Thursday, August 27, 2015

James First Week of Pre-K!

After much anticipation and excitement (for us and for James!), James started preschool this week. This is his very first experience of being away from home and from me for a regular amount of time every day so it was definitely a milestone.

The night before James was really excited and we talked for a long time about what school rules there might be. I was very surprised at his suggestions! He came up with "No making noises, no slamming the doors, no bringing toys or stuffed animals from home". We would make some other suggestions about being kind to his friends, raising his hand when he wanted to say something, and things like that. Every time we made a suggestion, he would start nodding vigorously and say, "Oh yeah, oh yeah, I know that."

The first day was a little overwhelming with all the kids and parents and trying to figure out where everyone was supposed to be. James wasn't upset, but he didn't quite have a happy face either. He was reserving his judgement, I think.

He was really happy to see us when we picked him up a few hours later and throughout the day he would offer up little tidbits about what he did or what they talked about. He said they read "If you take a Mouse to School", which is a book we have at home and he was excited that he knew the book.

The next few days didn't go as smoothly. The second day he was clingy, not wanting me to go and said that his stomach hurt and that he didn't want to be at school. He said it was "boring" and "too long". I stayed with him for awhile before leaving and had a talk with him about how it is part of his job now to go to school, just like Daddy goes to work every day. He didn't seem to think that was a great system :)

His teacher is very kind and patient and perfect for him. She is a former Kindergarten teacher that is taking some time off to get her Doctorate and he looooooves her. They had an ice cream social open house where we got to see more of his classrooms and where he spends the day. He surprised me by running up to both of his teachers multiple times and giving them hugs. He was so excited to see them! He is not a huggy kid, especially with relatively new people so I am definitely impressed.
He was so excited, he was jumping up and down so he is blurry, but look at that happy face!

They have a bulletin board up with pictures of all the children in his class. Someone was trying not to smile when they took his picture...

Rett played happily with these toy animals they had out, making sure each one was standing up straight. Seriously this kid can be so calm and easily entertained.

Afterwards they wanted to play on the playground for awhile and James especially wanted to try out the little kids playground that he doesn't usually get to play in. They have this awesome see-saw but it goes much higher than I expected! James was loving it of course :)

Rett tried out the baby see-saw. Dang this kid is cute!
 Both of them had to drive the fire-truck. James says he loves recess, but he doesn't like sharing the playground equipment. Story of his life.

These pictures aren't school related but I wanted to put them up. This is a really neat duck nest that is in the bushes outside of church. All of the kids loved checking it out Sunday and I hope we get to see ducklings soon!

Anthony's coworkers have been requesting some of my homemade mint chocolate chip cookies, so James helped me bake some. He was all into it! He got out his toy mixer and helped me mix, cracked the eggs, poured the ingredients, opened the oven, etc... We had a lot of fun!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Phone Pictures

The city renovated one of the local parks recently and James loves to go play on the brand new playground equipment. He really likes going inside this play tower shaped like a lighthouse and he always wants Rett to be in there with him. The only downside to the playground is that it doesn't have a shade cover, which in my opinion is a necessity when it is crazy hot the majority of the year. Look at how sweaty these kids get!

Later that day James actually took a rare nap and he woke up with the craziest bedhead. I tried to get a picture of it, so of course he made funny faces at me :)

Poor Rett always gets the sweatiest when we go places, so I decided to put one of my sweatbands on him. I think it actually helped! I was surprised that he kept it on, so I think he liked it too.

One afternoon we played hide and go seek and I died laughing when I saw where Anthony hid. He totally tricked James! (You can see his legs poking out at the end of James' cardboard rocket) James went into his room and walked right back out again without spotting him :)

One afternoon I wanted to do my nails and my toes, so I thought it would be a good project for James and I to do together. He is always dying for a project to focus on and figure out and he was more than happy to help! He got out all of my nail polish and sorted them by what colors he liked. He helped paint on my cuticle oil and after watching me he asked, "can I have some polish?" How can you say no to that? He was so patient and still that it was amazing to watch. I ended up painting his nails and his toes the same color as mine so that we matched. I had way too much fun doing it. It was like having a small glimpse of what it would be like to not be the only girl in the house :) We ended up taking it off the next day since he was starting school (at Anthony's insistence). James agreed to let us take it off as long as we replaced it with clear polish.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Key West 2015

Last week we went on our annual trip to Key West! It was hot and crazy with the kids, but also fun. I wouldn't call it a relaxing vacation, but then again what vacation with kids can be called relaxing?

