Vernon Volumes text

Vernon Volumes text

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fun weekend with the kids

This weekend we didn't have any plans, so we tried to enjoy our time with the kids.

We decided to use some of our free time to get out together and look at some stuff around Jacksonville. On Saturday, we went to visit with a family that lives in a house that is the same floorplan we're building. The kids had fun running around with their kids while we chatted about the house and the options they went with when building. After that, we went to eat and then to a couple furniture stores.

Our plan didn't go so well. Paige was cranky, Connor was complaining the whole time, and it tested our patience big time. We went home earlier than we planned and resolved never to try such a shopping trip with the kids again. This morning, we decided we'd get out and just piddle around for a bit without such big goals. We went to the local mall and walked around and ate lunch. The kids had fun seeing everything and throwing pennies in the fountain.

Connor was happy to wear his favorite outfit. He told me this morning it's his favorite for three reasons.
1) It's got long sleeves
2) It's got stripes
3) It matches well with his grey and blue comfy pants

While we were in the Buckle, he found a very pretty lady's silk blouse that he thought felt very soft. He wanted us to buy it for him. I took a quick picture of him with it.

The rest of the day, we spent at home. It was a very "cold" day today in the mid 60's and drizzly. We laughed at ourselves when we realized we'd described the weather that way.

Finally, I'll wrap up with a couple silly pictures of Paigie Pie. When I picked her up from Jami's (the babysitter) earlier this week, she had cute pigtails in the back and they looked really cute. The pics didn't come out too well, but I thought it showed how long her hair is getting. Still short, but she does look more like a girl now as it's growing out.

ISR Swimming lessons week 2

The swimming lessons continued this week, every night. It's gotten pretty tedious and takes up a lot of our time in the evenings, but it's something we continue to do for the sake of the kids. Connor started enjoying the swimming lessons less this week, while Paige enjoyed them more.

Connor's been pushed pretty hard to do swimming, then floating, then swimming. There were a few instances this past week where he had trouble transitioning to the floating position and then got impatient to switch back to swimming before he got a good breath. He is used to just swimming across the pool all at once and it is tough to be patient and realize he can breath without being at the side of the pool. There were a few times he got pretty scared, but by the end of the week he'd gotten over his nervousness. We just talked to him about the fact that there wasn't anything to be scared of during swimming lessons and Michelle, Mommy and Daddy wouldn't let him drown.

He does enjoy the swimming, and I caught a cute picture of him smiling during his lessons.

Connor's week 2 video:

Good work Connor!

Paige started off the week as upset as she ended the previous week. She always enjoys watching Connor swim his part, and it's not until we get her changed into her swim gear that she got upset.

This week, on Monday, Paige started off crying, but after one of her drills she splashed the water and loved everyone's reaction. We encouraged her to have fun with the lessons and for a couple of the lessons she didn't cry at all the entire time.

On Friday, when we arrived, she was happy to get in the pool and had fun for the first part of the lesson. About halfway through, she had a rough moment where she kind of got lost in the pool and struggled to find the steps and/or Michelle. She was pretty worn out from splashing around and panicking. Michelle picked her up and kept working with her, but Paige wasn't too pleased.

By the end of the lesson, Sissy was pretty tired.

Overall, Paige did very well this week. She knows the drill and is happy when she's done and she gets her animal crackers. She's getting pretty good at floating, but not so much at the swimming yet. Definite improvement though over last week!

Paige's week 2 video:

We're proud of our guys!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Demolishing our house

We got a call from our future neighbor Virginia today and she told us to come out and see the heavy machinery demolishing the bad footers. We couldn't pass up the opportunity and were thrilled to see them making progress again. We rushed out and caught a couple pictures of the equipment and a quick video too.

Andrea is happy to see things moving again!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Visit to Daytona

On Sunday, we drove down to Daytona Beach to eat lunch at Uno's and visit with Great Grandpa and Great Grandma. We love living so close to them, and we had a nice visit with them again. The kids love playing with them and we got a couple cute pictures and videos.

