It appears that winter has finally released its icy grip on those of us here in Wisconsin and with tulips starting to peek through the soil in the garden it is time to recap the last couple of months.

In late February/early March we once again met Sarah's family in Florida for a week of sun and fun. The kids, once again, were thrilled that the house Tina and Mike rented had a pool in the back. Garrison really showed off how great a swimmer he has become for someone just six years old. He wasn't daunted at all by the fact that the water was over his head in at least half the pool. He just jumped in and swam and had a great time. Dinah isn't to Garrison's level of competence in the water yet but she's working on it.

Both kids enjoyed going to the beach, making sand castles, and collecting shells on the beaches we visited. The ocean wasn't terribly warm, but it was tolerable and I was able to stay in for an hour or more at a stretch. It was peaceful and quiet a good forty-fifty yards from the beach. We saw dolphins swimming the water several times and plenty of birds.

Garrison really wanted to go mini-golfing while we were in Florida and he seemed to enjoy it. Dinah couldn't have cared less about the mini-golfing but she did enjoy visiting the botanical gardens, especially the kids area.

The worst part of going to Florida (other than the usual and copious warts of Florida itself) was the trip down there. We left our house around 14:00 on a Wednesday and didn't arrive at the rental house in Florida until about 15:00 on Thursday. Along we way we lost an old cell phone that one of the kids used as an alarm clock and a green fleece at security checkpoint; spoke with Chicago PD about the lost cell phone; stayed at a hip, modern airport hotel for all of six hours; had our tickets changed numerous times; ran for multiple close connections (never making one); and had our luggage somehow catch flights that we couldn't, thereby arriving before us. In short, it was a travel nightmare but I give our kids full credit. They never got sullen or cranky or emotional. They were real troopers, even when they're parents got flustered.

March also saw the end of my curling season. My league team won all of three games this year. We just couldn't win on a regular basis and the biggest reason was probably that we often failed to make shots.

Garrison's reading skills are motoring right along. At his most recent parent/teacher conference we learned that his current reading skills are in-line with what is expected of an advanced first grader late in the first grade year. That was heartening, to say the least. He also seems to be doing well with math. We got some flashcards from his teacher at the conference and we periodically use them after dinner while we're sitting around the table.

Garrison has been playing basketball on Saturday mornings at the local YMCA. It's a bit of strange league with teams and parents who act as coaches with games that last an hour. Fouls short of muggings aren't called; traveling is only called if you try to walk end-to-end without dribbling once; and there are frequent stoppages in play for both sides to substitute their entire line-ups. Oh, and score isn't kept. But when your teams consist entirely of kindergartners and first graders it seems like you need to keep the game simple. Garrison is still working on figuring out how the game works so he wasn't one of the most aggressive players on the court but he always tried hard and kept a good attitude, which is all that you can ask of someone in that situation. He and I have worked on the game a bit in the driveway and he's been incessantly bouncing the basketball of late so maybe something stuck.

Dinah is also doing well at school. She is making progress towards writing her name. She can produce recognizable shapes for most of the letters; she just needs to polish them up and put them in the right order. She's also continuously working on exerting her own personality and Independence. She particularly like to push back against Sarah for some reason. It drives Sarah crazy sometimes but it seems like part of the growing-up process.

Both kids were excited by the arrival of Easter today. Garrison was up at 06:20 this morning to try and get an early start on finding hidden Easter eggs. We had to send him back to his bedroom until shortly after 07:00 so that Dinah would have a chance to get a few eggs herself.

We took a nice walk this morning after breakfast to enjoy the pleasant Easter weather and to give the kids a chance to burn off their jellybean sugar. The best part was getting to the end of a peninsula extending into the lake and hearing ice breaking up in the warm weather.

There are a few new pictures in my photo album.