Sunday, May 24, 2015

Jasmine and My Adventure

How it started: Jessica and I are writing an underwater crime scene investigation series for teens. She is a diver, I was not. 

I decided to take a two hour intro to scuba class to get a feel for it. I have never tried it before because I am somewhat claustrophobic, and I do not breath well through my nose. When doing snorkeling as a lifeguard I was not able to clear my mask. But I figured I could handle this intro class.
 The class is for anyone ages 8 and up. So Jasmine and Kaleb agreed to try it with me.


Chase helping me out. He's 21. His older brother Mike also works at the shop.


 I figured Jasmine would be very fearful and not able to complete it. She struggles with fear a lot. (I wonder if that is genetic?) Anyway, I was wrong. Jasmine did fine, and Kaleb panicked. 

We were only in six foot deep water, but he would not stay under. Every time we went down, he gave the up signal and popped up. We were able to complete clearing our masks and regulators, which were the only two required skills, in about three feet water, but that was it. We were not able to actually do the dive part (the deepest would have been seven feet) due to Kaleb. 

That is okay. That just means he is not ready to scuba dive. Kids 10 and up can get their junior basic PADI certification.
John, Jasmine, Chase and Alex

After the two hour intro, Jasmine and I went over to the shop and signed up to start basic the next day. I was so surprised she actually wanted to do it. This is the child who clings to me when we snorkel.

We started by watching a couple of intro videos at the shop, and then we went to a pool to work on basic skills.



The class is set up so you can do it three consecutive days, but that would not work for us. It meant testing out on all the skills the first time in the pool. And three days was definitely not enough time to read the whole manual and be ready to test. So we set up to do it four weekends in a row. Two at the pool and two open water.
Second week in the pool. We repeated the skills from the previous week and all the new ones.
We had to flood our mask and clear it under water, take off the mask and leave it off a full minute underwater breathing only through our mouths with the regulator and finally swim the length of the pool with no mask breathing only through our mouths. I was afraid my nose would get mixed up, and I'd breath through my nose. But that didn't happen. It was like my body was programmed to stop breathing through my nose when I pulled the mask off.

We had to do regulator recovery and buddy breathing, and take off all the gear and put it back out underwater 
 The third week we did our controlled open water dives. I had the lighting set wrong on my new underwater camera. (I was able to get the camera thanks to my brother) So the pictures were red. It was set for deep water and you lose color there so it adds the red. But in the shallower water, all my pictures were tinted red.

Today were our official open water dives. However, the current was really bad, and it was red flag so we couldn't go "over the wall" (jetties) so couldn't go to 40 feet. However, we were able to go deep enough on both dives to certify and stay down over 25 minutes each dive.
 Jasmine and Alex. He was really sweet with her. He's 25 and has a six year old step daughter. He let her hold his hand some of the time.


 Jasmine and Alex
 Me
 Alex trying to do a three way selfie. Jasmine didn't realize so didn't look that way.

 Jasmine and me somewhere between 12 and 20 feet deep

Jasmine had trouble with her ears, so I need to get an appointment for her. We both certified, but Alex wants to do one more dive with Jasmine next week to see if her ears will clear better.

Kaleb gets to redo the intro class for free since he freaked out on the last one. I have signed Kayla up to do it with him. She doesn't know that. I don't want her to sabotage.

Who knows. If everyone else is going to be diving, maybe Rick and I will rent tanks and do our first together dive. He hasn't been diving in almost ten years! Tyler either, but he's not home for another few weeks. 

And of course Jessica can no longer dive until she has the baby.

So that's the brief version of our adventure.

What is one activity you share as a family? What have you done that has been out of your comfort zone?

(And scuba is now in my comfort zone. I love it and so does Jazzy. But that's because our water was so clear today you could easily see to the bottom).

Saturday, May 23, 2015

End of Baseball and Dance

This week marked the end of Kaleb's first season of baseball and Jasmine's 9th year of dance.
He is still scared of the ball. He didn't get a hit all season. He got walked a few times so got to steal bases and score points. But at this last game he swung at anything even the ball that hit the ground three feet in front of the white line. Maybe it will all come together next year.


They all got baseballs to get each other's signatures.
They were first place in the league but I think all the teams provided participation trophies anyway.

Ready for the recital.

With dance friends

With her hip hop teacher.

There's a program with all the class pictures, plus you can purchase a whole page, half page or quarter page to dedicate to your dancer.

There were 56 dances!! So it was over three hours long.

We have lots of plans for this three day weekend, but they all depend on having good weather. Here's hoping!

I'm seeing on facebook that a lot of people are out of school for the summer already. We started around August 18 and end June 5. What about the rest of you?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Countdown to the End of Middle School

So much is happening these last couple of weeks before school ends for the summer. And a lot of them have to do with  "lasts" for Jasmine.

On Tuesday, Jasmine had her last middle school concert, and they decided to have an awards ceremony after the concert isntead of a separate banquet due to going to the competition at Universal. No one felt like spending much more money or having another night out.





Yes, she danced across the stage! :)


Adam couldn't make it, so we  stopped by to see him. And of course he gave her free chicken strips and mac and cheese.

On her way to dress rehearsal, homework in hand. Hard to keep upwith homework when she comes home, changes and is right back out the door to concerts, rehearsals etc.


