Archive for August, 2016

New School

Posted by Amanda on August 24th, 2016

A big part of our move is adjusting to a new school. Since we moved just a few days before school started we spent a lot of time and worry just getting registered and ready for the first day. I planned on moving during the school year, to avoid this hassle, but this is how the timing worked. This is long, brace yourself. But I really wanted to get all of this down.

Oh, where to start. Its just sooo different from our previous school and neighborhood.

Location: We live out in the boonies, folks. I thought EDH was the boonies when we moved there almost 5 years ago. But that is not even close to the kind of place we live now. We live off the highway on a street with 14 houses in a row. Ours is the last one. There are more houses a few miles down the road. Miles! The elementary school kids go to school in a little town called Harmony (love the name). The school is 19 miles away. 19 miles! Our old school was 1 mile away, and I wanted to be closer. I thought, if we ever move, I want to live within walking distance of the school. Ha! It takes me a full 25 minutes to drive to the school. Luckily there is a bus, and the stop is in front of the house next to us. And its free! They get picked up about 7:50 in the morning, and school starts at 8:45.


Now that was for elementary kids, up to 5th grade. For middle school, it is even farther. And when I say farther (further?) I mean quite a bit! It is past Harmony, into St. Cloud, but actually in an area or town called Narcoossee. So Kathryn gets picked up about 7:30, and her school also starts at 8:45. Luckily she loves the bus more than anyone! Her bus is only kids on the ranch, so about 15 kids, and they have a great old time together. She has made friends, read books, and hopefully sometimes can do homework.

Uniforms: The school district has uniforms! This is just totally different. We have never done it before. When Amelia heard, she asked, “Will I have to wear a tie?” Luckily, no. It is navy blue, white, or school colored polo shirts on top, and khaki, black, or navy blue on bottom. Now that we are doing uniforms I love it! They have a few school clothes, and I mean just a few. And then they have play clothes. The elementary kids’ school colors are orange and royal blue, so they can also wear polos of those colors. Also, Friday is school spirit day so they can wear a school t-shirt. Jeans count as blue for the bottom. Kathryn’s school colors are pink and green (I’m pretty sure they picked pink for the girls). So she loves wearing a pink polo. I think the kids look so nice going to school Everyone in a collar. It really does away with some of the kids dressing too sloppy or immodestly.


Class Size: The classes are really small!!! At least compared to our last school. No more than 20 in a class. Most have 18 or 19.

Timing: The school is almost a full hour longer than our school in CA. I think that is quite interesting. So far it seems that they will have less homework, though, so that seems to be a trade off. Good thing, since it ends at 3:45 and then they still have the bus ride home! Elementary kids get home about 4:20, and middle school about 4:50. 4:50!!! Wow that’s late. No worrying about dance class, music lessons, sports. No time.

Recess: This is something that surprised me. With that long school day, they only have 1 recess. What?! It is 30 minutes, but only once. At the old school they had 3! I am one of those that believes kids need to get out and move and play!! So I have been frustrated with that. They do have PE almost everyday. But I was still shocked that they only have one recess. Don’t quite understand it, but the kids are dealing with it better than me!



I found out less than a week before school started that it was full day kindergarten. Our other kids had half day, and that’s what I’d been planning for Michael. I was excited for him to go to school, but come home for lunch and have some special time with me. And time to play with Nathaniel, who has been his special buddy while the kids were at school. I just did home preschool with Michael, so I was really worried about sending him away for a full day everyday. He was also nervous. But he has done great! I heard he fell asleep on the bus ride home the first couple of days. Don’t blame him! He is definitely tired, but he is doing great. I am extra glad I home preschooled him last year so I got some extra time with him that I won’t get this year since he is at school the full day.



He started 2nd grade and is doing fine. Getting adjusted to a new school, has made at least 1 friend, and his teacher says he is doing great.



She started 4th grade and misses all the fun PE they had at the old school. She is doing fine. After the first day I asked who made a friend, and she said, “I made 3!” She is the first one to take off her collared shirt after school and put on a t-shirt.



