So I've been wanting to post an update about school and other adjustments...
When we broke the news to the kids that we were moving, back in April when we found out for sure (we had a heads up in December but it wasn't confirmed until April), all three boys cried. They didn't want to leave their friends, their school, their grandparents, or their home. I worried the most about how the move would affect the older two. Above all else, that was what I worried about.
We talked about how the town would allow so much outdoor activity, which they love. We talked about how the improvement in our financial situation would affect them, and how more freedom for kids to roam in a small town is pretty standard. They weren't convinced. I was afraid it might scar them for life.
I'm so glad we moved up here when we did, because summertime is when the fishing, crabbing, festivals, and outdoor freedom really gets going. The kids were able to settle in and adjust to our house and town before going to school and meeting a ton of new people all at once.
By the time school started, Ayden was excited to go. The first day, he was hopping around by the front door, ready before anyone else.
Matthew was looking forward to the first day, and making new friends. He's pretty adaptable and friendly so I figured he would adjust easily.
Riley couldn't SLEEP from excitement, mainly because it was his first year! He was so mentally ready for kindergarten! Which is hilarious because he's always been my little homebody. But by this year, he was done being my sidekick. He was ready to burst out upon the world.
Amarys adjusted surprisingly well. As long as we were all together, she was calm and happy. She really prefers to keep tabs on everyone and to be together the majority of the time, so moving mid summer was better for her, too. She had a few accidents and a few grumpy days, but nothing major.
All three of my boys are massively outnumbered by girls in their classrooms, oddly. Matthew has eighteen girls in his class. This makes me snort. He WILL learn to relate to girls, come hell or high water, because he has to. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
The school is awesome. It's small, everyone knows everyone else, the teachers are particularly dedicated and focused on drawing miracles out of remarkably few resources. I'm happy. The kids are happy. Bam.
As for Brent and I, we made friends the very first week. I'm so grateful for the people who have reached out to us and for how happy we are. All of life is a slower pace here, and it feels like I'm ten years younger because of the reduction in my stress level. We spend SO much time outside, walking places or fishing or beachcombing, it's amazing. We even fish when it's raining. =) I love fishing, although I didn't catch anything yet. I grew up fishing. I've always loved it because it's so peaceful and meandering, and close to the water, and the fish is so yummy when it's fresh.
Some things are frustrating. There are fewer options for some things we really love. Like Zumba or yoga: there are classes but not numerous times a week. The chiropractor comes from Comox and only once a week. Nothing is online. Nothing. Most information is word of mouth so if you're new to town, you can miss out on things because of that. Brent is on shift or on call more often, so even when he's home sometimes I can't go to an activity or class because he needs to be ready to drop everything and run at a moment's notice. Or sometimes my days are incredibly long because he gets called out at a weird time of day or something and is on shift later so it feels like he was working for 20 hours of the day (and therefore so was I, solo parenting). There are fewer job options for me. Some pretty cool stuff closes all winter when tourist season is finished, like a nearby resort, some of the museums, kayak rentals, whale watching, and the best restaurants.
There are cougars. And bears. Bald eagles so our bunny can't go outside on nice days like he used to.
But overall? It's fantastic. I'm in the process of applying to go back to BC Ambulance service, since it's a job I liked and that worked well for me for almost a decade, and since the town needs more paramedics and there are no dispatch jobs. I've registered both Amarys and Riley in daycare two days a week, and I will also work some of the hours Brent is not on shift. I tried to leave our weekends free to be with the kids and travel to visit family and whatnot. The daycare here is fabulous and the women who work there suit our style perfectly. They're patient, gentle, kind, positive, attentive, and genuinely love the kids. They spend part of every day outdoors, rain or shine. I'm so happy. There's no wait list, it's affordable, and high quality. What a miracle.
Our church is amazing (read: AMAZING). They've opened up their arms and folded us in, perfectly balancing friendliness with the space we need to not be perfect or show up for everything punctual and with our hair all done. Which is good because I often show up places and look at Amarys' hair and shake my head. I'm not used to doing my kids' hair! With boys you just cut it short and ignore it!
Our boys do gymnastics (all 3), choir (Ayden and Matthew), musical theatre (Riley), and Ayden got voted class Rep for Student Council at his school. Amarys does tot dance (cuter than ice cream) and we take advantage of Strong Start and hang out with our buddies (Michaela and Felix, Danielle and Caleb, Amron, Bryanna and Jollen and Callie) when we can. 2 days a week of daycare is going to be awesome for Amarys. She loves her routines, and she LOVES to be doing activities. She has a nearly insatiable need for mental stimulation, yet she can't handle much variability. So a regular routine of going to a structured classroom with lots of activities and toys will be amazing for her. I anticipate she will respond really well. And I will respond really well to sharing the task of feeding that need for mental stimulation. She wears me OUT, peeps. Today she watched a total of 3 hours of Little Einsteins because I just couldn't get her engaged in anything positive. She woke up on the wrong side of the bed and punished me royally for it. She spent a lot of time yelling at me today and directly defying my directions. At one point I was sorely tempted to throw a spoon at her but I used my non dominant hand to cover my dominant hand to slow it down and make it think twice about that one. Argh.
Despite that stress, most of our life here is remarkably relaxed. I swear time moves slower here. It's not so much work to get everywhere and the kids are free and safe to run all over town on their bikes or on foot. You can see the ocean from everywhere in town. And everyone knows everyone, so if you are late or miss an activity or class, someone else is bound to know where you are and inform the teacher or hang out with your kid while they wait for you.
I'm so grateful we are all adjusting so easily to life up here. It's remote, it's got cougars, and it rains. But damn the view is beautiful and the stress in our lives has gone from an eighty five and a half to a two, if that. I'll take it.