First Day Days of School

Okay, so I’m going to skip some of the other posts that should be chronologically before this post,
because this post needs to be done pronto.
Thanks for understanding… and not judging.
After back-to-school shopping,
(where Aidan picked the most hideous Transformers backpack even though he had asked for a Batman one for the past couple of months, and being the good mommy that I am, let him get it, even though I would’ve preferred a nice LL Bean, Pottery Barn, or Eddie Bauer bookbag… run-on sentence, much?),

and School Orientations,


Aidan at R.E. Lee

Aidan’s desk!
and Kaia at Hazelwild…

It was time for the first day of school…
Orrrrr… so I thought!
Apparently, the “Eastquake” that we had on Tuesday had other plans for us…
so instead of starting on Wednesday…
we made it all the way to the bus stop at Grammy’s house before we realized that school wouldn’t start until TOMORROW.
That’s alright.
It was good practice.
And it gave me the opportunity to make these signs for the real first day of school that I found on Pinterest.
They weren’t on quality cardstock like the ones on Pinterest, but they got the job done.
After pictures, it was time to head on over to the bus stop where we were greeted by Grandma, Grammy, and Aunt Kricky for the big day!
*Transformers backpack = shudder*
My big guy was excited…
and maybe a little nervous.
And Mommy may have felt the same way.
Then we heard that roaring engine, the same one I remembered from when I was in school.
And my smart, brave little man read the number on the side of that bus,
and knew it was his.
He walked right up those steps and never looked back.
This is where Mommy fought back the lump in her throat, because I didn’t want to upset Aidan or the girls.
He introduced himself to his bus driver, Ms. Adair.
And sat in the second row by the window to wave to us…
And the girls were sad to see him go.
And so was Mommy.
But it was only minutes until Kaia realized it was her turn to go to school.
She. was. ready.
… and waiting…
She walked right into her building and hung her backpack and snack bag on her own special hook…
… and she walked around that class like she OWNED it…
… and didn’t even stop so Mommy could get a picture of her brave girl.
She wasn’t scared.
She wasn’t nervous.
She was EXCITED.
And that made Mommy swell with pride.
I was so worried that she would not be able to handle not having her big brother or little sister with her.
She’s always had them by her side. 
She doesn’t remember life without them both.
She’s been perfectly sandwiched by love… 14 months older and 14 months younger than her.
I will never underestimate my little girl again.
She can do so much more than I gave her credit for.
So I gave her a hug, and told her to have a great day at school and “to be a good friend.,” and we left.
After dropping Kaia off at school, I got to spend the rest of the day with my littlest peanut.
Rather than crying all day,
like I planned on doing,
I dealt the best way I knew how-
RETAIL THERAPY.
Addi and I went shopping.
Then we had Addi’s 3-year well visit appointment,
where she measured at 31 lbs. and 37″ tall.
She’s in the 50th percentile for weight and height- “a perfect cube”…
and completely different than her brother and sister who were always off the charts and
“perfect concrete blocks.”
All day, I thought about how Aidan and Kaia were doing at school,
what subjects they were studying,
if they were making friends…
I wanted to be a fly on the wall…
or stand behind a two-way mirror so I could watch the whole thing…
in a non-creepy, non-helicopter parent kind of way.
By the time we finished, Kaia was already back from her first day of school.
She LOVED it.
I took the girls home for lunch and rest,
then it was time to go get Aidan off of the bus.
Here it comes!
… here HE comes!
MY BABY!  MY BABY IS HOME!
The first thing he said was that he got to play on the playground at recess.
… and even though he was sweating, he refused to unbutton that top button or take his shirt off and just wear the t-shirt that he had on underneath.
My son is a CLASSY Kindergartener.
At the end of the long day,
after spending most of it apart from each other for the first time,
this is how I found my kids winding down with a little t.v. after dinner…
They couldn’t be closer.
And now that we are on Day 4 of school…
I can say…
Aidan can’t tell me the names of the other kids in his class,
but he can tell me all about recess and the monkey bars.
Aidan has already worn the same shirt TWICE.
Kaia can’t stop talking about Mrs. Lee…
whenever she makes up a name for one of her dolls, it’s “Miss Lee.”
Aidan wanted to go to school on Saturday…
how long will THAT last?
Kaia had fun filling out her homework this weekend with Mommy.
It was an “All About Me” worksheet.
She says, “She wants to be a Princess when she grows up.”
*shocker*
And that her favorite thing about school is “the kitchen.”
Aidan thinks that the girl that he sits with on the school bus is PRETTY.
Kaia loves showing us what she’s made and learned in class.
This week they are learning about the letter “A” and she brought home an Alligator mask that she made.
It’s true what they say, “A mother is only as happy as her children.”
This Mommy is happy.

