So once again, I've fallen behind with my blog. I can't believe it's been over a week and a half since my last post! Not to make excuses here, but I've not gotten myself back to 100% since I got sick over Labor Day weekend, and sleep seems to be key to feeling better. Usually I blog at night, after the kids go to bed, and I tend to stay up FAR too late. However, for the last week, I've been going to bed EARLY. So no blogging. It's hard to sit down and think during the day, with the monkeys running around! This morning, it's rainy outside, and the two little monkeys are cutting and coloring at the table with me while the big monkey watches Spongebob. We shall see how long this lasts.
This blog post is part one of two. We've had lots of fun this week, and I want to share our adventures with y'all. So this will be the post with lots of pictures and cool stories. Hopefully, later tonight, I can blog about my super AWESOME meeting last week with Dr. Pete about all of Aidan's progress so far in the Brain Balance Program! It is really amazing to see just how far Aidan has come since we started the Brain Balance Program! It has been by FAR the smartest thing we have EVER done for Aidan, and the very best investment we have made in his future! Look out for that blog post very soon!
Ok, so our adventures! I'm going to take you back to last Wednesday, 9/14/11. I had my AWESOME meeting with Dr. Pete while Aidan had his session at Brain Balance, and the little boys played across the street at PLAY Place. That evening, we hung out at the park after dinner, where fearless Ashwin proved that he could do ANYTHING that his brothers can do! My littlest man is growing up SO fast!
Ash tackling the spider web thing for the first time - it is now his FAVORITE thing to do at the park!
It's how we roll!
Thursday, we headed home to Savannah for a long weekend! The boys were super awesome in the car! Friday was Jackie's Birthday, and Andy and I had plans to spend the evening together. Mimi kept the monkeys at our house, and Andy and I went to the Darius Rucker concert, which was fantastic! Mimi and the boys had a great evening - so great, in fact, that she felt compelled to brag a little on facebook. Here is her status from that night - "Just had the most AMAZING evening with my 3 precious grandsons! All fun, no drama, everybody tucked in and sleeping by 9pm. Amazing! Thank you, Brain Balance!!!!!!!!" Very cool - thanks Mimi!
Saturday morning, Mimi and Daddy took the boys for much-needed haircuts! (Ash still has his curls - Jenna just trimmed up the bangs I butchered a couple of weeks ago!) Check out my handsome boys and their Daddy!
Saturday, Mimi and Daddy tag-teamed the boys and I had a much-needed break for most of the day. Mom, Aidan and I had a great lunch, and then I headed to the west side to visit my girl Molly D. and sweet Coop! We had a great visit, I got home MUCH later than planned, and I wasn't really in trouble either - thanks baby! Sunday, we were supposed to leave for Atlanta, and we had a rush of visitors to say goodbye! Mimi, Papa, and Nanny all stopped by for kisses and hugs, and some back yard playtime!
We didn't leave on Sunday, and instead decided to head back to Atlanta on Monday morning. So late Sunday afternoon, Aidan and I crashed our neighbor's birthday party so that he could play with sweet Lydia, his girlfriend! (Thanks for letting us crash your party, Jude - hope you had a great birthday!)
I should mention that Lydia and her brother, Jude, have been AWESOME pen pals with us this summer! GO TEAM WALLACE - you guys ROCK! Keep the letters and pictures coming - we LOVE 'em!
Monday was a super loooonnnngg day for this Mama! We left Savannah in the morning, had just enough time for a quick stop at the condo before Brain Balance, and then went to PLAY Place afterwards to let the monkeys burn off some energy! This is such a fitting group picture - how do you keep your brother still for a photo? Why, put him in the headlock, of course! DUH!
I think we even managed to hit the park after dinner - and we ALL went to bed early that night!
Tuesdays and Thursdays are always are days off from Brain Balance, and we had fun plans for each day this week! We are members of two different museums here in Atlanta (Imagine It! Children's Museum and the Fernbank Museum of Natural History) and during the month of September, several different museums here have partnered up to offer special discounts to members. Tuesday, we decided to check out the Tellus Northwest Georgia Science Museum in Cartersville.
