Spring Break 2014

Spring Break came early with the arrival of Uncle Sam. Jayme was out of school for a long spring break, thanks to budget issues with the school district. So Jayme got Thursday and Friday off as well as a full week off of school. Anthony had requested time off for the whole run, but was only able to get the Thursday & Friday. So when Sam said he wanted to come up in the last minute… the timing could not have been better.

The Sunday before Jayme’s school break, the three of us drove to the airport and picked up Sam. First stop was breakfast and we headed over to Biscuits for a welcome breakfast. Second stop was to home. We were not even in the door when Jayme started to spill his planned agenda for Sam. Jayme had worked out Sam’s whole day for him and was a bit crushed when the reality that Sam was not a new toy for him.

The weather for the first half of spring break could not have been better. Sunny and in the 70’s. This meant bike riding, Basketball, and a whole host of outdoor events came into play for spring break.But on the first full weekend the whole family leaped at the chance to get outside and work on the yard.

Last year we planted some blueberries and some raspberries and after seeing a full year of rain and sun. We now knew the best planting areas and worked but a yard plan over the winter.

But first, Joshua and Sam took to the roof and cleaned the gutters and swept the winters collection of pine needles off. Followed by Joshua dusting the whole roof with Moss-B-Gone, which looked like a dusting of early spring snow.

Anthony and Jayme worked on the lawn in the back yard. Or rather the lack of a lawn. They scrapped off the moss and raked up the pine needles, tree branches, sticks and leafs. Then Jayme started to dig up all of the rocks that remained in the new lawn area. We also spent some time measuring and laying out a tree house plan for Jayme.

Anthony removed the rotting wooden railroad tie staircase and planted some new ground cover. He then moved the Raspberries to a section along the back fence, an area that gets much more sunlight and will be right next to a planned walkway to the tree house. So, you know, free snack food for the kiddos.

Clearly all of us had done too much over the weekend. Both Anthony and Joshua were sore for most of the week. Each morning both Dad’s wake early, groan in pain and then leave the still sleeping Sam and Jayme and then trudge off to work. Jayme and Sam of course, both slept in for hours.

Once the weekend ended so did the nice weather. The temperature dropped into the high 50’s and low 60’s and a steady rain fell. This cooler weather was followed by a warm rain which set our yards plantings into hyper drive. Over night the blueberries went from planted sticks to sticks with little green flags.

So with the rain, Sam and Jayme stayed indoors, went to the movies and re-watched the Lego movie, baked cookies and worked on Anthony’s homework assignment. Jayme’s school sent no spring break homework home, so Anthony invented some. Worst of all and MUCH to the hate and loathing of Jayme, all the grownups thought this was a great idea. Anthony asked Jayme to find one chapter book, read it during the week and then write a book report. At first Jayme was very upset, but Sam used the homework as a type of structure for the day. So Jayme could watch TV or play video games but then he would have to read his book for an hour. In the end Sam had Jayme reading 3 chapters a day. By the end of the week Jayme had read the whole book himself.

Mid-week, Jayme was invited to a birthday party. Funny thing was it was to the same bowling alley that Jayme’s 9th birthday party was at. Also the invite came from a kid that was invited to Jayme’s party, yet did not attend. This fact was NOT lost on Jayme. But he did not hold a grudge. The night before the party we took him to Toys R Us and he picked out a very nice wooden box art pencil/pen/chalk set for the kid. This turned out to be a great present as the birthday child was really into making little paper projects.

Jayme ended his spring break with a trip to OMSI with Uncle Sam. He even got to go into the diesel engine submarine.

Everything is Awesome

IMG_1566

The Big Day

Once again we tucked in our little boy… our 8 year old boy and woke up a 9 year old. This is not getting any easier. Our little guy is growing more and more everyday. Seems every day our little guy fades away and this preteen version of our little guy appears more and more.

The Dad’s woke Jayme up with birthday music. The night before Daddy Anthony had pick up a car full of balloons and a huge Happy birthday banner. When Jayme came down for breakfast he found that we had the breakfast table covered with presents and fully decorated for a birthday breakfast. Anthony made homemade blackberry pancakes with homemade blackberry syrup. Jayme was SO excited and gobbled up his breakfast and started his big birthday weekend.

At 12:30pm at school Joshua arrived with cupcakes and apple juice for Jayme’s whole class. Jayme was thrilled!

For his birthday dinner this year Jayme said he wanted to stay at home and have a house party. But he wanted to eat and he said California Pizza Kitchen. So Joshua ran over an got Jayme’s favorite pizza the BBQ Chicken pizza with pineapple on top. We all sat around our dining room table and had our take out feast.

Jayme decided to open most of his gifts this year on this birthday, but he pick out the two largest to open at his birthday party with this school mates the next day. He got a Perplexus, two Lord of the Rings Lego sets, Risk the board game and more Pokemon stuff.

At 8:00pm we got in the car and drove down the hill to Clackamas Town Center and bought our tickets for the 8:15pm Digital 3-D showing of LEGO the movie. We stopped off in the concession area and got Jayme a big Coke slurpy and a large popcorn. He LOVED the movie and had an amazing evening. All the way home (and for the rest of the weekend) he sang the Lego theme song over and over and over again.

Bowling Party

Joshua loaded his car with the remaining birthday presents and party favors. Then he made for the bowling alley. Anthony and Jayme headed to Baskin Robins in Anthony’s car to pick up the ice cream birthday cake!

Once everyone arrived at the bowling alley we set up our stuff and waited for our guests to arrive. Although we had invited half of Jayme’s classroom only one of his classmates had RSVPed. So we didn’t know what the turn out was going to be like. We where prepared for as many as 14 kido’s but prepped Jayme for the worst.

In the end only the one classmate made it. At first we were worried Jayme would see this as a huge negative thing and it would ruin the party for him, but both Dad’s kept their happy faces on and kept saying how much fun we could have now with a smaller party, because that meant more bowling time for every one.

The one kido who did show up was great and Jayme and him bowled for 2 hours. They both had a blast and in the end that is all that matters. We also had a large group of Jayme’s grown up supporters and friends who showed up. So the party didn’t feel empty at all, in fact we all want to go bowling again soon!

Best part of the part came right at the end, as the prepaid lanes switched off Daddy Anthony still had 2 pins standing and handed the ball over to Jayme for the official last bowl of the day. Jayme rolled and pick up the spare, it was simply amazing and a great way to end the party.

Christmas 2013

Home from our trip to Orlando and free from plague we settled down for a nice Christmas at home.

Joshua had the whole week off, in fact he had the rest of the year off. So Jayme was free from having to worry about any issues at all about with all day daycare. So the two of them had a second mini vacation  and quickly got to work decking the halls, hanging Anthony’s lighted garland and pick up the perfect Christmas tree. The on Christmas eve, we all worked together to hang the bulbs.

