Summer Days Out

So over the summer we had so many plans to have outings with the kids.

But the weather laughed at us! We’ve had glorious weeks and the weekends have been utterly shocking!


Very British in fact πŸ€£πŸ˜‚


So we decided to say sod it and the hus-creature took the day off work on Thursday (almost two weeks ago now, yes I know I know!) and we went up to the beach.

Which is a specific beach about 30 more minutes away that is spelt almost the same as #1 Son’s given name.

Oh it was amazing. We played, we built sandcastles, we splashed, we swam. TT proved to be a complete and total water baby. Yes, she was more than a little apprehensive on the first couple of tries but then she was racing into the waves shouting “more ocean” and I have never seen her grin more.

Actually it backfired on us spectacularly though! First when it came time to go get lunch. Cue a massive meltdown and I had to bodily drag her to the restaurant – as a result we were all leaking sand and sea water on the way there sigh.

The second time was when it came time to go home. She did not want to leave. At all.

Anyway, pictures:

TT playing on the beach. Please bear in mind the last time she was on the beach she was only just crawling πŸ’— also note #1 Son’s new “rock collection” (yes I still have it – it’s out on the balcony!)

Daddy-offspring bonding:

Gittish seagulls were everywhere – honest to god they had no fear. None. Attacking belongings and tourists alike. Gits.

#1 Son made a friend – one with similar issues to himself. He was a little older and showed him how to build tide pools and how to catch small Crustacea for it πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—

Sadly there were no photos with me, the mother, because I didn’t take my phone into the ocean and the hus-creature doesn’t think to take them. Ever.

But it was an amazing day out. The kids had a blast and we will go back.

Then this last Saturday we went to a theme park just across the state line in New Hampshire.

I didn’t take many photos this time because we were focussed on having fun, but we took these:

TT went on her first rides. The Ferris wheel – which she liked a lot:

WHEEL!

And then she went on her first proper roller coaster. She loved it. There was much crying of “more ride more ride” but her brother was not impressed.

So we took them across to the newly-built water park bit – it was so newly built that only about a third of it was actually operational. Again, TT adored the water slides and was devastated she couldn’t go on the bigger ones.

#1 Son? Nope. He still can’t deal with water being splashed in his face. But they both had a blast. Prying TT away from the water was as bad as at the beach. Needed to bribe her with the promise of an ice cream πŸ€­πŸ˜¬πŸ™„


It worked though!


But honestly? Comparing the free (mostly) trip to the beach, and the over $100 tickets for the park? Not worth it. They are both still too young and short.

There are a few other options, including an indoor, climate controlled, water park so we will look into that.

Daddy and I both needed a stiff drink or two by the end of those days!

And, oddly enough? I didn’t need to go for a walk either day!

The first week of Summer Camp(s)

So, here we at the end of the first official week of summer vacation.

I basically let TT and #1 Son run wild last week to let off steam. We went to the park pretty much daily, and, thanks to the wonderful H and her amazing son A (I ought to ask them if they actually want blog pseudonyms one of these days) the swing set is now built!!!

And oh wow has it made weekends easier.


I am actually attempting to go to the parks during the week to socialise the kids – and up to a point myself as well


So we spent a lot of time soaking up sunshine and warmth (cloudy days are still glorious here in proper summer)

TT spent a lot of time doing this

And given our swing set does not have the toddler versions, and the fact that my daughter has been absolutely desperate to be like her big brother and be on the big boy swings I took the plunge and let her go on them and this happened:

Far more balance than her mommy!

And not to be outdone:

#1 Son versus the rock climb

Which is good, as the swing set does have one of those!

But that is not the main thrust of this post. It is about Summer Camp.

The first is the previously chronicled reading camp which is every Saturday until the end of August, 5 weeks in total. We went to the first one last weekend (and the second one yesterday) and it was… interesting.

They had put him in the kindergarten and pre-K readers group. Which I didn’t blame them for, because when I signed him up, a couple of months ago, that this was the level he was reading at. However it became clear within the first 30 minutes that he is reading at a much higher level than the class was aimed at.

So, at the end of the lesson I went and chatted with the teacher who agreed with me (after a small independent reading assessment) that he should be put in the first grade readers class. Which was not without its problems unfortunately. As, rather unsurprisingly, the first grade classes (in fact all of the classes) were completely overbooked. So I played phone tennis with the supervisor (or at least one of the supervisors) of the courses for a couple of days (they are open until 10:30 PM most nights though) to get him squeezed into the first graders class. As it was a supervisor to supervisor agreement the transfer it took a little time. But they did manage it for which I am very grateful.