Paige liked to do flips with Grandpa.

Connor liked waking up Great Grandpa when he caught him dozing, but Great Grandpa is pretty quick and caught Connor and gave him some pretty serious tickle treatments.

The kids are pretty entertaining!

House hunting with Grandpa Rick and Grandma Alice

Grandpa Rick and Grandma Alice came down this week to visit with us and with Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Vernon. They also were using the trip as a recon mission to learn about the area and look at some houses. On Saturday, we got a babysitter for the kids and went house hunting. We looked at the Mandarin area as well as a few houses in the St. Johns area. It was the first time that Andrea and I had been through the Mandarin area, so it was very educational for us as well. We saw a few houses that were nice, got a great feel for the neighborhoods, and it was very fun and exciting. We're really looking forwards to having them move down in the near future and hope they find their dream house!

ISR Swimming lessons - week 1

Since we've moved to Florida, we're concerned about the the kids drowning. There are lots of pools everywhere you go, there are ponds in all the neighborhoods to aid with drainage, and there's even a pretty big ocean nearby. We've put Connor in swimming lessons in the past, but they've never really been a big help and we hadn't been impressed with the results. The Kansas City swimming lessons were usually done by high school or college kids and were fun, but not too practical. We've worked with him as well, but in Kansas City you only swim a couple months out of the year and it had been easiest to just let him splash around in his swimming jacket. He's almost five now and we know he isn't a strong swimmer and it's doubtful he'd have the right skills to deal with a situation if he fell in a pool. Paige, definitely had no skills and only thought of water as a fun place.

Andrea heard about ISR swimming lessons recently and we looked in to them. On their webpage are some amazing videos of young kids and even babies doing survival techniques.

Below is a video from the ISR page showing a little girl demonstrating the techniques that Connor's learning.

The lessons are very well regarded and a big deal in Florida. We found a lady that did the lessons nearby and signed the kids up. The lessons are only ten minutes per day, but they are every day Monday through Friday for FOUR-SIX weeks. The kids are also required to be a slightly different diet that excludes apples, peaches and other things completely and limits the dairy and certain foods right before the lessons. We have to track Paige's eating, sleeping, and diapers as well to see how she's handling things. It's a big time commitment and monetary investment. We have been going now for a week and our entire evening revolves around the lessons.

Michelle, the swimming instructor, is very calm and does well with both kids. She's been doing this for a while and it shows. Although it's much warmer in Jacksonville than in Kansas City, it's still a bit chilly outside this time of year for swimming. Thankfully the lessons are indoor in a therapy pool.

Connor enjoys the lessons, however he hasn't really been challenged too hard yet. He works hard, but mostly Michelle has just been working on the concepts around swimming to the side of the pool and floating on his back. Connor is a great listener and has been doing very well so far.

Eventually, the goal for Connor is to know what to do if he falls in to the pool and know how to get out or float and wait for help. He will learn a sequence of floating to rest and breathe and to roll over and kick his feet to swim. Eventually, he'll even have to practice his technique fully clothed in "winter" clothing. Winter clothing in Florida just means a light jacket with regular clothes and shoes. Thankfully, no snow boots and heavy coats.

Connor's video is pretty basic, but you can see him swimming to the side of the pool to retrieve the rocket underwater. He also has to float and then flip over to start his swim.

Connor always goes first and Paige likes to watch, but Paige hates her lessons. When we aren't there, if you ask her if she wants to go, she will surprisingly say 'Yes', however once you get her ready to go in the pool she starts to freak out. The first day, when she first got in to the water, she was calm and happy, but once she started working on her drills she wasn't having any fun. She cries from the moment you put her in the water until you take her out. It's very hard to hear her shrieking for Mommy and Daddy. She only stops screaming the moment before she goes underwater so she can take a breath.