Christmas day

We had made it clear to Jayme that Disney World was his main present and not to expect Santa to bring the huge pile of toys he has had in the years before. But he was still excited and jumping for joy when he came downstairs and saw Santa had come. After a yummy breakfast we sat down in our new formal living room and began opening the presents.

We had been ordering smaller gifts since October and since many of Jayme’s wishlist items were fairly cheap we were able to get everything on his list. But don’t tell him that!

Pokemon was top of his list and he walked away with several pre-made decks and tons of little accessories. Next on his list was Lego and Santa brought several small kits. We also picked up 2 cool sets from the Lego store in Orlando the week before and managed to get them home a wrapped without Jayme seeing them. Jayme had a very decent pile of goodies by the time we had finished.

Joshua also made out like a bandit. Santa Anthony and Santa Jayme bought him a K-cup machine (which has seen non-stop usage since that day) and a Soda stream machine.

Anthony happily got his yearly stack of Doctor Who DVD’s and a few other British shows.

We spent the rest of Christmas hanging out building lego sets and eating. Jayme and Anthony made some Christmas fudge and then we had a small Christmas feast of Ham, Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, broccoli with cheese sauce, hawaiian rolls and sparkling cider.

With the possibility of a future adoption placement in 2014, this was perhaps our last family Christmas together as a trio. Something that the three of us did not fail to feel and talk about. Jayme may have started the conversation about wanting a brother, but the Dad’s have made sure we keep the conversation going so he will know what adding a child to our home will really look like.

 

Thanksgiving 2013

tu

 

With the holiday season upon us that can mean only one thing, the string that connects Joshua with his Mother began it’s yearly tug and before we knew it we were on a pricey plane ride to Salt Lake City.

Jayme had the whole Turkey week off of school. Unhappy with our current full day care we pulled Jayme and Joshua stayed home Monday and Tuesday and Anthony took all day Wednesday.

Wednesday night Anthony and Jayme loaded up our suitcases and drove to the airport. Joshua took the Red Line Max in from his work. The parking in the economy lot was crazy, we ended up parking way in the back. But once we got to the airport, check in took only minutes and the security line was practically none existent.

We had used a chuck of our Delta miles and were able to get a very affordable flight to SLC. The only downside was we had to return Saturday morning at 8am or the price would jump $400.00. So this meant we had limited time with family.

Our flight was at 6:20 pm and this was also the first time we have flown where we could keep all of our electronics and gadgets out and running from gate to gate. So one Doctor Who Christmas special later, and the plane was touching down on the tarmac.

We gathered our suitcase (once we found the correct baggage claim) and our hotel’s free van came by and picked us up. With 40 people expected for Thanksgiving, Great Grandma and Grandpa’s house was packed to the rafters. So Anthony booked us into the airport Hyatt Place hotel.

This hotel is so us, we love the computer terminal check in and check out process. Jayme loved the swimming pool, it only took him 3 mins on property to find it and explode with glee. The dads had a big king bed and Jayme had a pull out sofa bed all to himself.

The next morning we woke, showered and headed down to the free breakfast. Afterwards, Anthony headed back to the airport via the free hotel shuttle to pick up our rental car. This time we got a very cheap economy car from Thrifty. Total cost was $15.00 per day.

After picking everyone up at the hotel we headed over to the family estate around 10 am. Grandpa was in full cooking mode and the whole house smelled wonderful.

With 40 people coming the whole house had been converted into a restaurant. The greenhouse was cleaned out and set with tables and chairs. The backyard patio was enclosed with plastic and a large heater was keeping the ‘new” room toasty and warm.

We spent the day visiting with relatives and  meeting our new nephew Rowan for the first time. Jayme spent most of the day playing with his 2nd cousin Grace and being fascinated by his new baby cousin. Anthony spent the day trying to get as much face time with the baby as possible. (Cute pictures of this can be found on the Shutterfly albums)

Dinner was at 4 pm, total guest count was a bit lower then expected only 36 people. We ate out on the enclosed patio and then we held court in on the patio and chatted until late in the evening.

The next morning we had hotel breakfast again and then headed to cousin Nova’s work. She works for a big snow plow company and in the lobby is the 1990’s movie version of the Batmobile. Jayme loved it and then he got a private tour of the production floor.

We then headed over to the family house and spent the day relaxing with family.

There was a very big adoption subplot to our visit this year. Just a few hours before we boarded our flight to Salt Lake, our adoption worker emailed us 3 large PDFs filled with additional information on a sibling group we submitted on (a 6 year old and a 1 year old). The caseworker liked our profile and was very interested in us. This became the subplot for our whole visit.

Halloween 2013

pirate 3

Halloween time, our third Halloween together as a family. All the photo’s are up on our ShutterFly account. If you need an invite let us know!

Finding the outfit

First year was Darth Vader, then last year was Harry Potter. This year was a tough one to figure out.  For over a month we kept asking Jayme what he would like to be and he just didn’t know or the ideas he came up with were a bit out of reach.

First he wanted to be Sonic the Hedgehog. But he didn’t like the costume we found online. Then a Dark Sith Lord from Star Wars, but as soon as he learned he would not get a new light saber he fell out of love with the idea.

So with a little over 2 weeks to H-Day we stopped by the Halloween costume store. Last year we picked up Jayme’s Harry Potter outfit there and he loved it, so with figures crossed we started shopping.

This year the costumes seem to all be zombie related. Zombie Storm troopers, Zombie soldiers, ect…  Both the dad’s said no to Zombie anything. At 8 years old, we still need the cute photos for not only us but the rest of the family. That and Zombies are such a dark subject for an 8 year old.

It was then Jayme found his costume, a Jack Sparrow pirate costume. It was perfect. Jayme also decided that he was not going as Jack from the movies (which he has never seen) but Jack from his Disney Infinity game. You see Jack from the game has a sword….

So we had to find a sword. Then the devious demon known as Jayme announced that Jack from the game also had a gun and ALL PIRATES needed guns to look real.

Now our house has a firm zero gun policy. No real or toy guns are allowed in the house. So when the NO came, this caused a bit of a pout in the store. But the pout wore off quickly when Anthony let him know that we didn’t need to get a sword either if not having both would be an issue.

 

Pumpkin Chucking

Pumpkin carving was not as intensive as it has been in past years. We got 3 large pumpkins for carving and Jayme picked one up on a field trip.

Jayme created a Creeper pumpkin, a Creeper is one of the monsters from Minecraft. Anthony created a ghost pumpkin and Joshua did a Minion pumpkin.

