back to school 2015

This is Theo’s third full week of school and Dexter’s second and I can honestly say things are going better than expected! It was a little rocky leading up to school starting but now that we are into the groove, I couldn’t ask for it to be going any smoother. I don’t know if I can even fully put into words how I was feeling leading up to Theo starting Kindergarten. Aside from the emotional aspect – being forced to acknowledge that my baby is no longer a baby – it was a stressful experience for me as it seemed like there were so many ducks to get in neat little rows. Transportation plans, lunch accounts, aftercare arrangements, in person registration, online registration, school supply lists to fulfill, Kindergarten readiness packet to complete, book fees, back to school night, and the list goes on and on. A week before school started I realized that the school has an odd policy of not allowing parents to walk their children into school on the first day or visit the school for the first few weeks. Heartbroken. Two days before school started, we were scheduled to meet the teacher and see the classroom. I received an email from the principal saying that his assigned teacher was leaving the district and they “hope to find a highly qualified teacher by next week.” That left me feeling like crap. This is where kids can teach us such wonderful lessons about going with the flow. Theo was not phased, despite the fact that we’d been practicing her name (and I might have facebook stalked her once or twice) since we found out that he would be in her class.

Theo’s Back to School night: Tues, July 28.

0001 0002At back-to-school night I overheard her saying she got an offer she couldn’t pass up just 2 days prior with a different school district. She didn’t owe us anything-I think I had already become attached to her on some level because I had to. I had to trust her with my baby boy even though she was a complete stranger. I trusted her to supervise him, take care of him, and comfort him if he needed it. And just like that, she quit on us. 2 days before school started.

Theo’s First Day of Kindergarten: Thurs, July 30.

0003 0004 0005 0006 0007 On his first day, Theo was SO excited. He bounced out of bed and cooperated with every little thing we asked him to do. He grinned for a million pictures and asked a thousand times if it was time to leave yet. We took silly selfies in the endless dropoff line and talked about his plan after school. Don’t get on the bus! You are a car rider today! Ryan drove so I hopped out quickly to get the door for him and give him a hug. As I did, I smashed his ear and he burst into tears. Oh my gosh-I felt like the worst mother alive. The day started with so much excitement and promise and within seconds it was turned upside down. I felt the pressure of eyes on us as he stood on the sidewalk bawling, and I – the mom who wasn’t supposed to get out or walk her kid in or hold up the line or show any emotion at all – basically had to shove him, crying, in the direction of the principal who was waiting to greet all the newcomers. I watched with my head out the window like a happy Labrador as she got down on his level and rubbed his arm to comfort him. I wanted to shout “he’s fine! I smashed his ear! He’s NOT scared!” I’m sure he stopped crying within seconds but I did not. {Immediately after school we went to urgent care, where he was diagnosed with a double ear infection.}

I planned on only working 9-3 that day so I’d be able to drop him off and pick him up and it was the longest 6 hours ever. I thought about him all day, felt awful about how I left him crying on the sidewalk, and was generally anxious thinking about what he was doing and how he was feeling and how did lunch go and is he making friends, blah blah blah.

At 240pm on his first day of school, I got a call on my cell from a number I didn’t recognize so I answered it immediately, thinking he’d gotten hurt or was running a fever. It was school, calling to say that “little Theodore is just INSISTING that he’s a car rider. And honey, we have him down as a bus rider. So we were just calling to confirm that we were right.”

Okay, stop. Pause the scene. This was the part where my jaw dropped to the floor. I had filled out two separate forms prior to back to school night. One at early Kindergarten registration in April. Another online in July. When we got to back-to-school night, the teacher had him down as a bus rider. I explained that he wasn’t riding the bus. Ever. She filled out a new paper and marked on his little pink tag. We put the pink tag on his backpack. WHERE DID I GO WRONG?

What if that sweet lady from the office had not called to confirm? Theo would have just been walking up and down our street while I sat in that pick up line for 30 minutes.

