Sunday, December 4, 2011

Few Pictures

I took AJ and his buddy Riley to see The Muppets yesterday and then we went to Red Robin for lunch. We had a GREAT time! Riley is such a wonderful friend! And he's so trustworthy- always great having another set of eyes on the lil guy :)
Jason sent me this... It's AJ doing the "Tim Tebow". When he finally told me what the pose meant, I thought it was pretty hilarious:)

SUCH a good boy!

I know that about a month ago, I posted about AJ being really difficult. I don't regret posting that, because at the time, he wasn't easy. But, I do feel bad about that time. I'm so happy to report though, that he's been SUCH a great, happy boy lately. He's just my little buddy. He's happy. He's polite. He is nice. He gives great compliments- in fact, there are times when he just wants to give compliments even though he's not sure what he wants to compliment. This morning, he wanted to say something nice and he said, "Mom, I really like your....your... all this" :) He will tell me he loves me just because. He makes me smile all of the time. This is just another reminder that the bad times pass....

We got his first "progress report" from school and he's doing FANTASTIC! They "rate" the kids with Most Often, Sometimes, Rarely or Not Yet" and they look at about 70 things. Here's a few things that stood out to me:

* He got a "most often" for every single social/emotional thing. Smiles, expresses emotions, follows individual and group instructions, helps put things away, works well alone and with others, expresses emotions in words.

* He also got "most often on almost all Independence/Self Help skills. Separates from parent without difficulty, able to put on shoes and coat as needed, takes care of personal hygiene, shows good table manners.

* Large and small motor development are great. Most often he can hop on one foot, draw and write with control, use eating utensils and use scissors.

* He needs to continue to work on tracing, using a pencil grip, writing his name and using line placement. He's still very young - I know this.

Here's his teachers additional comments:

"This is a very in depth progress report, most of the stuff on here we are not doing yet. AJ is doing great. He's right on task with the work we are doing in class. He is also doing very well with the others and making friends"

I'm SUPER SUPER proud of him!

Thanksgiving 2011 in California!

This year, for Thanksgiving, AJ and I went to California! We had SUCH a wonderful time! We haven't been in a very long time- 9 months is a long time for us- and the last time we went AJ was sick and it wasn't nearly as fun as we hoped. This year, AJ was FANTASTIC! He was on all week- perfectly happy, funny, sweet, loving and exactly how I'd hoped he would be. We left on Tuesday- got into Santa Barbara that afternoon and hung out with Pop, Grammy, Uncle Matt, Auntie Kristin, Aunt Joan and her friend Joey, and Grammy Cory's son, Eli for a few days.
The first night we just hung out around the house and caught up. I was SO happy to see AJ warm right up to Pop and Grammy- there were no issues at all. He knew them right away and gave hugs and kisses at the airport. We'd been talking about them and the things we'd do with them and memories we had of past visits and I think that helped. Also, he's older so he understands more now.
A few months ago, I got AJ the Toy Story 3 Landfill- this amazing big toy that has the entire landfill, conveyor belt, incinerator, etc... and since then we've been talking about AJ wanting to go to the dump. I told him (way back then) that Pop goes to the dump once in a while and that when we went to visit, Pop would take him. For the past few weeks before our trip, AJ's been talking more and more about going to the dump, telling my mom that when he goes to visit Pop, they'd go to the dump. So, of course, on Tueday night, AJ wanted to go to dump. So, first thing Wednesday morning, where did we go? Yes, to the DUMP! I can honestly say, I've never been to the dump. And you know what? IT STINKS! But, seeing it thru AJ's eyes and seeing how much joy it brought him, made it so fun. Pop, AJ and I drove over there and they let us drive up all the way to the landfill and watch the entire thing happen..... Trash trucks drove up, unloaded massive amounts of trash, then the yellow tractor would push the trash into the landfill and the blue tractor would drive over and over the trash to grind it up and make it small. (I'm sure there's some technical term for this....). It happened again and again and again. And we sat there with the windows open in the car for 45 minutes. Again, PEEEYOU! But if you ask AJ about it, he'll tell you every thing that happened. And there were workers who came over to our truck and talked with him. It was such a fun time :)
The Dump!
Later Wednesday, we went to the Avila Barn- we go every time we visit- and again it proved to be such a wonderful time! We fed the animals, which was fun, but the highlights of this visit were the forklifts taking the fresh Christmas trees to the lot for sale and also the YUMMY ice cream. We all enjoyed a single scoop. 
Silly boys!

