Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Night

Not much going on in the Julian house lately.  Well, that's not entirely true.  There is A LOT going on, but none of it noteworthy or worth writing about.
The kids have been in school now for 2 weeks and are getting adjusted.  JJ is in 8th grade and realizes that things are getting harder.  Especially math.  Luckily, his wonderful mother went to Tech, where the is lots of it, and loves math! So we end up sitting together doing math for hours.  I like it.  I'm not so sure that he does.  The rec baseball season is starting and his travel team is also practicing some this fall.  Whenever I put baseball stuff on the house calendar, I have to specify whether it's travel or rec, just so he knows what and who to expect.  Steven is coaching both, so it gets a bit confusing.  He will be turning 14 in less than a month so I am trying to figure out what to do for him. We bought him a new bat, which is what he wanted, but I want to do something on his actually birthday too.

Zach is getting adjusted to middle school.  Homework on weekends is still new.  We installed a rule of no Xbox until homework is done.  I think that is helping.  That way no one gets to Sunday night without having their homework done.  They wouldn't dare miss their Xbox time!  He has joined Chess Club that meets once a week and has decided to join the orchestra.  (He's never even seen a stringed instrument up close.)  We went on Friday and rented him a cello.  This should be fun!  Now he wants to start a chess club/class for the neighborhood and have people pay him to give them tips.  Not sure how well that will go over, but I like how he thinks.

Elijah is adjusting to 3rd grade as well.  He's very good at doing exactly what he's told, but not so good at improvising or inferring anything.  He got a 38 on his first cold reading test (yes, out of 100) because he just didn't connect that the questions were about the passages he just read.  We went over it at length and, hopefully, he will understand more next time.  He continues OT starting tomorrow.  That helps his hands and muscles, but not how his brain works.  I am working with him but am curious if he needs more help than what I can offer.  His friend, Christopher, came over to play yesterday and he loved it!

Steven is about done with his softball season.  He'll be going out of town for a few days for work this week, which is odd.  But I think he'll enjoy it.  Work is going well and he loves helping people.  We have volunteered to be small group leaders for the youth (back at it again!).  That will start in September.  With the understanding that we will NOT be leading a group with our kids in it.  We'll see how that goes.  He and I are still yard saling on Friday mornings and enjoying the time together.  It's almost like a date night.

I am still running my business.  It's been a bit slow lately.  With school starting and various other things going on, I haven't been able to replenish my inventory.  This are starting to pick up though so I'm glad.  Our master bathroom is getting remodeled this week. I'm so excited!  I've waited 6 years for this and can't wait to see it when it's done.  I'll take before and after pics and post them when all is said and done.  I also start back working at Perimeter this week for the kick off.  I've missed my co-workers so this will be fun.

So, that's it.  Nothing major.  I'm going to see Garth Brooks in September and am SUPER excited!  The last time we were able to get tickets, it was my honeymoon week and I couldn't go!  This will make up for it.

Have a great week!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ruler follower no more??

Or, more correctly, WE DID IT!
Between me, Steven, and my sister, we managed to get some tickets to Garth Brooks' concert here in Atlanta in September.  I was so excited that I celebrated by listening to some Garth in my car for the last several days.  (He has so many great songs!)  I came across this one that I had forgotten about.

I am normally a rule follower, and still am when it is necessary.  But, as I get older and see how different my kids are and how different things are for them than they were for me when I was a kids, I've learned that thinking outside the box it becoming more and more of a necessity.  The lyrics to this song just really seemed to sum it up so I thought I would share.

"Against The Grain"

Folks call me a maverick 
Guess I ain't too diplomatic 
I just never been the kind to go along 
Just avoidin' confrontation 
For the sake of conformation 
And I'll admit I tend to sing a different song 
But sometimes you just can't be afraid 
To wear a different hat 
If Columbus had complied 
This old world might still be flat 
Nothin' ventured, nothin' gained 
Sometimes you've got to go against the grain 
Well, I have been accused 
Of makin' my own rules 
There must be rebel blood 
Just a-runnin' through my veins 
But I ain't no hypocrite 
What you see is what you get 
And that's the only way I know 
To play the game 
Old Noah took much ridicule 
For building his great ark 
But after forty days and forty nights 
He was lookin' pretty smart 
Sometimes it's best to brave the wind and rain 
By havin' strength to go against the grain 
Well, there's more folks than a few 
Who share my point of view 
But they're worried 
If they're gonna sink or swiim 
They'd like to buck the system 
But the deck is stacked against 'em 
And they're a little scared 
To go out on a limb 
But if you're gonna make a difference 
If you're gonna leave your mark
You can't follow like a bunch of sheep 
You got to listen to your heart 
Go bustin' in like old John Wayne 
Sometimes you got to go against the grain 
Nothin' ventured, nothin' gained 
Sometimes you've got to go against the grain

Friday, August 8, 2014

The first week.....

