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little house on the prairie

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

God, it seems, has a sense of humor.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a real life friend, who has become not only a great encouragement, but my own personal moving buddy. Our lives have eerily mirrored each other in the last six months. Insanely so, really. First her husband lost his job and then was offered a miraculous solution just six weeks later. Not only that, but they had to make an out-of-state move. Sound familiar? Yeah. The same, exact thing happened to us just six weeks later.

We counseled each other through it. (Although, I personally, think she had the harder job.) And we both moved last week - me with the help of U-Haul...her with the help of a fancy moving company which insisted she didn't even pack a single box. (Ummm...yep. I'm just a tad bit jealous.)

Anyway... she is also a blogger and with the geographic change, she felt like it would be a good time to not only change blogs, but make it more anonymous. I suggested a theme based on the Little House series.

Now I wish I would have kept my trap SHUT! Because, you see, we really HAVE moved into the Little House on the Prairie. Or maybe it should be the Littlest House on the Prairie. ;)

We, my friends, have somehow managed to cram our family of six into a house that was originally meant for one, or maybe two. But we, being overachievers, have tripled the capacity...with the help of the landlords.
Here's how it all went down...

Late last year, they bought the house that had sat empty next to them for WAY too long. It was a small, run down, one-bedroom house that was an incredible eye-sore to the whole neighborhood. They lovingly came in and ripped its guts out...taking everything out but the kitchen. (Why, oh why, can't I seem to EVER get a nice, new kitchen?!) Anyway...in the process they also redid the basement...putting in a rather beautiful bathroom (I will NEVER look at baths the same way again) and to nice bedrooms complete with escape windows (because neither I nor my children will EVER sleep in a basement without windows big enough to walk through).

So, you see, it is a three-bedroom home...with the footprint of a one-bedroom. And it's been beautifully remodeled...we just had to put half of our stuff in storage. But really, that's fine too. Because living on half of our stuff, really isn't that bad. Which tells me we don't need the other half of the stuff! Anyway...

We're in. We're getting settled. And I am SERIOUSLY praying that we don't have to go through anything like this again ANY. TIME. SOON!

In other news...the kids started their new school yesterday in Mayberry (yes, that is what I'll be calling it since my friend beat me to Walnut Grove). It really is a lovely tiny-little-town. The people are incredibly friendly and helpful. I took the kids over on Monday to get registered and spent the next hour and a half filling out paperwork, meeting teachers and talking to the special education professional.

I feel pretty good about where everyone is. Everyone, that is, except for Maddie. I'm a little worried about her teacher. But as Shad reminded me...it was day one. I can't expect her to have a true grasp of Maddie's needs in the first day. 'Okay,' I said. 'I'll give her to next week to realize that 'Yes, Maddie really does need an FM system,' before I get all up in her face!'

Sigh. Maybe it was just an off day when she said 'All first-graders have language deficits.' The good news is that she'll only have her hands on Maddie for another six weeks and then Maddie will be off to second grade. Oh wait! Dang it! No she won't. The school is so small that they have first and second graders in the same classroom. (See? Walnut Grove fits, doesn't it?! :)

Yes, the school is so small that both grades are taught by one teacher in one classroom. It's not as confusing as it sounds. Shad and I grew up in schools like this and LOVED it. I think it will be fantastic for ALL of our kids...most importantly Nick, who has struggled in school and has a tendency to do whatever he can to fly under the radar. Nick won't be able to fly under the radar in Mayberry! :)

Just to give you an idea of the class sizes... Alek has eight kids in 8th grade. Anya has eight in 5th. Nick is one of two in 4th...there are five kids total in 3rd and 4th. And I think Maddie has four in her first grade class. So even with the combined classrooms the classes are STILL tiny...and the kids don't seem to miss out on any truly important opportunities. The school has band/music and P.E. classes everyday (unlike some of the much larger school districts) and art is done every day within the classroom setting. They are teaching the old-fashioned math (for which, when the teacher told me, I about shouted for absolute JOY). No Saxton...no Investigations...no other junk. Just good old-fashioned 2+2=4! Hallelujah!!! I don't know how much longer the state will let this wonderful little school continue, but I, for one, am going to take advantage of it for as long as I can!

