Friday, August 12, 2016

Back in School!

Soo..maybe I'm back to an all adult audience now.  I let the craziness die down. (Ok..it never really does, but you know what I mean!)
Seafood at sunset on vacation.
We are finding ourselves in an entire new world.  Again.  School has begun for Mary Claire.  She started at Haas Hall this year!  It's a Fayetteville public school, but it's a charter school, so it's run completely differently.  It's currently the number one school in Arkansas!  So exciting.  We are only there by the grace of God.  Really.  
Shopping in Branson last week : )
The short story?  When she was homeschooling this spring, I submitted her name to the lottery for Haas Hall for this fall.  There were 192 incoming ninth grade students on the list by lottery pick time.  They pulled eight numbers in July (July 11th, I think).  Hers was one of them.  I don't know about you..but that was God's grace.  We could have chosen not to accept the position, but it felt like getting a huge break and a massive opportunity all at the same time.

By March, she was back in her public junior high, but it wasn't perfect.  She registered for iSchool (self-paced kinda like home school, but in a building with facilitators), but she decided to withdraw and stay at the same school for fall.  This was the plan..until the lottery!

Her first day was yesterday, and she did great!  She had lunch with super friendly seniors (some were 16, and had skipped a grade).  They have had the friendliest staff, teachers, students, it has honestly been a huge blessing.  I should say HUGE. ; )

Mary Claire and Sophia, her sweet tenth (!) grade friend!
Since she goes to school in Fayetteville (20 minutes south of us with no traffic), I transferred Carter over to the east side (closer to her) to a Catholic preschool.  We have friends there too, so he'll be okay.  It's closer to her hours, so it works for drop off and pick-up.  He's excited to take naps there.  Seriously, he's more excited that he got to choose nap bedding!  I ordered this submarine crib sheet and toddler pillowcase at pbkids.com.  Then I went to Fabric Gallery and let him choose two colors of minky dot to make a matching blanket.  The child picked red and green.  Eeek!  At least it'll be in style for one month a year, haha!  I added his name in blue to break up the Christmas vibe.


In a dressing room having fun..and M&M's!
Ethan is still in his same school, and he got one of our favorite teachers!  He will be in Mr. Ruddick's class, and he's excited!  Clay had him for fifth grade, and I wish Clay had gone with us to see him.  Clay really admired him (and even did his final speech on Mr. Ruddick last year!).

This summer at his favorite museum, the National Air and Space Museum!  (we stood in over 100 degree heat for 50 minutes just to get in..we aren't sure why everyone decided to go there at once!)  The best was when he and I did flew the simulator-I was the pilot and he was the gunner!

Ethan and Clay will start school on Monday.  Clay will be in tenth grade (ahhh!! it happens soo fast!), and we did his before-school endocrinology appointment today to get all his paperwork ready then ran his tub of snacks and notebook by the high school.  Wow.. it all changes.  Now, the nurse just wants him to do his own thing.  He'll text me pictures of his meter/blood sugar at lunch and bolus himself. o_0

He got his driver's license a couple weeks ago!  He can't drive alone till the end of December..but still!  It's awesome!! : )
He will only see her if he needs snacks or supplies or in case of emergency.  Gone are the days of little kids getting checked three times a day (totally what we used to do!). She was very nice though.  Just don't feel like I'll really get to know her as well.  Maybe that's a good thing.
His tub of snacks and supplies: juice boxes, water bottles, peanut butter crackers, cookies, strips, lancets, glucose tabs, Advil, etc.
We are headed to see Pete's Dragon in a few minutes.  I remember watching the original in my neighbors' house (Pat & Anne) in the late 70's.  It was awesome.  I can't wait to see the new adorable Pete!
Natural History Museum, it was a good trip. : )

Monday, February 22, 2016

Adult Audience Only

**If you are a junior high friend of Clay's, he's asked that you stop reading these posts.  They are not written for you, and it's inappropriate.  I know I'm hilarious, informative, and so cool to follow..so it's hard to look away.  But if you have questions, ask him directly, or you can email me.  I share with my adult friends.  Thank you.

