Category Archives: summer break

Swimming, Splashing, Sensory & Smiles, Part 2

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I wanted to do an update regarding Joey and conquering his sensory issues/fear of swimming pools since my last pool post Swimming, Splashing, Sensory & Smiles. Joey is surprising me each time we go to the community pool (which is 3 or more days a week). Today he walked a little further out in the water by himself and also didn’t flip out when I tried to get him to float on his back.

Words cannot even begin to express how proud I am of him, just for such a simple feat, but for him a huge one.

The first round of swimming lessons finished up last week and the new session started up on Monday. We went ahead and signed all three kids up. All three started out in beginners, but Leah tested out of that class the very first day.

Joey is still watching his typical peers learning how to swim (except now he sits next to Aiden), watching their every moment, except now when they slide into the water and hold onto the wall, he does as well. I’m so proud of all three of my kids and all they’ve done so far this summer!

This is how Joey conquered his fear, by first taking piggyback rides on my back with me walking across the pool in deeper water.

 

My 3 loves

 

Jojoe taking a splash break in the kiddie pool

Our trip to the Pez Visitor Center

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For our latest family outing, due to the sweltering 95 degree heat today, we wanted to stay indoors so we decided to head south to Orange, Connecticut to visit the Pez Visitor Center.

Don’t worry about getting lost, because as soon as you’re to Edison Road aka Pez Boulevard you’ll know thanks to the street sign! You can’t miss it! It’s less than 2 miles off of I-95!

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Then once we pulled up to the building, we were welcomed by three massive packs of Pez candies on the front of the building. Right away, the kids got excited!

For my fellow special needs families, there’s plenty of handicap parking and there’s ramps right in front of the building, no stairs to worry about entering into the building. There’s also a nice elevator inside the building to get to the second floor.
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While Daddy bought our tickets (they’re reasonably priced: Children under 3 FREE, Children 3-12 $4.00, Regular admission $5.00, Seniors (60+) $4.00, Group (10 or more) $4.00) the kids waited on super cute Pez benches in the lobby, then we entered into the main show room/museum.

The main area was quite crowded at times, so I suggest if you have a child that doesn’t deal well with crowds, I suggest going on a weekday instead of a weekend.

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One of the fun activities they have is a scavenger hunt for all of Snow White’s 7 Dwarfs. Once you find all 7 of the dwarfs and figure out the hidden message, you get a free Pez Dispenser at the end of your visit! This kept Aiden busy the entire time, he takes his scavenger hunts very seriously!

Although the visitor center isn’t huge, there’s so much to see in the small area. After all, Pez Dispensers aren’t that big! There’s thousands of dispensers so don’t expect to see each and every one! They have the very first ones made back in 1948 clear through present day! It was so neat seeing the Pez dispensers from when I was growing up in the 1980’s-1990’s! I remembered many of them!

Once we finished looking at all the nostalgia, we started picking out the dispensers we wanted to buy. Aiden picked out a Scooby Doo collector pack with all 5 of Scooby’s crew as dispensers. Leah picked out 2 Emoji dispensers and she filled a small bucket of Pez candies. Joey of course picked out a Finding Nemo dispenser, and I got a Captain Jack Sparrow dispenser! After all, who doesn’t want Johnny Depp feeding you candy, lol!! The single dispenser packs are $1.99, the fill a bucket of candy is $5.99 and most of the collector packs are $10.99.

One of the great things about this place is that with every ticket purchased, you get a $2 credit towards items to purchase that day! So this is a trip that won’t break your piggy bank! So if you haven’t been to the Pez Visitor Center yet, it’s definitely worth the trip!

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Swimming, Splashing, Sensory & Smiles

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Jojoe taking a break in the kiddie pool. Splash away buddy!

 

As a parent one of the number one safety skills you want your child to be able to do is swim. There’s times I feel like I’m failing Joey, since at 10 1/2 years old and he cannot swim. He cannot even float. In fact he has HATED big pools up until this summer.

Typically whenever we would visit someone’s house who has a pool, Joey would sit on the edge or my husband would hold him against his chest and walk him around in the water.

Funny enough, he LOVES taking baths and playing kiddie pools. He’ll splash around in those anyday, anytime. It’s when we’re at a larger pool, he goes into sensory overload, gets overwhelmed and flips out.

This Spring I had decided enough was enough. I want my kid to be able to at least float. So I called our town’s recreation department and spoke with the aquatics director and told him my dilemma. He said to sign up Joey for swim lessons through the town and we’ll see how it goes.

For the past 3 weeks, I’ve been at our local community pool with Joey every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. He’s been in a typical child’s group swimming lesson class. I knew he wouldn’t participate like the other kids but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Joey, it’s that he’s highly motivated by his peers.

During the swim lesson class, Jojoe has sat on the side of the pool, watching his swim lesson classmates intensely, watching them learning how to swim, mimicking their movements while sitting in the side out of the water. Each lesson, dipping his toes and arms in the water a little further eachtime. On Wednesday after his lesson, I was walking him through the water with him on my back. He was very hesitant the deeper I walked but I kept reassuring him that he was ok and I kept singing, “Just keep swimming.” After a little bit I started unwrapping his legs from around my waist and making him float his legs behind us. I even got him to start kicking his legs while holding onto my shoulders.

Then I took him to the shallowest portion of the pool and showed him his feet could touch. I was having him hold onto the side of the pool and kick his legs!

