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Friday, August 9, 2013

Summer 2013 is ending

It's been a long time since I've written, and quite a busy summer!  We started the summer with painting the kids' bedrooms.  After finishing those, we headed to Blue Harbor for 3 nights with Jon's parents for vacation.  It was pretty nice and fairly relaxing.  The kids had a blast at the waterpark.  When we got home we continued to paint the rest of the house - master bedroom, living room, kitchen, and playroom/hallway.  It feels really nice to have the house feel more like ours.  There's still a long list of changes we'd like to make, but finances will determine that as we go forward.  We're growing some tomato plants out front, which are huge.  We went to some sporting events, played at parks, and just enjoyed being together as a family.

The last 2 weeks Carolyn attended Safety City through the park district.  It's a program my mom was part of starting and teaching when I was little.  Carolyn had a lot of fun and enjoyed telling us all the new things she learned each day about how to be safe.  I let the staff know today who my mom was, and almost cried as the director remembered her.  I miss my mom a lot, but having the kids get to experience some of the things she helped create makes it a little easier.  Carolyn did an awesome job at camp and her teacher was amazed that this was her first drop-off experience.  Bodes very well for starting kindergarten.  They even took a field trip on a school bus, so that won't be a foreign idea for her.

Jon started his new job this week with new staff training.  He seems to really be enjoying himself and those around him are very nice.  He has a great big office and we're discovering some nice perks along the way.  We got free microsoft office for our new desktop computer.  And the insurance, although we're selecting the HMO, is about $200/month cheaper than his old school.  Looking forward to seeing his new paycheck at the end of the month.

I have been given a raise, which means I don't have to work as many hours this school year.  I'm looking forward to being able to spend more time with the kids and not tied to my computer.  They're also starting a 401k matching program.  It's the typical 50% of your contributions up to 6%.  So I'm putting in 7% to end up with 10% in there.  If Jon switches his stuff away from fidelity, I might do the same and move all my stuff to CharlesSchwabb.  But we'll what happens.  The guy he was using wasn't very helpful and rarely, if ever, actually responds to our inquiries.  It took him over a month when I wanted to increase contributions... you'd think he'd be right on that.

Carolyn starts school in 10 days.  I still have mixed feelings about whether public school is the best option for her.  Everyone that sees/hears her read is amazed.  Whenever we use any of the online tests she ends up at a 4th grade level.  We continue to work on her math and that I would put about half way through 1st grade.  We've spent less time on it, so she isn't as far as I think she could be.  I'm going to give this a whole hearted attempt though, and we'll see how it goes.  I'm hoping that the Ipads will provide her with the opportunity to excel beyond her grade level.  I looked over the curriculum last night and she has every item listed mastered.  There are 3-4 things not yet mastered for 1st grade only.  And those are things we haven't spent much time with - clock reading, money counting, numbers beyond 100, and parts of a sentence.  So we'll definitely work on those in the next couple months and then start tackling the 2nd grade curriculum which does have more for her to work on.

James is really enjoying the preschool work we've been doing.  We're through the first 7 weeks and will start on week 8 soon.  He likes how varied it is and I think he enjoys that he gets to sit in my lap for a lot of it.  He can sing his alphabet, count to 10, identify all the standard colors, and knows his shapes (square, triangle, rectangle, circle).  We're working on identifying the letters and numbers, of which he does know a few.  So he's trucking right along.  I'm interested to see where he is just before entering kindergarten himself.  I'm looking forward to spending time with just him when we don't have to go anywhere as well.  He starts soccer in September and then story hour isn't until October.  I figure we'll still go to the library once a week though.

I'm looking forward to enjoying this next week with just the 2 of them.  We don't have a ton planned and that is going to be nice.  Tomorrow we have no plans and will just enjoy time as a family, since from here Saturdays will likely involve grocery shopping.

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