12 September 2011

Fall is here...

Fall is a four-letter word. In our house, it means there's a whole lot of work to be done before our schedules sort themselves out and we can settle into our respective roles at home and in the community. From here I'll just go down the list, one by one, so you can get an idea of what we're up to this time of year and how we get ourselves prepared for the next 9 months.

I've quit my summer job at Mountain Miss/Work & Rugged Gear and I'm settling into a new job, serving and training to tend bar at Bayview Restaurant & Pub. It's true that working at the clothing stores was just a summer job, but the main reason I left was because they weren't able to work around my schedule, since having Stephen back at work means that I am only available nights and weekends. Truth be told, it's not necessary for me to work, however much our bank accounts are helped by me doing so. I just like having a reason to get out of the house and interacting with different people.

Speaking of getting out of the house, I'm also enrolled full time at University of Alaska Southeast, studying to complete my Associate's degree in Health Education. I'm taking 15 credits this semester, including Introduction to Psychology (on-site), American Sign Language I (on-site),  Weight Training for Women (on-site), Intermediate Algebra (distance), and Music Appreciation (distance). It's notable that this is the first time I've taken any live, on-site college courses, so I am experiencing a little bit of a learning curve in getting everything going, but I've started all but one of my courses (my first ASL class meets today) and I'm really enjoying everything so far.

Between work and school, I'm kept pretty busy running around, but they just fill the time when I'm not at home with Porter during the day and taking care of our household.

Stephen is back to work after a long and somewhat relaxing summer. He is working on exciting things for the MEHS music program this year. Besides his regular music, rock band, and choir classes, he is also gearing up for Southeast Music Festival, hosted in Sitka this year, and working on a radio club that will take students to our local Public Radio station and teach them to run soundboards and dj, create radio programs, conduct interviews and share stories, and collaborate with their community for content. This, of course, is in addition to the fortnightly College Radio show he co-hosts with our good friend, Cassidy Patnoe.

If that wasn't enough, Stephen has also involved himself pretty heavily in a community playground project that will hopefully erect a family-friendly, ADA-compliant, and endowment-maintained community-built playground in 2013.

Seren might be the busiest of us all this school year. She has started full-day Kindergarten at the SEER School, a private elementary school near our house. The theme for learning this year is World History, so she will learn about different cultures and adventurers, get plenty of physical activity while discovering the cultural and natural aspects of our own community, and learn some Spanish from guest instructor, Maite Lorente, who is also the children's librarian at Kettleson Memorial Library.

Additionally, I am going to be working closely with her participation in a brand new 4H program that has been started in Sitka and she is slated to start Pee Wee Wrestling in January, which is coached by MEHS's own Japanese teacher and Wrestling coach, Mike Kimber.

Somehow, even with all the craziness that the rest of us have going on, Porter only spends ~8 hours per week at daycare. The rest of the time, he and I pal around the house while Seren and Stephen are at school. Porter is still too young to have too much going on outside the home, but he is still in speech therapy and doing well. So well, in fact, that he has been reduced from visiting his speech therapist down from once a week to once every other week. If his ability keeps improving in the way it has been for the last few moths, his visits will drop down to once a month. He now has a vocabulary of around 60 words and uses 2- and 3-word phrases occasionally. Now that he has a vocabulary strong enough to make requests and identify his surroundings, we are working on verbs, spacial awareness, and abstract concepts like feelings and memories.

He is also very close to being completely potty-trained, which means more freedom for him to do the things he likes to do and less hassle for his parents (us), which is always a high priority. Along with the transition from diapers to jockeys, we have replaced his toddler bed (actually his sister's toddler bed, which is now a frame for her full-size mattress) with a real "big-boy" twin-size bed. He loves his new bed and all the extra room it gives him. He also likes that we can sit in bed with him to cuddle, read, or whatever.

...And that's about it. *Whew!* If all that isn't enough to keep us out of trouble, I'm certain nothing will.

We hope all of you are settling into your own cool-weather schedules with ease. As always, we appreciate all the questions and comments everyone leaves on our blog. We enjoy hearing from you and it gives us a reason to write updates more frequently.