A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child. --Forest E. Witcraft
It is hard to believe that Precious is five months old already. She is a happy girl who likes to gurgle, babble, and laugh! She responds positively to almost anyone who pays attention to her, but especially to Buddy. He really gets her to belly laugh!
We went to the doctor this week and learned that Precious is 16 lbs 6 oz and 26" long. She can roll from front to back, so now she really dislikes tummy time! She is learning to roll from back to front. She holds her own bottle and will play with small rattles. Everything, including her toes, goes into her mouth. Sometimes she will use a pacifier, but usually it's when she is tired.
Here she is completely asleep with her feet in the air. She slept this way for several minutes before her legs fully relaxed allowing her feet to come down.
Precious is such a joy! Although she was an unexpected addition to our family, I can't imagine life without her. The hearing to finish the TPR process on the dad(s) by publication is in two weeks. Then the case will transfer to adoptions. Hopefully, it will all be done by the end of the year!
May left for Y*M*C*A cowboy camp today. She gets to ride and take care of horses virtually full-time for two weeks. I'm not sure May understands how much work she will be doing, but she was excited to go. By last night she was getting anxious, but she was still looking forward to it. Today she handled things really well, but I could tell she was stressing inside. I am very proud of her taking on this challenge, as she historically does not deal well with new situations! I found out as the bus was pulling out that there are only twelve campers this week, as half of the camp is being used by a different group (not involving the horses). Next week up to a hundred other campers may come.
Sweets really wanted to go too, but she has three more years to meet the age criteria. I'm trying to send her next week to the one week session at the same camp for younger campers. Their actual horse time is limited, but it's more than she would get otherwise (that would be nothing). I talked to a director about a scholarship for her, since she would definitely qualify. Unfortunately, her dad has to fill out a financial application and provide some paperwork. When I asked him, he took the forms, but his attitude was basically "you pay for it". He'll sign permission but doesn't want to divulge any information.
I hoped to send Buddy to a week of camp too, but he is scared of not interested in horses. They have a second, more traditional summer camp which is at a higher elevation (a.k.a cooler). He is interested in that one, so I will see if I can send him after the girls get back. This way Miss M has less kids to watch and there is less fighting on a daily basis.
I will miss May's help while she is gone, but I'm happy she is able to have this experience. I hope she enjoys it and pray she stays safe!
BB has mastered getting out of the crib. He won't be contained anywhere. He has even figured out the gate we have with a push release on the opposite side.
BB is also very creative getting what he wants. He is a climber as well. So, someone needs to watch him constantly.
The big kids will help some, but they get tired of watching him. I can totally understand.
Getting BB to go to sleep is a huge challenge. It takes hours over an hour most of the time. I constantly pick him up and put him back in bed. A few times, I thought he was down for the count, but five minutes later, he comes strolling out again. The only thing I have made work is to sit in a chair where he can see me until he falls asleep, really well asleep, and then leave without making a sound. If he hears any noise, it is like he is hyper vigilant and the cycle starts all over.
Unfortunately, if he is not tired, this seems to go on forever. I don't have the time to sit and wait for him to go to sleep. As for naps, they are almost non-existant. He is like the energizer bunny....
The last three mornings BB has been up before 5:30am. UP! He comes walking in my room so proud of himself. I have been able to get him to lie down with me for a while, but he won't go back to sleep.
What a great way to finish the time off work than a nice afternoon in the pool as a family.
BB has always loved the water. He is already back to past where he left off last year as far as skills. He definitely has no fear, but he is learning to be cautious. He will jump in from the side, go completely under water, and come up smiling. He can blow bubbles on the surface of the water and can hang on to the side of the pool. He will float on his back with help. He doesn't ever want to get out!
Precious is another water baby! She has always loved her baths. She will float on her back on my arm in the pool and just kick and splash and have a grand ole time. She really liked this infant floatation device, especially the auto-shade.
BB and Buddy on the float together.
The big kids are great in the pool and are totally water safe. They are cautious and helpful with the little ones. All of them started swimming around two years old. I kept close to Buddy until about age five, when he could finally swim 25 yards on his own (the diving board test).
Sweets choosing to make good use of a time out.
