Saturday, 28 June 2014

Piano playing

Caitlin and I had a really fun morning playing the piano on Thursday. She likes to play and learn her own way and doesn't want a lot of help (or sometimes any help) so often I tend to wander off and leave her to it, because it seems she wants to be alone. This time though she asked me to stay, and I realised she doesn't want to be alone when she plays, she wants company and someone to throw ideas around with and someone to help her if she has a questions, and someone who won't offer unsolicited suggestions, just be there and appreciate the music she is creating. So I stayed and it was really enjoyable hanging out with her.

She wanted to play 'When the Saints Go Marching In' but there were notes in it that she hadn't played before - it was the last song in one of her piano books, so she went back to the start and played one piece from each lesson to refresh her memory on where the notes were, and we did talk a little bit about timing, then she had a go at Saints, and played it several times, singing the real words and the St Kilda team song words - then we decided to see if we could find the Collingwood team song music - I found them online and she played and memorised the song so she could play it for Tony. We played chopsticks together - she has changed some bits of it to be the way she would like, and sometimes that annoys me - then I figured it was all music and fun and I could adjust the base to fit her own version of chopsticks, and it ended up being hilarious. We mucked around too with 'Do you want to build a snowman' from Frozen - she's able to pick it up from watching her friend play it, and knows the first verse or so. She was able to show me enough that I could play it too. I prefer to read the music (I don't usually remember things by heart) so I might see if I can buy the sheet music for the movie so we can both play it - and all the other songs.

I'm feeling inspired now to find her more YouTube videos of violin pieces - she doesn't like to read music to play the violin, she likes to watch people play, so that's easy to organise. She tried several new songs on the recorder recently too, with new notes, so her overall repertoire is increasing. She tends to do it in spurts like this - play all her instruments quite a lot for a week or two, then have a break. Although, like me, she usually plays at least a little on the piano every day - its easily accessible, easy to walk in, play a tune, then continue down the hall. I know I've said it before and its worth saying again because I think it every day - I LOVE having a piano in my house and I am so grateful to G for making it possible. Thank you again!!!!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Wild weather and shopping

My morning walk yesterday was pretty wild and woolly - I definitely rugged up, in a waterproof jacket and with hat, scarf and gloves to make sure as much of my skin was covered as possible. The rain was icy and with the strong wind it was coming down almost sideways again - it was an exhilarating walk and I'm really glad I braved the elements.

It wasn't quite so exhilarating driving in that same weather later in the morning - LiAM had a dentist appointment in Balwyn North which is about 45 minutes from here. With the bad weather it took us about 10 minutes longer which wasn't too bad - there were branches across the road in a few places and some traffic lights out, so it was a bit tricky although could have been much worse. We had some great conversations about 'What if...' situations - if one event had happened differently (in movies, books, real life) how might the end result have differed and would that have been better or worse...

LiAM's check up went well, then we went to Doncaster shopping centre for our post-dentist lunch - LiAM usually likes McDonalds after the dentist, and if we go to Doncaster he can get that at the food court and I can have something else - it's a great food court, lots of choices and most of it tasty and appealing. LiAM and Millie had Happy Meals - I used to be very anti McDonalds, and Happy Meals - I am glad that I have relaxed about that and let the children choose things that bring them joy. A Happy Meal does bring so much happiness, in the receiving, and the eating, and the toy... Caitlin used to like them too but they don't fill her up, so she usually chooses a regular meal and is happy to forego the toy. She also was very happy eating her burger and fries. I had a delicious baked sweet potato with bacon, cheese and sour cream - a perfect hot meal for a cold wet day. Oh and by that time I was a bit frazzled because I had driven round and round the carpark trying to find an undercover parking spot and in the end given up and parked as near as I could to the covered area. A hot tasty meal really helped calm me down.

We went to Medicare (actually that was before we ate, the kids were very tolerant and patient) to get back quite a bit of money from LiAM's dentist visit, and after lunch went to a couple of mobile phone accessory shops for Caitlin to buy Millie a cover for her iPod touch - she got a very cute Hello Kitty one. The main purpose of our trip to Doncaster was for LiAM to buy some Skylanders with his own money - we went to 3 shops to look at them and he was very discerning - looked at the ones that would pad out his collection in useful ways, and looked at the prices, and checked out what was on special - for a total of $47 he ended up with 6 new Skylanders, a new world and a Giants portal - he was stoked and I was impressed with his shopping skills. I think the highlight for him though was chatting to the guy in EB Games about their favourite characters and the reasons why they were good. The girls also bought one character to share.

