When It Rains, It pours

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You may have seen in the news or on Facebook (always a reliable source of information) that the Houston area is dealing with record breaking flooding.  Although our home is safe and undamaged, many are not.  Roads are flooded everywhere around us.  This is day 2 of no school for my kids.  Yesterday, we treated it like a snow day up north minus the fun snowman building and hot chocolate.  I pretty much let the girls be lazy with a few extra chores thrown in for good measure.  This was much needed as neither my husband or I got much sleep the night before as we moved the girls downstairs into our room at midnight when the tornado warning was issued.  We hung out in the living room keeping an eye on the storm until the tornado warning had passed.  Things that I only pretend to know about were beeping on and off all over the house!

However today is Day 2 and this mom is faced with the challenge of keeping 2 of her kids busy but quiet while one of my daughters still has a home day of school (she attends an university model school so while her sisters are normally at school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, she does school at home with me).   So while she is taking a math test, I gave work assignments to the others.  They were thrilled.  Not really.  But let’s pretend.  So first thing I did was to text Kim for ideas.  Brilliant Kim said my oldest, who is a phenomenal writer, should write a blog post.  So that’s what I made her do.  And yeah, this does not fall into her most awesome work but hey, she did it!  Ladies and Gentleman….our first guest post….. my 13 year old daughter!

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Moving was never my thing.  I have always hated leaving my cozy home to go to a place where it seemed like aliens lived. It was always stressful, especially when I was younger. Here are some of the highs and lows of moving as a child, and how you can make it so much more fun for your kids.

Things Kids Love

  • The New House- As a kid, I often loved to play hide-and-seek and explore all the crevices of my house and back yard. When you move into the new house, there are so many things to explore.  If your kid is anything like me and loves to explore, you should let them roam for a little bit. It will help run off any steam and stress from the move and forget the the stressful situation moving can be.
  • New People– When my sister was younger, she could literally walk up to anyone and start a conversation about the color of their shoes.  Most kids are very outgoing when they are little, so when they’re surrounded by new people, they’re going to make new friends. It helps best if you go meet your new neighbors and say hi.  There could be some kids that your child hits it off with from the very beginning.

Things Kids Hate

  • Leaving Old Friends– When your kid loves new people, this often isn’t that big of a problem. When I moved, I hated leaving my friends. It’s always been hard for me to make friends, so this is one of the hardest aspects of moving. There is nothing a parent can do directly to help a kid make friends.  Instead, be encouraging to your kid and make them feel good about themselves.  Don’t try to change them so they’ll make friends easier, it’ll just blast right back in your face.
  • New Climate– One of the worst moves I had was when I moved from Indiana to Georgia.  It was a very long drive and I had no idea what to expect.  When I moved, it was steaming. I had never experienced such heat ever before in my life.  Again, parents can’t do anything but be prepared.  Try buying  clothes meant for the climate before you move so you’ll be prepared and won’t have to rush out to the store during a huge heat wave or blizzard.

 

Coming Full Circle

I just had an amazing morning!  I was asked to stop in at the After the Boxes class at my church to share “my story” of coming full circle after a move.  This was so special to me for a few reasons.   Having attended the same class 4 years ago really helped me understand that I was not alone and set me on the path I’m still on today.  Clearly I have a heart for ladies who are in the middle of a move or have just moved.  These are my people and the reason Kim and I started this blog.   And sometimes we need to be reminded why we start projects and sometimes we need to be reminded of a struggle that we overcame.  Both of these reminders came to me this morning.  I heard ladies share their hearts, their struggles and their triumphs this morning.  These ladies were not friends a few months ago.  But they are now.  They are on the same journey of surviving a move.  But they aren’t just surviving, they are learning to flourish.