Sweets scared the you-know-what out of me when she jumped off the high dive at the YMCA at just four years old! May has the strength and ability to do swim team, but she doesn't choose to expend the effort.
I'm frustrated with our YMCA and their policies to reduce risk. In the last couple of years, they have closed the high diving board completely to everyone except the dive team during practice. This made Sweets not even want to do dive team anymore, because she gets so frustrated she can't use it any other time. The one meter board is only open for limited times. As a result, the kids now prefer swimming at home most of the time.
Children under nine are not allowed in the pool, even the zero entry kiddie pool, unless an adult over 18 is within arms reach of them. When we started, it was under seven. This is extremely frustrating that a teenager can't be in the water, if an adult is present near the pool. For goodness sake, I practically taught my five year old sister to swim when I was ten!
In addition, the Y no longer provides swimming lessons for two year olds, other than the mom-and-tot classes. This is really frustrating; almost all of my former two year olds took swimming lessons after I taught them what I could. This also exposed them to taking direction from someone else, with me watching close behind Although BB is not ready now, I envision him being ready in about a month, but it doesn't appear to be an option. I'm really getting tired of so many policies changing because places are afraid of getting sued!
I'm so glad to be home. We arrived late last night. I missed my babies so much, and I can't believe how they seem to have changed in just ten days!
BB is finally saying enough words to really start to understand him. YEAH! He has also learned how to continously crawl out of the crib. BOO! All of BB's bottles are finally put away. YEAH! He is still not very interested in graduating from diapers. BOO! BB was very happy to see us all this morning, and when we picked up Sweets later in the day, I think he was finally at peace with the world.
Precious is growing, growing, growing! She can roll from her belly to her back. She can almost roll the other way. She seems far more alert and doesn't sleep nearly as much. I started her with rice cereal today and I think she is getting it! She has been mostly smiles and was very happy when we returned.
Sweets was thrilled to get to come back to my house today. It was hours later than we expected, but that's how it goes with her dad. She's here now, and I'm not asking about when she has to be returned. So far the behavior has been better than usual. One can only hope this continues!
Thank you, Lord, for a wonderful vacation with family. Thank you for keeping everyone safe and bringing us all back together.
Our final port was Ketchikan. It was a bit dreary when we docked, but the sun came out and made for a beautiful day! We did a little shopping and then we went on a small fishing boat with Grandpa and my sister.
Buddy's biggest hit during the trip was getting to drive the boat!
Although we were fishing for king salmon, they just weren't biting. We did some bottom fishing, and Buddy caught the first fish. May caught her first fish ever and the biggest one of the day.
We saw lots of wildlife, including bald eagles, humpback whales, and the most exciting of all - an orca and her calf, the first the guide has seen this year in these waters! It was a wonderful day!
Although not an actual port, our day in Glacier Bay was very nice and very cold!
It was overcast and drizzling most of the day, a bit of a disappointment after the beautiful day before in Skagway. But the sun did peek through a little bit.
We saw more majestic scenery and lots of large ice chunks in the water all around us. We even saw some sea otters on their backs in the middle of the bay. They seemed so far from land, just hanging out! We also saw a few humpback whales. It was awesome!
Our second port was the town of Skagway. The weather turned out to be beautiful, sun and all. Our whole family took a tour which started with a history lesson about the early miners and Dyea, the alternate route that vied with Skagway.
Our guide took us to the start of the Chilkoot Trail.
We saw many bald eagles.
The scenery was fantastic, especially with sun and blue sky, as we drove up part of the Klondike Trail into Canada. Storms washed out part of the road the day before, so we didn't go as far as originally planned.
We had a picnic lunch in the snow, where Buddy launched a few snow balls.
Next we stopped at the Yukon Suspension Bridge. Here's the view upstream from the center of the bridge.
Buddy was in his element, showing no fear and even trying to bounce the bridge on Grandpa! May passed on the bridge, so it was only Buddy, Grandpa, and I.
The highlight of the day was this mama bear and her three cubs that showed up one by one until they were all just below us on the side of the road.
Since it may be a long time before I organize the pictures and try to memorialize our trip, I thought I would blog to remember a little about each of our ports of call. The first was Juneau. It was apparently a very typical drizzly, foggy day.