I was exhausted by the time we were finished (I didn't have any water with us - I stopped to buy some and once we'd all had a bit of water we actually had the energy to go to the last of the 3 Skylanders shops - I had said I couldn't do it but some hydration really helped). When we got back to the car I couldn't find the parking ticket anywhere - I gave up and pressed the help button when I got to the gate - I had to pay $10.25 to get out which was a bit disappointing since if I'd had the ticket it would have been free - then I figured it didn't really matter, $10 wasn't worth getting stressed about and I was just tired and would feel better once we were home and I'd had a bit of a rest. I'm finding I can do that more often now - recognise that I feel more anxious when I'm tired and so not react to it, and try not to talke much (cos I tend to be cranky when I'm anxious), just take it easy for a while and then put things in perspective once I'm rested.

On the way home we listened to the Frozen soundtrack which I'd bought at one of the shops, and that helped me chill out quite a bit. LiAM played with his figures in the back of the car and when we got home they all played Skylanders to check out all the new guys. LiAM was very happy. Caitlin played Minecraft for a while as well, and I had a bath and then felt much happier. Tony cooked a delicious steak and potato meal for tea, and we watched House Rules then LiAM went back to Skylanders until he went to bed.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Morning walks

Since we've been back from our trip I've been getting back into my rhythm of going for a walk in the morning before Tony goes back to work. It clears my head and helps put things in perspective, and increases my energy for the whole day. Sometimes it feels like too much of a bother, when I'm cosy inside with a warm cup of tea - when I get out there though I never regret it. I usually walk down to the dam and do a lap of the dam and then back home - takes about 15 minutes.

Yesterday Buckley and I met a fox on our way down the hill. Buckley chased him happily through the vines, the 2 of them zig-zagged through the rows until I couldn't see them any more. It actually looked more like they were playing than seriously chasing/running away, although I can't be sure. From the dam wall I could see 2 beautiful rainbows to the south - beautiful. As I walked around the dam there were dark dark clouds over the mountains - the rain hit when I was about 3/4 of the way around and it was icy and coming in sideways! I got wet pretty quickly and the wind was making me colder so I came down the outside of the dam wall to get some shelter, and met 2 kangaroos who'd been in the top block of vines (I've never seen any in there before). One panicked and went back up into the vines, one hopped around behind me and went around the dam. The wind helped me get back up the hill pretty quickly and into the warm cosy house, feeling quite exhilerated.

One morning last week when I went out the air was cold and crisp and clear and the sun was rising through a mass of red clouds. There were 2 hot air balloons drifting over the dam as they headed to their landing place somewhere to the south. It was a beautiful morning and I had my camera with me so was able to get some great shots.
2 ballons over the vineyard

Sunrise over Mt St Leonards

2 balloons above the dam

Balloon reflected in the dam

Mist and reflections in the dam

Monday, 23 June 2014

Busy Lazy Sunday

I love Sundays - Tony is usually home, we usually don't make any big plans, so we can hang out at home or go out as we wish, and recharge a bit.

I was up early again and Millie joined me again before sunrise - we checked on the sun's progress several times and the best bit was when a mist came up and obscured the mountains and we could see the sun shining through behind it and over the top. Millie did some colouring and printing out from the computer, presents for Tony (a bird and some chicks, I helped her with the chicks) and once Caitlin got up the girls played Harry Potter - Scene It. When LiAM emerged the 3 of them played in the lounge room for a while, then LiAM sorted his Skylanders so that he could decide who he wanted to play with in what order.

Tony had a sleep in, then agreed to take Caitlin busking. She practiced her violin after checking it was in tune, then learnt some new notes and songs on the recorder, then practiced her old recorder songs. While they were gone, LiAM and Millie and I played another game I picked up at the op shop this week, a game of logic/puzzle cards. Some of them were pattern questions, or ones where you lay out the matches and move/remove a certain number to make a different pattern - LiAM and I had a lot of fun with those - or playing card arrangements, figure out the missing card (we did a hard one of those and figured out an answer although we weren't completely sure why that would be it - and we were right! Very exciting). While we were doing the harder questions Millie made her own very cool patterns with the other matches. We also talked then about whether it was safe to be using matches, and situations where it would or wouldn't be safe, the chances of a match accidentally lighting, what to do if it did light and so on. Having had wood fires for most of their lives, and several experiences of lighting outdoor fires, my kids know how to use matches safely and the consequences of not being careful - they are quite respectful and also comfortable around fire.