So what did I share?  I shared a lot.  I shared things that I planned to share but I also shared some details that God just lead me to share.  I’m so thankful that I did.  I need to remember that I too, am a Work In Progress.  Here is the gist of what I said…

I have moved a lot.  I have moved under great circumstances and not so great circumstances.  I have moved to small cities and large cities.  I have moved into bigger houses and smaller houses.  I have moved willingly and not so willingly.  But with each move, I must choose my attitude.  Sure, I panic and get mad.  I may even dig my heels in at first.  However, I always make the decision that I’m going to be “all in” because my family deserves it.  My marriage needs it.  My God is honored by it.  

I can now look back at each place and I see God’s hand at work.  As a planner, I always want things to go my way.  However there is no way I could ever imagine what God had in store for me or my family from place to place.  But his ways are indeed better that our ways.  Each place we have lived, regardless of how long, has been a gift.  New friends and new adventures.  

Are you struggling with a move?  A difficult transition?  I know its tough but you need to choose Joy.  You may not be able to change the circumstances, buy you can change how to respond and how you move forward.  If you are a mom, you better believe your children are watching you and waiting to see how you respond.  Go ahead and choose Joy.  There is a difference between being happy about something and choosing joy.  You are happy as a result of something.  But Joy goes deeper.

Author Susan Miller covers this point beautifully in chapter 16 of her book, After The Boxes Are Unpacked which is what I spoke about in today’s class based on the book.   In fact, Susan has an updated version of her book coming out later this week and is totally worth checking out.  We were laughing in class today about how worn down my book looks so I will definitely be buying the updated copy.

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Susan reminds us that Joy comes from deep and from having a relationship with God.

“Joy…occurs in spite of difficult situations. It is not a feeling; it is a choice. It is not based upon circumstances; it is based upon attitude” (from You Gotta Keep Dancin’ by Tim Hansel). 

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” John 15:11.

I’m praying that you can choose joy today regardless of your circumstances!

angeline3

Change = Stress

Most of our moves have been a direct result of Steve’s job.  But not every job change came with a move.  Just recently, Steve started a new job that didn’t require a move.  Well, it was new and old at the same time.  He actually went back to work at a company and with people that he had previous work with for several years and ahem, caused a few of our moves too.  In fact, when I posted on Facebook that Steve went back to work for that company, friends from 3 of our previous locations all asked if that meant a move back.  And I’m going to be completely honest with you…I know this company and I know my husband and his career.  I will not be surprised in the least if he is asked to move in the future.  I know it won’t be for the next year or so.  But after this role and this specific project, I bet we have the “move” conversation.

Even without the moving, a new job brings change!  Guess what causes stress?  CHANGE (even good change) causes stress!  This new job is 100% answered prayer for us.  Steve couldn’t start soon enough!  He was going to be working with amazing people that he already knew and that in return, already knew his  work style, his strengths and even his family.  But even though all of this was great, it was still a change.  As a couple and as a family we had to navigate this new job.  It did not help that his first day back was also our baby’s first day of kindergarten, first day of our middle daughter’s new school and first day of our oldest daughter at the Junior High.  Yep, it was a banner year of new schools for all of girls and hubby’s new job too.

I’ve learned to roll with the punches around here.  Was I disappointed that Steve was flying out for his first day and wouldn’t be here for first day of school?  You bet!  But you know what is just as important to me?  My husband starting his new job with my full support.  Friends, I have seen too many wives withhold their support of their husbands in an effort to make a point or “punish” their husbands for making them move or just stressed.  Your marriage is worth so much more.  Most men are not as talkative as their wives.  They are less likely to share their feelings, their fears, and their worries.  But that doesn’t mean they are not thinking about it.  When our husbands make huge decisions like changing jobs and moving their families,  I’m sure it is not without giving thought to how it affects the family.  In our case, I know that Steve is always praying about it.

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What would happen if as wives we simply support our husbands?  What if we not remind them (as if they need it) what you and your kids are giving up to make this move or job change?  Could it be that our nagging and punishing don’t actually bring about anything good?  I’m not saying that the stress isn’t real.  Listen, Steve started a new job and spent 2 weeks in Europe on rather short notice.  I was inconvenienced.  We were still getting into the new school year routine on top of activities, sport practices, PTO meeting and just general life.  But at the same time,  I love this man.  Why wouldn’t I want him to enjoy some cool stuff while working to provide for us?  It won’t take long for the newness to wear off and it’s just a job again.  I want to do whatever I can to help him enjoy it while he can.

