look forward to several more visits between now and June when they close up again for the summer.

stride place

What Does Year Round Homeschooling Look Like For Us?

So I mentioned that we are year round homeschoolers. Because Zakari is a creature of habit, we have decided that homeschooling year round is in his best interest. This allows us flexibility throughout the year. If either of us is having a bad day, we can put the books away without fear of running out of time.

However year round homeschooling this past year allowed us the time to go through two full curriculums. We started the year with Bookshark PreK, which we finished in April. Between April and August we started and completed Build Your Library Level 0.

Homeschooling Year round allowed us to enjoy all the books in the PreK Level and still hit and complete our kindergarten year. So we not only stick to a routine that worked for him, and allowed flexibility, we also completed more this year then we would have if we stuck to a strict 36 week school year.

book worm

Weight Watcher Journey

Something this summer that I did for myself was joining Weight Watchers Online. My weight was climbing past my comfort level, and my body was starting to rebel. I’m happy to say I was able to lose 22 lbs since the ending of May. 18 lbs was thanks to Weight Watchers.

A few weeks ago I joined a meeting group, and I hope to get down to a healthy weight again. I’ve already been able to get past a frustrating plateau, and the scale is going down again. It’s amazing what years of stress and poor self care can do to a body. I feel now is such an important time for me to get back on track. The healthier I am, the more I can do for my family.

Starting Our Family Holidays

This year I took 1 week off of work. Part of it was spent going to doctors and dentist appointments. You know, all that stuff no one wants to really do. I’m happy to say check ups went well, and neither of the boys have any cavities. Although Zakari gave both doctors a run for their money. Thank God for patience doctors.

Waiting at the dentist

Waiting at the dentist.

Boys and Their Toys…

But we were sure to add in the fun stuff. Wesley saved $600+ dollars of his own money and wanted to buy himself his dream RC truck. My dad took him over to my uncle’s house to try out his RC truck and learn how to take care of them. Then on the Monday of our holiday we met my parents at the local hobby shop and with my dad’s expertise he picked out a Traxxas Rustler VXL.

Since Wesley has gotten his truck he has enjoyed spending time with my dad in the country, tearing up gravel and dirt, drag racing with my uncle and cousin, and just spending some quality time with his grandpa. Even though my dad’s main hobby now is RC boats, he loves spending time with Wesley racing his truck. He even fixed up his old RC race car he use to race when I was a kid. Since they are from the late 80’s they are not as quick, but even with a few modifications using today’s technology he was able to make them faster than they use to be.

rc car

Long Weekend Trip To Grand Forks

On the Thursday of our holidays we drove out to Grand Forks and stayed at the Canad Inns. But that trip deserves its own post, so stay tuned!

 

What did you do this summer? How has the start of the school year for your family?

Homeschool Collection {Monthly Round UP}

IAHP Trip- Free Day #1- New York City

Image

IAHP Trip Free Day: New Year City, here we come… 

Walmart shenanigans

 

Early Morning Walmart Trip

Morning came painfully early. Regardless we didn’t want to miss any of our precious free time. When traveling to the IAHP, Free Days are limited. There was so much to see and do within driving distance, we got up and started our day. We knew we were going to meet a friend of mine at the Maryland Zoo on Sunday, so we decided to head the other direction. We drove to Coney Island. Before we hit the highway made another trip to Walmart to grab some supplies and snacks. Little Z had a blast playing with the over sized mascot heads.

 

 

Elastic Man Meets Houdini

About to head out on our road trip!

We left Pennsylvania, drove through New Jersey. Suddenly Zakari became a mixture of Elastic Man and Houdini. I look behind me and he has managed to weasel his upper body out of his car seat and he is trying to open up the back door. While we are on the interstate doing speeds that would have your license revoked in Canada.

Honestly I’m not sure how this happened. I’m what some might refer to as a “Carseat Nazi”. I’m very careful to make sure that my son is buckled up properly. But I guess he discovered how to unbuckle the chest clip and was able to get his arms out. This was a new car seat we bought specifically for the trip. I do not recommend traveling with a car seat your not use to using.

