Thursday, July 02, 2015

Summer Accomplishments

I go into every summer with a big list of organizational things to accomplish around the house, and each year it seems like none of them get done.  This summer I'm taking a different approach, and assuming my house will remain just as messy and unorganized, since there are still all these people living here, many of them still in prime mess-maker mode.  Instead, I've got some other more long-term rewarding projects going on.
First was potty-training Drew.  I knew that when we came back from Texas, this was my big shot at it, since we have a few weeks where we're not making a big trip.  I told him over and over before we left for Texas that when we came back, he'd be wearing big boy underwear.  He started peeing on the potty fairly often, especially down in Texas, when he was getting in and out of his swimsuit 10 times a day, LOL.  I think that really helped get him used to the whole idea.  Then last Friday the L's came by to pick up Nathan, since they kindly offered to give him a ride up to WSS with their family.  Elizabeth also dropped off a big bag of Theodore's underwear that he had outgrown--even the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle ones.  Micah was quite impressed with this sacrifice, and he was more than willing to pass ALL of his underwear down to Drew, since he had this whole new bag to choose from.  So Monday Drew started wearing underwear, and he hasn't looked back!  He's had 3 little accidents since then, which is really quite good, and the whole business was quite painless this time, I have to say.  Yay!  Drew's favorites are either Thomas the Tank Engine or Cars.  Hard to pick a favorite from those 2 good options, LOL.
Swim team has been taking an inordinate amount of time.  We have kids in every possible age bracket for morning practice.  Micah starts off from 7:30-8:00, then Faith and Grace are from 8:00-8:30, then Anna and Jonathan from 8:30-9:15, and then Caleb from 9:15-10:00.  I have never been so happy to have Luke not be swimming, so at least I don't have to cart Verity and Drew around the whole morning. Since the pool is about 10 minutes away, and no one wants to sit over there for 2 1/2 hours, I usually end up making 3 round trips.

Micah is the wild card.  Our team decided to offer a "junior swim team" this year for kids who couldn't make it across the pool.  They just had to be 4, which Micah turned not long before registration.  I was hesitant, given Micah's history of balking uncooperativeness, but Bob thought a summer of swim lessons sounded great, so we signed him up.  The only problem is that his practice is the earliest, and it's always the coldest.  So there are all these scrawny little kids crying about getting into the cold water, and Micah is right there with them (ETA:  Bob wanted to be sure to point out he is definitely a ringleader, not just a follower, LOL).  When he does get in, he does great with his little kickboard.  I just hope he will go through enough practices this year that he will get the idea of his arms working too.  If it looks like it's going to be cold or rainy in the morning, though, we've started just not taking Micah.  That makes the other practices just work out better.  Hopefully next year he'll be in the 8:00 slot by being able to cross the pool!

This morning, since it was after a meet, they didn't have a regular practice.  Instead, the little kids dove off the diving board into the waiting arms of their coaches.  Bob dropped Micah off this morning on his way to work, and he called to tell me he didn't think Micah would jump at all.  But when I got there to pick him up and drop off the girls and Jonathan, he had in fact jumped off 5 times! He was pretty proud of himself.  We'll see what tomorrow brings . . . I think it's supposed to rain.
Everyone else is doing really well.  Caleb and Jonathan are doing well, although Caleb is not thrilled about moving up to the 13 and up age bracket, where it seems like everyone else is huge and muscular, LOL.  Grace has really made huge strides.  She has been winning her freestyle and backstroke races!  Anna is an excellent swimmer too, although this year she's the younger year of her age group.  Also, she's had to learn the butterfly, as well as work a lot on breaststroke, her least favorite stroke by far.
This is Faith's first year on swim team, and she's doing great too!  She's just learned the backstroke, and she is so cute when she does it.  She pulls to the left until she hits the lane line, then corrects a bit, until she arcs back over to that left lane line.  It's a scallop pattern, LOL.  But when she figures out how to go straight, she'll really take off!  In last night's meet, the first time she swam backstroke, one of her coaches was in the lane with her, just in case she had trouble, but she didn't have any (aside from hitting the lane lines, LOL), easily making it across the pool.
Another rewarding project I've been working on is cooking with Anna.  She's really wanted to do more cooking, and she loves watching cooking shows on youtube, but I have not had a ton of extra time to teach her during the school year.  So far this week we've made some jam-filled cookies, banana muffins, and today's project of cinnamon rolls, using Elizabeth L's recipe.  They were just as delicious as they look!  She is really improving in reading through the recipe a few times, instead of just throwing random things in willy-nilly.  I don't know what tomorrow's project will be, but everyone else in the house is really enjoying the fruits of her labors!

We've also been doing some school to finish up some things for some people, and to do some new things for others, like Micah.  He has seemed really interested in learning to read, but again, I just haven't had a ton of extra time during the school year.  This week I got out the old "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons", and we've started plugging through that.  He has watched the Leapfrog Letter Factory video a bunch of times with the girls, so he already knows a lot of the sounds (love that video!).  After doing a lesson or 2, I give him some letters to trace.  When Nathan was preschool age, and I desperately wanted to do *something* to show I was homeschooling, my friend Suzanne recommended taking an Usborne beginning handwriting book, tearing out all the pages, and laminating them, so the kids could just write on them over and over with a dry-erase marker.  I did that with 2 books (a handwriting one, and a space connect the dots one), and all the kids have loved using them.  Best thing I ever did, for sure!  So I got those out, and Micah and Drew have been having a ball each morning with those.  We'll see if he maintains his interest.  If not, no big deal.  He's having fun right now though!

So my house is still cluttered, messy, and unorganized.  To paraphrase my sister-in-law's sign at her house, "My house was clean for Nathan's graduation party on June 6 . . . sorry you missed it!"  But other important things are getting done, things with more lasting value.  Now I just need to fit in time to plan for my classes next year . . . I guess that will be July's big project.  Sigh.  I am not looking forward to diving back into it all again one bit!

ETA:  Oh, I almost forgot an accomplishment I'm so excited about!  I finally finished my snapfish photobook about our space-a Hawaii adventure from back in February 2014!  I think I started it over Christmas break, but it's taken me forever to finish.  One reason is because I incorporated my blog posts into the pages, so I had to deal with text boxes, and text in tiny fonts, which I couldn't take in big sittings.  But now it's on its way, and I can't wait to see it!  I hope it's a wonderful memory of a wonderful trip.

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