The one new thing this year was Jayme really wanted to save all of the seeds. With a huge backyard who could blame him. So after the carving Jayme had to pull all of the seeds out of the guts bowl. He laid them out with Anthony on some newspaper to dry.

 

The Big Night

Halloween traffic was CRAZY. By the time everyone got home it was late almost 6pm. So we had kind of a mad dash getting Jayme into his costume and some pizza into his tummy.

When we came to getting in the Captain Jack Pirate outfit, the hardest bit to get on was the pirate hair. It itched and many bobby pins from Anthony’s old princess in training makeup tackle box had to be deployed to move the non-itchy parts away from his face. But once the hair was fixed Jayme was ready to go.

We made it out the door a little after 6:30pm and into our cul-du-sac. Like each year, Jayme had a bit of a hard time getting into the routine, when the door opens Jayme was more interested in seeing into the neighbors house then the candy being offered.

So the first couple of houses the door would open and Jayme would say “Hi” and then start snooping. He would thank them for the candy and then let them know if they had a nice house. Both of the Dad’s laughing so hard from the curb, we were crying. We did a family huddle for a little Halloween reminder of what to say and we then worked up a little script and within a few houses he had it down and was starting to really get into it.

At what was going to be our half way point for our families evening Jayme walked past a child in a mask and came to a full stop turned and followed the kid calling out to him. Turns out the kid was in Jayme’s old behavioral classroom from last year. Jayme then begged us to let him join his classmates group and since we all were going the same way we did.

It was a real window into the future for our family. One of the biggest questions we keep asking our self’s about re-entering the adoption program is how will our family meet the needs of a brother for Jayme. What needs and struggles can our family cope with and still meet everyone’s needs and surpass them. Then most importantly how will that impact Jayme. So seeing Jayme interacting with a child who fits some of the needs that lot of kids in care struggle with, was very informative and answered a lot of questions we had.

Jayme’s classmate is a very hyper kido. He seems to be just as impulsive as Jayme was a few years ago. All night long his classmate was really ramped up. Jayme was very excited but pretty calm. It was really amazing to see that side by side comparison. When your in the trenches it’s hard to see the progress Jayme has made, but not tonight.

Now Jayme’s classmate was not out of control, he had great manners and was a great kid to be around. But… and it’s hard to explain, Jayme had a body calmness that 2 years ago we never thought he could ever have achieved. What it made more amazing is none of the Dad’s or parents had to point this out, Jayme figured it out himself. At one point Jayme turned to his friend and said “I know you’re really excited, I am too, but see, I have a calm body.” I wish I would have had my video rolling!

The two stuck together all night long and really enjoyed each others company.

Of course Jayme still had a few Jayme moments; when his sword fell off his outfit or when his jean button would come undone under his outfit, he still needed his own moments of redirection. But both Dad’s were so impressed how well Jayme played and worked with his friend.

The classmate’s Mom seemed impressed by how well the boys interacted as well, so well that we exchanged numbers so the boys could do a play date in the future. Upon hearing that, Jayme wanted his friend to come over right away and wanted us to make weekend plans. It was so cute and a great way to end a long evening.

 

Orange Frosting Day

Orange

The day before Halloween and a long 4 day break from school for Jayme and his classmates, Anthony arranged with Jayme’s teacher to bring in cupcakes.

Now having brought in cupcakes for the holidays at Jayme’s school before, we are well aware that the school does not celebrate Halloween, Christmas or any other fun kid holiday from our own childhoods. So when asked why we wanted to host a cupcake party… the official answer was “Because it’s Orange Frosting Day of course!”

Anthony took the whole day off from work, so as Joshua headed to work, Jayme and Anthony headed out to a surprise breakfast together at Biscuits!

Ever since Anthony started his new job a year ago, Joshua has been pulling morning duty alone with Jayme. Each morning Anthony either leaves before Jayme wakes or right as, which leaves only a rushed moment together and a heart broken father. So going to breakfast was a real treat for the two of them, but perhaps more for Anthony.

Anthony had his normal, the Country Benedict, and Jayme ordered the french toast with strawberries. It was so nice to have time to spend together and not have to worry about getting to work on time! As a real special treat they ordered a huge cinnamon roll to share.

After breakfast Anthony dropped Jayme at school and then headed over to Freddie’s to pick up the Orange cupcakes and BOY were they Orange!

Later that day, around 2:25 pm, Anthony arrived at Jayme’s school with the Orange cupcakes, 2 big jugs of ice cold apple cider, Halloween… Orange Frosting  Day green cups, orange plates and spooky black napkins with scary Orange Frosting Day spider webs on them.

Jayme was so happy to see Anthony, he ran right over to him, shocked and desperate to know why he was there. Orange Frosting Day of course! The non-holiday officially established in Jayme’s mind, the two of them setup a little table area for all the kids to come and help celebrate Orange Frosting Day with them.

Jayme has a huge class with a lot of ethnic variety and what looked to be kids all at different development levels, and still something new for Jayme, girls in his class. All of the kids had great manners and were very excited about Orange Frosting Day

One of the things the dads have been worried about is the persecution Jayme might face coming from a home with 2 dads. The chief reason we all have the same last name is to stem any issues that might have come up with three last names and two men. But so far Jayme has not mentioned anything to us and our interactions with the schools has been nothing up supportive and equal. But every once and a while we get some questions.

One inquisitive little boy did come right up to Anthony and asked, ” Is it was true that Jayme has two dads?”. Then Anthony said “Yes, how many do you have?” The little boy thought for a moment and then said “Two, one step and one normal one”. The kid then smiled and took his cupcake. All of his questions had been answered. If only all grownup LGBT conversations were that simple.

ApplesAfter all the kids had their treats, Jayme presented his teacher with a chocolate dipped apple that was all decorated with gummy worms and spiders.

When everyone was done, we helped clean up the classroom and then Jayme decided that the leftover cupcakes needed to be given to his other teachers. So Jayme grabbed the tray and headed out to the bus area to continue the cupcake hand out. We also had one more dipped apple for Jayme’s favorite school therapist and we needed to find her as well.

All of the other teachers asked. “Is it your birthday Jayme?”, “No… it’s Orange Frosting Day!” he would say.

Will all of our cupcakes handed out we headed to the car. On the way home Jayme pipes up in a little voice “You know dad, today is just like when you use to take care of me after school, before I had to go to day care.”

And just like that he plunged the dagger into his fathers heart…

 

Tales of the Third Grade Something

3

Third grade… Three years ago this seemed a million miles away. We seemed so unsure if starting off in 1st grade was the right move or not. We even had team meetings about it. Now Third grade… Well that was not even on the radar back then. But the day has come.

Back to school shopping was pretty easy this year. He only needed 6 new pairs of jeans and only a few new shirts. We took the opportunity and got all new socks and underwear as well. The best find was his red plaid backpack, colorful yet no weird ad’s, logos or cartoons to distract.

