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  1. If you have been married a long time, how would you describe your marriage now? It is still sizzling with romance? Friendly and comfortable? Distant or aloof? Do you still think of yourself as spouses or more like close friends/roommates? If it has changed over the years, is there any particular reason that it has changed other than the passage of time or the aging process? Just curious. Have recently discussed this with a close friend.
  2. You've received a lot of good and specific advice. My comments are a bit more general and meant to offer a thought process that lessens any "guilt" you might feel. In my experience (having taught and worked in higher ed), kids who have student loans and/or who have to work to help put themselves through college tend to take their studies more seriously. They rarely cut classes. Their financial stake in the game teaches them a series of life lessons that many kids don't learn until much later in life (if at all). I really don't understand the parental mindset of wanting to pay for a child's education without requiring a significant contribution from them. My parents were hard-working, but they didn't make a lot of money. I took student loans, my parents also took a loan (to help me) and I worked at whatever menial job(s) I could find -- both during the school years and during the summers. While my friends had fun in the dorms, I worked and studied. I did not cut a single class, because I was paying for those classes!! I also lived at home and commuted 45 minutes each way to school, in an old car I bought, maintained and paid insurance on. I wound up finishing a semester late because I had to save the money to pay for my schooling. I didn't regret any of it at the time, and I never have. All those responsibilities are part of growing up and assuming financial responsibility for oneself. Those experiences instilled in me a recognition of the urgent need to save and invest for my future. It took me almost ten years to pay off my student loans. When I finally did, the sense of accomplishment and achievement was incredible. In my opinion, too many parents today are funding too many things for their teenagers without requiring their kids to have a greater stake in the game than they do. Why do we rob our kids of the chance to invest in themselves by investing in their own education? Why do we feel the need to protect our kids from incurring debt that they have to pay off after college? Paying off debt teaches you to live within your means. It also teaches you humility and prioritization of expenditures. Parenting should be focused on raising self-sufficient young adults who are excited about the prospect of taking on financial responsibility for themselves, not dreading it. Our kids worked throughout high school and therefore, they were prepared to help pay for college. They both had the primary goal of getting full scholarships, because they didn't want to take loans if they could avoid it. They wound up getting full scholarships that required them (as a provisional stipulation) to work every semester. If they had not received full scholarships, they knew that student loans were a distinct possibility, and that motivated them tremendously to routinely sacrifice high school socializing for studies. They chose their high school activities not just based on what they liked, but on what would create a strong scholarship dossier. In other words, at every decision point, the question of funding college was in the forefront of their minds. It helped them prioritize and grow up more successfully than if they hadn't focused on that. If you have gotten this far in my post, I would guess you either agree with me or want to flame me. In either case, I am okay with that. These are my thoughts and I realize you may have a different opinion. To the OP, I hope you let your guilt go. Your child will be better off if they have to help pay (in whatever form that takes) for their education.
  3. Hi there! I pm'ed you with USAFA comments. I have a grad and a current senior there.
  4. Your instincts are great! My kiddos also scored similarly on the 1970 CAT. I opted to do Vocabulary from the Classical Roots with them--we did it fairly low-key, meaning I didn't have them write all of the answers out. I really wanted them to learn the roots as much as possible. I often gave them oral quizzes and asked them to use the words in sentences. Worked out great for both of them! HTH:)
  5. I'd suspect hormonal fluctuations. Totally normal. Natural Calm is a great product (magnesium). I take only about 1/4 tsp in a little bit of water many nights, which is only a fraction of the normal dose. It really promotes restful sleep! You may want to check with your doctor first if you have any concerns.
