Friday, August 23, 2013


We decided to keep Porter at our neighborhood school.  It was agonizing, but in the end, not really a difficult choice.  He was assigned to a second grade class with the first male teacher of his life, which I could tell was both exciting and a little scary.  School supplies were bought, everything was ready.

And then all three kids and I came down with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.  Which if you don't have children, you likely haven't heard of.  A very much not serious illness, but one of the more completely annoying ones on my list.  And I'll leave it at that.  But it caused Porter to miss the first two days of school, which ended up making the whole thing a bit of a let-down.  After his first official day yesterday though, things seem to be going well, and I have high hopes for this year.

Cedar is continuing with more infrequent speech therapy, and is really improving.  I still can't understand a lot of what she says, but it is coming in leaps and bounds.  She seems more willing to try, which is a big deal.

The bears are still around, eating chickens in the neighborhood.  Fish and Game had to put one down in the touristy area yesterday for chasing people.  We still have on turkey left though, and we are protecting it fiercely.  And also looking forward to hibernation season.

Molly is still herself, my feisty one.  She has become really, really interested in weddings and being married, which seems normal enough for a little girl.  She likes to look at my wedding pictures, and she asked me if she could wear my dress someday.  She wonders if she has to get married in Oregon (like I did), will she be able to change clothes afterwards, will Grandma cook the food, and who will take care of Cedar after she doesn't live with us anymore.  She is also enraptured by love scenes in movies, the kind where the princess kisses Prince Charming at the end.  While Porter groans and hides his eyes, Molly swoons.  She seems too young to really care about that kind of thing, and in a lot of ways she doesn't, of course, really understand it, I think it's more about pretty clothes and princesses and fairy tales.  But then the other day she asked me if, after she married Thalen (a friend up the street who is her current fancy), could she put her mouth all over him?  Ahem.  The answer was no.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


So school starts for Porter exactly one week from today.  I'm pretty excited.  We have had a fantastic summer by all measures, but I think we're kind of tired of hanging out with each other all day.  Porter and Molly have honed the art of irritating one other to such a degree that I pretty much have to force them to play in different rooms lest I go completely insane.  Porter's school got a new playground this summer, and he is very excited to see all his friends again.

But.  Just to make it easy, yesterday I had a major wrench thrown in the works.  At the end of last year, I really wasn't very happy with Porter's neighborhood school.  There had been some issues with other kids that had gone unresolved, I didn't much like the new principal, Porter's teacher was out on maternity leave half the time (totally not her fault), and I felt like his academic progress suffered.  I also felt like he wasn't getting inspired by anything, and given his reserved nature, was just getting overlooked in favor of the rowdy, talkative kids.

That said, Porter loves his school.  He has a great group of friends with great families.  There are a lot of good people that work at his school that spend extra hours hosting chess club and after school bike riding, and really care about all of the students.  And Porter is doing just fine.  He reads very well for his age, and gets stellar comments from his teachers at every conference.

Still, there are a few other choices for elementary school in Juneau, and at the end of last year I put him in the lottery for two of the optional programs.  Just to give myself options.  It's pretty hard to get in to these schools in second grade though, so I didn't have any high hopes.  And then yesterday, they called me to let me know Porter had gotten into the Charter School and that I had 48 hours to decide if I wanted the spot.

I still haven't made up my mind.  I couldn't sleep all night thinking about it.  I know a lot of people here, and have listened to everyone's stories good and bad.  And that's all it comes down to.  The good is that the academics would likely be better for Porter at the new school, which is huge, it's what school is all about.  But the bad is that it is tiny, and the social aspect of it makes me nervous.  They don't have the same range of after school activities, and he would no longer be able to take the bus.  I'm not sure if I would just be trading one set of problems for another set, all of which may not matter much in the long run given that Porter will likely do just fine anywhere.  Plus, Porter adamantly does not want to go to a new school (of course), and while this decision is not up to him, it breaks my heart a little just thinking about telling him.

A part of me feels like I'm making a really big deal out of something that just isn't.  But I don't know what to do.  And my big fear is that I will keep him at his neighborhood school, and then kick myself in a few months when things go sour again.  And our chance at the new school will be gone.  It's one thing to mess up decisions for yourself, but its a bit gut wrenching to mess them up for your kids.  I'll keep you posted.

Also, camping: