Category Archives: school

The Start of it All

hay

We said our good-byes to late night summer nights and jumped right into fall. What a leap! We are busy going from one thing to the next. Before school could start however, we had some shopping to do.

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Paige found some beautiful mushroom accoutrements and Brynne found this…she was not impressed. I can’t even write the word I detest it so much. Anyway, we did not purchase the lovely little undergarment for my fifth grader.

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Mama managed to get one more soccer game in – in the pouring rain!

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To get pumped up for his last year in middle school, Nelson watched Rocky IV. My brother, Eric, waxed poetic about the great cinematic creation and ended the tribute with…”I’m not ashamed to admit I wiped a tear from my eye while writing that.” As you can see, we take our sports seriously.

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And then we really were off to school. Cope was inside eating bacon when I took the annual school photo. The tradition of four darlings in a row is totally ruined. On the first day, Nelson and Brynne scampered off to find friends, but at least there is one who still allows a photo with her mama. I’m including her shoes here because she wore these the first week. A little worn, but still perfectly good shoes, wouldn’t you agree?

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One of her friends though, deemed them unacceptable. “Ew,” she said. “Get some new shoes. Ew. Get some new clothes. You’re supposed to wear new clothes on the first day.” After school, Paige frowned while telling the story, but she later decided someone must have been having a bad day in second grade 🙁

Brynne, however, got her some fancy shmancy shoes.

And picture 3 is included because Mom is DETERMINED to pack snacks the night before school.

I’m already failing. I can’t do it. It’s a wretched late-night task. Can’t a girl just watch Jack Bauer without thinking about carrot sticks and applesauce?

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As the youngest, Paige does a lot of waiting around for siblings. Here she rolls around the floor waiting at Brynne’s eye appointment. I was wondering if it was socially acceptable to do the same. She got back at me by getting strep throat this week so I had to wait on her.

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Before school started for eldest child, we trotted to the big city so I could get those red Bean boots I’ve been drooling over. Now that I’m teaching a class on campus, I can justify such purchases, no? Red galoshes are probably not what you stylish urban dwellers wear, but come on, they’re red!

Well. Apparently, I am not allowed to simply TIE the shoelace. I have to do this thing curly-cue thing on the end and leave it untied. After my first effort, Cope shook her head sadly. “Oh, honey, no.” She really called me honey. And then a daughter tied her mother’s shoe. We have now come full circle. Sniff.

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After school, these are my peeps. Oh my goodness, what a TEAM we have! I love them so much. Our skills are mad good, sure, but we are also KIND and SUPPORTIVE. Ah, the athletic field; one of the best classrooms in life.

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Putting up the nets

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I am now back to being the bag lady: snacks, Barbies, water, shoes, dolls, pencils, gum, soccer lesson plans, whistle, dog treats?

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Cope has been playing some intense soccer as she tries out for the varsity team. Before school officially started she spent a week living at Hogwarts in the dormitory! Away from ME!

We had many text exchanges.

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My children love my compassionate, nurturing, texting tone.

Now tell me, are you off and running, too???

 

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The Last Day

I knew this fall, that this was the last year…
that all the sweet cherubs would ride home on a school bus together.  I feel lucky they had each other this long, at our little k-8 school.  
It was a great school year, that went by at just the right speed, and was filled with opportunities and experiences.

Baby girl graduated.  She gained so much confidence this year, learned to read, and be brave without her Mama by her side all day.

Little buddies

She had GOOD teachers.  Now that I have kids in school, I appreciate teachers so much more. Just this week I saw them buy drinks for kids who don’t have anything to drink.  I saw them share their own snacks when a child forgot, and was embarrassed to think of the days my kids hadn’t packed enough and told their teacher they were  hungry.  Teachers don’t get paid enough anyway, but on field trips I saw them pay for kids who didn’t have money – out of their own pocket. 
This last week I spent a couple days at the school, helping out, and accompanying children on field trips.  I tell you what, I was exhausted.   
I often have to get out of the house early, but this time I had to do my hair.  I had to look nice.  This was on top of making breakfast, helping pack snacks and lunches, wanting the kitchen to be half-way clean for when I got home, running down to feed chickens – and did I mention my hair having to look nice?   It’s hard getting kids out of the house and being gone all day!  And then, you have to come home and think about dinner.  Then there’s house, homework, piano, bedtime, etc. etc.
Our kindergarten teacher has twin kindergarteners at another school.  She rises at 5:20 everyday to get ready, drop her children off, and then comes to teach my little girl all day long.  Always with a smile on her face and a soft, patient voice.
I know men and women do this day in and day out; bless you.  I’m in awe, and know you carry heavy loads.

