I had shopped for a few groceries thinking I had easy to make meals, but when you can't open a can (oops!) or chop up food (no, plastic knives do NOT work), it sure makes life interesting. Even bought Eggo waffles for breakfast thinking that would be easy...but forgot I didn't have my toaster yet. DUH! And I won't tell you how much it costs to take a family of 7 out for meals...yikes! We made due, but were really glad to have "stuff" when it showed up. I'm glad to say that everyone missed mom's cooking and were glad to not have to go out to dinner anymore. Shocking, eh?
The challenge then became squeezing the 7 of us it into 1900 square feet and finding what we needed. After three weekends of opening boxes and re-packing them, we think we finally have the basics...for now. Why get everything out when you're just going to move in 4-5 months again, and don't have room for it anyhow, right? Right!
School started a little late for all the kids this year. Here would be our elementary kids headed out for school after a nice breakfast at 6am in a hotel lobby. Jacob is in 5th grade, by the way.
If you ever try to call me between 2 and 5 pm (eastern time), I will probably ignore you. Why? Because that's when my afternoon turns into this:
Jacob has lots of homework every night and despite knowing it's okay to not finish everything (his teachers said so :o), he still wants too. This kid's attitude about school is like his hair in a swimming pool; sponge-like. His ESL teacher is awesome and after testing it was decided that if he were in school in Ethiopia, they would probably put him in a gifted program. However, since English is so new to him, he tested about where MJ is or even a little lower. He can read English but doesn't comprehend what he reads. Why? His vocab. is 80 to 100 words. At his age, if a child has been in the US his whole life, his vocab. should have 5,000 words. Basically he's doing above average for having such a limited vocabulary and understanding of words. Told you he was smart!
If you want to know how we do homework here, try to explain words like: government, constitution, scientific method, photosynthesis, balancing scales, adverbs, proper nouns, etc. to a 3 year old...or a cat. Seriously, try it! We draw pictures of things, tell stories about things he knows and try to relate it to what he's learning...and anything else we can think of. My brain hurts by 5pm every night. Fortunately he's eager to learn, wants to do a good job and has teachers who care more about him learning the material instead of memorizing some facts for a good grade on a test! I am loving schools out here to say the least. Even MJ qualified for ESL. We all knew she was a little behind her same age peers, but since she technically learned some Chinese before English, she automatically qualifies. I have a whole new respect for ESL teachers. How they teach kids English concepts with minimal comprehension of the language is impressive. Both MJ and Jacob get to go to this teacher's class every day and they love her. Heck, I love her too!
Jacob is apparently very well-liked at school and the boys include him in everything. His teacher said she thinks they don't always understand one another, but somehow they figure one another out. She also said she has never had a student come from another country so willing to learn, cooperative, observant and polite. Proud mama moment for sure :o) People in Ethiopia are wonderful and I know his "roots" have everything to do with how he turned out!
Chelsea is getting used to having homework. She doesn't necessarily like it, either. Fortunately, learning about VA is more exciting than learning about UT (so she says...and me to, actually) so we google things on a computer to make homework a little more fun for her. She's the only one having a hard time sometimes with the move. But really, back in UT, she was the only one who had a hard time with lots of little things. Pretty sure hormones and emotions are the cause of that, though. The kids at school like her and she said people in her new school are WAY nicer, but she sure misses her Kaley!
The boys catch a bus in front of the house each morning (yep, that's a glimpse of our little place). First day of school for them was after we got into our house...but the house was still empty at that point. We had frozen waffles heated up in a microwave for their "back to school breakfast." Can you say soggy?
Jared seems to be doing pretty well in school. Grades are great as usual, but he isn't used to homework either. He doesn't usually need help (not like I would know how to help him anyhow!), and just gets it done. He has been going to open gym nights 2x a week at the HS and plans to try out for the JV basketball team. We watched the movie "Forever Strong" last weekend, though, and he said "hey, after basketball, think I could try rugby?" Of course his entire athletic career is being bogged down now with a knee issue. He sees a dr. next week (insurance kicks in then, yea!) and begs us for x-rays. It must be bad if he ices it each night and begs for a dr. Sure hope it's nothing major.
Jared has been a huge help around here with everything. I can honestly say that we wouldn't be doing as well as we are without his help...with everything. He just pitches in, takes charge and doesn't complain. In fact, we usually try to NOT ask him for much of anything since he's adjusting to a new life here, but in the end, he just does it anyhow. Sure love this teen of mine!
Not sure what to say about that hair...(sigh). Did find a barber today, though, and we're heading there this week. Don't tell him that.
A very cool perk of living where it's hilly (which is all of Roanoke):
Teacher: Why don't you tell us about yourself, Miranda?"
Miranda: I am Miranda...Chelsea had surgery...I had surgery a whole bunch of times...Jacob, me and Corey are adopted...Jacob was in an orphanage, Mom and Dad got me from China, Chelsea's fish died, Lizzy (our former dog) is in Utah and Chelsea cried, Grandpa died, Hailey is dead, our house leaked....
Teacher: (not sure what she thought...yikes! probably that some psycho family just landed on their door step)
Oh, the innocence of children. Now we get to try and teach Miranda to talk about things she wants to talk about, without talking about things. Hum...not sure how that'll work!
That's all for now! Headed out to sign docs any moment to close on our house in UT - finally...or should I say again? Paperwork issues on their end have held it up...and we've been just waiting for the e-mail to show up so we can sign, notarize and FED-X. Looks like that time is seconds away...or so they say!!!!!