Hammonton 2017 Fourth of July

We didn’t see much of the Ham­mon­ton Fourth of July parade this year because once again the kids were in the bike parade por­tion (all except Fran­cis, who had a bad melt­down in the morn­ing and stayed home with mom).

The bike parade was again spon­sored by Toy Mar­ket, the inde­pen­dent toy store in town (sup­pli­er of much of our household’s San­ta deliv­ery). They had a table full of red, white, and blue bunting that we could apply to the bikes. We all had a lot of fun.

Notes for next year: a tan­dem exten­sion on a adult bike looked like fun and then 7-yo Gre­go­ry will be a good age for this (we should dig ours out from the back of the garage). Also: the parade has a dog con­tin­gent so maybe a much-calmer Fran­cis will be able to be part of that next year (we’re due to pick up the ser­vice dog in 12 days!, eeek!!!)

Can you help us get Francis a dog?

Wherever he goes, Francis finds a friend. Here he is at a Lancaster County B&B.

We love our Francis. Now 11, he can go from sweet and huggy to upset in a matter of moments. Autistic, sensory issues around sound can easily trigger an meltdown. With three siblings, sound is all pervasive in our house. We've read books, tried therapy, had him on anti-anxiety medications... While everything's helped, nothing has helped enough.

It feels like a crucial time for him. He's getting too big for angry outbursts. He needs to learn how to deal with his emotions and calm himself down. A teenager or young adult melting down in public won't get the sympathetic glances—or even tsk-tsk judgements—that passersby display for toddlers. These next few years will largely determine whether he will be able to become a semi-independent adult.

What Francis does love is dogs. Anytime we run into a dog he befriends him within a matter of moments.  He shows a patience and calmness with them that is transformative. He's started going on weekly dates with our uncle to walk around the marshes. And so it's time to find Francis a therapy dog. The hope is that a trained dog would help him in times of stress. Those skills should then (fingers crossed) transfer over to dog-less times.

We've put together a fundraising page to help defray the considerable costs. Details at the link.

 

 

Railroad & farm weekend in Lancaster

Our only full-group shot, outside Strasburg RR
This week­end we took off for a fam­i­ly trip to Lan­cast­er Coun­ty, Penn­syl­va­nia – Julie and me, the kids and my moth­er Liz. I won’t have time to do a long blog post, but high­lights were the Ver­dant View farm B&B (link) where we stayed; the Stras­burg Rail­road (link) whose line runs through the farm’s back­yard, the Choo Barn mod­el rail­way (link); and the amaz­ing Cher­ry Crest Farm (link) with its corn maze and its sim­ple games for kids of all ages (who knew you could have so much fun with a hill and a piece of burlap?!).

See the See the pho­to set on Flickr for more pic­tures and sto­ries. Every shot is mapped, with links.

Large pho­to: Fam­i­ly at Stras­burg RR: Mar­tin, Liz, Theo, Julie, Fran­cis. Below: Julie and the kids walk­ing through fields at farm, Fran­cis play­ing kung-fu with the farm dog, Theo run­ning in ter­ror from said dog, Engine 90 ready to pull out.
Verdant View's verdant views
Verdant View Farm dogs
Verdant View Farm dogs
Locomotion