First Week of School Shenanigans….

First week of school shenanigans….err….recap.

No. Shenanigans.

Last week was our first week back to school. I know several that have already started back, and some that have yet to start…and we seem to be somewhere in the middle of all that.

So it was our turn.

It seemed to start off pretty good. I mean, except for the missing teacher packet deal and the potentially very scary backpack situation.

But, other than that, I felt we were SURE to be starting off right!

Hahahahaha….haha.

Apparently, the magical bus people that do the bus scheduling for the special needs bus, scheduled us twice. But, the second call said there was no drop off time listed….

It was too late on Monday (day BEFORE school) to call back by the time we’d gotten the message, so we figured we’d just check it out the next day.

My brilliant husband (no really…brilliant!) thankfully thought to ask WHAT school the bus was headed to.

WHA?? Hadn’t actually thought that it MIGHT BE TO THE WRONG SCHOOL!

(See? brilliant he is. SO smart. Me?….shh.)

A little backstory: she was transferred to a different school than last year, same district, so instead of the magical bus people communicating this to one another, they scheduled two different buses for the same child. Apparently, they are NOT so magical after all.

Bummer.

So, bus #1 was sent on it’s way WITHOUT our child. Bus #2….bus #2?

It never showed. We called. It was SUPPOSED to have picked her up. It did not.

(this is the part where we go Oh C R A P and shove two kids into the car, drop one off smidge early at middle school and then dash the other to her school)

Oh yeah. Middle School. My oldest’s FIRST DAY at Middle School.

::blink::blink::

I had planned this awesome breakfast and stuff. The babies slept in and I baked muffins for the Sunshine, and my oldest requested his favorite eggs.

I was TOTALLY going to be on this and make sending my kiddlings off to their first day of school AWESOME.

Instead, it was more like, quick! grab and apple and let’s jet!

(or something like that)

My husband (the really awesome brilliant one) was taking them, so I said “please, oh, please! DO NOT let the man child be LATE on his FIRST DAY!”.He promised and set off.

Texted me (from the parking lot. While parked. Not in a school zone…safety first you guys!) to let me know both big kids had been successfully dropped off ON TIME to their destinations.

WHEW!

By then, the littlest little were waking. I was enjoying my still hot coffee, letting them chat a bit, set my coffee down (that was one of my first mistakes…) and went up to get them.

First thing out my littlest littles mouth “my tummy hurts”…

Ohhhh

Clearly my twinnies didn’t want me to miss my bigs too much. Nope, they were so very thoughtful and decided to BOTH be sick.

Yes. Both.

By noon, both were sporting a fever, one with snottiness, the other with “tummy hurts”.

{End of productivity for the foreseeable future…}

Get a text from the husband saying drop off for Sunshine is going to be the same time as oldest child gets out of school. And since he did NOT want to take the bus the first day, this was going to be a bit challenging.

I can do this. Surely….maybe the magical bus people will drop off early like last year??

Maybe.

Just kidding….they were late and thankfully the hubby made it home to meet her bus while I took the not so feeling well twinnies to get their big brother.

Yeah. That was NOT the best plan. Remember “tummy hurts?” I will not go into great detail here, but she puked.

Twice.

My only child to have never tossed any cookies did so. TWICE. Once on the way there and once on the way back.

(I kinda lied about not giving details there, huh? At least you weren’t in the car with me…)

By the end of the day, I wasn’t quite sure if I should laugh or cry or both.

And that was only day one.

Day TWO:

correct bus shows up.

YAY!

Sent wrong lunch with wrong child

Boo!

Twinnies still not so great, make doctors appointments. Decide to take the missing sammie to child missing it on the way to take the twinnies to the doctor. Forget sammie.

{can I PLEASE get a do-over yet?!}

Decide there’s just enough time AFTER appointments to race home and get it to child at school JUST IN TIME for lunch.

Whew.

By day three, things were starting to even out. Twinnies were finally on the upswing and no other children caught whatever the viral bug from hell was.

That was, until Friday when mama got hit. Yes, me, I got sick.

Let’s just say, we were dragging across the finish of the last day of school….of only the first week.

I’m not even sure I want to look at this week yet. But, here it is…

Someone tell me that this means that this year is gonna ROCK. Like, that the harder the first day or week is, just means AWESOMENESS is right around the corner?

The Potentially Very Scary Backpack

It was the day before school started.

That really should say enough, right?

I was going over the checklists and making sure things were in order and ready to head off with the big kids to school.

lunch boxes? check.
lunches made? mostly…
water bottles? washed and ready, check!
clean clothes ready and set out? yup.