Turn the clock forward to today’s lesson. Jojoe jumped onto my back in the water after his lesson and we started our walk around the pool with him laughing the entire time! Then we practiced standing in the shallow end. He did it once again! This time, we even added in sitting on the side of the pool and he slid in holding onto my hands!

Talk about a proud Mommy moment! After the first half of his childhood, my boy is finally starting to accept a swimming pool without getting upset! Even though he’s not swimming yet, I’m so incredibly proud of him, It’s a huge step for him to accept something, especially after only 3 weeks!

I can’t wait to see what progress he makes between now and the beginning of the school year at the pool. Even if he’s not swimming by then, at least he’s accepted the pool and fingers crossed next summer will be a little easier!

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Our visit to the Peabody Museum

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A few times a year we venture down to New Haven for a trip to Yale’s Peabody Natural History Museum and since the Joey starts summer school and Leah & Aiden are off to camp next week, I decided yesterday was the perfect day to go! And since I discovered that one of my best friends had never been there before, we brought her along for the ride!

Joey really wasn’t in much of a photogenic mood but I still managed to snap some photos of the fun we all had.

As we were walking up to the  building, Aiden decided to try to walk in the dinosaur’s footsteps…

“Mom! It’s T-Rex!”

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The Famous Hall of Dinosaurs!

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Joey admiring the Velociraptor model

Aiden and Leah’s best Dodo bird impression

“Mommy, look at me, I’m a mummy just like this one!”

For those of you not from Connecticut who are wondering where/what the Peabody Museum is, it’s down on the shore in New Haven. It’s part of Yale University and houses many of their best artifacts. It’s one of the oldest natural history museums in the world! One claim to fame is the character Mr. Burns from the Simpsons went to Yale and a reference about the Peabody Museum is made in an episode!

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source: The Simpsons, edisode “Burns, Baby Burns”

This year is the 150 year anniversary of the museum. The Peabody is three stories tall, there’s a small elevator for those of you with strollers or wheelchairs. On the second floor, there’s a discovery room for smaller children although due to it being a smaller room, no strollers are allowed in that room. Unfortunately, there’s no cafeteria or eating area so feed your kiddos before you go or, the wonderful thing about New Haven is, there’s so many amazing places to eat! I have to suggest, if you’re family likes pizza, try out Pepe’s Pizza and for dessert Libby’s Italian Pastry Shop both on Wooster Street!

If you’re in Connecticut or planning on visiting Connecticut, it’s totally worth the trip! There are so many amazing things to see, every time we go, I see something new and exciting!  It’s one of those museums you can visit over and over again and it will never get old.

Sidewalk Chalk Fun!

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A while back I spotted this POOF 60 piece jumbo sidewalk chalk set and for $9.50 and if you have Amazon Prime (If you don’t have Prime, you can order it here), you’ll get free 2 day shipping! It’s totally an awesome buy and worth every single penny! And for that price, I ordered it for the kids (and myself). One of our favorite summer time outdoor activities is drawing on our driveway with chalk. And it’s something I can get Joey to do, even just for a few minutes.

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Today, we decided to take our fun a step further and make some chalk scenes to take pictures with! And we had a blast! Thankfully when we went out, the driveway wasn’t too hot from the sun yet, definitely a first thing in the morning activity for the summer since our driveway gets so hot!

One of the great things about this set, is that the chalk comes wrapped it sets of  6 rather than all together. This way, they don’t get all the chalk out at once and get ruined right away, lol! And there’s multiple colors and they’re all so bright and pretty!

The kids had a blast and we can’t wait to make new drawings to pose with soon!

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I’m Bored Jar

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After scanning Pinterest for more ideas, I found a totally awesome idea over at Mum in the Mad House and making an I’m bored jar for the summer! I can’t count how many times when the kids are home from school that I hear the words, “I’m bored!?” What an awesome idea to help keep the kids busy, even if it’s just for a few minutes!

I just printed out the PDF she had available and Leah helped me to decorate the jar and cut out the little slips of paper. Then we decided to write out a few of our family’s favorite activates as well and add them in.

I found an extra canning jar in our basement to use rather than buying one and had some extra cute labels to use for the outside. If you don’t have an extra jar, here’s a super cute one I found on Amazon!

Leah pulled the first slip out of the jar last night and it happened to be “go get Chinese food” so she called her Daddy and thankfully I didn’t have to cook dinner! And this morning, Aiden pulled out “make pancakes” of all things! We’re so excited to put our “I’m Bored” jar to use this summer, along with the scavenger hunt sheets I told you guys about yesterday!

Again, have I ever mentioned that Pinterest rocks?! LOL!!

Schools Out for Summer!

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Well, it’s official! I’ve got two 4th graders and a 2nd grader! And I’ve got one month before summer school starts for Joey and camp for Leah & Aiden….

I’ve spent the past few days browsing Pinterest looking for ideas of things to do with them during before they have scheduled activities. Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE Pinterest?! I actually made entire board on Pinterest just for Outdoors Fun!

I found some printable scavenger hunts to do with them on The Bird Feed NYC, which knowing Leah and Aiden, the hunts will be a HUGE success! Fingers crossed Joey will show some interest in joining in on the fun!

Be sure to check back for some of our activities we do this summer! I can’t wait to do some of the things I’ve pinned and spend time with my kids!

Source: Scavenger Hunt for Kids: Nature Walk