T’was the Night Before School Starts…

standard August 21, 2013 1 response

T’was the night before school starts, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, except maybe the cat, who was hunting a fly,
The backpacks were hung by the front door on hooks,
Filled with snacks, pencils, and shiny new notebooks.

The children were all snuggled down in their beds,
While visions of desks and recess danced in their heads.
And me in my nighty and daddy in his shorts stomped all our feet,
While planning healthy lunches the children would maybe, hopefully, be willing to eat.

When up on the roof there arose such a clatter,
I ran out the door to see what was the matter.
Off down the drive I sprinted like mad,
To holler at the critters who were being so bad.

The blue moon above, shone brightly down on me,
As the squirrels peered down while laughing with glee.
“Don’t you dare wake the children!” I hissed to the night,
“They need all their sleep or tomorrow’ll be tight.”

Silence once restored I went back to my stove,
To again shake my head at the snack treasure trove.
One will eat sandwiches, the other will not.
One will munch on veggies, which I probably should have bought.

The clock ticked on loudly, a constant reminder,
That, long before I was ready, the sky would turn lighter.
I gave up on lunch ideals and reasoned with fear,
That full bellies mattered, not winning Mom of the Year.

As I trudged up to bed, after doing some laundry,
I bid a fond farewell to long summer days.
After dusting it off I set my alarm,
And heaved a sigh of relief as I lowered my arm.

The morning with it would bring tears and delights,
Breakfast and pictures of all pearly whites.
After driving to school, with tears in their eyes,
The moms will stand there all waving goodbyes.

And then they’ll all turn, as if of one mind,
And they’ll race from the school,
To Starbucks, the gym, or back to their beds,
To savor their first taste of freedom since early in May.

As they hurry away they might hear from behind,
“Happy first day of school! And to all a great year!”

9 Reasons I’m Sad Summer is Ending

standard August 20, 2012 3 responses

Summer vacation draws to a close on Wednesday morning bright and early at 8:15. And, well, I’m just not ready. There are 9 whole reasons why and only one small thing keeping from locking the doors and pretending that it’s not time for real shoes and new backpacks filled with crisp and new school supplies.

1) I seriously only just got the hang of summer. Between the traveling, the activities, and the children who are used to being constantly entertained or told what to do, last week I realized that we have only just now hit our summer stride. It’s lovely and I would like to enjoy it some more please.

This is what summer is all about!

2) We haven’t done all of the things we were going to do. You know, the things. Not quite sure what things exactly since we didn’t have a plan, but I know there was more we wanted to do. Like, uh, strawberry picking! And uh, uh, whatever, we would have found things to do if we’d had more time!

3) I don’t want to organize the kids’ clothes. I like that they can just pull shorts and t-shirts out of the (mostly clean) hamper and just go. People have grown. Pants are too short. And I hate taking them shopping. Hate, hate, hate it. Especially shoe shopping with Little L who is obsessed with shoes and won’t ever leave a shoe store. And of course she’s the one who needs new, practical shoes, because every pair of shoes that I have caved and agreed to buy her this summer is supremely impractical and not acceptable for school.

4) Do we really have to stop swimming? I liked all of our afternoons at the pool. It was fun to sit and work while the kids swam, jumped, dove, and just splashed around. Who’s going to distract me from my work while they’re in class? Who’s going to ask me to videotape their latest exploits? (Not the cat, that’s who. He just sleeps all day.)

The goal for the summer was to get the kids swim safe. Diving is a pure bonus.

5) OK, I have secret to share with you. I love to sleep. Wait. That wasn’t a secret at all, anyone who’s ever read this blog knows how much I love to sleep, but the whole school starts at 8:15 thing is grim and I can’t quite wrap my brain around it. In order to go to the YMCA before the kids go to school and have time to shower, make lunch for C, braid Little L’s hair, and get everyone out the door on time, I think I have to wake up at 6, which is two hours earlier than I’ve been getting up during the summer weekdays and three hours before I get up on the weekend. Oh sleep, how I will miss you.