(interrupted by email checking…see an email from daughter’s teacher…something about Meet the Teacher packet and don’t forget all those fabulous forms, change of clothes, etc….)

Hmm…Meet the Teacher packet. I don’t remember getting one.

(text husband, reminds me where he thinks he saw me put it after the insane back to school night…okay, located)

Get change of clothes ready and enthusiastically go to put them in the backpack I SWORE I’d cleaned out and made sure was ready for another year….

c r a p

I pick it up and notice it’s pretty heavy.

It’s still packed. From last school year.

::blink::blink::

I set it down on the kitchen table and just sorta stared at it.

(to be honest…I was a little scared of what might be lurking about behind those zipped up tight spaces…)

And it was at that moment I realized I’d become THAT mom.

Whatever THAT might actually mean, I’m not entirely sure.

What I know? I used to totally be that mom that seemingly had it together. School supplies taken care of by way of the handy-dandy “school supply order form” that I could order all needed supplies by simply checking a box and writing a check, and then doing a little happy dance thinking of all.that.time it was going to save me!

And I was totally that mom that made those lunches and had clothes ready and helped encourage my child learn to be more self sufficient during those school mornings so things weren’t as chaotic.

I am still that mom that color coordinates my oldest daughters clothes so that she can more easily pick things out and try her best to put them away with as little frustration on her part. Oh, and it helps her remember her colors because she forgets things easily…

(that’s a whole other blog post…)

And I am STILL that mom that makes ahead most of the weeks lunches for my daughter because she needs help in that area and I make sure she gets the needed nutrients in them as much as I can. My oldest? He’s totally rocking it on his own with his lunches. Mostly.

But, in becoming a mom of four and one of those four being a child with special needs, I’ve realized something….I’m the mom that sometimes forgets what my daughter cannot do.

My oldest? He knows to go through and empty his backpack and make sure it’s still able to make it through another year. And as long as he does so within the first month, I’m all good…usually don’t have to remind too often.

But my daughter? She needs many verbal cues and reminding. And sometimes in all the encouraging and cheering her on and hoping for more and seeing her reach new goals and do amazing, albeit small from the outside perspective, but amazing leaps in her world….well, I forget that she still needs reminding.

So, her backpack sat unzipped and unpacked all summer. And I’m nervous about what’s in there…

I’ve become that mom. Not completely scattered (although I’m sure there’s a good argument there that I absolutely can be), but that mom that has realized that there are things that take priority over others.

That making sure my kids are fed and have clean clothes and a mom that’s available versus a perfectly organized life with everything in place, is more important.

Because, let’s be honest, nothing is remotely perfect around here. I’m a constant work in progress.

So, I’m that mom. And I’m OK with it.

(sorta)

P.S.
I opened the backpack. And other than a broken fairy wand and some papers with random coloring on them, there was nothing that jumped out to eat me. Thankfully. Whew.

It’s Just Different This Year

We’re on the eve of the first day of school and it just all feels different this year.

My kids sense it too.

New grades and new schools. One heading to middle school and one starting at a new school closer to home that has a more specialized special education class.

And it’s been a mix of unspoken emotions in the house.

This summer is the only summer that will ever be like this. Every summer really is that way, but this year it just feels…different.

We’re embarking on a new chapter and life stage with our kiddos. Emerging from the trenches of the first two years with twins, in addition to already having two older kiddos and learning more about our oldest daughters special needs.

It’s been a journey for sure.

This summer was the longest and shortest ever. I cannot lie that I have not been counting down for school to start. And as anxious as my spunky Sunshine girl can be about new situations, she is loving knowing that a school bus is arriving JUST FOR HER tomorrow morning. She said she’s looking forward to coloring….

(uninterrupted coloring that her younger siblings cannot just come up and take the colors and run off with them…and I’m certain her creations will be amazing. They always are)

And my oldest is calmly processing this new adventure of middle school.

(I know he’s totally going to rock this year)

But, oh, how this mama heart is also aching knowing how fast this time is passing and how fast this year will go. They do seem to go faster each year….I don’t look forward to the new school year quite like I used to. At the same time, I’ve loved each new phase.

This year feels different. It is different.

The change is felt by all of us….in the extra hugs asked for and offered, in the requests for mama made lunches and “are you going to make granola bars like you usually do for us?”, knowing in the asking is the subtle longing of something known. Something comforting and familiar.

I wasn’t planning on making them, but seeing it for what it was, I made them. And snacks will be familiar and comforting for two kids going through some very new and unfamiliar adventures this week.

