Back to School

  

We had Back to School night tonight for two of our kids. I actually really enjoyed this event for several reasons.

I loved seeing all the parents together and running into friends in the halls.

I loved sitting in the spaces where my children spend their days without me and knowing what it looks and feels like.

I liked hearing the voices of their teachers and listening to their tones and listening to what they were trying to communicate. 

I liked comparing the different styles that each teacher presented and wondering if I would enjoy their class every day or not.

I liked walking the path between passing periods to each of the classrooms that my kids visit every day. I could visualize where they are and what they might do.

I enjoyed gathering information and college guidance and learning about what they will be learning this year.

We have a great school and a great, well-connected community and I am thankful for this opportunity.

How do you like your school(s)?

The Power of Nothing

I was happy to do nothing today.

image

Doing nothing is quite powerful. Having quiet space to do absolutely nothing felt exciting to me.

I didn’t make any plans except to get a pedicure right before the kids got out of school.  I wanted the day to unfold without an agenda except to get the house back in order and without rushing or being interrupted every five minutes.

It felt so good to read the paper this morning and to shop online. I had four hours to do nothing and I filled them up with joy and structure and organization.

After I had my hours of solitude, I was ready for the chaos to return. This is how I always feel. I want a break from the routine and then I want my routine back.

I was happy that the kids were back at school and then I wanted them home again with me. Sooo ironic! That yin and yang thing is every where I go!

I love this balanced life!

xoxo

Back to School Finally!

  

The summer honors assignments are done.

Hell week is over for their sport teams.

Constant needs and demands will now occur before 8 am and after 2 pm.  The house will stay organized and neat for greater periods of time.

Driving continuously around town between 8 am and 8 pm will slow down now with a few less trips.

Summer ends today according to our school calendar. We visited the doctor, made lunches for the teachers, bought new shoes and enjoyed our friends while making homemade pizzas and pretzels. We drove by the school to see the new class lists and went to summer practices. We ordered dinner in and will go to bed early in preparation for our big day tomorrow. 

  
I am grateful for the time we had together this summer. It was a much more challenging year for me with the kids growing up and doing their own thing and needing me to be more of a chauffeur than a playmate. We still enjoyed each other however with less frequency as there were more demands on their time this summer.  I am fully aware that they are becoming more independent and it’s a beautiful thing and challenging too as their adoring mama observes life changing in front of my eyes.

Life is good. I admire each of you and the gifts you each bring to this world. Wishing you all a wonderful new school year, filled with adventure and hard work and friendship, happiness, love and laughter.

xoxo Let the journey continue. We are so lucky! xoxoxoxo

Coffee Break?

I’m so happy the kids are back at school. Did you just raise your glass to cheer me?  Thank you! Cheers to you too.

I actually felt really sad when everyone left to go back to school. For a few minutes. Maybe a little more than a few. I felt the loss of their constant presence, but then of course I wanted to jump for joy.  You know, that yin and yang thing again?  I loved them being home. Yet I longed for quiet and structure and less dishes and laundry and my own agenda and not 4 other people with different ideas. I know you get it.

When everyone is home, there is more chaos, and I have more work to do thank usual. It’s just that the work and demands are constant and there doesn’t seem to be a break. At least when everyone goes to school and work, I can clean up and get things in order and they stay that way at least for a couple hours, and it’s quiet and peaceful. I can workout and shower, shop and volunteer and be back again to do pick up and homework help and taxi driver duties.  I like that little respite and long for it, which is why I was happy when everyone went back to their business and I could do mine.

It’s weird to me though, because I think I want us all together and I do, but then I long for a break again. Maybe that’s normal. I don’t want a long break. Just enough to get everything back in order again – to restock the fridge, cook a little with no one walking in the kitchen and interrupting or making their own food, and getting all the clutter back to where it belongs.  

2015/01/img_4013.jpgplaying with carrots before roasting them tonight

2015/01/img_4014.jpg

As I put it into words, I feel a bit neurotic, because I’m a stay at home mom who wants to be home with her family, yet I want them to all go away? That’s weird. I don’t really want them to go away for long, but I already mentioned that. I think you get it.

So once everyone went back, I got back to my normal and that felt really good. I have a routine again and this routine provides structure to my days. I know what to expect and things just kinda flow.  I feel like I can do my job and this gives me purpose and I feel successful, if that makes any sense.

I am thankful for my family and my job and my quiet time and when they all come back into the mix again. I love my people and I wouldn’t change a thing. I love our togetherness, and I now know that I also need some space and I think that’s healthy. We all need a coffee break.

Can you relate?

Life is good.  What provides structure and purpose in your life?

Anxiety and Back to School

You’d think I’d be excited for the kids to go back to school tomorrow, yet I’m filled with anxiety and mixed feelings.

Of course, I’m ready for my “vacation” to begin, as we’ve had a ton of togetherness these past ten weeks, yet I’m filled with a sense of loss and I always feel like this before a big change.

I start seriously nesting and feeling like I have to reorganize, sort and declutter and buy everything new. We bought new shoes for all three kids today for their first day tomorrow. I think it’s cute that they picked matching Vans.