At least I was. Unfortunately he has missed the primary lesson of the first grade classes. So we not only did we have to do the weekly work that was required, but also catching up on the first lesson. Which he did not enjoy. At all. In addition, because the transfer was not approved and formalised until Wednesday, we had only three days to do all of it.

So it was perhaps unsurprising that come yesterday’s class he was completely disengaged in almost all of it.

Because TT had had another night terror on Friday night (poor wee bugger) we opted not to drag her as well and make her sit in the car for upwards of two hours while her brother had his camp. So she stayed home with me whilst daddy took him to his lesson.

Daddy was thinking about withdrawing him completely but as I pointed out we paid over $300 for this class and I don’t think will get a partial refund particularly after all the messing about we ended up having to do so will try again next week after we’ve done some more catching up and the prep work and see how we go. I’m not sure if it’s going to be me or daddy taking him but we shall see.

We did go to Friendly’s yesterday for lunch afterwards though, as that seemed too much of a penalty not to take them.

That and I wanted clam chowder darn it.

#1 Son got a “create your own” and TT got chocolate ice cream with sprinkles so they were both thrilled.

Daddy and I had the calories for a small scoop of decent ice cream! So it definitely wasn’t all bad.

Then came Summer Learning Academy. Now initially the lovely H was going to be taking my son along with her two boys as it was all at the same school but the poor woman has needed major dental surgery and was in so much pain this week that she just couldn’t take them. So daddy did the morning drop off, then after the morning session and I then walked (with TT in the stroller) to pick him up. Which actually turned out remarkably well because I got nearly 2 miles worth of exercise Monday to Thursday and was able to take the kids to the library and the park and all sorts of things without forcing poor old #1 Son into a ridiculously long walk.

The library here in Melrose is amazing. Honestly it is, and I’m actually really sad we didn’t find it sooner – but both the hus-creature and myself thought that it was much further away than it actually is. *

The Children’s Library takes up an entire floor. Though it does close at 20:00, when the main library closes at 21:00 which is an issue – since if I want to get new books for the kids I have to leave before #1 Son’s bedtime. But it also has boxes of toys and both kids are meeting other local children and playing nicely:

Also there is no limit to the number of items you can withdraw. And A/V items are free of charge (though with a 2 week rental limit rather than 4)

It’s just a shame that they are closed for weekends in the summer. Which I don’t really understand, as to me it makes more sense that they would close at weekends in the season where there was snow not sunshine, but everyone likes sunny weekends do they not?

H is thankfully feeling well enough to do the camp runs tomorrow and Tuesday, and there’s no more camp (it normally runs Monday-Thursday 08:00-12:00) for the remainder of the week due to Independence Day, so it is fine for now. The poor woman has her oral surgery on Thursday!

So, the overall verdict on camp? He’s loving it.


Insert huge sigh of relief here


Which is great, as it’s effectively school. He is doing reading, writing and probably math too. Also art. And he adores art. So he’s been practically skipping home, and it’s helped focus him for his Summer Math and Reading Calendars. Which are a thing.

He has to read 150 minutes a week. Fortunately an adult reading to him does count, so his nightly bedtime stories account for 70+ minutes a week. I’ve also been getting new stories from the library in both flavours (self reading to an adult and adult reading to him) which are helping keep everybody happy.


I am also recording every book he reads himself in the website where his sponsored Readathon information went – which is also helping, as you earn coins to upgrade an owl avatar so he’s actively engaged there too!


And the math stuff is even more complicated, As there is a daily task he needs to do but fortunately we don’t have to do the designated task on its designated day and can just mix and match. So yesterday we did some estimating and counting of sugar packets in Friendly’s and today we drew Odie the dog from Garfield (yes that Garfield) five times and counted his legs on a piece of paper. Which I will date and put in a folder I am putting together. Because apparently all you need to do is cross out the activity when you do them and provide no proof that you’ve actually done it which seems a tad pointless to me, and he actually works better when he can see what he’s been doing in one place.

Ho hum. So that’s been fun. But at least we can do it gradually, and sometimes do more than one activity a day. The hus-creature seems convinced that they don’t expect the kids to do all of the activities, but I’m not sure, so I will keep trying with him.

*Actually it now forms the end point of one of my evening walks – it’s about a mile away, and you can drop loaned items off in a big green bin outside whenever, day or night which makes it perfect.