As we have done before we called and arranged a pre-meeting with Jayme’s teacher and set up a time for Jayme (and us) to tour his new classroom before all the other kids arrived. Jayme was even able to pick which seat he sat at. It was a big thing for him.

We had a plan for the first day of school; special out to eat breakfast at Biscuits, our yearly first day photo shoot by the front door and then the drive to school (no special needs bus this year). But… last minute Anthony got the call that he had to cover in Salem, so at 5am he left the house. It was a huge bummer for everyone, but no more so then Anthony, who had this own adult meltdown that morning on the way to work.

Joshua did his best to save the day. He cooked Jayme breakfast and took the annual photos. He even took some photos of Jayme in his new classroom for Anthony.

For the last two years Jayme has been enrolled in a behavioral classroom. With a teacher ratio of 3 teachers to 8 boys. But after a great six months of partial mainstreaming in the 2nd grade, Jayme’s team decided he was ready for mainstream 3rd grade.

As bad as summer daycare was is comparable to how good 3rd grade has been. His teacher gets him and her class has lots of structure. She even sends home homework each night.

So far this year, each night Jayme has been looking at the moon, drawing what he sees and then he has to write about what he saw. On the night of the first full moon, his whole class met on the school’s soccer field and with the help of a local astronomy club got to see the moon up close, Venus and the rings of Saturn as well.

But the best part of the night for the Dads was not what Jayme saw, but what they saw. Jayme had friends! He was so excited to see them and they were excited to see him! This has been a huge inner fear of ours. We have a friend who’s son is also special needs, he falls into the autistic disorder spectrum and we have seen and heard how peer friendships have been a real challenge for him. We have been worried that with Jayme’s special needs that he too would have to go through the same types of peer interaction failures and heartbreak. Everything we heard and saw over summer break had lead us to think the same was going to be true for Jayme in third grade, but he HAS FRIENDS!!!!!

The next night was the full school open house. We got to see Jayme’s classroom and talk some more with his teacher. Seems Jayme can be very chatty with his new friends, and this has caused a few bumps. But he is doing great in the third grade!

 

SUMMER DAY CARE PRISON

ba

 

Last summer our family was very lucky, Anthony was laid off of work.

This wonderful news came just days before the end of the school year. This meant that Anthony and Jayme were able to spend the summer together and Jayme did not have to go to summer daycare. The two of them had a wonderful summer of learning and bonding.

Unfortunately, this year with both dads were gainfully employed and with no Uncle Sam or other family nearby and  free; Jayme had to head off to daycare.

For the past year Jayme has been attending after school daycare run by the local school system and doing a wonderful job. This daycare is a mainstream program with no extra supports. But the staff are well trained and really get Jayme. One of the staff members even shares Jayme and Anthony’s passion for all things Disney. The only downside, of course, is they are closed over the summer break.

So Jayme and a few other  kids from his daycare were hosted at another school run day care site. Every member of our family refers to this site as the bad daycare (and a few other non pc phrases).

Now in fairness to the daycare, they are not unsafe, nor do they beat the children, feed them grey gruel, or lock them in leg irons. But this daycare site was and is just not a good fit for Jayme. You see all summer long the daycare was maxed to capacity with kids, it was hot and staff seemed to working hard each day just to keep order and not go insane.

Also from how Jayme describes it the kids are mostly left to self manage and entertain themselves. Translated into therapy-speak that means a world with very low structure and Jayme thrives with structure. So much so that he even tries to enforce structure on other kids. Summer daycare was in fact, probability, the most unstructured environment he has known in years.

When we first told Jayme that he would be going to that daycare we had a small explosion. Jayme hates going to this daycare. In the ramp up to the first day he begged Anthony to quit his job, suggested that Uncle Sam move back in and even tried to get Joshua to work from home and take care of him. On a positive note this gave us the chance to have a lot of family talks and we did a lot of work to reassure away his fears. It was a great chance to tell him and show him that we trust him and he is a “big boy” now.

Privately, the Dads mentally justified summer day care as a necessary evil on two fronts;  First, both dads had to work. As much as we wanted not to, we had to. We also knew that Jayme needed as much exposure to “the outside world” we could get him if he was going to make it mainstream 3rd grade, which was our summer time goal.

 

The Results:

Peer interactions proved the hardest for him, the older boys picked on him. Jayme was too big to play with the younger kids and socially unsure how to interact with his peers and older boys.

Jayme’s peer to peer communication skills and social warning system are of a much younger child. Coming from such a controlled world, first at the Morrison center and then the behavioral classroom, his skill set of how to be a “normal kid” is far away from the other 8 year-olds. The flip side of that is Jayme expects a higher level of behavior from his peers than most other children his age. If he has to follow all the rules then everyone else should as well.  For years now he has been taught everyone does…

Jayme got bullied quite a bit. Kids can be very mean. Another area he struggled with was that Jayme reacts very differently than other kids his age. He has been working and learning to make good choices but… You piss him off – he might cry, he might also overreact and tip a table on your head. Although we have made great progress on the later.

The summer for the dads was a long parade of notes home and many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many talks with Jayme. This was pretty draining for all three of us. There was more than one long conversation after Jayme was in bed if Anthony should just quit work and be a house husband (oh god please).

All summer long we had to keep going back to the love and logic training we had prior to the adoption to reassure ourselves that allowing him to fail safely now was so much better now then when he older and fails in a much larger way or worse, fails in 3rd grade. Another way to put it we needed him to fail and learn now with kids he would never see again then make those mistakes in mainstream 3rd grade and derail a very important step in his life.

At some point towards the end of the summer we could tell the staff was done trying to work with  or around Jayme. We started to get notes home of minor issues that should have only needed some redirection, but now had became major official notifications. The notes also came with very knowing glares and looks from the staff to the Dad’s.

Jayme would become very distraught at Daycare when they would tell him they were sending home a note or would threaten him with one. So much so we had to request that they not tell him about any notes.

But the notes kept coming… After a big blow up and meltdown because Jayme (the child with diagnosed impulse control issues) ran and got a ball that was 3 feet outside of the school bounds we got home a one day suspension. Then within two weeks of summer break’s end we received a full three day suspension. This final “punishment” was for Jayme hitting another child after the other kid spit in Jayme’s face, all because Jayme had the basketball the other kid wanted (yes, people had to hold the dads back, please show me any adult who would not defend himself after being spit on! Yet the 8 year old is suppose to, as if!

Luckily, Joshua was able to work from home for the suspension days. The hardest thing was the suspension was anything but a punishment for Jayme, he was free from daycare prison. Even working on homework all day was a million times better than being at the daycare he hated.

