Church. We talk about going to church quite often. Usually, the conversation is on REPEAT. Tristan will sign “church.” We reassure him that we will take him on Sunday when the church opens. The moment we leave service and get buckled in the car, the conversation starts all over! If we had any doubt about what he was thinking on Saturday, he drew me a picture using his communication device as an icon to copy! I love his heart. I think the world might be a kinder place if we all were as enthusiastic about going to church every week. Enjoy another family moment from our home!
The Riddler Has Arrived!
His group home sent me this picture! I love this costume for Tristan.
Fall Hayride – Bendix Woods
It is a delight to see Tristan use his communication device, Prologuo2go, consistently at home. I love when he asks for activities. Not too long ago, he asked for a hayride. We had this on our family outings lined up. We headed to Bendix Woods in St. Joseph County, Indiana, for the hayride. In the fall, this park is b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l. The weather was a warm autumn day. The park department offered multiple days for hayrides with various themes. On Saturday, the day was called “Adaptive Hayride” to include the special needs community! Due to an error in Mom-planning (he-hem), we had a quiet hayride all to ourselves. We were very grateful for God’s grace at this moment because all morning, we talked to Tristan about how fun the hayride would be! Only to arrive a tad off schedule. More pictures and features of this event will be shared on thepracticalsideofautisim.com.
Hayride 2022 Bendix Woods
Thistleberry Farm – A Sensory Experience
We took Tristan to Thistleberry Farm in South Bend, Indiana. It was a wonderful experience. It was full of activities offering a sensory experience which is what our Forever Toddler craves!!! This picture shows him enjoying the space with corn to dig in. As you can see, he LOVES it.
Currently, we plan on only spending 60 minutes on any family day outing activity. Usually, Tristan gets sensory overloaded, and it is best to leave. However, at the Thistleberry Farm, we stayed and played for 120 minutes.
The variety of activities offered is simple but oh-so-fun for kids. (A jumping pillow, sand box with construction levers, hayride, bicycle tracks, cow train ride, corn mazes, apple launchers)
I highly recommend this gem of a place for families. It was a short drive from our home, and we will definitely add this to our annual fall family days.
Forever Toddler – Enjoying Life
Our Chuck E Cheese evening was good. As you can see he does not fit on this ride, yet he is thoroughly enjoyed his ride!
It had been many years since we had stepped foot into a Chuck E Cheese restaurant. It was neat to see Tristan play some video games. He gravitated towards the race car-driving ones. He didn’t quite understand the concept of the games, but he enjoyed watching the graphics.
Enjoy another view from our family on the lighter side of autism!
Gotcha Day Celebration!
I can not believe it was at the airport on June 4th that Tristan was handed to us. In the adoption world, this is known as a “Gotcha Day!” So… June 4th is special family day for us. Many years ago…We were about to embark on a parenting journey that we could have never imagined. Interesting. Lively. Heart-wrenching. Abounding in miracles. Empathy. Compassion.
This year we took Tristan on a day trip to Sandy Acres Clydesdales for a VIP Farm Tour. It was a lot of fun. Tristan got to feed the goats and the miniature donkeys slices of carrots. Tristan played on the goats’ toys! There was a toddler-sized slide that he kept eyeing. I told him he was too big. He still inched his body toward it and stood at the step. I told the owner, “Tristan thinks he is a toddler.” She gave him permission to slide down. However, his legs extended to the bottom. We all laughed. Down the slide, he went. (Don’t tell him he can’t do something! He will find a way.) Tristan seemed to enjoy petting the Clydesdale horses. In the end, we went into the barn and brushed a horse. Tristan was content with this activity. It was great to have a private VIP tour—lots of good family memories.
Sorting Colors – Tristan’s Way
Currently color sorting activities are a favorite for my forever toddler. I came across one to try with him. This is how it went…
I bought a foam block, sticks, and a box of fruit round cereal. The idea was to have him sort the colors on the sticks. First sorting, then eating the cereal. However, the moment I set out the example with one color on each stick he had a different idea. I turned my back for one second to get the box of cereal and the “sample” was gone. He was smiling and laughing. I asked him if he ate the cereal. The look in his eyes told me he did.
Then I poured some cereal in the bowl and I sorted a couple to demonstrate how this activity was suppose to proceed. He immediately started eating the cereal. The game began! He wanted me to say “don’t eat it!” Then he would laugh. He was definitely enjoying this game.
He was proud of his accomplishment! All the cereal was sorted and gone.
Enjoy another healthy dose of laughter from our home!
This idea came from Play to Learn Preschool. More details can be found at:
Tristan Shares His Thoughts
I love hearing my 16-year-old son, Tristan, talk about anything. Since he has autism, his expressive language has varied over the years. He has fluctuated between one word and two-word phrases. He has sprinkled in a few sentences over the years. Currently, he is non-verbal most of the time.
A Lesson From a Forever Toddler
Our son Tristan is 16 years old but developmentally a toddler in most areas. Some days I wonder why God gifted me with a forever toddler! Other days, I am grateful. I am thankful because toddlers are fairly easy to entertain. I know toddlers need many activities to occupy their day. However, they do not necessarily require a lot of money.