Friday, August 27, 2010

First week of school

Update- I've had some inquiries about my school choice, here's a better introduction to this post. For some reason this was a tough choice, especially regarding the girls. I knew Trevor would make the change well and attend Jr. High here, which his older brother attended last year. But the girls were so established and happy where they were. It would also be great for them to learn Mandarin at this young age, and they will someday soon, but I didn't feel strong about that school choice for the girls. After a lot of thought and prayer, I knew this was the best choice. A great Charter school, highly academic, good social opportunities, and keeping the family together on the same schedule. The main drawback was repeating 1st grade for the girls, and it still bothers them and me. Although they are playing catch up slightly from being adopted older (mainly with language, they've come so far and are doing great), they are very smart and tested in the higher groups at this new school, so they will still be challenged. It's still kinda sad to see, they really miss their friends and vibrant teachers from their old school, but they make friends quickly and I'm sure they'll do well here, it just takes a little time. I'm hoping soon I'll look at this as a blessing in disguise. They are such happy girls, and I'm glad they have each other. Last night my independent Sophie asked if I would hold her for awhile. I've been giving them a lot of extra hugs lately, they are troopers.

School’s off to a good start, for the most part. Trevor says it’s awesome… having a male teacher, being in Jr. High, playing football at recess, tasty hot lunches (they have pretty healthy lunches here, so it's a nice break from having to make sack lunches every day), and the new buddies he’s meeting. He enjoys the curriculum and shares with me some neat things he’s learning. So glad to see his mind enlightened and how much he likes it.


For the girls, the first day of school was a little rocky. No tears or anything, but they missed their friends and old school. They like their new teacher (she’s great, so glad they got her), but getting used to a more structured, strict school- and all new people.

Sophie’s comment after the first day made me chuckle- “all the teachers here are Grandma’s.” She’s had young, spunky teachers before. The ones here are all ages, young & older, experienced and enthusiastic. Another complaint from the girls was having to wait for recess to use the bathroom. “I almost peed my pants!” she said. It’s still a fun, loving school, they just expect a lot from the students, could be good in many ways. It’s nice having them in the same class again, especially since they’re independent of each other, but great friends.

Each day got a little better and by today (Friday), they were telling me how much they like this school. Phew, what a relief! I was hoping I did the right thing, giving up their spot in their last school. I still feel good about it and I’m sure they’ll learn a lot, they even found a good friend that transferred over from their old school that they play with at recess. Won’t be long before they make many friends in their new class as well.


Sophie reading out loud 15 minutes every day (they both do it)- great for comprehension and articulation.

A few Sunday pics below, day before school started

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A downside having the girls attend this school is there wasn’t room in 2nd grade, they were first on the list but there were no openings, so they are in 1st grade again. I gave this a lot of thought and prayer… because it’s highly academic, it really won’t be much of a repeat… just them knowing they are repeating was tough, but they know the reason (I also wouldn’t do this unless switching schools). I believe they will still be challenged, they tested into the higher (2nd grade level) math group, and are placed in the reading group on their advanced level. It’s great how they individualize the education here (I used to teach math 4/5 to the 3rd graders here). Also, they didn’t turn 7 until May, so they’re not much older, plus so many parents are redshirting their kids nowadays, I knew they’d be fine. Besides their cute petite size. Sophie asked last year why they were one of the smallest in the class, Sage confidently said “I know, because we’re twins”. Good answer :) And last, with them being adopted older, they’ve had some catching up and a lot to learn in these short four years being here, although they’ll probably pass the norm academically. Ya, it’s been a big change for them, but they are survivors and doing great.

And how impressive, as I was walking the girls in on the first day of school the principal was outside welcoming everyone, and although he hasn’t really met the girls yet, he welcomed us by name. I know we’re hard to miss (blond & black hair)- but he seems to know everyone's name at the school, new and returning. Today while picking up the girls, he was out in the rain guiding the carpool lanes. Few principals do that, he’s very involved and makes an effort to know everyone in the school (this is his 3rd year, he wasn’t here when I worked here).

