Monday, January 12, 2009

Kayaking Adventure

Wow! Another week is over. Rachel and I made it to the Down Syndrome Center last Wednesday. After getting up and on the road before dawn, we were both worn out when we got home at 3:00pm. All the staff at the center think she is doing great, and the education specialist really encouraged me to put Rachel in kindergarten this fall. I was thinking about keeping her in preK one more year, but the specialist thinks it would be a good idea to get her into the classroom with "regular" kids and into a more academic setting. I was thinking that since Rachel only speaks in single words (very few that you can actually understand) and does not seem to know her numbers, letter, colors, etc....that I should keep her in preK, but the specialist told me that my thinking should be to put Rachel in the regular classroom with the assistance she needs and go from there. She says that Rachel is very bright, and that I would be doing her a disservice holding her back. I am somewhat excited about the idea because it would put Rachel in the same school with Allison and Leah. The thought also scares me to death, because Rachel just is so tiny and still looks like a toddler. She still has not broken the 30lb mark at 5 years of age. The school district will be doing it's testing in the next couple of months, and we will be meeting in May to plan for next fall. I am trying to psyche myself up for fighting for the best placement for Rachel if I have to.

As the weekend approached, the girls started talking about going to Seaworld. We had thought about going last weekend and didn't, so the girls were ready to try it again this weekend. I finally remembered to check the expiration dates on our Fun Passes, and sure enough, they expired December 31st....thanks for telling me to check on that, Jane. I am so glad that we did not get to Orlando and find that out. We would have had to turn around and come home! That certainly would not have gone over well with the girls, to say the least!

After that realization, Allison decided to start in on the whining. "We never get to do anything...........!" So we decided to go kayaking on Sunday. We have one kayak, but it just seats two, so we rented a second kayak so that all five of us could go and went up to an area called Thousand Islands. It was a neat place. We only saw a little of it because it is a really large area and we had three kids in the boats. "Why does it make a difference with three kids?"you might ask. Well, that would be because the kids want to sit in the boat and eat while the grownups paddle. Actually, Allison is a pretty good little kayaker, but Leah is not into the paddling at all. Rachel loved putting her hand in the water as the kayak cruised along. She did that when she was not eating. She also wanted to sit in my lap while I paddled the kayak. I don't have any idea how many times I clocked her in the head with the paddle. It didn't seem to bother her though, she just kept eating! We got to see some really neat birds and even a manatee. Actually, I am the only one who saw the manatee, and it was for only a brief second as it came up to take a breath. It was interesting kayaking too. For the most part, we were in approximately 6-12 inches-yes, inches-of water!! The tide was really low and it was difficult to find areas that were deep enough to kayak across. After a while of cruising around, I took Rachel's life jacket off. It just seemed silly to make her sweat it out in life jacket while we paddled around in 6 inches of water.

I almost forgot to mention the fun we had when we paddled up a narrow channel. We saw a spider web glistening in the sun and thought it was really was an omen, but we missed it! A couple of minutes later, I look up over my head to see bunches of spider webs spanning over the channel, just inches above our heads, and guess what was in all those spider webs?!?! Lots and lots of spiders. I HATE SPIDERS!! Turns out, Leah does too. We could not get out of there fast enough!! It is hard to maneuver a kayak when you cannot raise the paddle tip above your shoulders . Every time I tried to paddle I would hit the spider webs over my head and jostle all those spiders around. I just kept waiting for one to fall on my head.

At some points during the trip we let the girls get out a scout around. The had a great time playing around and looking for interesting things. We will have to go back there sometime. Below are some pictures from the trip.

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