29 August 2012

Back to School Fun

The past few days (weeks!!) have been a whirlwind, but I'm grateful to note that we've been having a blast. Our kids were SO ready for school, and that made for a fairly graceful transition. Of course, I didn't count on having an ear infection (day 9...seriously?), but it hasn't slowed us down *too much*--well, I did go to Kayci's Meet the Teacher totally high after a potent pain shot, but that's another story. Hope nobody noticed...

 Back to school this year meant entire new wardrobes for both kids, thanks to summer growth spurts. As some of Noble's summer clothes have been around for 4 of his 5 summers (that's right), we can't complain. Kayci was thrilled that Grandma offered to help pay for the Nikes of her choice (frankly, so was our budget!).  I cannot tell a lie...I just don't dig the black shoes.  But Kayci feels like a dancer in them (she must, she's forever twirling and leaping in them), so that's all that matters.

We ordered these bad boys back in July, thinking we could splurge since Bubby wouldn't need a whole bunch of new clothes. Ha!

Part of getting ready around here is getting their binders ready. I let Noble design his own this year, even though I was totally going to rock the Ocean Treasures theme. Sigh.  The binders have really been life-changing, seriously--wish I had thought of this before I started with the ginormous box of Kayci art that I've been meaning to scrapbook/organize for YEARS now.  So, if you learn one thing from my blog:  go get a 3" binder.  Right now.  Every single day, put your kids' stuff from school in the binder.  Clean it out a few times a year.  Go on, now...

Kayci got right to work, and literally worked for hours. I love that kid!  Her finished binder is duct tape-tastic...my kids are still addicted, after a year.  Who knew duct tape would turn out to be such a fun craft material?  My dad would be so happy!

We totally sucked at our goal of starting to go to bed and wake up at school times as of August 15th.  We were back from Kansas by then, but we went to Houston and Mom retired and...well, we just had other things to do.  Like stay up late.  So, we knew this weekend needed to be really laidback so we could really, really be ready for school on Monday.

Sunday after church we had a treehouse picnic, then a quick nap before...

...one last summer swim. Luckily, though, we get to swim through the end of September. Swam after school yesterday, as a matter of fact!

We had friends over for dinner (James made some YUMMY rosemary chicken and roasted vegetables--simple, awesome, and we fed 10 people for less than $10).  That's pretty cool!  Too bad we didn't take any pictures of that.

The kids had a hard time going to sleep, understandably, but they finally did.  I got up at 5:00 on Monday to get the week started right.  I'd promised Kayci I'd bake back to school cupcakes for the first day, so I got right to work.  We didn't do any decorating or anything--that's been done since August 1st.  Look in the picture below, though--Noble finished breakfast first so he grabbed my phone and went around taking pictures of "school stuff."  :)

Here's Kayci with her chalkboard cupcake...I bet the tictac chalk was nasty, personally, but the kid loved the idea in Family Fun and just had to have them.  If you want one, think we still have like 10 of the 16 we made.  Come on!  Oh, and I had the bright idea to tape 2 containers together to make a cupcake holder...didn't take into account how much her lunchbox would get tossed around before lunch.  Bitty told me her cupcake looked nothing like this by the time she ate it, but it was good, anyway.  (And yes, the tictac grossed her out.  Ha!)

First day lunch...Kayci requested make your own pizza, a cupcake and assorted fruits and veggies.  I've gone back to buying bread at the store, but that's about the only processed food we'll put in the lunchbox.  (Besides, you know, the box cupcake with candy and a cookie on it.)  It takes a little more time to prep real food, but I feel so much better about what she's eating when her lunch is healthy.  Oh, and it turns out there are 4 girls who have Kayci's lunchbox this year.  Luckily, only two of them have Ks on them, she says.

Even though we were up early and everyone hustled, we were still rushing to get the picture taken and get to school on time.  I have to say, looking at the lineup of first day pictures, Daddy's photography has improved tremendously over the years.  This year's pictures were definitely the best!  I can't believe we've had that rope on the door for so long...but can't get motivated to change it.  Maybe I'll break down and order a fun monogram, finally!

Noble wanted Icees for an after-school snack on the first day, so we picked Kayci up and headed to WalMart.  I was more than happy to go, so we could pick up their pictures.

I know this isn't a great picture of the buffet (which is my next decorating project, ideas welcome!), but you get the idea--it's fun to look at Kayci's first day of school here, when she went off to the 3 year old class.  Then the next year we thought she was so big to go to the 4 year old class every single morning...and then Kindergarten...I'll never forget that morning, our big girl crying...or the next morning, when she woke us up at 4 AM wondering when she could go to Krause...oh, that kid.

Other than the very first morning of kindergarten, I don't know that she's ever cried or even been really anxious about school.

We've had more years when we only bought a few things for back to school than years where we've had to re-outfit everyone.  It's not about the clothes, and the shoes--even though those things are fun, and a blessing when you can get them.

Each first day of school is a reminder of who's not here to celebrate with us, and what our family looked like when Kayci started kindergarten.

Each first day of school is a reminder of my own anxiety on that first day at Krause, and truly, truly trusting the Lord that my baby would walk out of those school doors at 3:15 and be okay.

Each first day of school is a reminder that the first days are numbered...in a blink of an eye, it'll be the first year of college, then their babies' first days...life is short.

Each first day of school is a reminder that many kids don't look forward to school...many families we know have their own issues with school, learning, placements--you guys are in our prayers.

This first day of school, looking at all the first day pictures on the porch of the little green house...it's bittersweet, knowing that there won't be many more here.  Our family has outgrown this little home, even though it's still a perfect fit for our budget.  But that's another day.

It's not about the pictures, or the porch, or the decorating, or the cupcakes, or the lunches.

The real blessing here is that we have two healthy children (who also happen to be beautiful, but that's just gravy, right?) who love school, and who have been blessed with great schools, great programs, great teachers, great friends, and a great community.  All that other stuff that makes fun pictures and fun memories, that's extra...and I'm so, so grateful for all of the extra that we have.

As we celebrate a new year, I'm counting my blessings.  There are too many to name.

One of them I'll share, so you know what's going on:  today, my Mom is moving to Brenham.  Please pray for a smooth transition for her.  I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see how God moves in her new life.  My prayer is that it's everything she hoped, and so much more.

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