Needless to say it’s not as easy to pull over on the interstate in New Jersey as it is to on a Manitoba highway. I had to unbuckle myself and climb into the back to fix his seatbelt. Slightly scary since the car was traveling nearly the speed of light while Z and I were not properly restrained. Let alone the fact he was trying to open the door. Not my idea of fun.

New York City!!

Crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

An hour and a half later we arrived in New York City. There was that iconic bridge you see in the movies. Except in the movies, they usually don’t mention the $15US toll to drive over that bridge. Now that’s something I was not use to, tolls. Where I’m from you don’t have to pay to drive on a road. I feared what my credit card statement was going to reveal when I got the EZ Pass bill. It seems like everywhere we went there was a new toll to pay for. I’m glad that we figured out there was an option in our GPS to avoid toll roads.

Of course Zakari was not done living dangerously. He was demanding we pull over so he could “go swimming” in the Ocean.  I had to keep a close eye on him, because I was worried he was going to pull Houdini and try and jump out again. Thank god for child locks on the back doors and the fact he could not undo the lower clip/buckle.

 

Visiting The New York Aquarium

New York Aquarium with Daddy

Little Z loves sea creatures especially penguins. When we went to Alberta we spent so much time watching the penguins at the Calgary Zoo and the Aquarium exhibit in the West Edmonton Mall. So we were pretty sure we wanted to take him to the New York Aquarium. It is the oldest Aquarium in the United States that is still open. After doing a little research, we were aware that they were under construction. From what I read online there was mixed reviews whether it was worth the money or not.

The aquarium was damaged in 2012 by Hurricane Sandy. Staff members had to work tirelessly after the storm to help save as many of the aquatic residents as possible. According to many people on facebook the aquarium as never been the same and some exhibits are still under construction.

However for the $12 a person we paid, we were happy with our visit. We were quite proud with how Z was able to handle the crowds. I love to see the wonder in his eyes when he gets the opportunity to see these beautiful creatures. However just like on the plane the day before, Z had his own ideas how things should go. He got quite upset with us when we would not allow him to swim with the sea lions. The idea this kid gets sometimes cracks me up.

I’d say we spent 45 mins to an hour there exploring. I loved that we were able to buy our tickets on my phone and avoid the ticket lines. We just walked up to the advance tickets door and they scanned my phone and let us in.

Exploring Coney Island

When we were done at the aquarium, I really wanted to check out Coney Island. Since we had already paid for parking at the Aquarium, we just walked down the boardwalk. However we were not able to spend much time here because we seemed to have reached Little Z’s sensory limit. I would have loved to walk down through the midway or let him get his feet wet in the Atlantic Ocean. But now we have another place to add to our bucket list to visit and experience.

We still got to see the ocean, have fresh squeezed lemonade and get the Coney Island vibe. Spiderman came to pose for a picture, but Z was not having it. Maybe it had something to do with the fact it he had a Mexican accent instead of a Brooklyn accent and Z knew he was a fake.

Driving Around New York City

NYPD Parking Enforcement Vehicle

Ground Zero – 9/11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was getting late, but we did not want to miss having a look around New York City. Z was content with his snack and drink, so we went for a drive. We were told we were crazy even to drive into New York City by other people who had visited the city, but we did just fine. We were able to see the Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero from the comfort of our rental car. I know it’s not the same, but one day we will go back and experience the whole city the right way.

Homestyle Food – Bob Evans

On our way back to Philadelphia we decided to pre order some food online from Bob Evans. I remember when I went to Florida with my family when I was a kid that we loved this restaurant. Usually when we head out to the USA we visit North Dakota which does not have a Bob Evans. My friend from Baltimore had posted a photo of her take out from there on Facebook a few weeks before and I knew I had to eat their at least once. Isn’t technology amazing that you can order food online right from your phone and have it ready when you get there. I just pulled up the menu while Travis drove and selected everything I wanted.

