The First Day…

…could not have gone better!



Once she woke up, Riley was super chipper and excited.  She and Daddy packed up all of their stuff, and away they drove while Adrian and I waved from the door.



Back inside, I got Adrian his breakfast and put on his new favorite show, Monster Trucks.  Then Sidney woke up.  We all got ready and were out the door by 7:28.

I had from 8 until 4 to myself.  Just me, a couple syllabi, lesson plans, paper prompts, Spanish verbs, a couple pages of fiction, and some composition theory to read in the morning.  Then a couple of hours of straightening up and getting our house out of summer-play mode and into a more functional, more sustainable state of play and organization for the fall semester.  Then it was back to the books before Shawn and Riley came home and we left to pick up the littles and go out for pizza to celebrate the first day.

Yes, I missed the little ones.

And yes, I enjoyed the quiet.  The time to myself.  I had an hour or two to myself a couple of times over the summer –  a morning of writing at Panera, an hour at Target in Virginia, some time at night – but mostly the time was full of family and food requests and block-building and running and swimming.  Just full.  Wonderfully full.  But I am glad to have a couple of days before my semester starts to gather myself, get the house in order, and enjoy the quiet.

Riley had a great day.  Shawn, too.  She learned three playground rules, read a book called No David, ate all of her lunch except for her sandwich, took a tour of the school, and held a boy’s hand while walking through the halls.

This morning, she was tired.  I basically dressed a zombie.  But then she got up, gave hugs, and headed out the door full of smiles.

I know she won’t always be this excited to go to school, but I do hope to foster in her an intense passion for school and learning.  Sure, there are problems with the public education system and yes, technology is bringing about some big changes in how learning happens.  But I have to believe that as long as she is excited about school, she will develop an intense desire to engage in all of the opportunities that will unfold in the course of the school day, opportunities to connect with her peers and teachers, opportunities to grow and learn, opportunities to understand right and wrong, opportunities to express gratitude and good manners, and opportunities to dream, and dream big.

And when I go back to school on Monday, these are the opportunities that await me, too.  I couldn’t be more excited!


School Shopping and Preparation: T-Minus One Week

I cannot believe we are at the point that we are taking Riley school shopping.  Her elementary school sent her a letter and a list of items she needs for her Pre-K class.  We got all but one and then some.  This weekend, I took Riley and Adrian out to pick up Riley’s supplies and then go grocery shopping.  We snuck in a stop at Panera to pick up bagels as a special treat to commemorate the occasion.  Yeah, I can pretty much find any reason to stop at Panera these days.  I have been craving it recently.  I went once when I was home in Virginia, twice last week (once to write for three hours and then with the kiddos), and I am already looking forward to heading back there…and hopefully for dinner one day so I can get their French onion soup in a bread bowl!

So what did we buy and how did we do?  Here ya go…

1.  A pink-striped crib sheet from Target for nap-time (10 dollars).

2.  A Princess lunch box from Target (10 dollars)

3.  A sandwich container from Walmart (1.50)

4.  Snack containers from Walmart (3 dollars).  I wanted to get a bunch of cheap ones in case Riley accidentally throws them away.  So now we are starting the school year with 14 little containers.  We’ll see how many last until Christmas!

5.  Markers, glue, gluesticks, dry-erase markers, construction paper, paper towels, wet wipes, and Kleenex all for her class from Walmart (about 10 dollars).  We still need to get play-dough, and we have computer paper at home already.

6. A pink hairbrush from Walmart (3 dollars).  I told Riley the only way she was keeping her hair long and wearing it down was if she took really good care of it.  Now she has her own brush to take with her to school to help manage her crazy long locks!

7.  Hand-sanitizer for her backpack from Walmart (1.50).

8.  Two cold packs for her lunch box from Walmart (2 dollars).

And we have already started stocking up on lunch-making supplies…peanut butter, jelly, snack packs, mandarin oranges, and apple sauce.  Plus, Jif 40oz jars are going BOGO at Publix this week!  Hopefully, that will get us to September, peanut-butter-wise.

At home and as gifts, Riley already had a bunch of things she needed, too:

  • Winnie-the-Poo backpack from Caroline
  • Three awesome pairs of flats and sandals from Alli
  • A pair of sneakers I got on clearance from Target the other week
  • A pair of rain boots from Grandma 
  • A blanket and pillow from daycare days
  • Two or three water bottles.  The plan is to use these instead of juice boxes.
  • Plenty of clothes from my spring consignment sales hunts (And yes, I am so excited about two upcoming fall ones!)

And  we also started preparing our schedules and routines at home, especially for bedtime, so we are good to go next week.  We pushed the bedtime up to 8 this week with a simplified and very direct routine that begins at 7:30: one 24-minute show and dessert, teeth and potty, stories, hugs, bed.  We may need to move this up a bit more, as Riley will have to start getting up at 6am to leave for school with Shawn.  For dinner time, I think we are also going to get into a more solid routine.  Since Shawn is going to be getting home with Riley before I will get home with the little kids, he will do dinners most nights while I will handle clean-up.  This is a win-win since I don’t really like coming home from work to cook and I do like cleaning the kitchen.  Crazy, right?  I also decided that I am going to start using Sundays for laundry again and adding veggie prep and baking to the day’s activities. That way, we’ll be able to throw together a salad or put in a pan of cauliflower popcorn without the fuss of cutting and cleaning and peeling.  I decided already that I am asking for a mandalin slicer for Christmas.  I really like this one from William Sonoma

A week to go.  I cannot believe so few days remain for summer vacation.  I will be posting a best-of recap of our summer soon so I can relive the many, many wonderful family memories we created.  At the same time, I am really excited for the start of a new semester.  New books (just ordered 7 from Amazon!), new classes, hopefully some new friends, new students, new syllabi, new lessons, new office, new papers, new projects…so much to look forward to.

And of course, I cannot wait for what is in store for the kids in their classes.  Adrian now knows his colors and counting up to five, but he will probably start to pick up on a lot more once he is back in a classroom setting, learning with others kids.  Sidney is pulling up on furniture left and right.  Walking might not be too far off.  Especially if she sees a toy or a cute boy on the other side of the room!  And Riley.  I cannot wait to see what she will learn this year and to hear her stories about her adventures at school.  I am sad, unbelievably sad, that I won’t have my mornings with her anymore.  I know this is just Pre-K, but still it feels like the beginning of an end.  All of a sudden, she doesn’t seem so little because she’ll be going to an elementary school with Meet the Teacher Night, PTO, school performances, and recess.

One more week.  I’ll be ready.  We’ll be ready.  Of course we’ll be ready.

And then again, I don’t think I will ever be completely ready.  But that’s just how it goes.