Back to school knots

When I was young, back to school time was always met with mixed feelings in my young mind and heart.  Sadness to see the summer go, butterflies at the thought of new teachers and new classmates, and the excitement at the smell of new notebooks stacks of 3 hole punched paper and pencils.

As a mom now, back to school hasn’t meant TOO much.  S has been in preschool for two years and C is too young to go, but it wasn’t a huge deal. This year, it is.  S starts kindergarten in 3 weeks and I’m sick to my stomach over it.

It’s a mixture of things, once again.  My fear of whether I am starting her too early and should have “redshirted” her.  Will she be safe on a bus that has K-5th graders on it? What if the bus breaks down? Will she eat her lunch in the 20 min allowed? Will the two small recess breaks allowed be enough for her little mind and body?

And will she be sad and lonely? And if so, will there be someone that notices in this new sea of students where the cafeteria ratio of adults to kids is something she has never experienced.

I know these are all things that may happen and if not, she (and I) will make it through. But the thought of putting her on that bus and not really knowing what is going on from 8.15 to when she returns to the curb at 4.15 has me sick with worry.

I guess I have 3 weeks to figure it out.  The last thing I want is to appear nervous or sad when she’s climbing those steps on the bus. Ahhhh letting them go is so hard!

Much, much harder than I ever imagined when I wasn’t a mama.

 

Doing nothing 


That is what we will be doing this weekend. 
Well, other than one single swim class (that’s a non-negotiable skill for me, S goes every Sunday and C will be starting his baby classes soon). I am suddenly very conscious that we have but a few weekends left in the summer – and I’ve decided I’m not scheduling anything. 

So this weekend you will find us just relaxing. Maybe out back, maybe inside playing Monopoly Jr., but we aren’t going to be committing to anything other than unstructured time. 

I see my kids so free and happy, and I know before long there will be homework, stress about school and friends, and pressure to be the best they can. For now, I just want them both to run through the grass barefoot all day. 

Doing anything. Or nothing at all. 

shimmer on the water

Shimmer…

Today’s post of the day was actually perfect for me. We just got back from a vacation at the beach in Saugatuck.  I can still remember the way the water at the beach looked…and at the way my kids stared at it. We had a beautiful, sunny day – and the sun just seemed to dance on the moving water.

It was lovely…and a great memory.  I haven’t had a chance to download my pictures yet – but i’m hoping I was somehow able to capture a good one.

our family vacation…we did it!

We did it!

Although this wasn’t our FIRST vacation as a family of 4, it was probably our hardest. Since little C was born (now 17 months), we’ve done a waterpark weekend, a week in Mexico, and now we did a one-week rental near the beach in Saugatuck. This one was the hardest, but also I think the most important.

We met up with some of my husband’s family that doesn’t live near us, and that we’re lucky to see maybe once or twice a year.  They have two young kids as well, same age as my kids. I believe strongly that I want my kids to grow up knowing their cousins (my sister-in-law does too) – so we planned this week with our two families. 4 adults, 4 kids, and lots of chaos.

The kids had a blast. At times the girls got on each other’s nerves, but that’s to be expected with 2 almost-5-year-olds.  We did the beach. We did ice cream downtown almost every day. We did movie nights. We did the park. I really do feel I gave my older one a week to remember (my younger one is probably still wondering what happened!).

I have a couple of things I’d do differently the next time, though – so something to think about if you’re planning to rent a place with another family. The space was sufficient – 5 bedrooms. Keeping the house clean and 8 people fed was tiring! Although I thoroughly enjoyed the family time, I came home pretty drained and with a backache.  Next time around I would do 2 things differently:

  • take advantage of the mid-week cleaning service the rental offers for a fee (linens, vacuum, mopping) – will save a few hours of time and make things less hectic
  • eat out or order in a few times (we cooked ALL of our meals at home…the next time, I would definitely plan ahead to accommodate preferences/allergies and find some safe places to either get take out or hit the restaurants!)

We plan to make this a yearly tradition…can’t wait!

I miss my kids when they’re sleeping

Is that weird?

I mean, don’t get me wrong. The quiet is nice sometimes. At the end of a long day, on a quiet morning like this when hubby and S are still sleeping and little C has had his milk and is playing in his crib for a few. 

I stepped out back just to enjoy my cup of coffee with the morning sun and before the neighborhood started bustling with activity.  My kids’ swingset sat all quiet, like something was missing. Like it missed something too. 

I get that feeling at night when I’m picking up the house after they’re in bed….their little toys, their little shoes, all the things they hold and touch and wear. And I miss them. 

But for now, knowing I have about 5 minutes to finish my coffee before my oldest comes down the stairs and asks for our Saturday bacon and pancakes tradition…I’ll breathe in the quiet. 🙂

bedtime reading

This has become one of our favorite bedtime reads…and I love it.  Last Stop on Market Street tells the story of a little boy and his grandma on the way to a soup kitchen. It is beautifully written and allows S and I to use our imagination along the way.

One of the reasons I love it (besides the fact that it’s a break from our beloved Berenstain Bears books) is that it talks about helping others. About seeing the good…about seeing the beauty. But it does it in a way that is so relatable for young children. The entire tale takes place on a bus ride – and it gives S and I both a chance to talk about the scenery, the passengers, and what makes them unique.

Definitely worth checking out if you are looking for a new book for the kids!

We were on a family walk today and I had a minute to observe my daughter from afar. We actually first stopped in our tracks to watch a small snake slither across the sidewalk and through the grass (I love that S is not afraid of them!). Then, just ahead, we saw a little bunny rabbit.

She scampered up ahead saying “I’m going to try to catch it mama!” but of course the bunny hopped ahead (you can see it on the left side of this photo). She started to walk a little slower, and actually got closer than I thought she would.

It was then that I took a minute to soak in the picture…she looked so tall. So big.  I remembered thinking that last night when I was hugging her goodnight. Her arms seemed so thin…her body was so long.  Gone were the days when she’d wrap her chubby toddler arms around me. This was a lean, growing girl, and she actually fit up against my body differently all of a sudden.

I know everyone says they grow so fast. I feel like when they are little, tiny, newborn babies, you lose sight of that because days and nights can feel like one big endless loop. But as the days go by, especially this summer – I feel like I’m acutely aware of just how fast my “babies” are changing.

Yet another moment when I wish I could freeze time and keep them this age forever. I’d take a lifetime of these hectic yet carefree days without a second thought. 🙂