So….

To my big kids,

You are going to do amazing things this year. I am excited and nervous for you…and I will be your biggest cheerleader in all the obstacles faced and overcome, accomplishments made and seeing your perseverance shine through. YOU ARE AMAZING and amazingly LOVED.

Go out there and rock this school year!

(And please try to not eat a months worth of snacks in the first week….)

Much Love,
Mom

Where’s Fluffy Mommy?

I mentioned a while back that I signed up for a kickboxing session.

(and how I almost puked)

So, I did something crazy and signed up to KEEP GOING.

(I know. I think I’m crazy too)

They have this thing called “flex friday”, and I remembered when I was taking my oldest to basketball and jokingly said “hey, it’s flex friday! how is this?”, flexing my arm. He looked at me with this look of horror and was all WHAAA?

I said, “man, is it THAT bad?!” (meaning, I’m totally wimpy looking, right?)

He responded, “where’s my comfy mom?!”. I was thinking he’d lost his mind. What ever did he mean?

He said, “mom, you’re STRONG! I like my comfy mom…”

And it hit me. All the effort and work put into being healthy and making healthy choices and wanting to be a better example for my kids….and, honestly, they don’t care.

But not in a bad way. In a good way.

{And I’m no where as near to my personal goals as I’d like to be, but I am getting there. And I will in time, but meanwhile I love how much stronger I’m getting. And that is my main focus}

I know we’ve all heard it before, that being present and joining our kids and entering into their worlds is so important. And it absolutely is! That our kids don’t care what we look like and they just want us to be there with them. And they absolutely don’t care.

They just want us.

My kids love when I ride bikes and go to the park and splash along with them in the water at the pool. They want me to “watch mom!” a bazillion times while they jump in or off or climb or draw a picture. They like it when I take the time to read with them, to color with them, to PLAY and enter their world.

They honestly don’t care what mom “looks like”. They care that mom is there.

It got me to thinking back through my childhood. I don’t remember what my mom looked like. Not in the sense that we are seemingly always wondering ourselves (stretch marks, cellulite, wrinkles, tanned or not tanned skin, what size our clothing label says….). I remember, before depression took over and my parents emotionally checked out on my sister and I, the times when my mom baked my favorite cake and would go swimming with me. I remember her teaching me tennis and going for jogs and bike rides. And that she had a red swimsuit.

I don’t remember what she looked like. I remember when she entered my world.

When DO we start noticing?

I think, for me, it was when I hit middle school age and learned what a size zero meant and looked like. When I learned that those things apparently matter.

Even then, I don’t think I ever noticed my mom for what size she was or wasn’t. I noticed when she was there.

So, it seems, my oldest notices too. Notices when mom is present. How often we go out on Mother/Son dates and when we get to watch the next season of Doctor Who. Notices when I’m listening and how often I make sure to add in his favorites when I’m meal planning.

Kids definitely notice. But they don’t seem to notice looks like we do.

My oldest daughter notices when I wear new earrings or a different color lipstick. My youngest daughter notices when I change the color on my nails and wants “some too!”. My boys seem to think I’m always pretty and tell me so, even when I’m having a “messy hair don’t care” kinda day. Hearing “mom, you’re awesome” and “HUG!!!” always makes this mama’s heart happy.

Something they all seem to care about the most? Mom being huggable and available.

I find it comical that here I am being concerned about what I look like or how I feel and my children are mostly concerned that mom is still “comfortable”.

I told my oldest, “I am still COMFORTING! And I’m not stopping kickboxing anytime soon”….

But I get it. I understand what he’s saying. And I can still “be comfy” and not necessarily fluffy.

And perhaps us mamas need to start seeing ourselves more like our children do. Not by shape or size or (insert whatever it is here), but by our being present, available and “comfy”. By entering their world and being their person.

It’s amazing how often I think I take for granted the job I have. The absolute importance of being their mama and what that means.

SO, let’s do it mamas (and dads). Through the tired, the late nights, homework assignments, early mornings, spilled coffee, special needs, therapy appointments, tantrums, meltdowns, hugs, kisses, cheering them on, our hearts breaking when they hurt, cooking dinner, packing lunches, sporting/dance/chess club (or whatever it is our kiddos do) events and ALL THE THINGS in between….let’s see us the way they see us….

Being present. Being available. Being comfy.

Back To….Already?!

I know, I know.

It’s August. Already.

I know some have already started heading back to school, but where we are, we’re starting to wind down the last couple weeks of summer.

