When we first got Zeke whenever we went for a walk he called it a “sidewalk.” He doesn’t say that anymore and hasn’t for quite some time, but now Joel has started requesting going for a sidewalk sometimes. He’s quite a fun sidewalk companion. He spends the whole time holding my hand and not running ahead and singing his little heart out.
We had a couple days off for bad weather this week (kids ate their lunches at home one of those days). Zeke has requested to always be able to buy his lunch at school and Mayci must bring her lunch for the foreseeable future after she told us she often just eats the bread and throws the rest away when she buys. One day this week she spent $2.40 to eat cornbread and nothing else.
Zeke works so hard in school. He earned every one of his grades with a lot of hard work. It’s amazing how hard he’s come over the last couple years. School comes easy for Mayci. She’s very smart and (when she doesn’t make careless errors) it shows in her grades. She loves school so much.
Starting in first grade kids get percentage grades for language arts, math, science, and social studies. They get E (excellent), S (satisfactory), or U (unsatisfactory) in everything else.
Language Arts – 88%
Math – 74%
Social Studies – 78%
Science – 83%
Conduct – S
Health – E
Art – S
Theater Arts – S
Music – E
PE – E
Language Arts – 95%
Math – 91%
Social Studies – 100%
Science – 97%
Conduct – E
Health – E
Art – E
Theater Arts – E
Music – E
PE – E
Kindergartners get lots and lots of grades on a 1-5 scale with 1 being well below grade level and 5 being well above grade level. Most of the grades given are 3s. Anthony is doing really well, especially in conduct which is something we’ve been working hard on since pre-k.
Music – all 2s
PE – all 3s
Participation – all 3s
Conduct – almost all 3s, a couple 2s, and a 4 in respecting authority figures
Language Arts – two 2s and a 3
Reading – an even mix of 2s and 3s
Math – mostly 2s and a 3; he can rote count to 29
Social Studies – an even mix of 2s and 3s
Science – all 3s and one 2
Health – 3
This week Zeke, Mayci, Anthony, and Nicholas requested to be able to buy lunch on Thursday. Nicholas didn’t really like buying a lunch after all so even though Zeke, Mayci, and Anthony wanted to buy lunch again on Friday, Nicholas wanted to bring his. They didn’t need snacks on Thursday because it was an early out day (same with Wednesday but they ate the snacks I had packed when they got home from school).
It was a nice two weeks off not having to pack lunches and snacks but now we’re back at it. This was a four day school week. Zeke and Mayci requested to buy lunch on Friday.
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.
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!”
While we were on vacation Ani got a cookie decorating kit and made pretty cookies with some of the kids.
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.