Of course some where in New Jersey someone *cough*Zakari*cough* needed to stop and use the washroom. Driving down the interstate there is not an easy way to stop and find a washroom. We were luckily we able to find a turn off quite quickly that lead to a small town that had a Dunkin’ Donuts. And thank goodness for GPS which helped us find our way back onto the interstate. It was starting to get late and I had no interest in getting lost in a strange place.

Back in Philadelphia

Little Z after a full day of exploring

Finally we made it back to Philadelphia. Just in time to pick up our pot roast meal. I ran in and after a long day of exploring, the aroma of roast, mashed potatoes, veggies and yummy rolls were just what we all needed. I was so glad to be able to get a more home cooked meal while traveling.

Exhausted we went back to the hotel and ate. We all showered and changed into our pjs.  Of course since Z was out of his routine, it took us a while to get him to sleep. So we watched Netflix, and finally shortly after midnight we got him to sleep.

Our second day of our trip was in the books. We were in 3 different states, two of which I had never visited. What an amazing adventure.

If you missed my post about how we got to Philadelphia, be sure to read: IAHP Travel Day- Arriving in Philadelphia 

 

What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child Course – Friday


Friday morning was the last day at the What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child Course. It seemed that everyone who wasn’t having their children assessed on Monday was ready to go home to their kids. We had learned so much, I just needed to get home and start working with Z. Honestly I thought I was ready after Thursday and could not think of what more they could really tell me. Of course now looking back, this was a silly thought, I’m sure they could have keep us for a month and still not completely shared all their wealth of information. However I think I was hitting information overload.

At the time I could see why they have 6 more Lecture Series for parents to attend instead of drowning parents in the first What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child Course(WTD). However a year later I attended Lecture Series II and I noticed a lot of information overlap between WTD and Lecture Series II. I believe the mentality is repetition is good to help us remember. I get why they do this. But at the same time, if I am flying all the way to Philadelphia and being away from my family, I really want complete new information.

Friday they broke it up into good bite size pieces so as not to overwhelm parents.

  • Five Treatment Principals- They explained each treatment principle and told us that each treatment procedure can be placed under one of these five principles
  • What are the odds?
  • When do we give up?
  • Psychological Problems in the World of Brain Injured Children
  • The Family as the Answer
  • How to Begin- This section was very helpful for me. It made me realize that I could do the program with my son and still run my home daycare. What I need to do is include my daycare kiddos in the process.

I left Friday feeling like I could really do this. I realized I needed to include our whole family in the program. Friday’s lecture made me see, where there is a will, there’s a way.

At the end of the day we were all presented our certificates which stated we completed the What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child Course. I felt so accomplished when I received this certificate. I know it’s just a piece of paper. However I had wanted to come down and take a course at he IAHP since my oldest was a toddler and I read “How to Teach Your Baby to Read.(Read about that HERE.) It felt amazing to have finally made it down there to do it. Truly a dream come true.

The one thing that was truly amazing were the Parent Summaries. The one or two people that left before sitting though this, I have to say you missed out. If your going to attend this course, do not plan on leaving till Saturday. You do not want to be rushed on Friday.

All of the staff we had worked with throughout the week sat at the front of the auditorium. Each person had a few minutes to share their story, what they had learned, and what they are taking home with them from the What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child Course. I know this might sound scary, but let me tell you it wasn’t. You feel like you know these people well after a very short period. No one is trying to keep up with the Joneses. So for me when it was my turn to share, there was no fear. I was excited to share what I learned and what my hopes were with everyone.

Wow! So many emotions went through me that evening while I sat there and listened to everyone’s story. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room. Almost everyone came there with crushed souls. Some families had been given such depressing prognosis. Before they arrived that week they had no one telling them they could help their child. Just people preparing them for the worst. Telling them to give up.

But something had changed for them. Something changed for me too. Once you have seen this information, you cannot unsee it. It seems like the other parents had the same experience.

