Tag Archives: #buddies

Catch This!

My friend needed help – fast!  Her son’s 10/31 birthday was quickly approaching, and she needed to pull of a Yankees themed birthday party the weekend before.

Cue the party assistant (me)!  I helped make this BOYS & GIRLS party (full of second graders) a HIT, and everyone left with a pretty cool “thank you gift”!
I created a special banner (with photos of the birthday boy), fun framed decor and party bags filled with themed necklaces or keychains …

  …the girls loved the necklaces!    

I used this same idea to create boys’ high quality keychains.  I used blue or steel colored beads along with baseball beads to make a cool yet different design for the boys.  They love to hook the keychains to their school backpack zippers!

Here’s a look at the BASEBALL party…

…his “Bronx grandma” brought an amazing cake, and the kids played at the Baseball Center on the UWS!

      There were at least 25 kiddos, and a few younger siblings tagged along.  Everyone received a party bag — however I didn’t fill it with Cracker Jacks, peanuts, Big League chewing gum and such.  I know NY kids LOVE Air Heads!  Plus I added some Halloween stickers and red, white, and blue pompoms for a little whimsy.    

(my son above right): He would rather juggle than play baseball.  He’s a circus kid, what can I tell ya?

One of the coolest things about this party (besides watching “Manhattan Grandma” cheer on her grandson) was seeing our friends from (ex.) Sweden and Columbia join in, and learn the sport of baseball!  They were not ashamed to admit they never played, didn’t know how, didn’t know the rules, etc., It made me appreciate diverse friendships, supporting and teaching others, and cheering on your fellow teammate!  There is unity in our little world in the UWS.

Above: juggling Henry and “TuTu” (grandma); Enjoying yummy pizza on this super stormy rainy Sunday — what a great day to be inside!

 

 

Bedtime Blues

The midnight conversation…

Henry:  “Mom, Mom!  ….Mom….Mom… Can you please come up (in my loft)?

Seth: “Henry I’ll come up.  Daddy can come up… Daddy can come up.”

Henry: “Nooooooooo.”

Seth: “Daddy can cuddle.”

Henry: “Ugggggggh.  But I don’t want you.  I just want Mom.”

Seth: “But Daddy can give hugs.”

Henry: “But sometimes I am afraid to cuddle with dad.”  — OK he’s a big liar now!

Seth:  “Why?”

Henry: “Cause sometimes I just like girls.  I’m too hot up here.  I just need to go downstairs.  Downstairs is a perfect temperature.  My knee hurts. I need to go downstairs.  I just need Mom.  I don’t like you.”

Henry repeated this again, and the next thing I knew Seth slept up in the loft and Henry slept with me.   Zzzzzzzzzz.

Our New Pet: Louie

 

Louie — our cat — is still Henry’s favorite.

He just can’t get enough of this cat!  In fact — we have to be vigilant because Henry gets a little too crazy with Louie.  This fantastic feline is like a drug, and after about ten pets, and a butt scratch Henry loses his mind.  I constantly praise all of the good behavior.  However,  when things get too rough, we give him all of the reminders possible: “Gentle hands, gentle hands… Henry — you are strong, be careful…. You are stronger / bigger than the cat… Get his cat toys and play with him… Just pets…. Get his laser and play with him…. Louie is just a baby, he’s two and you are five…. Don’t hug him so tight…. carry him with two hands….  Don’t pull on his skin…. Don’t scratch his butt too hard… Put the cat down…. If you are too rough, Henry, you go to time out and kitty gets a break… Oh, Henry let him run away from you if he wants, he needs a break, don’t grab him as he tries to get away from you…. LET THE CAT GO, LET THE CAT GO, LET THE CAT GO!!!!”

Yesterday — Henry got a time out for being too rough; He stood there sobbing, so Louie went into timeout with Henry and laid down next to him.

louie

Respite time in the pantry

Henry plays very nicely with Louie too, it’s not all bad.  

And no matter what — Louie always comes back for more.  He is so patient with Henry, I have never seen a cat so tolerant!  Louie really loves us, he even sleeps in our bed!  Our kitty is quite the talker too… he meows and meows… he really chats it up!  It’s pretty funny when he drags his toys around the house, and even into bed with us.  He has two “tail wands” that are pretty chewed up.  He drags them while simultaneously howling– louder than loud!

toy

exhibit A: tail wand

Henry and I even made our own board game about Louie!

