Our “Reverse” Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt- 2015

Our family tradition of doing a scavenger Easter Egg hunt with the boys continued this year- with a bit of a twist.  You see it has been getting harder and harder to come up with clues that will really make these two smarty pants think, so the hunts were beginning to wrap up in a blink of an eye- well with my being a sentimental basket case as of late- I want nothing to be “over in a blink of an eye” these days.

So instead of our normal clues- we decided to do a new type of scavenger hunt and have the boys bring the clues to us.

We started our morning off by attending the “sunrise” church service for the first time ever (we simply do not do “early” so typically would go to the Saturday evening service or the noon- but change is nice. )

When we got in the truck to head over the boys discovered 2 empty plastic eggs on their seats- to signify the Empty Tomb along with two small humbly wrapped packages.  When they opened them up inside were new thin line red letter Bibles each engraved with their names.  They both have quite a few Bibles already but these are their first “grown up” Bibles.  These are the one we pray will have prayers scribbled in them, verses highlighted, words circled and pages worn with use in the coming years.

We had seats out in the lawn with friends and family and got to have an acoustic praise time with a really great message that simply blew both Jason and my mind with regard to how the story of Jesus mimics the story of Issac.  You can attend church for a significant portion of your life and still have certain messages open the flood gates of emotion.  Today was one of those times.

When we got home the boys found a letter addressed to them:

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2015

Geroux brothers, come in close- the game is about to begin!

We had a great time celebrating that Jesus died and rose again!

You are no longer little boys but now we see young men.

Young men who make us proud each day and also make us smile

We hope we have created memories for you to cherish for a long, long while.

For years now every Easter we have had fun by going on a hunt.

You have gotten quicker, wiser and older so our clues no longer stump

This year we thought would be a good time to give our “tradition” a big PUNT.

Please do not worry, and do not fret and whatever you do- do not frown.

We will still do a scavenger hunt- but we will do it “upside down”

What? You exclaim- how can this be?   But of course you do not cuss J

This year you will bring the scavenger hunt, all the way back to us.

These two Easter Eggs are tired of sitting in one place waiting for the party to come to them. They want to get out and see the world and you guys are just the ones to show them around. Grab a camera and get moving. The object is to take a selfie with your eggs in each of the locations or with the listed objects and return to the house.  Remember- Safety first and stay out of other people’s yards!  You MUST stay together and each picture must clearly show both of you, both of your eggs and the location or object to count.  Once you have checked off the list- come home to mom and dad-  you may just have some goodies waiting that will make you really glad.

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The List:

  • At the Settlers Point subdivision sign (either one)
  • A Stop Sign
  • A Slide/Playgound
  • A mailbox
  • Any Cactus
  • Next to a blue vehicle
  • Near a cow or goat
  • With a fire hydrant
  • With flowers
  • On a bridge

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The boys really had a fun time and it was a fresh way to breath some new life into our fun tradition.  From our Family to yours:

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Transitions.

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We had Ty’s annual IEP* Meeting yesterday.  His end of freshman year, looking at sophmore year of high school IEP.  For those counting that means we will technically only have TWO more IEP meetings and then, no more IEP meetings.  TWO MORE??  When? HOW did this all go so fast?  I know alot of my blog posts lately have been very nostalgic in nature. I can not even really explain why, that in this season of my life I am as cognizant of the passing of time as I am.

Maybe its because on Wednesday night our family welcomed our new niece Cadence (first girl for the Geroux side!)

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Our first Geroux Side Niece- Born 3/25/2015

Maybe it is because my “baby” Connor is now solidly and officially taller than me-

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even with sunglasses on my head.

Maybe it is because this May will mark the 18th anniversary of me setting off on my own meaning this side of childhood has now been longer than my childhood.

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Throwback to May 1997- CHS graduation I left for NAU 2 days later.

I don’t know why my go to emotion has been sentimentality. I am not “sad” about any of it though- just mindful.

This IEP Meeting was different in many ways.  Number One is that Tyler “led” it for us.

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he caught me trying to sneak this quick picture

Number Two is that we had so much positive focus on Ty’s strengths that I did not even feel like we were in an IEP meeting.  Is that sad?  That in all these years IEP meetings have been dreaded BECAUSE of the fact that it is a known time to highlight the areas where he has “NEEDS?” I think it is sad- but this year was different.  The shift in focus has a lot to do with

Number Three- we talked about the T word.  Transition.

Be still my heart.

I just teared up writing that.  You know, because of my nostalgia and all.