  6. I've been thinking about my past experiences counseling many high school students (especially 10-12th graders) regarding how to choose a career path/college major. Not only have I done this type of counseling with my own children, but also with many young adults/families that I have encountered in my teaching, tutoring and consulting roles. Much of my "advice" to them comes in the form of asking them questions about their goals for their lives, futures etc. In my opinion, one of the misguided emphases we often stress to young people is to do "what makes them happy." This is a huge departure from a generation ago, when the emphasis on vocation was earning a living. It is wonderful (even ideal!) if an individual is able to discover a vocation that is their passion AND earns a supportive living. But I would submit that many, many people pursue a vocation to earn a stable living and spend their spare time pursuing their avocation/passion. And there is nothing about this that necessarily results in "unhappiness." It really is a balance of being able to support oneself and do what one loves---no matter which you get paid for. That's background to my current ponderings. As I offer guidance to young people in this particular time in our history, I feel obligated to stress the idea of pursuing a career path that allows for an online transition. Chances are pretty good that our high school/college students will see another viral/other outbreak in their lives. (In my life, there has been Legionnaire's disease, SARs, AIDS, Covid, and perhaps others I am forgetting). With the lockdown thrust now a precedent, it seems quite a likely possibility in the future. And so, for those of you who have young adults -- especially if they are undecided on a career/major -- I offer the thought to help them REALLY think this through. There is nothing wrong with pursuing a career that you "like" or are even somewhat "neutral" about if you want to maximize your future chances of being able to support yourself in crisis. You can then spend every other waking moment pursuing your "love" that may not result in any financial gain, but much personal fulfillment. There is nothing wrong with pursuing a career that you are utterly passionate about that is not translatable online. But if one chooses to do that, there is accountability for one's choice in the future. My kiddos are well into their career fields at this point. But back when I counseled them as they thought through career options, these questions came up. We thoroughly discussed the online component as being a wave of the future to seriously consider for a variety of reasons. That was pre-covid pandemic by many years. All the more reason now to make sure that career/major guidance to our wonderful young people stresses viability in a new and changing world, versus simply "what they love doing." Good thoughts for all of you currently in the guidance phase with your young adults!
  7. Utilize self-checkout at any and all stores when/wherever possible. I love self checkout for many reasons.
  8. Piggybacking on those who already suggested martial arts. As an instructor in multiple martial arts for the past decade, I can definitely attest to the benefits for children who have some issues going on. We work with these children/young adults frequently in our schools. You may have to try several; not all instructors/schools are equally prepared to deal with children who have special needs. It would be worth the search.
  9. Yes...also wondering here how your dd's interview went? 🙂
  10. One additional clarification - other than the hamburger question, the other questions I listed were actual ones my kids were asked. Please feel free to pm me if you have other questions. I will try to check my mail later tonight.
  11. I have one USAFA grad and a current USAFA junior. Some questions that could come her way (ones I would consider at least!): - Why should the American taxpayers spend upwards of 1/4 million dollars (or the appropriate amount) educating you? - What current events influence your desire to serve? How do you think the major current events will affect our country's future and position in the world? (or some type of current events discussion) - Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years and beyond? - What is your family's viewpoint on military service? - When you are discouraged and want to quit something, how do you motivate yourself to persevere? - How can you contribute to the success of other cadets at USCGA? -Note: Many of the questions my kids got were not focused on themselves--the application process gives a lot of info on the candidates! Most of their questions were outwardly focused on OTHERS, and what they could contribute to others' success and our country's. This is important. Don't ever forget the service mentality as you answer questions. Also be honest! One of my kids got asked a question they had no idea how to answer. And they were honest. Turns out that was one of the things the panel was most impressed by--the honesty in finding an articulate way to say "I don't know./don't feel qualified to answer that question and here is why..." :) HTH! Good thoughts and prayers your way. PS And one that my kiddos did not get but that I really have heard of: If you were a hamburger, what kind would you be and why?
  12. In our state, it is expected that you would contact your insurance company and let them know your child has her permit. That is what we did. Our kids were put on our policy with their learner's permits, but we were not charged more because they did not have their licenses yet. We actually kept them on their learner's permits (their choice, too) up until a few weeks before they left for college. When they tested and received their licenses, they just did not drive for the remaining couple of weeks before leaving for school. We notified the insurance company of their new licenses. Because they went/go to school far away (150+miles), they were and are covered under our infrequent driver insurance when they are home. It was a way for our family to save some money and worked great for all of us. NOTE: I would advise you contact your insurance company directly. Each company and each policy varies -- some policies do not include infrequent driver coverage. Usually you have to call to find this out.
