Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bye, Bye Baby Tooth

Yesterday, I noticed one of Gus' teeth not aligning the way it always has, when asked, he wiggled it for me with his tongue very non-challantly, before running off to do the next little-boy thing he had to do. I, meanwhile, freaked out, stormed through a couple of websites and fired off a dozen texts, then decided to just make him a tooth box and talk to him about losing his teeth - a subject I thought I wouldn't have to broach for another year or two. Admittedly, Gus managed to quietly grow a full set of teeth, at a time when other children his age where still in the throws of teething, but 4 1/2 seems so early to say goodbye to those sweet, little teeth.

Armed with the tooth box, I felt better. Gus never felt anxious or worried at all. With the calm of a child, who can put himself to bed, while the sitter is clearing the dinner table (true story), Gus humored me and let me peer at his mouth countless times and tell my story about the "tooth-tinker bell fairy" (that's the only visual of a fairy we know) and how there is a prize (what's the going rate for a tooth these days, anyways?) if he managed to hold on to that tooth and put it in the box.
Well, as the somewhat fuzzy picture above shows, the tooth came out without a hitch and absolutely no extreme emotions - unfortunately it came out in the pool, as we cooled off this afternoon. While everyone was trying to look for it (thank you, lifeguard and all the nice folks, who ventured into the water to "feel for a tooth), I had a gut-mommy feeling that I wouldn't get my hands on that new tooth...oh well.
What I have in its stead is a gappy-toothy grinny boy. He doesn't care one bit and is not fazed by it at all.

Here he is after dinner, singing to himself and watching the weather - tired of smiling for Momma "just one more time."

I can't believe he lost his first tooth and my tooth box is EMPTY!!!

- Geraldine, posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Brevard, NC

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Swimming at the Shoals

Fridays in the summer have been our favorite days for as long as Gus has been alive. Since his first summer we've been coming here Friday mornings for an impromptu playdate and picnic with other mothers and tots from the area. What began as a little group of friends looking for something to do, is now a full-fledge standing outing, that is being planned and discussed on Facebook.

To us, this place is magical. No wonder they filmed the Hunger Games here. This place is so wild and beautiful, it takes my breath away every time we journey there. Gus loves the many natural pools and puddles, some deep enough to swim in, some shallow enough for the little ones to splash in.

One of my favorite pics of Gus from yesterday. I can see all the wisdom of a soon-to-be-5-year-old in it, but there is so much of my sweet baby still to be had. We swirled sand in the water and later walked up the spillway to Lake Julia and Gus fearlessly got in and swam, while I kept a lookout for the snapping turtle, rumored to live there.

This is always one of my favorite images, we all hike in 3 miles with our ragged all-terrain strollers (whenever there is a shiny new one, we know we have a new mom among us) then park them carelessly as we all shed coverups and get in for a cool, refreshing soak.

- Geraldine, posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Dupont Forest, Cedar Mountain, North Carolina

Big Bike

Introducing Gus' newest recreation possession a 20-inch (20 inches!!!) Specialized Bike from Sycamore Cycles in Brevard. It's still a bit too big, but at the rate Gus is growing, we didn't want to invest too much money in a bike he would tower over next summer. The push bike got handed down to Rion and now we are on to learn how to ride with pedals, a handbrake and a disk-brake.
No gear shifting though. We figured that was too much of a transition for our little cyclist.
We'll be spending some time in abandoned parking lots before we take this show on the road.
- Geraldine, posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Brevard, North Carolina

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Our Guardian Angel

This is the young man, I owe a week off from parenting to. Cody Farmer took wonderful care of Gus and kept him safe - mostly from himself - all the while being entertained and humored by Gus' many quirks and preferences - and general attitude toward crafts, during his week at Camp Lakey Gap in Black Mountain, NC.

Among the detailed notes he gave us are these two sentences, which sum it all up:
"Gus chose to play hide-n-seek with his counselor during Arts & Crafts time this morning...."
"During Arts & Crafts , Gus chose to spend some time at the playground and at the creek...."

I love that Cody gave Gus exactly what he needed: a great time with only a few necessary rules and lots of constructive choices. I will never forget the happy shrieks I heard over the phone, as Gus and Cody ruled the deep end of the pool. This little boy has so many to-do's in his daily life that I am truly grateful for this carefree time away from it all.

Thank you, Cody, you made this week magic for all three of us.

- Geraldine, posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Camp Lakey Gap, Black Mountain

Three is a Magic Number

Such a wonderful day - celebrating Father's Day, one day ahead of schedule, because one of the most amazing Dad's out there has to work on the actual Father's Day.

First we had coffee and pastries at Bracken Mountain Bakery...Gus is especially fond of the Mocha Swirl.

Then we rode bikes with fellow bike-enthusiast, Ian, who is just learning to ride his push bike and was impressed by Gus' fearless skill.

Then we stopped at the music store to finally touch (and subsequently blow into) the shiny trumpet we have been admiring in the window for weeks now. Gus is really taking to this beautiful instrument...although all the sounds he created can best be described as wet huffs.

