The Fall semester is in full swing for everyone. I'm in school 4 mornings a week and on Fridays I get to clean my house! (Do you feel my joy at this end-of-the-week activity?!) Elena is a Senior at Pasadena High School where she has met entertaining and wholesome-seeming friends (phew!) and is adjusting to her classes slowly but surely. Camille is in 10th grade and really enjoying AP European History. She's gearing up for water polo season and overseeing Elena's social contacts at school (what's a little sister for, huh?). Leanne started middle school with a - rip! Her plaid madras shorts ripped at the back pocket, exposing her monkey underwear - (they were on sale! What can I say?!) about two hours after she arrived at school. Her friend loaned her her sweater - despite the 100 degree weather - and all was good. And then the carefully laid out plans to walk home with friends ended with her being stranded ALL BY HERSELF at the front of the school. After a misguided wild goose chase, she burst into tears when I finally arrived to pick her up. I felt soooo bad for her! I told her, "Oh, honey, you got all the yucky middle school stuff out of the way on the first day of school! It just gets better from here on out!" After making copious jokes of a monkeying sort, Leanne was all giggles shortly after.
Daisy started first grade "with the prettiest teacher in school." Chloe is all about the serious business of being a third grader and making detailed plans to work on her miso soup Halloween costume with soon-to-be lawfully legitimate uncle, David. And that brings me to other happy news - my sister Ann is getting married in December sometime. We are all very excited and, although I've been reassured it will be a very small wedding affair, I'm preparing for something of the medium-ish size. It will be a fun party!
My anatomy and physiology class has been challenging in the best sort of way. I have an exceptional teacher and I have made some nice acquaintances in my classes, too. The amount of studying I have to do for this class is super intense, prompting me to take a leave of absence from volunteering at both of my hospitals. I was sad, but had to make cuts in time expenditures where I could.
And speaking of cuts, Tim's paycheck keeps getting smaller and smaller. The cuts to his teacher salary are increasing with very few extra job prospects available like he's had in the past. It was a rough few weeks of realizing that I had to be very careful and disciplined in every penny I spent, but it is a beneficial discipline. I'm amazed at how little money I now spend and how little I miss quite a few things. The challenge, in some good ways, is that to save money on food, our largest "negotiable" expense, I bake and cook many things from scratch to save money. But, the dishes I do! The prep and clean up and hours upon hours of time I spend in the kitchen is unbelievable. My girls do help me, but they are so busy with their school work that I simply do quite a bit, while training my middle girls to do more.
And then there is Julia, who is at pre-school. Just this morning I heard her at around 6:00 am padding through the house towards the kitchen where I was, giggling in anticipation of seeing me. I waited near the corner that she rounded and jumped out and scared her. She giggled all the more and I hugged and kissed her good morning. Ahh, yes, the best things in life are truly free!