But let’s get practical.  How do I actually deal with new job stress?  Be honest with people.  I gave a heads up to the girls’ teachers that we were in some uncharted territory with new schools and Daddy away with a new job.  Also, give yourself some grace.  Your house will likely not be looking its best  especially if you are still unpacking (but with a pumpkin candle it can smell good).  When Steve is gone, I have a hard time getting to bed at a decent hour before I have to get up before the sun to start my day.  I have learned that some nights I need to just leave the sink full of dishes so that I can get some sleep.  The dishes are usually still there in the morning.  Ha!

And what if you just moved for a job?  Both you and your spouse will be busy navigating all things new.  It likely feel as if your spouse is busy and focused on the job while you are focused on everything else.  That isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Don’t you want this new job to work?  Be cognizant that a new job often brings about a huge amount of work in the beginning.  And remember there is a season for all things.  Check out Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 if you more convincing.  And please give your self a break!  You probably have a to-do list as long as your arm, but you need to carve out some time that you can stop and breathe.  It may be just a five minutes of flipping through a magazine while you let your little one play at the park.  Or go ahead and get a starbucks to sip while you walk down every aisle of target (I have a good friend who buys icees and popcorn for her kids to enjoy in the cart at target while she shops).

And finally, if you are feeling overwhelmed or seriously depressed with the change, do talk to someone about it.  You can still be supportive of your spouse and need to talk to them about how you are feeling.  There came a point in my husband’s two weeks away that I was overwhelmed and exhausted.  I just didn’t know what to do next.  And instead of insisting that I was fine, I gave myself a “mommy time-out” and retreated to my room.  I sent an extremely honest text to a dear friend sharing how I was feeling.  She was able to validate my feelings reminding me that it was ok for me to feel exhausted and such because I was in fact exhausted! Sometimes we just need someone to listen and validate our feelings.  Did she do anything to elevate the stress?  No.  I was still dealing with three kids on my own.  But I knew it was ok and that Steve would be back in a matter of days.  Just try and talk to a friend that will be supportive and not one that will add to your misery.  You know the type…always one upping you on how terrible life really is or telling you how horrible your spouse is for traveling and leaving you to deal with the kids alone.  I can do a whole blog post (and probably will!) on avoiding the trap of Debbie Downer.

This blog was something that Kim and I really wanted to start back in the Spring.  I had no idea at that point that Steve would have a new job and that I would have one of my kids basically home schooling two days a week.  So it hasn’t gone quite as we have planned.  But I do enjoy it and I know things will eventually settle down.  So hang in there as I adapt to the stress change going on here and I will do better about blogging!

angeline3

 

Load ’em Up and Move ’em Out

love packingPacking…..it’s exhausting just thinking about it.  No one likes it.  It’s as bad as when you were a kid and your mom told you to clean your room.  Packing can bring a lot of stress to your family and also a lot of emotions (particularly if you have only lived in one house).  And really, packing can make you go crazy – literally – especially with kids.  I have, however, found one positive to it – you rid yourself of lots of JUNK!  There.  You can’t be a pack rat and move a lot.

We have been blessed to have professional movers for all our moves.  Some of you out there are quitting now because you think nothing I can say will help you.  However, I do know some tips for both professional and DIY moves.
garagesaleFirst thing you can do with either scenario is start going through all your stuff and getting rid of the things you can live without.  It will be tough, but seriously do you really need to pack that sweater you haven’t worn since 1998?  Besides, you could make some extra fast cash having a garage sale with all that stuff.  Sifting through all the junk on this end is so much better than the other end of a move – you got a lot going on once you move in a new place.  Another quick tip is to get all your stuff decluttered and in it’s right place.  For example – put all those toys strewn all over your house into one cohesive place.  This will ensure they all get packed together.  This goes for all those other items that get taken to places they don’t belong all over the house (oh wait that might just be me living with all these boys!).

