Tuesday, August 27, 2019

First Weekend of the School Year

I didn't want to do too much on the first weekend of the school year. You never know how exhausted or overwhelmed kids might be after their first day(s) of school. I also didn't want to plan too little because my minis seem to have carried over their energized summer selves into the school year (you know, the selves who are go, go, go from the moment they wake up to the time they go to bed). I decided it was the perfect weekend to head to our favorite hiking place in Central Iowa: Ledges State Park. However, since we always come to Ledges in the fall for a full day of hiking, and fall is coming up fast, I surprised the minis with creek hiking instead--something that is much too cold to do in just a few short week.

Dressed in swim gear and water shoes, we spent an afternoon splashing in the creek, playing in the sand, and even standing in the Des Moines River at the end of the hike. Along the way there were tears from rocks in shoes, one fight that involved a slap and possibly a punch, and plenty of "just keep walking forward," from Mom and Dad. All in all, Saturday was a spectacular day.

Silly selfies--or "us-ies" as my husband calls them.

For the past couple of years, Canyon Road at Ledges was washed out (due to a sinkhole). During that time, the Park was so peaceful. Very few people visited and we pretty much had the place to ourselves during the last few visits. The Road opened back up this year and well, we were bummed we had to share the crowded Park. Elizabeth said several times, "I don't remember this many people!" She probably wouldn't because her recent memories are of an empty Park besides us!

Whoever asked Mom to stand on the log must have forgotten that Mom has no balance or coordination!

All of the kids to any car that passed: "splash us! Splash us! Splash us!" said in a chant.

We made it to the River! The only reason we're letting them stand in it was because the current wasn't very strong on this day.

Testing skills. Right after this picture, both boys jumped at the same time and collided. No one was injured, but from the screams, you would have thought someone was killed.

Sunday Family Fun Day was spent mostly at home. My cousin Natalie got us a 100 Albums Bucket List scratch off poster. We began our album listening on Sunday while we deep cleaned the house and bedrooms (something that wasn't done all summer because how could we keep up with it with so many people in and out of our house all day, every day??? No really, I'm asking. For real? How do I do it???). We had dance parties during cleaning breaks.

Our evening was pretty relaxing. We had a parent meeting for the middle school carpool (I have never been more thankful for our tribe of school friends!) followed by pizza for dinner. Great little weekend all wrapped up nicely as we began the first full week of the school year.

We finally got our art and decoration pieces hung on the walls! Go us.

Dancing before bed is the only way to end the weekend and start the week.

The First Day of School

This school year has been surrounded with headaches. Not for the younger two, who continue on at their elementary school, but the oldest is now in middle school. We spent much of the summer figuring out ways for him to get to and from school, does he need a phone and/or laptop for school?, and so. much. more. I was honestly relieved when the first day came because all of our planning and headaches were (somewhat) gone. As usual, I took the first day of school off so I could see the minis off (didn't quite happen that way though), take part in the family picnic the middle school does for the 6th graders, and have some time to myself after a busy summer with not many breaks from my own children (love them, but every parent needs some breaks!).

The minis were up bright and early. Much earlier than needed, but nerves and excitement kept sleep at bay. My day began early too, but apparently not early enough. When the younger two minis saw all of the kids in the neighborhood begin their walk to school earlier than predicted, they begged to go walk with their friends. Hubs snapped quick photos of them before Harrison and Elizabeth walked with their friends to the first day of school. I got to yell a measly "have a great day!" from my bedroom as I changed my clothes. 

I did get ready in time to take the oldest and his best friend to their first day of middle school. It was a mix of excitement and nervousness in the car ride to school. The biggest news of the day: I didn't cry once!!! All of my babies got older, moved onto new grades, teachers, and school, life as we knew it will never be the same...and I made it through without crying. I'm kind of wondering when it will all hit me, but so far so good.

Elizabeth, 2nd Grade

Harrison, 4th Grade

The only two Sheaffer's at the elementary school. Yikes!

Hubs managed a couple of pictures of the three minis together before going their separate ways (for the first time in their lives).

Max, 6th Grade. When I asked him to take a picture with me, he tried to grab my phone to take a picture OF me. Sigh. I still talked him into a picture easily though (he claims he just misheard me).

I asked Max and Co. if I could get out of the car and take pictures of them. His friend gave an enthusiastic "sure!" Max rolled his eyes and gave a "whatever." 

To be honest, the probable reason I didn't get choked up dropping Max off for his first day of middle school was because I had been looking forward to this breakfast with mimosas for a couple of weeks. I happily dropped off so I could celebrate the end of summer. I wasn't the only one with this idea.

At the restaurant were a few groups of mom celebrating the first day of school. One group was done up in designer clothes and ten pounds of make up. Another group of was done up in business clothes with their cell phone on alert. The third group had on pajamas and leggings and their messy hair up in ponytails. I'll give you one guess which group are my people.

I still can't believe Hubs was able to enjoy the day with me. In the past I've gotten a new washer delivered, gone hiking by myself, gotten my hair and nails done, had lunch with friends, did surprise visits to family members. It's always a glorious day after spending day in and day out all summer with kids. This year we did breakfast, went shopping (and bought myself things!), caught up with friends, and took a nap. A nap to end the week.

Middle school family picnic lunch. It was wonderful running into the usual school families. If it felt that way for the adults, I have to imagine it was comforting for the kids too. It was the perfect way to meet the teachers as well. We stayed for a bit to watch the kids doing their class building exercises. The first day of middle school was all class building to help the kids meet new kids. I loved how they went about the first day and the activities they had them do.

Usually after the first day of school the minis come home exhausted. Instead they came home revved up. I don't know if walking to and from school with their neighborhood friends plays a part in this, but they had more energy than the moon shoes could handle (and me. Mom. They had waayyy more energy than I was anticipating after a relaxing day).

To celebrate the first day of school, we do two things every year. First, the minis after school treat is cupcakes from Scratch Cupcakery. This has been a tradition since the oldest was in Kindergarten. Every year in between my me-time activities, I make a run to Scratch. The other thing we always do is a dinner out at whatever restaurant the minis choose. In the past this has ranged from fancy meals to McDonald's. This year we invited family along and went to the kid's favorite Mexican restaurant, El Rodeo. 

As usual, Elizabeth needed to go to the bathroom within minutes of sitting down. So I took her to the bathroom and waited outside of her stall. From inside I hear her peeing and crunching.....
Me: "Elizabeth, did you take a chip with salsa on it into the bathroom with you?"
Elizabeth: "Yep! I did!"
Sadly, kinda normal around here.

She wore her cat eye glasses she got from Surf Ballroom.

The minis had a hard time settling down. They required extra play time and a later bedtime. Thankfully when we did put them to bed they crashed hard. For kids that weren't overly excited about the start of the school year, they were suddenly jazzed about the new school year after Back To School Night. Thankfully that enthusiasm continues (and hopefully for the rest of the school year). It makes this transition so much easier on this momma!