Thursday, August 25, 2011


Tomorrow is Nicky's first Friday at the end of his first week of Kindergarten. So far it's been awesome for him! We took him to school the first day and he was in Miss Y's class. Tom picked him up after school.

The next day Nicky rode the bus! He really wanted to, and had been disappointed not to ride it home on the first day actually, so we agreed to let him ride. But we did follow the bus all the way to school anyway to see the route, gauge the age of the kids, and make sure he made it ok.

When we got to the school, Tom dropped me off so I could meet Nicky's NEW teacher. They added another K teacher and Nicky was one of the kids moved to her class. This is Ms. T. I met Nicky as he entered the K pod with the other bus kids and he was happy to see me. (Oh, and I remembered his glasses that day) However he had forgotten his school bag (which is a big ziplock bag with his name on it. Yeah, no backpacks for kindergarten for some reason) and his glasses case was in there. Luckily it was still on the bus in the afternoon when Tom met him at the bus stop.

I didn't see Nicky come home on the bus because I was in VIRGINIA! Yes, my big thing was a job interview in Virginia Beach. I flew up on two flights with a layover in North Carolina. I was actually in the plane on the runway when the earthquake struck and no one on the plane felt it because the engines were already going. We also didn't know anything about it because it was already past time for everyone to turn off their electronic devices. When we landed in VA though everyone turned on their iPhones and you heard a lot of "OMG there was an Earthquake!"

It was awfully nice of Mother Nature to provide me with ample conversation starters for my interviews though! Between the earthquake that just happened and the upcoming hurricane, well there was never an awkward silence! Not that I let those happen much anyway. If you didn't know, I'm kind of a talker. ;)

I had interviews and a lovely dinner with my potential bosses that night and more interviews Wednesday morning. And right before lunch (and my flight out) I was offered the job! I tell you I am so excited about this job. It's absolutely perfect for me. Customer service/tech support kind of thing for a company that creates and supports library software. It has it all: education/training/troubleshooting/customer service/travel/communication/technology/challenges/learning new things/collaboration... I can't even tell you how excited I am.

Tom is also over the moon about both the job and the move! He's wanted to move up north forever. And this is a great compromise because it's up there where he'll have seasons and yet not so far that I'll fear we all will die in a snowdrift. Nicky is excited too. He's already been telling everyone we're moving to Virginia Beach. (Even before the interview!)

Even though I don't have family there (although I'm kind of thinking I'm going to have MORE there in the not-to-distant future), it seems to be a close-knit office, everyone seems very nice, and I know several bloggers up there I hope I'll be able to meet. I don't think they live super close, more like DC, but still, much closer than to Florida! Maybe next year I'll get to go to BlogHer or something like that.

Anyway, there is so much to think about for the move, for finishing up my job (definitely don't plan to leave anyone in the lurch, so have to have that wrapped up nicely), and for getting ready for a new awesome job.

We have to think about the dogs. Kenji will be easy (hm, don't think I've told his story yet have I?) but Benjamin is going to be a basket-case to move. He is so scared of people and well, everything, that the drive is going to be really hard on him. We might have to dose him up with benadryl or something stronger for the trip. I thought about giving him away to someone here, but I can't imagine anyone would take him and we can just give him to the pound or something. He's a sweetheart, just a big chicken-hearted sweetheart. I just hope his heart holds out! He is kind of old for a big dog (8 years this Christmas).

Anyway, I'm exhausted after my first day back. I worked like mad today to catch up and plan for all the projects I'd like to either finish or delegate. Now I just have to get it all done and get to VA for my first day of work on September 16th! So exciting!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gearing up for a Busy Week (that will hopefully be AMAZING in many ways)

Nicky starts Kindergarten in the morning. I have all his stuff laid out, uniform, supplies, etc. Put him to bed about 8pm.

And it's now 10:30 and he's still awake!

Morning will be interesting.

We're waking at 6:30 to get him ready for school and me ready for work. We'll get the girls up at the last minute and all jump in the car. Then we will be taking Nicky to his first day of school. We'll arrive between 7:15 and 7:45. If we get there earlier it will allow him to eat breakfast. (Not that he hardly ever does, but I always hold out hope.)

We're not sure yet if we'll be able to park and all go in, or if he and I will go in while the girls and Tom wait in the car. But I will definitely take the phone to get photos! We'll also find out what class he's going to be in.

We went to Meet The Teacher Day Friday, but even then they still didn't know what class he'd be in. They're still unsure of their final count and if they'll have 3 full classes or 2 K classes and one combo K-1 class. I think it would be great for him to be a combo class. Well we'll see tomorrow.

College classes start tomorrow too, and with my job that means I'll be really busy in the library!

And then we have super secret exciting stuff going on Tuesday and Wednesday. I promise to update you by Thursday about that. But just send those positive happy thoughts my way Tuesday and Wednesday if you would!