You roll the die and move to different spaces.  If you land on a picture of Louie eating — you say, “Stop eating so much Louie.” (yes our cat eats like a Vegas tourist at the buffets).  If you land on a picture of Louie drinking water you say, “Oh I got a wet chin!” (we always know when Louie has been in the water bowl)!  If you land on a litter box — you have to dig 4 or 5 times and get a math card.  If you land on the picture of Louie going out the back door — YOU LET THE CAT OUT — and you must take the long way.  This game encourages Henry’s speech, math, taking turns, following direction, following rules, etc., and at the end you make it into Louie’s heart.

heart

(I actually had to modify it a few times and add more litter box squares!  Henry really likes to land in the litter box)!

cat game

The Louie Game!

On a final note….  Henry has been telling us that he is going to get another cat!  He wants two cats?  Yes, apparently he needs a black and white cat named, “Michael”.

We Be Buggin’!

It’s family day at Garehime Elementary School and the teachers (once again) provided us with an incredible Friday morning!  The theme was nature (rainbows and their colors) and LADY BUGS in all of their magnificent glory!

We started the day off with some wonderful books and song!  We learned a lot about lady bugs too!

eat4   Snacks!   eat3

Next the teachers and staff showed us how to make yummy lady bug treats using Nilla Wafers, red frosting, brown M&M’s (for the spots) and licorice for the legs!  Each bug needs (2) Nilla Wafers stacked on top (and the legs are in-between)… Henry’s friend gobbled his bug down in no time!

eat2 Froot loops!  eat

 

Henry made a rainbow snack using one graham cracker… then we added some marshmallow spread on the graham cracker.  Next he topped the cracker with the froot loops.  It was hard to fit all of the colors on, but it turned out pretty cute!  Henry doesn’t have much of a sweet-tooth so he didn’t eat his snacks; Maybe his parents munched on these cute treats?

eat5 eat6

Getting’ the bugs out…

Henry watches the lady bug activity in the classroom!

eat7 eat9 eat10

Henry and his friend Matthew listen and watch…  Fun facts we learned today: Lady bugs are small insects.  They have six legs.  They have small spots on their wing covers.  They have a head with antennae.  The antennae help lady bugs sense touch, vibrations (sound), smell and taste.  Lady bugs eat aphids.

We had a great time today — what a great way to bring families into the learning environment!

 

Aliens Have Landed!

Parties are FUN!  But they used to be very tricky, and sometimes completely upsetting for Henry.

Social situations can always be hard for kiddos with ASD; But I continued to help his development in this area — always trying to get him through the “tough spots”.  We would go to every single party and celebration we were ever invited to – even if Henry could only tolerate 10 minutes.  Noise, “strangers”, and singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY would always spark a tantrum.  One time I couldn’t even get Henry in to the door of a party for his good friend (Caitlin).  We just sat on the sidewalk outside and he cried and cried and cried.  Once in — we would participate in intervals;  Sitting and looking for 10 minutes, then taking a break, walking out and about for 10 minutes, then returning in, and so on.

Fast forward to 2015…at about 40 social gatherings later, he has worked his way up to participating fully — with no fear and no tears.  There is a little exception though — he has to HIDE when the crowd sings HAPPY BIRTHDAY.  Actually… a lot of parents have told me this has happened to their child with or without ASD!

After a couple of parties we just went to… I could tell Henry wanted a very special party of his own.  His birthday was approaching, and Henry would drop hints and even talk about it with me.  I got the feeling that a special party would be better than any toy we could buy him.  Henry chose the alien theme; I loved it!  Green aliens for the green month of March!  I wondered if he would let us sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY?

Let’s get started!

invite

invitations

I put an extra spark into the invites.  I used silver glitter glue to accent the party info, and also glued an alien to the front.

Preparation:

I gave more green aliens and “alien gems” to Seth — as he found a brand new (yummy) cupcake bakery near by.  They made our order with my toppers!

