Thursday, January 15, 2015

Welcome back, catch up, and changes!

Oh man, it has been far too long since I've written in this space to keep friends and family updated on our life.  I've neglected blogging for a wide variety of reasons - everyday busyness, constant changes in the "how we do it", time out to process new developments, and lastly, as ridiculous as it sounds I've avoided blogging because we are no longer Waldorf homeschoolers. 

I could (and maybe will) write an entire blog on why we have shifted away from homeschooling.  But the long and short of it is I spent a weekend digging deeper in "what Waldorf Education is" at Sunbridge Institute in New York this summer.  It was an enriching experience and I honestly fell even more in love with Waldorf Education through the experience.  But I walked away realizing that by homeschooling my kids in that method, with no other Waldorf homeschooling families nearby, we weren't really doing Waldorf Education justice.  So that, coupled with the fact that we needed some part-time childcare during my working hours, led us to re-examine the preschools in our town.  We decided on one that isn't a Waldorf school by any stretch, but I felt it honored our kids hearts and minds in the same way that a Waldorf education would.  And halfway through the school year, I can say it was the perfect decision for our family, given where we live and what is available to us. Both kids LOVE school and the friends they have made there.  The entire school did an art show, the sing, they move, they play, they create, they play outside everyday, and the focus is on play/social development, not academics.  The only sad part in any of it for us is that we found out the school will be closing at the conclusion of this school year.  Mannchen will go to Kindergarten at the local public school next fall, but now we are struggling to find an equally wonderful place for Töchterchen.

And the reason why we feel pressured to find an equally wonderful preschool for next year is I am taking steps towards going back to school myself.  I am currently making my way through basic pre-requisite classes, but next year I will essentially be a full-time student to finish up the pre-reqs.  In mid-December we found out that hubby passed the qualifying exam to stay for his PhD in Statistics.  If all goes as planned (and in our experience it rarely does, but we continue on regardless), I will start working on my Master's in Chemistry in the Fall of 2016 and will finish when hubby finishes his PhD.  We'd like to say we'll stay here so I can finish my PhD also, but I feel like I know better than to make plans that far out in the future.  In the meantime, I have been self-studying my way through the first semester of Chemistry for chem majors and I have loved it.  I think I may have FINALLY found a way to combine my love of mathematics with a true application of mathematics, instead of the theory behind all the cool math I learned as an undergrad. 

Whew, I finally said all of that out loud.  Now I'll just sit back and cross my fingers that it doesn't all come crashing down around me.

In other exciting news, linked to now knowing we are definitely sticking around for hubby to finish his PhD, we have been doing more work to our apartment.  We are constantly asked how long we'll stay in this small space.  The answer is, as long as we can.  Yes, 700 square feet is small for a family of four.  But we make it work.  And it is CHEAP.  We discussed possibly looking for a larger space when I start school, but in the end we just can't justify doubling (or more) our monthly rent for something that is still going to be relatively small, simple, and not what we really want.  We decided that we would rather stay in the cheap place and save that money, so when hubby (and eventually myself also) is gainfully employed once again, we can begin the search for a house that fits what we REALLY want.  Besides, if you've ever seen hubby's truck, we need to keep the rent cheap, because that baby is not going to make it until he finishes his PhD.  And of course, who knows what else could pop up from year to year to cost us more than anticipated.

And so without rambling even longer than I've already done, I present you the latest project - the living room.  First though, let me walk you through the beginning, middle, and then finally we'll close up with the end product.

No one has pretty pictures on move-in day.  But regardless, it's dark and dirty feeling.
To see the moved in look of the room, look here.
And now, this is what we have created:
Actually one more mid-project shot, walls painted, but the boys were prepping for floor installation.

Ta-da!  The finished living room.  Clean, bright walls and a clean, nice floor (one you're comfortable to be on in your barefeet).

Close-up of floor.  It's a vinyl plank flooring.  It's supposed to be ideal for basements and the installation was extremely easy.  I could have done it by myself....but thank goodness I have a handy hubby so I didn't have to.

More floor, because I love it.

Other side of the room, complete with precious, sleeping pup.

Nighttime lighting.