Rachel: Daddy, have you ever been to Pei-Wei?
Rachel rode the bus home from school today since I didn’t have to go to work, so we went to the store and got ingredients to make cookies. She was a great helper.
Today was the last soccer practice of the year for Rachel and Matthew. The kids (ALL of them at the same time) played against the parents. Monica had 2 goals. I sat on the sideline with my sore foot and took pictures.
Yes, I’ve been neglecting this. I don’t know why…I guess I just haven’t been in the writing groove lately. It seems like whever I get a chance to sit down, I just want to rest. Or kill zombies.
So, I’m probably not going to do the last four months any kind of justice, but I’ll try to do a bit of a recap and get caught up.
So, we ended May with Rachel doing really well in Kindergarten. You even got an award for being a great citizen. Your mommy and I were so proud of you. We’ve always known that you were a very nice little girl, and it was great to have other people recognize that in you.
Emily, you ended May by ending your time going to Ms. Sanchez’s house. You’ve been staying with her since you were 6 months old, and so it was a little bit sad for us to have you leave her. But we were very excited about the next step you’d be taking in just a few months with starting pre-k.
We started off the first two days of June with Rachel ending her dance lessons. Your recital was on June 2 (dress rehearsal on the first), and we were very excited to see you dance up on stage. You had really enjoyed your dance lessons over the past several months, and you did a great job on stage. We were even able to have Grandma and Grandpa join us via video chat to watch you dance, then as we were on our way to another party after your recital, you got to video chat with them in the car. Technology absolutely amazes me.
Just a few days later, Rachel, you turned six years old. I can’t believe how quickly you’re growing up. At one point back in May, I asked you what you wanted for your birthday, and you told me you really wanted a kickstand for your bike. Well, instead of buying you a kickstand, we deicded to get you a brand new bike (with a kickstand)! It’s a little bit big for you, but you’re growing so fast, I know you’ll grow into it quickly.
We also ended another thing in June. Emily aged out of the parent-infant program at Sunshine Cottage. We cannot say enough great things about the people at that school. They have provided us with so much support over the past three years, and taught us so much about ourselves and how to deal with Emily’s hearing loss. We will miss them all.
In July, we took a road trip up to Illinois to see Grandma and Grandpa. This was the first time we’d driven up there since Rachel was a year old. We decided to drive because it was really expensive to fly, and we figured the two of you were old enough to handle sitting in the car for a long time.
We drove at night so that you both could sleep, and you did really well. We made the trip in really good time, and you both had an great time while we were up there.
I think the highlight of the trip was going to Geneseo and visiting Uncle Steve’s farm. You both had a great time riding on the tractor, and feeding his horse, Lady. Rachel, you had a notebook full of questions for Steve, and he answered all of them for you. You learned a lot about farming.
Grandpa took us all out on the boat one of the days we were up there, and Emily, you caught your first fish ever! You even caught it on your first cast! Of course, that completely ruined the day for you because you expected to catch something every time you threw your line out, but it was still very exciting for all of us.
We had an early birthday celebration for you while we were in Illinois, Emily, and just a few days after we got back, you turned 3 years old. Three. Years. Old. I can’t believe it.
July also brought the beginning of the summer Olympics. Rachel, you had lots and lots of questions about the sports and the people playing their sport. Many of those questions were “Are those people Chinese?” You seemed to be obsessed with the Chinese, and I’m not sure why. I remember four years ago when you would watch with Mommy and imitate her cheering for the USA, and I was hoping that Emily would do the same, but she didn’t seem to have as much interest in the sports.
So that brings us, finally, to August. I’m sure there was just as much that happened in May, June, and July as there was in August, but August is fresh in my memory, so it’s going to get a lot more words, sentences, and paragraphs.
Rachel, you and I started off August by taking a daddy-daughter trip to Six Flags with my friend Ed and his daughter Darby. You and Darby are just a couple of months apart, but it’s been 3 years since you’d seen each other. It didn’t matter a bit…you were fast friend the moment they got to our house. One of the very first things we did when we got there was to measure you to see if you could ride the roller coasters. Darby is just a tiny bit taller than you are, but both of you fell about an inch short of the mark. So instead of introducing you both to the wonderful world of roller coasters, we spent the entire day in the water park.