I had never been so happy to get my hands on that little boy and hug and kiss him and hear everything he had to say about his day.

What is so confusing about this?

I found out right away that a new teacher had already started and was there for the Kindergarten babies from the very first day of school! She switched from another classroom and that gave me great comfort. So far, Theo loves her. He has memorized his lunch number. He tells stories about every kid in his class. He seems to know how to behave. I am just in love with him at this age-he’s so enthusiastic about everything. He said to me “Kindergarten is not even like hard work, it’s all about playing and fun.” Good, buddy! You enjoy it while it lasts. I asked him if his teacher ever tells him he’s cute and he said “yeah.” I said, “oh really? How does she say it?” He said, “she just says ‘oh Theo, what would I do without you?'” Love it. The second week I sent a note to her in his folder explaining when he would be a car rider and when he would go to aftercare…just one more time. In case he forgot. In case she didn’t get the memo from the previous teacher. She was so kind-she called me that day to let me know she got the note and then proceeded to chat for 10 minutes. We love Kindy.

Dexter’s Meet-the-Teacher night: Fri, July 31.

Found his cubby but sat right in front of his name…
New guide making a good first impression. He immediately pointed out a favorite book and asked me to read it to him. I said no because it had a lot of words -ha!- and I honestly did not know how much time we were going to spend there. She immediately offered to read the book to him and he immediately liked her. Well played, Ms. Jyoti. Well played.
Montessori boy at heart.

0012 0013 0014 0015.

A year ago today I posted about how Dexter was having such a difficult transition starting pre-school. Long story short, we had opted to put him in a class separate from Theo’s for his own growth and independence. It was rough. He really has a hard time with change so we thought this year would be no different. We found out at the last minute that his primary guide would not be returning to the classroom this year so that added to MY stress, worrying that he would be stressed. I was already concerned that he would have a hard time with Theo moving on to Kindergarten at a completely different school. I am so happy to report that this transition for Dex has been flawless so far. He loves his new teacher and loves that his favorite person in the entire school continues in her role as assistant guide in his class. I can’t overlook his excitement about having his little buddy from last year in the same class again. I think this really gives him something to look forward to. We haven’t had epic meltdowns at drop-off or pick-up (well, maybe a couple that were borderline epic but only because we picked him up before he got to play in the sandbox). Not a single accident. No tantrums in the mornings. Not acting crazy at home in the afternoons. So far so good. He was also excited to be dropped off the first day and we didn’t even have any last second injuries or pain inflicted by a too-hard-hugging mom.

Dexter’s First Day of Pre-School (2nd year): Tues, Aug 4.0016 0017 0018 One big perk to being back in the school swing of things – the boys are exhausted from wearing out their brains and bodies! During summertime they were taking naps at camp and not tired at bedtime. It was frustrating for us just because it was a 2 hour battle/waiting game every night and they were tired in the morning…perpetuating the cycle with those darn afternoon naps. They are back to falling asleep when their little sweet heads hit the pillow at 8 or 830 every night and rolling out of the right side of the bed in the morning. Happy and compliant with all of my crazy morning requests like “get dressed” and “eat your breakfast” that seemed like such chores over the summer. Things are pretty peachy right now and I’m hoping they stay this way for awhile. I am loving my little boys at their current ages and (like always) wish I could freeze time. They are so much fun and bursting with personality. It won’t be long until they are teaching me and I won’t be able to help them with their homework. I’ll look back at these times and remember how much fun they were. School will get more stressful. Less fun. Less exciting. This is only the beginning of their journeys. I’m so happy to be a part of their lives.



#mcdanfamloveswdw: Day 8 – Dexter’s Disney Birthday!

I’m in the homestretch with these recaps! We’ve been home for 4 weeks already; how is that possible? I’ve been obsessing about all the wheres and whens and hows of our next vacation (not a Disney  trip). I think I have a disease…Obsessive Vacation Disorder. As soon as one trip is over, I’m thinking about the next. I just love spending that time with my family, making memories, having something fun to plan look forward to, and let’s face it – a good reason to be off work for a week. Now, on to a very special day, Dexter’s 4th BIRTHDAY!!