Caitlin came back with the remains of her haul of $53 from busking!!!! She had bought herself and the others a few treats, and also bought herself an iTunes card as she wants to buy the movie Frozen for her iPad mini. The kids had competitions then to see if anyone could eat a sour warhead without making a face - no one could.

The kids were playing sword fights with their swords from the circus showbags, and Caitlin made up a beautiful song about sword fighting and then walking away and keeping the peace.

Everyone played outside for a while - it was a beautiful sunny day, reasonably warm, perfect weather to be outside in. They played obstacle courses and races, and then Tony mowed the lawn with a bit of help from the girls.

In the meantime I had made up some cake mix to use for cake pops, so Millie and I put them in the cake pop maker. They didn't rise as much as I'd hoped - I think I didn't put enough mixture in each one. They looked like little mushrooms when we had them on their sticks once they were done. Oh - Millie did lots of number crunching figuring out how many sticks she needed, she had a tray with 3 rows of 4 spots and she asked me what was 4 lots of 3, then she had 3 sticks so counted all except 3 to see how many more she needed. Its so cool to see her having the mathematical concepts to figure out what to ask, and to start to figure out the answers she wants.
Millie with the cake pops before decoration

After the cakes were cooked I made vienna cream icing in green and blue and iced them, and Caitlin and Millie decorated them with the sprinkles Caitlin gave Millie for her birthday. They looked fantastic and most of us thought they tasted fantastic - Millie wasn't thrilled with the taste so we'll try some different cake recipes and/or decoration options.

Decorated cake pops
The kids watched Scooby Doo then we all watched House Rules, then Big Bang Theory until most of us drifted off to bed. Caitlin practiced her high leg kick while she was watching TV. LiAM and Tony connected on Terraria for a while before they went to bed.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

We went to the circus!

Millie and I were up before the sun and lay in bed playing on the iPad together. We wanted to watch the sunrise, but there were clouds on the horizon so we just saw the sun behind the clouds a bit - still interesting and pretty. Tony left for baseball and we moved to the lounge room to see if we could see the sun better, and Millie wanted to play Harry Potter - Scene It, so we had a game of it just me and her and it was fun, she had a good guess at all of the questions and we both had a lot of laughs. I remembered I'd also bought an interactive DVD game at the op shop so we checked it out - it is a Dreamworks Animation game, based on Madagascar, Shrek 2, Over the Hedge and Shark Tale. Millie was quite excited that we play it on the TV using the DVD remote. There are a range of games and each player can select the level they want to play at (based on age, which doesn't necessarily equate to skill or knowledge in our family, but we can just think of it as easy, medium and hard rather than follow the age ranges). Millie did really well at this game, knew the answers to the fairy tale questions and blitzed the physical challenge questions (especially the 'make 5 funny faces in 10 seconds' - she's a master at funny faces). The other kids wandered out while we were playing, so we played 4 player for a while until everyone lost interest.

The kids watched ABC2 and 3 for a while, and played Minecraft. I asked Caitlin questions from the cards in the Harry Potter game, and she knew most of the wizarding questions. Millie and I thought about making cake pops - we always seem to get distracted. I think if I made the mixture up and then suggested it then she'd be keen to pour it into the moulds and cook them (and decorating them will be the really fun part). We watched several episodes of Dragons: Defenders of Berk, which we've always loved, it felt more relevant having just seen the 2nd How to Train your Dragon movie, and we talked about the ways the characters were different in the movie, where they are so much older.

