Fritz and Adrian’s Second Quarter Grades

The second quarter was a lot of staying on top of Adrian to clear up his zeroes and get things turned in. It’s something he’s struggled with the whole time he’s been in school. In the end, he did really well and is quite pleased with his grades.

Our school district allows high school kids to exempt up to three midterms every December. Whether they can exempt depends on grades and absences/tardies. They cannot exempt AP course midterms no matter what.

Adrian’s Grades
Physics – 75% quarter / 85% midterm / 78% semester
iCSI – 97% quarter / 97% midterm / 97% semester
AP Human Geography – 70% quarter / 70% midterm / 72% semester
Spanish II – 91% quarter / midterm exempt / 91% semester
Geometry – 92% quarter / midterm exempt / 93% semester
Computer Science – 93% quarter / 88% midterm / 91% semester
English I – 88% quarter / midterm exempt / 90% semester

GPA: 3.5 quarter / 3.7 semester

Fritz’s Grades
Algebra II – 94% quarter / midterm exempt / 95% semester
3D Modeling & Animation – 93% quarter / 100% midterm / 92% semester
Physics – 96% quarter / midterm exempt / 95% semester
AP US History – 85% quarter / 86% midterm / 83% semester
Video Game Design – 100% quarter / 100% midterm / 100% semester
AP English III – 91% quarter / 94% midterm / 93% semester
Computer Science – 98% quarter / midterm exempt / 98% semester

GPA: 4.4 quarter and semester

Zoo Lights

We got the kids (plus Haley and Ani) annual passes to the zoo this year (my parents got passes too). They were on a great sale making them totally worth it.

We figure Haley, Ani, and my parents can take a kid or two at a time so it won’t always be all of us going together (which can be kind of crazy). I suspect Joel will be making a lot of zoo trips between now and when school lets out.

The last time we went to the zoo was while the kids were still in foster care after their good-bye visit with their bio mom. They were just 19 months to 5 years old then!

We used our new passes to the zoo on New Year’s Eve for the Zoo Lights celebration (no jackets even after dark… gotta love winter in Texas). Six kids in the dark in a place we’ve only been a couple times before is super nuts even with four adults and one marginally helpful teen.

They ran around, they danced, they climbed on the lions. They had so much fun. Even when it’s hard to take all of them places and we’re constantly counting to six just to be sure they are all where we expect them to be, it’s totally worth it to see happy their faces and making memories with them.

Texas State Aquarium

While on vacation we went to the Texas State Aquarium. We rented two double strollers. That was one of the smartest things we’ve ever done.

We also checked out a sensory kit for Noah. By the end of the first exhibit he was completely overwhelmed. The headphones instantly calmed him down and made the rest of the visit quite pleasant for him.

All the kids really liked the dolphins. Though when we asked them what their favorite parts were Zeke said walking next to me, Mayci said riding on the escalator, and Anthony said riding in the elevator.

So, basically, we spent over $250 for the kids to like normal, everyday things the most. At least Noah liked the fish. He kept waving to them and saying “Hi, fish!”

Swimming in the Gulf on the First Day of Winter

Four years ago we went swimming in the Gulf of Mexico on the first day of winter. Adrian wanted to repeat that this year with his little siblings.

And so we did. I didn’t think the kids would actually get in the water (it was 52* on Solstice this year) so I didn’t pack bathing suits for them, just shorts.

I was wrong. They went in the water and played for thirty minutes. They all ended up soaking wet and covered in sand. They had the best time ever.

Afterwards we went back to our AirBnB so everyone could get a shower. I can’t imagine they were very comfortable for that thirty minute drive.

Texas sand is kind of a fine powder and it sticks to absolutely everything. We definitely need to vacuum out our rental beast because otherwise it will be forever sandy.

There were a few other people on the beach, mostly riding up and down the beach in gulf carts. Swimming in the Gulf in December isn’t the most common activity.

One guy gave the kids a little boogie board that was slightly broken but my kids didn’t care. That led to a lot more falling in the water and getting even wetter and sandier.

There was one old guy living on the beach in an Airstream attached to a pickup truck. He was very nice and enjoyed watching the kids playing and having fun.

When we tried to leave we discovered we were a little bit stuck in the sand (you park on the beach). So the guy in the Airstream towed us out ending our adventure with a little extra adventure.

November Reads

I read seven books in November for a total of 2983 pages. I started the month off with a bang with The Perfect Family by Shalini Boland. I gave it five stars. I like psychological thrillers anyway, but this one caught me off guard all the way in the epilogue. I need to check out other books by that author. After that I read Remember Me: The Return by Christopher Pike. I gave it three stars. It just wasn’t nearly as good as the original book in the trilogy. That was kind of a letdown.

