Friday, August 28, 2015

First Day of Kindergarten

My baby Harper had his first day of Kindergarten today. I’ve been talking to him about this day for awhile now, trying to prepare him to the best of my ability, and I honestly think he was ready to go this morning…but, no amount of preparation could have prepared me for the loss I felt when he stepped onto that bus.

I remember being so excited when Zoe went to Kindergarten. I worked at her daycare at the time and Kindergarten just felt like the natural transition from daycare/preschool. She was so ready and eager and I was so young and enthusiastic; it was great for both of us! I got her a special outfit for the day, put her hair into pigtails and took pictures as she waited for the bus, boarded the bus and then when she was seated on the bus. I waved goodbye and then I ran to my car and followed the bus to her new school where I got out and took more pictures! One of her getting off the bus, one as she waited in line to go to her classroom, one of her in her new room…and then all of us parents were kindly asked to leave. I did leave and there wasn’t a trace of sadness in my steps, just a little bounce of pride as I walked away knowing that I’d been successful in getting my kiddo into big kid school. She was happy and I was happy.

Things were a bit different for Landon. He wasn’t a daycare kid but a stay at home with mom kid. He and I were buddies and we spent all of our days together. When he was four he attended a preschool program at one of the high schools. The kids there were great and the program was fun but Landon had a difficult time adjusting and cried at drop off for a very long time. It was hard to leave him each time but I kept bringing him back because the teachers all assured me that he was very happy and active once I was out of sight. When it came time for Kindergarten he cried every day at the bus stop and just like preschool I was told that he was fine as soon as the bus pulled away and I was out of sight. I felt so guilty making him get on that bus every day, but after only a few days he stopped crying and seemed really happy to go to school. There were days that I volunteered at his school and I’d let him ride with me to school instead of taking the bus and he loved that! I think it made him feel special to get to have his mom at school and I loved that. He was happy and I was happy.

Now, here we are again at this monumental occasion and I just didn’t know how things were going to go. Harper kept telling me he was ready and I kept telling him the things he needed to know: Your teachers name is Mrs. MacCreadie. You ride bus 18. You’ll bring your lunch every day and eat it in the cafeteria. You’ll get to play on the playground with kids your own age. You’ll be gone a long time and go to school 5 days a week. Your momma loves you! Your momma loves you. Your momma loves you…

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I was a bit manic this morning. When Harper got out of bed I got him going right away; as long as I was busy I didn’t have to think. He got dressed and had breakfast, brushed his teeth and got his shoes on. I packed his lunch and made sure everything he needed was in his backpack. I rechecked his back pack. I went over the things he needed to know. I explained how we’d walk to the bus and he’d get on and I’d wave and then be there to get him off the bus at the end of the day. I checked his bag one last time. And then it was about 7:30am and we didn’t need to leave the house for another 25 minutes.

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So, while I was a mess of nerves, Harper pulled out a board game to play. He, Tony and Dakota played a round and I paced. I picked up toys. I checked my email, washed a few dishes, bit my nails. Paced and kept checking the clock.

Around 7:45 I decided we’d better go outside to get our first day photo’s. I printed out a little “first day of Kindergarten” sign for him to hold and outside we went.

I tried one spot but the pictures were coming out dark so I asked him to stand over in the grass a little. He tripped over his own feet and fell into the dewy grass getting his sign wet in the process…it was almost a catastrophe until I remembered that it wasn’t a catastrophe but a slightly damp piece of paper. The adorable little boy was still there and the message was still there.

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The walk to the bus felt like it took an eternity. Harper and I held hands all the way to the bus stop and I’m not sure who needed who’s hand more. (Thankfully, Tony was home and he carried Dakota down to the bus. I don’t think I could have done it all alone this morning.) I felt like I was practically dragging him and I’m not sure if I really was or if it was in my imagination. We hadn’t been at the bus stop too long before the bus pulled up. I imagined the bus driver would be kind and say hello and give Harper a little guidance, but none of that happened.

Once the older kids jumped on the bus Harper looked back at me and I grabbed his hand to help him board. I asked the driver if Kindergartener’s were to sit up front and he kind of grunted an “uh-huh” at me. I didn’t do much to ease my fears but I told Harper to just go ahead and sit in the seat behind the driver. He was barely in his seat (and I was barely off the bus) before the driver snapped the doors closed and pressed on the gas…I waved to my baby as they pulled away but I know he couldn’t see me as he was on the opposite side of the bus. Dakota wanted to know why she couldn’t get on the bus and go to school with Harper and she asked when he was going to come back home several times. It was difficult for her too.

