Saturday, May 8, 2021

Cinco de Mayo 2021


We just found out on Friday afternoon that our split sessions will end after next week!  On May 18th, we will ALL be back together again, and for 4 days a week!  Wow, we have been looking forward to this day for a long time!  More details to come next week.  πŸ‘πŸ‘

We're not sure we partied like there is no "maΓ±ana" this week, but party we did for Cinco de Mayo!  That and "celebrating" Star Wars Day and Coach Teri's birthday - with bocce - were some of the highlights of our first week in May.  Keep reading for more about all of them, and then some!


Welcoming Carol back after her Florida vacation was definitely a highlight!  She brought us this beautiful watermelon, which we enjoyed with our lunch today.  It was juicy and sweet!  Thank you, Carol.  We missed you but are happy you got away with your family and had a great time.  The watermelon sure was tasty!  (We saved 1/2 for the next group!)

Today was May 4th, or as Star Wars fans like to say, "May the Fourth Be With YOU!"  Even though not all of us are "into" all things Star Wars, it still made for a good Zoom topic, and we had fun learning about the show on Disney+ called, "The Mandalorian."

We learned that the show is about a character named Baby Yoda who is being sought after by a bounty hunter named The Mandalorian.  But when he finds Baby Yoda, he is smitten by it, and decides to protect it instead of take it back to the "bad guys." 

Our "spirit" dressers today, Alexis in her Star Wars shirt and Laura in her Baby Yoda shirt, also brought in Baby Yodas that belong to their families, so that we could see the absolute cuteness up close!

After warming up to a Darth Vader dance video and watching the trailer from "The Mandalorian," we worked together with our Zoomies at home to make a Baby Yoda picture out of basic shapes.  We also learned that Baby Yoda didn't have a name until the second season of the show.  He was affectionately referred to as "The Child" or "Baby Yoda" until it was revealed that is name is "Grogu!"  Our pictures are so cute!

Even Heike joined in on the Baby Yoda fun.  She helped a couple of the in-person guys with their projects.  Fun times on Zoom! πŸ˜‰

May 4th is also one of several  Bird "Days" during the year.  We learned that a school superintendent from Pennsylvania suggested May 4th for Bird Day back in 1894, and it was the first "holiday" in the United States dedicated to the celebration of birds.  Nan is seen here showing Kevin a very small bird's nest that Gdad found in their yard recently.  We think it was a hummingbird's nest!

Remember this handsome dude?!  He was our very first Devin, in the Charter Group that began the AoA in 2016.  His family relocated to Arizona in 2019, but we still have fond memories of our friend Devin, especially when we drive by Wendy's...someone always says, "Remember our friend Devin who LOVED Frosties?!"  Yes, we do!  Devin's friendship came up again today because Lisa shared something his mom, Nancy, had posted on Facebook that fit in very nicely with our Bird Day lesson!

Nancy posted that their family has been observing a mother hummingbird nesting in their oleander bush!  They are thrilled to have seen this up close, as we can see here from some pictures taken by Devin's dad, Todd.  Well, the other night, Nancy was alerted of a "guest" by way of their Ring doorbell camera.  It was a big cat, and Nancy wasn't about to let it disturb the hummingbird nest. 

 So, she grabbed a broom, and clad only in her pj's, Nancy ran outside "yelling and banging" the broom like a "wild woman!"  What a sight that must have been! πŸ˜‚  She reports that only one of the eggs hatched, and the mother has been feeding and protecting it.  Soon, the baby will leave the nest, but until then, Nancy will shoo off any critters that might threaten it!

No worries about this furry fella.  Nancy would never harm a cat, or any other animal!  But she will make a racket to scare it off to protect her hummingbird nest.  Thanks for letting us share these pictures and this fun story, Nancy!  We're glad you're having fun adventures in Arizona!  Our best to you and the family! 

After hearing that interesting story about Nancy and the cat, we watched an informative video about birds, and then completed a worksheet where we had to match 18 bird pictures with their names.  Most of the birds on the worksheet had been in our video, and it was clear that our guys had been paying attention, because only a couple of them tricked our whiz kids!

Who is this masked man?!  It's Sam!  He was busy getting our calendar ready so we could update it for May.  We worked on our May plans at the end of the day.  The Thursday group will finish it and we'll be all set for another busy month!


Happy Cinco de Mayo!  We are so blessed to be the recipients of lunch today, sponsored by our friends at APEX Physical Therapy and Movement Center!  They are one of The Arc's community partners, and today they are treating us to a Taco Bar from Moe's!  (Disclaimer...two of the three owners of APEX PT happen to be Lexi's cousin Kelly and her husband Scott; so that makes them related to Nan and Lisa, too!)

