We took an impromptu trip to the Children’s Museum (which was named best in America, by the way) on MLK day, since Matt had the day off and the kids really needed to get out of the house. It was crowded, but Matt and the kids had fun playing with the gigantic phones. Then we went to Razzoo’s for some Cajun food, since it had been far too long since I’d had some Rat Toes.
At the end of January I went to San Antonio with my mom-and-sisters-in-law for a three-day spa weekend. We stayed at a hotel right on the Riverwalk and slept and ate a LOT! The spa treatments were wonderful, and we did some shopping. I got a new dress and a new skirt and had a lot of time to read and ponder things, which was exactly what I needed – there was a lot of stuff swirling in my head that I hadn’t had time to sort through.
We met with Addie’s speech therapist again and confirmed that she BARELY does not qualify for therapy through the school district. I called two private practices and since our insurance is one of the few ones that doesn’t cover speech therapy, they offered us the lovely price of $275 for the initial assessment and the low low rate of $125 an hour for private sessions. So I came home to check out what I could find online and found lots of resources on things to do at home. I haven’t done much yet, but I’m going to try to start being consistent with some teaching at home. I was also seriously considering the idea of putting Addison in a different preschool this coming fall. Her preschool is singing, reading books, art, finger paint, “science” things, games, outside play, crafts, etc. and I know she will be mentally ready for more by the fall. So I checked into a couple of places, and realized that for a $200 fee and around $250 a month, I could take her to a preschool that did….basically the same stuff. Maybe with a little more “academics” thrown in. But after a really long time considering and wondering if I’m doing Addison a disservice by not “challenging” her at school, or doing what a lot of other people are doing, I finally felt thatAddie should stay right where she is. The preschool is cheap and close, and she loves it. She is doing all the things that a preschooler should do. Maybe not all the things a preschooler COULD do, but I feel that she has many, many years ahead of her of academics and formal learning, and anyways, I can supplement at home when she’s ready for more stuff and shows an interest. She is showing tendencies like I did when I was a child, able to figure out a lot of stuff on her own without my intervention. I have done basically zero “pencil work” like handwriting or tracing with her (you’d think I’d do it more, since I worked in a Montessori school and they did that all the time), but she totally surprised me one day by writing her name very well, along with a lot of other letters. They don’t do that at school, so I’m not sure where/when it developed, but it really reinforced what I felt was right for our family at this point. Addie is much happier imagining and playing outside and listening to music and making up stories, and I am very content to let that side of her blossom as much as it can right now!
Her Halloween costume from 2009 still fits for Go Texan day at preschool
Addison started soccer practice and has had a few games. She doesn’t really show a lot of interest in many things, so it’s hard to tell if something would be fun for her or not, but since this was through the Y, it was close and cheap and if she hated it, it was not a big investment of money or time or effort. She seems to like it ok, and has fun running around, although it took a few games before the kids grasped that it was ok to actually take the ball away while another kid had it. Most of them sort of stood back and watched while one kid would dribble it down the field! But she runs a lot and has precious pink shinguards and especially likes the snack after her games, so I’m glad we’re doing it. Ryan is pretty sure that he is on the team, since he goes to practice and games with his rubber Winnie the Pooh ball and kicks it around. Heading to practice one night, I asked Ryan if he would like to play in the Y (at the childcare place) or come to practice. Addie told him he was too little for practice and he adamantly replied that he was NOT too little and that he did NOT want to go to the Y. We have had to retrieve his ball from the soccer field (during games!) a couple of times when he’s kicked it. The games are at 9 a.m., so we don’t have to get out of the house too early, which I like!
Coach teaching them how to give high 5's after the game
Ryan with his big boy ball
We tried to go camping for the first time as a family of 4 in the tent one weekend. We just went an hour away to Huntsville State Park and only stayed for one night. I was hoping that things would go ok so we could slowly start doing more camping with the kids. It was only about 25% successful. The kids were excited about the tent, but trying to keep them from going in and out and in and out (and trying to keep shoes on and off) was a losing battle, so we gave up and slept on leafy blankets. The kids absolutely would not nap in a sunny tent - too much excitement and noise from the outside. Therefore, they were slightly crabby and grouchy at each other and us. “When are we going to start the fire? When are we having hot dogs? Why can’t we go swimming? I want to play at the playground/in the dirt/in the tent WITHOUT RYAN, can’t you just make him stay here? I want all the blankets and pillows to make a bed for my toys and Ryan can’t have any and he keeps taking my stuff and whine whine whine whine.” All of this within two hours of getting there. So I tried to get everyone excited about a hike, with their brand new water bottles and sunscreen and taking snacks and finding a good hiking stick etc. I managed to rouse a tiny bit of enthusiasm, but it quickly waned and was gone before we’d even gone to the end of the camping circle to the trailhead! Ryan wanted to be carried the entire time and Addie was very quickly bored and said her legs were sick so she couldn’t walk. We tried to be firm and serious and let the kids know that we were not carrying them and did not want to hear any more whining, but they Ryan starting bawling and Addie was crying and Matt and I thought, “What are we doing this for? The kids don’t want to, and we certainly aren’t enjoying ourselves”, so we headed back to the site and played on the playground by the bathroom for an hour, then had hot dogs at 5:00, then played some more, and then finally put the kids down before 8. They didn’t sleep till 9, and basically none of us slept all night due to flopping, talking in their sleep and people who for some reason like to keep their bright porchlights on their trailers on ALL NIGHT. Also, due to the people in diesel trucks who like to drive around the campsite at 3 a.m. and/or leave at 6 a.m. And then the lovely CAW CAW CAW of the crow in the tree above our tent was a nice alarm, set for 6:01 a.m. in case the trucks didn’t wake us up. I was determined to have a better day after at least a tiny bit of sleep, so we ate quickly and drove to a trailhead to hike around part of the lake to where the alligators were said to be. The kids did a lot better, although we carried Ryan a good bit of the way. There were no gators. Then we came back and packed up and were home by lunchtime. And that will be the end of our camping until this fall when we might try it again. Maybe Addie will drop her naps by then, and maybe Ryan will be functional if he misses a nap.
Camping is fun!
Other news: we got a new AC put in. Our old one was working, but barely, and was costing us a ton of money, especially since it has broken down twice a year for two or three years in a row now. They put in two more air intakes and got us a much more efficient machine – now our lights don’t dim every time the AC starts up! We also refinanced our house and got on a 15-year note at a MUCH lower interest rate, so we were really happy about that. Those two things kept us running around a good bit for a few weeks, making lots of calls, meeting lots of people, going to the bank and faxing papers and getting bids. It was nice when things calmed down, but then they got going again in March!
And now begins the story of Mardi Gras 2011. It will have to wait for its own post. It was a trip to remember, for sure!
Here are a couple of pictures from Jan and Feb.
My little princess. I'm so proud.
Addison at a birthday party with the pinata