I made it all the way home before I let a single tear fall. I didn’t want Harper to see me upset and I didn’t really want Dakota to see it either. I need them to know that they’re okay without me and vice versa, so I saved it till I could cry alone in my bathroom. I knew that I was going to have to keep myself very busy today so that I wouldn’t worry about my little guy all day long. As soon as I came to that conclusion I told Tony we were going to head to the mall for a little while.

We let the little squirt ride some rides and took her to the play area for a bit. She’s getting a little big for playing in the mall play area, but she was so happy to be there! We made a pit stop in the Lego store too and when she saw that little Lego guy she asked me if I had my camera and if I did could I take her picture! Smile

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We had lunch at the food court and attempted to get Landon’s phone fixed, (cracked screen) did a little fall clothes shopping and then headed home. I knew that my little miss was going to need a nap since she’d been up so early that morning so I put her in my bed and waited for her to fall asleep while I read.

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Around 3:15 we ran out the door and down to the bus stop to get Harper from the bus. We got to the bus stop right as the bus pulled up and I couldn’t wait to see that little guy get off the bus!

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I was thrilled that he came off the bus with a big smile! He came running down the steps, gave Dakota a little half hug and then ran straight to me for a big hug and kiss! After I’d hugged him ten times he finally got to run to his dada who was waiting to give him some hugs and kisses and a popsicle. (Dada’s always gotta out do me!)

As we walked home Harper told us a little about what school had been like and he told us that he’d had a fun day. I told him that we’d missed him and he said he’d missed us too. He said it felt like a really long time away from home and that he didn’t get a very long time to play on the playground. He said he got to go to art and he made an apple using torn paper and glue. He said a little boy in his class had cried and that he hadn’t used the bathroom all day. He told me his teacher was nice.

I guess his day went about as well as I could have hoped. I think that I’m going to be okay but I think it’s going to take me awhile to adjust…I think it may actually be easier for Harper than it is for me. I think I’m REALLY going to have a hard time letting Dakota go to preschool…

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Howard County Fair, 2015

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The Howard County Fair was held a few weeks ago and once I heard it was running I told Tony we should take the kids. We ended up going on a weeknight instead of the weekend to try to avoid crowds but it didn’t work. It was as crowded as ever but we still managed to have a really good time.
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The little kids were happy to get on the little tractors. I was glad they got on together and that Tony and I were able to just watch instead of getting on with them! I’m sure Landon was thankful he didn’t have to try to squeeze on those little things either!
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When I saw this big swing I thought they’d both ride it too, but Dakota wasn’t having it. I was really surprised when Harper decided to hop on since he’s usually the one who doesn’t want anything to do with rides.
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We had corn dogs and cheese fries for dinner and the kids washed everything down with frozen juice drinks. The kids played some games and used up all the tickets we bought (a first).


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Before we left we walked through and looked at some animals. We didn’t feel like looking at all the cows this time though and went in to see the chickens instead. I don’t know why exactly, but Harper and Dakota thought the chickens were hilarious! They laughed and laughed the whole time we were in there. Landon wanted to bring one home. He’s got a thing for chickens I guess.
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Near the exit there were a bunch of bunnies. There was one out on a table and we were able to pet it as we walked by. The kids really loved that! And, since the chicken thing didn’t work out, Landon then asked if we could get a bunny. Smile Didn’t happen.
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We really had a great time at the fair and we talked about going to the state fair as we left. I’ve never been to the Maryland state fair but I think this might just be the year we go. (It starts tomorrow!) We’ve also got our own county fair to go to later in September…and Renaissance Fest starts this weekend…and we still need to hit the aquarium again…and then there’s all the fall festivals to attend. Our calendar is about to be PACKED!

People Mix

Tony and I have always taken turns putting the two little kids to bed at night. Right now they’re still bathing together and then he takes one and I take the other for teeth brushing and book reading, alternating nights.

Dakota fusses every time it’s ‘'dada night”. She ALWAYS wants it to be momma night but I feel like it’s important that we continue to switch nights so that each kid gets a little one on one with each of us.

Tonight, as Tony was getting her out of the bath, she asked who’s night it was for her. When he told her it was his night she started crying and carrying on like she does every night. It doesn’t matter what we say, she goes on and on and cries until he finally just takes her in her room and closes the door…and then she immediately stops and gives up the fight. She’s always happy when he reads to her too so I don’t know why she has to make it such a hassle every night.

But, tonight, she tried coming up with a solution and said she wanted to have a “momma and dada night”. Tony said you want me and mommy tonight and she said “yeah, I want a people mix”.

