Category Archives: School

2016 Christmas Letter

…or is it a New Year’s Letter at this point? Either way, we didn’t get cards or a letter sent out this year, so I thought I’d do a year-end update here.

This last year definitely came with its share of changes and challenges, but in so many ways, things stayed the same. Our family took a few small trips, we attended Aaron’s 25 year class reunion and celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We are blessed to continue to be healthy and Aaron continues to provide for our family at a job he likes – at a company he loves 😉  While his job title is the same, the second half of the year brought lots of travel for him, which has not been a regular part of his job in the past. Since June, he has been to Bozeman, Detroit, San Diego, New York City, Washington DC, Akron, OH and Newport News, VA. While most trips were strictly business, he did manage to fit in some hiking in Bozeman, a baseball game in San Diego and a trip to Times Square and a taping of Stephen Colbert in NYC. There is more travel on the horizon for him in 2017, but hopefully the kids and I will get to join him on a trip or two.

We are homeschooling Chloe again this year, and in addition to the standard subjects, she’s loving cursive and Spanish. Now that she’s in 2nd grade(ish), she gets to pick classes to take through the homeschool assistance program. During the first half of the school year, she’s taken outdoor games, Spanish, virtues and art. She has enjoyed all of them, probably as much for the content as the chance to see friends, but really enjoys art and is happy she’ll be taking it the two remaining quarters as well!

This fall, Devon started going to preschool 4 days a week. It has been a great opportunity for him to spread his wings a bit. He really enjoys the playtime they get at stations and often brings home creations out of boxes, masking take, pipe cleaners and whatever else he can find. I enjoy that most of the mess involved in creation is taken care of at school 🙂 He’s a math rockstar, without any help from us or his teacher, and has really enjoyed learning the letters and their sounds the last few weeks. It’s been fun to hear about all of his preschool experiences (they went on a field trip to a local pizza place!), but I’m looking forward to having him home for kindergarten next fall.

Both kids became semi-obsessed with watching American Ninja Warrior last season and loved creating their own obstacle courses in our backyard all summer and fall. For Christmas, we signed them up for Kid Ninja classes at a local gym and they got to spend time this last week learning skills and doing obstacle courses. They were pretty excited! At the same time, *we worked on transforming their playroom into an indoor gym. We now have indoor monkey bars, a small trampoline and a hammock chair. (The hammock chair is for me and not really for swinging. My thoughtful daughter heard me talking about wanting one when we saw one on a walk this summer and convinced her daddy it would be the perfect Christmas present for me!) Additionally, we have a foam balance beam, an agility ladder and a gymnastics mat on the way from Amazon. I’m hoping this makes another Iowa winter a bit more tolerable!
*Just to clarify the use of “we”: I came up with the ideas and my amazing, handy husband made them a reality!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Aaron and I spent our last ten Thursday nights taking the PS-MAPP classes. Those letters all stand for something, but basically they’re the classes you’re required to take before you can be a licensed foster or adoptive parent in Iowa. We just finished the classes this week, and I’m sure all 30 hours of classes have sunk in… 🙂 Shortly after the first of the year, we’ll have a final meeting with our licensing working and be official. We plan to offer respite care at first, which is when you have kiddos in your home temporarily – overnight, for the weekend or maybe a week or two – while their current foster parents are unavailable or in need of a break. Our long-term plan is to keep an open mind, and at some point may offer long term foster care or adoption, but we’re starting out small. ‘Foster care’ and ‘exciting’ don’t really go together, because it’s a tough situation all around, but we are looking forward to being able to help out in a small way.

And, finally….

After several delays, failed transfers and many needles, I am pregnant with a ‘surro-baby.’ (A baby I’m carrying for another couple as a surrogate.) I’m mostly over the morning sickness and have started to look pregnant, instead of looking like I just ate a few too many cookies. I’m looking forward to being able to deliver this baby to the waiting parents in 2017. (Get it?! Deliver!! I still think I’m pretty punny :-D)

In addition to starting foster care and having a baby – but not losing any sleep afterwards, we’re also looking forward to traveling more, homeschooling both kids and working on some updates to our house in the next year. Hopefully 2017 is as good as 2016!


Leave a comment

Filed under Prego Update, School, Surrogacy

And we’re off!



Chloe Mae is an official “half day homeschool-er.” Since returning from winter break, C attends school in the morning, when they primarily cover reading and writing. We pick her up right before lunch, then cover math and do our Five in a Row (FIAR) activities at home with D. To say the kids are loving it would be an understatement!


On her first day home, C covered herself in post-its that conveyed her excitement. Due to the excitement level, the notes weren’t her best work, but they said things like, “First day of home school!!!!!” and “Devon will do it too!” She then requested that I take her picture for everyone to see 🙂

IMG_3186We’ve gotten into a pretty good routine within these first couple weeks. We usually manage to get school work done before quiet time, and C’s attitude seems improved with daily quiet time. In fact, she’s usually freakishly happy and energetic after spending an hour in her room looking at books! But even better, we’ve also been able to bypass routine to do things like visit the animal shelter to learn about adoption – which relates to the FIAR book we’re currently reading – and visit daddy at work for lunch.

There’s a lot to do before we’re ready for full-time homeschooling next year – like finishing the school area in our living room and picking out curriculum. That might be important, huh? 🙂 But if my happy kids are any indication, I feel like we’re off to a good start!


Leave a comment

Filed under School

Kindergarten – Half a Year in Review

It has been fun to see Chloe learning and growing the last few months. She loves to write and illustrate stories, practice her math and play school as often as possible. With a little work at home as well, C has become a reader. It’s great to be able to go to the library and pick out books that she can read ALL BY HERSELF! In addition to the basics, she also spent the last month or so learning about the traditional celebrations and customs for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. To finish up their studies, the class put on a musical performance for the families yesterday afternoon. Since our school doesn’t do any sort of music concert for elementary students, this was a treat! C did a great job learning all the words and actions and it was a lot of fun to watch them perform. Here they are singing, “Up on the Rooftop.”

Today marks the start of C’s 2 week winter break and the end of the first semester, which means my baby girl is halfway done with kindergarten! She’s also done with full days at school. Starting with her return to school, we have dual (public school and homeschool) enrolled her so that she will be in school in the mornings, doing her reading and writing, and at home in the afternoons when we will work on math, social studies and science. As much as C loves pretty much everything about school, she is pumped to start half days!

If all goes well, we’re planning on homeschooling full time next year. The kids are super excited about homeschooling. C loves that she won’t miss out while she’s at school all day and that she’ll get to help decide what she studies. D is looking forward to having his sister around more and getting to join in on the learning. This mom is also excited – although a bit hesitant, because I still don’t have a firm plan in place. For an organizer like me, this is unnerving. However, I have discovered that there’s a great homeschooling community here and I have a few friends who homeschool that I know will be great resources for ideas and support.

So, for now, we enjoy Christmas and time with family 🙂 In 2015 though, we’ll be full steam ahead into the world of homeschooling!

Oh , and C and her class wish you a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year.

Leave a comment

Filed under BabyMort, babyproofing, School