Overall we feel good about it-  With all of the upheaval in GPS with budget concerns we thought there might be some changes proposed (not sure what but we just prepared anyways)  but nope, things seem to be working well the way they are so we really talked a lot more about his future plans so we could be sure that he is enrolled in the right classes to earn him the proper credits to move forward on the path he wants to move on.

Ty wants to go to EVIT*. for Video Production (http://www.evit.com/cms/One.aspx?portalId=20222051&pageId=20598733 )  so how that works is that come junior year he would have 3 academic classes at Campo and then head over to EVIT for 3 “vocational” type classes in his program.  In order for him to get all of his academic requirements satisfied we had to scrutinize his class choices for sophomore year and agree that he will likely need to take a summer class next year. (EVIT recognizes this is an issue with EVERYONE that wants to attend and so they pay for a summer class)

EVIT will be different because they will only provide the bare minimum in IEP accommodations (so we are told)- there are no “para-pros” not even roaming ones- but there are a few special education teachers that will assist with the general accommodations.  So this last quarter and all of sophomore year will be really focused on Ty’s Independence levels. He needs to be self initiating to a higher degree and require less “cues and prompts.”   Ty does really well in both of those areas now- so this next 16 months will be good practice to get even better.

Oh baby bird- you are sprouting feathers left and right- I should probably stop calling you baby bird and start realizing the young man you truly are becoming.

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*IEP= Individual Education Plan
*EVIT= East Valley Institute for Technology

Here We Are- Send Us

Am I the only person simply beside myself that it is the end of March already?  How did this happen?  How are we now squarely in the true season of spring and already flirting with summer temps?  How is it that plans for how to recreate the kiddos during summer vacation are already underway, prime camping spots in the White Mts. are already booked for June and class schedules for NEXT school year are already registered for?  I know they say as you get older the time seems to go faster and the advice is to relish every bit of it you can.  When we take a good hard look at the time we logistically have left with two sons living under our roof, my heart races and I begin to panic about all of the experiences we still have yet to have with them. The “bucket list” so to speak, begins to look daunting.

Every year around January 1st I sit down and make a list of “intentions” (not resolutions but more thoughtful genuine goals) for different areas of our life. Parenting is one of those areas that gets a lot of pondering in the New Year.  As much parenting of teenagers advise as I can cram in- the basic foundation of all that sound sage always circles back to “being intentional.”  I have written about our “Fit Family Fun” goals for the year a few times already- those are meant to sculpt and mold our bodies and help reshape our minds about the lifestyle choices we make.  Jason and I both plugged in at Sun Valley as youth leaders in junior high and high school as a way to help shape the boys (and our own) hearts spiritually.  Along those goals we have really tried to instill charity and generosity in the boys and we have been praying about having a family perspective experience together to truly let those lessons sink in.

So coming this fall, we will get a huge check mark on a big ticket item on our Parenting Bucket List.

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In just seven months from now, we will set off to serve together in Monterrey, Mexico on a short term mission trip.  We began the process of planning by attending some informational meetings at church just before the holidays last year to get the basic info and began praying about if this was the right time for our family to embark on something like this. The trip happens to fall exactly during the boys fall break from school so it was a really good fit for us time wise. Let me be raw and honest though- the praying was filled with lots of doubt at first- “but God, that is pretty expensive”  “But God, we have a son with autism- how will we work through all of that?”  “But God, the boys passports are expiring this summer” “But, God, we do not speak Spanish, even though we are all native Arizonians.”  “But God, we already have a Disney Cruise with family booked at nearly that exact same time, who would we be disappointing if we choose this instead?” “But God, I am scared of stepping outside of my comfort zone and having my eyes truly opened to this new perspective”   The more we prayed on it the more our hearts seemed to be hearing God softly wash away all of the doubts and resolve all of the “buts” and we began to hear Him more clearly simply saying “Go.”

I plan to blog about our journey as much as I can beginning now. I hope to share with all of you about the logistical leg work, our fundraising efforts, our prayer requests and much more over the coming months.  I know as a family that will be embarking on this journey with a special needs teenager our perspective along the way may be unique and valuable to others that find themselves in similar life circumstances.  Maybe one of the ways God plans to use us on this trip is to encourage others like us that keep saying “but” to listen for their own “Go.” Maybe he plans to have someone meet His Son through a conversation with one of us, and maybe He plans to break off some of the hardening around our own hearts that we have selfishly clung to.  Who knows- but I am excited to find out what it is- whatever it will be.