Well, we made it through!!!!

The first week of school has been tough, but good.  It's always difficult to get back into the routine of things here at home.  Plus the kids have to learn new routines at school with new teachers who do things a different way than they are used to.  Some even have to get used to a new school altogether!  It's been exciting and frustrating all at the same time.

JJ is doing fine.  Middle school is old hat for him now.  He likes being an 8th grader, BMOC.  He's even starting to care about how his hair looks.  He fell right back into the routine.  I just have to get him to start putting forth his best effort.  Now, he's in Probe (gifted) math.  This year he is taking high school algebra, so he will get high school credit for this.  It isn't easy, but I know he can do it.  He was working on a math sheet and was just getting really frustrated.  Now, math is my thing, so I was trying to help him.  I was sitting next to him and working out the same problems so that I can help him figure out the process or where he went wrong.  The first problem is that he writes so small that he gets numbers and signs confused.  I suggested that he use another sheet of paper and use as much room as needed in order to be able to read what he has done.  Not sure if he will, but it helps me.  He's just making silly mistakes.  I'm hoping that it's just getting back into the swing of it and that he will start paying more attention to it as he goes.

Elijah is doing ok as well.  I got an email from his teacher today saying that she is enjoying him and that he is really working hard.  I hope that's true.  I am just getting the frustrated 3rd grader who doesn't want to answer the homework questions that he's been given.  He said his first day was awesome because he saw his friend on the playground.  I don't get much info about actual school.  He will continue therapy starting on the 18th and I'm still hoping that will help.  His logic center seems to be missing, so we may have him evaluated if things don't get better.

Zach really seems to be embracing middle school.  He has already joined Chess Club and yesterday decided that he wanted to join the orchestra as well and possibly play the cello.  That was quite a shock.  But, after making sure he understood the year long commitment, we agreed.  Couldn't hurt, right?
He's already had to do a poster project for Probe language arts.  He wasn't happy because he was told it was due the next day.  The only real requirement was to be creative.  He spent about 10 minutes on it and then went to watch TV.  I took a look at it and immediately called him into the kitchen.  Seriously, it looked like something that a 1st grader would turn in.  I can't even begin to describe it to you.  So his dad and I talked to him and gave him some ideas on how to use the computer and technology to assist in making visual aids for school.  With a little direction from mom, he ended up with a poster that was 100 times better than the first.  No kidding!  He was glad (as was I!) that he decided to do it over.  He was very excited to take it to school today and present it.  We'll see how it went around 4:30.  (Also, he forgot to take his meds today, so that could be interesting.)

So, some frustrations, some good things, trouble with car pool and various other things, but it's been a good week and we made it!

Oh, and I got GARTH BROOKS tickets today!!!!  Woo hoo!!!!!

Monday, August 4, 2014


Zach has been such a trooper.  I knew he was a little nervous about starting middle school, but he seemed to be handling it very well.  He even told me today that he was even looking forward to it because Elijah was starting to annoy him.  He seemed much better after attending Jump Start (a mini camp for rising 6th graders to get them acquainted with the school.)  And after finding out all of his classes were right together put him completely at ease.

But, as I was tucking him into bed tonight, he cried.  We were talking and he said he was nervous.  I gave the normal "Mom" speech telling him everyone is nervous and that it's normal.  The other kids in his class will be nervous too and the teachers know and will do everything they can to set them at ease.  Then Steven prayed for him.  As I told him good night, he lost it.  I couldn't leave him like that.  I had to comfort my baby.
I know what it's like to be nervous.  I get that way every time I start a new job.  I'm training some people tomorrow and that makes me nervous.  But what can I do or say to my sweet boy to make it ok?  I assured him that Joshua would be there to help him.  JJ would make sure he got to homeroom ok and meet him after school to get him to the car rider lane.  I gave him a big hug (as big as I could with him lying in bed an me kneeling beside him.)  Then he said, "God bless you.  You are the best mom I could ever have."  That made ME cry.  I get so frustrated with him and fuss at him, but he still loves me and thinks I'm great.  Made me feel a bit guilty.

Anyway, after saying a few other things through some tears, I told him that he would light up that school when he walked in the door.  He immediately pulled away and, without skipping a beat, said, "Does that mean I'm supposed to be a light bulb?" and started laughing.  He is so funny!  That got us all laughing and I felt he was ok enough to kiss good night and leave the room.  I am praying that he sleeps tonight and wakes up ready to tackle middle school.

