Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A New School Year

I can't believe a new school year is underway. Summer went by in the blink of an eye and now we're headed towards the crisp, cool days and nights of fall (quickly becoming one of my favorite times of the year). The past few years I've celebrated the first days of school with days off and time to myself. I kept the tradition going by not only taking the first two days off, but I took the day before school off as well. The last day of summer vacation ended perfectly with a relaxing day, back to school afternoon, meet the dance teacher, and picking up those last minute must-haves for the school/dance year.

Elizabeth posed with The King at The Theatrical Shop after being fitted for new tap and ballet shoes.

I made it known that I was going to sleep in on this day off. After a busy summer, I wanted my first day off to start off well rested. The minis took care of themselves, getting themselves breakfast, and playing nicely together while mom slept for a bit. Then we were off!

We went shopping for healthy back to school snacks, new dance gear for Lil Miss E, and a stop at Big Acai Bowl. 

Big Acai Bowl in Valley Junction was incredibly accommodating with Max's nut allergies. Of course, Harrison insisted on peanut butter in his bowl and sat right next to Max. He's a really supportive brother. 

Back to school "night" (I put this in quotations because it's in the middle of the afternoon) means taking TONS of school supplies into school, finding classrooms and lockers, and getting all of that important information for the school year. This year the minis have new school hours (7:30 a.m. - 2:20 p.m.). I actually think, once we get into a routine, they'll love the new hours as it gives them more time in the afternoon and evenings. I'm sticking to my rule of only one night of extracurricular activities. That leaves the other evenings free for all.

Just enough time for burgers (mini's choice) before Meet the Dance Teacher. Elizabeth is soooooo excited for the new season of dance to begin. Even more excited than she is about school.

Last year's dance pictures adorn the walls at the dance studio. Elizabeth instantly picked her pictures out and proudly asked for a picture by them. I'm trying reeeaaalllly hard to keep my eye rolls under wraps because she has such amazing enthusiasm for dance (and it doesn't seem to be waning any time soon). While I totally don't understand her extra girly-ness and love for all things dance, I'm all for her positiveness and love for it.

Despite trying to get the minis in bed at a decent hour the night before the first day of school, their excitement was too great and they spent far too long attempting to fall asleep in their beds. Regardless, they easily got out of bed in the morning and quickly got ready for their first day of school.

I can hardly believe this is Max's last year of elementary school! I'm trying not to think about it too much. It seems like just yesterday he was starting at this school.

Big third grader.

First grade! I've referred to her as a kindergartener more times than I care to admit. She's not impressed with it. 

For the first time in several years, Hubs was home for back to school pictures. This means I got to jump in one as well.

I called out to them, "pose for one last picture for me please." This is what I got. Full dance pose from Elizabeth.

Yes, I followed them up to school taking pictures the whole way. Again, not impressed with mom.

I fully embraced the season of change. As soon as the minis left for school, I left for the salon. I came home with considerably shorter hair and a new color. Best way I could think of to spend my morning. In all reality, the reason I said goodbye to the long hair was because I wore it in messy buns all summer which resulted in all day headaches. This is so much better!

Then it was time for all of those little things that took a backseat during our busy summer days. I finally framed and hung a sweet picture the middle mini drew one day. I went through drawers of clothes that no longer fit the minis. I deep cleaned bedrooms and baseboards. It was a productive afternoon, followed by a productive night of writing articles. This time of year always brings plenty of freelance opportunities, which leaves me scrambling to get everything in.

The quiet house was odd and a huge change from the past twelve weeks. Even the cats were wondering why the door to the backyard wasn't opened. 

I walked in front of the neighbor's house to pick them up from school. My favorite part of the day was seeing that they were excited to see me.

The kid's school is homework free (unless there happens to be a worksheet or something they didn't finish during the school day, however, that rarely happens for us). Instead, their teachers encourage reading and writing for fun, playing outdoors, and eating dinner as a family. Done, done, and done.

The middle mini requested Tasty Taco's for their back to school dinner. Ask and you shall receive! The youngest mini doesn't like tacos, so she asked for a cold veggie dog (gross), flour chips, and guacamole. She wound up eating most of the guacamole after telling me it looked gross. Obviously it didn't taste gross!

The cat patiently waits for his....

All in all, it will be a memorable school year with all of the 'lasts' for the oldest mini, all of the adventures school brings, and all their activities to keep them growing and learning. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Two Day End of Summer Party

August 20 & 21

These days did not go as expected. I had big plans for these days that involved LOTS of backyard fun: sensory pools, homemade slime making, baking soda snowball fights. Unfortunately, it rained one day and was extremely cool for late August the next. So cool that the kids didn't want to put their swimming stuff on. Luckily, the only person this really effected was, well, me. I was disappointed by it, but it didn't seem to bother any of the kids one bit! I'm lucky that the kids only seem to need each other to find the fun.

Here's what we DID manage to do our last two days of summer vacation:

The Kool Aid pancakes weren't a hit for breakfast, but for afternoon snack. Read more about our Kool Aid pancakes here.

The costumes are always a hit, however, I don't get them out as often because we have so, so many of them that they take up a lot of space. They're now reserved as "special day" toys.

The big kids realized they had done "racing trains" yet this summer and promptly built their tracks. "It's crazy that we almost went the entire summer without racing trains!" said the oldest mini.
"I can't believe it either!" I replied, without a hint of sarcasm (I was really holding it back, trust me).

A few last baby playing sessions.

I bought a disco light to specifically have an epic dance party before lunch. Lights, music, instruments, karaoke...of course, it should surprise no one that the kids broke the disco light before the dance party even started. It wasn't much of a dance party as it was a playing-all-the-instruments-louder-than-they've-ever-been-played hour.

The bigs got permission to have a Nerf gun fight during naptime. They did a surprisingly good job of picking up the darts afterward.

Of course there was slime making. Pom pom slime at that. With glitter!


I had the kids bob for apples (aka- work for their afternoon snack). The kids loved it! A few of them had never done it before and a few of them weren't on board at all!

Clearly one that wasn't on board!

Pancakes in the afternoon. Apparently they weren't good in the morning, but by 2:30 p.m. they were wonderful. Despite working with kids for 7 1/2, I still don't understand them!

It stopped raining for thirty minutes. Plenty of time to go out and make mud pies!

The kids asked for recyclables to make boats. Then they tried to float and race them.

The second day was much cooler out, but too cool for pools and swimming suits (according to the kids). The pom pom slime came outside with us for a sensory activity, but mostly the kids ran around playing tag, played babies, made mud pies in the mud kitchen, and had "talks in the treehouse."

I'm sure going to miss the randomness of these days: children passing by in costumes to go outside (with indoor toys), a crowded playground, and the counter filled with cups. It's always these little things that will make my eyes swell with tears on a quiet day in the middle of winter. I truly hope these days will be thought of someday by the kids with the same fondness I have for them.