Michelle's approach is very real-world oriented and Paige has to work hard. The goal is for Paige to float calmly on her back until help arrives, or to reach for safety if it's nearby and kick her feet to swim to grab on to something.

Below is a video showing babies demonstrating what Paige is learning.

ISR's Roll-Back-to-Float Sequence from Infant Swimming Resource on Vimeo.

Prior to the lessons, we aren't sure what Paige would have done if she fell in a pool, but we don't even think she would have known to hold her breath. After just the first week, she knows to open her eyes under water, hold her breath and reach for help. She also naturally rolls to her back quite a bit and floats fairly well. She trusts her float a lot more than Connor even does and could probably float indefinitely. Her float isn't perfect and at times you can actually see Michelle fanning water upwards under Paige at times to get her to float higher in the water. Paige is getting better at holding her breath, but she's choked a couple times throughout the lessons and has thrown up twice. Once, she coughed up an entire blueberry that looked like it hadn't even been chewed.

Paige also hates the fact that she has to open her eyes in the water. When you talk to her about the swimming lessons she will point to her eyes and say "Eyes!" and "Water!". We tell her it's OK to open her eyes in the water, but it definitely isn't something she's comfortable with.

Paige's video is a bit hard to watch at times. You just want to snatch her out of the water and settle her down, but it's clear the lessons are working and Paige is getting a lot out of them so we've trusted Michelle and have resisted our parental instincts.

If nothing else, this first week definitely taught Paige a healthy fear of the water and how not-fun it can be if you fall in unprepared.

This Friday it was also nice since Grandma and Grandpa Vernon were in town and came along to watch.

Paige loves to watch Connor.

Andrea gets them out of the pool when they're done. She wraps them up in a towel and gets them an animal cracker as a reward. They both love the animal crackers, and it's the only thing that settles Sissy down when she's done.

We're proud of both our guys! Great work so far! We can't wait to see how much they improve!

House update - Starting from scratch

On Tuesday, February 14th, we got some bad news about the house. The week before had been inspections and everything was in place so the builder could pour the concrete slab foundation. The footers had been put in place along with plumbing and everything had been measured, checked and inspected. It was all ready to go on Tuesday and the concrete company arrived, prepared to pour the concrete, and then they reported a problem. Apparently the concrete used in the footers hadn't cured properly. The mix they'd used for the footers had been done improperly and it was all messed up.  Neither the builder, county inspector, concrete company, or the private inspector we hired, has ever seen this happen before. We have such great luck! Everything was ruined and now it has to be scrapped, demolished, and restarted.

They will have to remove the footers, re-grade the lot, and start over next week. We've been told they'll try to make it a priority to get back on schedule, but so far they've only pulled out the plumbing. I took the picture below, which is really heart breaking. You can see the plumbing that's been pulled out sitting next to the concrete blocks which should have been put in place on top of the slab, had the slab been poured.

We're trying to stay optimistic that things will get going soon, but it's hard to know we're starting over!

Valentines Bubba

Valentine's Day was this week and Connor and Paige wore the same cute owl shirts that they did last year. They were a little big on the kids last year, but we were surprised they still fit pretty well. We forgot to get a picture of them together in the morning, but Andrea snapped a picture of Connor when he got home from school. Connor brought some ring pop valentines for his classmates and Mommy got him a cute card from us that he received at school along with some goodies. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Daytona Beach visit with the Greats

Today, Sunday, we drove down to Daytona Beach to visit with Great Grandpa and Great Grandma. It's neat having them so close and we love taking advantage of this opportunity to visit with them. I mentioned today that this is the closest I've ever lived to them! We took them out to eat at Aunt Catfish and had a very yummy and filling meal. We love that place, although the wait was a bit long. We had hopes that we might play a bit on the beach, but according to Grandma it's the coldest day in Florida for them since they came down for the winter. It dipped below freezing last night for sure and barely topped out in the 50's. It would have been a nice warm day by Kansas City standards, but we're already getting accustomed to Florida weather so it did seem awfully cold to us.

