There is always “stuff” isn’t there!?!? The “stuff” happening here is all kind of awesome. At least I think it is.
Leo has been having at home ABA therapy since September- 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. In November he started 3 days a week at the clinic that also houses a preschool, so certain things- like circle time- he was able to be included in with other kiddos, and interacting one on one with kids like him. Starting Monday he is going to be 3 hours a day 5 days a week AT THE CLINIC (to start incorporating him more into the preschool setting and working more on his social behaviors with other munchkins) and 3 hours a day 3 days a week at home! I am so proud of his growth, his words, his working through loud noises and bright lights, his mimicking, his frustration. He has listened and learned and become conditioned to certain things so well that his therapy is progressing pretty quickly. He’s such a smart dude. He just makes my heart so happy.
(In case you aren’t familiar with ABA here’s a link to describe it :http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/applied-behavior-analysis-aba )

Mr. Max the Great (though he is small), starts his speech therapy next Friday. We are so very fortunate to have the same therapist that started Leo off. She is amazing and I feel like she gets me as a mom and a person. She seems to understand my worries, and for that I am grateful. She is also going to put a referral in to the O.T. (Occupational Therapy) services at his “school” to help with his sensory seeking behaviors. She thinks most of his head hitting, banging, biting are sensory seeking things and can be worked through with some O.T. help. His words are coming slowly and he still chooses to use grunts, yells, and “wassat”s for the majority of his communication, but I know he will pick up more and more words quickly.

Our van became uber unreliable when it just about took a dump on me Monday. So we sold it to someone who knows and has the ability to fix cars. We are very lucky that Joel is able to borrow a truck from work and I take over his car until we are able to purchase a new to us vehicle for me and the boys. I had been praying the van would hold out until our tax refund came in, but alas- I am not in control! (uh, duh!) This is teaching me flexibility, patience and understanding that it will all work out, its just not always when I think it should.

Today our therapy took us on an adventure with our Tutor Jordann. We took her to our favorite place- the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. Our trip lasted two and a half hours (a new record for us) and included visiting “the elephant castle”, petting every animal in the petting zoo, watching otters eat breakfast with their handlers, Leo very proudly stating to Jordann “Welcome to my fafingos” (while standing in front of the flamingo exhibit), touching sting rays, and feeding the giraffes (which he ran screaming from two months ago and totally protested doing 4 days ago). I am so proud of both of the boys for listening, being excited and wanting to learn everything they could today. And Jordann- thank you. For your enthusiasm and love. You’re amazing and I think you’ve found the most perfect career path.

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Feeding the Giraffe! 1/7/2015

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It’s amazing how the gals that come to the house twice a week feel like they have become part of our family. They celebrate every victory- big or small, they are always so excited to dive into whatever we have going on here. They mourn losses with us (we had a dog either run away or be stolen from our house a few weeks ago), they accept challenges like when I somehow think making cookies for Christmas with my two crazy toddlers is a great idea (before we started of course 😉 ) and they listen. They listen to my worries and fears, to my excitement and they remind me when my heart is a little heavy that Leo is doing so very well. I can’t thank these gals enough for being such a huge part of our world, for becoming part of our family.

Joel is working tons of hours, as per usual and always finding new ways to keep the boys entertained outside to give me a little quiet time to putter.

Personally I am embarking on a big new adventure in March. I have been on a fitness journey pretty much my whole life, but last year I kicked it up to another level and Monday I registered to run my very first 5k. I created a team and will be running to raise money for autism research. My sister is going to run with me, and I am so very excited about it! On top of that I am in my 28th week of being part of a virtual fitness challenge and have met so many amazing women. We are all on a journey to being better than we were before the challenge. I am always learning from these ladies, and was voted “MVP” of my Nov-Dec group. That totally took me by surprise. I told Joel I guess I am too hard on myself. I never feel like I’m working hard enough or making big enough strides but I guess I am.
Here’s the link if you’d like to donate to our running team!

https://www.raceforautism.org/Team/View/5074/Super-Leo

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