I hope she always remembers to stop and smell the flowers

I held it together quite well during the graduation ceremony until they began playing, “What a Wonderful World.”  Oh my goodness – stop it!  I considered curling up in a ball and sobbing…

Sprinkled with fairy dust…and magically…she became a first-grader!

And then the very next day, when my heart was not at all fully back together, Cope graduated from 8th grade, the little school she’s gone to since kindergarten.  Nine years of her life, in some of the MOST formative years of her life, when often, she was gone more than she was home.  That school has done wonders.
This.  I remember this day so clearly.  Yesterday, this little girl was just a little girl.  I’m trying to wrap my head around the time warp. She used to hold my hand and walk to school, which was just across the street from our faculty house on campus where we worked.  Sometimes she would cling to me and not want to go in and I would be annoyed she was making a scene and try to peel her off and say, “be a good girl.”  I wish I hadn’t been annoyed.

And now this girl is borrowing my clothes, rolling her eyes, and debating me like a state champ.  I’m still trying not to be annoyed.  She still likes me to snuggle with her though. 

When she sang “For Good” from Wicked, I had to intensely study my new cloud-blue fingernail polish and blink, blink, blink…it didn’t quite work.  I would load the video here, except Blogger is refusing to cooperate.  But then I would sob again.  So perhaps it’s best.  

She was given a diploma and skipped down the aisle

The three musketeers
Who went to preschool and started kindergarten together.  You see the problem with my heart, don’t you?  You understand.

Every time this boy sees me he pumps his fist in the air and yells, COACH!  Honestly, it can make my entire day.

My darling was even given an english and social studies award.  Mr. Tucker mentioned her great debating skills.  Could this be translated to:  You daughter loves to argue?    

Not to leave the boy out…he went to his last dance of the year the next night.  And made sure his pants were pulled up.  He said he chugged two sprites and ate ten airheads – YES!  I love those school dances.  So does the dentist.

Then it was the last day, of Paige getting on the kindergarten bus at 11:20.  Yep, that may have been me you saw again…on the side of the road…weeping.  What is wrong with that woman, you ask?
One of my friends said how HAPPY she was that FINALLY her child was going to be in school all day next year.  I look at her like she’s nuts.  She looks at me like I’m nuts.  It could be true, in both cases.
I loved having my little buddy home in the morning.  Next year there is all-day school for kindergarteners.  I thank my lucky stars it didn’t pass until this year!
What I love about little children is that they aren’t embarrassed to show affection; they RUN to you.

And hug you tight without worrying that everyone is watching

The last day of school was yesterday. 

Even though I was at the school most of the day I had them take the bus so I could get a picture of them getting off together.
One last time. 
Today is the first day of summer break!  Soon, I may be crying for different reasons.
Happy summer…!

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The (s)mothering of the rat

Times are changing for me and my 13-year-old.

Yep, I’ve officially turned into the Don’t Carpe Diem, mom.  I’m sorry, it just can’t be helped.  My first-born is almost as tall as I am.  She’s definitely smarter.  Discussions somehow always turn into the state debate.  I especially like when she corrects my grammar.

She’s on facebook.
Her homework in on the internet.
She wants a smart phone.
Her new room in the basement is her hang-out of choice.

My little girl is growing up and like she likes to blissfully tell me, “I’ll be gone in five years!”  Off to college, off to freedom and a dorm room and no one to tell her to wash her hair.
This is her last year at her little K-8 school where she still plays 4-square at recess.  I love that she still has recess.  We should all have recess.  

But change is a’coming.  Because my husband works at a private boarding school, and she is a “faculty brat,” she has the opportunity to apply for high school.  She took the SSAT in November, had to submit a lengthy application, have an interview, and turn in four recommendations.  

For the past three years she’s heard us say, “Better get good grades if you want to get in…better have some extracurricular activities…show good character – your teachers need to have something nice to say!”

The picture above is of the day she had her formal, sit-down interview with an admissions officer.  She was so nervous, so excited.
She and Gregor foraged my closet for a suitable and demure outfit.  

“It looks like I’m dressed up in my mom’s clothes,” she complained.  

