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Finn turns 5 next month.  In our state, that means that they expect him to start Kindergarten in the Fall.  So they send you a letter reminding you of that and giving you your choices.  In the school district we live in, we have these choices:

  • His assigned school, which teaches a “Core” program.  It’s the only elementary school in the district that does this.
  • A Montessori-based Kindergarten, which has a tract that stays Montessori through Grade 8.  This is at 1 elementary school in our district.
  • An International Baccalaureate (IB) program, which is available all the way through high school.  This is at 1 elementary school in our district.
  • A normal/regular/standard school that the rest of the elementary schools use.
  • A private school (religious or otherwise)
  • Opting into another public school district
  • Homeschooling
  • Waiting a year til he’s 6 to decide.

Right now, we’re waiting a year to start Kindergarten.  For a variety of reasons, this is the right choice for him.

But, man, all the choices!  Let’s say I rule out other districts, private school and homeschooling (which we haven’t ruled out, but let’s just say) — that still gives me 4 educational options in 1 school district.  4!?!?  I’m appreciative of having choices, but geesh!

When my mom wanted to enroll me in Kindergarten, it was simple.  What’s your assigned school? That’s where you went – all the schools in that same district had the same curriculum.  Sure, you might prefer a different elementary school because you knew of the principal or the location was better, but there wasn’t a difference in how the material was taught.

Choices are good.  But they also cause analysis paralysis!

Someday I’m going to forget all kinds of things.  I hope I don’t forget these things.

  • Finn (age 4) sings song so proudly.  At the beginning of this school year, he hated singing time at both church (Awana) and preschool.  The teachers made him stand with the group, but he didn’t have to sing or do the movements.  When asked about it, he said it was “too loud”.  He’s slowly coming out of that, but even in the beginning of the year when he hated singing time, he was learning the songs. And he’d come home and just randomly start singing them.  It’s fun!
  • Finn also tells great stories about how things have come to be.  He’ll tell me all about something he’s built with blocks.  Always an elaborate story.
  • We were going to the movie theater the other day and I asked Finn about the rules.  His answers: “Don’t Hit.”  Okay.  “Stay in your seat.”  Okay.  “And if anyone gets on the roof of the van and they want to ride up there and they beat on the top of the roof like it’s a drum, we should tell them to get off.”  What!?!
  • When Stephen (age 3) falls or something and I ask him “Are you okay?”  He always answer “I’m okay.  I’m fine.”  He always says both phrases and in the cutest voice.  (He voice is still baby-ish.)
  • Sam (almost 2) is so observant.  Call it being Kid #3, but for months now, I only need to mention something and he’s all over it.  I can just casually say “I’m going to go get the mail” and he’ll bring me my shoes.  If the baby spits up and he sees that I don’t have a towel, he’ll go get me one – without me saying a word.
  • He’s also always watching his older brothers and mimicking them.  They start dancing – he will too.  If they sit down for lunch, he will too.  If they start running around all crazy – he will too.

But I do think the thing that I’ll miss the most is right after bathtime – especially when a kid has gained confidence in their new walking skills.  I think I’ll miss seeing little naked baby bottoms running down the hallway to their bedroom.  Is that weird?  It’s weird I know.  But seeing a kid who is just so tiny but fully capable of walking is fun. And seeing them run is even more fun.

Ben: 8 months old!

Ben’s 8 months old!  Well, he’s 8 months and like 2 weeks old.  I’m behind in my blogging.  I forgive myself. Doesn’t bother me!

Here’s his scrapbook page:

month8.jpg

And a recent picture:

ben_8months

How I know he loves me

Being Valentine’s Day and all (Happy Valentine’s Day by the way!), I thought I’d document how I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my husband, Jeff, loves me.

  • It isn’t the fact that he proposed.
  • It isn’t that he said “I Do” 6 1/2 years ago.
  • It isn’t that he gave me 4 sons.  (4!  All boys!  Inconceivable!)
  • It isn’t that he’s supportive of me staying at home instead of working.

I know he loves me because of the house we live in.  

I’ve written before about the house we’re in. My husband and I were not looking to move.  We had been married almost 5 years and had already moved 3 times, thinking we were in the house we’d live in until our kids were grown and gone.  I had a 2 month old.  And a 1 1/2 year old.  And a 3 year old.

And the fort that’s in our backyard.

See, all last summer – for SEVERAL weekends, he built me a fort.  A gigantic one.  The platform is 7 feet in the air.  The roof is 7 feet above that, so that a grown man can stand up in it with no problem.  The platform is “L” shaped – the longest side is 12 feet long and the shortest side is 6 feet.  It’s LONG and TALL.

We have plans to add onto it in the future – a bucket and pulley system.  A climbing rock wall maybe.  But the bulk of it is done.