We got to see and touch lots of rocks and minerals.
This one was everyone's favorite!
The boys LOVED all of the dinosaurs!
The ancient sea turtle skeleton creeped everyone out!
What was our favorite fish? Well, it was a draw between the ancient shark...
and the bulldog fish...
The next gallery was "things that go" and we saw everything from early planes, trains, and automobiles to space shuttles and satellites. The boys LOVED it!
Manning the space shuttle controls - look out!
This museum had a great kid's play area, and the boys all had fun!
Aeson learned about magnets...
Aidan made a circuit...
Ash loved the blocks and balls!
Everyone had fun digging for fossils and panning for gemstones (no panning pictures, as it was a VERY wet experience!)
Ashwin saw a good chunk of the museum like this...(photo credit to Aidan)
Outside the museum, they had lots of BIG trucks - this was the biggest one of all!
All in all, a pretty cool museum and a very fun afternoon with my monkeys!
Side note - pre-Brain Balance, I would NEVER have even attempted a museum with all three kids by myself, much less in ATLANTA! But these days, we aren't scared to go anywhere - well, almost anywhere! And Aidan is usually super helpful with his brothers, which is amazing all by itself. THANK YOU BRAIN BALANCE!
Wednesday, Aidan earned his 1st Brain Balance award of his second session! Great job, Aidan!
We played at PLAY Place and the park afterwards. Ash learned to climb the rock wall all by himself! I swear, he's not happy unless he takes my breath away at least twice a day! He's pretty sure that he can do ANYTHING that his brothers can do! See?
Aidan's favorite perch is (of course) the very top of the spider web thing!
Thursday, we decided to check out the Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts. Let me sum this experience for you - thank HEAVENS for Jim Henson! The museum was extremely expensive (even with the museum member's discount), they charged me for everyone 2 and up (most museums allow kids 3 and under free of charge), the puppet show was an hour long (we made it through about half of it), and their permanent "puppets of the World" gallery was downright creepy! Here is the only photo I was allowed to take inside the museum (silly copyright laws) - those are Pinocchio's gigantic feet behind the boys - and behind the door on the right is the creepiest collection of puppets from around the world! (Who knew that using puppets to entertain CHILDREN was actually a relatively new concept? Puppets have apparently been around for centuries, used to entertain and possibly frighten ADULTS!)
But the Jim Henson exhibit made it all worthwhile - we went through that exhibit twice. Once when we entered, and immediately after the creepy "puppets of the world" experience! Muppets, Fraggles, Sesame Street characters - it was fun introducing the kids to things I enjoyed as a child. Aidan was enthralled with the "Labyrinth" part of the exhibit. I see one of mommy's very favorite movies in his near future - David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, lots of goblins, and fun songs to sing! YAY!
After our second round through Jim Henson's happy puppet land, we got to go upstairs and make monkey puppets, which the boys enjoyed immensely! Didn't they do a great job??
Thursday evening, Ms. Jennifer (from the Suwanee Brain Balance Center) came to play in the park with us! She brought her kids along, Addison and Braeden, and we planned to picnic and fish in the park. Well, the weather did NOT cooperate at all, but we had a great visit. We even attempted to fish in the light rain. The big kids took turns fishing with worms, and Aeson was completely content to use the pole with the fishing lure on it. The lure was a little fish, and every single time Ace reeled it in, he thought he had caught a fish! It was too cute!
We had such a great time with our friends from Suwanee - next time, we'll head your way! Thanks for coming all the way over here Ms. Jennifer, Braeden, Addison and Zac (their pup) and we hope to see y'all again soon!
