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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Thank you to a very cool blog – All Things Boys – a mother raising a family with twins and kids on the spectrum – for the nomination as a “Versatile Blogger!”  There are a TON of great posts – I personally liked the recaps of their trip to HI and also, the post on Don Osmond and the MS Presentation.  Truly inspirational.

Rules:

  •  Thank the person who gave you the award.
  •  Include a link to their blog in your award post.
  •  Nominate 15 bloggers/blogs for the Versatile Blogger Award.
  •  Leave a link on their blog informing them of their new award.
  •  Tell 7 things about yourself

So – 7 Things about myself

  1. All time favorite food is crab paired with homemade teriyaki ribs / steak
  2. Best experience with my wife was living in Japan for two years shortly after we were married – priceless time I will always cherish
  3. Fav job of all time (besides being a dad) – working as a Japanese Tour Guide at the Polynesian Cultural Center
  4. Am bummed that my summer run plans are put on hold thanks to my knee injury.  I’m getting too old to be playing volleyball as often as I do  😦
  5. Love the idea of running my own business on a piece of land in Kula or Haiku with a ‘self sufficient’ lifestyle – growing a ton of our own food, solar power, water. . . that would be awesome. . . . working towards it.  🙂
  6. Grew up on Maui Hawaii – one of the lucky few
  7. Absolutely love my family – couldn’t be more blessed

My 15 Versatile Blogger Award Nominations – thanks to my wife for her input as well! 

  1. International Dinner Project: great blog about a family who were ‘stuck in a rut’  eating spaghetti over and over – leading to this kool dinner experience
  2. Hike Blog Love: a young family, their love for the outdoors, and raising a child with special needs
  3. Golden Malia: A mom and photographer capturing awesome pictures and stories about life on Maui!  Makes me homesick
  4. Running With Autism: This blog hit home with her story on running & dealing with autism.  My knee will set me back from my goals next year so time to readjust those goals and push forward!
  5. Karasmle: This is our artistic friend who did a portrait of our kids.  Incredibly talented artist and check out the posts of their remodeling.  WOW!
  6. TahoeSux: Cool hiking blog – loved their Hawaii posts
  7. Pucks and Puzzle Pieces: You have to read the posts from February entitled “Grand Adventure” – fantastic posts and can totally relate
  8. Dad to Daughters: a dad’s journal to his daughters who don’t know he’s writing it & he’ll tell them when they get older.  Cool idea
  9. Run21: Inspiring group of 21 Runners prepping for a half marathon and each trying to raise $1000 dollars for a Autism Support Group – YOU GUYS ROCK!
  10. Mila’s Daydreams: Funny site that probably doesn’t need any more publicity but this mom created images around her sleeping baby.  Really creative
  11. Murphy Maddox: Is on a stint in HI as he sets some time aside for spiritual development.  Cool reading about his experiences
  12. A Dash of Compassion: Great website with fantastic vegan recipes.  Fell IN LOVE with the raw cookie dough bites!
  13. Innovative Piano: A blog about autistic students and piano.  My wife and I both teach piano and I have a few kids with ‘special needs’ starting so this has been a fun read
  14. Little Wunders: My sister in law’s photo blog.  She takes great pictures and with their move to Hawaii, I can only imagine what she’ll be posting over the summer.
  15. CelenaJune: Another fantastic photo blog!

And that’s a wrap!  Thanks for reading!

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This post is dedicated to the awesome mother of my kids.  She’ll kill me when she sees this update and the pictures of her but hey, this is my blog, right?  I can do something different from time to time.  🙂

JennyLei Wunder

My wife – nicknamed “Gorgeous” by the kids

My wife is awesome and our kids absolutely love her.  The boys are so excited when she is around and they are constantly fighting for her attention and trying to make her happy. . . . . I mentioned in a past post that one of our weekly struggles is hearing them fight over who gets tucked in by mommy first.  There are worse things the boys could fight about.  🙂

We met during college while working at the Polynesian Cultural Center – the following is a shot of her with three of our friends.  The couple in the photo now live in Japan and used to live down the hall from us.  Manu is in the back – he was my best man.

Polynesian Cultural Center

“Along the beach at Waikiki. . . . “

I could go on forever but I know most people will get bored with a long post on my feelings for my wife.  To tie it in to autism and this blog though, let’s just say that if it weren’t for my wife and her maturity to ask the ‘tough questions’ when our boys were little, we wouldn’t have gotten their diagnosis so young and would’ve missed out on a lot of the progress that they have made.  If it wasn’t for her proactive approach by researching schools and getting us on waiting lists, our boys wouldn’t be in the fantastic school that they are in now. . . . .

Boys with their Angry Bird Costumes

Homemade Angry Bird Costumes by Mom

I think back to that experience and realize how much maturity it took for her, as well as all of you out there who are on this same journey, to put “her dreams” for the kids aside when she noticed their delays and ask the tough question that you may be afraid to ask, “something is different. . . . is there something more that I need to know or do?”

A portrait from a friend / artist in Japan

A belated Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers and future mothers out there.  You shape this world more than you know.  To my wife ~ your are amazing!  Happy Mothers Day and thank you for everything.  Love ya.