I feel bad because we hadn’t been swimming at all this summer up to this point, and you still don’t know how to swim. I really need to get you and Emily both into swimming lessons. Part of the reason we haven’t done that is because Emily had those tubes in her ears until just a month ago, so she couldn’t really go swimming without earplugs, and she didn’t like wearing them. That, and I had to work a lot more this summer, so we just didn’t have the time to go.
But August was definitely the swimming month. Just a week after our trip to Six Flags, we took off for Corpus Christi and spent the weekend at the beach. We hadn’t been to the beach since before Emily learned to walk, so over 2 years. We went down with Tia Maria and Tio Gregg, and Ed met us there with Darby and Caitlyn (Mandi and Liliana stayed home) and you guys played on the beach the ENTIRE day. I think the adults were just as worn out as the kids. The two of you were dead asleep before we even left the park.
Of course, August always brings us back to school, and for the first time ever, both of you are in school. Emily, you started pre-K with the same teacher Rachel had for her last year of pre-K, which is great for us since we already know the teacher and the routine. Rachel, you started first grade, which means no more naps for you! It also means the beginning of things like spelling tests and doing more homework. Of course, we know you can handle it.
Emily, we’ve already noticed a marked difference in your behavior since you started school. It seemed like we had a rough summer with you discipline-wise, but hopefully being in school will help with that. I remember it helping a lot with Rachel. I think the most amazing with about your first day/week of school is that not a single tear was shed. You spent the entire summer crying every time Mommy would drop you off at “moo-moo” (day care), but you walked into school on that first day, went right with Ms. Riley, and everything was fine. I think it definitely helped that when we went to meet the teacher night, Rachel was with us, and the first thing she did was to run over and give Ms. Riley a big hug. I think that let you know that everything was cool.
Rachel, you started playing soccer again, this time on the CYO league. It’s definitely different than the other soccer teams you’ve played on. You have practice two times per week and they’re really working on teaching you the fundamentals of the game.
September is bound to bring some cooler weather, so we’ll be able to enjoy the outdoors a little more. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get caught up on these…I promise you I’ll try to do a better job of getting them done on time from now on.
Your Mommy and I love both of you more than words can express.
This past month marked the end of the baby years at our house, and the grand enterance of the big girl years.
Emily, you’re getting all of the honors this month because you’ve finally made a big accomplishment, and transition. You are officially out of diapers! It was just like everything else you’ve done, from crawling to walking. You did it on your own terms and in your own sweet time, but when you were ready, that was it. There was basically no transition at all. On a Friday you were wearing diapers, and on Saturday, you weren’t. You did have a couple of small accidents the first week, but we could count them on one hand. And now you’re all in. The only time you wear any kind of diaper or pull up now is when you go to bed or when we are going to be away from a bathroom for an extended amount of time.
Even then, though, we’re finding that you can hold out for a couple of hours without having to go. In fact, at night, we can get you up one time before we go to bed, and you’ll usually wake up dry. When we went to King William Fair last week, you held it for 2 solid hours because you absolutely refused to go in the port-o-potties. And when you have to do #2, let me tell you girl, we need to get you some books. You can stay on that thing for half an hour or more. We have had some very lovely conversations, though, while you were sitting on the throne.
Another transition you made this month, Emily, was one in your speech. I had mentioned before that you were starting to lose the baby words and use the correct words for things a little bit at a time, and the one you lost this month made me a little sad. You have completely stopped calling your sister “Yay-yay” and now call her “Yay-chel.” I was really hoping that would be one of those nicknames that just stuck with her for her whole life and we could always tell the cute story of how you heard us calling her Ray-ray, and it just stuck with you. But it didn’t. And it was another one of those that happened so quickly, it caught me off gaurd. One day it was Yay-yay and 5 minutes later, it wasn’t any more.