We went in to Yarra Glen and did a quick grocery shop, getting stuff we'd run out of and supplies for tea, then we went to the circus!!! Eroni's circus are performing in Yarra Glen and all week I'd promised we could go, so we decided to use our Saturday while Tony was at baseball to go and check it out. The kids had a play on the jumping castle before we went in, it had a part where they could climb up then a large and very fast slide - they all had a lot of fun and were knackered when they got off. We found seats in the raised section of seating, which meant Millie could see the ring. The last circus we'd been to had been rather sad and old so I wondered if this would be the same, and I was pleasantly surprised. It was professional and quite well run, and the performers were all impressive. Lots of trapeze/gymnastics type acts, some jugglers and magicians, a fire eater, clowns, a tiny pony, jack russell performing dogs, and palomino horses. Caitlin loved the trapeze and gymnastic acts, and the horses. LiAM liked the dogs and the clowns and didn't mind the jugglers. Millie liked the animals and the clowns - she was a bit bored in the 2nd half, it went for longer than she felt like staying. At interval they had show bags and toys and food for sale - I felt I'd spent enough money already, then remembered that the kids all had their own spending money left from our holiday (we'd been to fewer touristy places than usual so they hadn't spent money on souvenirs to the extent that they sometimes do). So with their holiday money they were each able to buy a show bag and a snack to eat during the 2nd half. The showbags were pretty good actually, quite a lot of items in them - a sticky hand, a clapping hand, a clown nose, a water pistol, a mask, a fake moustache and glasses, a windmill and maybe a couple of other things.

Back home to play with all the show bag goodies while I cooked tea - it was meant to be mexican meatballs but my meatballs fell apart so it was more like mexican stew - still quite tasty though, and Tony appreciated it as he hadn't eaten much at baseball and was starving when he got home. We started to watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation but the risk of Chevy Chase's character injuring himself became too stressful for Caitlin so we turned it off and played Minecraft instead. Millie and I went to bed and played the iPad for a while then she went to sleep and I read my book while the others watched 'We Bought a Zoo'.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Friday games

Up early yesterday as Caitlin had school. I think we're finding the Friday morning rhythm easier than we did at the start of the year, although we all still find it hard getting up and going early. Millie discovered she could play music using her hands and arms (clapping, tapping her arm and so on) so she played songs for me to guess, and then we sang the songs (and made up funny words). She then played with adding numbers some more, and added 1+1, 1+2, 1+3, 1+4 by herself. She thinks its awesome that 1+4 and 4+1 give the same answer too!

We dropped Caitlin at school where the teachers were excited to see her back after our holiday, and the rest of us went to A&J's for the day. L and I had a cuppa and chatted and I played with baby O who is becoming more and more interactive and friendly and fun to be with. LiAM and A played Terraria and chatted - about the game they were playing, what they'd like to do with it in the future, other games, things they've done this week. They really didn't stop talking much all day. Millie and J played an elaborate super-hero role playing game and played with J's toys. They all also watched TV, jumped on the trampoline, played with autumn leaves. L and H went out for coffee and I stayed with the kids and checked my email as they were all immersed happily in their own games.

We picked Caitlin up from school and came straight home as everyone was tired. Caitlin had spent a lot  of time making Creeper loom bracelets for everyone else at school, and she has a long list of orders for next week. LiAM realised that he knew the way home from the school so he navigated for me all the way home. Tony was already here (he finishes early on Fridays) so we all hung out together for the rest of the day. We got the fire going, Caitlin and Tony tried to start the lawn mower but it wasn't up to it, played some iPad games, I had a bath. After tea we all played Harry Potter - Scene It, which was a lot of fun. LiAM impressed us with his detailed trivia knowledge of the movies. Everyone did well and it was a tight race between LiAM, Caitlin and I at the end. It's a game that we really all can play and have a chance at (we altered a few of the questions for the younger kids) and I'm very glad I picked it up at the Op Shop.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Meeting and Movies

Yesterday morning we spent mainly at home, the kids played Minecraft and Slugterra and watched ABC2 for a while, and I had a great phone conversation with my friend B, and made a very yummy loaf of raisin bread, which was half demolished by the time we went out.

I had a meeting at 11.30 at the hall in Yarra Glen, to discuss plans for a Children's Week activity day that will be run in October (I was there representing the YG Homeschool Group, YG Toy Library and ABA). While I was at the meeting LiAM watched YouTube videos and Millie played with toys from the toy library - a beading set and some Schleich animals. Caitlin played Minecraft, read some books, and joined in the meeting. Someone suggested that Caitlin busk at the activity, and we talked about other jobs she could help at and whether our homeschool group could put on a performance for the younger kids.

After the meeting we hung around in the library for a while, reading and watching videos, then walked up the street to order fish and chips for lunch. There was a cold wind which I hadn't expected, I'm glad I took my big jacket. We went to the post office and the op shop, and picked up some cool games (including Harry Potter Scene It), a princess carriage, a jewellery box,some earrings and a couple of DVDs. We took our hot food down to the park to eat, and had a quick play in the playground, then headed to Ringwood to the movies.