Mary Claire is finding her new normal.  She's back to wearing cute skirts and dresses (precious!), and she's doing soo well on her work!  She keeps exclaiming, "I knew I was good at math!"  (and she really is a quick thinker.)  We have about half a day's work and assignments, and then she reads in the afternoons and plays outside/on the trampoline/with Carter, and writes.

She has an essay/quick write every day for history, and they've been amazing.  She doesn't really enjoy doing them, but they are always so good.  There are three choices every day, and she often is choosing to write from the human perspective or complete the opinion option.  I love reading them.  She can empathize with people; they're wonderful to read.

Mary Claire also cut off all her hair (8") last Friday.  I was worried about her, stressed, I told her no several times..I wondered what was stimulating all the cleaning, change in dress, hair, etc.  Honestly, it made me nervous.  But she is thrilled!  And she looks adorable, so it was a totally good move for her.  It's been hard for me to let her "grow up", accept that she has these mature thoughts (like..I thought cutting her hair was a knee-jerk reaction or a way to shed her "old" life..not that she'd really considered it).  I have to say..I found a lot on her phone: lists of negative things kids had said to her, things she was thinking about, what she was praying for, things I didn't know were on her radar.  Things I thought were above her age level, that she shouldn't think about yet.  Kids are feeling pressure from all angles.  She was just overwhelmed.

This has been as big a change for me as it has been for her.  I've definitely struggled too.  Having another child around the house all day, every day has been an adjustment.  She wanted to go along to my hair appointment (me time!), to take Carter to school, to change the church bulletin board, etc.  I'm finding a new normal too.  Hopefully in healthy ways, haha!

We are finally finding a groove though.  We have texts and work for her, I'm back to figuring out how to plan dinner, groceries, do laundry, etc. and balance will come.  

Thankfully with all the trampoline-ing and outside play over the past warm week, blood sugars are back down.  (We are seeing too many lows!  All that muscle is continuing to work and burn calories, ahh!)  But it's been good for them to get to eat some "free" snacks! : )

Thank you for your continued prayers, for reaching out to us either with calls, emails, or contact information for us..it's been an eye-opening, transformative journey.  God is working!
Hugs back at you!

  ..and apparently she found my little corner of the world.. ; )

MARY CLAIRE WAS HERE MWAHAHAHAHA byeeee

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Cleaning Out

We're moving forward.  We had our meeting at the school today.  I got a doctor's note for her to be home bound, but we probably will skip home bound since we'll be officially homeschooling beginning Feb. 19th.  Apparently the home bound program is a lot of paperwork (and work), and it's a slow process.  So.. they just put her on :medical leave: until homeschooling takes effect.

The meeting was ok (read: we made it through), and she was encouraged to tell the truth about what was going on.  She couldn't really do it, so I helped.  Which is what made me cry.  She didn't want to say anything negative about her friends or kids at school, so it was hard to explain what was going on.  After we left, she told me about the girl that poked her all last year, and is still annoying..and this year "wished Mary Claire would go back where she came from."  She finally let down and cried in the car.  It's going to be hard for a while.

We cleaned out her locker.  The nurse tried to get her Careers workbook, but the teacher fussed at her and asked if she needed it right now.  And why?  (in front of the class.)  I've learned that no thing is easy.  You just breathe, and keep moving.  Not everyone can understand.  What you have to do and why.

I did get invited to a homeschooling Valentine party on Friday, and a mom's group coffee on Thursday night.  So there's that. : ) My friends (some who already home school) have reached out and shown us love.  And for that, I am soo grateful.  That they have compassion.  That they can understand why we have to make the choices we do right now.  And that they want to help and make this easier, less painful. 