I think we need another day to recover from this past week.  Twin A had a TOUGH time getting out of bed this morning.  He kept asking for me to help with getting him dressed but with me on breakfast duty downstairs and still on crutches, getting up and down the stairs is my least favorite activity right now.

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We had a great weekend that I’ll write about later because man, the soccer camp really was awesome.  You can read about the genesis of the soccer camp in my most recent post but once again, thank you to the Red Devils Soccer Club here in Utah -they were fantastic.

Red Devils Soccer UT Camp for Autistic Kids 2

Shot with Leo and some of the volunteers. Can’t decide if Twin B is angry or is showing us his ‘game face.’ Photo courtesy of Red Devils Soccer SLC

 

It was neat to see over 60 kids on three different fields participating with over 100 participants in light green shirts running around helping the kids.  I appreciated the fact that prior to coming to the camp, the volunteers all got a training of ABA and Autism, followed by a tour of the Carmen B Pingree School for Autistic Kids that’s nearby.

It was amazing to see the ‘range’ of volunteers who came.  Many of the kid volunteers were associated with the Red Devils Club however, there were a number who heard about it from friends and came along as well.  Twin A had two volunteers who were both middle school age girls in the club, while Twin B’s was a freshman at the University of Utah who wanted to volunteer for the clinic – Awesome!  Oh, if any of you had daughters get caught up in the High School Musical craze a few years back, some of these kids will play for the East High Team.  Just some trivia.

Red Devils Soccer UT Camp for Autistic Kids 1

Twin A with one of his volunteer aids. I think he had a little crush on both girls. 

At the same time, Michelle (again – see previous post) and her daughter had many family members that came and helped.  If you went to any registration and asked, “are you with the team?” You’d have a 50% chance they were a parent of one of the players.  On the other hand, many were friends, neighbors, or relatives of Michelle and her daughter.  How fantastic is that?  I was touched to see 100 youth and adult volunteers coming out – not asking anything in return and giving their time for the kids.

Red Devils Soccer UT Camp for Autistic Kids

Twin B with his volunteer. He’s a Pre Med Student at the University of Utah. . . .the ‘other school’ in the UT rivalry. 🙂

In talking with some of the volunteers, I found out that the coaches and parents structured the camp with help from another mom who has an extensive background in ABA.  There were a number of different stations with a specific and simple objective in mind.  The kids also had a reinforcement bag to help motivate them.

Red Devils Soccer UT Camp for Autistic Kids

Twin A ready to break some ankles!

What was also neat was you didn’t worry about your kid being ‘judged’ or not fitting in.  The camp was structured yet flexible enough that each station and activity went as far as the student wanted it to go.  My twins were great at some things and it was fun to watch them dribble and run down the field. . . . then get tired, pick up the ball, and just walk to the sidelines.  Some of the kids just ended up sitting down and rolling the soccer ball back and forth while another boy found a sprinkler puddle and. . . . well. . . . I hope his mom brought a towel and extra set of clothes. It was exactly what most of these kids need. . . and it was awesome to see things specifically geared for them.  A “safe zone” if you will.

Red Devils Soccer Camp for Autistic Kids Salt Lake City Utah

Twin A LOVES his shirt and his new soccer ball – signed by “Leo” – the mascot for Real Salt Lake, our MLS Soccer Team

I just had to bring the previous picture back from the last post – it’s my favorite!  I wish I could personally thank everyone involved – I don’t know if they’ll realize how much this meant to many of us.  Between my knee and other things, I’ve been so self centered recently and worried about ‘my own little world’ and personally, this event really helped me get out of that rut and realize the good that always comes out of doing something for someone else.  I thank the volunteers, organizers, and Red Devils Soccer Club for providing an awesome experience for not only my kids. . . .but a learning one for me.  Mahalo ~

 

 

 

“Dad – let’s go to Charlie’s Soccer today, please?”  One of my earliests posts was about a Soccer Camp for Autistic Kids and after what felt like an eternity of waiting and endless questioning from our two excited twins, the boys finally got to attend the camp this past week. . . . . and unfortunately, they are anxious to attend camp today even though it concluded yesterday afternoon.  I love the picture below – we had barely gotten on the freeway for our 1 hr drive home when Twin A fell asleep holding his soccer ball. . . . . he was so tired.

Red Devils Soccer Camp for Autistic Kids Salt Lake City Utah

Twin A LOVES his shirt and his new soccer ball – signed by “Leo” – the mascot for Real Salt Lake, our MLS Soccer Team

I will post more about it in my “weekly post” since I have to edit some pictures for it but let’s just say it was an amazing experience.  The background to the camp was that Charlie (one of the boys in my son’s class) has a neighbor who is a teenager on the Red Devils Soccer Club in UT.  She knew Charlie loved soccer but didn’t play because of his autism so she and her mom decided to do a camp for Charlie.  There was a great writeup in the Salt Lake Tribune with awesome pictures of Charlie and his amazing mom Jen, who was another catalyst in getting this started.