Rachel, this has been an interesting month for you, too. After taking off so quickly on your bike at the end of last month, you didn’t want to have anything to do with riding your bike for the next few weeks. It was all the result of a fall you had, and you were scared it was going to happen again. After a lot of coaxing, we finally got you to ride around a little bit on the street in front of the house. After you got your confidence back, you started wanting to ride every day, and even started asking to go on bike rides around the neighborhood. Last weekend we took a 4 mile ride on the Leon Creek Trail, and you did a fantastic job!
You and I also got a chance to go to a Spurs game thanks to you being such a great student and having great citizenship. I’ve always know you were a really nice girl, and it’s great when others recognize that in you, too. You and I had a great time at the game, especially because the Spurs won.
You both had a wonderful time at Easter, and were very happy with the new things the Easter Bunny brought you. Of course, as always, your favorite thing to do was smash cascarones on everyone’s head. Emily, I think this was the first year that you really understood what that was all about, and you would ask anyone and everyone if you could crack one on them.
This was the first year that we went to Fiesta without a stroller, and I think we probably could have gone one more year with bringing it, but hopefully next year you both will be able to enjoy the things we go to a bit more. It’s not that you didn’t enjoy what we went to, but with constant worries about having to go to the bathroom, we didn’t get to do quite as much as we would have liked.
May will be another big transition for both of you, since you’ll be ending your daily routines at the end of the month and starting with your summer routines. As always, we can’t wait to see what the next month brings for you both. We love you very much.
Spring has sprung, and we’ve had a lot of changes in the past month. To begin with, your gandparents headed back to Illinois. We were all very sad to see then go, but I think you’ve both managed to adjust pretty well.
The week after your grandparents left, you both discovered the other neighborhood kids. You’ve played with them before at our “National Night Out” parties, but now you’ve started playing with them every day. It’s nice to see you all playing together and wearing each other out. I’m sure their parents feel the same way. Of course, since it’s light later in the evening now, it’s harder to get you to come inside when it’s time, too.
Emily, we finally found out that you have been accepted into preschool for next year, so we’re starting the countdown to you going to school. Along with that have started the “is she ready” questions, because we just worry about you a lot. It’s still 5 months off, though, and if the last 5 months have been any indication, we think you’ll be more than ready to go.
Your speech gets better and better every day, and it seems like at least once a week now you ditch a baby word and start saying the actual word. “Bankie” has given way to “blanket” recently, and every time you do that, it takes us a few days to adjust and realize that your vocabulary has changed. You’ve also started repeating almost everything everyone says to you, much to the annoyance of your big sister.
Rahcel, you got a citizenship award this month! We are so proud of you. As a reward, your school is giving you a free ticket to a Spurs game. That’s going to screw up my “I’m not watching the NBA this year,” but I think it’s for a great reason. Your teacher has nothing but great things to say about you, and we know you’re going to blaze right out of kindergarten and into first grade. We already knew this, but in your reading tests, you came out way above grade level. You can read words no kindergartener has the right to know. The other day, you were reading a box on the counter and it had the word “protein” on it. You read the whole thing without skipping a beat, like you’ve known the word “protein” your whole life.
We’ve had a lot of fun checking the garden each day since spring break, and some of the things we planted are coming up fast. However, a lot of the things we planted are getting eaten by bugs, so we’re going to have to do something about that. It’s great to see you both so interested in the things that are growing, though, and I can’t wait until we’re able to harvest some good things to eat.
Finally, we had a very exciting thing happen on the very last day of the month. Rachel, you learned to ride your bike! You’ve been riding around with your training wheels up off the ground a few inches for the past couple of months, and doing a great job of balancing when you ride. It didn’t take you long at all to get up and riding, and within an hour or so, you were starting on your own, and riding in the street. I can’t wait to start going for bike rides with you. I just hope the weather stays cool a little bit longer so we can enjoy it.
Next month is Fiesta month, and we can’t wait to take you both to some events to see how much fun you have. We love you very much!
Well, your dear old dad has gone and done it again. I’ve done a pretty good job of ignoring your letter for the past 2 1/2 months. Here we are, halfway through March and I haven’t written a thing about what the two of you have been up to since the beginning of the year. BAD Daddy! I’ll go sit in the corner now.