6) It is going to be so quiet here during the mornings. And I’m going to seriously enjoy the quiet, but at the same time, I really, really, really enjoy enjoy the happy sounds of the kids playing together in their playroom or outside. The happy sounds. The crabby, snappy, cranky sounds I can’t say I’ll miss a whole lot, but the happy sounds yes. It has been a real treat to get to spend so much time with the kids at home. For the first time since they started daycare we’ve had long stretches of time together. I quite like having them home and it’s a bummer that they have to be away again.

7) Other than some sibling skirmishes there has been relatively little angst this summer. Since the whole back-to-school thing has started to rear its ugly head, anxiety levels have started rising in both children. Little L is breaking out in tantrums. Lots and lots of tantrums. C is just curling up with angst and is snapping at everyone or just melting down at unexpected times. I already miss the easy-goingness of summer and school hasn’t even started yet. Sigh.

8) OK fine. I’m anxious too. I’ve never been a huge fan of change, or of new things. I’m secretly quite shy so the whole brand new school thing is also stressing me out a bit. Ok. A lot. And I hate packing school lunches. But mostly I’m just shy. (New parent orientation is tonight. Hold me. Please.)

9) I only just busted out my summer shoes! So many cute flip flops that I haven’t had a chance to wear yet! OK, fine, this was just a contrived reason to be sad summer vacation is ending. Because, let’s be honest, this is California, I’ll be wearing flip flops for at least another two if not three months. Really this last one is about hating school lunches. Seriously, C is so picky packing lunches is a daily torture I thoroughly enjoyed not being submitted to for the last two and a half months.Today we stocked up on snacks and other lunchbox-y type things, but Wednesday I get to start playing the “Let’s see where I can hide some protein!” game again. You’d think that by now I’d be good at it, but since she keeps changing the rules on me, I never quite seem to master it.

And the one reason I’m not despondent about the end of summer vacation?
Last night I sat at my desk and made a bubble outline type-thing of everything I hope to accomplish this Fall. There is so much I’m excited to tackle: getting my novel self-published, working on the new one, plans for Splash Creative Media, and so much more. It’s a lot. It’s quite overwhelming. But at the same time, it’s really exciting and I’m a little thrilled to finally put the lazier days of summer behind me so I can roll up my sleeves* and get to work.

Plus, school supplies being on sale means I can buy new notebooks. I’m a sucker for new notebooks. They make everything seem fun again.

*Figurative sleeves, you know, since it is still August and in the 80s here so really I’m still wearing t-shirts and tanks to go with my flip flops…

Not Ready for the Summer to Wind-down

standard August 8, 2012 1 response

The fleeting thought that we were finally getting into the swing of summer crossed my mind this afternoon as I pulled into the driveway after the kids’ swim lessons.

The kids have finally come to grips with the fact that every minute of their every day doesn’t have to be hyper scheduled. They’ve started to get that “being home” is the new norm and that they’re expected to entertain themselves during that time. 

I’ve finally figured out that one scheduled activity per day – be that a playdate or a sports class – is a pretty good average.

Everyone has cottoned on to the fact that I’m going to make them nap every afternoon. Whether that means actual sleep or just reading quietly in bed is going to vary, but quiet time will prevail.

I finally figured out how to get the kids to do their summer worksheets. (10c a page. Not a side. A page. Works two ways, one they do their work, two C stops begging me for ideas on how to earn money.)

And I think we’re all loving this new lower key existence.

So of course on her way to the mailbox C spotted an acorn on the ground and inside the mailbox she found a bunch of catalogs touting backpacks and other back-to-school goodness.

I feel like that kid who just started having fun two seconds before mom says it’s time to go. Think if I start to kick and scream and beg for just five more minutes the fall and the start of school will hold off a bit longer?