In case you missed it:

Click HERE to see the photos we shared on Instagram from our trip. 

Click Here if you missed Day 1.

Click Here if you missed Day 2.

Click Here for Day 3.

Right here for Day 4. 

Here for Days 5 & 6.

And my most recent recap, Day 7.

Day 8: May 13th, 2015

As I mentioned on Day 7, we had early morning reservations again as part of our celebration of Dexter’s big day. This time we went to the Polynesian Village Resort for breakfast at ‘Ohana with pals Lilo & Stitch as well as Pluto and Mickey Mouse.

We took the bus from our resort to Magic Kingdom and then the ferry boat over to the Poly. 002 003 005

Recently renovated lobby. 007

The food at ‘Ohana was reeeeally good! We loved the pineapple bread.010

Served family style – Mickey pancakes, hash browns, sausage, bacon, biscuits, all the fresh melon and berries we could eat, that POG juice, and more, more, more food. 016The kids loved participating in the mid-meal parade. 012 015  And meeting the characters of course.018 025 We all have on our buttons – Dexter’s is a birthday button and the rest of ours’ say “I’m Celebrating.” A good way for a birthday boy to get lots of attention throughout the day! 027 031 032

After a delicious, entertaining, busy breakfast, we rode the monorail back over to Magic Kingdom to continue our fun day.033

I have a picture of Ryan here with Goofy from trips past and he asked me to take another. A nice bystander offered to take a family photo so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. 036

By this point in our trip, we’d promised and missed about 3 opportunities to meet Buzz. We knew on Dexter’s birthday, this was a non-negotiable. That was one happy little birthday boy. I didn’t think about the fact that I was WEARING my Buzz Lightyear shirt until after we walked away. I bet he would have given me a big thumbs up.039

The goal was to hit a bunch of stuff we hadn’t had a chance to do yet this trip – one of these things being the Astro Orbiter. 040

A special treat for me on Dexter’s big day – my friend Rachel moved from Indiana to Florida in December of last year. She’s as much a Disney lover as I am. So much that she and her family have annual passes. She drove an hour to meet up with us for the biggest part of the morning. It was GREAT catching up! 042 043 045

Ryan’s obsession with slushies continued as we made our way back to Gaston’s Tavern for another Lefou’s Brew. 049

Rachel had to get back to Realityland so she left us in Fantasyland. I hugged her so tight!051

One of the boys’ favorite rides for sure – Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  053 054056058059

All he talked about, leading up to our trip, was getting a cupcake on his birthday. We get him in Big Top Treats of Storybook Circus and what does he choose? A marshmallow/cake pop thingy! Because….it’s blue. He loved it, that’s all that matters. We sung Happy Birthday to him right there and I got a little choked up. What a special boy. What a special day. 061

Penny pressing fun. 062

And when the sugar rush turns into a sugar crash…ha. Dexter slept for about 2 hours. I know Ryan and Theo rode Carousel of Progress and I remember walking around the gift shop at Space Mountain’s exit. I believe this was the only mid-day nap either of them took the entire trip. He was so out of it during this nap that Ryan and I both voiced worry that he would wake up not feeling well. We actually woke him up after two hours and he bounced right back to his happy, excited self.064

One of the birthday boy’s favorite things to do at Magic Kingdom is the Tomorrowland Speedway. 065

If I’m being totally honest, he’s a terrible driver. 067068069070

Ryan decided to skip this puke-maker.071072

Catching this show was on our to-do list. Check. 074

Jungle Cruise!077


Playing in the souvenir shop after riding Pirates of the Caribbean.079

Country Bear Jamboree – done. Now I don’t ever need to do this again. Unless I need a nap.081

We love Voyage of the Little Mermaid.083

And seeing Cinderella Castle all lit up at night. 084

We also made time for once to watch the fireworks (I didn’t bother taking pictures during, but I took this one below right beforehand). A magical ending to a magical day. I can’t imagine a better way to spend Dexter’s birthday. 085Throughout this day, Ryan and I discussed several times where we would spend our last park day the next day. We had done the majority of what we wanted to do in each park by this point. It was kind of depressing leaving Magic Kingdom, not knowing if we’d be back this trip. Even though the last-day-blues were starting to creep in, I went to bad happy knowing that Dexter could not have had a better day.