Trophy for nine years of dance. She has not been a serious dancer, never interested in being in company. She just likes jazz or hip hop. She did one year of  ballet when she was much younger and two years of tap. But then only jazz and hip hop. This year hip hop was the only class to fit in her schedule. This is her last year to dance as a middle schooler. We are not sure if she will be in dance at all next year due to Monday night County Christian Youth Choir, and Tuesday/Thursday after school band pratices. Band meets every day before school too because there is not room in the schedule for band. They are on the block system. 
I hope she is able to take at least one dance class next year, because she really enjoys it. And it's nice when kids can do the things that come more naturally to them. She struggles so much with school, but singing, dancing and percussion are things she enjoys, so I'd like her to be able to develop those talents.

So much still ahead for all the kids, but this is it for this post. Tonight is Kaleb's last baseball game for the season and his party if it doesn't rain.

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Busy Week...and This Week Holds Even More


Last week was a crazy busy week and this week will be even more so.
Mother's Day. Rick took me to Chili's in the evening, and by then it was almost empty.
Kaleb had games last week, and next week is the end of baseball. The final game is this coming Thursday and it's awards day too. His team is tied for first place. He is still afraid of the ball. I want him to try another season. Adam is going to try and make time to work with him this summer.






I realized there is a walking path around the pond at the baseball park. It's not where our teams usually play, so I didn't know this.


We have had a lot of shoe drama the past few weeks. I have one child who intentionally destroys shoes. Thankfully the teacher caught on to this and doesn't think we are just being negligent about shoes. Five pairs in one school year.  While we were talking about shoes, I traced feet to check sizes. Kaleb has the smallest foot. Jasmine has the next to smallest foot. Kayla, who is four years younger, has a larger foot than Jasmine. Jasmine's feet are actually two different sizes. That is because on her right foot, the large toe lays sideways against her foot due to missing toes. So she always has one shoe that fits and one that is too big.  My foot is the largest one on the paper. 


Jessica had an exciting announcement for us!!




I got to give her the first baby gifts. (I was ready for the announcement!)


The twins turned 10 on Friday. Kaleb got to pick donuts at Krispy Kreme.

Unfortunately, the day was a little marred by an incident on Thursday. Most of you know that Kayla has had nine disciplinary referrals for aggressiveness toward younger/weaker kids and multiple detentions suspensions. She missed Battle of the Books last Monday due to In school suspension for assaulting another child.

We talked a lot about kindness, how to deal with it when you feel like being unkind (walking away, redirecting your anger--although these have all been unprovoked for the most part--talking to an adult about feelings etc) and I felt like she was listening. Wednesday night I rebeaded her hair and used the time to reminded her that Friday that was both her birthday and field day. The very next morning she injured a first grade child in the bus and got two days out of school suspension before the school day even started. I think field day may have been canceled so she might get that anyway, but she didn't get to take her birthday treats. And she will not get a chance to redo that.

She and Kaleb had already planned separate celebrations and hers had to be changed. We made a big deal of her birthday, but at home, not a girls' night out as planned.


We had pizza, a cake for just for Kayla and gifts. Then we watched movies at home.


Look at Kaleb's face. He couldn't believe they got Kindles. Loaded with 23 appropriate books and parental controls in place.


The kindles were a hit.


Blowing out the candles.
Poor Max was missing for two days and then came home with the side of his facing looking like there was a golf ball in it. He had a bad abscess.




The tube is stitched to his ear. They had to put him under, drain the abscess and put in a tube.  He was born July 7, 1999, and we've had him since 6 weeks old. I had originally posted a picture of the underneath of his chin, but then realized it was a little hard on the stomach seeing it if he's not your baby.


Jasmine hand fed him tuna.
 Jessica and I went to the mall and rode wild animals!

And I bought her first maternity outfit even though she won't need it for a while.
Saturday morning we had a 5K



We all finished. I hate doing a 5K in the sun on a track. Prefer my park! We had signed up ahead and ordered shirts. Everyone else signed up that morning. Instead of sitting our shirts (preordered!) aside, they gave shirts out first come, first serve. So Kayla ended up with an adult M. Next year we'll send one person ahead way early to get our shirts!
Kaleb's party was Saturday afternoon

Then Jasmine and I went to a high school production of "Into the Woods" that was really good, but really, really long.

Ty David and four others from Job Corps were sent to Washington and Jefferson National Forest in VA to help with a fire, but it was out by time they got there. So they did some routine cleaning and made $17 an hour for it. He's disappointed he didn't get to fight the fire, but glad for the pay. Hopefully the group will get to actually help with one next time. He has a chance to get more fire training, but is not sure if he wants to delay coming home in order to do it. I think it should because the chance might not come along again, but it has to be his choice.

Jasmine and I continued our adventure yesterday, plus she had dress rehearsal for her recital which is Friday.

This week's schedule:
today-Haitian Flag Day
Tuesday- Jasmine's final middle school concert and awards reception
Wednesday-full dance dress rehearsal
Thursday-last baseball game and awards
Friday-recital
Saturday-not sure yet
Sunday--adventuring with Jasmine, moms over for Liz Curtis Higgs DVD hopefully
Monday-jet skiing for the first time this season if the weather is good. Right now we are forcasted for rain.
Lots of appointments for all three children--one eye, two ADHD, one physical, three dental, one urology (me), two vet (Max)
Last day of school-June 5