We bought our tickets to see How to Train Your Dragon 2, and ordered a popcorn/drink combo with a special How to Train Your Dragon cup. The guy said that lots of people had ordered the combo and not wanted the cup so he had spares - did I want one cup each for the kids? So they each had their own goblet cup full of lemonade which they very generously shared with me. The movie was great (a bit scary for Millie a couple of times), funny and emotional and uplifting and very well made. I'm so glad we went yesterday - I'd been thinking that maybe one day next week would be a 'better' day to go, but there's been plenty of times I've thought that and then we've missed out on going all together so I figured best to go when we all felt like it and did have the opportunity, and it was a great day out. We listened to Harry Potter 7 on the way home and came back happy and tired.

LiAM decided not to go to karate so we had a quiet evening at home, playing Slugterra, watching TV, having a bath, feeding the animals, hanging out all together (Tony was home too - nice to have an evening with all 5 of us here).

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Settling back in to home

We've had a couple of quiet days, mainly at home, which was exactly what we needed after our trip away and then birthday preparations and celebrations.

We made up some of the craft kits that the kids got for their birthdays - plaster of paris fairies for Millie and a glow in the dark T-Rex skeleton for LiAM. Caitlin and Millie also started on a make-your-own Angel doll - there was sewing involved so Caitlin is enjoying it more than I would. We've talked about making cake pops in Millie's new cake pop maker but as yet haven't gotten any further than wiping the surface down with a clean cloth before use. Maybe today...

The kids have been playing Minecraft again - I heard of a server run by an unschooled Australian teenager, so we have logged into that for the first time and they are enjoying playing with other kids and learning how to negotiate someone else's server. I've been impressed with the ease with which they ask questions when they aren't sure about something, and also with the speed that they are answered by more experienced players.

They also played Skylanders, and some new games on the MacBook, and games on the ABC2 and ABC3 websites. LiAM was thrilled to find a new SlugTerra game, which is based on his current favourite TV Show.

We've watched a bit of TV and talked about the shows, played with animal toys, played the piano and the ukelele, read books, looked after all our animals - our little chicks are now not so little - the roosters are now bigger than their dad and soon I'll be looking for options to move them on - I don't think we can easily keep 4 roosters with our flock!

We went to the library yesterday afternoon, nice to be back after a 4 week break. LiAM watched YouTube videos, the girls used the hall to dance, we read some books and borrowed some more, then the girls went to Girl Guides. Millie is 5 now so old enough to begin - I stayed as well in case she found it too much. She loved it and joined in all the activities - and looked so tiny compared to everyone else.

Millie has been practicing her addition facts, asking every day 'what's plus 1 plus 1' and 'what's plus 4 plus 3 plus 2 plus 1' or 'what's plus 68 plus 2'... and she's starting to notice patterns, like that if you add 1 to a number you get the next number! It's quite exciting to explore it with her and be reminded of the patterns ourselves!

I've had a couple of moments when I've been really pleased to back, too. I wasn't quite ready to come home from our holiday - I rarely am (actually the only time I've ever been pleased to finish a holiday was at the end of our 5 week trip to Europe with a 1yo and a 2yo...). And this time I didn't really miss anything while I was gone. But there's been a couple of little moments - like opening our cutlery drawer and seeing all of OUR spoons - where I've felt very content and happy to be back in our space, and grateful that we have such a wonderful space to come back to.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Birthday Party

LiAM's birthday day and birthday party were lots of fun.

We were all up early before Tony went to work so LiAM could open his presents. Millie gave him a packet of berry flavoured mentos (and a packet for herself as well (she wrapped them together)), Caitlin made (hand sewed) a tail warmer, blanket and hat for LiAM's toy lemur, and we gave him some Schleich animals (a red panda, a baby crocodile (which LiAM thinks might actually be a caiman - 'definitely a crocodilian of some type') and a baby hippo), a dream lights puppy pillow pet, and 3 skylanders figures, so he now has one of each element. He was thrilled with his presents and turned the playstation on straight away to play with his new figures. Tony made pancakes before he left which was a lovely birthday breakfast.
LiAM with hippo and crodolian

LiAM spotting his new skylander figures

The rest of the morning was spent playing with birthday presents, making loom bracelets and charms, tidying up the house (including putting away the rest of the stuff that had come out of the car after our trip), assembling the party bags and the pinata, and making the cake - half chocolate mud cake, half chocolate cake, in the shape of an 8, with green and blue icing to represent grass and water, with animals on it. It was a lot of fun to make, even working out how to manufacture a ring tin because I only had one, and then realising that there was too much mud cake mix for the subsequently smaller tin, and having to do a bit of a rescue operation in the middle of baking so that both cakes didn't end up smelling or tasting burnt. It all worked out beautifully.