So, if you read this, and you think about it around 9 am on Tuesday morning, I would appreciate your prayers for him for a smooth transition, new friends, and confidence to make it through.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Mixed emotions

School starts Tuesday.  I'm nervous, glad, sad, and excited all at the same time.

I'm sad to see my kids go.  I get frustrated by them sometimes, but I will miss them.  They are precious and bring such joy each day.

I'm glad that they get to go back to school and see their friends.  They are starting to get on each other's nerves after being together all summer.  They are ready to be back in their own social circles.

I'm excited for all the things that could happen this year.  Zach is joining Chess Club and will be taught by a Georgia Chess Champion.  Joshua wants to try out for the 8th grade basketball team.  And Elijah will be in 3rd grade with a new teacher and some more therapy under his belt. 

I'm also nervous. This will be Elijah's first time in school without one of his brothers.  He will be riding the bus by himself.  There will be friends and neighbors, but no brothers.  He seems ok with that.  I'm just waiting to see if that's really true.
I'm also nervous because this is Zach's first year of middle school.  I have actually dreaded this day for years.  Before he started his medication, I spent years trying to figure out what I could do to help him.  I never even thought he would pass the 5th grade writing test!  (Don't get me wrong.  I've always known he was very smart.  We just couldn't channel that to school.)  It was almost a blessing when he was diagnosed with inattentive ADD.  At least now we know some things that we can do to help him.  Since starting medication, he was tested and invited into the gifted program and now has 3 gifted and 1 accelerated class in middle school.  I'm so proud of him.  I'm confident he will do well.  We just need to figure out the best way to organize him so he brings home all the right materials for homework.  Thankfully, he's not as nervous now as he was last week.  He was most concerned about getting lost at school.  Now that he knows all 4 of his core classes are right next to each other, that seems to help.

Anyway, we will enjoy our last day and a half before they head back to school.  I will miss them.  But I will enjoy the quiet as well.  I'm curious to see how much work I get done too.


Friday, August 1, 2014

School Days

Here it is in a nutshell.  (I hope it doesn't bore you too much.)

We left the house at 8am and headed to Hull Middle School to get Zach's 6th grade schedule, meet his teachers, and get his supply lists.  I figured this might take a while because I wanted to make sure that Zach felt comfortable with knowing where his classes are and how to get from one to the other.  Thankfully, it didn't take very long at all!  A new middle school opened this year to relieve Hull so there are not near as many students.  Because of that, the school was able to streamline the classes.  All of Zach's core classes are right next to each other.  The only reason to go off of his hall is to go to his Connection classes.  That should be easy.  He was relieved!  He felt comfortable very quickly, so it was off to take care of Elijah.

We left the middle school at around 8:40 am and headed down the street to Parsons.  We found out what bus Elijah would be riding and headed off to the cafeteria to get him a car rider number, if I should ever have to pick him up.  That's when it started.  We've been at Parsons for the last 7 years so we know quite a few of the teachers.  We immediately saw some teachers that we know and started catching up.  (Everyone was surprised and how tall JJ has gotten!)  We got the number and headed off to meet Elijah's teacher.  She was very nice.  We filled up his desk, filled out some paperwork, explained Elijah to his teacher and headed off to see everyone else.  We ended up seeing every teacher that each one of them had ever had that was still at the school.  It was fun and they were all surprised at how the boys had grown.  It took a while, but not near as long as I thought it would.  We were done by 10:30.  Our plan was to have lunch and then go for JJ at 2pm.

So, we headed up to Office Depot to get some supplies for Zach that he needed.  We called Steven and picked him up so he could go to lunch with us.  We headed over to Johns Creek to take the kids to Jet's Pizza (yum!).  Since we were so ahead of schedule that we were able to leisurely enjoy lunch and chit chat.  The kids brought Steven up to speed on everything we had done and learned so far.  We finished up and dropped Steven back at work around 1pm.  That meant we had an hour before we had to be at the middle school for JJ.  So we headed home.  We took the dog out and gave him some attention.  I got all of Zach's supplies ready (now that we know what he needs) and put them in his backpack.  By then, it was time to head out again.

At 2pm we headed BACK to the middle school and got JJ's schedule.  Thankfully, all of his classes are close together too so he won't have far to go.  (Last year he was walking a half marathon between classes!)  We got supply lists, saw some friends and compared schedules, met teachers, looked into Chess Club for Zach and then headed BACK to Office Depot to get some things that JJ needed.  Finally, about 3:30pm, we returned home.

Everyone is bushed!  I sit here now, reclined in my Sleep Number bed watching TV.  Finally!  Rest for the weary!