We will be going with a short term Mission Team from Sun Valley Community Church in partnership with Back2Back Ministry.  Back 2 Back exists to love and care for vulnerable children, by meeting their spiritual, physical, educational, emotional and social needs so that they might overcome their life  circumstances and break free from the cycle of generational poverty.

In order to help make this trip a reality, we are in charge of raising a total of $5,800 to cover the costs for all four member of The Geroux Crew to participate. We are trying to do this in a number of creative ways (and we will share more about those soon), but we are also looking for people to join us on this journey. If you would be willing to make a financial contribution to our trip, you can do so by visiting www.sunvalleycc.com/onlinegiving and making an online donation using a debit card, credit card, or e-check. After creating an account, and logging in, please select, “Monterrey 2015” from the “Fund” drop down menu, and then one of our names (Jason, Jessie, Tyler or Connor Geroux) from the “Sub Fund” drop down menu and we will be notified of your gift. All donations are tax deductible and documentation will be provided by the church at the end of this tax year. Any funds donated will be designated to our team, due to IRS regulations, cannot be refunded for any reason. Alternatively, you can mail a check made out to “Sun Valley Community Church” with our names in the memo space and send it to the church directly at 456 E Ray Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85296.

Will you consider joining us on this journey in prayer?  There are many tasks to complete and ducks to get in a row between now and October so prayers for all of the logistics to go smoothly would be greatly appreciated.  Our special needs are not the only unique individual challenges on the team that will be traveling. Many members have their own hurdles to overcome to make this trip a reality for them and theirs as well. Prayers for health and safety are also greatly appreciated.  Even if you cannot make a financial contribution, please let us know that you are praying for us.  It would be just as valuable!

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Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. Matthew 5:13-14 (MSG)

We know this journey, this step to be obedient to God will season our lives and we can not wait to share those flavors with all of you.  Thank you for reading this far.  Simply put- we won’t be able to do with with support.  Both financially and spiritually in the form of prayer so we thank you in adavance for walking along side us!

Much Love

J2 Tyco Geroux Crew

 

 

 

 

J2- 15th Wedding Anniversary

Well we hit the 15 year mark of marital bliss.

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We weather our share of storms but for the most part we come out on the other side with a sunshine warmth that helps us to remember just how blessed we are to have one another.  The laughter and joy that we share on a regular basis is really the biggest part of the soundtrack of our daily lives.  It is hard to think that in just a few short years we will be empty nesters and have that “honeymoon” phase that we skipped over having become parents so quickly into our marriage.  Some times I can think back on the early years of our marriage and remember the days like watching a movie, others it takes a memory jogger like a forgotten melody or smell of a certain recipe to throw me back into reminiscence.

I scanned a few more of our wedding photos and put them to a short little video to share with my hunnybear.

 

 

Jason got me a beautiful crystal vase with lovely roses and I got him a new fancy fountain pen with the world etched in it to show him that he is my world.

As a surprise I packed up a little picnic and drove Jason over to the place where he proposed Mountain View Park in Chandler- to have a candle lit picnic at sunset-

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It was a lovely way to celebrate the past 15 years and share our dreams about what the next 15 years will hold.

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Amazing Arizona Comicon 2015

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On Christmas Eve we let the boys open one cool gift and of course their jammies.  This year we had a few different “experiences” that we got tickets for to enjoy over the next year.  One such experience was to take the boys to their very first “Comic Con” and just so happened that those tickets were the gift that they opened on Christmas Eve before heading to bed.

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I decided to “dress up” some and pulled out the top part of my Esmeralda costume from Halloween a few years back and did my make up “heavy” for me and for daytime but if there was going to be any place that I could pull that off it would be at Comicon 🙂

Having never been before we really had no idea what to expect.  It really is a large convention with booth after booth of artists, props, costumes, items to buy etc.  Then throughout the “con” are different break out sessions.  We went on “family day” which was the last day of the convention and we would go again.  There was so much art we all wanted to buy.

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The boys brought their allowances and Jason and I each said we could pick out 1 item for about $20 a piece to bring home as a momento of the day. it was super cool to watch people create right in front of us- from technical colorists, to sketchers to ole fashioned painters everyone was just in creation mode and the place was buzzing with imagination.

The highlight aside from the experience itself (and sitting on THE lego double decker couch)

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was meeting Mat Nastos one of the animators from Phineas and Ferb and him offering to sketch the boys each a personalize drawing right in front of us.- SO cool and SOOOO totally framing them for the walls.