Afterwards we all gathered for a group picture. I had seen these posted on the IAHP facebook group many times. I was so glad to be able to be in one of them. This group of people became like family during the 5 days we spent together. We all had so much in common. Every single one of these parents were fighters. We spent 12 hours a day, learning, sharing meals together and sharing our experiences. Our kids ranged from mildly to severely brain injured. But no one was willing to accept that where there kids are now are where they will be forever.

I also got pictures with Betty from the book store(God knows I spent a lot of time there) and Harriet who is the registrar for the course(I had spent plenty of time on the phone with her over the years). I was also able to get a picture with Janet Doman, Glenn Doman’s daughter.

I don’t know what happened to most of them months and years after the What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child Course. I hope they have experienced the same success and witnessed the same degree of improvement in their child’s quality of life that I have seen in Little Z man.

Afterwards I packed up my belongings and said my goodbyes. A lot of people were staying behind to chat, but I had a lot to absorb. As I drove my car through those campus gates I felt like a new person. I felt like Batman with a tool belt full of new things to use to help my son.

This was my last evening in Philadelphia and I knew I had to pack, but I wasn’t ready just yet to head back to the house I was staying. I landed up going and doing some retail therapy. I checked out a store a YouTuber I regularly watch often vlogs about, Five Below.

When I arrived a friend of mine from back home called. Well I felt like I had so much to share with her, but I couldn’t organize my thoughts. I landed up letting her go because I had so much on my mind from the course I was unable to multitask. People were giving my dirty looks in the store because I was that annoying person that was on the phone not paying attention. When I got back to the car, I got a text from this friend. I guess I was so distracted I came off as upset with her. Holy, that was not my intentions at all and I felt bad. Luckily a few text back I was able to clear the air. I promised to call her when I got my thoughts together. 

I decided I needed to get one last Chickfila fix. But I really didn’t want to sit in my car and eat alone again like I did every night. I also don’t like to sit in a restaurant alone. After a quick google search I found Five Below was right by a Willow Grove Park mall with a Chick-fil-a. Don’t ask me why eating alone in a restaurant makes me uncomfortable, but a food court is just fine.

After I ate, I decided to explore the mall a bit. I found this really cool toys store called “Go Games & Toys”. I was able to find a few board games at a great price to bring him for the big kids. As I walked out of the store I started to wonder if I was going to be able to get everything I had bought into my carry on and backpack. I was pretty sure I would be able to, but I still a bit of doubt.

It was getting late, so I started to head back to the house and get my bags packed. When I got there the babysitter/nanny was watching the kiddos and the parents had gone out. I went upstairs and started packing. Wow, I was completely delusional. There was no way I was going to get all the books, toys and souvenirs I had bought into those bag. Not even close. I don’t know what I was thinking.

If you haven’t seen my IAHP Better Baby Bookstore Haul video and want to know which books I had picked up that the IAHP Baby Store, check out this video.

I looked up the closest Walmart, and they were closing in a little more than an hour and I was still 20 mins away. When I went downstairs to leave the nanny seemed very concerned I was going out so late at night. Maybe I was naive. Back home I go to Walmart at all hours of the night and don’t think twice. I assured her I would be fine. We chatted at the door for a bit. I just loved this woman, we talked about books and what life was like there. I wish I could have spent more time chatting with her but I was short on time.

On the way there I got turned around and landed up on a toll road. I had managed to avoid them all trip. Do you think I had any cash on me? Nope. I landed up having to use the rental car Ez Pass. So I had to pay for the toll and the rent the EZ Pass for each day I had the car. So needless to say, that was an expensive toll.

I made it to Walmart with 15 mins to spare. I hurried and looked around and could not find the luggage section. Luckily I found an associate and she was able to lead me to the spot. I grabbed a bag and hurried back to the house.

When I made it home I decided to wait till morning to clean out the car. I went up to my room and filled the duffle bag I bought full. I could have fit more in my carry on and backpack, but I figured why haul around two airports more than I have to since I was already checking a bag.