{counting down, if I’m being completely honest. This summer has kicked my butt!}

And in just a couple weeks, my two oldest kiddos will be heading back to school. One to middle and one to second grade.

{I might still be in a bit of denial about the middle school thing…}

Which, of course means thinking about getting all that school gear together and checked over and assess what will still work and what needs to be replaced.

And lunches. Lunch containers and bags are pretty well used around here, so durable is a must.

I have to say, as far as lunch containers go, THESE have been a favorite. We’ve actually used them for the past three years and they have been FABULOUS! Especially for my little one with special needs. I get asked about them often, so I figured I’d just write a post about them and share why we love them so much.

{and in absolute full disclosure, this is not a sponsored post, just me simply sharing things I love that have been helpful for my family…there are some affiliate links, but it costs you nothing to click and helps add a little extra to my sanity…err…coffee fund}

These actually fit well in the pottery barn kids lunch box my daughter uses. She’s pretty hard on her lunch bag and backpack and we’re about to enter year three on the same backpack AND lunch box, so I have to say it’s been worth the investment. And the Easy Lunch Box containers have endured as well. Bonus!

Probably one of my favorite things, other than that my daughter can open and close them easily herself, is that I can make up her lunches for the week and stack them neatly in the fridge and VOILA! Lunches made for the week easy peasy. They store well, too, when not in use and don’t take up much room. The lids stack nicely and then I stack the bottom part of the containers on top of those. Seriously makes school lunches way easier for us.

And I am ALL for things that help simplify my life!

Here are my Real Life pics of how I store them when not in use:
IMG_3597

And when in use ready for the week:

FullSizeRender

I’m actually able to stack two rows of these for both my big kids. My oldest makes his own lunches (woohoo!) and stacks his up in the fridge.

And, thankfully, these lovelies helping to simplify things a bit more, leaves me more time to try and finish my hot coffee before my twin toddlers tackle me!

Haha! Just kidding. I’ll still be reheating my coffee for a few more {ever} years….

I’m Not A Night Time Blogger

So, I’ve realized something….

My best and most productive thought time to blog is between 9 and 11 am.

But, this is pretty much the worst time ever to have lots of thoughts I need to get out of my head and on to a screen.

It’s pretty much the most busy and involved parenting time of the morning. Which makes it a not really great time to have the computer out and attempting to blog.

I’ve tried doing the whole night time blogging thing, and this is what I have discovered…

I’m not a night time blogger. I have tried. I just can’t.

Yet, it’s really the only time of day I have uniterrupted time to actually blog.

But, I not do my best work at night. Nope.

You know what I do well at night? Sleep. Sleeping is what I do best then.

{that is, when ALL the children actually stay asleep for those night time hours}

And I’ve thought about doing the whole get up before the rest of the house and blog then, but it’s not really working for me either.

Mainly because three days a week I am getting up before 5am, but I am going and working out. And working out helps keep me more sane the rest of the days.

And that is VERY important while all the children are home for the summer. It’s been busy and active and mommy needs to get that time in then, or it isn’t going to happen.

Coffee and kickboxing. It’s what mama needs.

And my kids need me during the daytime hours. And I need to be present for them.

And can I be honest with you? It has been a HUGE struggle for me this summer!

Trying to keep all the things in a somewhat structured schedule for one kiddo that desperately needs it, but still being flexible enough for the other kiddos that would like to just chill and have a more laid back summer (which I am ALL about, truly), has been hard for me this summer. Like, kick my butt hard.

And they are ALL home. Together. And not always getting along.

{ I know, I bet you thought I had perfect kids…}

By the time 9pm is rolling around I. Am. Beat. Like, dragging up the steps and crawling into bed and….wait, just kidding. I have more to get done before I can do that.

So, by 10, 11…12, when I am finally finishing things up and prepping the next days things and activities and such, I am toast. The balancing act of the day has zapped my brain power and I pretty much have nothing left to give.

And attempting a blog post then would just be silly.

I keep hoping a rhythm will come about. I’ve been hoping this all summer, but it hasn’t happened.

I’m not sure where this leaves me. Perhaps I should try getting up the two other days I don’t currently get up before the sun and blog then.

Perhaps.

Or perhaps I just continue to blog when I have a minute. It might mean that my blog posts don’t have a theme or a rhythm to them. And I’m mostly okay with that. I tend to write what I feel when I feel it. Sometimes that means I am able to blog several things out in one sitting. Other times it might take several days for one post.

I know it’s not a perfect formula, but it seems to be what works for the time being.

Tell me, when is your favorite time to blog? What helps you get in a rhythm?