Charlie at the Red Devils Soccer Camp for Autistic Kids - SLC, UT

image from the SL Tribune – Red Devils Soccer Camp for Autistic Kids

Well, almost 60 autistic kids attended the camp (with a ton still on the waiting list) and there were close to 100 volunteers.  When you talked to the people doing the check in, they were all ‘family members’ or ‘friends’ of this wonderful neighbor.  All the volunteers (so all the teenagers as well) took a tour of one of the autistic schools in the city and also, had a training on ABA and general autistic conditions.

I am truly impressed by the individuals I met this week. . . . the volunteers who worked with my twins. . . the coaches who were there 90 minutes beforehand setting up and getting ready. . .  Charlie and his family for their effort in getting this organized. . . . and Michelle (Charlie’s neighbor) and her daughter for turning a little boy’s wish into a reality.  I mean seriously – they had 100 volunteers on hand to help the kids. . . they got the kids shirts, snacks, soccer balls, an opportunity to meet the Real SL Mascot from MLS Soccer – AMAZING!

Thank you all SO MUCH.  It meant the world to me to see my twins running around, laughing and playing.  Twin A gave his mentor a big hug when he left, and Twin B can’t stop talking about his mentor and the fun time he had!  More to come on Monday!  Have a great weekend!

 

 

Boys II Men brings back memories of high school and early college. Best wishes to Shawn from BIIM and his family and THANK YOU for launching another non-profit to help kids with autism.

Praise 107.9

Via KissRichmond.com

Boyz II Men singer Shawn Stockman knows how lucky he is.

Stockman, 39, and his wife Sherhonda are the proud parents of 3 children, a toddler daughter and 9 year-old twin sons. Son Micah developed autism.

Shawn and his wife spoke with CNN about the devastating diagnosis, the challenge of finding the best care and making sure the other children feel special too.

Stockman was especially honest about one thing: Money.

Special schools, behaviorists, speech therapists are all extremely expensive.

“We learned through our journey with Micah just how fortunate we were, having money,” he said. “There’s no way a normal couple or a single mom could afford this,” Stockman said.

It’s with this gratitude that the couple decided to launch Micah’s Voice, a non-profit to benefit a family with a child suffering from autism.

The goal of the organization would be to cover the day-to-day costs of…

View original post 39 more words

I was interested and very worried to see how the boys would react to ‘daddy being hurt.’  Would they not recognize the injury and simply jump all over me as usual?    I know I’m getting too old for it but I still play volleyball and this past week, either ‘badly sprained’ my knee or possibly, tore my ACL.  Before getting a MRI, they want me to wait for two weeks since there is a strong likelihood it is just a sprain. . . . let’s hope so.

I think I’m going to turn to running a lot more versus volleyball.  Unfortunately though, I had three runs scheduled between now and June so. . . . that’s not happening.  I missed the Color Me Rad 5k this weekend that my wife and daughter had an absolute blast at.

Color Me Rad Utah 2012

My wife and daughter after the Color Me Rad 5K! They had a blast

The boys have been very cautious around me and are extremely careful.  Twin A has sympathy pains, all of a sudden, as he’s developed a sore left leg as well.  I wish I was able to video him hopping around the kitchen but unfortunately, my phone was out of reach.  Twin B is a great policeman – telling me to stop ‘hopping’ around and making sure I have my ‘sticks’ (crutches) nearby.  His first question to me is if my knee is better and if it’ll be better tomorrow or in 100 days?

Accomplishments: This week was a big week for Big Sis.  We usually focus on the boys’ accomplishments but we were happy to see her play this week.  The Up With Kids program is a fantastic program – holding weekly classes in preparation for this play that featured OVER 100 KIDS from ages 6 – 12.

Up With Kids Tangled performance 2012

Big Sis as "Viking TuffNut" far right on the middle stage

Big Sis was “Viking Tuffnut” and honestly, I was extremely impressed the boys sat through a 2 hour play.  We’ve done a few different ones before (Peter Pan was a big hit) but this was the first ‘local production’ that they went to and I’m glad that they came along to support Big Sis.  We did eat a lot of fruit snacks though. . . . .

Tip of the Week: I had the chance to spend a day in school with the boys but we missed their speech session this week thanks to my leg.  So, kind of a lame tip but here it is:   If you look behind Twin B in the following picture – you’ll see two of the charts they use.

Twin B @ Pingree School in Salt Lake City for Autistic Children

Hanging out at school

The first is his Angry Bird Chart (one of his favorite subjects) which is used as a form of positive reinforcement for Twin B – something easy that he’s excited about and moves us away from food (candy) reinforcements.  I’ll take a picture of the voice chart but this has been a BIG HELP with Twin B.  You can see the top of the chart above him on the left – Level 5 being ’emergency voices’ and Level 1 being a quiet whisper.  We’ve used the levels with the boys at church, home, with friends, or when kids are sleeping and they understand it and ‘get it.’  That’s been extremely helpful for us.

Have a great week!  The boys have their soccer camp this week – it’s been amazing to see the support from the local community for the camp.  I’ll post more about it in a future post.