DSC_9002

alien cupcakes

Seth pre-ordered the dinner and I bought the party supplies…

…including extra candles.  It’s a good thing I did.  I handed Seth the red sparkly “5” candle to put in the cake, and he broke it while taking it out of the wrapper.  Too much muscle!  Whoops!

I booked some talent!

Our sweet friend Hannah (who is 10 years old) has been teaching herself how to make balloon animals.  We asked her parents if we could ‘hire’ her to come and help with the party, make balloon creations for the kiddies, and also just have fun.

hannah

Hannah made awesome balloon creations!

DSC_9019          DSC_9023

What to wear?  I made custom Alien shirts for a few of us!

 

Set Up:

Our backyard is small — so I had to make good use of our SPACE!

alienbackdrop

alien photo backdrop

DSC_8989     DSC_8981

 Hey, it’s the month of “March Madness” — we need some alien b-ball!

More fun….

Activities to do with the kiddies:  

1)  Make an Alien “snow” Globe.  We used jars, glitter and some other “stuff”.  The kids loved it!  They looked something like this, only we used plastic jars to be safe!

globe

 

2)  Crack open geodes (but we called them MOON rocks or ALIEN rocks just to be silly).

DSC_9039  Daddy helped a lot!      ryan2

3)  Take some pictures outside in front of a SPACE themed backdrop.  Kids can use the props and take goofy photos!

(props)  DSC_8991     nikhil

 

4) Create some EERIE sounds and music (with Seth’s equipment) at our theremin station!

theremin

at first this scared Henry — good thing we warmed up earlier in the day!

Have some cake, sing, and blow out the candles!

DSC_9043        aliencake hugs  Henry gave Seth the biggest HUG after his HAPPY BIRTHDAY SONG!  THIS WAS HIS FIRST time EVER he participated in it.  He was amazing!  We were so proud!

 

DSC_9036

 

There were several times when the kids retreated to the bedroom and kind of got crazy as if they were in a mosh pit!  Expect the unexpected with boys parties!  Hannah was great — she made sure no one got hurt.

 

 

 

DSC_9009     DSC_8997

 

Drinks and (green) watergate salad had a special “out of this world” touch…just because.

I also had this “COLOR AN ALIEN” activity just in case — it was a so cute!  Henry’s friend brought her little sister and all of the girls really likes this!

DSC_9025

color an alien

DSC_9046  DSC_9027  leo

 

Super fun — it WAS OUT OF THIS WORLD!

 

Construction in Vegas!!

Who knew that construction could be this fun?  …And Sunday we got to experience it first hand at a pretty cool birthday party!

IMG_0354

One of Henry’s newest friends (Connor) invited us to have a blast today!

A bright, beautiful sunny day (with hardly any clouds) in a neighboring park set the scene….

IMG_0346

I dig it!

There was a super fun play ground, and lots of sand to dig, dig, dig!  Connor’s mom was pretty awesome with getting all of the orange cones set up, constructions signs, shovels, buckets and hardhats!

IMG_0351

There was the yellow caution tape and little construction vehicles too.

IMG_0343Henry had to start off slow —  he always needs some time to warm up to a new environment.

Then– the kiddos grabbed a bucket and went hunting for prizes…Next came digging…and exploring geodes!  Constructions hats on — and special care when using the hammers please!  It was so fun to watch all the kiddos take a turn with the hammer to open their very own unique geode!  …magic!  Henry loved it!

 

IMG_0352

Let’s ROCK!

Balloons, chocolate cake (that looked like cookie crumble dirt) and fun decorations set the mood for an awesome day!

IMG_0345

Caution: Kids having fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0353    Hammer time!   IMG_0350

IMG_0342We are so thankful for the invitation!  Thanks so much to Connor’s mom for the amazing food, fun, new friends, and discoveries!  Vegas ROCKS!

IMG_0347  This party was a HIT!  IMG_0349

We even got a Home Depot canvas work apron filled with snacks as our goodie bag!  Genius!