“That’s because you are,” I replied.  Her book?  Les Miserables, which she apparently discussed at great length during the interview. Which makes me laugh.

One more picture, Copey!  “Mom, no, stop it…”

“Bye mom!”  Bye honey…you might get in someday, too if you can remember to bring your homework home and stop forgetting it at school.  Maybe clean out your locker once in awhile…

The other day Cope told me she heard a story on NPR about rats.  She loves NPR.  

“They said that mother rats licked their babies…”


“So I’m supposed to lick you?” I interrupted.


“Listen!”



“Sorry.”  Bad Listener.

“They lick their babies and snuggle them and dote on them and up to first year they absolutely can’t give enough love and affection.”  

I nod, approvingly, remember all the rocking, holding, rocking, napping, nursing…


“But…” she raises her eyebrows and uses her finger while she talks, “Once they get to be a certain age the mother rats have to let go and the babies have to go off on their own and if you don’t let them they actually regress in progress.  They start to go backwards – they actually die.”


“I bet you made that up,” I say, knowing she’ll freak out.


“I did not!” she says, stamping her foot. 


“What are you trying to tell me?”

She giggles. 


I swear it wasn’t 5 seconds later when I heard her say in a little voice…”Will you come snuggle with me after you tuck Brynne and Paige in?”


I smile.  And I don’t ask her if she’s going to die from my smothering.  Mothering smothering.  It’s all good.

This is what Cope is still supposed to look like:



Everyday she tells me how many more days she has to wait until she gets the golden letter, which is something like getting the owl from Hogwarts.  Will she get in? 

Today there are 31 more days to wait!


This is a picture is of her dancing on the table on campus, something she did quite a lot of, when we were dorm parents to twelve teenage boys.  Ah, those were the days…room inspections, boy odor sniffing, and ramen noodles.  Sometimes I actually miss it.


If this girl gets in, and you see her dancing on the table next year, they’ll be a lot more (s)mothering discussions.


Love, the mother rat.

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How to Impress the Boy

He’s only smiling because I told him to.
This guy’s becoming guyfied, meaning there is no smiling in pictures. That is way uncool.
He has that flip thing going with his hair in front, inspired by “Kato” from The Hunger Games which I just wish would pass since it’s a story about kids killing off the other kids.  Passing stage, passing stage…well, get on with it!  Can’t we backpedal to something gentler like Bambi?
Me:  “How do you like your new teacher?”
Nelson:  “Hmmmm….” (he took a minute to mull this over) “Actually, she has potential. She has a nose ring and likes Lord of the Rings.”

I blink.  Interesting.

The next day he says, “She is soooo awesome.”  Apparently she hung swords across the white board.

Really?  That’s all it takes?  
I think this teacher must be very, very clever.  All she had to do was find that thing…a few words, props.  Simple!  Effective.  And they are now maleable putty in her hands.
I’m mulling the marital lesson in this.  
As for the sixth grader.  I’m still going to pretend he said, Bambi.

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The First Day

The first day of school deserves a post, right?

     

Miles Run:  4
Query rejections this week:  3
First day of school.  First day since March I had to wear a headlamp for the early morning run.  Drat.  Was this a foreshadowing of things to come?  A small light in the darkness?  As usual, I didn’t want to get up.  That part is not exactly easier, just more of a habit.  And as always, the run was fabulous and the sun came up.  Before I ran I took my special elixir (I’m not sure I should promote my latest experiment…:) a bite of banana, ran with the buddy up the hill (still hard!) and came home to a shower and a rousing of the children.  Everyone was excited to start a new year.
I love new years.  I love new starts.  I love my new camera..yee haw!
This is the first and last year my kiddies will all go to the same school.  I love our little school; small but mighty!
We were a tad bit late…the kids made a screaming run for it.  Gregor looks grumpy because…he always looks grumpy (happy face 🙂 because Brynne usually holds his hand when they walk in together.  I drove all the way to school so I could get a picture of them running away from me.  See ya!  Bye!  Have a good day…
And then Paige and I drove home in the little car and Gregor took the mini-van.  Yes, times are changing.  It’s a strange new world out there.
Some years are easier to start then others.  This year there were mixed feelings.  I cried.  Much.  Because I don’t let go very well and my baby was going to kindergarten.  Another parting with one of my beloveds.
Her sisters fought over who would do her hair.  Cope convinced her somehow, probably bribing her with something I don’t want to know about.  She also told Paige she would look like “Katniss.” At home Paige made a sandwich to take in her new princess lunchbox.  You gotta train ’em early.