Yeah, didn’t think so either.

Starting the Back-to-school with a funny if not so sweet memory

standard August 7, 2012 1 response

C is my independent child. Little L, not so much, she’s more my little barnacle. But that’s not pertinent to this story.

No, this story, is about C’s first day of school. Her very first day as a big 2-year-old, getting ready to head off to preschool by herself for the very first time.

Look how big and ready she looked!

She knew the place well, her school was located where I worked. She knew the teacher, she knew the classrooms. And she couldn’t be more excited to be starting school.

We pulled into the parking lot right on time (a miracle that would not be repeated often that year…) and as soon as I had unbuckled her she was off, little wheely backpack bouncing behind her. I dove into the car to pull Little L’s infant car seat out, but before I was fully out, C had turned back, and, one hand on her hip, was imperiously telling me that she didn’t need me to accompany her to her classroom.

I gaped at her for a moment and then stammered out that yes, yes I did indeed need to accompany her to preschool, if only to sign her in for the morning. She actually rolled her tiny eyes at me and stalked off ahead. I sighed and followed.

Don’t worry, I got my fill of tearful goodbyes when Little L finally started school. In hindsight, the 2-going-on-12 attitude wasn’t as heartbreaking as it felt that day.

Three years later and it was Little L’s turn to start school for the first time!

Since that first day, even though we’ve had quite a few first days of school, our back-to-school routine still isn’t, well, routine. C went to two different preschools before starting Kindergarten, this year she’ll be heading to 2nd grade at yet another school. Little L is more fortunate in that she’s only ever been to the one preschool, but she also gets to start a new school this fall.

But still. New school, new routine.

Luckily a new location doesn’t mean that the basics change. Everyone still needs a new backpack. (Yes, even though I went for the more “expensive” option last year in the hopes that it would last us a few years.) Everyone needs a new, not moldy, lunchbox. And everyone definitely needs shoes and clothes that fit.

Every year I make this big show of dragging the kids to big-box stores to get their opinions on what new things they want. Then, when no one can decide on any of the sub-par options, I go home and order everything online.

Hurray for eBay!

Do you know how many cool lunchboxes you can score on eBay? Or how many backpack options they offer? And let’s not even talk about the clothing that you could find for your little scholars!

When you too are over the whole back-to-school crowds check out the back-to-school offerings on eBay. I guarantee you’ll find something you covet.

eBay is really bring the back-to-school fun! 
Check out these four social events they’ve cooked up to make the season brighter.

1) Join us on August 14th from 12pm-2pm PST for a super fun #eBaySchool Twitter Party where we will discuss lots of fun ways to stay sane during this rather hectic time of year. The Twitter party is being held at www.ebay.com/schoolparty. You must first RSVP at that location and also tweet from that URL to be eligible to win any of the 8 $25 eBay gift cards being awarded during the two hour event.

2) Pinterest Backpack Sweeps – 7/25-8/31 – Is your kid heading back to school? eBay’s Back to School Pinterest Sweepstakes will award daily winners a $100 eBay Gift Card to shop for their back to school essentials on eBay.com.

3) Pinterest Dorm Room Sweeps – 7/25-8/1 – Are you or your child heading to college? eBay is holding a Pinterest sweepstakes where one Grand Prize winner will receive a $5,000 eBay Shopping Spree toward a dorm room makeover. 

4) Facebook Instant Win Game – 8/1-8/31 – Play the eBay What’s In Your Backpack Instant Win Game for a chance to win a $50 eBay Gift Card to do some back to school shopping. Hurry, sweeps ends August 31, 2012!

Please note: eBay is a Splash Creative Media client and this is a compensated post. My endless passion for eBay is all mine and was highlighted by the lovely email they sent me last month congratulating me for celebrating my 8th anniversary of shopping with them. Eight. Years. Who knows how much I’ve managed to spend there over the last 8 years….