That's how I've been increasingly feeling since the beginning of school events last Thursday.
Jason's testing at school Friday went really well.
Emily's sleepover with her church friend at our house Friday was great, along with my brother and niece's visit from Geneva Friday night through Sunday night. We played cards & board games and took a walk and played frisbee, badminton and whiffle ball together at our church picnic Sunday afternoon.
Monday Emily had her orientation at school and we met her teacher, who is from Northern Ireland. She isn't having too much trouble understanding him...and he seems nice. Emily met a set of twins from Texas, who just moved here a week ago, and these girls and their mom are truly adventurous and gregarious - already on the first day of school they called up Emily and invited her over on the spur of the moment to play at their house for an hour! Luckily for all of us, they live no more than 15 minutes away from our house (it could have been much worse - people commute from all over the place to this school - some kids spend an hour on the bus). So that was a HUGE answer to prayer - instant friends for Emily at school. I couldn't believe how fast that happened. It is this family's first international move and they are waiting for their shipments to arrive, using rental furniture in the meantime. I am glad we have all our stuff. The things that make one thankful...
At Emily's orientation day, they handed all the new parents a huge, thick envelope of stuff to read and fill out...which I haven't had time to look at yet, three days later (okay, I could be doing it right now, but I am taking a break for lunch and need to do something fun, so here I am blogging after 6 days of not being able to). It really made me appreciate our previous school, which sent these packets over the summer, giving parents ample time to peruse all the information and send all the forms in before school hit. I feel like I don't know anything and might be missing things. I need to get through that packet soon.
The rest of Monday was taken up by three medical appointments (orthodontist and a couple of minor irritating conditions that we though best to attend to before school started) and some shopping (gym shoes, etc). The orthodontist (the 2nd one we've tried - the first wanted to remove all Jason's braces and start again) was fantastic, in that that he learned French in Geneva and speaks it really well, so we use that to communicate, which is fun for me and good for the children's French. Also he had a very nice manner, was not terrifying like the other one, and sees no reason to replace Jason's current braces. Hurray for that. However, as I am now discovering, the receptionists do not speak any English or French, nothing but German, and the hours of the office are unclear except that they close at the same time as Jason gets out of school. This is not helpful; actually rather frustrating. So I am trying to make complicated scheduling arrangements in German, and not having too much luck so far. At the moment we are having to wait over a month to get him in there. I am not excited about the three-month delay in his orthodontic treatment here (what with trying multiple doctors and them being on vacation and then their calendar being full and Jason having very limited times he can get in - early before school or at lunch break). Also the orthodontist told us Emily can start with braces this year and do that for two years and be done (without the extra kinds of appliances the British ortho used for Jason). So that will be the beginning of a new stage for our family - two kids in braces.
Tuesday, on the first day of school, Jason received his testing results and class schedule. We were very pleased with his levels for Maths and French and German, but at first they couldn't accommodate him in the proper courses, and also couldn't give him the arts choice he had hoped for. I felt pretty resigned, but Jason was more optimistic, and so we prayed and asked God to sort it out - and by the end of the day, God had done it. I called and found the vice principal in her office at her computer, and she took my call, fiddling with the scheduling program for 15 minutes until she got it to accept Jason into the required level of German, and she let him go into her own Drama class, even though it's for 10th graders instead of 9th. The German II went into the previous elective slot, the Drama went into the previous Science slot, and she moved his Science class to the previous German I slot. How amazing is that? God-mazing.
Tuesday I spent four hours driving the car, between school runs and my German lessons, because we are at the beginning of smoothing out the school commute, which is so very much longer than we were used to, and I am learning traffic patterns and alternate routes...but that first day we got Jason to school 20 minutes early, and Emily to school 10 minutes late. Oops. But it was so chaotic on the first day of school that it didn't matter in the slightest. The second day, I went an entirely different way between the schools, avoiding the two major traffic snarls, and got her there with 3 minutes to spare. And today with 5 minutes to spare. But the best thing is yet to come - Emily starts taking the school bus in the mornings on Monday. We all can't wait. She will be able to leave home 27 minutes later every day. And then we will be sorting out Jason's commute, perhaps with me driving him to a bus stop halfway or something. The jury is out on that one. I am still planning to pick up both kids in the afternoon (they get out 30 minutes apart from each other, which helps a great deal, and also there is no traffic problem at that time of day). But that may change too, who knows.
Tuesday and Wednesday David and I continued in our German classes at his office, which are very interesting and helpful. The teacher is great. And we have homework to do...
Today is just a little calmer, with no German class, which is why I am sitting at the kitchen table typing this. However, I have a gajillion bazillion ramillion things that need to be prioritized and placed in an orderly manner on a to do list and then done. I don't know what they are (except maybe find a pharmacy that's open, find out how to submit health insurance claims and do so, get the piano tuned, clean the house, do my German homework, read the school information, pay for David's license plates, process the mail, rescue my desk/office...). This makes me very unsettled and frazzled. Please excuse me while I go figure out what to do next. Oh, and tonight we have a back to school night at Emily's school, which we just found out about on Monday. I am glad David is willing and able to come with me. He's been stellar, doing lots of dishes when I am exhausted at night. His support is unwavering and key to my survival. Another huge thank you.
P.S. Emily is already having her new twin friends over for a sleepover on Friday night, and we are planning to have the parents and older brother join us for brunch at pickup time on Saturday. Nobody's wasting any time here...
P.P.S. Yesterday on the way home from school Emily said, "Mom, when you aren't swamped anymore, will you go back to baking?"
So I replied, "Well, what would you like me to bake?"
"Peanut Butter Cookies?" (because we are so very, very happy to be back at a school that allows nuts on campus, meaning peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, and walnuts or pecans or cashews for a snack, etc)
So of course we baked 6 sheets of peanut butter cookies as soon as we arrived home, swamped or not! Some plain, some with M&M's, some with Hershey's Hugs or Kisses on top, and some with pink, blue or chocolate sprinkles. We had them for dessert and then both kids took some to school today.
P.P.P.S. There, that was therapeutic - I feel that at least I am caught up on my blogging for the moment...nice to be caught up in something.