Back to School

As much as I’m ready for summer vacation by the time it rolls around, I’m even more ready for the kids to head back to school come the end of August. My kids love school; they love the structure, the time with friends and generally not being all together, all the time like they are when we’re home for the summer.

The kids headed back to school last week, even if it was just for two days. This year I have kids in 3 different schools~middle for Meg, a grade 3/4 for Drew, and K-2 for Annie and Izzie. The younger kids all still ride the bus together (thank goodness!) which does make life a bit easier.

Meg’s heading into her last two years of middle school as a 7th grader. Sixth grade was hard for her, not academically, but socially, and we were both so glad when that year ended and we could both move on. Seventh grade has great promise, with a new team of teachers, best friends who are REAL friends, and the ability to play middle school sports (other than ice hockey, which she could play as a 6th grader). Field hockey practice started on the first day of school and she’s LOVING it! She’ll be ready to go when ice hockey season starts at the end of September (nothing like overlapping sports).

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Drew has left the younger elementary school and is a 3rd grader now. He’s in the same classroom that Meg had as a 3rd grader, which is fantastic as I LOVED her teacher. He’s excited to be back to school with one of his best friends in his classroom with him, and can’t wait to dive into more multiplication, which he started doing last year. Drew’s playing travel soccer this fall; he’s already played keeper twice and is really enjoying it so far. Soccer and hockey will overlap for him as well, so our fall is going to be very busy!

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Annie and Izzie are sharing a classroom again this year, as 1st graders. Our district is fantastic about letting the parents decide how to place our twins. I talked with their kindergarten teacher back in the spring about their placement, then wrote a letter to the school with our request. For now, they’ll stay together until a)they start to compete with each other, b)they request to be separated or c)all of the above. They each have their own strengths (Izzie is a strong reader and Annie has strong math skills) so they don’t compete too often. Having twins in school is still a new phenomenon for me, so we’re take things year by year. The girls will play soccer again this fall, but have opted out of hockey for the year. They’d like to take dance classes but we haven’t made a decision on that yet.

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I’m trying to get myself back into a semblance of routine as well. I’m still working at least 1 day a week in the office, volunteering on two different youth sport board of directors and am the team administrator for Drew’s soccer team. School classroom volunteering will start in October, so I’ll use September to clean house and breathe.

Who else is excited for school to be back in session? Am I the only one?


On Firsts

I swore I wasn’t going to cry this morning putting the three little ones on the bus, because I’d been looking forward to this day since school got out in June. The first day of school. The first day that I have no kids in my house all day. The first day that no one would be asking for snacks or to print a picture or me needing my referee hat to break up yet another fight. I did tear up, not because I was sad they were going to school, but happy because they were so, so happy. I really can’t wait until they come home and tell me about their first day.

Meg headed back to the middle school for 6th grade this morning. She’ll be with her entire group of friends, have some of the same teachers, and will be having a new teacher for her math and science classes. Her band and chorus permission slips are already signed and she’s looking forward to just getting back to school.

Drew is in his last year at the elementary school (our system has a K-2 school in each town, then the two towns combine for a 3/4 school then off to middle school at 5th grade) as a big 2nd grader. He’s excited to do lots more math, be with some of his guy friends from first grade and check out all the non-fiction books in his classroom.

Annie and Izzie will be in the same kindergarten class this year, with the same teacher that both Meg and Drew had. It was an easy decision to make, because I know that the teacher is a perfect fit for them both, and having them together to start such a big, wonderful adventure will be good for them both. They were thrilled to find out that three of the kids from their t-ball team will be in class with them, and their two best friends from preschool are in the same class, just down the hall.

Yes, they are holding hands and it was so sweet and unprompted that it made my heart swell.

Back to School Tradition

My kids are heading back to school after Labor Day for the first time since Meg went to kindergarten in 2006. While part of me is antsy to get them out the door already, part of me is glad that I have time to take them to the lake one more time and make sure we have all our shoes, supplies and special snacks. It also gives me time to get our Back to School Tradition ready.

I’m not sure when we started our Back to School (and End of School, it’s the same) tradition, but the kids will soon start asking about taco night. Tacos are one of my kids favorite meals, whether made the traditional way with burger, tomatoes, lettuce and cheese, or our newest way of kielbasa with corn and black bean salsa, plus homemade guacamole. I’m a little smitten with the kielbasa tacos myself, because the roasted corn with the black beans and the guacamole on top of the grilled kielbasa is delicious. It’s one of the few meals that Doug and I make that the kids ask for seconds and thirds. I’m currently raising two great eaters, one ok eater and one picky eater, so when they ALL love a meal, I do a happy dance.

Taco night isn’t always held on the first or last day of school, mostly because of our busy schedules. This year I have a hockey board association meeting on the first night of school (I know, I’m really not thrilled since it’s Annie and Izzie’s first day of kindergarten) so I’m going to give the kids the choice of the night before the first day of school, or another night that week. It doesn’t matter to the kids WHEN we have our taco night, just as long as we have it. In the scheme of things, it’s a pretty small tradition, but it’s one that fits us just perfectly.