Her friends..that's another story.  Some have stopped contacting her.  We knew that'd be part of it.  They need to close their circle.  I get it.  She can't tell them all what is going on, how she feels.  Goodness..she can barely comprehend it all.

I have encouraged her to own her choices.  She begged to be home schooled, to never go back.  I am pretty busy, and I'd love for her to make peace and go back, but it's not in the cards right now.  She has told a couple friends that she's staying home, and sent them teary face emoticons.  (because hello, she's 13.)  I've told her she has to tell it like it is, that it's what she feels she needs to do right now.

So I have a right-hand woman, a sidekick.  All.  Day.  Long.  We'll both get the hang of it.

In other news, Carter had a "Balentine's Party" today.  It was fun, sweet, crazy, chaos!  They sang us a cute little song, had cupcakes, snacks, crafted ladybugs, and exchanged adorable, creative Valentines!  (I soo won the awesome-mom-crafting award with my Avengers pre-packaged candy from Target.  Not.)  (Ask me how it felt to spend three minutes writing their names on the packages, calling it good, and my baby being thrilled with candy Captain America shields.  Yep, that's why.)  We've always got next year. : )
Happy Valentine's Day!
I did print sent to print colorful, creative tags for Ethan's pop rock valentines, and they are cut and ready to staple on.  I've somehow lost the list of kids..so we are going to sign them all with his name, and he can pass them out and pray everyone gets one.  And I've learned the three packs are $1 at Dollar General (..but then you deal with the lines and crazy shoppers..)(h-o-w do you spend seventy-six dollars there?!) and $2 at Hobby Lobby.  Kinda totally worth it.

And..if you need to laugh.  Here is my baby putting on his own jammies..and kinda running into the door: https://youtu.be/dcGN19xqz6c  And straightening his waistband..and being proud of himself!


Hugs, and hope you have a week blessed with laughter.  Even if it's punctuated with a few tears. ; )

Friday, February 5, 2016

Big Changes

I'm not gonna lie.  It's been a hard week.  Sunday I intercepted a few panicked texts from Mary Claire's phone when she gave it to me at the beginning of youth group.  Her friend was very worried about her.  Mary Claire had texted that she dreamed she died.  And then she told her friend that she wished it was true.  There was conversation, calls and meeting with the school counselor, and half-hearted attempts at school this week.  She did make it for three and a half days.

She feels like she's "not good at anything" and that her "life sucks".  My amazing girl who is creative, funny, and organized.  Slowly, her friend circles have been forcing her to "pick sides" (for lack of a better term..).  They are all putting her on the outside, not speaking to her, and beginning to exclude her.  It hurts.  We all know how it feels when we're in the group and feeling a high from the thrill of being on top, and how it feels to be the one on the outside feeling left out.  Ok, I know how it feels.


She begged not to go back to school.  This happy, intelligent, sweet young lady.  What she didn't even know is that three girls have taken their lives in the last week and a half, right in our city, two in our church family.  I've not told her (she didn't know them).  The school counselor said that January is the hardest time.  Not a lot to look forward to (letdown after the Christmas activity), spring break is a long way away, it's cold and dreary..etc.  

So, after much consideration, I've listened to her.  I've made what she wants important.  I filed our Intent to Homeschool with our state department of education.  I'm currently working on getting her on the homebound program for the 14-day waiting period until we can officially homeschool.

We went to the library today, and she chose a large stack of fiction (assisted and approved by me), and I got books on homeschooling.  I have a degree in education, but this is still new to me.  She and I bought new binders, and she got new colored pens.  We are taking this bull by the horns. : )  We need to print all of the Arkansas State Frameworks to cover all she needs for eighth grade.

We can do this.  I'm thankful that this is what the future looks like..as opposed to what it could look like.  I need her to know I've heard her, that I'm listening, and that I take her seriously.  So..here we go.  On a new adventure.

I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.  Psalm 32:8