On Friday, our day started out rather rough. It was raining, so no park. No one was interested in arts and crafts, and everyone was stir crazy by mid-morning. I decided it was time for everyone to do some exercises, and Aidan put up an epic battle. He lost ALL of his stars at level 3 and level 2 (6 stars in all), and fell to level 1 on his behavior chart. At this point, I sent him to his room. On level 1, he has to stay alone in his room until he regains control, and then his ONLY options for at least one hour are chores. Surprisingly, he regained his composure in under 2 minutes, and came out to apologize for his behavior. Aidan then asked if he could go ahead and start his chores, so that he could make the hour pass quickly, and hopefully move back up to level 2. For the next hour and a half, I was totally amazed. He made all three beds, and scrubbed both toilets. I handed him a broom and asked him to sweep the bedrooms, and he quickly asked if he could vacuum instead. I agreed, and we got out the vacuum. He vacuumed every inch of every room in the back of the house (2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms). He did a better job than folks I have PAID to vacuum my house - moving furniture, getting underneath beds and behind doors. He moved down the hallway, and things got REALLY interesting. The little boys wanted to "play" too. Aidan went to the closet and got each of them a tool - Ace scored a broom, and Ash came away with a duster thing that he called a "boom." For the next hour or so, they worked together around the living room and dining room, under Aidan's direction and supervision. Ace would sweep up a little pile, and Aidan would attempt to vacuum it before Ash sent it flying again. It was too cute! Oh, and Ash prefers to clean in his birthday suit - it was quite a task, just keeping a diaper on my little Chippendale!
After all their hard work, the boys were STARVING! I thought they deserved a little something special, so I taught them how to make ants on a log, which they LOVED! In fact, we've had ants on a log with almost every meal since! They were a big hit with the Brothers Pence!
Later that afternoon, Rock Star Aidan earned TWO Brain Balance Awards! GO AIDAN! AWESOME job turning your day around!
Side note - before Brain Balance, a day that started out bad could only get worse. Better was almost never possible. Brain Balance has given Aidan the ability to regulate his own emotions and break the cycle of bad behavior for himself. He now recognizes when he makes bad choices, and his apologies are more sincere. It takes a lot of effort on his part to turn a bad moment around, and you can really see him struggling. But he doesn't give up, and he is extremely proud of himself when he is successful. In the car on the way to Brain Balance that afternoon Aidan said, "Mom, I had a kinda rough morning. But I did my chores and I turned it around and I'm gonna do good in session today too." And he did! So proud of you, my little man!
Friday evening, we were later getting home than usual, as we had to hunt all over the world for rice milk! Anyway, the kids were watching the Goodnight Show on Sprout while I fixed us some supper. Nina and Star were making a goodnight craft, sculpting leaves out of clay and hanging them on a string. Aidan wanted to do that too, but we didn't have any clay. He says, "Mom, I think I can make leaves out of paper and hang them up." I dug out some construction paper, some crayons, and some scissors for him, and he set to work. We didn't have any string, but I did have some pipe cleaners in "The Box" and he thought that would work. Before I had dinner on the table, he was finished - and I was STUNNED! Check out what is now hanging over my pass-through window in the kitchen!
Following directions? Adapting the directions from clay to paper, and string to pipe cleaners? Staying on task for 45+ minutes, with NO adult intervention? Attention to detail? MY kid?? Wow, just WOW! Beautiful job! Happy Fall everyone!
I have one last thing to share with y'all today. While we were home last week, I emailed Aidan's teacher and she sent home a packet of work for him to complete (this earned me the title of "Meanest Mom in the World" from my husband, but Aidan doesn't seem to mind!) Anyway, one of the things that Mrs. Fruits asks her first graders to do is to keep a daily journal, writing one to two sentences per day in the journal. Aidan's teacher wrote a few pages of suggested topics for us, and we began working in his journal immediately. The first topic that Aidan chose was "Who would you like to meet and why?" Here is his answer - the words are his own, I only helped him spell a word or two. WOW!
Aidan is not even seven years old yet, but he realizes just how much Brain Balance has helped him. He KNOWS he's a much happier kid these days, and he know that Brain Balance is the reason. He also understands that this crazy, amazing ride all began at a Zac Brown Band concert, and HE is grateful! I am SO very proud of my Aidan!
Fingers crossed, little man...Mama's working on it! =)