Sunday, September 14, 2014

First Days

We're all back to school.  We've been struggling to get into a routine.  Part of that is that my schedule has been different every single week so far, so its hard for the kids to get into a groove.  This week we should get closer to that.  I'm in Butte 'til 5pm two days a week, but thankfully "our Katies" have been awesome.  The older kids go to the Laws after school, and the younger ones go to the Postmas, and mama feels much better not sending anyone off to daycare or Boys and Girls Club.  We're all really lucky to have found such kind and generous friends.

The older three started school right after Labor Day, and they were all pretty excited. 

Keilana is in 5th grade this year:
Its crazy how grown up she is.
Independent, enthusiastic, smiley.
She is more horse-obsessed than ever,
and is doing 4H this year,
including a horse project
with riding lessons that started the second week of school.
She's pretty excited about being
in the accelerated math and reading class.
She's either bouncing off the walls
or has her nose buried in a book,
usually fantasy.
She seems intent on striking some precarious balance
with her head in the clouds
and her feet firmly on the ground.
She wore her boots and "riding shirt"
to the first day of school,
and was irritated that she'd left her hat at a friend's house.
Her greatest desire in life
is to be a real cowgirl.
With a touch of veterinarian medicine on the side.

Dylan is a 3rd grader this year:
School is just sort of what happens
around all the other things he's doing.
He's always studying his bird guide book
or memorizing Eye Witness books
about animals
or watching Pokemon
(or enacting fantasy Pokemon battles).
When he isn't reading about wild animals,
he's neck-deep in Legos and K'nex.
He told me he wants to join 4H,
so he can do a robotics project.
Though they can be difficult for others to decipher,
he has systems and orders and rules
by which he mentally organizes his world.
Hopefully, someday his schoolwork
will be a part of that order.
We're working on it.
But he's learning a lot all of the time.

Kylie is in kindergarten this year:
 She is sweet and sensitive,
and assertive and sassy at the same time.
She loves animals and babies
and My Little Pony.
She is obsessed with the idea
that she's a real princess,
and Yaya and I are real queens,
and Daddy and Papa are real kings.
She tells everyone she can.
And she's always delighted
when I tell another little girl
that she's a real princess, too.
She love to help people feel special,
and hugs are often her weapon of choice.
She gives incredible hugs.
She's love frilly dresses
and big bows in her hair
and doesn't let any one,
or any thing,
get in her way.

Keira, well, she's headed off to Head Start:
She's only 3 1/2.
But she's used to keeping pace
with her brother and sisters.
They tell me she's half-tiger.
She smiles all the time,
this huge, cheesy, squinty-eyed smile,
but she also growls and head butts us a lot,
so there may be something to that tiger thing.
She's confident.
Ridiculously confident.
She dances and jams like a rock star,
wrestles like she's on WWE.
She alternates between stomping and prancing,
and her imagination knows no bounds.
The afternoons when she's home alone,
she'll set up her Littlest Pet Shop toys,
or her barn and farm animals,
and enact whole story lines,
all by herself.
Its fun to listen to her explore
the limitless world in her own marvelous
little mind.
She's quite certain that the world is her oyster.
And so it is.

This transition has been hard for me.  Every time I feel like school is taking too much of our time, too much of our money, asking too much of our support system, I get a quiet, reassuring prompting that its what we're supposed to be doing right now.  But I struggle with how much time it demands.  I don't mind doing the work--a great deal of it is quite enjoyable to me--but over the course of our family life, we have made sacrifices, happily gone without many of the luxuries and amenities that a lot of people around us enjoy so that we could have the ultimate luxury of one parent at home full-time.  I'm struggling to let go of that ideal we've been able to hold on to for the last decade, despite the ups and downs.  I hate that the last two years my baby is "home", she's actually in Head Start part of most days and I'm out of town 30 hours a week.  Thankfully, our kids are young enough that the extra-curricular activities are still minimal, so if I plan my studying and homework well, we can soak up our time together in the evenings and on weekends, and Keira and I can steal a little time here and there some days, and I'm very grateful for that. I'm grateful that I don't have to have a job while going to school, so that that doesn't compete for time with my husband and kids.  All the decisions we've made since having kids have been based around accomplishing the things we need to for work and church, while still maximizing our time together as a family.  I think we've had some help figuring that out in the phase we're in right now and I'm grateful for that. 

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