Back to School, Part Deux

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 2 Comments A+ a-

Well, yesterday we dropped Reagan off for her first day of preschool.  I held it together.  We posed for pictures, until she could no longer stand the excitement and demanded that we get in the car.  Ashlynn, of course, made sure she carried her backpack too.

Reagan1 MamaReagan ReaganWords

Then came time to get her situated in class and leave.  And I could tell by the grip she had on my leg that we were in for a bad minute.  I looked at Jon, my eyes conveying what I knew was coming.  And as soon as I unwound her arms from my leg, the crying began.  And I wanted to pick her up and carry her out of there.  But I also knew with as much certainty that Miss Reagan is always fine within 5-10 minutes after I drop her off anywhere.

But Miss Mary, with whom we have history and LOVE, came up behind me.  “I’m right here, Jenn.  I’m right behind you and she’s going to be ok,” she assured me.  And I knew it was time, like ripping off a bandaid.  I left my third born crying hysterical tears and begging for me.  Thankfully Miss Mary had Reagan in her arms and was already soothing her.

AshlynnAnd then as luck would have it, the crying didn’t stop there.  As soon as we pulled into the garage, Ashlynn started crying hysterically too.  I could barely make out the words in-between sobs and hiccups.  But eventually, as we laid down together for naptime, I finally understood.  “Ima a big girl.  I go school too.  Ima  a big girl!”  And my heart broke into a million pieces.  Ash finally fell asleep in a mass of sweaty tendrils, a tear and snot stained face, exhausted from her emotions.  Sweet baby girl, Mama needs a little more time with you before sending you off into the world.  This parenting thing is not for wimps…

When she woke, we made popcorn and read a few books.  Before we knew it, it was time to pick up the kids from school.  We pulled into the parking lot just in time to watch Reagan’s class walk in from recess.  And wouldn’t you know it, Reagan was having the time of her life.  Smiling and laughing with the other kids, not a tear in sight.  Miss Mary assured me the tears lasted only a matter of minutes, as I knew they would.

Well, we did it.  We survived (barely) the return of school.  Dear Lord, PLEASE let it be a good year.  Please.

1st Day of School, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 4 Comments A+ a-

Its here, the first day of school.  And I can say with certainty, the morning of the first day of school is not fun.  Not so much…  There’s just a general sense of chaos.  But after much panicking over lost shoes, socks, and a hairband that was “right there last night, Mama!”, I can say that we finally got everyone off to school.

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DevynWords HudsonWords
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MommyLittles DaddyLittles
Random side note.  I believe Ashlynn is fully convinced she’s going to school too.  She insisted on bringing her backpack to drop them off… It probably didn’t help that when Nana took the older kids shopping for school clothes, she also bought something for Ashlynn too.  I’m a little worried how she’ll do when we start dropping Reagan off next week.

End of Summer… Stuff

Monday, August 19, 2013 4 Comments A+ a-

 
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I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a summer as much as I have this one.  There’s something to be said about having older Littles and not being tied down by baby schedules.  As hard as its been to say goodbye to the young family stage, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of the swimming, lake, and hiking day trips we’ve taken.  Ashlynn still needs an afternoon nap, but we can be a lot more flexible as to when.  She rocked the flexibility part.

As my sister, Courtney, put it “Tan + Smiling + Active = Happy Summer”.  I’m really sad to say goodbye to summer… I’m just not quite ready for fall.  Which is saying a lot for me.

The movie, Flicka, came out in 2006.  And with it, Tim McGraw’s song, “My Little Girl.”  Once Jon heard it, it was immediately dubbed “Devyn and Daddy’s Song.”  Jon and I both get choked up when we hear it…  Within the past few weeks, we were re-introduced to the movie and the song when Aunt Alli gave the Littles a copy.  I loved hearing Devyn tell a friend about her and Daddy’s song, and when Jon heard it again for the first time in a long time, I noticed he had to stop singing halfway through the chorus. 

All of the Littles have grown up so much this summer, but most noticeably Devyn Paige.   She has grown several inches and we’ve gotten several comments that she looks older than she is.  Jon and I were told that it goes fast, and even though we’re in the midst of raising her, its bittersweet to see how fast it really goes.

I put together a not-so-quick video of Devyn from birth to now, featuring Jon and Devyn’s song + Darius Rucker’s “It Won’t Be Like This For Long.”

Hudson lost his first tooth last night.  I find it a little ironic that both Devyn and Hudson lost their first tooth during the summer before their first grade year.  I wonder if that tradition will follow suit for Reagan and Ashlynn.

He’d been wiggling the tooth for quite some time, and last night when Jon asked to see it, I knew what was coming.  Too bad Hudson had no clue.  Ha!

One yank and there was a hole in my baby’s mouth.  Poor guy bled a ton!  But I think the $5 the Tooth Fairy made up for it.  Also, the $5 is just for the first tooth.  The price of teeth goes down considerably after that.
Lost Tooth, Hudson

As sad as I am to say goodbye to summer, there are a few things that I’m looking forward to:

  • A return to a regular schedule/routine.
  • A weekly bible study time.  I am DESPERATE for this time again.
  • Having one child in the afternoon, 4x a week.  Especially since its her nap time.  I may actually be able to get this house in order again.  We’ll see…
  • Cooler temps.  I’m not ready for winter yet!  But I am looking forward to crisper mornings and the return of Pumpkin Spice everything.
  • Some exciting developments underway with another blog designer.
  • Its going to be a good year…  I just know it!
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These are my parents.  They celebrated 35 years of marriage in May.  35 years of marriage!  I’m so thankful for their testimony of marriage and the hard work it takes to keep it going.