Anyway...I'm going to have to talk to the superintendent about Maddie. Maybe I should schedule an IEP meeting for as soon as the school records come in! That way I can go in and set the table with Maddie's story BEFORE anyone gets too stuck in their ways. I'm putting it on my HUGE 'To Do' list...right at the top.
The rest of the kids seem to be doing great. Alek is fitting right in. He's made a friend and is getting ready for his first track meet on Friday. Anya already knows the names of every kid in her class - even if there are only eight (my little social butterfly)...and Nick killed 'fire ants' with a buddy during their very first recess. (Thankfully, they played basketball during the second). ;)

Shad started work on Monday and other than being overwhelmed by the prospect of starting up a college program, is liking his new job. He has a rather large office and an even bigger title to his name...beginning with the word 'director.' I don't think he realizes just how much of a big wig he is now...which I suppose is a good thing. But when the college president stops by your office to ask how things are going...and they're sending you off on TWO trips within the first few months of your new job...just so you can see how other programs are set up. It's a pretty good indication that you aren't out in a field somewhere preg-checking cows anymore. ;)

Me? I'm setting up my office in the tiny-little-house. I have the dogs to keep me company...and a couple of HUGE projects to keep me busy. (One of which has managed to get away from me in the last week. I need to reign it in today). I also sent my resume in to the college to see if they can use any adjunct instructors. I taught journalism at a community college a few years ago and would LOVE to get back to it. I just need to be patient...and maybe earn my Masters. ;)

In the meantime, I have plenty to keep me busy. Including unpacking. Everyday I pick another room to finish. Today, it's the bathroom. Ugh. Wish me luck.

11 salty messages:

Annie March 28, 2012 at 11:03 AM  

I am really very envious. There is a lot to be said for new starts....that said, the school you describe is EXACTLY the sort of school I have always DREAMED of teaching in, so if you happen to hear of any openings......let me know!

Also, how did you set up a new blogspot that is not tied to your old one? I really want to start a more anonymous blog, but am not sure how.

Tina in CT March 28, 2012 at 6:22 PM  

Sounds perfect for all of the family and I can't wait to read your future blogs so PLEASE keep on on your "keep list".

You're smart to go right in and set things up for Maddie. You go momma bear!

Too bad they didn't redo the kitchen as the rest sounds very homey and nice.

CasseroleX March 28, 2012 at 7:20 PM  

I have lived in my house for 6 or 7 years and have yet to unpack some boxes and truly settle in. You amaze me as always. :)

Tina in CT March 29, 2012 at 9:43 PM  

Unfortunately you are back to the hot summers.

mommaofthemidwest March 31, 2012 at 9:46 AM  

Mayberry RFD fits where you are. Doesn't Aunt Bee live next door and surely there is a Barney Fife around town.

We're tackling the bathrooms and supply valve under the kitchen sink. Yes, more boxes and items to unpack await us too.

So happy for Shad and the new position. Charles is enjoying his place at work and loves getting his hands dirty still while making a difference in the process at the 'mill.' Will be praying for listening ears for Maddie and school. I'm sure they are more flexible than first presented.

Love and hugs to you and yours,

kate April 4, 2012 at 1:47 PM  

It sounds idyllic to me!!

kate April 6, 2012 at 4:32 PM  

You know, that house sounds like it would be just the right size for US...once you vacate it...

jessy April 18, 2012 at 11:14 PM  

Glad to hear that--all told--things are going really well. The kids were in a similar school environment in our last home. We LOVED it. This Texas girl CANNOT get her mind around windows in a basement. Aren't those things underground?

BethE April 25, 2012 at 4:00 PM  

Poor Maddie. I had a teacher in high school who refused to let me sit in the front of the room (I am hearing impaired) because it would mess up his alphabetical order. And years later, he still thinks that was the right thing to do. Sigh.

kate May 14, 2012 at 9:47 PM  

Month and a half, Tami. That's all I'm sayin'. ;>

Tamara May 20, 2012 at 9:09 AM  

Thank you for the gentle nudge, Kate. Okay..I'll see if I can come up with a post today. :)

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