Alrighty, now that you have that initial junk cleaning done, let’s get down to packing business.  I’ll start with the professional moving tips (hang in there with me DIYers).  If you think there are no tips for having professionals move you – you are dead wrong.  There are still lots of things to do to prepare for the movers.
fragile1.  First off – DO NOT pack anything yourself!  I know you will be tempted to pack that beautiful heirloom crystal bowl from your great great grandmother yourself so you know it will be safe.  However, if you pack it yourself, movers take note of it and if it ends up breaking, guess what – they aren’t responsible because you packed it.  I’ve had something break almost every move but guess what – the moving company has paid for the amount of the item broken and life goes on.  Don’t sweat the small stuff in life.
file box2.  Put all your important paperwork in a little file box to take with you.  You will more than likely need this when you get to your new destination and it’s better that you know exactly where it is.  This includes birth certificates, marriage licenses (you will need this in order to get a drivers license just about any state ladies!), social security cards, etc.
donotmove3.  We always clean out one closet before the movers come.  In this closet we put anything we do not want the movers taking – in other words the stuff we plan to take in our car.  We have had to pack for temporary housing most moves so we have had lots of luggage and other stuff.  On the closet door we simply put a note “Do Not Pack This Closet”.  This clears up any communication between you and all the movers in your house.  And your luggage doesn’t accidentally get packed up in the truck way in the back before you notice.
movers food4.  It’s always nice to appreciate the packers and loaders of your moving crew.  We always treat them to lunch.  Just something simple like a subway sandwich or pizza.  They certainly don’t expect it BUT remember they are handling your stuff and doing all the work.  It’s just a nice gesture.  We also have a fridge or ice chest full of water for them to grab when they need it (especially those moves where it was 100 degrees!)  We’ve had many movers tell us how much they appreciate these little things and don’t get treated that nice most of the time.

Ok DIYers, I don’t have a lot of tips but here’s a couple that make sense to me.
1.  Look on Craigslist for anyone selling boxes.  We have sold our boxes online after we have unloaded.  Paying $50 for professional sturdy moving boxes is WAY better than looking for diaper boxes wherever you can find them.  Plus you can’t beat the garment boxes pros use to move clothing!
duct tape2.  Get some colored duct tape and coordinate each room with a particular color.  Put a small piece on the box that corresponds with the room.  That way when you unload the truck at your new place, it’s easy to glance at the box and know where it belongs.

Ok all you who have packed and moved, share your moving tips.  I know a lot of you out there have some great ideas.

Back to School…Registration Time

Tick.  Tock.  Tick.  Tock.

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Do you hear that?  It’s the sound of summer slipping by as we get ready for a new school year.  I know it’s still July and honestly, it’s beyond hot here in Texas so the thought of back to school shopping might be depressing.  However, In many regions, students are back to school as early as the first Monday of August (I’m looking at you Georgia!).

So what happens after you house hunt and you know where your kids are going to school after a move?  First, you need to make sure you know what you need to register your kids at their new school. Please don’t wait to do this with the excuse you must pack up your current house before you can focus on the new place.  Can you imagine the frustration of not being able to register your kids because you have no idea where everything is that you need?  Exactly.  If you don’t already have a file of important papers for the move, you should.  And in this file, you need copies of birth certificates, social security cards, immunization records, insurance information and contact information for anyone doing any part of the move.

My oldest daughter attended her third elementary school starting in third grade.  This doesn’t count the first school that she was enrolled in but didn’t get a chance to attend before we moved.  Each school was in a different state – Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia and Texas.  And each school had different requirement for registration.  So for your easiest transition, you need to call the new school BEFORE you move.   We moved to Georgia during spring break of her first grade year.  In Cobb Country, kids are required to have a certain health and dental form completed before they can attend school.  So one of the first errands I got to run in my new city (with a 1st grader, a preschooler and a baby) was to visit the Health department.  My daughter’s immunization records had to be transcribed onto the form and then her mouth had to be visually inspected for decay.  And I had to pay for this privilege.  My point is this – had I waited until I moved and tried registering her for school on the first day, I would have really been scrambling and who knows when she would have been in an actual classroom.  And although she wasn’t likely going to miss a great deal in first grade, we all needed to be back in our school routine pronto!