The Dads hated summer day care too, but Jayme learned more life survival lessons over the summer there then he could of at home with a dad. Still, it was a very hard summer for all three of us. It kinda slowed down everything, even our 2nd adoption plans as every night seemed to be an all hands on deck moment.

On the last day of daycare after we up picked Jayme and had the long wonderful Labor Day weekend ahead of us, we stopped by Toys R Us and picked up Disney Infinity as a reward for surviving day care! It’s like Disney’s version of minecraft. No better reward could be given for surviving Summer Daycare for our little hero.

The following week school started and we were so glad to be back at our good daycare, the dads hugged the staff!

 

Keeping up with the Jones

photo

Before we purchased our new home, one of the main selling points for Jayme was the fact that there was a little man made pond in the front yard. It’s not a very large pond, only about 6 feet across. But each time we would visit the house, Jayme would insist that we turn the pond on so he could play with it. After we moved in, one of our first outdoor projects was fixing the pond.

The pond was very stony, mostly dry and what water was in it was thick and very smelly. A small early spring heat wave dried up the little water left in the pond and gave us our first excuse to start work on the pond.

Anthony and Jayme changed into some dirty clothes, put on some rubber gloves and started to clean out the pond. We had thought there must be a hole in the lining.  Every time Jayme would  fill the pond it would drain out within a few hours. So our goal was to clean out the rock and look for a hole to patch. But as we cleaned it out, we learned what was really going on. The water was not flowing out but down. Our shallow rocky pond turned out to be about 4 feet deep filled with rocks and gravel. The pond seemed dry, but only the top inch of exposed rocks was dry.

It took two weekends to hand lift all the rocks and gravel out of the pond and reach the plastic liner. It was a mucky smelly mess! But after cleaning and filling the pond liner, we found zero holes. It was a very pleasant surprise.

Over a few weeks, we made a few trips to different nurseries and before we knew it we had a great little pond, no fish but we had several frogs move in.

With the pond clean we now had a new problem, what to do with the piles of river rock we dug out to the pond. In the end we decided to artistically lay it in strips down our driveway. Sort of dry river bed effect, Anthony moved a few bigger rocks down and the front yard was starting to take shape.

It was about then that our neighbor ordered several yards of black mulch and mulched his front yard and gardens. Our little weedy adjoining hill and pond rocks seemed to just scream eye-sore; so we headed to Home Depot and purchased some lawn weed fabric and 20 bags of mulch. Anthony and Jayme also picked up 2 small huckleberry bushes which should grow to about 8 feet in height and help hide our fence (a future project).

We spent the weekend laying the weed block and raking mulch, but by the time we finished we had a very respectable looking hill adjoining our neighbors amazing yard.

Our front yard is MASSIVE, with all of our work only about 1/8th of the front yard is now presentable. But still the neighbors liked what we did so much that they bought some rocks for their driveway to match ours. Who knew we were trend setters!

We still need to removed several small trees and bushes, expand Jayme Pond, plant some grass and fix the sprinkler system! But we feel that we are no longer a huge embarrassment for the neighbors.

Spring Trip To Disneyland

c

When the stress levels in our house get too high. Things get rough for our family. Little problems become big. Jayme starts to act-up more at school and daycare, Anthony starts looking for ways to be a stay home dad and Joshua becomes crazed housemaid. So identifying when our family is stressed is very important for our families well being.

Having survived the house move and all the drama that came with it, our family needed a break. We all knew it and we had gotten to the point where it just had to happen. So the dad’s decided to look for a weekend getaway.

We looked at renting a house on the beach, but it was all so pricy. For those prices we might as well fly to Disneyland!  Huumm Disneyland….

So on a boring Thursday night, May 9th, we all arrived home and had a simple dinner. After dinner we all sat down on the sofa together and asked Jayme if he wanted to go to school the next day, he said no. So then asked him if he wanted to go to Disneyland and he said yes. We said… ok.

Having packed all the bags the night before so all we had to do was load the car and drive to the airport. It took him a few minutes to process it all in. But, by the time we got to the airport he was bouncing for joy. Clearly this trip was want the doctor ordered because by the time we got to the airport everyone’s mood was better and everyone was smiling.

We parked in long term parking and rode the shuttle in for our 8:30pm flight to LAX on Alaska Airlines. The flight was very short and before we knew it we were descending in to LAX. This flight marked Jayme’s 11th flight. He has become quite the seasoned traveler over the past two years.

We gathered our luggage and headed to the Thrifty car rental shuttle. It was here that the travel, excitement and hour of the day caught up with Jayme. He started to get a bit fussy and wanted to be held. Jayme is 8 years old and at times about 4. This was one of those times.

Once we had the car we pulled out our iPhone and headed off to the hotel. This trip Anthony found an unbelievable combo deal with the airfare and the hotel, the hotel being the Anaheim Travelodge International. Now…. we are not picky, as long as the room is clean and nice we can put up with just about anything. But we knew all was not well when we hit the elevator it smelled like someone had done well… you know in it.

The room itself at first glance looked ok, plain but ok. But in the morning we noticed in the bathroom huge water marks and mold told a different story. Anthony and Jayme tried to put on a cheery face, but Joshua was not happy. Years ago we had gone on a trip and stayed in a 2 star hotel, after that trip Joshua had a travel restriction on our family staying in anything other than a 3 star hotel or higher. The Anaheim Travelodge International was a 2 star. But we did get one real plus out of the hotel,  Anthony is not allowed to book anything other than the Disneyland hotel for our next visit, per Joshua. So our next trip should be amazing!

 

Friday

What the Anaheim Travelodge International lacked,  the parks made up for. We woke the next morning and skipped the nasty free breakfast in favor of Lenny’s…. ah Denny’s.

We arrived at California Adventure a min after rope drop. Knowing how long the lines can be at Car’s Land we decided to spend the morning there and made a beeline for Radiator Spring Racers. As we crossed the entrance the wait time sat at 1 hour. Normally we would never get in a queue with an hour wait, but know how long this line can be. In our last visit Joshua did not have a chance to go on RSR because of the long queues, so this was all new for him. Jayme passed the time taking photos of strangers; his normal vacation hobby and the dad’s had their  first chance in weeks to just talk and relax in the warm sun. The hour wait turned out to really be only about 45 mins! We  all loved the ride and once again, our car won the race. As we exited we noticed the wait time was hovering at 260 mins, so grateful we came early!

We spent the morning exploring Radiator Springs and the boardwalk area of California Adventure. But once lunch time arrived we had a real adult treat planned, lunch reservations at Carthay Circle.

