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I am finally emerging from the rock of buying a house, holidays, and getting acclimated to a new school.  This has been an incredibly long four months.  We are not totally done with it all either.  Painting the house starts on Monday.  Decorating the house starts next Monday.  In between there is a birthday party for Katie and Valentine cards to purchase.  Sorry Mrs. White’s 2nd grade class, no homemade or personalized cards for you.  James’ mom just doesn’t have time to design cute little cards which are then attached to an appropriately matching candy.  You’re getting Target-bought Avengers valentines and I might feel like taping a fun size bag of M&Ms to it, if you’re lucky.  There’s a fair to middling chance I will buy the M&Ms and just eat them all myself.  

In the end, the house drama was not so much that it killed the deal, but if I’d known beforehand what we going to have endure, I would have passed on this house.  Now that we’re here, we love it.  But, I’m sure we’d love other places too.  Anyway, it’s over now.  Mostly.  The listing agent still has his stupid lockbox on the front door.  It’s not a big deal.  It’s just an eyesore.  Also, I lost my key so I do need the one that is in the box.  I will destroy it in a quite violent and satisfying way if they don’t come get it soon.

The holidays were a bright spot in the last few months.  As usual, we had Jeff’s family stay with us for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. The children get along and have fun.  The adults all get along too, so that’s a bonus.  We all go to my parents’ house for Christmas Eve dinner and then they come to our house for Christmas day dinner.  I love that my kids get to spend holidays with both sets of grandparents and at least one cousin.  I hope it creates positive memories for them.

The last piece of our October-January trudge has been James’ new school.  We loved his old school.  It was small and diverse ethnically and economically.  The teachers were dedicated.  It was like a family.  However, the principal retired at the end of last year and the atmosphere changed a bit.  Some of the homeyness of the place was lost.  Also, academically, it wasn’t super fantastic.  The new school is super fantastic.  The 2nd graders do 3rd grade math.  They are expected to read one chapter book a week, plus two picture books.  There are 20 spelling words a week (as compared to the old school’s 12).  He has to memorize poetry.  Don’t get me wrong: I love the changes and couldn’t be happier with the new school.  What I am having a hard time with is the astronomical leap James has to do academically.  They had just started on subtracting two-digit numbers at his old school; now he has to do multiplication.  It’s hard for all of us to get used to the idea that James isn’t the top performing math student in his class.  He’ll adjust, we’ll adjust and everyone will be fine.  I know that.  It’s just getting from here to there that I sort of dread.

The girls are dealing with all of this change by being hellions.  I have been a bit lax in the discipline department lately.  It’s so much easier to turn on an extra long Little Einsteins episode than to deal with them, the mortgage broker, the homeowners insurance, and the handyman all at the same time.  As a result, they are left to their own devices more than a 4 and almost-2-year-old should be.  The baby eats crayons.  As meals.  Ellie has decided she’s just fine on her own and her parents’ instructions are more like suggestions that she is free to reject.  Mostly, I’m here to get her milk and turn on the next episode of her show.  Now that things are settling down, I have started being a bit more strict.  So far it’s only resulted in tears, screaming and more wine than I really should be drinking on a regular basis.  We’ll all get back to a more normal schedule and life and they will be good girls again.  I have to believe that.

So, that explains where we’ve been for the last while and what we’ve been up to.  Expect to hear more on the horrors of raising children from now on as that is really where my heart is.