The party started at 2pm, and LiAM had 4 friends come, along with their siblings, so there were 10 kids all together, plus 2 babies. Mum and Dad and my sister (with her baby) came as well, and all the parents stayed, and it was a fantastic afternoon spent with friends and family. The kids played with LiAM's birthday presents, with the marble run, with our other animal toys (soft and Schleich), on the piano, on their iPads (I think there were up to 4 people connected to the same Minecraft world at various points), and with Skylanders. LiAM also received anothe Skylander, some science kits, Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon, and a transformer type robot. We hung the pinata in the carport - a very cute dinosaur, who I think was a bit heavily full of lollies, because he kept breaking his string when he was hit, and then one big whack pulled the loop right out of him - so the kids took it in turns to shake the lollies out of the hole on to the ground. There was also a game of musical statues which everyone was so good at there was no winner - Caitlin had made some prizes so she worked out some other way to distribute the loom band prizes and everyone seemed happy.

Tony came home from work and was here for a little while before heading out to a baseball committee meeting - we had gone to the pub for birthday dinner the night before which worked quite well - Tony could still go to his meeting, and we didn't need to wrap up the party and then get ready to go out, I was quite pleased we'd done the evening meal the night before.

Once all the guests left we watched a movie (Finding Neverland) and some TV, had bacon and eggs for tea, LiAM watched some YouTube videos and we had a relaxing evening. I ended the day feeling so fortunate to have such a great group of friends, and feeling very relaxed and happy and content.

Monday, 16 June 2014

LiAM's 8th Birthday

LiAM is 8 today!!!

LiAM at 8 is delightful to be around. He is thoughtful, inquisitive, funny and generous. If anyone is feeling sad or angry he tells jokes or does a dance or finds a way to help them out and try to make them feel better. He freely shares his treats and his money. He can see the humour in situations and makes word jokes/puns often. He is starting to read and trying to write more. He likes his i's and his s's to be lower case and everything else to be capitals. He adds and multiplies and subtracts numbers easily and likes to come up with combinations of numbers that add up to a certain number. He is comfortable with 3 digit numbers and is starting to explore larger numbers. He likes to know why and how things work or happen, and he is not ever satisfied with an explanation that doesn't make sense to him (and certainly not a 'that's just the way it is' answer) - he will continue to ask questions and explore an issue and come up with ideas until he has come to a conclusion that makes sense to him. He still loves animals and has a huge mass of knowledge about a large range of animals. He thinks he will work with animals when he is older. He loves poring over non-fiction books and gains a huge amount of information from the pictures, and asks for more details when he wants them. He also loves listening to books being read to him - usually picture books although some chapter books interest him too. He loves The Avengers in particular and most super heroes in general. He enjoys playing with lego. He loves action movies and also family movies. Scooby Doo, the Buddy series, How to Train Your Dragon, all the Marvel movies have been favourites lately. His favourite TV show is Slug Terra. His favourite game at the moment is Terraria and he is really good at it. He also loves Clash of Clans, Shark Attack and Subway Surfers. He's not playing Minecraft as much lately although sometimes still watches Minecraft YouTube videos. He watches YouTube videos regularly and uses them to expand his own knowledge about games and to hone his skills. He gives his complete focus to whatever he is doing, whether he is playing on his iPod, doing art, reading, climbing, jumping on the trampoline, playing with his animals. He loves jumping on the trampoline and doing obstacle courses outside. He enjoys sweeping the floor. He is very honest, and very literal. His social skills have increased incredibly in the last year, he is quite comfortable around people and can chat to anyone, although large groups are still quite overwhelming and he'd usually prefer to be just with one or 2 friends. His asthma is under control with 2 preventative drugs and his health has been great this year. His teeth are doing well after his operation last year.

There's so much more to LiAM I could probably write for hours. He also gives great cuddles, and when he's feeling angry or frustrated is usually able to remove himself from the situation and go and be alone for a while. If he does upset someone he is usually quick to make amends. He's grown up a lot in this last year while he was 7, and I'm looking forward to journeying with him as he continues to grow into a young man

Happy Birthday LiAM!