We are providing dessert in the form of Mexican brownies, which Liz and Nancy made for us.  We learned that adding ancho chili powder and cinnamon makes them "Mexican," although we couldn't really tell much difference between them and regular brownies!

We're also celebrating Sam's mom's birthday, today!  Coach Teri has chosen us to celebrate her birthday with since our very first year in operation, back in 2016.  She graciously treats us to a taco luncheon every year on her Cinco de Mayo birthday, but this year, with APEX PT wanting to treat us, we invited her to be treated!

But we're getting ahead of ourselves.  Before the luncheon, we were busy making birthday cards, decorating for Cinco de Mayo, and working on Eaton tasks!   It was a busy morning!

We're fortunate to have "team members" who don't mind doing what needs to be done:  Sam and Patrick had a lot to do with setting up for our party. Alexis, Liz, Cameron, and Kevin worked on Eaton.  Laura and Nancy handled a lot of the coloring needed to make the decorations! 

Senorita Nancy was all smiles as the room came together!

Scott, who is co-owner of APEX PT, has found a special niche working with patients with Parkinson's.  Coincidentally, there was an article about his Rock Steady Boxing Program on the front page of today's Virginia Gazette!  He's committed to providing specialized programming for his Parkinson's patients, and it was nice to read the article and learn more about it.  Before lunch, we participated in a boxing workout, which we dedicated to Scott!  Here's a screenshot from the workout, and a link to the article about Rock Steady.

We have visited APEX PT for a field trip in the past, and Scott taught us some boxing moves.  It's a great workout to help improve agility and balance, and our guys enjoy it!  Kelly and Scott want us to schedule another visit once Covid restrictions are over.  We can't wait!

We get to enjoy a Cinco de Mayo / Birthday luncheon again with Kelly and Coach Teri for tomorrow's group, and we'll post pictures of the yummy buffet then.  Here's today's group with Teri and Kelly...bellies full and all smiles!  Thank you, APEX PT, for your generosity in providing today's (and tomorrow's) lunch.  We appreciate your friendship and support very much!  

Kelly had to get back to work at APEX, but Coach Teri was still here to get us back to the bocce ball field!  She introduced this game to us a few years ago, and with the pandemic, it's been over a year since we played!

It's such a simple and fun game, and just perfect for our guys.  It was a warm afternoon, but we found a shady spot and enjoyed several rounds.

Check out Coach Teri's Cinco de Mayo t-shirt, as she applauds a team for a good round!  How lucky is she to get to have a birthday on such a celebratory day!?!  Happy Birthday, Coach Teri, and thank you for spending part of it with us!  We appreciate the treat bags you gave us, and of course, the bocce game!   We love this tradition with you.

After Coach Teri headed home, we settled in for a relaxing yoga session with Jaime.  Since we are members of her "app," now, we were able to access a special "Star Wars" episode, and it was quite entertaining!

Jaime is great at telling stories while leading us through yoga stretches.  It's so cool how the gang listens to a story and follows the moves at the same time.  It really is a pleasant way to end their week!


We learned all about how rubber balls are made on today's Zoom lesson!  It was fun to dance to "How I Beat Shaq," a throwback by Aaron Carter in which he thinks he outplays Shaq in a 1-1 game, only to wake up and realize it was a dream!  Then, we watched a video to see how a basketball is made, and that was pretty cool!  Oh, and Laura's sweet niece Eloise popped on to wave "hi" to us!  πŸ’™

Drew's mom sent us a bag of mini-souvenir baseballs from Water Country that she had collected at work over the years, and everyone got to take one home.  Here at the AFCC, Drew and Devin played with theirs, rolling them back and forth on the table and trying to keep them from falling off!  Thanks, Donna!  It was a fun lesson and a neat prize!

We got the May calendar finished!  But now that we'll all be back for 4 days soon, we'll have to add some more activities! 😜

Here we are exercising to the boxing workout, and getting in some good jabs and footwork before our Cinco de Mayo luncheon!  We sent our friend Scott, at APEX PT, a video and he said we were doing a great job!

Wow, look at the taco bar before we got into it!  Yesterday's group had chicken and steak tacos, and today's group had carnitas and beef.  Thanks, again, Kelly and APEX PT.  This was such a nice treat!  We really appreciate the special delivery!! 

Each group wrote a note of thanks, which we included on the inside of this thank you card!  Muchas gracias, APEX PT!

