Friday, August 29, 2014

First Week of School

I have so many things to say.  Blogging has become overwhelming because I don't know how to fit it all into the small snippets of time that I have to write.  Still I know anything I can get out is better than nothing because I want to remember this all.  So here I am.

It's been the most tremendous week.  Last Friday was Louise's birthday party with 12 little friends in our teeny tiny house, Saturday was our all day extravaganza of a block party, Monday was the first day of kindergarten, Tuesday was Louise's birthday, today was the third day of kindergarten (and let's face it, the third day is SO much harder than the first).  Life is crazy full.

My first thought is Ainsley.  She had a hard time tonight going to bed.  She is overtired. It's occurring to her in her still developing brain that life has changed for her. I laid with her in her bed and stroked her still baby soft hair.  I swallowed my tears and listened to hers.  I gave her a happy dream, I told her I took away her worries when I did.  I wish it was true.  I have this gut deep pain that I know I can't take away her worries.  The realization that I can't truly take away her angst is hard on me right now.  She's still so little. I just want sunshine and unicorns and rainbows for her every day.  I let us have our moment and tried to focus on the good.  She went to bed happy.  It's all I can ask.

My next thought is Louise.  She's four.  Next year SHE could go to kindergarten.  How did my tiny babies get so big so fast?
Her fourth birthday was wonderful.  I trusted that it would all fall into place and it did. She had such simple sweet wishes and they were all fulfilled.  Her party with friends was amazing.  We have some wonderful neighbor friends and preschool friends and they all meshed together to make this great little gathering of sweetheart children.

I chose to have the party on a Friday morning so it was just me hosting, meaning I got NO photos (my only regret of the day!)  We made ice cream cone cupcakes, had old fashioned chex mix, fruit salad, and homemade banana muffins for snack.  We decorated party hats, played pass the parcel, even had a treasure hunt for the party bags.  It was so much fun!
Her actual birthday was a bit more low key.  We went to the bakery in the morning after dropping Ainsley off at school.  Our friends Rose and Jeannie gave her a donut with a special birthday tag in it. It made her whole day.  I love those women.  In the evening we opened gifts while sipping on cherry daiquiris.  We ate manicotti and pink elephant cake and put a very satisfied birthday girl to bed right on time.

This first week with Ainsley in school has been interesting.  I am loving the extra time with just Louise and Felix in the morning, soaking it in with my middle child until she too starts school next week.  I love how easy going she is, and self directed.  She spent all yesterday morning working on a glitter glue art project then happily helped me clean out some clothes from her and Ainsley's room (no emotional attachment to clothing is a big plus with her!).  She is so happy to do whatever, and is so creative and sweet.  I love that girl.

Felix on the other hand is in the complete handful stage of life.  When he's awake I have to be on him like a hawk and his nap schedule is all goofy as we figure out this school drop off/pick up thing so it's been tough.  He is SO cute, which helps.  He nods and shakes his head vigorously to let us know what he wants and is so fun loving and playful.  He loves mimicking words and is starting to explode with new ones every day. Our latest favorites are "wow wow wow!" and "cited!" for excited.  He is a climber so he's up on tables faster than you can blink an eye.  Thankfully he's a really good climber so he can get himself down well, but man!  It makes for minor heart attacks all day long for me. He's also proving to be a rather finicky eater which is frustrating.  I don't cater to my kids at ALL in the food department and he's throwing me for a loop.
Good thing he's so dang cute ;o).

I'm dealing with all the change of late better than I thought.  I'm one to worry worry worry and when the time actual comes I'm fine because I'm all worried out.  I am really enjoying this week.  I love getting a few things done and having a quiet(er) house.  Next week will be a bit more chaotic with the addition of Louise's preschool mornings M-Th (well, after labor day they start in full force).  After such a lazy slow moving summer this change of pace to go go go is actually nice.  It keeps the mornings moving along and lets us linger in the afternoons.

I am most excited to get back into the rhythm of making things.  I have lots of patterns and yarn picked out for fall knitting and am exciting to dust of my sewing machine (not that I'll have much time for that if Felix doesn't nap!).  I'm trying to be more conscious about how I use my precious free time.  I need to catch up on so many things but sometimes what I need most is to just sit with my husband at night, watch a good show or play our new favorite game and enjoy the quiet.  Every day is different and interesting and mostly wonderful.