This isn’t the case where my husband is a builder by day and thus, had to build on the weekends too.  Oh no. He’s an Electrical Engineer by training (now in management).  This was not in his wheel house.  This is not something he would’ve chosen to do.  He enlisted help from his father, but he easily spent 100+ hours building this thing.  And way more money than we thought!

And it’s because he loves me that he did this.  If it was just love for his kids, he would’ve just bought a swingset (and saved lots of time and money!).  But because he loves me, Jayme, he built this.  The custom fort that I wanted.  The fort that I hope our children love for years.  The fort that they’ve already eaten lunch in many, many days last summer and fall. The fort that they can play board games on when they’re in Elementary school.  The fort that I hope they have sleepovers on when they’re in Jr. High. It’s just awesome and I love it.  And I love him!

finished_fort

 

 

Ben: No Helmet Needed!

Summary: Ben doesn’t need to wear a helmet!
Details:
We must have something going on in our genes.

Son #1 (Finn) had surgery for craniosyntosis when he was 1.  It’s a condition where the skull fuses too soon and growth is restricted.

Son #2 (Stephen) We had no concerns with his head.

Son #3 (Sam) is still being evaluated for possible craniosyntosis and/or abnormal head shape.  Follow up appointment this summer still.

Son #4 (Ben) was evaluated today.  We knew he didn’t have full-blown craniosyntosis due to head CT scans last fall; his skull hadn’t fused yet.  But our pediatrician was still concerned about his head shape.  So, off to the Helmet Clinic to be evaluated.  That was today.

A Physical Therapist evaluated him first and she had no concerns at all.  She was looking to see if he was (in general) meeting his milestones – particularly around head & body movement – things his head and neck muscles would influence.  He’s meeting them (even crawling and quite mobile).

Then the Surgeon came in with 2 of the nurses to evaluate him.  They looked at his head shape and reviewed the CT Scan.  He had no concerns at all.  Ben doesn’t have a flat spot on the back of his head (which could be fixed by a helmet).  Ben doesn’t have an irregular forehead where one side would protrude farther than the other (which could also be helped by a helmet).

Ben’s head shape is symmetrical – it’s just really long.  You can measure it and it’d still measure just as “long” as any other baby’s.  But it’s shaped like a football instead of more like a basketball.  Long instead of round. It isn’t distracting or anything.  We all feel that as he gets older, it’ll get even milder.  Let him grow some hair.  Let the hair get darker and you probably won’t even notice it. No helmet for him!

ben7-5months

 

 

 

Ben: 7 months old!

Ben’s 7 months old!

His scrapbook page:

ben_month7

A recent photo:

ben_7months

I’m reconfirming my choice to stay at home.  Here’s how it all went down:

Mid-December, I got an email from a company:

“Dear Jayme…in looking at your profile on LinkedIn, you seem really cool with mad skillz that we’d like to have at our company.  Do we have what it takes to make you look at us?”

My reply:

“Dear company…you seem cool.  I’ve heard good things about you.  And you’re right – I am awesomeness.  The total package.  But I love my life and would only want to work part-time.  Thanks for thinking of me.”

Their reply:

“Hey, part-time could work.  We’d do whatever it takes to make you love us.  Come on in.”

So I did.  Did an interview.  They loved me.  A couple of weeks later, they asked for another interview, with the owners of the company (it’s a small company).  So I went. It went down like this:

Them: “Hey Jayme…you ARE awesome.  We could totally make part-time work.  But I don’t think you’d accept the position that we had posted, amiright?”

 Me: “Yeah, you’re right. You’re a great company.  It’s a good position.  It’s just not where I want to go.”

Them: “We have many needs. Would you rather do position A?  Or position B?  Or position C?  How about we set you up with an interview of some others that work here so you can see how cool we really are?”

Me: “Okay, those jobs sound cool.”

Them: “By the way, how much are you looking to make?”

Me: [tells them what I used to make, clarifying that I had been full-time]

Them: “Great.  Well, expect an email from us!”

The next day I thought more about it.  It IS a great company.  The potential positions seemed good.  The timing for my family was just horrible.  I just wasn’t excited. Don’t get me wrong: I was excited about being wanted.  About being told that I got skillz.  That’s really nice.  But, I decided that, if offered, the soonest I’d start would be June.  I wasn’t out looking.  I don’t need to work.  I had been hoping that I wouldn’t really like the position or the pay (so that it’d be an easy decision).  Jeff was supportive of it, but wasn’t excited about it.  The timing was horrible.

But instead of the email for another interview, I got a “Thanks, but no thanks” email.  It flabbergasted me.  I imagine it was about money since things were good until then.  But who knows?  Maybe I’m bad at reading people.

Either way, it was a RELIEF.  I was relieved that I didn’t have to make a Yes/No decision.  I don’t know that I’ll be a Stay At Home Mom forever, but, at least for now, it’s what I want.

Lesson learned.  Decision reconfirmed.