Do you have a back to school tradition? I’d love to hear about it!

Winding Down

We’re on the downside of summer here. The calendar says August 6th and that means school starts for all four of my kids in less than a month. Part of me is screaming “yay, school starts in less than a month” and part of me is wondering “how is it already August”?

Our summer has been busy with trips to lakes, beaches, state parks and forts. We’ve been to our local library weekly, checking out a lions’ share of books each visit. We’ve had All Star softball, birthday parties, soccer and volleyball camps. We’re heading camping with friends this weekend and then will spend the rest of August winding down. We have school supplies for four to shop for, clothes to organize, eye exams. Bedrooms and computer rooms and kitchen counters need to be spruced up and ready for the upcoming school year. Soccer cleats need to be purchased, hockey gear needs to be sorted and lists made of what is needed for the season. It’s time to read more books, take last trips to the lake before the weather changes, get a little extra sleep.

These last days of summer inevitably intertwine with school year preparations and a balance needs to be found to cling to the last warm days while purchasing pencils, graph paper and erasers. The cool nights are coming, but they aren’t here yet. So, we’ll plan beach visits with friends, head to the library for more books, and still buy new school shoes. We’ll slowly switch gears from lazy summer mornings to school bedtimes complete with bedtime stories. I’m ready to embrace it all.

The Last First Day

This past Wednesday I experience my last first day of preschool with Annie and Izzie. It wasn’t as bittersweet as I expected; I am pretty sure their final day of preschool in June will leave me with mixed feelings, as I’ll be excited for the next chapter of all of our lives but sad because that preschool has been a part of our family for five years. Annie and Izzie were quite excited to get back to school to be with their friends, old and new.

We had no tears at drop off on the first day and I was in the preschool all day on the 2nd day. I am hoping that I leave happy girls at school again tomorrow!

Oh, Hello September

I suppose my blog title could be written in different ways, like “Oh! Hello September?” or “Oh Hello September”. I’m more of the oh September I am so happy to see you but also, where the heck did August go? I think that’s fitting since the middle of August meant a two week vacation for Doug (first time EVAH!), four sick children and a sick husband, then Hurricane Irene landing on our doorstep as Tropical Storm Irene (I live inland, so she lost some steam coming over land) and leaving us without power for the 46 hours right before school started for Megan and Drew. Phew. So, I am quite happy to see September after all.

A new school year is here! Megan is in 5th grade, a middle-schooler. She gets up at 5:45 in order to eat, dress, pack her bag and be out the door by 6:50 to catch her bus. She comes home at 2:25 and we can have an (almost) uninterrupted conversation about her day. Today is her 3rd day of school and if the past two days are any indication, middle school is going to be the perfect fit.

Drew started 1st grade and his teacher is a hockey fan! His class is filled with friends from his kindergarten class and a couple from his last year of preschool so he’s happy and comfortable. He’s hoping to bring home a library book today and maybe he’ll bring one he can read to us. He’s much more of a social butterfly than Meg is and he’s happy to be back among his peers.

Annie and Izzie don’t start school until next week, but they did have an ice cream social at their preschool last night and were so happy to run around with their friends. Next Wednesday will be my last first day of preschool and if I’m being honest, I’m part overjoyed (preschool for two is EXPENSIVE) and part saddened. We’ve been at this same preschool since Drew was 2 1/2 and it will be hard to leave in in June. This year I’ll be in the classroom with the girls every Friday. I am hoping that this eliminates, or at least lessens, Izzie’s cling-on syndrome at dropoffs on Monday and Wednesday. Their friend T’s mom will be in the classroom on Wednesdays and I think knowing that she’ll be there one day and I’ll be there the other will help. They love their head teacher S and are so excited to bring the lunch boxes that match their backpacks that maybe it will all be easier this year. Fingers crossed!

Hanging with Drew before he got on the bus.

I’m looking forward to the long weekend. We’re headed to the beach with friends tomorrow that we haven’t seen all summer and then I intend to read a book and do the usual seventy zillion loads of laundry that need to be done every week. I’m still trying to play catchup from Irene; while we have a generator we can’t a)run it all day less we lose our minds from the sound and b)it plugs into the dryer outlet so doing much laundry is out. We were fortunate to just lose power for 46 hours; there are still people here in Maine without power.

What are YOU doing this weekend?

School’s Out for Summer

Technically, school will be out in 2 1/2 hours, and I will have a 5th grader heading to the middle school and a 1st grader. This school year has flown by.

First Day of School~August 30, 2010

Last Day of School~June 17, 2011

I love that Meg and Drew wanted to wear their Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Champions shirts today!

We’re off for ice cream when the kids get off the bus, and our traditional first and last day of school taco dinner is planned for tonight. Hard to believe school’s out for summer!