Friday, October 19, 2007

In the rhythm

We're slowly falling into the rhythm of school life here. Slowly getting used to getting up early each morning (even though I really want to sleep in!), getting to work and school (quite often almost late thanks to Ms. Slowpoke Carissa) and taking care of all the "other" activities that fill our lives.

School for the kids is going better. Chase has made a few friends and that has helped him acclimate a bit more. Tristan had a friend he knew before move over to that school and has a few other friends besides that one. Carissa is friends with a couple of the girls in her class too. So the social things are slowly working themselves out. The academic things seem to be going fairly well.

Carissa is the best reader in her grade. Not that it's a stretch there. There are only 9 kids in 1st grade and all my kids have always been significantly above the other readers of their age anyways. We read a lot here. She will be starting speech class next month, which I'm looking forward to. Her speech needs a sprucing up. She's got to work most on her handwriting, but she's a smart little cookie and doing well.

Tristan is excelling too. I think I might have to ask to have him moved up in spelling, as the regular 3rd grade words are way too easy and he's getting them all right each week. He's really enjoyed his moon studies and took some field trips already this year. He's got lots more to come, as his teacher really loves to do hands-on learning.

Chase has enjoyed the newsletter that his class is putting out. His first article was a review/report on the last Harry Potter book. It was very good without giving away too much information. This next newsletter he will have a word find and an article on the science habitat his class is putting together.

The school itself has really been a change. It's so small and everyone knows one another. There are a total of 70 kids in the school which means small class sizes all around. Carissa only has 15 in her class while the boys each have just above 20. The Parent-Teacher Committee is outstanding. They have a huge budget (about $70,000 for 70 students) so really make a huge difference in how the school is run. They pay for an extra teachers assistant for the school, outdoor school for both Tristan and Chase's classes, swimming lessons for Carissa's class, real art teachers, teachers allowances, etc. They also do this awesome program called "Breakfast Brain Food" based on studies that show kids who have a healthy snack at school have higher learning retention levels and lower disciplinary problems. Every child in the school gets a free healthy snack each and every day. What I'm most excited about though is the Spanish language program they're bringing to the school. Twice a week the kids will take Spanish lessons with a certified teacher. It's such a blessing to be able to have them involved in language at such an early age. They start those lessons next week and they're all very excited about them.

Beyond school we are still dealing with soccer. I have a feeling this may be her one and only year playing soccer. She is just way too girly for the likes of this sport. Today it was raining and when I mentioned that she had a soccer game she said "In the rain ... but I'll get WET!". LOL She has a great team and all but her heart just isn't in it. She would really like to take riding lessons again but we just can't afford them right now. Soccer was the "budget" choice and you see how well that went over! LOL I may try to get her back in some dance classes or something after soccer is over. Maybe that will appease her for now.

Tristan is absolutely LOVING the Tae Kwon Do lessons that he got for his birthday. He goes twice a week for 1 1/2 hours each time. It's been great for both his self-esteem and for getting him out and exercising even when the weather is bad. He's always so proud when he learns something new or does a great job at a task. He's got some seriously hard roundhouse kicks going. Just a word to the wise ... don't offer to let him practice his kicks on you. OUCH!

Chase has been going to theater classes at Oregon Childrens Theater every Saturday and he's having a great time. It's a bit of a drive, as we have to go into Portland for them, but he likes it. He's also looking forward to basketball season starting in a few months.

As for Brian and I, it's much the same. I'm working 4 mornings a week, helping out at the school and spending lots of time on keeping our Cub Scout pack running smoothly. Brian is working 10 hour nights and sleeping during the day. We enjoy the small amount of alone time that we now get since the kids are in school on his days off. Our lucky number 13 year of marriage is shaping up to be another great one. Boy, are we lucky to have one another.

All in all, life is pretty good. I couldn't ask for anything better.

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