I love how grown up the girls are, patiently waiting in line to take another turn down the slide. They still slip past each other or climb back up the slide on occasion, but sometimes they just amaze me when they do everything "right" or is a "grown up" wayThey are really loving the new ball pit. At first it annoyed me, Holly would run to it, pull herself up and climb in, and then climb out to the ledge but sit there waiting for me, getting more and more agitated as she waited.She new how to get down, by turning and sliding down on her belly, but she wanted to jump forward and her feet were too far off the floor. Holding my hand she could hop down. I was very excited on our last visit, she started climbing out all on her own.I love this little dress on Chloe. I rarely put dresses on holly, the ones I do are really too short, and they are more like long tops with pants or leggings underneath. But this particular dress on Chloe has the puff skirt, and it is past her knees, it is so cute!Here are the three musketeers, big trouble. They aren't supposed to be playing on the ramp in the cafe section of Sadie Dey's, but they made up a game of running up and down it, sometimes with a shopping park, letting it roll down the incline after pushing it up.Holly found this little seat on the ledge, I didn't think anything of it, but on this day the cafe was really busy and all of the high chairs were in use, which I usually stacked up on the other side of the ledge. Later she sat down there, and fell backwards bumping her head on the floor about a foot below. She cried, but calmed with a bottle and was fine.Soon she was playing again. She really likes the Sensory balls, it is great that they have them at the cafe, she went around finding every kind of ball she could to throw into the ball pit, just like she does at home.She also really likes these baby dolls, which I don;t get. She never plays with them at home, she doesn't have these exact ones, but she has "dolls" and she has "babies" and she rarely uses them. Even when we have "tea Parties" she uses all of her Gabba Character's, they are her "Friends"So it was time to go, Holly was getting fussy, she needed an iPhone break. I don't know if it is good or a bad thing, but I use it as a tool to help her calm down, self regulate, stop or recover from melt downs, it always cheers her up and if it doesn't then I know something really bad is wrong. We have been going to Sadie Dey's every Thursday for the Mom's group at 4:30, and I tell everyone I know or meet to join us
So Music class has been a bit of a bust this past session. We missed several classes do to travel, weather, and illness.The kids are getting so big, this is little Sophie, and Theo in the background, and there Pheonix is crawling. When we first started they were such little babies.You can see across the way, Griffin, Ivy, and Evie playing while we all sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider.Of course Holly found herself playing with the Drums as soon as the instruments were made available to the little ones.She is becoming much more attentive to songs, sitting in my lap more, but she still runs around a lot. Here she shares some instruments with Johnny. We only made 3 of 8 classes this past session, but we will enroll again, and hopefully the weather and good health will be on our side.
We recently went to top flight gymnastics studio to play, and well I lie because recently is like a month ago, but since our return to California. She loves the trampoline and spends most of her time there, so here are 4 video's of her playing.
If you look in the back ground here when Ambriel comes to chat with us you see Holly and the other little girl bonk heads, so cute! Here she is actually trying to jump in a skipping kind of way.
We don;t go here very often because it is in Fremont, like an hour drive away, but we go on occasion. but I am excited to announce that I have signed Chloe, Sarah and Holly up for a free Gymnastics Class at head over Heels Gymnastics Studio in Emeryville, and if all goes well in the demo class, she will be signing up for the next session in April.
Swim and Gym is a program through the Berkeley YMCA for Special Needs Children. It allows non members with specific qualifications to participate in their wonderful services. The program goes like this: 10:30-11:00 Swim Lessons, 11:15-12:00 Kinder Gym, Circle Time, 12:00-1:00 Parent Support Group, Child Watch. All of these three programs are amazing, and this has become our new Friday Morning Activity. However it is a very tight schedule, and makes for a stressful day, at least the three times we have done it so far. That said, each time is getting much better as we get our routine down.
Going to the pool is a lot of work, and when we were going to the warm pool, it often took me 45 minutes from pool to car, now I have 15. Also the swim class is only 30 minutes and when we get out of the pool it is really cold. So the first few times we didn't have our system perfected. This week we made it is 20 minutes, so that is an improvement, we used the stroller for Holly, changed her first and then gave her a snack. Problem is, she still cries during the hectic transition, in time I would like to minimize that.
She loves kindergym. The room is amazing as you can see by the above pictures, a big slide, an obstacle course, climbing structures, lots of gym pillows and even a bouncy house. The kids run for a few minutes, then we sit in a circle for a few songs. Next we do the parachute, and if you remember from over a year ago Holly was terrified of it, now she will sit and let the group spin her and then go underneath afterwards, she really likes it. Next is the bouncy house, and finally Bubbles and a goodbye song.
