A Big Accomplishment

This past week the kids had their last week of swim lessons. Neither of them had any experience swimming prior to these lessons and they both progressed a ton. Abigail even got to the point where she didn’t want to leave the pool at the end of her lesson (when she started, it was reversed) and Joseph finished strong with swimming across the pool unassisted. We’re super proud of them! I didn’t get many pictures this week, but I do have some videos to share to make up for it. 🙂

Abigail has been having some concerns with the possibility of having bad dreams, so we made a dream jar. She suggested different prompts for good dreams, which I wrote down and then put into the jar.
The idea is that she gets to draw ONE idea every night (what was happening before was a bit tough on me: she would ask me to come up with a bunch of different ideas, which she would veto, and then she’d also come up with a ton of other stalling tactics). It was a bit rough the first night, but we hit our groove when we added that she could leave her door open and listen to (not watch) a specific episode of Baby Einstein (the lullaby episode) to let her fall asleep to.
Our pumpkin experiment is growing!
Abigail got a play camping set (campfire, logs, marshmallows and roasting sticks, graham crackers, and chocolate) a little bit ago and Paul decided to take it up a notch. He added the tent, a sleeping bag, and the camping chairs. 😁
Checking out the tent.
Abigail swimming with the kickboard.
Abigail swimming on her own with a bit of help from her teacher.
Joseph swimming one way with the kickboard and then the other way on his own.

Spontaneity (sort of)

This past week held a few sort of spontaneous situations:

Situation #1: The kids started swimming lessons. I’ve been saying that we needed to get them into lessons, but the situation never felt right. Then a friend of mine, who does one-on-one lessons, opened up another session. I signed the kids up with her and it’s been so great! We’re only one week in (they have one more week to go) and they are both doing…swimmingly. 😉 Joseph has gone from being only comfortable with standing in the water (he has never liked putting his face in the water) to swimming with a bit of help across the pool. Abigail has gone from screeching like a banshee to being more comfortable in the pool.

Situation #2: since we finished paying off the car that Paul primarily drives, we have been researching vehicles to replace the family car, since it was starting to get up there in age (we didn’t want to miss the window for still getting a decent trade-in value). The problems we were running into were lack of inventory and higher APR rates. Paul watched the rates and when they started getting better, we started looking for cars. There were a couple that we thought we might get, but with one, we found out that it was pre-sold (the salesperson we were dealing with didn’t realize it). With the other, it ended up getting sold because of a miscommunication between two salespeople. Another one popped up and we talked about it briefly and then hurried down to the dealership to buy it before it got sold. It was stressful for a bit (is it ever not?), but we got it accomplished!

Situation #3: We decided to take the kids out to the Hill Country for a kind of quirky family field trip. Out in kind of the middle of nowhere is a replica of Stonehenge…along with a couple of replicas of the Easter Island stone heads. We took the kids out there to check it out. It was rather hot, so we didn’t stay long, but we did tell the kids that we might go back another time when it wasn’t so hot (there’s no admission fee, so we didn’t lose out anything there…and the drive through the Hill Country is almost always pleasant).

I never know what’s going to happen next in this house. I was in my room reading when this ball of awesomeness waltzed in and started serenading me with her party blower (a prize from her swimming teacher for surviving her lesson).
We have had quite a few baby pumpkin plants sprout up around the front and back yards because there were pumpkin seeds in our compost that apparently hadn’t fully broken down. We’ve pulled up almost all of them (because they were in the middle of the yard or in other plants’ pots), but we left this one alone to see what happens (since it’s already in a spot where the grass isn’t really growing and it’s not smack in the middle of the yard).
The kids helped me with dinner on Thursday night. We took a loaf of French bread, sliced it, and turned it into mini pizzas.
Adding cheese to the pizzas. It was her idea to make sure she was properly dressed for the situation. At first, she was putting little tiny pinches of cheese on.
She realized that was going to take a super long time, so she switched to handfuls.
Putting on the toppings.
Into the oven they went!
A bit of steamed broccoli on the side makes for a delicious dinner!
Our new ride: a Mazda CX-5.
Joseph using the paddle board to swim across the short end of the pool.
Then he used the paddle board to go across the long way. At the very end of his lesson, my friend had him swimming using arm scoops (so kind of like a doggy paddle, but with his face submerged). This is my kiddo who has never liked putting his face in the water or even getting splashed in the face. He has made so much progress this week!
Abigail learning to glide. She struggled with putting her face in the water, but my friend kept working with her. We want her to be able to not be freaked out in case she were to ever fall into water, so submerging her face is a must. By the end of the week, she was no longer screeching/crying. It helps a lot that my friend has a small canister full of little prizes. Abigail picks her prize out at the beginning, which really helps with motivation.
Learning to float. My friend will help her float and sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. It would help her calm down after having to be under the water and also teach her to spread herself like a star in order to float.
The replica of the Easter Island statue. Both kids got a little statue from the gift shop to bring home.
Hanging out by Stonehenge II (that’s what they call it).
The boys.
Someday I do want to travel to England and see the real one, but this one was pretty cool to get to see.