We left at 5am on Saturday morning to try to avoid traffic on the 7 1/2 hour long trip. We decided to pack up the car right before we left so we wouldn't forget our shower/bed things we would need the night before. Of course, at 4:45am it started pouring down rain! Poor Anthony had to pack up the car and got soaking wet. We were stuffed in there :)
While I was trying to take a picture of James, he kept showing me his stinky feet :)
We brought tablets loaded with movies for both of the boys, but James was so excited, he didn't want to watch it. Instead he asked us if we were there yet for about 6 hours straight. It was awesome. We also played the alphabet game and as a result we realized that we might need to get James' eyes was hard to tell if he really couldn't see the things we were pointing out or if he just wasn't paying attention.
Once we got to the top of the keys, we stopped for lunch at a place that has a large dock for tarpon feeding. You buy a bucket of fish and you get to go out and feed these huge fish just waiting for you. It was wild! Anthony got some good video of it on the gopro and added it to his lobstering video. The first eight minutes is of Anthony catching lobster and the last two minutes is feeding the tarpon.
Sunday we decided to go to church at the small branch they have in Key West. While we were waiting for everyone else to get ready, the boys played in the yard with a new rocket toy we got for James. They were so cute dressed up in their church clothes!
Anthony spent most of the week lobstering and in the evening we would fish off the seawall. James even caught and reeled in a few fish with his new rod!
I caught a few too :)

They had a great year for lobster, catching the most they ever have! One trip they got 33 lobsters!! The bag was so heavy it almost broke. The total at the end of the week was 51 lobsters. We ate a lot of them and took some home for the freezer.

We had to get a picture of the boys in the big chair while we bought our tickets for the week. These kids are ridiculously adorable.
We visited the butterfly conservatory and Rett loved seeing the butterflies for the first time. He ran around finding butterflies on plants and he would touch them with his pointer finger saying, "Fly! Fly". They would just stay still and let him do it! It was the same for James too. I've never seen such calm butterflies. It was like they knew nobody could hurt them.
After seeing the butterflies, James and my mom rode the tour train that takes you all around Key West and Anthony, Rett and I had lunch before heading home so Rett could take a nap. It was so strange to have a meal with just one mostly non-verbal child. Anthony and I could actually have a conversation! James and my mom had a blast on the train and they gave him a conductor hat to take home.
Thursday our vacation rentals had a scheduled power outage for 4 hours in the morning, so we left the house early with a goal of doing as many things as we could so that we didn't have to come back to no air conditioning. Our first stop was to a pirate treasure museum where you can climb a tower and ring a bell as if you were looking for shipwrecks. We took turns holding Rett and my legs were burning afterwards!
Our next stop was the aquarium and we got to watch them feed the sharks. The boys also petted the sting rays for a good amount of time, although in Rett's case it is more like yelling and slapping the water when a sting ray swam by :) It is a small open air aquarium without air conditioning, so we didn't last long in the heat.
We still had time before we could go home, so we drove over to a retired coast guard ship that has been turned into a museum. Kids were free, but adults were kind of expensive so only Anthony went with James while the rest of us stayed in the air conditioned car. They had so much fun! James "collected" all of the guns and cannons that he saw by pretending he put them in his pocket.
 Holding up his "collected gun":
Friday we checked out a parrot sanctuary we found online. It is in a private residence and the entire backyard is full of cages of different kinds of rescue parrots. Each cage had a sign with information about the parrot and what phrases they say and what they do. This parrot plays peekaboo and waves "hi" to you with his claw when you say hi to him.
The owner had one parrot out of his cage to do some demonstrations and James got to help her. He picked out a color on her phone (green of course!) and the parrot created a picture using his tongue to paint. It was so neat!

We brought a pool for the boys to play in in the back porch and they turned it into a "wishing well" and put pebbles in it.

The wild roosters were in rare form this year. They loved to hang out around our vacation rental and crow at all hours right outside our window! They woke up Rett from a nap one day and my mom chased it away with a broom. This one woke us up around 7am and I looked outside to see him staring right at our window. Grrrrr.

We left early in the morning again to drive home to avoid traffic and got a few pictures of the beautiful sky. It was a great vacation!