  13. "Do I allow him to apply to the exchange program? Do I encourage him to continue the course we've set? Do I have him find out if there's a way to start academy and college applications and put them on hold for a year or try to do them from Europe? Do I let him go for the exchange and worry about the other stuff when he gets back?" Whew! Take a deep breath, Mama. :) I guess I would start to answer your questions by suggesting you ask your ds what HE sees as his plan regarding a year-long venture in Europe and how it jives with his future goals? Does he want to continue applying for colleges, nominations etc while he is there (or does he want to wait to do it upon his return) and if he has not thought this through, then this is a great discussion opportunity to help him consider all the factors and options. What is the cost (or is it completely funded if he is accepted)? Is your family or your son prepared/able/willing to cover possible uncovered costs? Another big question is what would he do specifically while in Europe? Structured development plans for himself such as academics, travel, leadership, etc?? If he plans that year well and it is highly structured, it could be a really unique and positive piece of his SA application. But if it is more like a glorified year-long vacation/fun thing/unstructured "gap year", then it may be viewed in a negative light by the SAs. From what I understand, you can indeed complete the SA application process while overseas (each class inprocesses a selection of international appointees each year), but I am not sure how the congressional nomination process for US applicants would occur with your ds overseas. I would suggest he contact your senator and congressmen's offices to inquire about that. Likely, it is not the first time something like that has occurred. And even if it is, I would guess that these offices would work with him if your ds is the driving force behind it. Applying for noms and the SAs from overseas would require him to be super detail-oriented and totally on top of deadlines, allowing for plenty of buffer time. He should also contact DODMerb to find out how he would get his physical examination. Additionally, he should contact a base near where he would be in Europe and research if it is possible for him to do his CFA (Candidate Fitness Assessment) there. And if he can get his recommendation letters for noms and apps lined up or done prior to going abroad, that would be good. The main thing to keep in mind when applying to the SAs is that the nom/app process should be driven by the applicant. Parents can offer counsel and ask questions to help guide a logical thought/decision making process, but you should not be involved in all of the details. Sometimes well-meaning parents become overly involved in the process and that is not good for the applicant's future. The SAs want young people with drive, ambition, perseverance and initiative. Being a cadet at an SA requires an individual to "figure things out" on a daily basis! This process begins before they even arrive with the nom/app process. Both of my children said one of the most frequent phrases they heard in BCT at USAFA was "FIGURE IT OUT." The main thing I would suggest is to have your ds do the following: 1. Compile a list of all these types of questions and considerations (you can help him brainstorm all the things he needs to think through and research). 2. Research the answers to these questions himself. 3. Have him prepare a "proposal" for you regarding what he wants to do with the Europe trip, his goals, and his plans upon his return. 4. Discuss his plan and ask additional questions as needed. 5. Make sure he thinks through the academic portion -- how will he stay fresh with upper level math, etc? It would be very difficult, I would think, to take a year off of core academics (writing, sciences, math) and then try to enter a SA...or any college, for that matter. You certainly can help him think things through. But I think the ball is in his court to have the initiative to answer the questions you bring up with a measured and mature response that shows he has thought things through and is not just "chasing a shiny penny." 😉 If my kiddo was a) not willing to put significant time and effort into researching all these (and probably more) items before deciding to go to Europe or not, and/or b) did not see the necessity to do this and plan things out prior to going...... that would be a red flag for me to say he/she probably doesn't have the maturity to handle such an experience. Feel free to pm me if you have other questions. Hope this was helpful!!
  14. We started with an inside pullup bar in the doorway of one of their bedrooms. That remained there for 9 years, until DD left for USAFA. Then we also purchased a standalone sturdy one that was in our garage but could also be kept outside. We still have that and they use it when they are home. It does not take up much space. And finally, their favorite pullup bar of all? A tree limb that they had to jump pretty high to reach -- Nature's gymnasium!! This continues to be their favorite kind of bar. Shout out to Lanny! I could not agree more with his comments :) Our physical health affects every part of our lives and well being.
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