A New and Fun Adventure

The beginning of the week pretty much started off normally. Friday, I decided we needed to get out of the house and have some fun. We drove out to the zoo and looked at a few of the animals before it got too hot (thank goodness for zoo passes). We then got onto the zoo train for a ride. One of the stops along the trip is the Witte Museum, which is primarily a natural history museum. We got off at the stop for the Witte and explored the museum for a couple of hours. Then we walked back to where the train had dropped us off and waited for the next train (trains pass by roughly every 20-30 minutes). We just had to show them our tickets and we were able to ride it back to the depot. It was a fun time!

Joseph teaching Abigail how to play the Pokemon card game. 🙂
This girl loves to play with Play-Doh!
She had some googly eyes from her build-a-monster kit (she got it at the school trunk-or-treat last year: it was a small container of Play-Doh with some pipe cleaners and googly eyes) that she used.
I think the purple cow is my favorite, haha.
She wanted a Lunchable, but we didn’t have any. I decided to cut some lunch meat into circles (using my biscuit cutters, of all things) and cut a stick of string cheese into chunks. I put those onto a plate with some crackers, strawberries, and tomatoes. She was one happy girl!
While Joseph was at Primary Activities, I took Abigail for a frozen yogurt date (Paul had a meeting).
The sky on Friday morning was so beautiful!
Abigail specifically wanted to see the toucans and the amphibians. First stop: toucans!
I can’t remember what type of frog this is, but I thought he was really cute. Joseph pointed out that a lot of the frogs looked like they were smiling.
I loved the speckles on this guy.
A Panamanian golden frog.
There was this fun cut-out for them to take a picture with.
A king vulture.
In front of the Witte.
There was a model of a quetzalcoatlus at the entrance to the museum.
The kids loved the dinosaur fossils.
Abigail said she liked that they were “roaring” at her.
They both liked seeing the sea turtle skeletons.
Using paint brushes to uncover a “fossil”.
Checking out a bison. Abigail really liked feeling the square of bison pelt.
Painted pebbles that were made by the people of Pecos (Native American tribe in the Texas area).
Arrowheads. These were Joseph’s favorites.
It was cool to read about how to shape an arrowhead.
The museum had an exhibit about Fiesta. It had a bunch of gowns that different Fiesta Queens have worn over the years. Those triangles on the wall are the trains for the gowns.
I love the bejeweled horses on this gown. I also thought the crown was neat.
Looking through the microscope at tiny things.
They loved this sand table. So, so much.
It had a projector above it that projected lines onto the sand. The lines made it look like a topographical map.
The lines would move around as the kids made mountains and valleys.
I didn’t see an informational plaque for this sculpture, but I really liked it. I wish I knew the story behind it.
We found this area of the museum that was all about the human body and different fun things that kids can do to stay active and healthy. This station measured heart rate.
He was “riding” the Mission trail (a bike trail that goes past San Antonio’s five colonial missions).
They had to use the rope to pull themselves up. Joseph got all the way as high as it would go.
Abigail got up about half a foot. 🙂
Joseph checking his heart rate.
Checking out an exhibit about Texas settlers.
The kids were excited to see signs saying they could get up on the saddles.
An old truck. 🙂
She saw these elephants outside and had to pose with one (and also had to make sure that her new binoculars made it into the shot, too).
This is the shirt she wears when playing with Play-Doh or anything messy. I love seeing it because it’s a shirt that either my mom or dad would wear when they would go see one of my marching band shows when I was in high school. 🙂
This is what an early morning walk followed by a zoo trip, a museum trip, and regular every-day activity adds up to. Whew!
We ran to the mall so that I could go to JC Penny’s too look for some more shorts/capris. While I was looking for that stuff, Paul took the kids to the LEGO store. Abigail was excited to see that this guy was still there.