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When it comes to new schools, especially in new districts or new states, remember that you are your kid’s expert.  No one knows your kid like you do.  And if your child has special needs, do your research and be ready to be an advocate for your child.  I’m not saying you show up at the principal’s door demanding your child get special treatment.  I’m saying that be educated in your rights and try and research district, state or federal policies based on your situation.

Starting a new school is just one part of the moving journey.  But it is an important part.  The more you do before the move, the better.  However just like Kim mentioned in her Back To School post, even the most prepared mom can have a curve ball or two thrown her way.  And that’s ok too.  Unfortunately, curve balls are also part of the moving journey.  But remember there is no curve ball to God.

angeline3

 

 

 

 

Putting Yourself Out There

This weekend I had the thing happen to me that causes me the most anxiety after moving.  You see I always worry about what we would do if something were to happen to one of us.  Who would take my kids?  It’s one thing to meet someone and become acquaintances, but it’s another to ask this “new friend” to watch not 1 but 3 kids for an extended amount of time.  Back to this weekend – my husband had a really bad fever which led to a visit at urgent care on Saturday.  That urgent care visit turned into an overnight hospital stay for some heavy duty IV antibiotics for an infection.  He’s ok now and doing much better but talk about being terrified!  But thank heavens I have become close enough friends with two families that I immediately was able to call.  I had total sense of peace about my kids because I knew they were being well taken care of while I tended to my husband.

I share this story not to cause you the same anxiety but to encourage you that after a move it is so very important to put yourself out there and make friends.  Not only for emergency situations like I had, but just for your own sake.  A girl needs girlfriends.  Angeline is one of the best friends I’ve ever had, but she’s also on the opposite side of the country.  So as much as I love talking to her daily, one needs friends right there in her own neighborhood so to speak.  A girlfriend can give you tons of great advice about the new area you have moved to.  A girlfriend can lend a hand when you need some mom help like picking up a kid from school or activities.  A girlfriend can shop with you when you need girl time (ok maybe that’s just me being the only female in a testosterone filled house).  The point is – finding good girlfriends is a MUST!

Angeline and I have been in that awkward scenario far too many times.  You know….the one where you go to an event and you hope to meet people.  Only you find yourself sitting alone.  Or better yet, you find a little group to small talk with and all you end up doing is sitting with a smile on your face because they have their own conversations between themselves and none involve you.  I consider myself somewhat of an extrovert (forced by all my moves!) but it doesn’t matter in these situations – all you feel is alone.  Angeline and I have had many phone conversations lamenting about how lonely we are but the one thing we always do for each other is ENCOURAGE and CHEER each other on.

A lot of women think “oh so-and-so already has a million friends, why bother?  She won’t become a good friend”.  OR ladies agonize over the “will they like me” junior high scenario at the thought of going to a ladies function at church, school, etc.  We assume most ladies already have their “group” and won’t open up their circle for you so we clam up.  I’m here to tell you get out there and break into that “circle”.  There are a lot of women out there who really don’t have that close connection to people like we think.  Speak up, introduce yourself, start small talk, eavesdrop and butt in the conversation, become an extrovert.  I know it’s hard but you will never get anywhere if you don’t.  Besides, what do you have to lose????
girlfriendYou are probably asking yourself “how do I make friends in a new place?”.  Surprisingly, I’m not gonna tell you church.  However, that is a great place to start.  My closest friends the past few moves have come from other places.  So, although I say start there, don’t make that your only target.  When the kids were little, it was a lot easier to meet moms and make friends.  But now my boys are getting out of the playdate at the park stage and it is definitely getting harder.
strangers Here are some ways I have met friends.

