School Open House

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Last night was the school open house. Normally this is a Mom job in our family. Both Anthony and I are very involved with the education of our children but I tend to be the one to take on the communication between parent and teacher. This year however, that became tricky as open house was on a Wednesday evening which is a night when both Anthony and I need to be at church by 7 pm. So we had to divide and conquer.

Anthony choose to go to Ethan’s open house presentation and I went to the girls. When Anthony and I met up afterwards he proudly handed me this star that had been on Ethan’s desk. I love the last sentence, “I am special to my Dad.” I love that he was the one to be there to first see this. Ethan is special to his Dad, and I have a hunch that his Dad is special to him too.

In Natalie’s open house presentation there were quizzes on the desk for us to take about our children. The kids had taken one too and then we were to compare our answers to theirs. One question was what was Natalie’s favorite movie. I left it blank for a long while and then finally just put a “?” in the space. When I opened up her answers she had a “?” mark there too. I guess I do know my child!

And just so I don’t leave her out there was one thing I thought was significant at Bella’s. When I walked in her teacher said to me, “You know I only meet parents for a brief moment at meet the teacher and I don’t know the kids yet so its easy to forget who is who. Open house is where I finally connect parents and children. But, I knew who you were right when you walked in because you look just like Bella.” I think that is the first time anyone has ever told me that. She made my day!


Isabella and the Backpack

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Before I get into the 10 facts about Isabella the 5th grader I need to do a little story telling. 

Last year, at some point, Bella discovered Vera Bradley. She innocently told me she wanted a Vera Bradley backpack. I, at the time, was somewhat ignorant to the actual cost of Vera Bradley bags. I told her we could look at them and discuss it. So one slow afternoon we got on the internet and went looking. 

$108! WHAT the WHAT?! 


Fortunately for me, she understood that was A LOT of cash to spend on a backpack. But the desire persisted. So I was thinking this could make a good Christmas present. (If she didn’t mind not getting much else. 😉 ) Then one day I was telling my sister about it and she said that an outlet had just opened near her and we’d take Bella there when we visited over the summer. I then did some quick internet searching and found we had one about 30 minutes from us too. 

Bella never begged and that is something I appreciate about her. She doesn’t beg. She understands we can’t get everything …which makes you want to give her everything. (Do you think that is her plan?)

At the outlet in Texas we found the type of backpack she wanted for $60. Now my brain was entertaining the idea. I still didn’t want to spend $60 on a backpack so I told her that I would give her $25 towards a backpack which is about what I would typically spend on it. She would have to come up with the rest on her own. She agreed.

When we returned home from our trip it was obvious to me that she would not be able to come up with the cash for such an expense. So Anthony and I devised a plan. We wrote out a list of 8 chores that we said were worth $5 each. The catch was these were not simple chores. They weren’t things that would be done quickly. These were things that required significant time to complete. (The backpack ended up being more at our Outlet here so she owed us $40.)

For example: One chore was to wash every family members bedding, bathroom towels and bathroom rugs. Then remake beds and hang all towels. *This would take her 6 loads of laundry to complete, not to mention the time spent putting beds back together.

 As soon as I gave her the list she set out a plan. What to do when, how much to do each day and got to work. Because of a few things out of her control she didn’t finish until 7 days before school started and she was awarded the backpack of her choice.  

Here is a good shot of it. She is the tallest. 😉

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I am glad she earned it but, she had better take care of it and use it for at least the next few years!!!

As an added funny part to the story one day as I was telling my mom about this plan she said to me, “Just give her the backpack, she deserves it!” I was shocked. NEVER would my mom and dad have just given me a backpack that cost that much when I was growing up. Ever. They would have done the exact same thing. Just shows what a softie she’s become since becoming a grandma. 🙂

I don’t disagree that Bella deserved it. If I did she would never have gotten it. But, she needed to earn it. 