The kids and I took a bus tour of Juneau with the first stop at a salmon hatchery. They assist wild salmon breed and then release the little ones with the goal of increasing the population in the ocean and ultimately the number that will return 3-5 years later. This bald eagle was sitting right off the dock.
May was brave enough to touch the critters in the tank of cold ocean water at the hatchery.
Our second stop was at Mendenhall Glacier. The ice now falling into the lake is two hundred years old. A piece of the ice was inside the visitor's center where you could touch it and see the pockets of air encased inside. We didn't get to see any calving, but we could hear the ice cracking - it sounds like thunder.
After the tour we did some shopping for the little ones at home. Then May returned to the ship, and Buddy and I went up on the Mount Roberts Tramway. Buddy met the mountain goat below at the top! We also watched a movie about the native Tlingit people and the ways they have continued to survive and even flourish.
Although the weather was not too cooperative, we had a nice day and saw much. The scenery is breathtaking - amazing testimony of God's magnificent creation. This afternoon turned out to be the first of several events for just Buddy and me, and this has been the best blessing of all!
We are having a fabulous vacation. I so miss my other three kiddos, but I know they are all doing fine. It has been a busy and yet relaxing trip. Individual time for May and Buddy has truly been a blessing. Buddy's behavior has improved drastically, and he even tried lots of new foods on the cruise. I'm so proud of him!
Here we are departing from Vancouver on the Volendam. The kids were having fun watching us leave the port with Grandpa.
Here is an example of some of the spoiling we received on the cruise...
How nice it is to be pampered!
These towel animals were really cute each night.
The food was so yummy! It was wonderful to order anything you want - no prices, no limits. We ate in the dining room, the buffet, and even had room service for breakfast a couple of times. I could get used to this but know it will be a LONG time before I might enjoy this again!
This Extravaganza was the bakery displaying 60 hours of preparation of decadent chocolate, breads, and other treats. It was fabulous!
The kids enjoyed the on-board activities for their age groups. After resisting going the initial night, they were begging to return to the tweens group (8-12) and the teens (13-17). There were seven in each age group on board the ship, but not all came to these activities. Buddy ended up with a new friend, a boy who is the same age that lives near Sweets. How amazing is that? They spent hours on the last day at sea swimming together in the pool on the ship!
We are now done with the cruise and back in Vancouver for some sightseeing. We are really enjoying ourselves, but I'm glad we will be home soon!
Left this morning for a ten day vacation. May and Buddy are with me, as we join extended family on a cruise to Alaska to celebrate my parents' upcoming 50th wedding aniversary. We arrived in Vancouver today and board the ship tomorrow. I'm finally in relax mode, although 24 hours ago, it was a whole different story. I was a nervous wreck last night, almost making myself sick.
Sweets' dad was asked if she could go last fall but waited until April to attempt to get a passport. Then we discovered he didn't have valid ID to allow him to apply. For two weeks he was going "tomorrow" to get the ID but never had time. Sweets predicted it, saying he wouldn't go. Unfortunately, taking time to do something with no direct benefit to him just doesn't rank among his priorities. So, Sweets is not with us. I am trying to send her to a week of summer camp later. Her dad has okayed that, and I think he just has to sign a paper.
BB and Precious are staying part time with the marvelous Miss M as well as with an amazing foster family with whom I have been friends for several years. BB is pretty content and should adjust easily; Precious is such a happy baby that I'm sure she will be fine. It was very hard to kiss them goodbye this morning. They were clueless but it really pulled on my heartstrings.
Buddy was amazed to see the Grand Canyon from our flight today. He was quite impressed. We could even see the Colorado River.
We had some turbulents on the flight, and then there was a bit of a medical emergency. A man had difficulty breathing, but another *medically trained* passenger along with the flight attendants were able to assist. It resulted in the beverages being significantly delayed, and Buddy was getting impatient. When I told him someone was having trouble breathing and that is why so many people were in the aisle instead of serving drinks, he understood. We prayed for the man and Buddy's patience was at its best all day.
It really has been a low stress day. I forgot what it's like to travel with only two kids, and older ones at that. I think this is the first trip in YEARS that I haven't toted a diaper bag, snacks, and other things to constantly occupy young ones. These two can occupy themselves! I'm constantly amazed at how mature May has become. She was quite relaxed and is truly a seasoned traveler.