This is Brynne’s new lunchbox:  The Goodbyn.  No baggies.  See?  I’m environmentally conscious!  Food doesn’t leak in-between different compartments.  She doesn’t like it as much as I do.
I’m not ashamed to say it – I’m thankful kindergarten is only half-day. My death grip requires a very slow loosening.  
Yes, my babe was ready to go to school, but a full day would have been a big shock.  Um. Yes.  Mostly for me.  We kept looking at the clock…was it time to leave yet?  The first day I drove her in.  We had funny conversations in the car.
Me:  Do you think anyone will cry b/c they’re scared and miss their mom or dad?
P:  Mmmm…
Me:  What will you do?
P:  I’ll be nice to them and say don’t cry
Me:  Oh, that’s nice.
P:  Uh! (using her teenage voice) What do you think I’d do?  Just stand there and watch them CRY?!
Sigh…
P: I’m so excited!  I’ve been waiting for this day all my life!
Me:  Yes.  It’s going to be so fun! (sniff sniff)
P:  When I’m big I’m going to be a doctor, a fairy, and a bird.  Why don’t you want to be those things?
Me: Actually, I want to be a doctor, a fairy, and a bird too.
She nodded, satisfied we were on the same path in life.
Me and her, we’ve been quite attached.
But then it was time to let go of the hand.  And since I had cried it all out the night before, I didn’t have any sort of public breakdown.  She looked up at me when her teacher called her to stand in line.  And I had to do what moms have to do, look down and smile.  Say, I love you…have a great day!  She wrapped her arms around my legs, looked up once more, and then she let go.

Little Katniss looks so small.  But I know her heart.  Small but mighty.  Rockin’ her new shoes.

The second day she got on the bus.  The big, big bus!  I kept calling her name and waving, but she didn’t see me.  And this was oddly upsetting.  The bus pulled away and I walked down the street crying.  If you see me, walking down the street.  Crying. Please ignore me.  I’m a little emotionally unstable.

I’m the dog on the floor.  Bereft.  He wouldn’t leave my side all day.  I mean, Paige was gone!
On Sunday, the talk in church was on adversity.  As in, “there is opposition in all things…to taste the bitter is needed to taste the sweet…for every storm cloud, there is always a silver lining…what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…thine adversity shall be but a small moment…”
Do you believe this is true?

Do hard things make us better in the long run?

Gabby Douglas turned the trial of being separated for her family for two years into a Gold Medal?
Michael Phelps turned his rivalry with Lochte into Gold.  For it wasn’t until he was out of shape and lost to Lochte, his minted and unrivaled butterfly race, a couple of years ago that he actually became hungry again.  He was the one.   

I take good-byes too hard.  But that just means I love you sooooo much.  And is it not a strange feeling when my husband is driving the mini-van and I am driving the littler car?  I’m the one who is supposed to drive the big boat!
Odd when, after 13 years, there is no baby in the house, there is no baby napping or crying.  No nursing.  Not potty-training anyone.  There are no playdates scheduled.  I’m not trying to catnap every second (tempting) to catch up on missed night-time sleep.

That’s what I do, it’s what I live for (I quote Little Mermaid!).

This is the last one.  The surprise girl twins did not arrive.  And since two days have gone by, there is also more perspective.  It’s going to be alright.  Of course it will.

There is a feeling hovering.  It’s not quite exuberance, not excitement quite yet.  It is like my headlamp shining on black pavement on the early run.  It’s like that first day of college, when the rest of your life is right before you and everyone keeps asking, “What are you going to do with your life?”  Why, the thought occurred…I can be anything!

The feeling is hovering, getting closer.  The house is quiet and I am writing away.  There are good things to come.  All is not lost.  My sweets will return to me day after day, and always.

I’ll still be me.  This little adversity makes me one lucky, lucky mother with “blissful obligations” and a tweaked job description.

Chapters end.  New books begins.
A doctor, a fairy, a bird.
Who knows?

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The 5-year Plan: Where Do You Want to Be?