So…10 weeks ago, we started a new year. And a couple of weeks into that new year, something really special happened: your father turned 40 and Your Aunt Sarah, Uncle Britton, and cousin Sabrina came to visit us!
It was so nice to have them all here, and the two of you loved playing with Sabrina. The weather cooperated for the most part, and we were able to take all of you to the zoo. We really need to get you all together more often. Emily, you haven’t stopped talking about “baby?” since they left, and we finally having you saying “Bweena.”
Something else really fun that happened was that you both got to go on a real train. Two of them, in fact! The Amtrak anniversary train was in town, so we went down the the train station to check it out. What we didn’t know that they they have a steam engine they’re in the process of restoring down there, too, so you both got to take a look at that, too! Even though we didn’t actually go for a ride on the trains, both of you had a great time, and especially Emily, since you’ve been so into Thomas the Tank Engine lately.
In February, Rachel, you and I went to a hockey game with one of your friends. It was the first time either of us had been to a hockey game in San Antonio. You were more concerned about whether you were going to get ice cream than you were with the game. Probably more exciting than the game was the drive home. We drove through a really big thunderstorm with huge hail falling on the car. Thankfully, I wasn’t driving.
We also went to the Rodeo again this year. For the first time, Rachel, you made it through the whole thing. Emily, you did not, but you were a trooper. We went on some of the rides before we went in to see the rodeo, and we managed to pick a great night to go because it was only 1 ticket per ride the whole time.
Something else exciting that happened in February was that Rachel got accepted into the Gifted and Talented program at school! We always knew that you were very smart, and now we have the test results to prove it. I’m sure that this will only add to the sass we’ve been seeing lately with you being Miss Know-it-all. But I hope not.
Speaking of sass, Emily, you’ve become quite the little pistol. It looks like you left the most terrible part of the terrible twos for the last half of your second year. It seems like every decision has been a fight with you over the past month, with us having to find new ways every week to get you to do what we want you to do. I hope that this eases up a little bit as we slide into summer because there have been a few times over the past weeks that I’ve been ready to put you on Ebay.
Despite all of that, we are still amazed at how quickly you both are growing up. We can’t wait to see what the next months will bring, as we get closer and closer to both of you being in school come August.
We love you both very much.
What in the world have I gotten myself into?
Santa Claus has come and gone, and we’re going screaming into the new year, literally. The two of you are at the age where you antagonize each other (and us) and I don’t think there’s been a single day during this break where at least one of you wasn’t crying about something.
And that makes me sound like a mean and angry father, which I’m not. There have been a lot of great things that happened this month, and the two of you also continue to surprise us with everything you know and do, including how well you get along (sometimes).
Emily, in the past month, your speech went from barely understandable to WOW! There have been times over the past couple of weeks where I did a double take because the words that you spoke came out of your mouth so clearly that I had to check to see that it was you who had actually spoken them. You’ve gone from your toddler abbreviations of words, like “Pahk” for Sparky to actually saying two syllables, “Pah-chee.” We were laughing when you started doing this because it seemed like everything you said sounded like “butt cheeks” which you’ve been saying for a while now, thanks to your mother and sister. You have monkeys on your pajamas: “Mah-chee” Your blanket has become a blankie: “bahn-chee.” You get the point.
Rachel, you were focused like a laser on Christmas. You were doing everything you could to make sure that Santa knew that you wanted an iPod this year for Christmas. You wrote a letter, drew a picture, and you made sure to tell Santa when we went to visit him.
Secondary only to Christmas and the iPod was staying up to ring in the new year. It seemed like you’d asked at least once a day, every day, for the past two weeks if you could stay up until midnight. You have an acute understanding now that there is something special about that transition from 11:59 PM to 12:00 AM on the last day of the year.
On Christmas morning, both of you actually slept in. But once you got up, it was on. Santa had left a few things unwrapped, and once Nana and Grandpa got here, we started with the unwrapping. Both of you had quite a pile, and Rachel, you tore into your things like a wild woman. The very first thing you opened was your new phone. Except it’s doesn’t work like a phone. Santa left you a note saying that he’d run out of iPods this year, but that you could still play games and take pictures with this phone just like you can on an iPod. You didn’t seem to mind at all, and you really enjoyed playing with it.