We were delighted to welcome Teri again, to celebrate her birthday with this group today!  It was not as warm outside, so we got to play bocce in the sunshine!

Coach Teri was pleased that our guys remembered how to play, and to use good strategies like maintaining control of the ball, using underhand throws, and keeping their eyes on the target jack! 

Michelle was new to the game, but she picked it up quickly, and scored a lot of points today!  Way to go, Michelle!

Happy Birthday, 2021, Coach Teri!  Thanks for hanging out, eating tacos, sharing fun stories, and coaching us in bocce!!  We had a lot of fun with you!

Here's a HUGE shout out to Kate's brother, Matt!  He graduated over the weekend from Bridgewater College!!! πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹ Wow, it seems like just yesterday when he was graduating from Walsingham.  Congratulations, Matt!  We're all very proud of you and wish you the best as you begin your next life journey!!


We got things off to a rocking good start with DJ Devin taking requests for our dance warm up!  

It had been a hectic week and we got behind on our Eaton work, so today's group stepped up to put in some time.  Drew and Abraham helped Nan count the photo cell plates that had been assembled, while Annmarie concentrated on getting 10 screws ready to go in the little bags.

Xavier, Devin, and Michelle were counting between 30 and 50 screws to put in bags.  When asked if they were bored, they enthusiastically said, "No!  We like it!"  

The same can be said for Alexis and Kate, who were also counting between 30 and 50.  All of our guys take the focus necessary to complete this kind of work very seriously, and know that accuracy is important.

They didn't even lose their focus when we had unexpected, but most welcomed, visitors stop by today!  Tracy (Parks & Rec Inclusion Coordinator and Arc Board Member) and Adam Kinsman (County Attorney and Arc Board Member, on the right) brought James City County Administrator Scott Stevens to meet us and see firsthand what the Arc's day program is all about.  We were excited that his visit coincided with us doing Eaton work, something all of us are most proud of.  Tracy gave him a tour of our facilities, and we filled him in on all of the other fun things we do, too!  It was a pleasure to meet Mr. Stevens, and as always, great to see Tracy and Adam!

Mr. Stevens had to get back to taking care of the county, but Tracy and Adam were able to hang out a little longer, and joined us when we went outside.  We hit up the playground today, since students were at home.  

Abraham found a perch on these monkey bars and kept his eye on his friends who played on the swings and slides.

Back inside, we worked on Eaton a little longer.  Annmarie taught Adam how to make 10s, but he had a little trouble, which gave her a case of the giggles!

After lunch, we had a lesson about birds, since Bird Day was on May 4th.  We worked with partners on our assignment.  Sometimes, some of our friends need a little extra help.  πŸ’œ

These friends care about each other so much!

It must be Friday afternoon if we're doing our yoga practice!  Yes, we wrapped up another week with a fun sesssion with Jaime called "Jedi Yoga."

There was one last thing to do before going home.  We had forgotten at lunchtime to enjoy the sweet and juicy watermelon Carol brought us from her trip to Florida!  It hit the spot after yoga!  Thank you, Carol!

Carol wasn't in the watermelon pic with us because she had "run" over to Eaton to drop off the work we did this morning.  As we were about to eat the watermelon, she got back, and her van was loaded with more Eaton work for us to do next week!  Drew's mom Donna had pulled up for dismissal, and helped bring it all in, so we could finish the watermelon.  Thanks so much, Donna.

We'll be busy working on Eaton next week, but we also have another fabulous birthday to celebrate, a field trip to a new place, and one last week in our split groups.  Here's a look at our agenda:

Tuesday / Thursday:  Happy Birthday, Michelle!! Our spring birthday blitz continues as we celebrate our newest associate.  Her family is treating us to lunch from Chick-fil-A!  Thank you to Michelle's family for this generous treat.  We will enjoy it very much!  When we aren't celebrating, we'll work on Eaton and have a lesson to prepare us for our airport trip.  And, oh yes...we will have our LAST Zoom sessions with friends at home!  On Tuesday, we will play a couple of fun games with animal and Disney movie themes.  On Thursday, we'll welcome our friend Wisteria, from the Mariner's Museum, for a lesson on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Wednesday / Friday:  We'll have poetry fun as we celebrate Limerick Day (12th).  We're also taking a trip to visit the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport for a tour and lunch on the patio at Charly's Restaurant.  Please bring $10 for lunch, which will be your choice of a hot or cold sandwich and choice of side (chips, potato salad, pasta salad).  We will end our day with yoga, so don't forget to dress to stretch!


Lisa, Carol, Nan, and the AoA Gang