I hope you all are enjoying this last week of August, and thinking of us while you nosh on the delicacies at the great Minnesota get together.  We're missing it big time!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Last Summer Days

It's the start of the week on our last week of summer vacation.  I had so many little plans for this summer.  I thought of so much to do, ways to spend our time.  We did do so much and now this last week I just feel like soaking in every ounce of laze that we can before we have to be out the door every morning at 7:45 for kindergarten.

photos from our last weeks of summer, courtesy of my girls and my canon powershot camera

and a few from me too

Cupcakes (with candies!) just because, endless youtube videos of cake decorating, LOTS of Felix crawling up on tables, counters, couches and beds (on my goodness the climbing), last summer gymnastics classes, gazing out our windows at our neighborhood, circling the cul de sac again and again and again.  It's been a good one.

I have mentioned an analogy LOTS lately, comparing these weeks before kindergarten to the final weeks of pregnancy.  You go from Oh no! I can't do this!  NO WAY CAN I DO THIS!!!!! to I am SO ready, bring it on. Meeting Ainsley's teacher and walking around the school helped so much for us both.  Me being able to picture her day at bit has helped ease my mind and she's wanted to walk by the kindergarten door every day since our meet and greet last week because she's so excited and ready.  We have one more meet up this Friday before school starts Monday.

It's started to dawn on me that once Ainsley's settled in school FIVE days a week SEVEN hours a day I'm going to have a  lot of time with my two tiny people, just us.  Louise starts preschool after labor day so most of my mornings will be just Felix and I.  It's going to be so bizarre.  I'm excited to do some things geared just for my two little ones, because lets face it, life pretty much moves at pace Ainsley all day every day.
I'm eager to try and get Felix in a musikgarten class and make fun plans for our Friday mornings just us three.  I remember so fondly Ainsley and Louise's toddler years, spending mornings toddling around the neighborhood, walking everywhere, going to story times and doing our first fun little projects at home.  It's going to be great.

How fun it's going to be to go pick Ainsley up every day with them all and enjoy fully our couple hours of afternoon before Ian gets home.  It's a whole new world for us, but now that I can picture it all a bit better it's making sense, it's feeling good.  I'm so so thankful for that.

Today is a bit dark and rainy.  I'm thinking a trip to the library this morning and the yarn shop to peruse some yarn for fall projects will be just the thing.  As much as I love summer I always love these first hints of dark and cool.  It slows us down a bit, brings us in and closer together.
 This weekend is our block party, the perfect send off to summer.  We have the most amazing neighbors (actually Louise's birthday party is comprised mostly of the little girls and boys (6!) her age lining our side of the street...we're talking the three houses directly north of us).  It's incredible.
Today I'm feeling happy and filled to the brim with excitement and joy about our lives here.   It's not everyday I feel it so I'm letting is wash over me a bit, hoping it soaks in for a while.
I hope you all are having a great start to your week.  Enjoy these waning days of summer!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Last Week

Oh my, it's been almost a whole week since I got back from Texas and I'm just now winding down.  It's absolutely incredible what two days of freedom did for me.  I have been in the best mood this whole week, had incredible energy, can I go away again this weekend?

Aside from the freedom the weekend brought the trip was amazing.  I had so much fun hanging out with my mom, catching up with old friends and celebrating Lisa.  Her wedding was beautiful, there were so many awesome little touches.  I was so thankful to get to be there for so many reasons.

Now we're down to our last week of summer.  This week has been filled with chores and errands, hopefully setting us up for lots of time for fun this next week.

I am having so much fun getting ready for Louise's birthday.  She's at such a great age where she's excited for her birthday and a party and presents and cake but could care less about any of the details.  I just sent out invitations this past week for her party next week and so far everyone can come! yay!  We're just planning a simple fun home party, lots of games and fun treats, a few simple crafts.  I am most excited for the ice cream cone cupcakes.  I hope they turn out!

For gifts I vowed to keep it simple but of course kept adding a few things here and there.  It's so fun to treat my girl on her big day.  I have yet to cut out the felt for the bunny I'm making her, but the knit accessories are almost done.  I always get my kiddos a couple new books.  I am most excited about a fun new princess dress up hat I got her and a tiny make up kit.  She LOVES makeup and I have so little I thought it'd be fun for her to have her own and really have some fun.  Auntie Sonya gave her an early birthday present of a Barbie and Ainsley wanted to get her some new clothes that I'm sure will be a big hit.  Ainsley has already let us know she won't be able to hang out too much with Louise on her actual birthday because she'll be at kindergarten, but we're allowed to have some fun with her on our own.  What a funny girl!