They’re leaving next month for two weeks in Alaska and on an Alaskan cruise.  They’re going to be gone for my birthday… but whatever, I’m not their favorite anyway. *cough* Courtney *cough*

Honestly, I’m thrilled for them and can’t wait to hear about the trip!  It was originally planned for last summer but, well, we all know how that turned out.  I know they’re going to have a wonderful time!

I Was Not Prepared

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 4 Comments A+ a-

The manila envelope arrived in our mail earlier this week.  After a quick glance at the return address, I knew exactly what it was and what it meant.  I didn’t even bother to wait until I got home to open the packet.  I opened in the parking lot of a local store.  I glanced through the papers and saw the words:“We’re happy to let you know that Reagan has been accepted into the Early Childhood Program.”

And my heart sank.  I was in no way prepared for that answer.

When we turned in the paperwork to get Reagan registered for preschool, we were told that the program was full and there was little hope that Reagan would get to attend the program.  While I cautioned Reagan against getting excited for school, I realized that I was actually happy to have an extra year with Reagan at home.  I’d even started to research some preschool curriculum that we could tackle at home.  Nothing extreme or intense, but enough that Reagan would have the same basics she’d have learned at school.  I was looking forward to having it just be Reagan and Ashlynn at home with me this year.

So this news blindsided me.

When I got back home, I waved the manila packet at Jon.  “She got in,” I told him.  He smiled in triumph and when we told Reagan, she erupted into cheers.  She ran downstairs screaming, “Devyn, Devyn!  I get to go school with you!  I get to go to school!”  And we laughed at her excitement.

But later, once the Littles were all tucked into bed and Jon and I were sitting on the couch together, I let the sadness back in and it settled around my heart.  As I reflected on the new change of plans, tears gathered in my eyes and spilled over my cheeks.  I hastily wiped them away, as surprised by them as Jon was.  I hadn’t reacted this way when Devyn and Hudson went to preschool.  Sure I was misty-eyed, sad that they were ready for this new milestone, but I was always excited for them.

I haven’t felt this intense need to say no before.  I haven’t felt this deep desire to keep her home, just one more year.  Oh, the temptation!

I just wish I understood where these feelings were coming from…  Could it be that I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom most of Reagan’s life, and I wasn’t with Devyn or Hudson?  Could it be that we’re entering a new era with 75% of our Littles in school?  Could it be that we’ve taken two big steps toward a new phase, one that brings us out of the “young” family category?  I’m guessing it’s a mixture of all of them.  I have a post brewing about what its like stepping over that line from young family to a family with school-aged children.

But for tonight, this post is about letting go of Reagan for 4 days a week, three hours a day.  Its about letting her grow a bit more independent and feel like one of the big kids.  Its about letting another piece of my heart walk into the big, wide world, and becoming ok with it.  Because right now, I’m not ok with it.  Not even a little.  I want my Irish Lass at home with me…

Reagan CollageBut its not about me, as I often remind myself; its what is best for them.  And this is what’s best for Miss Rea.  I’m just going to miss her like crazy!

In This Moment

Thursday, August 01, 2013 2 Comments A+ a-

It's midnight and Hudson and Reagan are awake with me.  I'm awake because I wasn't thinking when I drank that Red Bull at 8:00pm.  The middle two are awake because I made them take naps earlier today.  Both are completely my bad.

But this moment is not shouted the why, but about the joy of watching these two play together.  These two, my second and third born, are as opposite as two siblings can get.  Hudson sees everything in black and white, right or wrong.  For Reagan, everything is gray.  She is a free spirit.  There will be many, many times when they will not get along, or see eye to eye.  But that moment is not now...

Reagan is currently delivering Hudson's wife's babies on our kitchen table.  She tells the imaginary woman that she's going to have a baby and that she's doing great.  Seconds later, Hudson brings me a baby doll, tenderly places it in my arms, and proudly asks, "Do you like my baby?  Isn't she beautiful?"

I listen as one chooses to be the doctor and the other chooses to be a nurturer.  I giggle to myself when I hear Hudson insist that Reagan must wash her hands before holding his babies.  I wonder how the experience with their preemie cousin has affected them, especially when Hudson carries around a pretend oxygen tank for his smallest baby.  I can't help but think I'm catching a small glimpse into our future.

"Do you think I'll be a good daddy?" he asks me.  I look at his brown eyes, the smattering of freckles across his cheeks and nose, I know the depth of his affection and tenderness, and without hesitating I answer, "Of course, Baby!"

I could obsess over the parenting fails that are happening at the moment, knowing these middle two should have been asleep for hours at this point.  Or I could just soak this moment in and store it away for a night of nostalgic memories once they've grown. 

I'm choosing the latter.