1)  School.  I volunteer at my kids’ school.  There I have met wonderful moms who became close friends.  In Vegas that is where my closest friends were.  I knew I could count on those ladies anytime I had something that I needed.
2)  Kid’s Activities.  Don’t just sit there on your phone while your kid is at practice or any other activity you have put them into.  Scope out the place and target find some ladies to speak to. Go up and introduce yourself.  My closest friend in Louisiana came from this very same scenario.  We were at soccer practice and she had a younger one that looked about same age as my younger one.  I started with a simple question “oh, how old is he?'”.  That sparked conversation which led to her knowing I was new to the area. She was a native to Louisiana.  Instantly numbers/emails were exchanged and a friendship was created.  One I still hold dear today even though we don’t talk nearly enough
3)  Join a gym.  Not only is it good for your health but you may meet some great friends there.  Take a class – if a girl likes you when you can be you with no makeup and sweat, you know you’ve made a good friend.  HA!
4)  Get out in your neighborhood.  Don’t just sit around your house.  Take walks around your neighborhood, say hello to anyone who is out.  If they have kids, think of a way to spark up conversation.  I know it’s hard but it is so worth it.  And if they are your neighbor, even better.
5) Be observant and extroverted in any public place you go.  There may be a struggling mom in the grocery store you can help out and meet.  There might be a friendly salesperson in a clothing store that sparks conversation and leads to friendship (no kidding – it’s happened to me).  Visit parks near your new house.  It’s a great way to meet moms who may live around your neighborhood.
5)  I’ve been known a time or two to go meet up with a complete stranger or even go to their house for our kids to have a play date.  I’m not saying just go seek out strangers.  And no, I’m not psycho or looking for a death wish. These “strangers” were friends of a friend.  Friends who used to live in my new area.  Or even a random acquaintance who mentioned a friend who had kids the same age as mine and hooked us up.  I feel like I’m talking about a blind date.  But you know, sometimes making girlfriends is a lot like dating.  Oh and just FYI – a blind date is how I met my husband.
5)  Ok, I said I wouldn’t say church.  But I am now.  CHURCH.  Go to a bible fellowship class, a ladies bible study or a mom’s group.  It’s an easy way to meet people.  However it’s also probably the most uncomfortable of all that I have mentioned so far.  Reason I say this is because ladies in church form little friend groups and it is very, very hard to bust into that group.  I hate to say it but I’m just being honest.  Going into a bible study and sitting by yourself and hoping someone will come up and talk to you is very, very intimidating. I recently read this blog post from Sara Horn and it was dead on how most of us who have moved feel.   If you haven’t moved and are not planning to move, remember this and reach out to any visitors you see come to your church.  Open your circle.friendshipcircleOnce you meet ladies, exchange numbers/emails.  Invite a few to coffee or lunch or over for your kids to have a playdate.  Make it a priority.  Invest time into making friends.  I just moved to Minnesota and these people are hard to crack!  LOL!  I mean that in a non-offensive way.  Everyone is super nice but they are also very reserved.  I have felt like I have to “make the first move” (remember that dating analogy?) and once I do, they are happy to receive the invitation.
extrovertThese friends that helped me out so much this weekend?  Well, one is my next door neighbor who is wonderful.  But not because she’s my neighbor but because I have invested time getting to know her and her family.  The other – goes to my church but that’s not how I met her.  I met her through a mutual friend and our sons are friends AND they happen to live in our neighborhood AND she has invested her time getting to know me.  So, don’t just sit around having a pity party about not having friends.  PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE!  Even if it means you have to feel out of your comfort zone for a bit.
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Back to School…Looking for the Right One (part 2)

prov3Oh how I know the anxiety and stress a momma can have when searching for a new school for her little people in a completely new, strange city. It’s stressful knowing that your decisions on selecting a new house can affect your children and their education. I mean there’s enough pressure finding the right house but mix in the kids and it can be brain overload.  First and foremost, if you are a Christian, TRUST the Lord with ALL your heart.  Have faith that God will  lead you to the right school for you and your kiddos.  If you do, the stress will dramatically decrease and you will feel such a peace.  I’m not gonna say I’m perfect at this (I’m human) but I can tell you that looking back with each move, God’s hand has been all over each and every one.