That girl is brilliant! And funny, too! She didn’t get her “people mix” as I wanted to spend some time with Harps but I have to give her some credit for coming up with such an awesome solution and a fun play on words!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Formal Night/ Meet the Captain

Dakota was so ready for these pictures but everyone was giving her conflicting information about where to stand and what not so she ended up shutting down and wouldn’t open her eyes for the pictures. I just held her and we went ahead with it.

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After the pictures on the steps we headed into the dining room for dinner. There were more pictures taken at the table.

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After dinner, since we hadn’t had much luck with the large group photo, Tony, myself and the two little kids went out to try to get a few pictures. It sucks that Zoe and Landon aren’t in these. We didn’t know if Dakota was even going to cooperate with us but of course she did and the pictures turned out pretty good. If Zoe and Landon had been seated at the same dining table as we were they would have been finished dinner at the same time and would have been in these with us.

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Formal night was the same evening that we could meet the captain of our ship, so we ventured over to meet Captain Henrick Loy from Norway. Why Harper needed to hold onto Tony’s ear for this picture is a mystery. Smile

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Kindergarten Conference

Harper and I attended his Kindergarten conference this afternoon. It wasn’t a big deal really, but it was just a good opportunity to sit one on one with the teacher to discuss what’s coming up.

I’m not positive I’m thrilled about his teacher this year, but I’ll just save the judgment until after I see how she does with him and the class for awhile.

She was running a bit behind with the parent ahead of us so we ended up sitting in the hallway for about 25 minutes waiting for our appointment.

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Harper practiced opening his locker a few dozen times and then made up a game that we played for awhile. Just when I was starting to wonder when he’d tire of that game I spotted a basket of books, phew! We were on our second one when the teacher finally called us in.

We went over his strength’s and weaknesses, how he’d be getting to school each day, who he lived with and if there were any issues that the teacher should be aware of etc. While we talked he sat at a little table behind me and worked on a few puzzles she had out. Our meeting only lasted about 15 minutes and we were on our way.

His first day of school is Friday and I am really doing my best to be ready for it. I keep talking with him about what to expect and I’m doing my best to be cheerful and excited, but I’ll admit that it’s tough to fake. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how this all pans out on Friday when he gets on that big school bus for the first time. Wish us luck!

Vacation 2015, Day 3

Our second day on the ship was a full day at sea. There are ton’s of things to do on that big ol’ ship but I’m prone to motion sickness so I spent too much of that day feeling drowsy from the med’s I took. It was hard to coordinate with everyone else too because of the lack of cell service which meant no texting. (It’s very strange to be so disconnected!)

We all ended up finding each other on the pool deck just before lunch time.

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Then we all headed to the Windjammer for lunch.

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After lunch there was the men’s belly flop competition. Apparently everyone on the boat wanted to watch this silliness and by the time we got out to the pool deck the only way we could really see was on the big TV.

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I did get one okayish shot though…

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That guy didn’t win though, he was too dang skinny.

My brother, Zoe and Landon found a bit better viewing point on the upper deck:

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We all kept busy the rest of the day doing different things. Tony and I took the kids to the arcade and we did a little more exploring what there was to do on the boat. Before dinner I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer so I took another mid day nap while the kids took a break with their iPad’s.

Then, it was formal night in the dining room, so we all got ready for that.

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Once everyone was done getting dressed we went downstairs to get in line for formal pictures on the stairs. The line wasn’t moving very fast and Dakota asked me to dance, so we hit the dance floor.

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And then there were more pictures…

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I’ll post our formal professional pictures in the next vacation post, there are many.

Dinner that night was wonderful and if was fun to get dressed up for a bit. My kids, all of them, really enjoy getting dressed up. Harper insisted on wearing his tie on the outside of his vest. Dakota insisted on putting her shoes on by herself and she must have twirled her skirt a dozen times. Landon chose his shirts and ties before we left and even got to wear a set of cuff links one night. Zoe has always loved dressing up for a night out…for as long as I can remember.

After dinner we all went to the show. It was singing and dancing and despite Dakota being painfully tired, she sat up and watched the entire thing. As soon as it was over, we headed to our room for the night. When we got to our room we found a towel creature on our bed and the two kiddo’s were thrilled!

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They zonked out in no time that night and it was a good thing because when we woke up the next day we were in Labadee, Haiti!

My Helpful Second Grader

I am so proud of this little boy. He comes home every day from school, pulls out his homework and gets to work. I never have to ask him...