After we ate lunch, we went back to the condo, Skype chatted with Shawn's parents in St. Louis, and played some cards.

It was the first time since Paige was born that we actually got to play some adult games instead of having to constantly supervise our children. That said, Paige spilled tea on herself three times, ran around like a crazy woman, climbed on the furniture, and eventually pulled off her pants and demanded that Great Grandpa help her put them back on. Grandpa made a valiant effort at it, but it was much too tricky and they both gave up. I caught the tail end of the shenanigans on video.

We put Paige down for a nap and she actually did sleep for over an hour. Once she woke up, we went by Cowlick's for some icecream and then bid Grandpa and Grandma farewell and drove back to Jacksonville.


It was a great visit! We're looking forwards to next weekend and are planning to see them again!

Valentines party with the neighbors

Last night, Saturday February 11th, we went to our first grown up get together in Florida. Virginia and Tony, who will be our future neighbors in our new neighborhood, had a party and were nice enough to invite us although we're not official residents yet. Andrea looked awfully cute in her sassy boots so I had the babysitter snap a quick picture of us before we left.

It was a great opportunity to meet a lot of the people that live near us and it was so neat to talk to everyone that we'll soon be living around. We met a bunch of great people and had a very nice time. We met a couple families that currently live in the same house we're building and one couple invited us over to walk through their house. It was very educational and pretty unreal to finally have an opportunity to see what our future house is going to look like and visualize how ours will look someday.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Paige? No... Sissy!

We're a little worried we've confused Paige a bit with her name. We all have a bunch of pet names in our household and Paige is no exception. We've called her Mammy Pajammy, Paigie Pie, Baby Sister, and recently Sissy.

Her new babysitter Jami told us the other day that she was talking with the kids and going around and having them all say their names and Paige pointed to herself and said "Sissy". I hadn't realized she liked that name so well and sure enough we noticed that if you ask her what her name is, she'll point to herself and will say "Sissy".

I got a quick video of it yesterday, which isn't the best quality and Paige is a bit of a mess, but it's pretty cute either way.

Connor's cool new school

Connor's been going to his new school now for a couple weeks and it's been a big adjustment that's gone pretty well. We had been talking about it for a while and on his last day of school in Kansas City he had said goodbye to his Kansas City classmates and teachers and was excited to start his new school in Florida. He's a shy little guy, but he had a good attitude about having new classmates and was planning on making new friends. On the first day, he went right in and he's been doing great. There was one day that he got a little teary eyed at school and one of the teachers spent a little time giving him extra hugs. For the other days he's marched right in and has played with other kids and has excelled in the activities we've put him in.

The school offers the typical "VPK" which is a voluntary per-kindergarten curriculum and we also have signed him up for some other classes that sounded like fun. He likes the cooking class (they made cookies), the soccer class, computer class and "play ball" which is a sports based play class. The soccer teacher and "play ball" teachers both raved about his ball skills. He even has Spanish class and can count in Spanish now up to 10. It's very impressive!

I took a quick picture and video of Connor doing his counting in Spanish. Some days he does better than others. He wasn't really in to it today and once he gets past the numbers he can remember for sure he just starts saying gibberish. It's pretty cute. Of course, it wouldn't be a representative video of life in our house if you didn't hear baby sister hooting in the background. That's constant background noise around here.

I talked to him quite a bit about the school and one day he decided to be silly with me and told me that the teachers at his school are zombies and they try to bite him. Now, when we talk about his school we will sometimes refer to it as the Zombie School.

I snapped a quick picture of him yesterday while Mommy was fixing his hair. He's got to look sharp every day!

We also took a quick picture with his teacher Ms Ellie before school started. She's a nice looking zombie, right? Hopefully she doesn't bite too much!