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What I really loved was the community- this was a place of so many individuals that outside of those walls would likely be ostersized or ridiculed but here they were stopped to asked for photos and autographs and doted over.

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I really loved watching that play out. I would recommend this as a perfect intro to Comicons for all ages.  Check it out for here: http://amazingarizonacomiccon.com/

 

 

 

Geocaching!

Our “main” fit family fun activity for February was to be a hike- and then we met some new friends at church that are veteran geocahers and decided that seemed like a much better way to spend a glorious Arizona morning. So on Valentines day we headed out to McDowell Mt Park to do the “Scenic trail” and have our first taste of geocaching.

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Having something to poke around and find out in the desert sure made the hike more interesting.   The scenery was breathtaking and I kept remarking how it took new friends moving here from Washington state to make us trek out into our own backyard and marvel at the beauty up close. We thought it was a 3.5 mile hike- but it ended up being more than 4.5 and I have to admit that last mile really did me in. I lost my emotions and started sobbing when I got back to the trail head and Connor had stood there waiting to congratulate me for finishing.  That child- he does me in all the time with how in tune to me he can be. Of course our good friends the Parkers were with is and ever encouraging along the way as well.

 

Enjoy this little montage of the fun 🙂

Lilac and Lemon Baby Sprinkle

I had the honor of hosting a Baby Sprinkle for my sister in law Cori- Since their second child is a girl they needed to get a few “girly” essentials so it was fun to “sprinkle” them with love.

It really felt like Pinterest threw up all over our house for a few weeks while I prepped everything- but in the end it really was a lovely afternoon.

I am making this post photo heavy so I can Pin the pictures for posterity and for anyone else that may need some lemon and lilac inspiration 🙂

Decor:

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I originally was shooting for it to be all indoors- but logistically I did not have enough seating to accommodate the guests especially during present opening which was the main activity for the day. Luckly Arizona was offering us some extremely lovely weather (as opposed to the weekend before when Seattle brought all the fog and rain for Superbowl)

I staged the welcome areas and dessert table in the front room

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lots of “Dollar Store” decor was used—you can really turn a plain table insto something fabulous with just some construction paper and some lace.

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Those Lemon bites are from Costco and they are DEVINE- I made the pretzel rods (easy peasy), the cupcakes were from the valentines section at Walmart Bakery and the Coconut dip is from here (so yummy with strawberries or graham crackers)

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I made the Diaper wreath (super easy) I used a wooden wreath frame and some dollar store ribbon

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We did the diaper notes which was a hit with everyone and I had sent out note cards in the invites for a diaper raffle- which I gave away simple little buckets of beauty goodies – the buckets were from the Target dollar bin and I just stuffed them with a loofah, nail polish, nail care kit, gum, and a packet bath salt

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I HAD to do mason jars and paper straws for the drink station I just HAD to- it was like the first thing I envisioned when I started planning the party
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People were supposed to take their mason jar home with them but only a few did- so yay for me I have like 20 mason jars!!

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My girlfriend Destiny (frequent appearances on this blog when Pinterest is mentioned) and I made the tissue paper flowers- also super easy but time consuming. Do it while watching Downton Abby (we started by following this tutorial here but then ended up just winging it as we got towards the end of the tissue paper)

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Food was real easy since it was a 2pm shower I only put out the sweets table and a few hors d’oeuvres in the kitchen.

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The feta dip (recipe here) was RAVED about and it is one of my go to entertaining recipes– so easy and people just fall over themselves to eat it all up. As a play on “pregnancy cravings” I made some pickle pin wheels (recipe here but I used Ham instead)- these are so weirdly delicious– my sister in law absolutely loved them- and of course the pineapple kielbasa bites (recipe here) were devoured as well. I really need to always make a double batch of those bad boys because people really inhale them every time I put them out for an occasion. Lastly there was the Costco Greek Jalapeno Dip and pita chips and ranch and veggies. So as you can see minimal work- big pay off with everyone complimenting it all just how I like it!

Outside I was lucky to have several friends lend us chairs- the only hiccup was all the rain from the previous weekend really saturated the grassy areas so it was still so soft which meant chairs were sinking left and right like they were in quick sand….it was funny to watch. The garden arch was here when we bought the house so Jason and I moved it to a spot in the yard where I liked the “background” and I built off of that.