Thanks again for the insights and inquiries on the girls school situation, it wasn’t a clear choice at first, but now clear as day.

Many new things happening in this busy household. Josh got his drivers license and started high school, he's in Broadway Kidz, he’s loving life and already has some dates set up, Trevor started Football which consumes our evenings but he loves it, and Nick is off to college in one week… :)/:( He’ll be missed but we’re happy for him.

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day Excitement & Jitters...

New school, new uniforms, new friends, new fun…

DSC_3850and a lot of learning


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Ready or not, summer break is over. None of us wanted it to end so soon, but after school shopping and stocking up on supplies, they were ready and excited to start again. I'm looking forward to a good schedule and catching up on my design appointments, off to my next one now, but I miss them already! I'll post soon on their first day.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Spoiled for my B-day…

Didn’t expect this, it came quickly at a busy time, and it’s easy to forget your birthday once you’ve turned 40,  but my family and friends wouldn’t let me forget…  nice lunches w/ friends &…DSC_3647


No bon fire, they put all 43 candles on the delicious chocolate cake

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Served some of my favorite dishes



They gave me a “Certificate of Achievement”.  Ha, ha, according to my kids, it’s an achievement to turn 43.













Don’t mind my stunning black eye, I’ll explain in another post…  but you should’ve seen the other guy!

DSC_3769The man behind it all.  You thought of everything hon, the tasty BBQ, homemade cards, thoughtful gifts, & fun guests.  The kids had a blast preparing with you.  You wouldn’t let me lift a finger that day and sent me to relax in my room and enjoy a good book while you and the kids got everything ready, then enjoyed a great dinner & evening. It was fabulous, thanks for pampering me and making it a perfect day!  XOXOXO     

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fun in the sun… {Sunday Snapshot}

with Josh & his buddyDSC_3059

DSC_3064 A friendly game of Chicken, bring it on!

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The bigger the splash, the better. Having a blast with big brothers.

Sophie in pink, Sage with all the gear :).  They are both proficient swimmers now, but last month Sage was still getting used to swimming in the deep without a lifejacket.  It didn’t take long, now they are going down slides and jumping off diving boards on their own, and I watch them like a hawk. 

I heart their relationship with their brothers & bro’s friends, and seeing how well the boys treat them.

Ni Hao Y'all

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Big decision to make…

DSC_0340 Sophie signaling faster, Sage slower… they keep us smiling

I’m writing candidly here, to help me decide...  I’ve always put a lot of thought into my children’s education, seeking out good schools.  They’ve had great teachers and schools, and if some weren’t so good, I’ve tried to instill the importance of making the best of the situation, important life tool I’d say.

But here’s my dilemma-

without being too detailed, my youngest boy Trevor, that the girls think is the best thing since sliced bread, is changing schools next year for Jr. High.  It’s a popular Charter school (I taught there when they first opened until going to China, then after getting the girls, they all went to a new Charter School that is a bit more cultural).  Both great schools, the first really pushing academics and the second an IB school that embraces international learning and culture as well.  These are hard schools to get into, so we’ve been fortunate.  The girls want to go where Trevor is going (not thinking they won’t really see him,but the knowledge of having him there is good enough for them), although they have such great friends at their current school, they’re popular, loved, and fit in well.   To throw a kink in it, the public school nearby has an awesome Chinese immersion program that the students learn Mandarin half day, and regular classes the other half.  Such a neat opportunity.  A good friend of mine is one of the teachers and asks why my girls aren’t going there?  It’s also a great public school, especially now with the immersion program.      

So…  it’s nice to have choices, but this is tough.  Have the girls start a different Charter School with their bro that’s highly academic, have them stay where they’re established with great friends, or have them do the Chinese immersion program in the public school?  Any insights?