Carthay Circle is the new fancy restaurant in California Adventure. We arrived and check in on the first floor, they asked us to take a seat in the lounge and all three of us sunk in to big leather sofas and waited in the dark cool room. After a few minutes a host arrived and took us to our table, which was on the second floor. We had the option to take the stairs or the elevator, Jayme chose the elevator.

The restaurant is very large but is broken up into many small dining rooms. We were taken to our room, which only had 7 tables in it. A few minutes later our waiters (note: waiters) took our drink orders and our dining experience began.  We planned to take advantage of the World of Color reserved seating offered by the restaurant. To qualify for it each person in the party must to order a main course and a desert or appetizer. We met and beat this. Each of us ordered an appetizer, main course and desert. All three meals were AMAZING! Each of us ate of each other’s plates, with the exception of Jayme’s fish, which he inhaled in a matter of minutes.

But the best part was dessert. Each of us ordered something. Anthony ordered cheesecake,  Jayme a chocolate brownie and Joshua ordered, but did not eat, the Strawberry Rhubarb tart. I say ordered and not eaten because Joshua mistakenly let Jayme try a bite before he tucked in. Before Joshua knew what had happened, Jayme had inhaled the whole tart and was asking for more! Anthony nearly fell out of his seat he was laughing so hard.  After wonderful lunch we rolled our self’s down the road to our dirty hotel and took a long post lunch nap!

123

The 2nd highlight of the day was World of Color. This was our second time watching the World of Color show as a family, last time we arrived an hour early, had reserved standing space and got an amazing view. We had a front row view in section D3, we felt like kings. This time we seemed to have topped even that. The Carthay Circle reserved area was a little further back but was on a higher tier in section Y3. We arrived an hour early like last time and were the first group escorted to the reserved area. Over the next hour only 3 other small groups joined us. We ended up having a huge area almost to ourselves. This felt very awkward as we looked down at everyone else packed in like sardines. The show was outstanding and as we left the park we could feel that the stress bubble we had been living in for the past few months had been popped.

 

Saturday

Disneyland park day! We again skipped the yucky free breakfast at our hotel, but this time we headed to IHOP for breakfast. The price was about the same as Denny’s but there were more food options.

People always ask what our battle plan is when visiting the parks. I tell them three things; Go early, use the fast-passes and take a nap. Today we did not veer from that strategy.

We headed right to Space Mountain, as that was the one ride Jayme loves above all others. As we entered the standby line we also grabbed fast passes. We had a 10 min wait, rode Space Mountain then walked over to Star Tours with a 10 min wait, then walked back to Space Mountain and rode again with our fast-passes. Within the first hour we had done the Space Mountain twice and Star Tours. As we exited Space Mountain the wait time was over an hour and Star Tours was the same.

This was Jayme’s third trip to Disneyland, so he has a little map of the area in his head now. We spent the rest of the day following that little map. Jayme was our junior park tour guide.

After our nap and dinner we had one more little surprise planned for our boy. Anthony had signed us up for the Fantasmic Desert party again. We ended our day again as Kings, being served deserts and drinks in our private reserved seats watching Fantasmic!

 

Sunday

Today was travel day home, but our flight home was not until 10:45pm. So we had another full day at the parks ahead of us. We checked out of our flop house and loaded the car with our bags and left over desert party treats. We then drove over to the massive Disneyland parking lot structure and parked on site.

We had park hopper passes so we were able to visit both parks today and take in any rides that we missed or that Jayme wanted to ride again. We started in California Adventure were Anthony was forced onto California Screamer. He was promised that when the car went upside down, Jayme would hold his hand. Jayme lies…..

With no hotel to escape to for a nap, we were pretty hot and tired when we got to the car at evening. The car itself was roasting! Jayme passed out in the backseat about halfway to the airport.

For our return trip we flew back on United with a connecting flight in SFO.  The flight home was uneventful until SFO, when we transferred to a much smaller jet. So small that we had to walk out onto the tarmac to board. We had done this before in Hawaii, but it was still a thrill for Jayme. Once on-board the thrill was over and Jayme passed right out.

Photos are online of our trip!

The Chicken Coop

IMG_0144

The one “extra” item we received when we bought our house was the addition of a large wooden chicken coop. It was on a side of the house that we rarely traveled too, so it was not something that had to go right away. But as berry season came, so did the desire to have our own little raspberry garden. Anthony has very strong memories from childhood of walking through his Grandmothers garden eating until his little insides burst, and for some wacky reason wants to pass on that experience to Jayme.

IMG_0145We placed an ad on Craigslist under the free section. Within 1 hour we had 14 E-Mails, by the next morning we had 23. But to be fair we started at the top of the list. After a few E-Mails we arranged a time for pick up.

The winner of our free coop arrived Thursday night around 6pm. Looking at the coop we had thought that it could be removed in panels. But as we started to take it apart we realized that the whole thing would have to be taken apart, piece by piece. “Luckily”, we had lots of help. The nice lady who came brought some tools, a large truck and her 5 year old son.

IMG_0146

The 5 year old was the official gatherer of all of the screws and when something needed to be hammered he was front and center ready.

Jayme who had blown it at Day Care that day and prior to their arrival was told he would be having a quiet night (no tv, no video games). Jayme was in his room and quite happy not to have to come out in the heat and work until he hear the 5 year old. The fact that a kid was on HIS property and he could not play with him became the ultimate punishment for poor Jayme. Jayme kept calling out to the kid from his window and really really wanted to help.

IMG_0147

Taking the coop apart and loading it on the truck took almost 3 hours. But worst part of the whole tear down was the little coop part itself. It was built on top of a packing crate. There was no way to take it apart, so we had to carry it up and over our fence. This was fine in itself expect that it had about a TRILLION spiders living in it, on it and under it. We found one that was a good 3 inches across and thick. None of us turned out to be very brave when it came to spiders.

When everything was loaded the little boy decided he wanted to stay for dinner. This mom explained that he really bonds well with other guys, and we are pertty amazing guys. In fact, he wanted hugs from both us before he left. We had to break out our special needs training, stanger danger traning and suggest high fives or handshakes to him. He was super cute and our interaction with him really drove home the feelings that we need to buckle down and get our adoption paperwork turned in for Jayme’s brother.

That night when we tucked Jayme into bed, Jayme wanted to hear all about the chicken coop tear down and more importantly the little boy. We told him about what we did and the spiders. He seemed to have lots of questions about the little boy. When we got done telling him about everything he said “You should adopt him, (the little boy).”. Anthony told him that the little boy already has a family. Then Jayme said “Well, you can just take him away from his family and then he can be adopted.” As soon as he said that Anthony had to hold back the tears.

Bedtime ended with lots of hugs and kisses. Talking about family and what it means, telling Jayme that we are a family forever and no one would ever take him away again.

