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Everything posted by 2squared

  1. If your boys are 16 and 17, I would wait until they are out of high school to build. It'll be a stressful period for everyone, and I would prefer to make the last year or two at home filled with family memories and closeness rather than the stress of moving and building a house. Seems like you only have a year, maybe two until they graduate. If this were my choice, I would table the entire thing until we moved into the next season of our lives since it is right around the corner anyway.
  2. My sons stutter is tripped by anxiety. Asking him to repeat what he says is the opposite of what should be done. When he is in stuttering mode, we slow our pace of conversation down. When my son stutters, he isn't making a mistake that needs to be corrected. He is feeling stressed and his speech gets disconnected. He knows what he wants to say, but he can't get it out fluently. That's why slowing the pace down is important - it gives him time to use his speech therapy strategies. Like others have posted, his stutter isnt noticeable now at 13yo. I hear it when he goes through stressful periods, but few people would be able to identify him as a stutterer unless they spend significant time with him. Even then, they may only notice it subconsciously. My son was 65% disfluent at his worst in 2nd/3rd grade. He will always have a stutter, but he is 95%+ fluent most days now. I remember how scared I was for him, and I am so very, very glad to be on this side of that issue. I probably should mention that we also found meds to help with his anxiety. Speech therapy and meds were a successful combination.
  3. I definitely discuss how much we make with my teens. As they make college and career decisions, I want them to understand how far money goes as far as supporting their desired lifestyles. We go through our budget and talk real numbers. We also talk about other careers and income possibilities with those opportunities.
  4. We moved when my oldest was 11yo, so she started sixth grade in a new town. It was terrible for her, not great for my 4th grader, and fine for the younger three. My oldest is in 10th grade now, and has finally recovered. We moved her schools in 7th grade to try to improve her situation, and that did help. She spent the last two summers mostly alone at home recovering from her school years. 4th grade was OK for my ds, but 5th and 6th got worse and worse. We moved his school this year, and he is recovering as well. I think he will be back on track by the end of the school year. We have some great job opportunities which would require us to move again, but we are passing in them. It's not worth it now that everyone is mentally healthy again.
  5. Yes, social media can have wider-reaching and longer-lasting consequences. From what my dh deals with at work, his clients have the same struggles with phones as adults as the teens do. Their social situations are so different than what my family lives that I can't compare their decision making and choices with the decision making and choices my family makes. I also can't view choices I make for my kids through that lens. If my kids start going down a path that would mirror that of dh's clients, then we will radically alter course, but their phones won't be my primary concern. We would have some major lifestyle/decision making issues to deal with first.
  6. Are you sure the cause of these misfortunes are the phones and not other issues in the teens' lives? Are these teens that otherwise wouldn't have any problems? My dh has worked as as county attorney and is currently a public defender. Phones are not the cause of the issues his clients face. His clients do dumb things with social media and phones, but they would be doing similar dumb things without phones. Social media and phones just provide evidence of the dumb choices. My dh likes to say, "What you call Facebook, I call evidence." I don't know why his clients put evidence of their crimes on facebook and other social media sites, but they do.
  7. My two oldest received smart phones at 12yo, and I assume the others will wait that long as well. The phones are on our family plan, and we share data. I have limitations on each person's individual data use, and we rarely need extra data since wifi is so prevalent. My younger three have iPods with wifi access. We don't have any restrictions on use other than "don't do dumb things" and some age restrictions for the younger kids. For instance, my 7yo has Snapchat, but he is only allowed to friend/snap our immediate family. My 9yo and 11yos love, but they have private accounts. My younger three spend most of their online time interacting together. All five of them watch out for each other and let me know whenever a sib needs guidance. We talk a lot about behaviors and social media risk. They share what they do online and ask for guidance a lot. I prefer to give them access now and guide them through as teens and teens. I love group texting with my kids and snap chatting them. I don't love all the Minecraft talk, but that's only because I'm not into it. It bores me.
  8. Anyone have one of these? We sat on one at our Children's Museum and loved it. I'm ordering one for our house, and I can't decide which color. Any recommendations? I prefer the orange, but I'm worried it's too light and will show dirt too easily. Anyone have a negative review?
  9. Group text isn't just for adult kids. I group txt my clan. The 7yo doesn't keep up yet, but It's been hr at fothe communicating with the older four. Life is busy, and group text helps keep us connected at all ages.
  10. Are you working? If not, a part time job would offset the increased costs and slow you to save for retirement. I would work more before I would go without health insurance or retirement savings.
  11. Like I said before, we host a lot of teen gatherings and I don't plan beyond hitting up the grocery store. If you have electronic gadgets, food, and music you are good. Add in movies and/or bonfire and you will have a night to remember. You don't need to plan anything for kids these ages! Other ideas for your ds if he is interested: sports options (driveway basketball hoop, trampoline, etc if you have them), minute to win it games, board games (twister, conversation cards, etc)
  12. My only comment is that your dentist is much more expensive than mine (like more than twice as expensive), and he/she takes way more xrays than mine does. We only pay for one set of xrays every other year. He does not charge more to examine cavities. I wonder if your dentist has typical rates for your area?