I showered, tidied up the room and got into bed. I phoned home and chatted with Travis for a bit before I went to sleep. I had so much on my mind I had a bit of trouble falling asleep, but soon enough I was out.

Last post about my trip to Philadelphia for the What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child Course coming soon(I promise to have it out sooner then this post took).

Did you miss how the beginning of my trip to Philadelphia to take the What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child Course went? You can catch up and read about it in the following posts:

Day 1& 2 of My Trip To The IAHP

What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child Course – Monday

What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child Course – Tuesday

What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child Course – Wednesday

What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child Course – Thursday

IAHP Visit – Traveling Day – Friday


IAHP Visit - Traveling Day - Friday

 

IAHP Visit – Traveling Day – Friday

We’re Leaving on a Jet Plane…

Friday, August 4th, 2017… The day we had been waiting for. We were heading to the airport to start our journey to bring Little Z man to The Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential. Today is what I have dubbed our Traveling Day.

11 months after my first journey to Philadelphia. It was almost like a dream. Never in a million years did I think we could pull this off.

But thanks to the help from a wonderful organization, The Elks of Canada, we were there at the airport. Starting our journey to the IAHP in Philadelphia.

Nerves and Worries

I had to say I was completely nervous to be traveling by air with Zakari. He’s not one for crowds and we had a layover in Chicago.

Waiting to check our bag.

We arrived at the airport 2 hours early like they recommended. Then we saw the line to check in. We had tried to check in the night before online, but it said we had to check in when we arrived. So we got in line and waited our turn.

We started getting nervous when the line wasn’t really moving. Were they canceling flights. We had taken a chance and flown United Airlines. yes they had bad publicity lately, but we figured they would now be on their best behaviour since the world was watching.

We finally reach the check in desk and everything was fine. They let us check our bag and off to security we went. Thankfully we were the only people going through security at the time.

Compassionate Security Staff

The people who were running security were amazing. I quickly explained to them that Z has autism and that I could not let go of his hand. They were very compassionate and kind. They had us remove our shoes. We were told that Z could keep his on, but then they noticed they were light up shoes, so they said he had to remove them. Well Mr. Z was more than willing to comply.

From that point on he was convinced you’re not suppose to wear shoes in the airport.

They let me carry Z through the metal detector. We quickly gathered our belongings and made our way to customs. We had 2 back packs, Z’s car seat and 1 carry on because Hubby thought that it would be worth the money to check a bag. Boy was he right! I could not image trying to juggle an extra bag. While the car seat was a pain to drag around, it was a blessing to use on the plane.

We found a little alcove in the waiting area and Z climbed on the couches and got all his wiggles out. They kept changing gates, so we just stayed there till we heard they were boarding our flight. The Winnipeg Airport is very small so its easy to just stay put and move to where you need to be when its time.

Boarding Time

We got in line and when we made it to the front the flight attendant said she had called us to board first. We must have missed her call. She said because I had called ahead to let them know about Z’s special needs they wanted to make sure he was taken care of.

Mr Z’s first time on an airplane.

When we got on board, Hubby helped me install Z’s car seat. I have to say, if you have a busy child, make sure to bring your child’s car seat on the plane. Z knows when he’s in a car in his carseat, that’s where he is expected to be.

Take off went well. I was worried he might freak out about his ears popping, but he just plugged them. I had brought ear defenders, but he was not interested in using them.

When they came around with snacks and drinks, they brought him one of those squeezy apple sauces, which he enjoyed. But of course in total Z style, he managed to dump my glass of coke on my lap. Thankfully I had already drank half of it, so I was only a little wet.

The biggest challenge for me was preventing him from kicking the chair ahead of us. He is use to traveling in a van where he has lots of legroom.

Luckily the person in front of him had no one sitting beside him, he was able to move over. That being said I made my best effort to stop him from kicking the back of the chair.

What Do You Mean I Can’t Go Outside?

About 30 mins into the flight Z decided that he wanted to go play outside. Try as I might to explain to him that we are thousands of feet in the air, he still wanted to go play outside. This was one of the many times this trip this poor guy’s mom rained on his parade.