Paige peers through the trees, where, in 14 days she will be playing.  She wonders out loud, Will they like me?  Of course, I say.  But not as much as I like you…

Miles run this morning:  6.1 (no foot pain!)
Minutes I had to go back to bed this morning:  24
I’ve been messing with my blog as you can see from those page labels above.  They are going to help me focus instead of writing about hamsters.  Except maybe killing hamsters could go in the “motherhood” category.
Though I stayed up way too late watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics (rather bizarre in my opionion?), I set my alarm for an unthinkable hour.  Instead of the whining in my head, I kept Mo Farrah in my mind, crossing the line of the 10,000 meter race and all the hours of training it took for him to get to that moment.  Did you see that look on his face?  If all those amazing athletes can get up and train, then gosh darn it, I can drag my booty out of bed too.  I tossed and turned all night next to a tossing and turning 5-year-old in my bed who has swimmer’s ear (my diagnosis).  I still got up and was sad to see, the sun is not rising as early as it was last week.
In 7 weeks I want to run the New Hampshire half-marathon.  If I put myself into overdrive, can I be ready to run like Mo?  I have this constant desire to push, push, push myself forward, then being unsatisfied when I don’t have everything I want right now!  I want to feed the orphans around the world, write for Time, publish my book, qualify for Boston, have those twins.  Then the potty chair comes into focus, the dog runs away, and someone need to go to the doctor for swimmer’s ear.  No one can have everything right now!  And right now I like what I have.  I don’t dare wish this time away even as I vacillate between the future and the present.
Gregor and I are reading the book, What Color is Your Parachute?  It’s a fantastic book involving a worksheet in the shape of a flower with all its supporting petals.  The flower helps you focus on your end goal, identifying your strengths, and being able to articulate and write out the steps to reach your goal.  Who will be your mentor?  Who will be your network of support?  What exactly do you need to do to get to where you want to be? What are the specific steps you are going to take?
Have you worked on your flower? Gregor asks me every night.
I have been resistant.
I don’t have time.  I’m too busy to think about it.  I’m a mom right now and that’s all I want to think about.  Don’t bother me!  
In my mind I have this fuzzy idea of exactly what is going to happen in the next 5 years.  Everything will work out the way I see it.  Back up plan?  My mother always said I would be a fantastic gym teacher.  To which I scowl and say, It’s physical education instructor.  It was sad day when she was actually right, and that’s what I studied in college.  It does bring me back to my point of the page labels where I have added “running” and “healthy yum-yum.”  Focus on my strengths right?  I could have said “nutrition” or “recipes” but healthy yum-yum is focusing on my inner cheerleader, (something wanted but never attained – come on, those cute skirts??)
We are planning in other ways.  We have retirement funds, college funds, ten years of wheat in our basement.  We finally got life insurance last week from a former student of ours.  He asked me questions like What kind of birth control are you using?  Do you have any breast abnormalities?  Have you ever ridden in the rodeo?  Bungee jumping?  

Seriously.  If one of us keels over I hope it was worth the urine sample. 
Which brings me back to my 5 year plan.  It is exciting.  It is terrifying.  The roller coaster isn’t stopping so I may as well get on.  I reluctantly ordered the 2013 edition of Writer’s Market, which is a teensy weensy baby step in the right direction.  Even if I did it with my eyes closed and someone else pushed my finger down on the “order” button.  If that doesn’t work out, I could always teach your child how to throw the javelin.  Which is a class I actually had to take in college.  And was by far the worse and most comical thrower.

Here we go!

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Skipping School

As you can see from my blog header, I like the ocean.  A whole lot.  It’s one of my favorite places to be.  Someday I will live by the sea, maybe on a boat, and I will be able to hear that beautiful, untamed ocean call my name more often.  Too bad that ocean isn’t a little closer to Idaho.  And speaking of the above header, the ocean picture confuses my husband.  He likes my other one better, the one with the kids.  Do you agree?  I feel guilty over these things.
And why, Maisymak?  My mother is the queen of nicknames.  When I was little she  called me “maisy mouse.”  She said it was because I was teeny tiny, had a high, small voice, and looked like a little mouse.  Sometimes I was mousy, I guess.  I prefer “shy” to “timid.” Please never call me that.  I will not be timid if you do 🙂  My mom still calls me maisy mouse and I’ll give her all the credit when I make it big with my Maisymak Granola Snack.
The other day, when the freakish heat wave washed over the east coast (it’s now 30), we stole the kids from school and made a trip to the ocean.  
We stood on the rocks and watched that mighty body of water.  Unfortunately, it was not as warm as the forecast had predicted.  In fact it was freezing.
But it sure was pretty.