  13. I can't image dental insurance is cost-effective at $300/month unless your family has a ton of dental needs every year. I price our dental costs with and without insurance every year, and a $300 premium wouldn't be worthwhile, even for my family of seven.
  14. Kids that age love parties. We throw as many gatherings as we can in jr high. I would e ecstatic to have my kid invited to both parties. My oldest is 15yo and her friends have stated driving. They don't just hang or gather at our house like they used to, and I miss it. We used to have her friends we bet every Friday before home football games. Super fun!
  15. Depends on your school district too. Our 7th/8th grades (jr high) are in our high school. The local elementary school is in the same building as well. In 7th grade the local kids are joined by kids from a nearby town. Then in 9th grade the parochial students join. My oldest homeschooled through 5th, went to the parochial school for 6th, and went public in 7th. She definitely needed the extra prep years before high school. My second oldest homeschooled through 3rd, went to the parochial school for 4th-6th, and went public in 7th. As a gifted, organized student, he did not need the extra prep years. We do not have honors placement or any advanced academic options, but we were able to have him skip 8th grade math this year. His consistent performance on the standardized testing is starting to open academic doors that other kids do not have access to.
  16. I wouldn't expect the evening drive to be any better than the morning. Where I live, its completely dark at 5:00 so both directions of the drive would be at night. The morning drive would be at sunrise with light by the time of arrival and complete daylight for the return trip. Our plows are out for morning and evening rush hours, so I would expect clearer roads in the morning than in the night time return trip. I hate driving in the dark in the winter, so I would pick the morning class and figure out the run. I would bet the cc has a gym too run in or even around the hallways.
  17. We definitely do sleepovers, but we try to limit the older kid sleepovers to only girls or only boys for the same night. The kids have to be dry over night before sleepovers start (my boys are late to do this). This weekend dh took my 8th grader and three of his friends on a sleepover in Minneapolis. The saw the Twins Friday night and the Gopher football game on Saturday. Last night my 5th grader had a friend over and my 4th grader stayed at a friend's house. More of our sleepovers happen in the summer when the kids' schedules are more flexible. I don't personally enjoy sleepovers, but I see it allows my kids to have deeper friendships. Also, it's just convenient a lot of the time with the older kids.
  18. I assume our kids will take out the max subsidized loans at around $5j/year. We will pay the rest through a combo of cash flow, savings, tax relief, and GI bill (split five ways). Cash flow will come from either tightening our belts or, more preferably, one of us earning more. Dh makes a PT income now around $50k/year. We hope he can turn that into a FT income in the next free years. The other option is for me to get a promotion, but I prefer dh to step up. :) I've already given up pretty much all my childdraising dreams to be our breadwinner. :(
  19. As a wrestling family, I would say wrestling has many of the same positives as football and lacrosse. They say, "once a wrestler, always a wrestler", and I can definitely see the sport makes a life-long impact on those who participate. It's clearly a sport that involves risk of injury. For kids who need aggression outlets, lots of sensory input, and/or discipline, wrestling accomplishes all of it. And, it's an individual and team sport so you get the best of both worlds.
  20. My dh went to a lmid-ranked, affordable law school and graduated in the top 5 in his class. We paid for it with a combo of cash from my salary and tuition waivers from dh working for a prifesssor and from being on the Law Review. After school he has clerked for federal and state judges, served as a FT JAG in the Air Force, was an assistant county attorney, and now splits his time with some court appointed work, public defense, and service as a JAG in the National Guard. The only position that could support our family was the FT JAG, but we are forever fortunate that I refused to go into debt for law school. The salaries he has earned do not warrant large law school expenses.
  21. It's definitely not just tourists. We lived in San Antonio for four years. Hispanic members of our Catholic church often asked to touch my white haired, blue eyed little toddler. They loved to rub his head. I thought it was sweet.
  22. Situational based for us, but our starting assumption is that our kids can ride with their friends immediately. If we don't approve of a driver or a destination, then we rescind that approval. Most kids here start driving at 15yo with their farmers permits, and much earlier on their farms. Most kids have quite a bit of experience before they are 16yo. My 15yo dd has 50+ hours of driving time now, and I wouldn't hesitate to let her drive her sibs or friends if she was a legal driver. She's driven in Sioux Falls, Minneapolis, and Omaha along with quite a bit of country/small town driving.
  23. I like driving my kids, so I usually do if they want to go with me. Lots of kids walk right by our house, so I know walking is common. We don't have sidewalks, but I live in little Mayberry so sidewalks aren't needed. Today I drove three, one walked, and one was picked up by her boyfriend. Yesterday four walked and one ride a bike. We are very random.
  24. With one adult, I would select a hotel with a suite. Adult sleeps in the bed, girls sleep in the living room part of the suite. This is our 10uo girl party - hotel overnight w/waterpark. It's was a hit with oldest dd and 5 friends.
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