The first day she cried much of this time. one of the songs scared her, she ran into another child int he bouncer, she was hungry but too much was going on to eat. Finally we take her to child watch while the parents get to talk, this is pretty amazing and the room is so much fun. She loved it and had a lot of fun playing, the first time I took her with Kat when I filled in Paperwork. But then they told me she was under two and had to stay in the baby room. She was mad and cried 1/2 the time.
They fed us Pizza, the parent's upstairs and the kids downstairs. She was happy to eat the pizza and that calmed her down, but Kat was having a bad day, they were not set up to have "guests" and i don;t think they much liked that. But who leaves there kid in a strange environment with strange people without first letting them get used to it. Kat was there to help Holly get used to it, but apparently, parents never do that, they also don't leave snacks for there kids, I am an anomaly I suppose.
The following week I let Kat come with me to the Support Group and was told that Holly did not cry until the last 5 minutes and when I went to pick her up one of the program coordinators was holding her and rocking her. I had left a yogurt juice, but they didn't feed it to her like I asked they do if she cried. She also didn't eat any pizza on the second visit.
Today we went again and when I picked up Holly she was not crying and she was playing with markers and I received a report that she ate Pizza and they changed her diaper. So I was feeling much better about the whole thing. I think this is largely due to the fact that her birthday is in two weeks at at that age they let her leave the baby room, so she got to play everywhere. The program is free for our family and in swim class they will actually teach Holly to swim, I have met about 8 different families so far, but Holly is the youngest in the program. Even though it is free, it is like a class and we are supposed to go every week.
So that is our plan. it is hard work and tiring, as the pool really exhausts you and its first thing in the morning, also since it is so early its hard to make sure she gets breakfast before we go. Finally its downtown Berkeley, today it took us 25 minutes to park and afterwards it was a downpour and the car was 3 blocks away. We plan on sticking it out, the value is huge, she has a lot of fun, and it teaches her transitions, group participation, and to be away from mom in a preschool like setting for an hour, so more pictures too come, though I didn't even bring my camera this week, its too much extra stuff to have and lug around and in the locker room everything is in danger of getting wet, but I think as we adjust and find a rhythm I will start to bring it again.
This beautiful fountain was built by my Uncle last summer. We went over to Janelle's house for a visit just after new years.Here is Holly sitting on the swing next to the fish pond after she helped Janelle and Tanta Kat feed the fish. We decided to distract her with one of her favorite things, as she was desperately trying to go into the pond to swim with the fishies, she loves water.She is wearing a cute little outfit that she got from Janelle and the kids for Christmas. The pats were a little too big, so these are some other brown ones, but it is the top Janelle picked out.It also came with a little jacket that she was actually able to use the last week of our visit when the weather was in the 20's.Here she is with Daddy playing basket ball. She loves playing with, kicking, rolling and chasing after balls, throwing them into a hoop is icing on the cake.She had a lot of fun running around on the court while the guys played and shot some hoops, she would run after the ball and bring it back to them to make another shot.It was a little sad to see Janelle and the kids, they were in San Diego the week of Christmas, around 10 days or more, so we didn't see much of them, actually we only saw them twice during our trip.The time they were out of town, the kids had school and Janelle had work. It was hard, because originally this Christmas was going to be a big family affair with my uncle and other relatives all together.But after him passing away a few months earlier, Janelle thought it best to take the kids to California to visit with her Parent's and Sister's. It probably was for the best.Last time I was in Florida I remember Bob showing me around the house, showing off all the work they had done, and the big beautiful yard.Calling mom on Friday nights when they were playing cards I would hear about the work they were doing building the bench and fountain and fish pond.My uncle spent his last summer building it, and he put his heart into it. It was amazing, as he was in Chemo at the time. But he wanted to stay busy and productive.I miss him, but not like my mom. The past two years he and my mom got a lot closer and would see each other several times a week, have family dinners and weekly card games.When he died, he left a void, that right now can only be filled by putting his memory out of her mind. But I am sure us being there made it hard to do, as it was always around the Holidays that we would see him, in the past.Now that I am back home I don't think about it much, I feel like I did when he was away in UAE or Saudi, half way across the world, not seeing him for months, or sometimes years.But then something like this reminds me, that he won;t be making new stories, and I won't be hearing about new adventures, and I think back to all the visits and times he stayed with us.And it reminds me that he is gone. I think I am still in shock, and it has not truly sunk in yet, I don;t completely believe it yet. I think it is like that with family that is at a distance.When you see someone everyday there absence is devastating and you are forced to confront it, but when you don't it lingers with slow reminders and I think it takes much longer to accept.We enjoyed seeing Janelle and the kids, but it was with a great sadness, as it only reminded me of my uncle and of there great loss, a loss I couldn't even imaging beginning to get over.