Reading to the Class

Noah loves to “read” books to us. He holds them with the pictures facing out like his teacher does and babbles like he’s reading what’s on the page to us. Then he turns the page and “reads” that page to us through the whole book. I sent this picture to his teacher and she said he really likes when she lets him hold the book she’s reading and turn the pages for her so she’s not surprised he’s “reading” to us at home, too.

Pre-K Progress Reports

Near the end of the second semester we got Nicky and Noah’s progress reports. Nicky is all over the place thanks to ADHD so he’s having trouble remembering (or, more likely, letting the teacher know he remembers) what he’s been taught. Everything he didn’t get mastery on is also because of his ADHD. Noah knows all 26 uppercase letters and 25 of the lowercase letters. He can count 1-10, skips 11-19, and says 20. He apparently loves when he gets to be in charge of his teacher’s keys. I’m so glad he is able to be in ECSE. It’s made a huge difference for him.

Nicholas has mastered telling his age, pinching things to pick them up, identifying colors, reciting the alphabet, and that the number counted indicates how many there are. He’s progressing on participating in classroom and movement activities as well as following the morning routine. He’s in the social play stage meaning he plays together with others.

Noah has mastered pinching things to pick them up, participating in classroom and movement activities, identifying colors, and reciting the alphabet. He’s progressing on telling his age as well as following the morning routine. He does not yet understand that the number counted indicates how many there are. He’s in the parallel play stage meaning he plays near other children, but does not play with them.

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.

Marble Falls Walkway of Lights

Every year we drive up to Marble Falls to go through the Walkway of Lights. The lights are so beautiful. It’s mostly the same every year but it’s still worth going.

We accidentally made going there a tradition when we went to Main Street Bethlehem in Burnet and stopped in Marble Falls on the way home six years ago.

We’ve taken the twins to the Walkway of Lights in Marble Falls four times now. The rest of The Six have gone three times.

This year included complete sensory overload for one kid and an autistic meltdown for another. The lights really are very bright.

As usual we stopped at Dairy Queen on the way home for Blizzards. Everyone loves those. Maybe we’ll be able to take a leisurely stroll through the lights again when the twins are about 12. But in the meantime we’ll keep going every year because the kids love that trip every year.

Advent Calendars

This year we have four Advent Calendars. One is big dinosaurs, one is small dinosaurs, one is Legos, and one is cars. The littles take turns opening the doors each evening.

We go in age order. So, for example, on the 1st of December Zeke opened the book and Mayci went first to choose which calendar she wanted to open (she picked Legos), then Anthony, then Nicholas, and Noah got to open the last one (he let Joel help him pull out the figure).

We move down a kid each day so the second Mayci opened the book and Anthony was the first to pick an advent calendar. On the third Anthony opened the book and Nicholas was the first to pick. And so on through their ages like that rotating each day who does what.

The kids love pulling out that day’s surprise. Nicholas is especially happy that we’re adding so much to his dinosaur collection. These advent calendars just makes December, and waiting for Christmas, a little extra fun.