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.



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.




Catch the Moment: Week 16

I love this project. I love it. Sometimes I can’t stand it because I don’t feel like taking pictures. A lot of times I look through my camera and think my pictures suck. Sometimes I get down about my life because we’re too busy or things are confusing or complicated or whatever…I’m learning that all of these adjectives are normal descriptions of life. But, lots of times I put this post together and realize that even though life is busy and stressful, it’s normal and simple and wonderful because the little moments in between the madness make it that way. This project reminds me every week that this life is good. I am lucky to live it.

Linking up with Mindi at Stavish Stills Photography, Carrie at My Life, Our Journey, and Stephanie at Behind the Camera and Dreaming.

106/365: Thursday, April 16th. Suckers for dessert and Batman footie pajamas and his day was made. 04-16-2015

107/365: Friday, April 17th. A pretty day at the park with my boys and my day was made. Perfect ending to the work week. We checked out a summer camp that we LOVED, got slushies from Dairy Queen, and played at the park til dinner time. Bliss.04-17-2015

108/365: Saturday, April 18th. The day the boys had been waiting for… their cousin Spencer’s birthday celebration in Ohio. We had a great time hanging out with family and celebrating a decade of Spence.04-18-2015

109/365: Sunday, April 19th. Our good luck with the weather ran out and we had a very soggy Sunday while heading home from Cincinnati. Didn’t stop Dexter from wearing his shades.04-19-2015

110/365: Monday, April 20th. The boys requested watercolors for their after-school activity while I prepared dinner. Sounds good to me!04-20-2015

111/365: Tuesday, April 21st. The biggest, prettiest, juiciest strawberries I’ve seen since last year. Summer’s coming, y’all!04-21-2015

112/365: Wednesday, April 22nd. Finally…the day I had been dreading. Kindergarten registration. I have been able to live in denial that my first born is no longer a baby but that dream kind of died today when we registered him for school. He is not apprehensive at all and I have full confidence in his academic ability. I’m glad he’s excited. It’s definitely a new phase, a big transition. I have a lot of mixed emotions about it, as with any big milestone. It’s bittersweet being a parent sometimes. Okay, like 90% of the time. It’s impossible not to be happy for him – his excitement is contagious.04-22-2015Scrolling through these photos makes me smile over and over. I am already looking forward to making my Catch the Moment 2015 photo book at the end of the year. 🙂