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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Da Boyz interest jumps so fast it’s crazy.  At the beginning of August, everything was TMNT – that’s all they could talk about and my wife and I started prepping for a TMNT party.  However, fast forward a few weeks and I’m trying to do my homework on Pokemon and NinjaGo . . . AAAUUGGHHH!!!

Happy Berfdei!

Happy Berfdei!

Fortunately, the boys jump back into past interests very quickly and we stuck with our original “Ninja Obstacle Course” party with ideas from their gym class, Pinterest, Tough Mudder, and the old-school origami.  I’ll be completely honest – this party was A BLAST to put together . . . . and it really didn’t cost a lot of money since most of the items we had around the house or could borrow from a friend.  Besides food, I think we spent under $30 for everything.

Inspired by Tough Mudder - the Barbwire Crawl!

Inspired by Tough Mudder – the Barbwire Crawl!

I think the favorite activity of the afternoon was the water balloon slingshot.  We actually borrowed the slingshot from a friend and it worked really well.  By the end of the afternoon, my daughter was launching the balloon 30-40 yds.  IT WAS AWESOME!

The Water Balloon Sling . . . if you can see my nephew's face - it's priceless!

The Water Balloon Sling . . . if you can see my nephew’s face – it’s priceless!

We also are lucky to have family nearby who came out and helped with the bday party . . . the setup . . . running around and getting the cake, balloons, pizzas . . . .and always coming out to the kids activities.  Thanks to them, we were able to finish setup in 30 minutes and actually be able to keep track of all the kids and enjoy the party.

The Laser Bridge!

The Laser Bridge!

One of my biggest stresses with the boys is if they are making friends . . . . I think this is a stress for every parent but especially for parents of autistic kids.  We thought originally, we’d have maybe five – six kids at the party.  Well . . . . we had more than 15 kids show up!  We are extremely grateful for the support and friend group that our kids have.

I forgot how to make these!  Thankful for YouTube tutorials!

Origami Ninja Stars! I made these as a kid but forgot how to make them ~ I have a newfound appreciation for YouTube tutorials! 🙂

While we had small goodie bags, we also made ninja headbands and ‘swords’ that the kids got to take home.  The kids LOVED the headband . . . it was fun to see all of the kids wearing them and also, to see my twins running around hours later with it on their heads.  The pool noodle swords were a HIT!  There are a few different tutorials online involving PVC and making handles . . . and we didn’t do any of that – we simply put duct tape on the bottom to make a ‘handle’ and voila – we were done!  In retrospect, after watching 16 kids running around with ‘swords’ and hitting each other – the softer the ‘sword’ the better – I’m glad we decided against the PVC . . . I guarantee we would’ve had a couple of bruises or black eyes.

Pool Noodles make great (and pretty safe) ninja swords

Pool Noodles make great (and pretty safe) ninja swords

I don’t know if the boys will remember this party but we definitely had a blast planning and making it.  More importantly, I am grateful for the support, friendship, and love that our family gets from so many individuals. . . . . . blessed!

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Last year, we started taking the kids to BYU Athletic Activities.  My brothers and I grew up playing volleyball so our first ventures were to the BYU Men’s Vball Games.  My daughter and I have been going to Men’s Games for the past few years but this past year was the first time for the boys and the LOVED IT!

With Papa and da boyz Uncles at a vball game

With Papa and da boyz Uncles at a vball game

With the kids recent interest in soccer and all three of them really enjoying this fall season, we decided to venture out to a BYU Women’s Soccer Game.  Our one mistake with this plan was going to the game agains BYU’s rival – the Utah Utes so we ended up in a packed audience!  We usually pick ‘off-nights’ to try out new activities just so it’s easier to manage in case the situation is overwhelming for the boys but well . . . . no choice with this one.

Twin B chasing me with his Blue BYU Sword he got at dinner

Twin B chasing me with his Blue BYU Sword he got at dinner

Thank you to some gracious families who squeezed in so we could get some of the last seats on the last bleacher in the stadium!  We packed a ton of treats for the kids.  I feel bad having to bring treats and charged iphones but at the same time, I’d rather have the boys eating semi-healthy snacks from home versus the sugar and junk food at the games.  As far as the iPhones go, we usually make them watch an hour of something before we break out the phones. We were in the back of the student section so for any of our kids to see, they had to either stand or be carried by my wife and I so I give the kids credit for being gamers and not complaining during the game.

Go Cougars!  Future Cougars cheering the Blue & White to victory!

Go Cougars! Future Cougars cheering the Blue & White to victory!

There was a family behind us that I give a ton of credit to – they had a number of kids with them and were trying to watch the game without snacks, phones, or any other distractions.  Granted, it didn’t seem to be going too well but at the same time, it’s tough for kids to see others around them with phones or snacks and not have any.  That led into a long talk on the ride home about the kids and how to break them of their snacking / phone habits.  We usually try to over prepare for events in case we have a meltdown.   We can also get through church, drives, etc without any electronics and snacks but now, it’s time to help the boys through smaller activities – our daughter’s soccer games will be the first new activity this week.  They can usually last until half time . . . now to get them to the end of the game.  Any suggestions will be GREATLY APPRECIATED.

