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Birthday Help – The Big 21


We are just a month away from the twins’ 21st birthday. I cannot believe it.

Sea Cadet and I have already spoken and for his birthday I am going to pay for an eye exam and new glasses for him. It’s a need and one he really can’t afford now, living on his FEMA stipend. And it’s one that he really wants. (He must wear glasses to drive and his current ones are in sorry shape.)

I’ve become a big fan of the Wal-mart Vision Center since I took Princess there this summer to get her new glasses. Their exam fee (at least here locally is $80) and then the cost of glasses. For Princess, the glasses came to right at $135. We were both very pleased.

Morning homework session with Princess.

But the problem is History Buff. He has this expectation that since he didn’t have a “sweet 16,” his 21st birthday should be a special occasion. So I’m coming here to the BAD community to ask parents of older kids…how did you celebrate your child’s 21st birthday?

(I should say I don’t drink alcohol, never have, and I know that’s a big thing at your 21st birthday. So I figured when we went out for his birthday dinner, I would get him an alcoholic drink…if he wants one. But I’m certainly not going any further down that path.)

But I’d love to hear what you have done to make your kids 21st birthdays stand out or special. His ideas were a brand new computer or an all expense trip to Canada…absolutely not happening and I told him that. Outside of our family dinner, I typically spend $50 on their birthday. I’m not opposed to spending more for a need. But birthday’s are typically about wants.



Something for Free


We are now into the second week of the school year and we are slowly getting adjusted to the new schedule. Getting up early, exercising, volleyball practice, starving children, and long nights of homework. That is our new normal!

(And by starving children, I mean that when I pick Princess up at 6pm from volleyball, she is starving. But I’m in the car for 40 minutes to get her so it’s taking some special planning to time dinners to be ready quickly once we get home. But we are making it work.)

Costs of the New Private School

I thought I would give you an update on the new school and volleyball costs that I was worried about previously…

  1. Volleyball costs NOTHING! Not a dime. Compared to the public school cost of $300 this is amazing. (Yes, I know we are now paying tuition, but I had assumed there would be some sort of cost.)
  2. They feed them…all the time!
    • Lunch is included in the tuition, which was a pleasant surprise, but I found that out before school started.
    • They give the volleyball team girls money after each away game to eat on the way home…they stop at a restaurant and give each of them money as they get off the bus to buy themselves food.
    • During home games, they can go to the dining hall and eat dinner between games and they prepare them a snack between school and the game.
  3. They have textbooks and assign them Chromebooks. I know most schools have one or the other, but during our brief stint in the public school, neither of my kids EVER got a textbook to use to study. And while they had computers in the classroom, they were, well, lacking. And they couldn’t take them home. Princess now has a really nice, touchscreen Chromebook for her assignments that is hers to use during the year. And she has textbooks. I LOVE this!
  4. Activities…every freaking weekend! Yes, they take them to Atlanta Braves and Falcons games, go paddleboarding, white water rafting and so much more. Every non-holiday weekend, they have things planned that students can sign up to participate in and most of them are free of charge. Holy Cow! I want to go back to school just to go on some of these adventures.

Not What We Expected

And aside from the financial implications and educational benefits, it is not at all what I (the BAD community expected.) People are SO NICE! So inclusive. Because of the uniforms and inclusiveness, the have and the have nots are not as obvious would expect.

Princess school uniform

First day of school in her new school uniform.

And because of the boarding and international student presence, the racism and teasing Princess (and Gymnast) had seen as so prevalent at the local public schools is non-existent. There are kids there from EVERYWHERE, all countries, all backgrounds.

This school truly does live up to what I was told was its goal which is to provide a phenomenal education to the Northeast Georgia Mountain kids and more.

Don’t get me wrong, Princess is being challenged to her very core with the 4 honors classes, playing a sport, and a variety of other special requirements…but just wow! I am so impressed and so happy we made this switch. As I predicted, this is going to be life-changing for her and definitely prepare her for the next step in her journey.