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I used 2 yellow dollar store table clothes along the sides and top of the arch and we pinned a homemade tissue paper flower in the center. Then I hung home made purple dots bunting from the back (we connected it to  a piece of yarn to keep them from blowing around. Then we just strung some yarn over to the tree and hung a few of the outfits mom and I had bought as gifts and it looked great! This worked really well for a photobooth and to have Cori sit under for presents so there was a cute background in all the pictures.

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I printed off some baby stuff and cool glasses for photo booth props off of Google images (sorry etsy I ain’t spending $10 to download photo booth props–super cute ones yes but my goal was for stuff to look great but be affordable- not everyone can go “all Pinterest etsy amazon” for every party they throw- so I had to make wise decisions to stay within my goal budget.

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For party favors I did the play on “pop” with some popcorn tied up with ribbon-  I was busy snapping photos at the photo booth when people were heading out the door so either these were highly undesirable gifts or people just didn’t see them on the table by the door and take them cause I have all but 3 that I made. (just a note on that- your mileage may vary– I really wanted to do homemade bath salts with my young living essential oils but couldn’t bring myself to pay for the jars- I would have been devastated if no one took the salts if I had put the money and time into that project)

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Overall it was a smashing success and I had a blast putting it on.

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Can’t wait to hold the new baby girl at the end of March!

P.S as of posting this cousin Taryn STILL has not had her baby—she was 5 days overdue at the party— we love you T!!!

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You can glance over all the ideas that I Pinned while planning this event here While you are at it- follow me on Pinterest 🙂

Happy Pinning!

With the stroke of a Pen- a new chapter begins

…and with that- DDD therapy services “terminated” January 26th, 2015- Fastest Annual ISP ever.

Why?

Honestly we do not use them- with the exception of a social skills group we had for a few brief months in 2014—nearly all of our hours just sat, unused. For nearly 10 years now we have hung on to “just in case” hours of both HAB and respite for Tyler…but ever since he has been in school full time (since kindergarten) we have barely dabbled in any DDD related therapies.

Why not? Is he “cured?”

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No, and we don’t like that word anyways (different post altogether)- life just changed when he hit school age- what had been his full time job of nearly 40 hours per week of therapies from the age of 3-5.5 years old had to change because of the education system. At the time we lived in AJ and in home services were a joke out that far and there were only a handful of therapy centers that were in within a justifiable driving distance…so we plugged away through kindergarten and even most of first grade still trying to get to those speech, ot, music, and hippo therapy appointments…those COVETED “after 2:30pm before 5pm closing time” appointment spots. We continued to recruit, hire and train people to come into our home and do “hab” only to lose them to marriage, pregnancy or other families that could offer them “more hours” and pay their bills.

So sometime in 2nd grade after his music therapist and speech therapies at the same center that we were driving into Gilbert to see each week decided to leave the company we just stopped looking for replacements.

Shortly after that we had to fire a Hab worker that had begun “calling off last minute” regularly with a new excuse each time..and I just didn’t go hang up the fliers or post the ads for a new person.

Over the years I would come across some sort of new group therapy that could take HAB hours and we would try it on– usually for the summer months so the program was “seasonal” and while they were good time fillers none of them were hugely life impacting and often times we would see “new autism” behaviors in Ty when he was in those settings anyways so we stopped looking for those programs. Every now and then we’d find a great one with great peers and great staff and next thing you know, the staffer has decided to changer career paths and the program disintegrates.

Our 90 Day evals with DDD were just becoming silly. “nope, no provider” Yeah we have these goals, but we are just working on them as a family unit– in most cases it would be infinitely more work for me as mom or Jason as dad to bring a hab worker on at this stage and train them to do what we do on a regular basis—if there was some magical HAB provider unicorn out there that had their own transportation and wanted a whopping 4 hours a week worth of pay to come to our house 2 days a week for a couple hours each (like 4-6pm) to work on some stuff with Ty I’d just fall over myself…but that treasure has yet to be discovered.

I trust my support coordinator enough that when I asked her “if a program comes along and I need to get like 10 hours of hab a week I can just call you and you can add them on again right” and she said “yes”–I believed her.

So with that- we signed our names on the lines and terminated DDD therapy service

Color Run 2015!!

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Our first month of 2015 and we kept our Goal!

Remember how we said we wanted to do something “active” together at least once a month? Well we sure hit the nail on the head by signing up for an completeing the 2015 Color Run at Tempe Town Lake 🙂

It sure was a blast!

Due to Ty’s asthma we had him “sit” this one out as we did not want the chalk to aggravate his lungs-but he was a good videographer for the day instead.

WE will totally do that one again!

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