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Getting Organized

With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, Amber and I recognized the need to move some stuff around inside the house so that we can hit the ground running this weekend when it comes to decorating for Christmas (steadfast rule in our house to not decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving).  Since we have added furniture this year in the form of two recliners, we will have to be more creative on furniture placement/rearrangement as we start the decorating process.

The first part of the process involved moving a few tables to new locations, and moving a bookcase.  Moving the bookcase allowed us to address what has basically become a dumping ground of sorts for us, so we undertook the task of taking all the books off of the shelves.

BooksOnce the bookcase was moved, Kaitlyn and I figured it would be a great time to organize the books stored on there a little better than they were.  It is a small bookcase, just two shelves, but it still needed some significant organization!

While I was organizing my shelf, by subject since I do not have too many books by the same author in this particular bookcase, Kaitlyn undertook the task of organizing Amber’s books.  At this point, Amber just decided to leave us to it.

Kaitlyn separated each of Amber’s books by author, and then neatly stacked them up.  Once they were stacked, she had me put them on the correct shelf, in alphabetical order.  If we had wanted to put in a little bit of extra effort, Kaitlyn and I agreed that we would have then organized the books by author in chronological order.  I think we’ll do that another time.

It is not much of a surprise that Kaitlyn happily undertook this task with me.  On the bookcase in her room, her books are organized by series, and then sub-organized in chronological order.  That’s my girl!

Comments and Test Results

Kaitlyn is having a pretty good week.  On top of getting to be a safety patrol for this nine weeks and being invited to join the Mini Mu team, she also brought home her report card today.

As expected, her report card was filled with an A in every subject, and she made the honor roll again.  It’s probably a good thing we don’t pay her for grades, because I imagine that we would have gone into the poorhouse a long time ago.

My favorite section, as always, is the comments section.  This is from her teacher:

“Kaitlyn has been a delight.  We enjoy her playful personality and spirit.  Kaitlyn is making great progress academically and will continue to do so due to the effort she puts forth in class.  She is always up for a challenge and we love her competitive side.  She is on her way to a wonderful year in 4th grade.  Great job!”

The only thing that I think is wrong in that entire series of comments is that her teacher loves Kaitlyn’s competitive side.  Clearly, she has never seen Kaitlyn lose; it is not pretty at all.

We also finally got Kaitlyn’s Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) test results today.  Anybody who knows me knows that I am not a huge fan of standardized tests for a lot of reasons, one of which is that they make teachers teach to the test.  Also, Kaitlyn tends to struggle on them because she puts a ton of pressure on herself and tends to stress out about them.

Kaitlyn’s scored in the 96th percentile in math.  She earned 24 of 26 points in “Operations, Algebraic Thinking, and Numbers in Base Ten,” 8 of 8 points in “Numbers and Operations-Fractions,” and 19 of 19 points in “Measurement, Data, and Geometry.”

In English Language Arts, Kaitlyn scored in the 97th percentile.  She earned 10 of 10 points in “Key Ideas and Details,” 15 of 16 in “Craft and Structure,” 10 of 13 in “Integration of Knowledge and Ideas,” and 11 of 13 in “Language and Editing.”

Amber and I are very proud of her results, of course.

Who Will I Rely On Now?

The tears flowed, off and on, well into the night last night for Kaitlyn as she really began to digest yesterday’s news.  Really, it was a mixture of emotions for her, from happiness to extreme sadness.  Amber and I have never seen her shut down the way she did after hearing the news, either.

Amber and I altered Kaitlyn’s routine a little last night, hoping to help her understand the changes that are coming in the very near future.

As I wrote last night, Kaitlyn’s relationship with Jen is a combination of best friend and big sister/little sister.  Jen has been there for Kaitlyn (and us) on countless occasions.  And because they are so close, Jen has pretty much become Kaitlyn’s closest confidant (because all 9 year olds need one!).  So when she asked us, “who will I rely on now?,” it was just a tad difficult, because for as much as we want Kaitlyn to come to us with everything, there is something to be said for having that one trusted person who you can turn to no matter what.

We made some progress into explaining to Kaitlyn that Jen will still be a huge part of her life, just from several hours away now.  They plan on Skyping and Facetiming at least once per week, and Kaitlyn plans on texting her even more frequently now (using proper grammar and sentence structure of course).  There will be road trips to see Jen, too (she would be smart to find a spot for their “dates” rather quickly).

Mostly, we worked on letting Kaitlyn know that the best thing she can do is be happy for her friend, and support her friend.  It is ok if she cries and is sad about the move, too.

These next few weeks and months are going to be tough for Kaitlyn.  Amber and I already have her looking forward to January, when Jen will be back for the whole month, and they can catch up on so much.  Until then, however, she will have to settle for relying on Jen from a distance.



Kait_JenKaitlyn doesn’t handle change well.  That, of course, is no secret.  Needless to say, she is not handling this change well at all.  But she will, in time.

Since the day after she was born, Kaitlyn has had an adopted big sister.  Jen was one of the first people to hold Kaitlyn in the hospital, and to see how she doted over her when she came to visit, Amber and I hoped that she would always be a big part of Kaitlyn’s life.  And she has.

More than any other person outside of Amber and I, Jen has helped to shape Kaitlyn into the amazing little girl she is today.  Her sense of style is all Jen, too.  Kaitlyn adores and looks up to her in ways that will melt your heart, and we know Jen feels the same about her.

Today, Jen came over to share some news with Kaitlyn.  Amber and I were already somewhat prepared for some of the news, but we were not prepared for everything.

Jen came over to share big news with Kaitlyn…the news that Kaitlyn will soon have someone she can help take care of the way that Jen has helped with her.  Kaitlyn was excited to learn that Jen is pregnant.  She was even more excited when Jen asked her to be a special part of her wedding (Amber was excited to be asked, too).

Kait_Jen_3But there was more news, which Kaitlyn did not handle that well.  Her friend, her big sister, the person she adores probably more than anyone other than us, is moving.  To Charlotte.

To say that Kaitlyn was devastated would be an understatement.  She was crushed.  To her, Jen is supposed to always be a phone call and a mile away, but that is all changing soon.

It was heartbreaking to see Kaitlyn shut down when she heard the news that Jen is moving away.  All that the three of us could do, and what Amber and I will continue to do, is talk about all the positives of the move, and remind Kaitlyn that Jen will always be a huge part of her life.

It is going to take some time, but Kaitlyn will be ok.  She will have her ups and downs not having her big sister right around the corner, but she’ll get there.  Amber and I know, and Jen knows, that Kaitlyn will always keep her close in her heart; the bond the two of them have is amazing, and a few hundred miles is not going to weaken it one bit.  The two of them have shared so much and have so many memories, and there will be so many more made, and they will be even more special.

Amber and I are very thankful to Jen for the impact she has had on Kaitlyn’s life, and on our family.  We are excited for what the future holds for her.



A “Cool” Tradition

One of the things that I enjoy the most about the first day of school, other than the huge savings of not having to pay for summer camp anymore, is a tradition that Kaitlyn and I started back when she was in 1st grade.  It is our annual “Ice Cream Night.”

dipped-ice-cream-cones-7So, as you are reading this, Kaitlyn and I are enjoying some tasty ice cream, while she is telling me about her first day of 4th grade.

I don’t know how many more years Kaitlyn will want to have ice cream with me on the first day of school, but I plan on enjoying each and every one until she tells me that she has had enough.  Of course, if I get my way, this cool tradition (see what I did there?) will continue through high school and while she is in college, too.  A dad can dream, I guess.


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