No matter.  My children are cold blooded, maybe reptiles. Or fish.  I hate cold water.  You couldn’t have paid me enough to jump in.  These two?  Psyched.  Even for them it was a tad cold.  We were all running back to the car in minutes. The Atlantic ocean in New Hampshire is definitely not the Pacific.

These two had their swimming suits, but didn’t dive in.  I had some beautiful shots of the ocean and the kids but the computer ate them.  It really did.  They are not to be found 🙁
Though the ocean was a short adventure, we were glad to skip school, remembering, “Never let school get in the way of a good education.” I’m sure we learned something on this cold March afternoon.  I’ll be sure to get back to you on what exactly that was.
Are you getting some good education this weekend?  I’m excited about going to a writer’s conference and listening to some great talks.  I’ll be sure to report on the highlights.
Have a happy weekend!

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Fivey

The letter came.

And someone really did have a birthday…

She’s so big she can decorate her own princess cake!

Mama got her writing activities and the grandmas got her what she really wanted…zhu zhu pets and beautiful barbies.  Brynne was thrilled too.

Make a wish!
My wish for you, sweet Paige, is to always be as happy and sweet as you are right now.  Fivey is a pretty great age.
Cope says, “Now that she’s five it’s time have another one!  And it’s perfect because I’ll be around for all the sweet and wonderful years and then go to college when they get annoying.”  Thanks, honey.

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School Lunch

You’d think packing up snacks and a lunch for kids would be fairly easy – easier than having to feed them all day long, right?  I think that it should be.  But whenever I see a new monthly calendar come home, I get a pit in my stomach, I brace myself, hold my breath.  It’s ridiculous.  But it takes a fair amount of work.  Do you want hot or cold?  Yes or No?  I have a big calendar to keep track because they all want hot lunch on different days.

I think it’s dreamy when a mom will tell me their child takes peanut butter and jelly everyday.  I am jealous.  Mine are so picky about what they’ll take to school.  There are so many factors…is their lunch yummy?  Packable?  Socially acceptable?

I get it, I really do.  I used to be slightly embarrassed when I brought slices of green pepper to school b/c my friend Debbie would say, “Ew!  Those smell!” and wave her hand across her nose.  She got to bring Little Debbie brownies.  I never got Little Debbie brownies…oh she was so lucky.  This was the same friend who got to watch Scooby Doo after school eating a processed snack in front of the t.v.  I had to walk a mile home and sit down on the piano bench 🙂 My mother would say, “I must love you more.”  I find myself saying that also, and get the same eye roll.  Little Debbie also noted when food wasn’t individually packed – A sandwich is supposed to be separate from green pepper slices.  I think my mother must have been trying to save baggies but it made my sandwich extra soggy.

It would be easier to just write one big check and have all three kids get hot lunch everyday, but 1)  That would a big check every month – way over $100 and 2) They won’t eat the bologna sandwich’s served.  I find it funny that anyone still eats bologna.  Really?  Gross.  I do have to add that hot lunches really have improved – our school even has it’s own garden!  Kindof like the white house garden, I’m sure.

Here is a typical scenario:
Cope:  Sandwiches?   Forget it.  Only if we have fresh ham and turkey, a bulkie roll, and thinly sliced (and salted) tomatoes and lettuce on the side.  She’ll bring carrot sticks if we pack a small little container of ranch dressing on the side.  She hates to bring any fruit b/c she’s picky and it gets bruised.  She likes to bring homemade mac ‘n cheese but has come home in tears when everyone at the lunch table says, “Cope brought her cat food again.”  Oh the social moors…it’s just not easy growing up, is it?

Nelson:  He is definitely the hardest.  He hates sandwiches of all kinds.  Who hates sandwiches?  He likes bread and he likes the insides but he hates it all together.  He will never take a sandwich.  Mac ‘n Cheese occasionally but he doesn’t like it cold.  He likes to bring soup.  Packing soup is a pain and it’s messy.  He doesn’t like yogurt or fruit cups.  I am working on having the kids pack their own lunch.  Watching him prowl around a full kitchen and moan, “There is nothing to eeeeaaaaat….” drives me batty.  However, he is the only one who will bring sliced green peppers.

Brynne:  She is the easiest because she is still thrilled to be packing delectable little treasures in her cute little lunch box.  The novelty is still there.  She loves fruit cups and yogurt.  Want a granola bar?  Sure! she’ll say excitedly.  If only she would pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Nope.  She likes leftovers too.  We just don’t have many due to the wonderful world of the dining hall (starting tonight – yee-haw!)

