Monday, August 2, 2004

The final week of summer.

I know summer doesn't actually end for a while yet, but summer vacation is just about over. The kids start up next week.

We had a fun weekend. They're all doing well in swimming still. I need to take video of them this week to mark how far they've come because it really is astonishing. Or maybe it's just that I didn't have any real expectations?
After swimming on Friday, we stayed at Seafront and had dinner at the Club. Ian met us there and we joined a bunch of other people, including the Videgars, for a CLO sponsored Scavenger Hunt. The race was to begin at 7 p.m. with four teams, each with about 8-10 people. At a few minutes to 7, the skies opened, lightning flashed and we paced about wondering what to do. The kids were going to be a real pain if all we'd hyped was literally going to be washed down the drain.
So we all sucked it up, got our first clue and started running. Within minutes we were drenched but that just made the evening more fun. For an hour the eight of us (including Katie and Jeff Groves) slopped about through the puddles from front gate to back, from FPO to USEC and the baseball field. We even picked up a straggling blue team member for a while. Nathan is 5 years old and is Nicholas's "best friend" so he stuck with us until the blue team collected him again. The joke later was that while the blue team won the hunt, they should have forfeited by losing one of their members! The final clue led to a pot of gold. Or in our case, a pot of chocolate coins. While we didn't win, we did have a blast and were glad we didn't bail out when the rains started.
Afterwards we hung out in the bar for a bit and introduced the kids to a couple of new arrivals. I know how that sounds, but while it is a bar and folks were having a Happy Hour, we also have lunch in there periodically and when the AmeriKids have a Club Lunch they sit in the bar as well. It's a very family friendly place. Really. Katherine entertained the table with talk about Harry Potter and the boys tried to kill themselves by climbing the bar stools. All in all, a fun night. I met the new folks as well, Tim & Amy and Eric & Rachel. Tim and Rachel are both in NIV with Ian.
Saturday I did some quick groceries then the family went to Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong. Just like last week. This time we had lunch at the Steak House and stopped in at the American Eye Center. The Steak House was surprisingly good with some great cuts of meat. There was even a salad bar with clean and fresh foods. I gave a plate of apple and pineapple slices to Jonathon to eat with his soup and garlic bread and he was content until taking a bite of apple.
"Mommy, this yucky"
"It is?"
*mom tastes*
"Oh my goodness, that's awful! Hey Ian, know how everything in this country has sugar added to it? Well the things you might expect to have sugar, like these apples, have been salted. Taste this"
*expect him to lick it or take a nibble, he pops a chunk into his mouth*
"Ack, that's awful!"
"Yeah, I think they soaked these apples in salt water. Why would they do that?"
Remember: Never assume anything.
Saturday evening, Laura & Ryan and Stephanie & Matt (with their son, Cavin) came over for a nacho buffet dinner. Laura brought ice cream and toppings. Stephanie brought fresh fruit. All together, we had a really great meal. We even brought the kitchen table out to the dining area so we'd all have plenty of room and the kids wouldn't feel separated, even with sitting at another table.
Sunday was church, then Ian went flying at his new school while the kids and I hung out at home, then Misty and Chad came over for a bit and we talked about New Zealand and Vietnam. They borrowed some travel books and will lend us theirs on Vietnam. We'd planned on them staying for dinner and had potatoes baking in the grill with chicken waiting, but they had some errands to run so we had a quiet evening of just the family. It was nice though after being around so many people the last couple days.
Today was the day I'd set aside for going to ISM and finishing up last minute paperwork. The car now sports an 04-05 parking sticker, the girls have their new IDs, and I filled out the form for bus pick-up. I'd actually done that already back in June, but they raised prices so the new price form had to be filled in. Then we went by both girls' classrooms and I'll be going in with them on Monday too to meet their teachers. We'd wanted to play at the playground for a bit, but the covers had been taken down and there were gardeners everywhere so we didn't stay. The kids were bummed of course, but what could I do? We had lunch at home (all those yummy leftovers from the weekend) then it was school time. Nicholas did lessons 5 and 6 in _100 Lessons_, Jonathon finished up all the spacial orientation worksheets, and Rebecca has finally progressed to reading instructions in her workbook on her own. Until now, she would complete a page then sit and wait until I turned the page and read the next set. Of course, being a workbook there are several pages of similar activities or pages that focus on the same concept so she can do them on her own. She can read so much better now, but still needs to be cajoled into doing it on her own. Katherine is flipping around in her workbook and I have to keep reminding her that concepts build on each other. Even if she wants to do a different section, she needs to start with the first page of a set. She's not buying it.
Tomorrow I plan to take them swimming first thing in the morning. We'll see if the weather cooperates.

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