Vegas Valentines

I joined a “Mommy Group” that mainly meets up on weekends to try to make new Las Vegas friends!  Our first meeting was really great… Super nice ladies, very diverse backgrounds, and very cute kids similar in age to Henry.  Henry was so busy playing on the playground structures though — he didn’t connect too tightly just yet.  Henry just gets so excited to play on the slides and tunnels and swings, he just can’t help himself!  Joining this group gets me better acquainted to new Vegas family-friendly-fun activities, and to Las Vegas itself.

IMG_0349

Valentine’s goodies

Tomorrow we are going back at it for a Valentines themed park party.  I wanted to make goodie bags because goodie bags really let me use my creativity and imagination.

Here’s how I made them:

Party City:

I bought clear party bags, and small paper heart doilies.

World Market/Cost Plus:

I picked up Old Fashioned small Valentine cards (I didn’t use the small envelopes that came with them), pink and red paper ribbon, small cinnamon heart candy (2 small bags), one bag of small foil-wrapped chocolate hearts.

Whole Foods:

IMG_0351

1 bag of Natural mini marshmallows, and a small bag of natural jelly beans in Bulk Foods (strawberry and pomegranate).

 

 

 

 

IMG_0350       So the kiddies will get a small treat (NUT-FREE) of about 13-15 marshmallows, a few cinnamon hearts, a few jelly beans, one chocolate heart, and the cute doily and old fashioned small card — with LOTS of pretty ribbon.  Overall — not too much of a calorie splurge; The cinnamon hearts probably have some kind of weird chemical in them — but everything else should be OK.  I actually remember eating those small cinnamon hearts when I was in grade school — so I had to throw them in just for the fun of it!  I made about 20 bags.  I didn’t sign the cards because I didn’t want ink mixing in with the treats.  It was a fun evening activity with Henry too!  Although he ate a lot of marshmallows, and left most of the work for me!

Christmas Jam

T’was December 18th, and all through ‘hood…. Henry was snoring, and over the bed we stood…..

“Wake up Henry!”  (Henry usually goes to school at around 10:45 AM) but today he needed to be at school by 8:00 AM for his Christmas Pageant, and his last day at school in Los Angeles.  We got up extra early — no rest for the weary — Seth had just arrived from Vegas after a full week’s work there.  Our plan was to drive from L.A. to Vegas, and hit the road by 2PM.  It’s going to be one of the those days where we JAM in the impossible!xmas2

We made it to school on time, and it was the cutest California Christmas Pageant ever!

Henry’s class entered the auditorium, and the parents and grandparents “arose with such a clatter” scampering down the aisle to the front!  Seth stayed behind in his seat while I jammed in with all of the paparazzi-parents!

His class performed “Feliz Navidad” and it was adorable…other hits like “Merry Merengue” and “Mambo Santa Mambo” were just fantastic!  These kids were great!

DSC_8611    xmas4

After Henry’s performance — his class sat down to enjoy the rest of the program.

xmas3    DSC_8636

xmas5

DSC_8635  xmas  DSC_8648

Then came the emotional good byes to Henry’s teachers, and his classmates and their families.  In just a short time we all became so close.  There’s something about the compassion and understanding we all shared in supporting these kiddos’ growth, development and learning.  Henry was especially smitten with 24 year-old Crystal…a helper who assisted in the classroom.  They has a very close relationship, she was so sad to see him go; Henry had caught the love bug with her from “Day One”.  A heartfelt good-bye to Micheltorena Street Elementary School.  We will miss you.

class photo  chrystal

We took Henry to Mina’s for the last time…then Seth and I packed up our two Prius’s with as much as possible, sold a couch on Craigslist, and continued to pack and pack and pack.  We took care of last minute chores, emptied the fridge, took out the trash, and carefully got into our cars and drove over to Mina’s…lots of tears, hugs and kisses later we collected Henry and put our sleepy boy in my car.  Jammed in with everything from succulents to stuffed animals (and everything in between) we started off for Las Vegas, and it was going on three o’clock.

Henry screamed for is dad to get into my car, he didn’t want to drive apart from him.  I had to explain that we needed to bring both cars to Las Vegas; he didn’t quite like this concept of driving separately.  But as long as I drove right behind Daddy’s car he was OK.  Enter L.A. traffic.  Stop, slam on brakes, car cuts me off, Henry screams.  Repeat– several times.