Next I read The Outsiders by SE Hinton. I gave it five stars. Adrian read it in 8th grade English last year and loved it. I can see why. It’s amazing that a 15-year-old girl wrote a novel that still holds up today, over 50 years later. Then I read The Man With the Sawed-Off Leg by Daniel J. Wakin. I gave it two stars. It was a book that didn’t really know exactly what it wanted to be and didn’t succeed at any of the options.

After that I read The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. I gave it three stars. It was hard to keep the characters straight there were just so many of them. That was the November choice for my real life book club (though I missed the meeting due to being super sick). My next book was Remember Me: The Final Story by Christopher Pike. I gave it two stars. I feel like the author should’ve just stopped after the first book of the trilogy. Let it be a standalone and not continue the story at all. My final book of the month was Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. I gave it three stars. I have a like/hate (nowhere near love) relationship with the Throne of Glass series. The last half of the book was pretty good and the last 3% was amazing.

My favorite book of the month: The Perfect Family by Shalini Boland

My least favorite book of the month: The Man With the Sawed-Off Leg by Daniel J. Wakin

Number of 5 Star Books: 2
Number of 4 Star Books: 0
Number of 3 Star Books: 3
Number of 2 Star Books: 2
Number of 1 Star Books: 0

105/100 books read for my goal of the year… I met my goal!

I cleared out a good portion of my November TBR (currently in the middle of reading a few of them) so a lot of the books on this month’s TBR are new ones. In addition to the books rolled over from November’s TBR, I’ve added the rest of the books for the giant BINGO I’ve been chipping away at since 2020 as well as a few others so it’s up to 15 books.

Family Pictures

We got our family pictures done a few weeks ago. This year I decided to just use bright colors for our shirts and though I worried a bit that they wouldn’t look right with the natural background, they turned out great. Jacqueline Eldredge always does an amazing job with our photos! (Pictures from 2020 and 2021, part 1 and 2021, part 2)

All of Us: (Back Row) Fritz, Cameron (Middle Row) Ani, Haley, Noah, Heather, Joel, Jamie, Nicholas, Elaine, Frank (Front Row) Mayci, Anthony, Zeke, Adrian

My parents, Frank and Elaine (76 and 77 years old)

Us, Jamie and Heather (44 and 46 years old)

Haley, age 23

Ani, age 22

Cameron, age 21

Fritz, age 16

Adrian, age 14

Zeke, age 7

Mayci, age 6

Anthony, age 5

Nicholas, age 4

Noah, age 3

Joel, age 3

Our traditional walking in a line picture! Ani, Zeke, Adrian, Nicholas, Jamie, Joel, Heather, Mayci, Cameron, Anthony, Haley, Noah, Fritz

October Literati, aka The Last Box

This has been too many bad boxes. Tweaking his interests didn’t work. Rating books he’s read didn’t work. So we’ve given up and cancelled our account. It’s too bad. The boxes prior to the “tailoring” were great!(boxes onetwo, threefourfivesixseveneightnineteneleventwelve, thirteen, and fourteen).

The artwork and bookplates were pretty nice this month. Those have been consistently good. There was a Mad Libs type story that looks fun, too. But the books…

Last Things by Jacqueline West, An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson, and Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner. All three of these went back. It’s strange they say they tailor the books to the kid’s interests because all three of these are genres that he specifically did not pick. Jamie wonders if it’s actually that they get books from publishers cheap to push on kids no matter what their interests.

These two we kept. Slay by Brittney Morris and The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw. Honestly he was on the fence for both of them and we almost returned all five book. Hopefully these two will be good ones. It’s really disappointing how Literati Kids changed a few months ago.

Fritz and Adrian’s First Quarter Report Cards

Fritz and Adrian have completed their first quarter of 11th and 9th grades at their very challenging magnet school. It was a lot of work and they both did quite well. Fritz even won the Kindness award (nominated by his English teacher).

Adrian
Physics – C (78%)
Cybersecurity – A (96%)
AP Human Geography – C (76%)
Spanish II – A (90%)
Geometry – A (93%)
Computer Science – A (90%)
English I – B (89%)

Fritz
Physics – A (94%)
3D Modeling & Animation – B (88%)
Algebra II – A (95%)
AP US History – B (80%)
Video Game Design – A+ (100%)
AP English III – A (95%)
Computer Science – A (97%)

Beware Quiet Twins

Jamie had gone to get Zeke and Mayci from dance, Anthony and Nicholas were on the couch with me watching a TV show, and Fritz and Adrian were upstairs doing homework. Noah and Joel were wandering around playing. After a couple minutes of not hearing them I went to investigate and discovered they had decorated the dining room, hallway, stairs, and themselves in a variety of sauces that hadn’t been put away yet from dinner. Always, always beware quiet twins.