Keeping Up With The Jacksons

What you wanted to know to stay-up-to-date with us Crazy Jacksons!


By Monday, February 02, 2015 , , , , , , ,

Has it really been August since I've updated the blog? Sadly, it has, and I wasn't even that good updating it before then either. If I told you I was determined to do better this go around, would you believe me? Probably not, you say? I doubt I'd believe myself either. But I sure will have a lot to share  in 2015, so coming up with what to write won't be the problem, but finding the time might be. We have so much new and exciting adventures this year and I am so excited about them, I literally wish I could wake up and today be the day. Too bad, that's not the case.

But first, let me back up and fill you on what we've been up to since August, person by person. 


Let's start with who seems like the busiest member of the Jackson clan: TJ.

First, TJ is in his last quater of SCAD! In fact, he's almost half way through that quarter. It's not his favorite quarter and he's finding that one of the classes he has this quarter is the hardest class he's ever had. But I know he's excited to be at the end.

Being in his final quarter at SCAD also means it's time to crack down on internships applications and building a portfolio. He's been working on his portfolio since he's been at SCAD, but now it's time to make it available for potential clients and job opportunities. He's been slowly networking on social media, and each day he gets more comfortable with and does more and more, but he's also asked me to build a website for him. He constantly wants to make changes but it's looking good. We even went out and took some new pictures for his About page.

In December, he flew out to Los Angeles. A to get a feel for the area and see what he could find for prospective jobs. What he found was that he absolutely loved the city, but he just wasn't sure how we could afford to start out there. We knew the cost of living was high, and we honestly weren't far off from those estimates, but we were off by how much he would make starting out and it's just not enough. Plus, LA is more interested in hiring people with experience, rather than rookies right out of college.

So, he has set his sights on New York. He has friends up there that have said New York has plenty of interships and is more SCAD-friendly. The cost of living is slightly (not much, but slightly) cheaper as well, which is a huge help. Once we talked about it and decided on New York, TJ started researching post-production houses in New York and started applying for interships and/or jobs. He hasn't heard a lot back yet, but that is to be expected. He just needs to keep trying.

Another blessing to come into our life was finding out that TJ still has almost a full year of the GI Bill left. Knowing that, he has decided to go back to school while doing an internship. He will get some extra higher education, and we'll still get a housing allowance, which will be a tremendous help since the Northeast has cost of living that is almost double what Savannah's is.

He's also working part time as security at a bar downtown, which keeps him up late 4 nights a week, but he seems to like the job. He is able to meet lots of interesting new people. Between working, going to school, applying for interships, studying and working on film projects, our lives right now pretty much revolve around his schedule.


What a kid He's become so passionate about math and science this year, it's really interesting to see what learns. He still has excelling MAP score at school (that's a Math Assessment taken 3 times a year to monitor their progress. It's also used for promotion in certain grade levels). He's still struggling in reading but is definitely doing better. He's never passed the reading portion until the last test of the year, except for this year. He passed on the mid-year test, so we know he's getting better. And even though I'm not a fan of these tests, at least I can see progress with them.

But one of the most exciting and fun things to happen to Dylan was joing the Robotics team at school. At the beginning of the school, the 4th and 5th grade students were invited to audition to be on the school's first Robotics team. Dylan was so excited but also nervous and almst backed out because of the essay he had to write. I may, maynot have pushed him to write the essay, knowing that he shouldn't miss out on this opportunity. Boy, am I glad I did. He made the team and was ecstatic. 

The Robotics team was actually a First Lego League team. They worked with the Lego Midstorm sets to create and program a robot that would pass through as many obstacles as possible. They had practice every Monday and Wednesday and the competition was held in December. 

When we arrived, we quickly realized that Dylan's team was probably one of the youngest teams there. Most of the schools were charter and private middle school teams with only a few that had 5th graders. They were the only team with 4th graders. That being said, they did pretty well. They ended up in the middle of the pack, but they learned a lot and had a blast, and that's what's most important.

Beyond Robotics, he has become obsessed with Pokemon cards. Give that kid a pack of Pokemon cards and you'll be his best friend. I, personally, don't get it, but him and two of his friends in the neighborhood like to trade and play with them, so it works for me. 


My princess and Taylor Swift-obsessed little girl. It's all Taylor Swift, all princess, all the time. Everytime we get in the car, she asks for Taylor Swift (she hasn't quite figured out you can't pick what the radio plays and when). So right now, she settles for my old cd and "Shake It Off" on my phone. 

She loves to sing and dance. Lately she has been performing dances for us before going to bed. There is typically no music to go with it but she doesn't care. She just wants to dance. Can you blame her? Dancing can put you in a better mood. 

