Monday, October 8, 2018


Thanks to Mimi and PopPop, Natalie started Ballet class at Nebraska Ballet Theatre! She was so excited for her first class - her leotard was at the school, but she still wanted me to take pictures with her bun before we left. 

PopPop actually took her on her first day because I had the musical - she had a great time! She was excited to get a stamp on her hand for doing a good job in class, and THRILLED to see her preschool friend Willow in her group. She said the hardest part of class was stretching - she "didn't want to bend over that far." She was also disappointed that they didn't wear their ballet shoes at the beginning of class, but they did get to wear them eventually.

I took her to class the next week and looked behind me to see this glowing ray of daughterly delight. Isn't she so shiny and precious?

Bring a friend to class was the following week, and Natalie invited Mabel. Willow is the girl next to Mabel in the bottom center, for the record.

I'm glad she's trying ballet and liking it so far - she was sick today with a double ear infection and cough, so we almost didn't come, but she really really wanted to go, so it's clearly something that she's enjoying. The classes go from September to May, so she'll at least do that much, and if she wants to continue she can, or if she wants to try something else that's fine too. We all know that I have absolutely zero dance talent, so if she wanted to keep going she would definitely not get that skill set from me. It's fun to support her in working on something new, and I'm proud of her for listening to her teacher and being confident enough to try things in class without leaning on anyone else for reassurance.

Mini fieldtrip down the hall to see the "big dancers" work on their leaps...they were amazed!

End of an ACT Clinic Era

It's been two months since we finished at ACT clinic, and I still get emotional looking at these pictures!

Stockton turned 5 this fall, so since he isn't officially a "toddler" anymore he graduated from the Autism Care for Toddlers Clinic and started preschool in Lincoln. It's been amazingly wonderful not having the drive to Omaha hanging over my head three days a week, but my heart still swells painfully when I think about all that ACT Clinic has done for Stockton and for our family. I will never, ever forget the time we spent there and how perfect and wonderful the program and people always were. 

Original ACT clinic post - it's amazing to look back and see how much he had already changed by then and especially how much he's grown over a year later!

Janelle was one of Stockton's most favorite helpers. For weeks after Janelle left Stockton asked where she was, or said goodnight to her when he was getting ready for bed, or asked to look at her picture on my phone. She was getting married towards the end of the summer and that's the only excuse Stockton allowed for her to be gone. He loved her so much, and we are so grateful that she felt the same way.

Saying goodbye to Logan was so hard! She has been with us from the start, advocating for Stockton, helping us through challenging behaviors, and providing so many ideas and resources for supporting our family. She is professional without being cold and friendly without compromising expectations. She took a job back East and left early in the summer, and it made me dread the goodbyes for everyone else.

Hard to believe how many days we came here over the two years!

Phew, the last morning drop off was rough for me, knowing that it was his last day. ACT Clinic has been such a staple in our lives for so long, it felt so weird thinking that this was the last time I was going to drop him off here.

Alex was the first therapist that Stockton bonded with when we very first started coming, and they have had a special relationship ever since. Alex always looked out for Stockton and Stockton was always mad when Alex wasn't there. Stockton doesn't immediately bond with very many people, but he recognized a safe, fun person in Alex and made sure he stayed close by. We're so grateful for Alex - he made everything silly for Stockton (which is how he likes it!) and really facilitated Stockton's comfort and familiarity with ACT clinic. Whenever a new therapist was assigned to work with Stockton, they had Alex also work in the pair so that Stockton would have positive associations with the new therapist.

It was impossible to get pictures at pickup the last day because Stockton was SO SAD. I've never seen him like that. I didn't realize that he was aware of this being his last day - we hadn't lied to him, but we also weren't super specific about when ACT clinic was going to be over. He definitely knew though, and his reaction was heart-breaking. From my Facebook post that day:  A bittersweet day for us as we wrap up two years (over 350 drives!) of going to Omaha for ACT clinic. What a special place - every single person I've met there is committed to encouraging, supporting, and leading these children to success in a personalized, respectful, and sweet way. They have loved Stockton as we do and we will be forever grateful for their impact on our lives. Stockton was very sad in a way that I've never seen before - he couldn't look anyone in the eyes and when I asked him to say goodbye he covered his face and said, "I can't." He cried when Alex, who has been with us from the start, gave him a hug. I don't think there is anything more meaningful to a parent than to see another adult care for your child in such a profound way.

Hanna worked with Stockton after Logan was gone and normally Stockton loved giving her a fist bump, but he was too sad to even do that.

Veronica, Megan, Hanna, and Alex
These are some of the most special people we know - they are dedicating their lives to helping children like Stockton begin school with an amazing foundation and the skills they need to be as successful as they can be. It's not an exaggeration when we say that what Stockton learned at ACT clinic will impact him positively for the rest of his life. Thank you ACT Clinic!!!!

Summer! (in retrospect, since it's October)

bundled on a cold spring day

Smores and games with the best group of girls!

Abe's at the park, complete with Jarritos

Natalie's brief but intense clown-drawing phase

all the kids love playing basketball with Daddy, which suits him just fine (understatement)

Stockton likes the vacuum/fan aisle at 

Jack still can't open this door

Stockton found a family picture canvas that was downstairs and carried it around all day

I started teaching piano lessons in May...I have 7 students

We saw Wicked in May - I can't remember if I already mentioned this but during the same flash sale in December my mom and I both independently bought tickets for the exact same Thursday night and then called each other to tell about our fun secret, only to find out that the other person had done it too! The show ran for three weeks and we happened to choose the same random evening. She gave the other ticket to Max. It was a blast! Super fun show. This is the third time both Austin and I have seen it (the first time we saw it together was in 2011 - I had seen it a couple years before that and Austin saw it without me right after Stockton was born).

PFS - potato fry Sunday

A family walk to HyVee. BEST DAD EVER.

Stockton was having a rough day and when Austin got home he asked to go for a walk, which we did and it was extremely pleasant. He quite literally stopped to smell the flowers, sweet boy.

We walked around downtown while our car was getting an oil change. It was HOT and we had to stop for water at Abe's even though we already at lunch at Blaze.

frantically running to get to the library // making "potions" with Ella

there is a child in there

the boys were SO sad when this display was replaced - they loved roaring at it

Dr. Stockton

Fourth of July - good food but SUPER hot day, ugh (hence splash pad)

Stockton wondering why Ripley was by his piano

art for HP month

Jack "cleaning" the windows