My little Kathryn started middle school?! Oh, I was so worried about her. Because of lots of things, we only got her registered the day before school started and she couldn’t get her schedule until the first day. So we wouldn’t have a chance to walk around and see where the rooms are, etc. I wasn’t able to drive her to school because it starts the exact same time as the elementary school, but is at least 20 minutes away. And I was definitely driving my kindergartener to school on the first day! So I had to send Kathryn on the bus her first day to a new school and she had to get her schedule and figure everything out. Oh, I was so nervous and felt so bad! After school I waited outside for the bus to drop her off. When she got off her first words were: “It was awesome!” Phew! She had a great day, figured everything out, this middle school thing is making her seem so grown up! She has 2 electives and she got into orchestra and chorus, which she is so excited about. And so am I!

My worrying: I feel so removed from the school, not seeing them at school walking out of or into class. And they are gone for so long! Yes, it is really nice to get more things done. I can actually run errands in the afternoon if I want. But once they get home it seems like a mad rush to get everything done and get to bed. I want them to play and relax a little, do a little homework, eat dinner, get ready for bed, read, and get to sleep. And we only have about 3 hours for all of that. So I am trying to figure out how to manage that without feeling so rushed. They do have an early Wednesday, so they get home one hour earlier. Boy does that make a difference! I used to hate early Wednesday. Now I love it!

Nathaniel: He loves to sit on our porch bench and wait for the bus to come in the afternoons. Its so cute, he asks about it all day. So we go out there about 4:00. There are always some trucks going past, which he loves to see. But then he signs “waiting for bus”. So cute!

I was sure I had taken a picture of him sitting on the bench waiting for the bus, but I couldn’t find it. So here he is helping me unpack while the kids were at school.



Resurrecting the Blog (maybe)

Posted by Amanda on August 8th, 2016

A big move across the country seemed like a good time to blog again.

I still can’t believe we moved from California all the way to Florida! We truly loved our time in California. We are already loving it here on the ranch.

Things we have loved already:
So much green!
view from the front of our house.


Friendly people!

Living across the street from the church building!

Animals! Okay, this is a love/not so love thing. I won’t say “hate” because that is too strong. Its fun to see a horse basically in our backyard almost everyday. Not sure whose it is. Its fun to see lots of cows. This is taken from our screened patio.


The first day the kids seriously “mooed” for 10 minutes. Darryl had to tell them to stop. Its fun to see lots of kinds of birds (we started liking birds in EDH). Its kind of fun to think about alligators, but not so fun to hear they do get into the swimming hole (small ones, they say). Big bugs are not so fun, either. I am kind of wimpy in the bug department.



Our house! Our house is actually quite a big smaller than our last house. We lost a guest bedroom, most of a living room (still have one but very small), and the other bedrooms are smaller. The girls beds would only fit right together like this in their room (because it has 2 closets!). They love it.


But there are a lot of things to love. I love the layout, and that it is one story. Everything is close! No running upstairs to the other end of the house to get something. The laundry room is actually bigger than our last one. Super love. The family room is just as large, too. And whoever designed this house had big families and storage in mind. Lots of storage. A closet off the garage that has a vent from the house, so it is cooled. Hello, food storage! A large pantry, and another large closet next to the laundry room, a closet by the bedrooms, and a closet in the master bathroom (besides the master bedroom walk in closet). And a little room off the family room that can be a closet or for us, might be a small art room. And another happy thought: shelves in (most of) the closets! Not to love about the house – no garbage disposal. Maybe I’m spoiled, but that seems like it should be standard. But, we lived without it in Kyiv, and Darryl said he could put one in.

Senior missionaries! There are 5 couples here on missions doing things at the ranch, such as an electrician, plumber, etc. I met some at church on Sunday, but I know from past experience that senior missionaries are awesome!

School uniforms! At first I was surprised and not sure what to do. But now I realize it will be nice to have a few school clothes and then some play clothes. And the kids will look so nice going to school! Here is Kathryn modeling.


Plus, they have once a week they can wear school spirit shirts, and jeans count as blue pants/shorts.

The Beach! One night we had dinner in Melbourne, the closest town to the east. We realized the Atlantic Ocean was just 15 minutes away and drove to see. We found a park/beach and checked it out. So beautiful, and such beautiful, soft sand. Warm water.



Don’t worry, not everything is perfect. If I get around to it I will post about registering for school. How do they expect people to have a current utility bill when they have lived in the place for 3 days?!