And on the subject of kindergarten, after turning the corner last week we're full steam ahead.  Last night was the form and fee night at the school where we got to go turn in some things and tour the school.  Ainsley lucked out in that her teacher was there too so she got to meet her young red headed Ms Heaphy.  She has asked me at least 11 time already this morning "how many days left until school starts?!  I AM SO EXCITED!!!"  I am too.  It feels good!

So this weekend we have the farmers market and end of summer garage sales, Louise park meet and greet for preschool and a breakfast date for me with a good friend.  I am excited to get a few good runs in, spend some time outside and enjoy the second to last weekend of this long great summer.
Happy weekend to you all!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Turning Point

Coming back from a fun vacation always has it's struggles for me.  Usually I'm thrilled to be back in our own space, melt back into our routine.  This time I was dreading re entry, knowing how fast August was going to fly, how quickly the end of summer and the start of school would come.

I cried about it the other night, rather unexpectedly.  It was late and a wave of panic swept through me about it all.  I don't feel ready to let Ainsley go for 7 hours a day.  As hard and long as days can be with her I love it so much.

After my cry I googled kindergarten homeschooling for the perhaps 27th time since last spring.  I've been seriously considering it off and on.  I know it'd be great for us.  I know we could do it well.  I already know the materials I'd use, the way I'd change the structure of our days a bit.  The way I'd revel in the freedom and flexibility and togetherness that I find so important in our family.

I also know that making that decision right now would be a bit selfish.  While I don't agree whole heartedly with some of the philosophies in our public schools I know that for Ainsley the benefits outweigh the negatives right now. Especially considering the main negative for me is that I'm going to miss my girl so much and be forced to relinquish control of her upbringing to a teacher I don't even know yet for 7 hours a week day.
Getting out of this cocoon of new parenting and sweet baby and preschool years is no joke.

So I closed the homeschool tabs and and went to her school's homepage.  I looked up supply lists and re read every ounce of information I could find for new families and sweet tiny kindergartners.

I woke up Sunday resolved to leave my uncertainty behind me and to jump into this kindergarten thing with both feet. It's the best thing for us both.

I took Ainsley to Target  to do a little back to school shopping.  My girl has grown out of all of her pants (again) so we had fun trying on some new things.  She surprised me by latching right onto a pair of jean overalls.  She's only taken them off to sleep in the last two days.  It then dawned on me that the one pair of good shoes she has for school have laces so we sat down to practice tying again.  As typical with this spirited girl of mine, she'd figured it out all on her own just by watching me tie endless shoes over the year.  She got it on the first try and is now trying to perfect the "double double" loop for her long laces.  We picked out one more pair of shoes this morning so she has some slip ons too.  After a visit to our local office supply store sometime this week or next we'll be all set for school.  (Thankfully she already has an awesome backpack (Jansport super break) and lunch bag all ready to go).

I will say that the little things keep catching me off guard.  Like imagining her eating lunch at a big table filled with kids she doesn't yet know, or being able to follow directions for that long long day (a struggle I have with her at home).  For the most part though, I'm feeling better about the whole thing. I still hope August 25th doesn't come too fast, but I feel much more ready if it does.

I'm always surprised with life.  I can go from feeling so down and out to excited and ready in a matter of moments.  Right now I am excited for these last three weeks of summer, for a rainy morning today, an early nap for Felix, dinner made this morning and waiting in the fridge, a fun project in the works for Louise's 4th birthday, and endless snuggle and smiles from three little people.

And a few other thankfuls from the weekend.

new violets in the window hanger

a beautiful solo walk up to the annual book fair and weekly farmers market
a whole pint of delicious plump michigan blueberries

serendipitously bumping into one of my best read friends at the book fair who found me 3 of the 6 new books I purchased (I'm LOVING people of the book Catherine!)

continuing to awe over the lush summer garden, it may not be much, but it's ours

these three (just because they aren't starting kindergarten doesn't mean they don't get a place here too)

Now it's afternoon and all three of my little people are asleep.  It's one of those glorious parenting days when I'm so happy I'm here with them and so excited for them to wake up so we can be together more.