Decisions, Decisions

You may remember that I’ve been stressing out about the thought of dropping my kids off at three different places in the morning for, ohhhh, six months now.
(Aidan would be going to school, Kaia needed a preschool environment, and Addi could stay at Ms. Norma’s or I could find a preschool that would accept three-year-olds.)
Well, the stars aligned and we hit the jackpot…
no, not the lottery…
that would have been nice…
but we won the CHILDCARE lottery… if there was such a thing.
After a ton of stressful thinking, we decided that R.E. Lee was the best school for Aidan.
Afterall, if it was good enough for us, it is good enough for our son.
Not to mention, all of the parent reviews online were extremely positive for R.E. Lee,
and a common comment was that “it feels like family.”
Then we had to decide where to put our girls…
Ideally, I wanted to put Kaia and Addi in Hazelwild.
It has a great reputation, my nieces went there, and I knew it was the perfect fit for Kaia-
she would love the atmosphere and being able to see horses everyday is right up her alley.
BUT, Hazelwild is not exactly on my way to work,
they wouldn’t take Addi because she isn’t 100% potty trained yet,
and I would have to be there to pick her up by 5:30PM,
which wouldn’t be a problem MOST days, but sometimes traffic could make it difficult.
So I looked into other Preschools…
but most of them didn’t offer an affordable full-time option for both of my girls,
which meant I was looking at childcare centers with a strong educational curriculum.
After much research and discussion,
we thought we had made our decision.
That’s when we hit the jackpot.
WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER!
My mother-in-law agreed to watch our girls.
We decided to let the bus pick Aidan up at their house in the morning,
Kaia would go to Hazelwild on Monday-Friday for their half-day class,
and Addi would get to stay with her Grammy all day.
I am SO grateful for the way things have turned out. 
My kids are where they are supposed to be.
They are getting personalized attention.
They are learning and thriving. 
They are loved.
… and the transition was seemless.

My baby… is… three. *GULP*

Nope.
This can’t be happening.
This. did. not. occur. THREE. years. ago.

Somehow, we stepped into a time warp.
Because THIS…
… just happened…
… like…
… recently, right?…
…my little 7 lb.  14 oz. baby girl…
… perfectly swaddled…
… snug in my arms…
… an angel…
… alert…
… that made everyone feel…
…like this…
… an addition to our craziness…
(Big Sister, Kaia, at 14 months and Big Brother, Aidan, at 28 months) 
… making space on mommy’s lap…
… and easily in mommy’s heart…
… but, I guess it did happen…
THREE YEARS AGO.
Now that I think about it. 
Now that I stop to analyze each individual day…
… there were days that seemed endless…
… moments that made me insane…
… and yet…
the years flew by.
So, we celebrated.
Dora the Explorer style.,
in honor of our little explorer.
Usually, we take full advantage of our large deck and beautiful scenery outside for parties,
but the rain shower forced us all inside.
We had tacos for dinner (of course).
… a Dora cake for dessert…
… and Dora fruit snacks for all…
We played “Guess what’s in Backpack!”
The kids took turns reaching and feeling around inside of Dora’s backpack to guess which helpful supplies were available for their adventure!
There was sticky tape, binoculars, a flashlight, and Dora’s stars!
Uh-oh!
Then we realized that Swiper stole our treat bags!
That sneaky fox- he’s always up to something!
So we had to use The Map to go on an adventure and find the treat bags.
We had to go through Butterfly Forest,
(which we made by stringing the butterflies together from Kaia-boo’s butterfly party 
and hanging them from the tree in the picture below)
Over the Grumpy Old Troll Bridge,
(where we had to solve one of the Troll’s riddles)
and Behind the Big Oak Tree
to find our treat bags!
Addi was really worried we weren’t going to be able to find them…
But we did it!  We did it!  We did it- YEAH!
Lo hicimos!
So we were ready to have our cake…
… and open presents…
… and by the end,
Addi looked like this…
A three-year old fashionista.
Mommy loves you, baby girl.

Shake n’ Bake

Ok, so it took an earthquake to get me back on the blogosphere…

It seems the “daily dose of crazy” has been kickin’ my blogger butt lately.
I have a TON to fill you in on!
Addi’s 3rd birthday,
Our trip to Busch Gardens with the Heavenly Hamakos,
My 31st birthday,
Moving Kimiki to UVA,
A nasty stomach bug that affected our little peanuts,
Kaia’s Preschool Orientation,
Aidan’s Kindergarten Orientation,
First Day of School- Take 1…
and tomorrow (hopefully), their real First Day of School.
*phew*
Yeah, that list is pretty intimidating… for me.
I might have to combine some of these posts…
Don’t JUDGE ME!