One of my favorite things to watch about Jordyn is her learn. They way she gets excited when she gets something she's been struggling with is priceless, or when she starts telling you a story, and you realize she used deductive reasoning to come up with why she says what she says. Sometimes it's way off and you can't help but laugh but sh's picked up on something and ran with it. Try asking her how she came up with it, and often times you can see how it all makes sense to her. 

She's still as funny as ever, and knows it. If she can find a way to make you laugh, she will in any way she can. That girl has a way with words that will get you laughing so hard you cry. 


And now it's time to update about what's going on with me. Let's start with our move. I am over the moon about going back up north. It's what I've always wanted (OK, there was a time when I wanted California but it wasn't until TJ mentioned the New York the first time that I realized just how much I wanted that more). Savannah is a nice place to visit and I will miss the people here, but none of it is really enough to make me want to live here forever. 

After TJ decided on New York for the second and final time, I got busy researching. I researched everything from the cost to move us, to the cost of rent, utilities, groceries. I estimated roughly what we need each month to get by. The Northeast is more expensive than the South and while it is going to be tough, I know we'll be fine. TJ was having a really hard time accepting the significantly higher cost of rent. He's finally coming around to it if it means living in safer area. 

We knew living in the city was out of the question. There was no way we could afford to have our family of 4 living in New York City unless we were wanting to live in an unsafe area. We began looking further out. Long Island was a nice option but it was way more than TJ wanted to spend on rent and I was apprehensive about spending quite that much, plus when you factored in the cost of the train, it was too much. We tried Connecticut but it was either ridiculously expensive or high crime (at least in the areas close enough to commute). 

And we looked in New Jersey and hit silver. I won't say gold because it's still more expensive but we definitely found some closer to the price range we (OK, I) was thinking. Most of the places are about 60 miles out with a 2 hour commute, but the area is safe and the houses are cheaper. TJ and I went back and forth and he finally realized inexpensive, safe and close couldn't happen. He could only have two of the three. Inexpensive and safe were the two most important so he let go of the fact that he would have a long commute. We won't be moving until the summer since TJ won't be starting school until September, but I am constantly looking at houses in the area getting an idea of what's out there, saving my favorites and hoping they are available when it's time for us to move. I know, it's wishful thinking. 

Recently however, those home searching sites (you know, and are showing me houses just across the border in Pennsylvania with rent prices where TJ would like them. I haven't shown any to TJ because he was clear about a 60 mile limit but it might be nice to extend that limit to 75 miles to save a few hundred dollars a month. But in all honestly, I'm not the one making that commute that every day so of course the extra miles don't bother me, but they might to him. 

There is one change that has me nervous but excited at the same time. When California was the moving destination, I talked to TJ about homeschooling the kids. I talked about it in the post and it still rings true on my mind now. The schools are just as bad if not worse than here (sorry Chatham County, but having a child in the school system as well as working in it makes you see it) and the crime rate is awful. New Jersey typically has good schools and the crime rate in the area we are looking at is better but the more I looked into homeschooling, the more I wanted to do it no matter where we live.

I also want the kids to have a good understanding of the Bible and be a follower of Christ. I, myself, am still new in that journey but I believe He is the reason everything, good and bad, has happened in our lives. I believe He wants us living up North and it took TJ going to California in December to see that too. I'm not the best at bringing the family to church, or going myself for that matter, and I know that needs to change.

There are more reasons than the school system and a biblical education that are making me wanting to homeschool the kids but I'll talk about that in another post. TJ has his concerns, which are social and financial, which I'll go into as well too in that post (I know you're on pins and needles for that one right now, but seriously this post is long enough), but he just gave me the go-ahead pending the cost of the materials. He said as long as we can afford the curriculum, he'll give me a year and we'll re-evaluate. A year is all I asked for. I told him if it doesn't work out and homeschooling isn't the right fit for the kids, we can put them back in school, but I wanted to give it a chance. So, you can guess where my focus will be the next few months: yup, choosing curriculum and finding the best deal possible for the right materials.

Aside from planning for a move, working, and taking of the kids, there hasn't been a whole lot of new and exciting events going on with me, unless you count going to my first painting party over the weekend.

Check me out! I'm an artist! I had so much fun and will be doing these again for sure. OK, for now, I think that's all I got. I'm really going to try to be better about updating the blog more often. No promises of how often since I can't promise to commit, but I'm going to work on it. 

And if you have any advice for choosing curriculum for an upcoming 5th grader and a Pre-Ker, I'm all ears. I can use the help. 

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  1. Awesome to finally see an update ;) I haven't been on for quite a few months either... I signed on this morning to write a blog, and came across your update, so I had to read that first!! :) Miss you.

    1. I'm with you! Let's keep each in check about the updates. LOL!!

      Miss you too!!!


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