Emily, you opened about three things and decided you were done. You wanted to play with the things you’d already opened and didn’t want to both with the rest of it. When you finally did get everything open, you had racked up three new train toys, since you’d really grown to love watching Thomas and Friends over the past month or so. In fact, every time you come out to the living room in the morning you ask us for “Choo-choo train,” meaning that you want to watch Thomas.
When New Year’s Eve rolled around, we had a small party with just the four of us and Nana and Grandpa. They left around 9, but Rachel, you continued to play games on the Wii right up until midnight. I was really surprised that you lasted the entire night, but you still had energy left when it hit. You even got to learn a little bit about time zones becuase we watched it change to 2012 in New York and hour before it was 2012 here.
Overall, 2011 was a really great year for both of you. As wel roll into 2012, there are going to be lots of changes for both of you. We can’t wait to see how you handle them because we love to watch you both learn and grow.
Your Mommy and I love you both very much.
Your grandparents are here! You were both so excited to see them…even more excited than your mother and I, I think. This has been a month chocked full of new things for both of you, so let’s get started.
Emily, you have started learning how to play games on mobile devices. I never thought that a couple of years would make the difference in how you learned to use a computer, but it’s amazing. Rachel, you learned how to use a computer by manipulating a mouse, and Emily, you’ve learned by touching a screen. Every computing device you come in contact with, the first thing you do is try to touch the screen.
That’s probably because we have more touch screen devices in the house than anything else. Between our two phones, an iPod touch, and an iPad, you have plenty of things to learn on. And you’re learning very quickly. You started by insisting that you turn off the iPod in the morning, so I showed you how to touch the pause button on the screen – the lines, or “yines” as you say it, so every morning when you wake up you ask me to get you out of bed so you can turn it off. You’ve also started asking for certain games by name – “Ahnie Bord (Angry Birds)? Oopah why (Super Why)?” I can’t even begin to imagine when computing is going to look like 5 years from now, and how you’ll both adapt to it.
You’ve been talking up a storm lately, strining together 4, 5, even 6 words to make sentences that we are getting better and better at understanding. You’re also starting to use your manners saying, please, thank you, and excuse me (the latter was the hardest to get you to start doing), usually on your own, but sometimes we still have to gently remind you.
Rachel, we discovered this month that you really like math, and you’re really good at it! You flew right through the easy addition and started right into double digit addition, multiple number addition, and subtraction. Just last week, we started talking about multiplication. You’ve been brining us your writing board and asking us to write math problems for you so much that we decided to buy you some math workbooks, and we even got you the first grade level ones! I hope that this love of math continues throughout your life, because it can really take you places if you do well with it.
You also started riding the bus to school this past week. It always amazes me how independent you are. You had been begging us for a long time to ride the bus, and now that your grandparents are here, we have someone that can meet you at the bus stop in the afternoon. We decided to give it a trial run coming home one day this week, but you liked it so much that you asked if you could ride the bus to school the next day. So the last half of this week, you rode the bus to school. That actually works out pretty well for mommy since she doesn’t have to take you and because the ride to school is easy. There is only one place to get off. We’ll see about you riding the bus home every once in a while in the coming weeks.
You both are really enjoying having Nana and “Wompa,” as Emily calls him, around. Emily, you’re finally old enough to really remember and have fun with them both. You were starting to come into that a little bit last year, but this year, you’re really making memories. You and Rachel helped Nana make pies for Thanksgiving dinner, and you’ve been playing Wii almost every time you go over to visit.
We’re really looking forward to Christmas and watching you both open your presents. We haven’t gotten a tree up yet, but Emily, you’re already fascinated with all of the lights that are up in the neighborhood. Rachel, you’ve already started on your list of what you want for Christmas, too. One of the first things on your list – an iPod. I don’t know if Santa will be able to bring you one of those, but we’ll see.
We love you both very much, and as always, we can’t wait to see what the next month brings for the two of you.