Last Day of 2nd Grade and our IEP meeting

cl

Last Day of School

It was a sort of bitter sweet ending to the school year. Last year, Anthony had been laid off and was able to spend the whole summer with Jayme. This year with both dads working the summer and no Sam living with us, Jayme’s summer plan was filled with day care.

Jayme sees daycare and babysitters as a divine punishment. He does not want to be left alone, but refuses all suggestions of babysitters. This is pretty clear to us as a caregiver issue. Not surprising after all the “stuff” Jayme has had to go through in his short life.

But this issue came to a head two days before the end of school when Jayme found out Anthony would not be coming to field day, the last day of school party that his school throws. The full understanding of what it means for both of his Dad’s working came crashing down on him all at once. Jayme did not handle it well.

Thankfully Joshua was able to take a very long lunch and come out to the field day events with Jayme. Jayme has been a fairly spoiled child when it comes one on one time with the Dad’s something we don’t want to stop.

We started the last day of 2nd grade with a breakfast of blueberry pancakes. Anthony woke early and cooked up a big batch. For the now traditional last day of school photo Jayme dressed up in his blue shirt with the bow tie (bow ties are cool). Photos are not online yet BTW.

For some reason Jayme’s school bus did not show up for the last day, Joshua ended up taking him to school. Something we will have to get used to doing, but more on that later in the post.

Field day

Joshua arrived a few minutes late and arrived to an empty school room. Following the sound of fun, Joshua found the whole school in the back field playing games and having fun. Joshua found Jayme attempting to do a rubber tire let slight shot, (photos online).

Jayme was THRILLED that Joshua had made it to field day. The two of them spent the next hour wandering around doing as many of the events as they could. T-Ball, kicking shoe (which Jayme loved), a kid’s obstacle course and a wet sponge throwing contest.

They ended the day with the mass squirt bottle flight. This proved to be a bit too much for Jayme and his sense of justice. The other kids were all much older and twice his size. They pushed and shoved in a way that Jayme has been so trained not to! Because of this he couldn’t get to the refill barrel of water. With no teachers around to monitor the game, Jayme kind of lost it. Joshua scooped him up and wiped his tears.

This is the second year in a row that Jayme has fallen apart at the end. The stress of change and water bottle injustice was just too much for him.

IEP meeting

Jayme’s IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting was set for 2 days after the end of school. Both of the dad’s arrived and made our way to the classroom Jayme has been in for the last 2 years. Waiting inside was Jayme’s teacher of two years. After a short chat the remaining members of the team arrived; Jayme’s mainstream 2nd grade teacher and the school psychologist.

We all chatted about Jayme’s progress over the past two years and how everyone felt it was time for Jayme to move full time into a mainstream classroom, but with plenty of outside supports. Jayme would keep his small group math and reading supports. Jayme would no longer be in the behavioral classroom but rather a regular “mainstream” one.

Both of Jayme’s teachers spoke of how well he was doing and how fond they are of him. Clearly Jayme is a little charmer in school.

We did have two set-backs; first we would have to get a school transfer order placed. If Jayme was entering a mainstream classroom the school district would move him back to the school closest to our house. Everyone in the meeting agreed that at least for the time being, it would be best to have Jayme stay put so if there were bumps with the transition he would have teachers and staff around him that know his needs.

The second set back was Jayme would no longer qualify for bus service. This is not a big deal to the dads, but Jayme really likes taking the bus to school. So we don’t know how this is going to play out this fall. Good school bus behavior is one of Jayme’s strengths. But there is no normal school bus route for Jayme’s school in our neighborhood since we are a transfer.

It was also a sad moment as we had to say good-bye to Jayme’s teacher. She was moving out of state to live with her husband who had been transferred earlier in the year. She would not be returning to Jayme’s school in the fall.

But even with the sad goodbyes this was a WONDERFUL way to start the summer. Jayme has come so far in the past two years, it’s amazing how much our little boy has grown and changed.

 

Easter 2013

doctor-who-bells-of-st-john-first-pic-portrait[1]

Apart from ice camping for Easter, we tried our best to have good Easter weekend for Jayme

2Friday night Jayme and Anthony sat down and watched the 1977 animated classic ” The Easter bunny is coming to town” with  the voice of Fred Astaire. It’s a wonderful tale about where the Easter Bunny comes from and why we eat eggs on Easter. Of course none of it was true, but it had lots of catchy songs.

Saturday we took a bike ride around our new neighborhood and checked out the sights. We also got Easter haircuts. Later that night we picked up a Papa Murphy’s pizza and Joshua located the new episode of Doctor Who for us to watch. We don’t know how, but Jayme is a total Whovian…. total shock right? We all snuggled on in our new media room under blankets and watched it our our big screen.

On the big Easter day Jayme came bouncing down the stairs and found a HUGE brightly colored basket of chocolate rabbits, chocolate eggs and assorted Easter candies.

Anthony boiled up 3 dozen eggs and Jayme got to paint and dye everyone of them. One of the kits Anthony picked up was a tie-dye egg kit. They dry all shiny and glossy and some of the colors that Jayme used on the eggs  turned out really amazing. He even mixed a pale green egg with a extra wash in the yellow dye to make a bright Kelly green egg. He is quite the artist!

Once the eggs dried, the Dad’s hid them all over the yard, front and back. This year Jayme was VERY specific that he wanted a full on Easter egg hunt, so the Dad’s being pushovers complied.

Jayme took his time and hunted everywhere for the eggs. At one point we saw a big dog in our yard and got a bit worried that we might come up a few eggs short (with the dog eating a few), but a final count at the end showed that Jayme had found them all!

Moving Day

mv

We don’t know how we did it, but Moving day landed on the 3rd anniversary of the first day of meeting Jayme. You know… because moving isn’t emotional enough for our family.

We woke at 6:30am and the three of us loaded into the family car for a short ride to the U-Haul center. Anthony and Jayme headed in and got the keys to our 24 foot moving monster.

It took a few tries to back our moving truck into position in front of our townhouse’s garage, the townhouse street and all of our neighbors parking on the red fire lane stripes didn’t really help.

Our plan was to make three trips. First trip to load everything we could ourselves, second trip to have paid movers get the heavy stuff and then the final trip for everything else.

The three of us started to load the garage into the truck. For weeks we have been packing and stacking boxes in the garage. So on moving day it was just about moving those boxes a few more feet into the truck.

By 11:ooam we had our first load ready to go up the hill. With a few exceptions we just reversed the process and unloaded the truck into the new garage.

We grabbed some McDonalds for lunch and Joshua stayed behind to clean up the Laundry Room (see our last post) while Anthony and Jayme headed to the townhouse to get the cats locked in the bathroom and meet the movers who were coming at 1:00pm

Paying the movers was the BEST money we have ever spent! There is just no way we could have completed without them. Within 8 minutes of their arrival they had more on the truck then we had in 2 hours. They moved the washer and dryer, our 300 pound latex bed, Jayme’s bunk bed, our big screen, the dining room table, the sofas, and much much more. They filled the 24 foot truck from front to back.

