Thursday, September 10, 2015

Whidbey and a Big Kid Update

It's been another busy week, but a good one, I think. Lots of socializing, lots of playing, and lots of working. This week begins the Carlson birthday madness with Eric's birthday today. I honestly can't believe that we have another one to celebrate in October. Madness, I say. It's really time to get to work on those. Kennedy and Cade have been working on planning their birthday parties lately, and hopefully they'll start work on Reece's soon, too! (I'm only half-joking here; so far, they've come up with some pretty good ideas!)

We are welcoming fall weather right now, as daily highs are only in the low 80s and the temps at night have finally dropped into the high 50s. It's so exciting to need another layer for the morning bus stop, though it's frightening how soon winter weather follows the comfortable fall temperatures. We haven't had rain in awhile, and the humidity is starting to fall, as well. It feels so good! I haven't even turned on the air conditioning in a couple of days!

Kennedy and Cade have been loving school lately, though Kennedy is not loving the homework. This year, she has 30 minutes of math homework every day, in addition to 20 minutes of reading, and weekly spelling assignments. She really doesn't enjoy the fact that her little brothers get to play while she has to do homework. Can't really blame her.

Kennedy's teacher emailed us a couple of weeks into the school year, commenting on how impressed she is by Kennedy's writing. With the great debate that Eric and I have always had as to whether we should be more focused on writing or math with the kids, I'm feeling pretty good about that. I think I'm winning! I am so glad that she enjoys reading and writing so much.

The first email that we got from Cade's teacher wasn't quite as specific, as he hadn't had time to gauge many of Cade's skills yet. He basically said something to the effect of "Cade's reading seems on target." In other words, nothing too spectacular, but nothing to be worried about, right? Eric and I chatted a bit about this and the fact that at some point, Cade would have to even out among his peers in terms of reading. I mean, no one looks at an adult who can read and comprehend and says, "wow, he's a really good reader." Nonetheless, I was a little surprised that it had happened so quickly.

Well, about a week later, I had an in-person conversation with his teacher at open house, and he commented on what a great reader Cade is. I laughed a bit and was honest with him that we'd thought based on his earlier email that Cade had averaged out among his peers. He laughed and said that he just hadn't had a chance to assess him yet but that it will probably be a couple more years before Cade is just an average reader. Reading (and spelling) certainly have come easily to this kid! (Bike riding...not so much!)

Cade finally got to upgrade his bike this week (the one we got last spring from friends was too small for him), and it inspired him to lose the training wheels. He had a rough start, but after a couple of days he had it down. We're hoping for another family bike ride this weekend, since Eric's games are cancelled.

The kids have also really loved hanging out with our friends who live in our new apartment complex. They love to check out the playground through the window to see who is outside playing, and we love that they're old enough that we can send them down to play by themselves. I really had no idea how much moving apartments would improve our quality of life. It's been a game-changer.

The benefit of putting off our week on Whidbey Island this year was the fact that the kids got to bring their bikes out there, so they were able to ride around the neighborhood and up to the pool with their cousins. We tried hard at that time to get Cade to take off his training wheels, but he wasn't having it. Next summer, he should be able to keep up with everybody a little better. Just another one of the hazards of his TCK lifestyle--he'd never really had a bike or anywhere to ride one, so it was a little more scary to him than your average 6-year-old. Oh, the mom guilt.

I'm so grateful that they get glimpses into what our lives were like as kids during our summer trips. I know that there are many expat families around the world who don't have the time or money to get to spend a month in their passport country every year, so we're so thankful for that opportunity. Even when kids are tired and cranky. Even when they won't touch a clam. Even when they feel like the outsider because they don't know how to ride a bike. It's just a part of our lives now.

The weather was so ridiculously nice this summer that I don't think I ever put on a pair of long pants. It was the first time I'd been out at the cabin when it was really hot, and for once, a swim in the Sound was not unthinkable! I actually hoped to fall off the paddle board when it got too warm!

We spent our days lounging on the beach or at the pool before putting together huge, delicious dinners in the evening. I probably gained about 10 pounds in the five days we were out there! Evenings were spent around the campfire, capturing the sunset, looking at the stars, roasting marshmallows, and playing rousing games of Heads Up. Only another nine months until we'll be back there!

And now, I'd better get some work done because no part of today has gone as planned, and I have yet to figure out how everything is going to get accomplished...

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