Reflections from a 30 99/100 year old…

When you’re 7, you become “seven and a half” a month after your 7th birthday.
When you’re 31, you are 30 until the minute you were born 31 years ago.
I’m pretty sure that I was born in the afternoon of August 12, 1980…
which means that I am “thirty and ninety-nine one-hundredths.”
I spent my last night as a 30 year old having a picnic with my kids outside,
soaping up their bodies in the bathtub and having them guess what letter I was writing on them with my finger,
making them belly laugh by doing silly dances to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies,”
belly laughing because then they started to copy my silly dances,
and reading them about 20 different books (some of them were even read twice).
It would’ve been “perfect” had my hubby been there to share in the belly laughs,
but he was scouting a football scrimmage- trying to get an edge on their first opponent of the season.
Daddy got home to help put our babies down to sleep,
and I realized how rich I am.
Not in the monetary sense- NO, NO, NO.
In fact, I don’t even know that we are classified as “middle class”…
Hmmm, maybe “lower middle class.”
But when it comes to love, I am living like a Queen.
A thirty and ninety-nine one-hundredths year old queen.

Busy Bees…

Last weekend we had family in town for Kimiki’s graduation party.
Needless to say, it was a non-stop weekend,
but a B-L-A-S-T.
These are actually the only pictures I took all weekend…
It happened to be the only rest time the kids had…
In from the heat…
for an hour…
in Grammy & Poppy’s bedroom…
then it was back to swimming, running, building forts with sticks,
and interrupting the grown-ups cornhole games.
Picture this: 3 cornhole sets going at once…
pretty much continuously for 2 days straight.
glorious.
We also had another seafood boil on Sunday before a lot of our family left to go back to CT.
yummy.
Hopefully, people will share the pictures they took all weekend so that I can share them with you…
otherwise, you might think this blog is lame.
single tear.
(We have another full weekend of activities planned coming up!  Stay tuned!)

An Apple A Day…

Going to the dentist is chore.
We normally schedule all of our appointments on the same day.
At 7AM.
Which means we are WAKING our kids up by 6AM to get them ready.
Then they only see 2 of us at a time.
So while David and Aidan are getting their teeth cleaned,
I am usually juggling the girls.
Then we switch off.
Luckily, my kids aren’t deathly afraid of the dentist.
In fact, they actually get EXCITED to go.
They love the goody bag they get at the end filled with a new toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss,
AND
they get to pick a toy from the treasure box.
You might remember how much my son cherishes these goodies from this post.
This was Addi’s first time getting her teeth cleaned.
We prepare all of our kids for their first trip by talking to them about it when we brush their teeth everyday,
“Open big like you would for the dentist!”
 “Oh, the dentist is going to say, ‘What white, sparkly teeth you have!”
“I’m going to tickle your teeth like the dentist is going to!”
Then we also let Kaia come to Aidan’s cleaning before her first visit,
and then Addi came to watch Kaia’s and Aidan’s last trip to the dentist.
So by the time it was their turn to sit in the chair,
no one was scared.
In fact, I think David is more scared of the dentist than my kids are… shhh, don’t repeat that.
Here’s Addi opening WIDE
Here she was after her cleaning- she ALWAYS puts sunglasses on upside-down
Everyone had a great check-up with no cavities!
Here are the rest of their pearly whites…
I know, I know… not the best pictures ever.
But do I get some credit for not having any cavities?

It’s that time again?

August 1st doesn’t mean that school is almost starting in our house…
It doesn’t mean that Addi’s birthday is only 5 days away…
(well, I guess it still does…hmmm, I better get planning!)
It doesn’t mean that the last month of summer is upon us…
In fact, to us it means that summer ended.
 YESTERDAY.
My husband is a football coach.
While he’s been helping with weightlifting throughout the summer,
and even had some coaches’ meetings last week,
TODAY is THE day.

First day of practice.

Excitement is in the air.

… and maybe a slight aroma of…
hmmm, what is that?
Bittersweetness?
Abandonment?
Stress?

I can’t put my finger on it…

I got back to my morning ritual of working out, eating breakfast, packing lunch, getting ready, feeding kids breakfast, getting kids ready, loading them in the car, dropping them off, and actually making it to work 5 minutes early.

*phew*

It’s exhausting just typing it.

Then I just spoke on the phone with David on his way home from his first practice,
and he starts listing off evenings this month (including some SATURDAYS),
that he won’t be home until LATE,
because of football meetings/scrimmages.

*eff*

Oh, Football Season.

I love you.

But I hate you.

Mostly love.

But definitely a smidge of hate.

Go Hylton!