When we first bought our new home, the kids were absolutely adamant that they would remain in the same county high school, the one that all of our children attended and graduated from. However. ZJ, who always dances to the beat of a different drummer, did not take long to start asking if she could change schools to our new district. At first, we gave her the option. However, Quayd is almost done. Grace is a Junior. The more we thought about it, the more we felt that they need to remain at their school. They both have IEPs and have a team who have helped them through the years from day one. A change at this point in their high school years could be detrimental. Besides, Quayd and Grace have been perfectly content at their school.
Zeej, on the other hand, who was most adamant in the beginning, made a lot of friends over the summer in our new neighborhood. She's not at the actual High School yet. In the County Schools, there is a Junior High for 8-9 graders. And that has to be the worst age in life...junior high school girls can be quite dramatic and the group of girls she was running with were over the top! There have been many days that she has come home in tears. Rather than be a part of the drama this year, she totally changed her group of friends and deleted many old friends on social media and from her phone. The past few months have been much better. But, she's found it easier to just become more of a recluse at school. She literally calls me at lunch from a teachers class room or the girls room. She's not been happy at school most of this year.
ANNNNND... she's made a ton of new friends in the new ward and neighborhood. She met girls at Stake Girls Camp and she's attached at the hip to the kids in our own ward. They have all been begging her to make the change, but we've felt like she should stay. Every night, we hear her pleas. When I returned from St. George, there was a 25 page persuasive letter from her with all the reasons that she should make the change. The list made me laugh. It made me cry. It was full of great reasons to switch. Doug and I actually began to feel that it was time to let her make the change.
I have to mention a few of her points... First, there were two pages of thank yous for all the we do for her, beginning with my giving birth to her. (This has become the norm in our home, to mention when I gave birth to the kids. It's quite humorous but when someone from the outside hears us, they get this look like, "Wait? Didn't you...?" The truth of the matter is that I did give birth to them in my heart before they were even born!)
I digress... She went on to mention all that we do... laundry, gifts, listening, time and energy and money in her behalf. The letter then included all of the emotions she experiences at school each day, the troubles, the issues - good and bad, and so on. She compared teachers from each school. She presented three pages of research about how wonderful it would be to have a Mac Air, instead of textbooks, to carry each day. (Her new school issues each student a laptop, instead of text books.) Carrying a laptop could save her back problems later in life. There are many teens who struggle with back issues because of heavy backpacks. HA!!! She was dead serious. PAGES of research.
Gas prices were another issue. Driving all the way to Richmond (about 29 miles round trip) as opposed to being closer to the school (2 miles). She mentioned gas prices, mileage, wear and tear on the car, my time. Very persuasive! In actuality, that would be one of the best reasons for me personally! I hate that drive! But, the drive wasn't enough for me to not want her to continue on in the county schools. I've survived that for all the other six kids, especially Kelly, who required my visiting the school almost daily!
She gave a list of accreditations for the school, from sports to academics to facilities. The list went on and on and one. She also made some promises and commitments that were pretty big. One was that we don't have to buy her a Christmas OR birthday present this year. (Not that we would even consider that, but she was willing.) At the end of the list, my favorite, was two photos... one of her when she was about three, throwing a terrible tantrum, screaming at the top of her lungs, and one of her today, smiling as happily as possible! There were arrows, pointing, "Me>>>>>at [the old school]." and the happy one, "Me>>>>> at [the new school]!" In the end, she thanked us for our time to read and consider this move. Oh my, it was funny, it was informative, it was sincere, it was sad. You name it, the emotion was there.
And so... on Friday after school, Doug and I sat down with Zeej, discussed the details, considered different options, then Doug gave her a little "lecture" and said, "Okay. Let's do it!" Her eyes got so big! "REALLY!??!?!? OH MY GOSH!!! YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!!!! THANK YOU SOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!" She cried! She laughed! She hugged! She was shaking, she was so happy!
We made her commit to not tell a soul until things were official. So, yesterday morning, we went to school and made the change. I spent an hour at her old school, getting paperwork completed, signatures confirming that she had no fines or books to turn in and getting her grades. We got a stack of paperwork and drove to her new school and spent the next hour, filling out more paperwork, getting things completed, meeting with the counselor (who I've already spent hours on the phone with) and selecting classes.
She texted me throughout the day, letting me know who she knew in her new classes, what classes she was in when, and so on. She came home very happy about everything but her English class, which sounds like a really class. She was thrilled, excited, anxious, overwhelmed all in one! But, mostly, she's happy.
I was really surprised to see her pull our her phone and remove a ton of contacts as she drove away from the old school. She's done. She's happy and that's what matters! The transition will take a little extra effort on her part, as she's going into the new school one week into the new quarter. There will be a little catch up. She's also on quarters and was on trimesters. So, there will be some catch-up there in credits, but it's doable. We feel good about the decision for now! There will be a new County High School built when she is a Junior and we'll revisit the options then. This will also mean that she has different vacation day schedules, as well. It will take some adjustments for us all, but we are all willing to go for it! Decision made!
Also, yesterday, I left the school and met Carol. We drove to SLC where she had an appointment and then after a quick bite for lunch, we visited Marilyn for a bit. While I was at Marilyn's home last week, and she was giving me the home tour to show me some new changes, she mentioned that she was going to make a change in a little nook where a desk was currently stationed. I asked if she was moving the desk into the room next to it, because there were changes in there, as well. She said, "No, do you want the desk?" I love the desk! I have been trying to find the perfect desk to fit in my little nook all summer. The table was working but no drawers to contain things made me crazy! I said, "Heck yes! I'd love it!" And so, while Carol and I were in her neighborhood, literally, for Carol's meeting, we went to Marilyn's to pick up the desk! Woohooo! We'd measured before to make sure it would fit in the Subaru and it slid right in! HAPPINESS! I came home and spent the evening "making it feel at home." Marilyn and I texted, teasing about the desk for the last week and her name is now, "Bettina Louisa". She comes from Marilyn's "cantina". I think I'll give her the nickname of BeLa. She really does fit perfectly and I'm grateful for the storage in all the drawers and cupboards!
Carol and I laughed so hard, driving home, talking about shopping for holiday decorations, after we made a stop at the new "At Home" store and gave it a good look. I came away with one roll of very cute Christmas wrap, some more felt pads for our chairs and a toilet paper holder. That's all. No decorations, which made Doug proud. The store really has everything!
It rained from the top of Sardine Canyon until we got home. I came in and started reviewing things for a Christmas Tips class that I'll be teaching later this week. Carol called a bit later and asked, "Are you just sooooo happy?" I try to be! haha! I asked, "Why? She said, "Have you looked outside?" It was snowing up a storm! Literally! We got a few inches before it stopped! I was thrilled! I went out front to take a picture and noticed Layne and Julie's daughter, a freshman in college, out there, "Not wasting any time!", she said, as she built three snowmen! What fun to wake up to them this morning!
Grace had her final Bella performance for the play and Quayd was working. Doug drove the kids around last night because of the snow on the roads. Grace had wanted to go to Village Inn after the play ended, but most kids just went straight home, so she passed. It was snowing pretty hard. I think a lot of parents were happy about that choice! The minute Doug came in from picking everyone up (at about 10PM), we were in the hot tub! He put his feet on my legs in the water and even in the 102 degree water, his feet were like ice! Usually it's me who wants to stay in longer, but last night, Doug did not want to get out! I love it when that happens! Hottub + snow = Perfect way to end the day! LIFE IS GOOD!