And finally we spent an idyllic two hours floating on the French Broad. Yes we live in this paradise on earth. I'm always amazed how quickly you can get completely away in this beautiful town of ours.
What a day. It's good to be three again. We make perfect sense this way.
Geraldine, posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, June 15, 2012

What I did on my vacation

Since parenting is my full-time occupation, I don't feel wrong calling this week my vacation - despite the fact that I paid bills, went to work, did laundry and never saw anything close to a beach or mountain retreat.

But oh, did I enjoy this time off from parenting, especially knowing that Gus was in good, capable and very loving hands at camp. So here is what I did:

First off, especially for the first couple of days, I missed Gus. Missed his person in the house, his body pressing up against mine, his hugs and kisses, his invitations to play and subsequent dismissal from aforesaid play, because he doesn't approve of my play. I missed his shrieks in the front yard, his quiet singing in the living room, his giggles in the backyard.
Simply put, the house was way too empty, way too quiet and way too neat and clean.

So I went and rooted around the local thrift stores, because I rarely ever get to do that when Gus is around. Among the assorted treasures, I found an almost new yoghurt maker and the skeleton of a skirt sewing project that someone abandoned (judging from the sewing, it was a beginner losing heart). I liked the fabric and decided to pull out the sewing machine (which I also rarely do when Gus is around) and add some embellishments, a zipper and a waistband to the skirt. Voila! Here is my new skirt, product of a happy afternoon spent inside.

Since the sewing machine was already out, I decided to take a drive to the fabric outlet two towns over (another thing I don't dare to do with Gus) and I spent my life-savings (not quite) in the remainder section of the store, buying assorted yards of left-over fabric. Voila, I turned out five cozy baby blankets for all those winter babies our friends are gestating right now.

Wednesday evening I took this fabulously handsome man (my husband, Jacob) out to an all-out date. We strolled around town, admiring all the weird and wacky that Asheville is famous for, then we had a delicious and lingering dinner date with Indian food at Mela's in Asheville, then we strolled some more among the lively evening scene in the "big city".

At the suggestion of our waitress, we stood in line for 20 minutes to get cake and chocolates at the Chocolate Lounge - and she was right, we didn't regret it. When you know how to do sweets you get to be popular - even at 10:30 at night. I so enjoyed spending a night out and having time to talk and laugh and eat and drink with my favorite man.

And lastly, but not in the least, I treated myself well this week. I took a pilates class, I ran in the forest, I swam lapse in the early morning and I finally sat down to do my very favorite thing - drink coffee, eat bagel and read the NY Times from cover to cover. Ah bliss, I love you people of Camp Lakey Gap.

Now I can't wait to go get my baby back!

Geraldine, posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, June 1, 2012

Packages with string...

If anyone feels called to send Gus a package or card to camp, they allow it! (most camps nowadays stay away from packages). Here is the address:
Gus Dinkins
Christmount's Camp Lakey Gap
222 Fern Way
Black Mountain, NC 28711
He will be there from June 10-16 (camp booklet says to send things early)
Not sure what to tell you to send. Maybe pictures? Water toys? Anything that a lot of children can enjoy together? That he can share with everyone. Baked goods? A flashlight?
Your guess is as good as mine.

- Geraldine, posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Last camp test drive day

Yesterday was our third and last dress rehearsal visit to camp (we've been twice before just to get used to the sights and lay of the land) and I can tell Gus is getting a bit impatient with the whole going there and leaving again concept - he is ready to stay and play and play and play...

...yesterday's occasion was that some of the activities directors and counselors wanted to try out their strategies on real-life Autism Spectrum children, and Gus was happy to give them a rough-and-tough version of his idea of what camp should be like.

He plowed through lovingly prepared craft (complete with visual schedule) activities with the grace of a bell-rung boxer, then decided to lie down in the middle of a music and movement segment and be uncooperative until the actual instruments came out...then he was very good and very intent on playing the drum. He rushed through the hike (very well marked and thoughtfully laid out as a visual scavenger hunt) with nary a stop and finally threw all visual schedules in the mud to go play in the creek, while the other kids dutifully explored the garden. He wasn't the one lowest on the spectrum, but he was the one with the strongest, independent will...he listened little and chose to ignore most of what he heard...I worried that we would be "a hard sell" for a patient and firm counselor, but heaven has sent us Cody, a spirited young man, who laughed hard at Gus' antics and quickly learned a common language to share with Gus, somewhere between mud and messing up the parachute game....

Gus is so excited for camp - and I can't believe I'm actually letting him go, without me there to keep him in line. But I trust that Cody will find a way to lasso Gus' energy and harness his bad-boy attitude into good camp fun.

I adore him already for volunteering to be Gus' counselor.

- Geraldine, posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Playing tag

Gus will go to camp with a truckload of stuff - the packing list is long and extensive, if you ask me, but then again, I've never sent a preschooler off on his own before for a week to swim three times a day in between getting muddy, paint and eat food without Momma nearby with a napkin in hand.
He will need three changes of everything - every day.
Among the many hints in the camp booklet, I've been urged to mark and tag everything possible to minimize things getting lost or "being traded" - another new camp concept for us to get our minds around - so Gus and I set out the other day to make simple tags that we will be attaching to everything that won't take a wash-proof pen.
The idea is simple. Print out photos wallet-size, write name and phone number with crayon (Gus practiced writing his name on the other side, along with our phone number) then use contact paper, a hole punch, and some plastic ties from the Dollar Store.

