On Monday, Dave stayed home to clean up after Hurricane Irene while my mom, the kids and I headed to Salem Willows to meet up with Katie and Lily. My dad works near the park and my parents used to take us there when we were little. We would visit my dad's office and then hang out at the park to play arcade games and go on the kiddie rides. Now, my dad's four grandchildren enjoyed those same games and rides and then visited Grampy at the courthouse.
The boys loved the games where they could throw things. This one had real basketballs and you could keep shooting over and over, as long as you had lots of quarters. Jack was insisting on "more quarters? More quarters, Mommy?"
The rides included the flying horses, some cars, and these boats. These are cell phone pictures so I apologize for the quality. Katie and I both ended up with dead camera batteries that day! Mairead loved taking her brothers for a little boat ride!
While we were waiting for our lunch, Jack was exploring and came running, yelling, "I found Bob the Builder! I found it!" He was SO excited about his discovery and he was so proud to go in the truck. He kept that serious expression throughout all the rides, though. On one ride, the cars had very loud and very annoying horns. The kids behind Jack and Ben pressed them incessantly so Jack kept turning around with a very stern, "Stop that. Stop that now!"
The kids are getting better about holding hands while we are out. It sometimes involves Mairead dragging a boy by the arm, but they are getting the idea.
The grandchildren, from oldest to youngest!
A warning- if you see my children playing skee ball, stand at least 15 feet away. They loved it, but their aim is not so great, so skee balls were flying and rolling everywhere! They had a great time, though. Little known fact- my mom is a skee ball all star... they will have to take some lessons!
This is a picture of which Mairead was VERY proud, so she asked me to take a picture of it. Not bad, right?
And now for something that makes me a little sad. I took Mairead for a 'back to school haircut' the other day. This is the 'before.' It was so long that it was always snarly, it took forever to shampoo, and it always looked messy.
This is the 'after.' Not a great picture of her, but you get the idea. I am SO sad about it and totally regret my decision to cut it so short. I thought it would look neater and be more manageable, but I just don't think it looks like 'her,' you know? Her hair grows quickly so I hope it is long again soon... I miss those long locks and want them back!
This is the outfit she wore to the 'Meet the Teacher' open house at her preschool. She had already met the teacher since is the same one from last year. Pre-K is for four year olds and for 3 year olds on IEPs, so Mairead will be joined by a whole new group of 4 year olds this year. She was nervous about going in, but was SO happy to see Mrs. M. She ran to her and jumped up and down. She was able to show me all the important parts of the classroom and spent some time playing and coloring. I am nervous about the school year and about how everything will go for her. We still don't have the IEP that she really needs, so we will have to keep fighting for that. And, I know there will be a lot of challenges for Mairead, even though she will be in a familiar classroom. She has a lot of anxiety about going to school and transitions are tough for her. And this year, she will be taking the bus to and from school, which will probably be a source of stress at the beginning. I am home, of course, and could drive her, but I just don't think it's fair to the boys to have to load them up and have them sit there while I take her, and then I would have to wake them from their naps to go pick her up. I have to do what is best for all of the kids, not just for one, and the bus seems the best option. Hopefully, it will work out well for her.
The boys will be going to 'school' soon, too! We were lucky enough to find them spots in a child-only playgroup at the Anne Sullivan Early Intervention Center where Mairead went and from whom all three kids received EI services. The boys will be the 'community children' who provide typical models for the other kids in the group. I am anxious about that, too, since the group meets from 1-3 and that is naptime for us. My guys are serious nappers and need one every day, so I hope they are not too cranky in that time period. I want them to have a good experience!
What this means for me is that on Mondays from 1-3 pm, I am totally on my own. No kids. For two hours. Whatever shall I do with my time???
Cute story about Jack--The other day, Mairead threw a ball and it hit Jack on his bum. He said, 'Mommy, my tail hurts.' Then he told me when I tried to leave the room, "Don't leave me, Mommy. I not a big boy yet."
I am trying to teach the boys how to respond to "How old are you?". So far, I can get Jack to say, "I two," but then Ben jumps in with, "I three!"
I hope that everyone is doing well with back to school- so many of you are teachers and/or parents. It's an exciting time for us, but a stressful time, too! This year is especially stressful since Dave does not yet have a job offer. We have a few things going that have our hopes up, so maybe we will have good news soon. Please keep sending us those good thoughts and prayers!