They all like when I write a little note, especially Brynne.  She will usually write a note back to me.  She will keep the note in her pocket and show it to me after school, all crumpled and soggy with love from opening and closing it several times during the day.  “Will you draw a picture of yourself so I can remember you during the day?”  It melts me.  Yes, her “language of love” are these material gifts – something her mother has spent a few minutes on to show her love.

At the beginning of the month I go through the hot lunch list and they tell me “yes” or “no.”  Sometimes I try to talk them into saying “yes” – “you loooove meatball subs!”  Because I know that when the day comes, they won’t like anything in our kitchen either.  It ends up about half and half.

Last night I glanced at the calendar and had a surge of happiness – all three kids had hot lunch.  What a thing to be excited about.  We can wake up in the morning and just pack snacks.  Nelson even has one slice of pizza to bring.  He will smile and be happy the rest of the morning.  Life is much easier with leftover Pizza Chef.

It is raining outside.  It’s 5 a.m. and my running date has just been cancelled.  Too wet.  I could really use a running fix.  So i write about school lunch.  In about an hour the kids will start to stir.  At 6:30 they will be shaken to get out of bed.  At 6:45 they will be threatened with being late and having to sign in.  How embarrassing.  This social pressure really does work.  By 7 they will be dragged from their dreamy slumber to come downstairs to prowl for food.  I will point to the lunch schedule and say, “Hot Lunch for All!”  And we will all be happy.

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oh happy day

Though delayed a day b/c of Irene, school finally started today…it was a beautiful morning.  As usual, both Gregor and I went in with the kids so I could take photos.  First I made them pose outside the house.  Really mom?  Really.

Cope was excited and giddy for gasp – 7th grade!  Brynne was excited and feeling a little shy for 2nd.  Nelson, though faking exuberance in this picture, was Eeyore for the 5th.  “You’re going to have a great day,” I kept saying.  “Yeah, marching to my death,” he answered.  He loved fourth grade and was scared to start fifth – in the middle school wing with a teacher he thought hated him because she told him to stop running in the hall once.  Maybe I should try some reverse psychology because we seem to be stuck in two roles – me as 1/2 cup full and him as the cup is way empty.

We had to pick Paige out of bed to go to school with us, hence the bed head.  She was happy to go along and then come home with Mama.  One more year.  That’s all I get.  One more year.

Brynne, so excited to see buddies.  She came home so happy.  Who wouldn’t?  Her teacher has a hedge hog and hissing cockroaches!

I snuck around back to the middle school side and tried to snap a picture of Nelson lining up.  Doesn’t he look so excited?  We’ve really gotta work on that attitude!  Suggestions?  After taking the picture, Gregor said, “Did you notice you were the only parent back there?”  This was true.  I guess I’m not allowed to do those things with my big bad fifth grader.  But Cope actually waved at me.
Paige and I had fun purging the basement.  I will have have to post pictures.  I can’t wait to take loads to the dump tomorrow.
My poison ivy is better but still itchy all over my stomach.  It helps if I run and sweat the nasty poison out.  Then I scrub it with a special salt wash, apply benadryl cream, take an anti-histamine, and spray with a special spray.  This must happen every 3 hours or terrible whaling and gnashing of teeth will occur.
I got off-topic.
I picked the kids up from school at 2:45 so we could chat and have a snack before I went to coach Cope’s 7th and 8th grade soccer team.  I am lucky that 1) I am a co-coach and only coach a few times a week, and 2) The practice is at the school so Nelson, Brynne, and Paige can play at the playground.  We go until 5 and it’s a little long for them.  I need tasty/healthy/bribery ideas.  I love the team though.  They are really great kids with some great athletism!  We have such a nice little school.
We are off and running.  Activities are keeping all of us hopping like mad.  There are lunches and snacks to be made, paperwork galore, homework already, dates filling up the calendar, piano to try and fit in.  The time has come.  Another year of school has started.  We passed Highland Lake and I said, “Say good-bye to summer, kids.”
“Good-bye,” they all yelled.
“What a happy summer this has been, ” thought Anne…and then recalled with a little pang something she had heard Aunt Highland Kitty of the Upper Glen say once….”the same summer will never be coming twice.” 
– l.m. Montgomery (Anne of Ingleside)
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