After our 2+ hour flight we landed in Chicago. We waited for the plane to empty out and then we uninstalled his car seat and made our way off.

United Airlines, Amazing Staff!

There waiting for us was a United Airlines employee with a wheelchair. Z needed the opportunity to stretch his legs. But the employee invited us to put his car seat and bags on the wheelchair, and escorted us through the airport to our next terminal gate.

I was so grateful he did! Boy oh boy is the Chicago airport huge! Because he escorted us, we were able to have time for a bathroom break as well as get Z some popcorn to snack on on the next flight.

Because we were right by the gate, we were able to board first. United was able to upgrade our seats so Z had more leg room. Z snacked on popcorn and watched a few episodes of his show I had downloaded from Netflix to his tablet. He started to doze off to sleep just before we landed.

Welcome to Philadelphia

We are in Philadelphia! Posing for a silly picture while Daddy gets our bag.

Once again we let the plane empty out before we gathered our belongings and got off. There waiting for us was another United employee with a wheelchair. We thanked him very much, but told him we knew where to go as I’ve been to the Philadelphia airport before and Z needed to stretch again.

We made our way to the baggage claim. Grabbed our bag and made our way to catch the shuttle to the Alamo, the car rental company.

By now it is Saturday. Z is tired, and a giggling mess. As I waited for Hubby to finalize our car rental, Z is jumping from couch to couch in the empty waiting area.

A few people in line were staring, but frankly I didn’t care. He was not disturbing anyone. It’s after 1 am and my kid is right on the edge of having a party or having a meltdown. I’m wanting to mark this up as a good traveling day, so I’m voting for the party option. I could handle the dirty looks, those would disappear as soon as we got into the rental car. The meltdown however would follow us to the hotel.

A few minutes later we were away from the dirty looks and cruising to our hotel to check in.

Hotel Delays & Walmart

35 mins later we arrived. I had made arrangements with Expedia to be able to check in at 2am. But when I went in, the front desk needed 45 minutes to reboot the system so that the sign in would count as a Saturday check in. So back to the car I went, and off we went to look for food.

A quick trip through a drive through, we still had a bit of time to kill. So Hubby ran into a 24 hour Walmart and picked up some supplies we were going to need in the morning. I waiting in the car while Little Z slept. Of course just before Hubby was about to come out of the store there was a torrential downfall. By the time he got to the car with the bag they were both soaked.

Tired & Panicking

Now I made a huge mistake, while waiting for Hubby. I went and rechecked the hotel we were staying at’s reviews. When I had booked this hotel, the reviews were OK. Now since I last check there was a terrible review. I went into panic mode. Do I call Expedia and try to get into a different hotel? I’m tired and sleep deprived at this point and a bit irrational.

We head back to the hotel and when we arrive there is a sign, “Back in 15 mins.” Are you kidding me? I’m tired and it’s now almost 3 am. I start praying, is this a sign we should find another hotel? I get on the phone with Expedia and am put on hold. As I wait the woman come back to the desk and removes the sign. I hang up the phone, I guess this is where we are suppose to be.

A few minutes later we are parked near our hotel entrance. I’m panicking. Maybe we should check it out first before we bring in the bags and Z? Nope, Hubby wants to bring everything in in one trip. I put the card in the door and slowly open it…

Much to my relief, it looks nice and clean. A quick examination and I’m feeling a bit better. Z immediately makes himself comfortable and takes up a whole bed.

Here we are, we’ve made it. Finally able to kick off our shoes and get cleaned up from our first Traveling Day.

Our Adventures have just begun after our first Traveling Day.

Bed! After a long day traveling.

 

5 Things I Wish I Had Done to Help my Preschoolers Penmanship & Mommy and Me Baking Time

Wesley and I spent the day at home together, while my hubby took the car to work. It is so nice to have a day off in the middle of the week and be able to spend one on one time with my son. What a perfect time to work on some preschoolers penmanship skills and place math while baking. Plus he likes to play hookie from daycare too.