I can't believe he's already starting Kindergarten!

He really wants to ride the school bus, but the stop is two streets away on a busy road. I went to the school board's transportation office to see about having a stop added at the end of our street (the bus passes right by our street within sight of our house). They said they'd look into it. No call came over the weekend but I'll call tomorrow to see what they decided. If they move or add the stop then we might let him ride it on Tuesday. We'll probably follow the bus though that first time. And of course we'd walk him to the bus stop in the mornings and pick him up there in the afternoons. It might be neat for him to ride the bus. But I just can't see making him (and Tom with the girls) walk a couple of blocks across traffic (and I think they'll have to cross that road too in the afternoons from the side with no sidewalks, and no crosswalks).

But we'll all mostly hope that I have fabulous news by Thursday okay? Cause that would be the very best outcome EVER!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

No Child Left Behind. Oh sure. Right.

We found out today that the school board decided in their infinite wisdom that rather than let us send Nicky to our first choice, which is a good 13 miles away, they would be sending him to the other option, 30 miles away.

Um, No.

So instead of going to a school where they have a 77% passing rate for 3rd graders, we're going to have to keep him at his zoned school where they have a 38% passing rate for 3rd graders.

Hooray for school choice. No Child Left Behind! (Well unless you count mine of course right? Oh, and all the other kids left at his zoned school. And apparently the majority of the 10,000 students who were zoned for schools that didn't make AYP for two years running. But whose counting right?)

Just a LITTLE bit frustrated about that. I suppose in the grand scheme of things we can make up for any lack in his education at this level. But we have high hopes to get him into another school as soon as possible. Maybe a school VERY far away actually. Things cooking on the horizon folks! Should know more in the next few weeks. Just keep your fingers crossed ok?

So anyway. We'll be meeting Nicky's teacher Friday and find out all the stuff he'll need for the first day of school. I'm glad we didn't assume he'd go to the other school and get uniforms and supplies for there as the lists are different. Looks like we'll have some shopping to do this weekend though! It's bound to be a madhouse since it's the weekend before public schools and UF fall classes start!

Now, next post I'll finally get around to talking about the newest member of the family:
Loving on Kenji

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ready for school? Not really.

Nicky is starting Kindergarten on Monday, August 22nd. We're all very excited. But yet completely unprepared. Completely. Well, he has a lunchbox. But as we plan to let him eat at school that doesn't really count as preparation does it.

We had registered him at our zoned school back in like May or April. Even though we weren't thrilled about the school's track record. (REALLY not thrilled) But then last week we recieved a letter telling us that because our school failed to meet AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) for the last two years, we were being given the choice of two other schools that did make AYP. Both schools are all the way across town (well one is actually all the way across the county!) but they would provide transportation (IF we decide to even use the bus) and the school would be so much better. So we circled our first choice and Tom dropped off the paperwork the very next day.

Then I called to talk with the school board person in charge of making the decisions about these applications to find out how/when we'll know what school Nicky will be attending on the 22nd. I was worried because the paperwork isn't even due till August 16th! Turns out that the school board for our county mailed out over 10,000 of these letters. They'll start processing the paperwork turned in on the 16th. And they anticipate having it done by the 17th so that they can call parents with the results on the 17th.

I was surprised they think it will take only one day of processing. But they said that only 40-50 families choose to have their child change schools. Most just opt for the additional tutoring they offer. So on the one hand, that sucks that there were 10k kids needing to be told their school is not performing up to standards. But on the other hand, if not many opt to change schools, maybe we have a good chance of getting our first choice. Which would be good, since if they did opt to send him to the other choice, I don't know if we'd do it. It's REALLY far away. And by far away I mean nearly 30 MILES one way. Our first choice is 13 miles one way, which is still pretty damn far.

Our zoned school is only 2 miles away. It took me like 7 minutes to get there last time I went. But here's the thing. We have the FCAT test here. In 3rd grade, if a student does not pass the reading portion(get a 3 or higher) they are automatically retained. That's right, they FAIL third grade because they didn't pass a single part of the test. Last year, only 38% of their 3rd graders passed the reading section. That means 62% of the third grade FAILED. This is NOT good! I mean, yes I think I can make up for some of what Nicky might miss at school at home, but seriously, I would rather send him to a school with a better track record than that.

So we're hoping he gets into the school we want. For comparison, 77% of their 3rd graders passed the reading section of the FCAT. (Overall for the county, 71% of 3rd graders passed the reading section of the FCAT.)

Once we find out for sure where he is going (on Wednesday, August 17th) we'll know which school to go to on Friday, August 19th for Meet the Teacher Day. Then we'll find out what uniform and supplies he needs. It will be a busy weekend of shopping methinks!

I can't believe he's already going to Kindergarten!