Up next – our last day!




last day of pre-school 2015

We got home from vacation with one week of school left. I was excited for the boys to finish out the year with their friends and teachers. Then Sunday morning Theo woke up with a fever and laid around all day. Monday he laid around even more and ate and drank almost nothing. He felt a little better but still stayed home Tuesday because he had no energy. By Wednesday he was ready to go back to school. Thursday morning Dexter begged to stay home but didn’t have a fever and I really couldn’t afford to miss work since I was planning to leave work early Friday due to their half day. I felt terrible dropping him off but hoped he could make it through the day. He made it – they both did – until 415pm when I got a call that they were both falling asleep on the playground and had fevers over 101. Well crap.

Ryan was already on his way to get them so I decided to work until 8 or 9 or until I ran out of work to do since it was clear I wouldn’t make it to work at all on Friday. At 10pm I hit 40 hours for the week so I packed it up and went home, exhausted.

I said all that to say that I was beyond sad for them because they wouldn’t get to participate in the last day of school festivities and especially for Theo because he wouldn’t get to tell his friends or teachers goodbye. Theo woke up in the middle of the night Thursday crying in pain. This was odd – my boy has never had an ear infection in his life. I gave him some pain reducer and put him back to bed. By morning he said his ear felt a little better but I made an afternoon appointment for the pediatrician (who confirmed he has not 1 but 2 ears infected). Dexter’s fever never came back and Theo seemed to feel pretty well too so we decided to swing by school to check the lost & found and say goodbye – for mommy, this meant getting those much anticipated last day of school photos.

Taking last day of school pics makes me reminisce back to their first day(s) so I put together some collages (because how else would I cope with the fact that my firstborn is 10 weeks from KINDERGARTEN, y’all?). Bittersweet. Theo is so ready and excited and confident about going into Kindergarten. On vacation he mumbled to Dexter under his breath “I have soooo much homework to do when we get home,” like a teenager in reference to the Kindergarten readiness packet we received at registration (he’s right though, it is a lot). He loves it. I will have him do 2 pages and he’ll ask to do 4. Or 6. Hopefully his enthusiasm doesn’t fizzle out too soon.

Shut up, Candice. Just get to the pictures. Yep, I talk to myself. On my blog.

Can you even believe how much he’s grown? He’s learned even more than that. Kids, man.theocollageWe will all miss his wonderful teachers, Miss Holly and Miss Darci. theo teachers may 2015

Brothers. They make my heart all poofy.Ribbet collage1

I am proud of Dexter – the transition to pre-school hasn’t been so easy on him. He doesn’t have as much confidence as Theo does. But with his teachers’ guidance, he came a long way. The first part of the school year, he spent a lot of time watching other students, hesitant to pull jobs from the shelf. By the spring, he was doing multi-step jobs with little help. He went from being completely potty-trained the summer before pre-school to a major regression both day and night. It’s taken the whole school year, but he’s back to having no daytime accidents, hurrah! He loves his teachers, writes his name, talks about his friends nonstop, and doesn’t need 500 “one more hug and kiss”es when we leave. I can’t believe how much he’s changed. Ribbet collage2

He is looking forward to spending another year in the Maple Room with Miss Pavitra and Miss Jama.dex with teachersI know one day too soon I will be looking at their High School graduation photos and wonder where time has gone. For now, I am trying to enjoy the moment and revel in awe at how much they are learning.