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10 Facts About Isabella the 5th Grader

1. Bella is on the school news crew. This doesn’t always mean she’s on camera but she gets the chance to do all jobs in a rotation for half the school year. 

2. Bella made lots of friends at her new school last year but NONE of them are in her new class. But true to Bella she took it all in stride. She said she was sad but that it was a chance to make more new friends. 

3. Bella’s favorite subject is: Math

4. Bella is excited to join the school’s chorus this year. She can’t stop talking about it.

5. Bella’s teacher’s name is Mrs. Mendenhall.

6. Bella likes to set goals for herself in school, and typically she meets them all.

7. Last year Bella was named “Best Dressed” in her class. She continues to own that title. 

8. Bella plans on joining a Harry Potter Club at school. She completed reading them more than 2 year ago but she can’t stop her addiction to them. She even has re-read many of the books. 

9. Bella’s lunches rarely include a sandwich. Instead she prefers pasta salad, green salad, soup, raw veggies and dip.

10. Bella’s favorite TV shows: Liv and Maddie, 19 kids and Counting and What Not to Wear


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Homework. It doesn’t get more everyday than this.

{P.S. “Everydays” is what I’m entitling my daily shots that I talked about reviving yesterday.}

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Can you tell how thrilled she is to do homework while her siblings play? I try to keep her away from where they are playing but she always ends up back wherever they are. Natalie says she doesn’t want to go to Kindergarten because she’s scared of homework.

Other Changes

My first post on this blog was entitled “Changes” and although I’ve thought and thought about other more creative titles that is what I keep coming back to for this post.

A week ago Sunday my neighbor called and asked if we would like to take some furniture off her hands. She was ordering her daughter an entirely new bedroom set and just wanted the old one out. Two dressers, a night stand and a TV stand. We moved the two dressers into their room today (the other stuff went in Ethan’s room). When the two dressers went in a Barbie house and plastic hair styling station came out.

I spent much of the afternoon moving their clothes around and going through stuff (aka clutter), and while I still have some more organizing and decorating I want to do around the new furniture when I was done I stood back and thought it all looked very nice. That is until I walked in a few minutes later and saw Bella in her “new” room…

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…part of me wanted to scrap the new furniture and bring back the Barbie house and plastic hair station toy that I’d been recently hoping to get rid of. Its just not quite a little girl’s room anymore. Or so it seems to me. I know, its still pink and cute, but the Barbie’s are out of sight. So much so that you could forget they were even there. What’s even worse is that it isn’t just the appearance of her room its the fact that she is really growing up. Maybe the Barbie’s and other toys were just a safety blanket for me. Who knew at age 6 (almost 7) I’d feel her childhood slipping through my fingers so quickly? Its as if I saw a teenager on that bed pouring over her Calculus homework, instead of a first grader trying to work out a story problem.

Lately Isabella has just seemed too grown. It is seeming as though she’s beginning to leave certain things that have been her childhood so far behind. When given money recently she choose to forgo toys and begin a pin collection. When she draws she writes stories to go along with them. She spent most of her time with her Grandma recently playing Sudoku, and it seems her interests and Natalie’s interests seem to be slipping apart – hers being more mature and Natalie’s still being comfortably (for me) in the land of little girl – which, of course, is causing a bit more bickering between the two.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things about the next phase of childhood (because it is still that) that excite me. There are also parts of it that frighten me (mostly about my ability to teach, understand and handle it all).  But realizing today how grown she is becoming I thought of how it seems like barely any time has passed since we brought home this sweet and beautiful baby girl, and I fear that I will blink and she will be a beautiful and sweet adult.

This is why I blog. I blog because some day she won’t be little anymore and I won’t be able to remember the seemingly insignificant experiences that make her – her. I blog so that one day I can hand her a book and say, here is the story of your life as I saw it. I blog so that one day when she is a mom she can know that her mom felt the same way too.

I blog for so many reasons, these are just a few.