O Mio Dio


Since I last wrote, our family spent a week at Camp AweSum in Northern Wisconsin at Moon Beach; we welcomed Elena our exchange student from Italy; we all started school (except Audrey who goes to in-home daycare); we went to Wisconsin Dells for a fun Labor Day weekend with our friends LaVonne and Kyla from Chicago; I sold our camper; I turned in my application for full professor; and we, and by we I mean I, added a Jack Russell Terrier called Olive to the family (yes we still have Ruby); My mom and dad have now moved to Legacy House assisted living; and though she’s not quite two, Audrey is officially terrible. "O Mio Dio"Elena says several times a day. This American family is really something.
These two are soul sisters. Elena loves being with Audrey especially when Audrey is not pulling out all the stops on the terrible twos. Did I mention the Audrey throws things? She talks non stop. She's fearless, and she's been known to bite, do flips on the couch, slap Mason, and bite. They don't call it the terrible almost twos for nothing.


Elena gets right in and plays with the kids...but we couldn't talk her into paddle boating in Lake Menomin. It's a long way from the beaches in Sardinia.

First day tour of Menomonie.


She wasted no time making herself at home in the kitchen. We love it when the house smells like garlic and onions.
I resurfaced this tub. I knew that Elena would be put off by the old cracked surface. Okay, maybe I can do even more with the bathroom as Elena has already told me that in Italy, the bathroom is the most important room in the house.


Sisters. One likes to cook and one likes to eat.



The pictures are out of order, but here she comes. I was so excited to see her finally get off the plane.




Mason went on a building spree. He likes it when he has fellow architects to play with.




She's here! I had to go alone to great her because her plan was several hours late. She flew from Milan to Frankfurt, to Chicago, then Eau Claire.



I wanted a dog with a little more pep, so I adopted Olive, a one-year-old Jack Russell Terrier. And by pep I mean...has a pulse and will play with kids and me, of course.
Audrey loves her Elena. It's great to have a sister from Italy. Elena couldn't be nicer. Perfecto!

Leah, Elena, Mason, and Audrey...enjoy the pasta prepared by Elena. Her cooking is one of the great joys she's brought to our house.


Julieanne is 5 already. We enjoy seeing our friends at birthday parties.

Here's Miss Audrey at Julianne's 5th birthday.

Mason was a kitty for the evening at the Menomonie social.

Mason, Audrey, and Kyla. There wasn't a quiet moment.

Our girl squad at Christmas Mountain.

Love the red shoes and the selfie stick.

Here we are petting the two time race winner in the running of the Llamas. I found the event to be overrated.

Shopping is Elena's favorite pastime.

Please say this isn't true. It was on the "what not to wear" rack.

Kyla and Audrey. They were sisters for a few days.  Kyla wanted a baby sister, and Audrey was happy to oblige.


We love Elena's teen spirit. She finds the craziest artifacts to pose with. Here she is with her new boyfriend.

Kyla, Glenda, Audrey, and LaVonne. Livin' the dream for a day.

Elena is a Mustang for the year. She is looking forward to going on the senior trip to Washing D.C. in October, but first this is homecoming week. Watch out world. I've seen this girl in her homecoming dress...and she's a knock out.

Mason's first day of 2nd grade with teachers Ms. Schneider and Ms. Berhow.

Shopping for school supplies. Elena had never seen so many. She starting filming the isles in Walmart just to show American excess (I think).
Audrey says: WHAT?


LaVonne is the one with the awesome hair.



Mason and Kyla at the Dells. Both age 8.

See that teenager taking pictures of Lake Delton? She's with us.

LaVonne and I have been friends since the first day of grad school at UIC.

Moon Beach right after the rain. It was calm and stunning.

More Moon Beach. We will go back every year. We enjoyed meeting the other families. It wasn't relaxing for me since I had to chase two little kids around, but the knowledge I gained and community I became a part of was priceless.

I love how the canoes look when they were all lined up. Such brilliant colors. I feel in love with Northern Wisconsin.

These chairs were full and the beach was brimming with kids and parents every afternoon.


Mason was perseverating on heavy books. He was reading dictionaries and phone books.


Jeff and Shayna Lund took Audrey and me on a canoe ride.



Audrey was too little to be part of the daily group activities. But she enjoyed drumming with the girls.



Just a little bedtime story from the dictionary.



Horseback riding was fun, even in the rain.






That's my Audrey chillin' out on the canoe ride.

Please let me know if you're interested in attending this upcoming workshop:

  
Autism Spectrum: Understanding the Characteristics to Intervene Humanely

An all-day presentation by Dr. Glenis Benson

October 8, 2016, 9:00-4:00

(lunch on your own)

First Congregational United Church of Christ, 420 Wilson Ave, Menomonie, WI 54751

 Dr. Glenis Benson has supported persons on the Autism Spectrum since 1977.  Her graduate work has all been conducted with persons on the Spectrum.  She has presented nationally and internationally and has journal articles, book chapters and a DVD to her name.  Glenis is a founding board member of Camp AweSum.  She teaches at both UW Madison and UW Oshkosh as well as consults throughout the state and country.






































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