Feeding the HUGE sheep!
Later that day, we all took a short drive to the beach and walked along Avila pier. It was so relaxing and fun. AJ loved running along the pier and watching the sea lions.

Love that he's skipping :)

Grammy, AJ, Pop and me

My guys!

That afternoon, my Dad's neighbor, who has 2 young kids, brought over some toys for AJ to borrow while we were there. They brought all kinds of trucks and blocks and AJ was in heaven! Pop and Grammy family room was filled with block race tracks and we all had a great time playing :)
Thursday- Thanksgiving- Uncle Matt, Auntie Kristin and Eli all arrived which made things even more fun! Matt and Pop took turns giving AJ rides in the wheelbarrow- it was SO entertaining to watch. AJ just loved it! "Do it again! Do it again" It was hilarious to watch AJ in the wheelbarrow, eyes closed, him "driving" while just about crashing into trees. I got some really good pictures (and we all got a good workout running him down the lawn).

He is LOVING this!

Uncle Matt and AJ played blocks and trucks and at one point were sitting outside together just hanging out. I walked out to get a picture and AJ told me, "Shhhh. Mom, were watching birds. You have to be still." It was adorable. He just is such a big boy.
Bird watching with Uncle Matt

AJ loves Uncle Matt so much- they just obviously love each other. At the end of the trip, AJ asked Matt if he could "go on his rescue boat". It was so sweet, but also sad because I know they both wanted to spend more time together. We plan to go out again in the Spring and spend more time with Matt and Kristin.
Anyway, later Thursday morning Aunt Joan and her friend Joey arrived- we haven't seen them in over a year. It was so great to see Joan and catch up. I was so happy that she got to see AJ and he got to meet her again. He was so young when they last saw each other, he didn't remember her. Joey was such a nice man and so good to AJ. They played together and since he's a grandfather too, he knew just the way to talk to him to make AJ feel comfortable and special.

Aunt Joan, AJ and I

Matt, Aunt Joan and me

AJ, Pop, Eli, Grammy Cory, Aunt Joan, Matt & Kristin
While all of that was going on, Grammy Cory was preparing a FANTASTIC Thanksgiving feast! Turkey, ham, yams, rolls, mash potatoes, veggies, cranberry sauce, and of course pickles and olives! The story is always told of when I was much younger and we had Thanksgiving dinner at my grandma's house, that I would put black olives on all of my fingers and eat them off one at a time (I'm sure everyone has SOMEONE in their family that does this...) and this year, I passed the torch to AJ :) As we sat down and started to pass around the food, I helped AJ load up his fingers and he showed everyone his creation :) I wish I had a picture of that! It was funny :) Needless to say, we all stuffed ourselves silly and by 8:30 AJ and I passed out. It was SUCH a wonderful day full of family, food and great memories! Thanks again Grammy and Pop for that fantastic day!
On Friday, sadly, we had to go home. Matt, Kristin, Joan and Joey came over in the morning for breakfast to hang out for another short bit. We did more wheelbarrow-ing and AJ and Matt played chase. We took some great family pictures and then Pop took AJ and I back to the airport. Don't tell Pop, but when he had to leave us at baggage claim, AJ and I both talked about how much we already missed them both and had a little cry. We certainly could have used another day or two on this trip, but had to get back to work and to Daddy.