Monday, April 29, 2013

30 years later...

We took the kids to DC for their first visit on our way home from Hilton Head.  Since we only had one day we let each of the kids chose one thing they would like to see.

For Chase, it was the Lincoln Memorial.

For Madison, it was the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

For Abby, it was the National Gallery of Art.  We only got a shot of the tulips in front of the Museum.

Then it was Masons turn.  He really didn't care about anything at all, except NOT walking one.. more..step.. and playing on my phone.  We chose his spot for him.  The Air and Space Museum.  

This day in DC brought back a special memory of me spending a week one summer with my Grandparents at their home in Bethesda.  I remember very clearly spending a day in DC and trying to see all the sights with my Grandma.  We walked all over and went to as many monuments and museums as we could.  I was probably around 8 or 9, maybe 10.  The same ages as my kids are now.  I had to laugh because I remember being tired and not wanting to walk anymore and I am sure I complained just as my kids were complaining.  They were excited to see stuff, but the walking was tough.  They did a great job though.

The Air and Space Museum was our last stop.  We didn't spend a lot of time in there, but as we were leaving Gordon suggested going into the gift shop to get the kids a memento.  And then I remembered!  Astronaut Ice Cream!!!  I told the kids that the only thing I really remembered about my visit to the Air and Space Museum when I was 8 or 9 or maybe 10 was trying out astronaut ice cream.  Well, they were pretty excited and I honestly tried my best to explain that it was nothing at all like the ice cream they were used to.  They were not deterred though and Mason even started whining about how hungry he was and how much he needed ice cream.  They only skeptical one was Abby.  In fact, she wanted nothing to do with Astronaut Ice Cream.

Madison and Chase got about one bite in....  Gordon and I were cracking up.  We had to buy them a pretzel and water from the stand outside to get the taste out.  Mason, on the other hand, truly enjoyed his astronaut ice cream.  He at the whole thing and kept saying "yummy,"  which he will do while trying to convince himself and everyone else that he likes something.

30 years ago I never imagined that I would be sitting on those steps feeding astronaut ice cream to my own children.  I didn't like it 30 years ago and I am not surprised at all that my kids didn't like it 30 years later.  I guess they haven't changed the recipe.  Those poor astronauts.

We are excited to go back to DC again and choose some more sights to see.  We did make it to the temple later that evening and then we drove by the Chevy Chase Chapel where Gordon and I met.  It was late and the kids were tired so it didn't impress them that much.  Maybe next time we will have to take them out to eat at the restaurant where we had our first date.  If it is still there.  It was a Vietnamese restaurant, so my hunch is that it will be just as popular as the Astronaut Ice Cream!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Not what I was expecting.....

After I just finished posting all about our Spring Break, I went into the kitchen and began cleaning up.  (literally about 10 minutes ago.)  I was looking through the mail and saw an envelope from the school district.  I was really relieved because a few days ago I realized I had forgotten to write down the date for Madison's next IEP meeting. I know it's coming up and I know the school sends us a notice before hand so I was anxious to read the form and get the date in my calendar.    This IEP is a big one for me because Madison will be transitioning to a new school next year and I have been very worried about it. I worry about her all the time.  I worry about her academic progress, her emotional progress, her social progress etc....  When you have a child who has struggled as much as she has I am not sure you ever stop worrying.

So, you can imagine my complete surprise when instead of finding an IEP meeting notice,  I found the following letter.

WHAT!!!  We had no idea.  About this honor, I mean.  What we do know is that she has come a long way in the last year and a half.   Especially this school year.   She has just blossomed in every way.  She has some absolutely adorable friends in her class, a fantastic teacher who loves her and nurtures her, and a new confidence in herself and her academic abilities.  Even with all the growth, I still worry so much about her.  But, I am so grateful for the growth she has made and I am so proud of her.  And clearly, others have noticed too.  I have no idea what this evening is about, who will be there or even if it is that big of a deal to any one else, but I don't really care.  It is a big deal to her, and to our family, and it feels like a nice reward after 9 years of intense work, worry and growth.  I hope it give her even more confidence in her abilities and helps her transition into the new experiences that are ahead.

Thank you to anyone who is reading this that has had any part in Madison's life.  From Primary teachers, to our nannies, to our family and friends, each of you has loved her and helped her overcome some big challenges in her life.  She soaks up all that love and uses it to face her fears and get to work.  Thank you.  You will probably never realize how important you all have been to her, and to our whole family.

Spring Break 2013

This year for Spring Break we were lucky enough to go to Hilton Head Island.  After a long drive and a night in Lumberton, we arrived ready for the warm sand and sun.

We had a great time playing in the ocean, going on a boat ride, exploring a "mysterious island," spotting dolphins,  boogie boarding, fishing for sharks and sting rays, and just hanging out at the beach.

The Atlantic Ocean is so much warmer than the Pacific.  Even though our kids were born and raised only an hour from a beach, I think this is the first time they ever really got in and played in the water.

We went on a boat ride out to a sandbar in the middle of the bay.  It only appears at low tide, so my kids called it the "Mysterious Island," in honor of a Jake and the Neverland Pirates episode about a mysterious island than only appears at certain times.  They were pretty excited.  This picture was taken right after the captain put the boat on full speed according to Chase's request.

Madison was pretty stoked about the speed as well.

I told Abby I wanted to take her picture with Mason, so she grabbed his hand and did the pose with him.  I think she was trying to make it an artistic shot.  

The sand bar was pretty cool, but there weren't as many shells as were expecting.  Abby managed to find quite a few, but she is a digger and will get into the sand and dig them out.

After we explored the sand bar we got back in the boats and went in search of dolphins.  It didn't take long to find them.  This was my favorite part of the boat ride.

Madison told us that boogie boarding was her favorite part of the trip.  I believe it.  She loved it when she caught the wave perfectly and rode it all the way in.

The kids also got to go fishing with Gordon, my dad and their cousin, Camden.  

All of the kids caught a shark and Chase caught a sting ray too.  It was a great experience for them and one they will remember for a long time.

I have to say that my favorite part was just hanging out at the beach, digging my toes into the warm sand and soaking up the sun.  The kids entertained themselves in the sand as well as playing in the ocean.

Mason did really well- well really well for a three year old addicted to electronics!  He didn't love getting sand and salt water in his eyes, but he hung in there most of the time.  I love that he left his hat on.  Such a cutie! (at least when he wasn't whining for iphones, ipads or computer games!)

We loved our trip.  It was so nice to be in the warm weather and play in the sand!  We hope to go again next year and explore more of the island and do some more fun stuff.