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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Anniversaries - Happy and Sad

I meant to write on Thursday, but life was just too busy.  Thursday was both the 10 year anniversary of our engagement and the 8 year anniversary of losing my mom to her cancer battle.  Our engagement of course is a fully happy memory and I can flash back to walking down to the river by Augie and spending some time chatting on the rocks.  We carved our initials into the small dock and then hiked back up to the car and went out to dinner.  We finished that night by going to the boys' soccer game so I could show all the girls the ring.  But not having my mom is hard.  And this time of year it's really hard.  I wish she could go to the pumpkin farm, see the kids in their costumes, join us for turkey at Thanksgiving, and of course be around for the holiday baking and Christmas.  This time of year I think about the time spent looking through wedding magazines for floral arrangements, and considering a rushed wedding so she could attend.  In the end I had to settle for the few memories and knowing that she helped me choose my dress, the bridesmaid dresses, the flowers, and the reception hall.  I still wish she could be here to help me navigate these tricky years with the kids, and remind me of what I was like as I entered school.  I tried to keep myself busy this past Thursday to push the painful part away just a little.  I wore my necklace that was hers and I think of her every time I touch it.

I started the day with Carolyn's first school conference.  Her teacher focused on behavior - whether the student was functioning well in the classroom since this is Kindergarten and at this point that's what she's worried about.  Everything was marked on a scale of 1-3, and Carolyn received 3's on everything they are currently working on.  Carolyn even set a goal for herself to work on something that her teacher isn't concerned about yet.  We talked about how we can continue to challenge Carolyn, and her teacher said she would get out some poetry books for her to read during reading workshop.  It sounds like things will get more personalized as the year goes on now so Carolyn should be even more challenged.  Looking over curriculums, it looks like Carolyn currently has everything through first grade except for telling time on an analog clock.  The iPad is allowing for more personalization as they started spelling (Montessori spelling) and math (Find sums) this weekend.  We may start seeing the iPad come home each day, which would allow her to play for 15-30 minutes, the small practice that's great at this age.

James and I then went to the store to do the week's grocery shopping, picking up ingredients for some special treats.  After a usual lunch with the kids, I had a job interview on the phone.  As happened last time I interviewed for an online teaching position, I was offered a job while still on the phone.  It sounds like a much better fit and I am optimistic it will end up working well.  But only time will tell.  It may be a position I can grow into, perfect for this time in our lives and the kids are becoming more independent.  I miss teaching and developing relationships with students and I'm hoping this new job will give me that opportunity again.  I don't need more to do, especially since Jon is considering a coaching opportunity this Spring.  So we'll see how things go.

After naps the kids helped me to bake a cheesecake.  We weren't patient enough and had some for dessert after dinner.  The inside ended up quite runny, but it still tasted delicious!  I'm thinking that cheesecake is the dessert that I just can't resist.  I'm hoping to find a recipe that uses less/no sugar - but nothing artificial.  So I might play around with honey or maple syrup.  I think if I make it flavored - strawberry or chocolate or something, that those sweeteners would do just fine.  After the kids were in bed Thursday night I had a bunch of work to get done, so it was a late night.  But I did find several moments throughout the day to pray and talk to my mom.  Jon brought me flowers which are beautiful and sitting on the kitchen table.  It was great to see how much he tries to understand how much I miss my mom.

Everything else continues to go well and the kids continue to grow.  James is identifying a bunch more letters now, which is often.  At his current rate he may be identifying them all by Christmas, which would be amazing and awesome.  I'm going to activate the 5 week Reading Eggs trial in a week so it's active over Thanksgiving.  I keep debating about purchasing a subscription because I think it would be awesome for James.  But Carolyn is kind of beyond it and I don't think James is quite ready for it.  So we'll do this 5 week trial and then the craziness of the holidays will be here.  If I get a good discounted offer in January, I might sign him up then because it's likely that would take him through beginning to read.  He's less of a spurt kid and more steady growth, but I'm guessing he'll start reading around 4.5 like Carolyn.  Only time will where things are headed!

I'm looking forward to a more relaxed week and helping in Carolyn's classroom on Thursday.  Then next weekend Halloween activities start!

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