Actually, starting middle school didn’t turn out that bad. Mom took me over for the orientation and I found all of my classrooms and I met some of my teachers. I was nervous that first day, but I had quite a few classes with a couple of girls that I knew from Jordan Ridge, so they quickly became my best friends. Mom said I could wear makeup, but I didn’t have any, so that was easy. Shopping didn’t turn out to be a problem either, because we didn’t have much money with Mom not working. It was one trip to WalMart and my money was gone, but I did get some cute things. Mom can sniff out a bargain anywhere. I think she got it from Grandma because when they shop together, they come home with some pretty amazing things and it seems like sometimes the store even pays them to take stuff home! But ready or not, I became a student at SJMS. The hardest thing about middle school was just getting between classes. They didn’t give us much time, so the halls were awful. Kids would just come slamming through, not even caring if they trampled or smashed anybody against the lockers. On the first day, I had a couple of huge bruises where I had been whacked with backpacks or books. But the schoolwork wasn’t all that hard. I made honor roll the first quarter, even though other exciting things were happening at the same time. I had a new baby sister! Kiylee was born right on schedule on September 24. She was tiny and sweet and I loved her right away. In fact, I kind of adopted her. Mom’s company called her about a week before Kiy was born. They wanted her to come back to work. We needed the money and so Mom said she would start when Kiy was two weeks old. Mom was working from our house, but while she was typing, she still needed someone to hold the baby. I got to be the one. Because I was in middle school, I got home earlier than the other kids did. Mom was always tired and frustrated by the time I came through the door, so I would take Kiy on the couch and cuddle with her until she fell asleep. I usually fell asleep too until Kiy would wake up and want to eat. By that time, the other kids were home and I would help Mom make supper. Sometimes it bugged me that I had to baby-sit all of the time. Mom and Dad both taught classes in the evenings, so they were gone a lot. Dad bought a new swing that didn’t make any noise so that Kiy could go with them. That just made it worse. I didn’t mind watching Kiy. It was taking care of everybody else that I didn’t like. I just didn’t see why it had to be my responsibility. They could have hired a baby-sitter. I think they just didn’t want to pay anybody and they knew I would have to watch the kids for free. I don’t mean to be nasty. After Mom went back to work, there was enough money that sometimes she would just bring me something home when she went to the store. Like, one time she brought me a pair a chartreuse green jeans. They were so cool! Another time, she brought me some new dressy shorts with a blouse to match. Sometimes it was just a bag of M&Ms, but it was nice to be remembered. Christmas came and went again. Kiy was so cute! She was only three months old, so she had no idea what was going on, but we dressed her up in a little Pooh Bear sleeper and sat her on the floor to watch the lights from the Christmas tree. Kiy smiled and smiled as Mom and Dad let Kiyna open all of Kiy’s presents. They would have let Nathan open them, but he would hardly even open his own. He didn’t really understand what was going on. For weeks we wouldn’t let him touch any of the packages and suddenly, we were all ripping them open. It must have been very confusing to a three-year-old, especially one like Nathan.