Monday, May 31, 2010

Binder Park Zoo

Today we went to Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek. We rode the train and the tram, we braved the rain, we rode the carousel, then we walked through the African zoo and saw giraffes, zebras, monkeys and lots of other animals and took a ranger readiness test while walking along the trail!. We hadn't been to that zoo in years it definitely was worth the hour drive.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Joe's new glasses

We ordered a pair of glasses from and after a couple of tries, we found the perfect size and shape for Joe's face. We picked them up today and he has reluctantly put them on for a few minutes at a time. We will send them to school in his backpack on Tuesday and hope that he wears them when he looks at the board.


Emma and Jana

The weather is beautiful and we have been going to the pool every afternoon. Joe has given up his life jacket and is swimming semi-independently in the pool. He is really improving! Emma brought her friend Jana to the pool today and they worked on jumping off the platforms and diving boards at the same time.

CHUM Memorial Horse Show

Emma and Joe participated in the CHUM annual memorial horse show on Saturday. Joe won second place in his group and Emma won third place in her group. Joe also had fun playing with his friend Lucas.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

International Festival 5/27/10 at

Joe's school had its International Festival of Cultures. The children at Red Cedar school represent 50 countries, 13 states and 47 languages. The kids sang in 12 different languages. There was a jump rope show and a fan dance. Joe's principal Mrs. Emerson is retiring this year after 9 years at Red Cedar. She loves the song "What a Wonderful World." If you look closely you can see that a few notes from the song are painted on the mural of the wall in the outdoor amphitheatre. The children ended the performance by singing the song. We were so proud of Joe and how well he sang in the show. Joe is in the blue T-shirt on the left. This is what inclusion looks like.

Joe's drawing

Joe has been working hard on drawing in school and at home. It is very challenging for him to hold the pencil or marker firm enough and with enough control to create pictures (this is also a challenge for him with writing). He is easily frustrated and does not generally like to practice drawing for longer than a few minutes. He was very proud when he came home yesterday because he had a booklet in his backpack that was a story about what animals like to do. On the last page, it asks, what do YOU do? Joe drew a picture of himself swimming. He kept saying, "look mama, Joe is swimming! I like to swim!" Then he asked me to take a picture and put it on the computer. Here it is.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Garden Day

Today was the annual garden day at Marble school. This will be my last year volunteering because Emma will move to another school for 5th grade. Today I worked on the petunia beds. The kids made a giant "M" for Marble in one bed and in the other bed they arranged the petunias in the shape of 3 peace signs.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

First outdoor swim of the year!

We ended our weekend of soccer, horseback riding, and the arts festival with our first dip in the MSU outdoor pool. I can't believe it is warm enough to swim outdoors. We were really excited to get in and happy to see some friends at the pool. Emma reports that she was a little scared for her first jump off the 5 meter platform but by the time we left it was like we never had a long winter break from the outdoor pool. Joe loves, loves, loves swimming.

East Lansing Arts Festival

This afternoon Emma and I walked to the arts festival downtown. We wandered around, checked out the art and listened to some great music. Emma found some clothes that she liked (see photos) and I found lots of breakable things that I didn't purchase. Joe and Chris drove to a parking lot and took the shuttle bus downtown. That was a big deal. All 4 of us took the bus back to the lot. My kids just love riding on the local CATA buses. It was in the mid-80s today, perfect arts festival weather.

Horseback riding

House for Sale (again)!

We are hoping to sell our home this summer and buy a house that can better accommodate our family. Finally the weather has warmed up and the flowers have begun to bloom. When I went out to get the paper this morning I saw a couple of bunnies eating at the "All You Can Eat Buffet" also known as my garden. They are so cute, I don't mind if they eat all the flowers. This bunny is just nibbling at the lawn.

Joe and Calvin

Joe spends a good part of his day moving Calvin from room to room. He usually begins this activity early in the morning. Here he is carrying Calvin into the bathroom on Sunday morning.

Last Soccer Game of the Season

Yesterday was the last soccer game of the season. Emma's team played well and the girls ended a successful season. In the next couple of weeks Emma will try out for the traveling team. Here she is (#7) in action.

German pen pal

Emma's German pen pal Jana is in town this weekend. Jana is our neighbor's niece who lives in Germany. The girls met four years ago and since then they have exchanged letters through the mail. Jana is here for a couple of days and the girls are having fun catching up. Here they are in our yard playing soccer after their initial reunion.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Joe and his robot.
Emma, Daniel and Joe at Tasty Twist after Emma's annual MSU prep choir spring concert. She is trying out for the next step up (the CMS choir) in August.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The gift of a day of jumping

Molly, Joe, Daniel and Mike.

Molly and Joe

For Joe's birthday, Daniel, Molly and Charlie gave Joe a "playdate" gift. On Saturday they picked him up and brought him to Jumping Jax for a morning of jumping fun. After that, they went out to lunch. This is the first time that Joe has gone on a playdate without me or Chris tagging along. It was very exciting to see him take this next step toward independence!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Brunch at Riverside Inn
Sitting by the Red Cedar watching 3 geese families.
It's cold for May!
Mom goose and 3 gooslings

Friday, May 07, 2010

An inspiring story about a new hire at the Boston Children's Hospital Down syndrome clinic. And a Newton, MA native, like me! Click HERE.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Finals week

I am in the office grading and writing final exams. By Friday the semester will be over (I plan to be done grading by then)! The weather is fine and all I want to do is go outside and play.

New friend

Emma invited a new friend from her soccer team for a sleepover last weekend. It was a fun evening for the girls but also wonderful for the whole family because Emma's new friend easily included Joe in their activities. Emma's friends like Joe but they are not always so eager to allow him to participate in their games.