First thing we got up and after breakfast we tried out the new wagon I got free on Kijiji. It worked great. We stopped at Giant Tiger to return some curtains. We landed up buying a DVD and cd about Kids safety, plus we got a free set of reusable sticker and cards about anatomy.
Then we walked to Superstore and got some basic groceries, and we walked home. When we got home I made Wes lunch and then we made some no bake cookies.

This is what we made 🙂 They taste better than they look, I promise. These no-bake cookies were childhood favourites of mine. So when I found out that you could purchase oats that were gluten free, I was so excited to make these for Wes. I clearly remember as a child my mom making these for me, and sneaking some while they dried on the wax paper.

Then we sat down and did some coloring. I’m really going to have to make this a regular thing as Wesley really struggles in this area. Really it is my fault, I never provided him enough coloring time. He just hated it before so it was hard. But he’s starting to enjoy it a bit more. His tutor had been working on teaching Wes how to write his letters, but the occupational therapist said we should work more on coloring and tracing letters for the time being. So we did some coloring together today 🙂

If I could have a do over when it comes to fine motor skills and penmanship I would have prioritized colouring time more.

5 Things I Wish I Had Done to Help my Preschoolers Penmanship

  1. I would have introduced colouring utensils(crayons, markers, pencils crayons, chalk, etc) at a much younger age.
  2. Purchased rolls of paper and done larger drawings with him to build up the muscles in his hands.
  3. Worked on hanging from a bar and eventually teaching him to brachiate on an overhead ladder. This would have helped build strength in his hands. Check out Glenn Doman’s book,Fit Baby, Smart Baby, Your Baby!: From Birth to Age Six
  4. Looked for one of those kiddie easels, and had him work with different mediums on an upright surface.
  5. Spent more time outside drawing on the ground with sidewalk chalk.

We are also starting a reading/spelling program. But we’ll do that after nap I’m pooped.

 

Tonight I’m cooking chili! Hubby’s not crazy about it, but there are leftover steak skewers from yesterday. I just need to make a big pot of something so we can have frozen lunches. I spent way too much on food yesterday for dinner. I told hubby we have to stop splurging like that. I really hope that once I’m a WAHM I can manage to feed us good meals for less money. At least this chili will get a good run for its money, and I’m going to make some freezer meatballs too.
Last night I called Calvert School and talked to a teacher there. They were so helpful. I decided to put Wes in the kindergarten program. I was looking at the wrong assessment before, he is so ready for kindergarten!! Yeah! I haven’t ordered it yet, because I want to wait till after the Homeschooling convention here in Winnipeg, just to make sure there isn’t something I like better.
I also started printing out some stuff for our Hungry Caterpillar theme. I have to laminate(or macktak)some stuff first, but it should be good. I’m hoping he enjoys it.

 

Day In the Life of an ABA Family – Maybe losing our tutor!!!

ABA Family

Welcome to the life of an ABA Family.

We found out today off the record from a source that our tutor might be leaving us.  The centre that hired her promised her a certain wage after for 3 months, and in the end after a amazing review gave her a an insulting 26 cent raise. So she was depending on making more and now may not be able to afford to keep working with the company or with Wesley.

I told them his dad and I are prepared to offer her the 2 dollars an hour more out of our pockets. But really the centre should honor there promise.

Frustrating Beyond Belief

Its so darn frustrating for our family. Previously before we had a terrible tutor who fell asleep on a public bus and a public park during a field trip while supervising Wesley. Her lack of commitment and motivation cost Wesley 3 months of a 3 year program while they trained her replacement. We can’t afford to waste another 3 months.

I’m at wits end. This is unbelievably fair to my son.  Plus Wesley is running so many program, it would be so hard for a new tutor to jump in and keep up to him 🙁

So once she announces this is what she is thinking, my ex and I(hopefully our consultant too) are going to the CEO of the company and were going to fight to keep her.

The person we heard this from told me this doesn’t think she would accept the money from us, but I don’t know I have to figure something out…