As Angeline pointed out in Part 1 of our Back to School series, there are a lot of resources you can utilize to help search out schools in this unknown territory known as your future home.  My process is pretty similar to hers – one word – RESEARCH!
keep calmMy man and I make a great team!  We’ve got our system down.  He asks around with coworkers and does the logistics research (commute and such) while I focus on community and school life.  Oh and let’s not forget to mention reaching out to all the many friends I have made across the country to see if someone, anyone knows anybody familiar with my new town.  Desperate times call for desperate measures people – I am not shy to ask around!  When looking for a realtor, find one who has kids.  They will know about schools and family life without a doubt.  I would also highly suggest a house hunting trip if possible.  Just spend a few days driving around trying to find an area you like (you’ll get a good idea when you see it).  For example, when we moved to the DC area, my man and I took a week long house hunting trip and drove from one end of the area to the other.  An entire week of driving, need I say more??  My hubby kept saying that he wanted, and thought I would like, Loudon county in Northern VA so that’s where he took me first.  I kept saying no, because the only person I knew in the entire area lived in Fairfax county and I wanted to be near her. (HAHA – what a reason, right?)  I should know by now to listen to my husband -shhh don’t tell him that.  After that week of driving, where was it I liked best?  The very first place we visited.  The one my husband thought I would like most.  Of course.  Sometimes just driving by schools and communities can determine the location you like best and then you can do more in-depth school research.

Another reason I didn’t want to even look at Loudon county was because my research showed 1/2 day kindergarten for that county.  WHAT?!?!  That was NOT in my plan!  LOL.  Thank goodness life doesn’t go by our plans.  However, there is a point to all this…..there are still states who have 1/2 day kindergartens out there.  As a Southerner this was so foreign to me.  There are also schools who require tuition for full day kindergarten.  (I’ve had two boys go through both scenarios!)  Do your research.  I know this is all about kindergarten but it can go for any grade.  Go to the school websites.  District websites.  Read everything you can about every aspect of the school.  Know what the schools teach and make sure you agree with it. Look up busing information for the district (some require a certain amount of distance for transportation). If you have special needs (gifted, autism, speech,etc) – look up the information regarding those services for the district.   Greatschools.org is a great resource but don’t just go by the number rating scale.  Read the parent comments.  A school can rate low just because of test scores – and we all know how most people feel about test scores.  Anyway, parents will give the truer indication of the school and its environment.

My move to Vegas was really interesting.  We had a house.  I had researched the school, it rated awesome and I was ready.  However, our move out there, the seller backed out of the sale and we had to house hunt all over again!  Talk about stress!
stressedHowever, we found a great house (with a better commute) but the school didn’t rate as well as the first school.  The school building didn’t even look as nice on the outside.  BUT…it wasn’t the worst school either.  Just the average norm.  Well, we were blessed by that school, and the teachers, and I got very involved and by the time we left I felt like that school was on the up and up and was taking off to be the best in the area.
IMG_2504 All that to say….God had a plan.  One I couldn’t see.  You see, because of that school, I became friends with a gal from Minnesota.  I was blessed (when God’s in control – it’s not luck folks) with a friend who just so happened to be from the Twin Cities area in MN and knew everything about it.  At the time did I know I would move to MN and need such a friend?  Lord no!  But God did and that friend really assisted and reached out to her MN friends in order to help me with my school search here.

TRUST in the Lord with ALL your HEART.  God has a plan.  We may not recognize it or see it but He does.  He cares about the big things and the little things in our lives and our moves.  TRUST He will help you find the right school for your kids.  It may or may not be the award winning school but if you let Him be in control, He will direct your path.  That’s when you know you found the right one!
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