Voila, personalized tags that will help Gus keep track of his stuff.
- Geraldine, posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Saturday, May 26, 2012

iPad Test

This is a little test to see if I can finally figure out how to post from my iPad and add a picture to it.

- Geraldine, posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Probart St,Brevard,United States

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Coming to camp

Yesterday, Gus & I visited Camp Lakey Gap - again - to drop off our BIG check (aside from Gus we have donated $4075 to the camp's scholarship fund, thanks to our very successful silent auction). In return we got a VERY THOROUGH camper handbook with a pack list so long, I'm thinking of renting on of those moving pods - they think of EVERYTHING - humbles me as a mother.

Gus meanwhile was less impressed with the logistics and more focused on roaming around. We've only been here once before, but he seems to remember EXACTLY where everything is and was very impatient to go see EVERYTHING again. Here he is waiting for me to catchup to go see the creek.

On to the playground - again I'm barely catching up, to the right are some of the camper cabins.

Gus' favorite place - the playground, which has a lot of eclectic little playthings on it, like this hand-made ChooChoo, which Gus adores.

The highlight, however, hands-down, is this yellow slide. Steep as a double-diamond ski run (trust me, I tried it, it scares me) and bright yellow. So everytime I talk about "camp" now Gus starts talking about the "yellow slide." Our camp friends already know that Gus will do pretty much anything, if it is followed by a run down the yellow slide....
He cried when I said it was time to leave. He said "want to stay in camp" He won hearts of all the activities directors already by standing there teary-eyed not wanting to leave. They can't wait for him to come back.
We are visiting one more time, next week (Gus is a "practice camper" invited for counselors and activities directors to try out games & plays with)
He'll probably cry again when I say it's time to leave.
But June 10, he gets to stay.
And have lots of fun for 6 days straight.
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Friday, May 18, 2012

Thank You for making the first annual Autism Auction a Success!

Dear friend Below please find the latest e-newsletter from Camp Lakey Gap, the camp our first annual Autism Awareness event, supported with a very successful silent auction April 27, 2012. The second paragraph explains just how successful we were, thanks in no small part to you. We are still in awe that in less than 30 days - 27 to be exact - we collected 114 exciting, artistic and unique auction items, for which we found happy new owners from among the 180 people who came to attend our silent auction. We did all this with 2 organizers and 15 volunteers, who covered everything from music, to food, to bartending and gave their talent and time for free - we are very grateful for all of you. In all we raised $5525.98. Wow! As a family affected by Autism, all possible words and pretty phrases seem inadequate to express just how fortunate we feel to live in Brevard, a tight-knit community that encourages us to speak up for Autism and supports us generously in our quest to conquer Autism, one friendly conversation at a time. Since the event, we have been stopped on the street, recognized in drive-throughs and congratulated in cafes, stores and at the library. In fact, we feel so energized and rewarded by the event that we are already planning to hold another silent auction next year. We sincerely hope that you will help us grow this event in whatever way you can in 2013. Beyond all the thank-yous please remember this: Gus and a few new friends (at least 4, we've been told) will spend an unforgettable week this summer at camp - thanks to you. Geraldine, Jacob & Gus Dinkins PS: Camp Lakey Gap is still looking to fullfill more than $40,000 in scholarship requests. Feel free to contact them at the address given below, if you want to help more children with Autism go to camp this summer.
A camp for people with autism Black Mountain, NC Counting down the days to camp! We are one week away from our leadership staff training week, counselors arrive on June 1st, and then our first campers roll in on June 10th! It is really starting to feel like summer is here. At this point we have 6 vacancies, so if you are still wanting to get your camper signed up please contact me soon. I would like to officially thank Geraldine Dinkins for arranging the First Annual Autism Awareness Silent Auction. Geraldine is a parent of a first time camper, and she and a friend of her's worked for a month to plan an auction in Brevard, NC to raise funds for Gus to come to camp. They were pleasantly surprised by the community support in Brevard, and ended up raising enough to cover Gus' camp fee as well as $4,000 extra to donate to the scholarship fund. I was able to attend the event at the Hobnob Cafe in Brevard, and it was lovely. The event was packed! The guests were able to bid on beautiful art, jewelry, massage packages, weekends getaways and more. I was so impressed! Thank you Geraldine for all of your effort! I would also like to thank the Roberts family and their business, Altamont Inspections, for their "Inspecting for Autism" fundraiser that raised enough for a full camper scholarship! What a creative way to raise scholarship funds for a camp that their family loves. Please read on for other important announcements. See you at camp! Sincerely, Elsa Berndt Camp Director This email was sent to by | Update Profile/Email Address | Instant removal with SafeUnsubscribe™ | Privacy Policy. Christmount | 222 Fern Way | Black Mountain | NC | 28711

Wednesday, April 25, 2012