Monday, September 21, 2009


Natalia was met at the airport on Friday night. It was BFF at first site. She is adorable and precious and we just may have to keep her. We've had a whirlwind weekend full of get acquainted activities and resting from her long trip. We've had very few language issues as she speaks much better English than we do Spanish and she is becoming more confident everyday.
Sunday we threw caution to the wind and invited both the 7th and 8th grade classes of girls to house for a party. There is another exchange student for Guatemala in our 8th grade class. The other exchange mom and I thought it would be fun to get the girls all together before our new girls started school on Monday. This way they would have some familiar faces on their first day.
We started by having each girl make a scrapbook page for each of the exchange girls; this got them talking and laughing and loosened things up quite a bit.
Food - the great unifier - and great conversation as to what things the girls should do and see while the are in Minnesota also brought the team together. Mall of America was voted the number one "must do" along with a pumpkin patch.
In preparation for their first school dance of the year this Friday, a little line dance lesson. Yes, it was the "Macarena"

And a trip to the playhouse. In case you're wondering, you can fit 17 girls and one mom in the playhouse. Not comfortably, but it can be done! Majo, (Maria Jose) third from the left, is the other exchange student, Nati, is second from the right. That's about as far away as she's gotten from Kathryn since Friday night.

And all of a sudden, I have two girls! And I love it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Big Reveal

We have made room in the closet . . .

. . . and emptied out the spare dresser drawer . . .

. . . and taken up more space in a small room to make more room . . .

. . . because on Friday night at 5:00 pm we go to the airport to pick up Natalia - Nati, for short - a 12 year-old girl from Guatemala who will be living with us for 12 weeks as an exchange student. She is blond-haired and blue-eyed; she speaks limited English but understands much more. She loves animals and basketball. She could be Kathryn's identical twin. They will go to school together and be sisters together for the next 12 weeks. Jon and I will be parents of two pre-teen aged daughters for 12 weeks. We are all insanely crazy excited over this idea. I am just a wee bit nervous.
But my hope is that this experience will give the blog a new lift as it will be a great way for me to keep the memories of the adventure alive! Stick around - see what happens!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A New Year

Seventh grade. A new year, a new attitude. On both our parts.

We wrote "new year" resolutions for ourselves, and each other, then sealed them in an envelope to open at the end of the school year. I'll share mine with you. I promised to try and give my girl more space. To grow, to try, to mess up (gasp!), to fly. I freely admit to hovering last year; to being "too there". But I did so for all the right (my) reasons. Her best friend had moved away, she had come off two years of school with bad "girl issues". I just couldn't stand by and watch the Middle School years start out on a bad note. So, I got involved - in everything I could. And then, I actually loved it. She and I made a deal that if it got to be too much, she'd tell me to back off. While she hasn't told me it's too much, I know it's time. She's ready to go it alone.

She came home from school yesterday as happy a girl as I have seen. The girls (the 8 remaining girls) in 7th grade got together at lunch. They all talked about how they need to make a much better 7th grade; they need to work at bringing their two cliques together and all getting along. She's on Student Council this year and is taking this responsibility seriously. I think she's turning into me....

So despite the sad faces on the two animals in the pictures - What? You can't see Tig trying to squeeze through the crack at the bottom of the screen door? - We are off to a great start this year. For the first time in ten "First Days of School" - I didn't cry!