My face was the color of Rudolph’s nose.  Henry would yell and scream every time a car would cut me off — because then he couldn’t see Daddy’s car!  The L.A. traffic added another hour onto our trip.  Then Henry was screaming that his belly hurt.  I thought the stress of it all probably caught up to him, so as I was driving I helped him loosen his jeans and seatbelt a little.  One hand on the wheel, one hand on Henry I kept this up for about 90 minutes…then I called Seth and told him we better stop and give Henry a break.  About 20 minutes later we stopped, stretched, and Starbuck’d (Seth has an addiction).  Henry was fine on the rest of the trip to Vegas, but it was long!

We marveled at the day, and the silliness of it all.  Our couch literally walked down the streets of Los Feliz (they didn’t have a vehicle big enough to transport it).  We jammed in a school concert, lots of emotional good-byes, Christmas donations to charity, Part I of our move, and so much more.  …and as the story goes…I can’t wait to settle in for “a long Winter’s nap!”

 

Sugar and Spice…

There’s a popular nursery rhyme that my sister and I still remember:

“What are little boys made of?  What are little boys made of?  *Snips and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails” and of course little girls are made of “Sugar and spice and everything nice”…

*Snips may be replaced by frogs, snakes or slugs.  

…as the holiday season prodded me to create a candy house with him, Henry’s interest in sugar and spice illustrated the nursery rhyme almost to a tee!

Henry and I met with our friends to create those cute candy houses (made with graham crackers, frosting, candies and of course sugar and spice)!  I did a dry run the night before to test my skills, and also see if Henry would be game….

Hmmm      assort              assorting

Henry had no interest in helping mommy and daddy make candy houses, at best he liked dumping out all of the candy, and then putting them back in the bowls in different ways.

contest

Hubby’s creation VS. my creation!  He liked the “hat” on daddy’s house so Henry (our judge) said daddy was the WINNER!

 

Then… at our official candy house building day with his friend Caitlin:

kids2     kids

Henry would not sit down unless he had “his” own activity — one that he found to be interesting!    A “science experiment” — as we call it — did the trick!  Pouring vinegar (with various food coloring) into a pan of baking soda is cool!  Thank you Pinterest for this bright idea!  Henry is so happy to do this, while Caitlin creates some sugary magic!

FUN!     legohouse           caithouse

 

chouse

I sometimes wish Henry would love what I want to do with him… but as long as he’s happy and somewhat participating in any shape or form– that’s good enough for me!

supplies

 

 

 

 

 

Make your own!

Supplies:

milk carton, frosting, graham crackers, ice cream cones (optional), various candies; We used a combination of lego candies, kisses, gumdrops, Wonka mix, nonpareils, mini-marshmellos, coconut (shredded), skittles, m&m’s, sprinkles, mini candy canes, star “brite” peppermints, licorice, jaw breakers, Kix cereal, ….and your imagination!

 

 

Mr. Bones in West Hollywood

Henry and I joined our friends at Mr. Bones in West Hollywood!

Last year (at age two) our October visit was a little frightening.  There’s a lot of stimulation here — and sometimes it can be too much for our kiddo; But he really warmed up to the fun on this super sunny day in L.A.!

inside    silly jump

The GIANT jack-o-lantern bounce house that has a zipper enclosure for entry and exit was too scary last year…. this year Henry bounced to his heart’s content!

slideIf you look closely — Henry and Madi are seated up at the top of the slide!  I lost count how many times Henry went on this!

boat 2              boat 1

                  The pirate’s boat was smooth sailing!  A-hoy matey!

 

window

Psychiatric Help – The Doctor is IN

This picture reminds me (and my husband) of a Peanuts cartoon (Lucy)…can you believe she only charged her clients five cents?

On to the petting zoo!  We were told not to let the goats eat our paper cups….they will definitely try their best to devour the food and cup, be careful!

“They’re so cute!”  goats 2        goats

ponyRiding “Elvis” the pony!  The pony rides at Mr. Bones are very popular…this line was pretty long but Henry waited patiently!

 

    IMG_2724       2kids

Henry and Madison in 2011, and 2013!  Super cute friends at the pumpkin patch!