Once back up the hill they unpacked it all as well. But this time we asked them to unpack into the house, rather then the garage. Everything got in ok with 3 exceptions. First our huge sofa was too big to go in the front. So the movers had to take it in via the kitchen sliding glass door. The second issue was they moved Joshua’s rope out of the truck and into the garage, so on our third trip we had to improvise (we thought they had taken the rope by mistake). The third issue we didn’t find out about until the next day, our washing machine was broken. Turned out the suspension rods were dead, they were well used and the move killed them, not the movers fault. The movers did run over our set time by 45 mins but they worked the whole time and we feel the money was well spent.

Third trip we ran back for the last of the items that could not come by car. We have the townhouse until the 30th so we knew we could just run back and forth with the cars for the little things. So we made a real effort to get the large times on this last run.

With the last of the big times in our new home, we got ready for a little welcome home party. We promised Jayme that if he was good and we got all our stuff moved in we would buy Wreak-It-Ralph and have a pizza party.

So at 7:30pm Anthony and Jayme headed out to Papa Murphy’s and picked up a family sized Chicago stuffed pizza. Then stopped at Safeway for sodas and then all three of us plopped down in our new family room with our TV jerry-rigged to the PlayStation for an impromptu party. No one got to sleep until 11:00pm.

The next three weeks we have been doing something every night. Cleaning the old house  and getting the last bits out is proving to be a MUCH bigger task then we thought. Jayme’s bedtime is at 8:00pm so we have a very small window to do anything at the old place before we have to feed, bath and bed the little one. This upside down schedule has been murder for the Dad’s and made the transition to the new house much harder on Jayme. In the end we decided to only have one person at the old house and keep Jayme at the new and on his normal schedule. But this added more issues as doing the work alone after working hard all day slowly draining our will and we are really starting to doubt this move.

But the end is within sight. Easter weekend we are going to be all done and have a nice family weekend with NO DRAMA or house work!

 

 

Jayme’s 8th Birthday

jayme-invite-8th

This year with our plans to start the adoption process over again and buy a new home, We decided not take Jayme to Disney World for his birthday again.  We would only take him down in the fall for Food and Wine and Mickey’s not so scary Halloween party. We are such cruel parents.

Jayme’s wanted another big birthday party and the Dad’s were more than happy to fulfill the request. But just like last year Jayme’s birthday landed on a weekday. In our world this means two (2) birthday events that had to be planned. We had a long talk with him and let him know that we could have a special family only dinner on his birthday and on party day we would go all out. Jayme was fine with the plan; he even knew where he wanted to eat on his birthday… the Cheesecake factory. He kept calling it the cake place, but we knew what he meant.

The night before his birthday we pulled out his life journal and looked at all of the photos of when he was younger. It was a nice way to sum up and take a pause on his life’s journey. He got to do a little reflection and so did the Dad’s. But it was so hard to tuck our 7 year old into bed that night, knowing that the next day he would be 8, and our 7 year old would be gone forever.

The next morning we woke Jayme up with the Birthday song and his favorite breakfast (German pancakes with lots of lemon juice). The night before Anthony and Jayme had haircuts, so after breakfast we got to put up Jayme’s new hair style a mini little faux hawk. Super cute we sent our 8 year old off to school.

It was kind of a well-managed military style maneuver getting all three of us to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner that evening. Anthony driving in from Camas, Joshua had to make a cross town trek from Lloyd center to Milwaukee then across town again to Washington town center.

Jayme had only one real request for dinner, he wanted dessert first. So when our waitress came around we all ordered dessert first. Jayme ordered a huge slice of triple chocolate cake. Joshua ordered a yummy coffee cheesecake and Anthony had the strawberry cheesecake. As we waited for our first course of desserts to arrive the table next to us was surrounded by waiters and they all sang the happy birthday song to someone. It was a little bit after that Jayme started to worry that he would not get the same treatment. About 10 mins later our desserts arrived and with it a small army of waiters who also sang happy birthday to Jayme, he was thrilled!

We decided to skip getting main course meals and instead opted for a small feast of appetizers. Jayme can be a picky eater, but he had ate a little bite of everything we ordered. By the end of the meal we all were very full and Jayme was getting tired and so were we. So we got what was left boxed up and we headed for home.

Home, we let Jayme open one of this birthday presents (we had a small pile for him to pick from). He picked the biggest of course which turned out to be a Disney fireworks maker, you point it at the ceiling and it makes firework images with fun firework sounds. We of course loaded up the real Disney fireworks music for him and he was making Disney magic before bed.

Party Day

The big party day arrived. We had a 3:00pm table reservation so we headed out early to the rink. Arriving at 2:00pm we checked in and Joshua and Jayme got their skates and hit the rink. Anthony stood watch by the door keeping an eye out for any of our party guests.

We had confirmations from 7 adults and 2 kids, but at 2:55pm no one had arrived yet. While Jayme skated we started to come up with some back up plan of how we would save the party with just the three of us. It was then a small boy and a Mom arrived at the front door holding one of our birthday invitations. Then a few moments later another Mom and child and then before we could even point to the table everyone showed.

In total we had 4 kids (two from Jayme’s class), our family friend two Grand kids (whom we traveled to Disneyland with), two of Jayme’s teachers and many family friends. In fact the pile of presents was a bit overwhelming.

We got all the kids down at the table. Each kid had a bag of cotton candy, a balloon hat, ice cream and soda. Then came Jayme’s cake and all the kids sang to him… it was too cute. After the feast Jayme opened his mountain of presents. Anthony then handed out all of the goodie bags he made for them. Like last year we tried to put some good stuff in them. Some colorful rubber bouncy balls, a metal ring puzzle, 2 wacky pencils, a coloring book, a packet of seeds to plant and a bottle of bubbles.

We then all hit the rink. Jayme headed right back out and it took a bit of reminding to hang out with his guests. But once we connected with them he didn’t stray too far from the group.

The weird upside to the party was being able to connect with the other parents and the kids from Jayme’s class. One of the kidos who came is a classmate of Jayme’s who… well lets say Jayme has some very strong feelings about. It was so nice that at the party they both were able to have some real positive interactions with each other outside of the school setting. Fingers cross that on Monday that keeps going.

But talking with the two mom’s was great, both of us are looking forward to running into them at future school events and birthday parties.

The party ended in the video arcade, with the two moms, Joshua and Anthony all feeding the kids quarters. Everyone had a great time! It was a great 8th birthday celebration!