Sunset at South Field BYU

Sunset at South Field BYU

Our daughter’s games actually aren’t too bad – certain fields have playgrounds and the boyz can run around.  There’s just a few fields and after an hour of driving to get there, the boys are tired and cranky.  I guess we could leave them home with a babysitter but I think it’s important for all of us to cheer and support each other on as much as we can.

BYU pulled out a last second victory on a penalty kick – I’m glad they pulled out a win but wish games like this didn’t come down to a penalty called on one play on one individual.  At any rate, the kids celebrated the victory and we now have our first BYU Soccer Game in the books!

It’s been an amazing journey with these two boys – I’d like to wish them a Happy Birthday!  It’s a blessing and privilege to be the dad to these two little kiddos.  I am so appreciative of the time I am able to spend with them and all that I learn from them.  Happy Bday Boyz!

My lil' Mini Me's!

My lil’ Mini Me’s!

We had an extremely busy summer.  Our daughter spent five weeks in Hawaii staying with her grandparents on Maui – tough life!  It was tough to see her gone for so long but at the same time, talk about a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  I’ll post more on it later.

Bryce Canyon!

Bryce Canyon!

Da Boyz spent all of June in their ABA program and all of July having Summer School a few days a week.  We had a few weeks of real ‘summer’ in August before school started and decided to take a vacation with our UT relatives down to St George Utah.

Short hike that's actually outside of Bryce Canyon - perfect for kids!

Short hike that’s actually outside of Bryce Canyon – perfect for kids!

Last summer, we came here and did a trip to Zions National Park.  This year, we decided to see the Mulan Show at Tuacahn and spend some time at Bryce Canyon – one of my favorite areas in Utah.  My wife is extremely happy that the boys actually like to hike.  While there is constant bickering and positioning over who will be ‘line-leader,’ it also means that our hikes are actually pretty fast paced since the boys are constantly running in front of each other.

Exploring on the outskirts of St George

Exploring on the outskirts of St George

I think the highlight for any trip as a kid is the hotel.  Tutu (our SLC grandma) picked a great hotel that had a nice pool for the kids to play in.  The boys LOVED the pool and it was PERFECT during the extremely hot and dry afternoons . . . .a little chilly at 9am when the boys want to go swimming but hey, kids will be kids, right?

Twin B's "Suicide" Jump Form

Twin B’s “Suicide” Jump Form

The kiddos love swimming and we have them in swim classes at a local rec center.  We end up buying a summer swim pass since we can stay at the pool for hours and the kids within five weeks, we usually hit our ROI figure.  Our highlight this year is the fact that the boys can do the ‘big slide’ by themselves and, for the most part, are self sufficient at getting around most of the pool.  Awesome progress!

I Love To See The Temple!

I Love To See The Temple!

One of my biggest regrets  of our time in CA is that we didn’t take advantage of the amazing outdoor escapes near us . . . . . the ocean . . .Yosemite . . . Lake Tahoe . . . . Redwoods .  . . etc.  I’m glad that we are able to do these trips and that the kids, for the most part, enjoy the activities.

Ah yes - boys will be boys

Ah yes – boys will be boys

Hope you all had a great summer!  It’s crazy to look back at pics of even a year ago and see how much these kiddos have grown . . . . where does the time go?  YIKES!

WOW!  I can’t believe how busy our summer was – I’ve decided I need to be better at posting and I’m going to spend Sunday’s doing posts on the boys. . . . since one of the purposes of this blog is to be a journal for our family.

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Congratulations! Four years of ABA done!

Here’s CatchUp Post #1 – After four years of early intervention and 30 hours a week of ABA therapy, Da Boyz officially graduated from their current Autism Program and are headed to mainstream kindergarten.  We are extremely excited (and very nervous) for them and I am incredibly grateful for the amazing individuals and groups that have worked with our boyz.  I feel like we’ve met so many individuals that love and care for our boys as much as we do and for that, I’m extremely thankful for their support and tutelage along the way.

Graduation Leis, flower leis

We made graduation leis for the other graduates and teachers in the school . . . . love the colors!

I think I’ve learned a ton through 1-1 meetings with their teachers, parent conferences and trainings we have attended, and spending time in the school.  It is extremely hard and humbling to be the stay-at-home dad but at the same time, I look at what I’ve learned through these experiences and how much my relationship with my family has improved and I must say, I am extremely thankful for this opportunity to be with da boyz.

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One of my nephews who came to support Da Boyz! We’ve got such a great support group around – blessed!

I know there will be struggles, headaches, and some tough days ahead in mainstream school but at the same time, I know that it’s the right thing to try at this time!

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One of many awesome teachers who worked with our boys. Grateful for these professionals and experts who have made such a difference with our family

One nice chance will be having our boys closeby.  They’ve commuted to school for the past three years and it will be so nice to have them at the same school as Big Sis.