The lazy days of summer are officially over. This is the first week that all of the kid's activities are in full swing. On Mondays Anna Grace has gymnastics, Tuesdays Cole has guitar lessons and Alex has soccer, Wednesday nights are Awanas at church, and Saturdays are back to the soccer field. Throw in nightly homework, the occasional doctor's appointment, and school events for the boys and I, and we have one very busy schedule! Yesterday evening was especially challenging because I had curriculum night at my school in the middle of the kid's activities. Even though we are busier than ever, we have are managing to eat as a family and get everyone in bed on time most nights. I am exhausted by the time we get the kids in bed each night. These waterslide pictures were taken tonight at the Awana kick-off at our church. Cole and Alex have never been in Awanas before, but I really want them to have a chance to do more church activities. Our old church was farther away and harder to get them there for weeknight activities, but the new church we joined several months ago is very close to our house and we love the children's programs there. Mike and I are excited to get them more involved.
Anna Grace started taking gymnastics class tonight. We originally planned to sign her up for gymnastics so that she and her sitter would have an activity during the day. But, the schedule did not work out, so Anna Grace is taking an evening class on Mondays. We decided that it would be good to help develop her motor skills, and it is a fun activity that she and I can do together. Anna Grace had a lot of fun climbing on the slide and going through the tunnels tonight. She was not really sure about the balance beam and can not do any of the jumping activities. Even though it is really hard for her, she had fun trying and had a big smile on her face through most of the lesson (it's hard to get a good picture when I have to help her do the courses with her).
Last week, Anna Grace went for her third set of shots since we have been home. She had to start all the way over with her immunizations since China does not give them in the same way we do in the U.S. So far, she has had 9 shots in the last 3 months and has run a fever after each set. Thankfully, we only have to go back one more time in six months, and then she will completely caught up. She is getting caught up on her weight. She has gained two pounds as you can tell by her tubby tummy in the picture of her on the balance beam! She goes to physical therapy every month or two in order for her gross motor skills to be monitored, and we have an appointment next week at the eye doctor to rule out any vision problems that might be causing some of her delay. Anna Grace has been doing great with her babysitter each day and has even been enjoying going to Sunday school at church. When we entered the children's building last Sunday she immediately started saying "Play! Play!" and practically jumped out of my arms when we got to her class. I have been staying with her each time, but she has quickly learned the classroom routines and enjoys all of the new toys. She is quickly learning to love coloring and story time. Her fine motor skills are really good, but she constantly switches her crayon from one hand to the other when she is working. I am wondering if she is going to be ambidextrous since she is equally good with both hands. Anna Grace is learning English at lightning speed. She is already putting sentences together on her own. She still speaks a lot of baby babble and Chinese though, and she gets mad at me when I do not understand her. We took her to the Chinese restaurant last weekend and the owner talked to her in Chinese. She seemed to remember a lot. It makes me so sad to know that she is going to lose that as time passes. Maybe someday when she is older she will want to take lessons. I could not have ever dreamed that Anna Grace would do as well as she is doing. Her attachment to us grows more and more each day. She loves to make us laugh with her funny facial expressions and the silly games she plays. She adores her brothers and seeks out each family member each night to give goodnight hugs. She insists on doing her goodnight prayers with each person who tucks her in. Anna Grace is such a blessing to our family.
Cole and Alex had their first day back at school today. I think they had a good day, but Cole was already telling me as we were driving to school this morning that he could not wait for summer break! I remember how excited they were when they first went to kindergarten. They are only in second and fourth grades this year, so they have a long way to go!! Here is a bucket of vegetables from our garden (sorry it's turned sideways) And here is a bucket of boys!!
Anna Grace joined our neighbor, Bryce, in his backyard the other evening for some water fun. She did not like walking around in the wet grass very much, and she really didn't like the water squirting her. She did love sitting on the inflatable fire truck though. I think this picture is so funny with both of the baby's "Buddha bellies" poking out.
Anna Grace took her first bubble bath tonight. Actually, I tried to give her a bubble bath when she first came home from China, but she did not like it. Tonight I tried again, and she loved it. I think Cole had almost as much fun as Anna Grace piling bubbles on top of her head.
Anna Grace has been enjoying her new babysitter. I think she really likes all of the one-on-one attention. Still, she has been really happy to see me in the afternoons when I get home. We are hoping that she will be able to go with her sitter to take gymnastics classes starting in a few weeks. Her sitter is also planning to take her to story time at the library and to play at the park often. They are spending time each day reading and working puzzles. I feel so blessed to have found such great care for Anna Grace while I am away at work.