I am going to fill in a few blanks from the last six months, starting with N's 9th birthday in August. We decided as a family that in leiu of presents and big parties for the fall birthdays, we are going to take a trip to Legoland instead. Everyone agreed to this, but N had a hard time not doing something with his friends, so we had a no-cost party with a few of his buddies. We played old-school games like Hot and Cold and Drop the Clothespin into the Jar (one of my all-time faves!). I made cupcakes and we opened presents - that's it! They had a good time and it made me wonder why we don't do all our parties like this! I am sure we will do something similar when E's day rolls around in November.
Working backwards from that... The beginning of August means the beginning of school around here. This year N is in 3rd grade and E started Kindergarten. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this. I absolutely love my kids, but I reach a point with each one where I can't wait to kick them out of the house for a few hours each day. I don't even have to take them anywhere - I just open the front door, say "Goodbye, I love you!" and the big orange bus takes them away. It will be even more exciting next year when E is in all-day 1st grade, but for now I am taking what I can get. They are both doing really well, or at least that is what I will think unless I am told differently at parent-teacher conference next week.
J is in 6th grade this year, and we decided to go a different direction with his schooling. After a lot of thought and research, we enrolled him in Arizona Connections Academy, an online public (= free!) school. So his first day looked like this...
He has been in school now for almost two months and we LOVE it! He has great teachers, he can work at his own pace, we are very pleased with his curriculum and placement, and we know exactly what he is learning and what his progress is at all times. I don't think he misses his old school one bit, and he has been very helpful at home. (Obviously this is the stage where I can handle a kid being around all the time again!) It has definitely been the right choice for us.