20140817-214720-78440413.jpg
Backpacks are filled and we’ve got special snacks for back to school filled lunch bags.

We started reading more and practicing Chemistry. Just a little more practice so they aren’t too rusty before returning to “work.”

New outfits have been laid out and we had a relatively quiet day, just spending the day together as a family before the mad dash at 6 am tomorrow morning.

I’m planning on making breakfast burritos when they wake up and take pictures before they head off.

And to fend off the anxiety, I got out a board game to play with the younger two before we ended the day. We had fun playing a couple rounds of Sequence.

20140817-215226-78746295.jpg

I know all will be well and they will find their new ways, and hopefully their paths will be smooth with the right classes and good teachers and good friends. I will miss them being home as much as I’ll enjoy the quiet and fewer messes. It’s that yin and yang thing again and feeling of being conflicted. And so it goes.

God bless all the children and mamas and papas as they transition this week and always. Life is a series of transitions. We should be getting good at these!! :-). And thank you to all the teachers we trust to guide and teach our children everyday and the community that supports us along the way.

Have a good school year, everyone!

Namaste

First Day of School at 3 Different Schools

20130819-224816.jpg

I love the first day of school. I love the excitement and thrill that comes from change. I love back to school shopping and picking out new papers and pens and notebooks and clothes. I think I love the sense of newness and wonder and magic associated with starting over, anticipating what is to come. For the kids, they’re excited to find out who their teachers will be and what friends will be in their classes and who they will meet. It’s a bit scary not knowing and so there is a bit of anxiety as they begin again… just enough discomfort to help them keep their eyes open widely and observe and soak up all the newness. I absolutely love it and think they do too. We’ll see.

I loved getting up early and taking the kids to their new schools and helping them find their way, although they didn’t really need me. I just needed to be there a little bit.

Juliana was the first one to drop off at 7:20 am. She stood in line at the middle school quad outside and got her new schedule, and locker assignment. She shared it with me and found her friends, and off Jeff and I went. At lunch time, she texted me to tell me everything was great. And after school, she said how happy she was and excited to return tomorrow. That’s always good news.

Christian was next to drop off at high school!! WTH! That scares me. He’s not ready, I mean I’m not ready for high school. He’s more than ready. I dropped him off, even though he wasn’t sure where the quad was and he found a friend and together they went off to discover where to get their schedules and to settle into high school life. Just like that. His last four years in school are beginning and I’m fully aware of how fast four years goes by. He came home and was missing the ISA, wishing he was still there instead of here. I hope the newness turns into more comfort over the next few day and he finds his new rhythm. I’m sure he will. He did have several good stories to share.

After dropping off Christian, we dropped off the car at home to walk Charlie to elementary school. We anxiously waited at the corner for Jessie and Sydney to walk together. I had a minute to FaceTime with Jen in Amsterdam, and she shared well wishes for Charlie’s first day. That was really cool, especially for me, since I’m still “house” sick for Holland and missing my friends there. 😉 Thanks, Jen!!

Once we began the familiar walk down the street and to the elementary school, I started to feel at home again.

20130819-224959.jpg
It felt right. It felt exciting to be walking and watching and observing our routine, back in step again. I was so happy bringing him back where he wanted to be, like we were giving him a gift. I was excited walking into his classroom, the same classroom and teacher that both Christian and Juliana had before him with one of the best teachers around. I felt comforted and at peace and he was beyond thrilled and happy to be there too, especially with Sydney and Dylan and Thomas in his class. And at our family dinner tonight, he said he couldn’t wait to go back to school again tomorrow. Music to my ears. Don’t we all want our kids to find peace and happiness?

I Am Home.

I Am where we belong.

I Am (almost) content.

Actually, I was happy to drop them off and get them settled and actually had coffee with a friend.

20130819-225120.jpg
We then volunteered at the Junior High School for an hour, and then I did some grocery shopping. But then I felt so sad that they were gone. I wanted them back, noisy and chaotic and all. It’s kind of like when they were babies and I just wanted a break from them, and once I had an hour or two to myself and my thoughts, I was good to go and wanted them back again. The same feeling came over me today.

Yin and Yang.

The good thing that came from that feeling, was that I got the house back in somewhat order before they came home, and went to Trader Joe’s to pick up their favorite orange chicken for dinner tonight and I was well prepared and rested for their return. When I went back to pick them up, I was excited to see them and hear their stories and to love on them again. The joy was back.

And with that, we’re back. Back in school. Back to starting new routines. And ready for the world!

Hope y’all had a great day! I wish you well.

Namaste.

20130819-225310.jpg

Last Day of Summer

20130818-220818.jpg

Today was our last day of summer vacation. The kids all start at three different schools bright and early tomorrow morning. We are all excited and a bit anxious and sad to not be returning to our International School in Amsterdam and seeing all of our friends there again.

We enjoyed a day with friends down at the beach on the Santa Cruz Wharf, where Juliana participated in the Hawaiian Outrigger canoe paddle races.

20130818-215709.jpg
She was invited to try it out last week at Vasona Lake and really enjoyed being on the water with her friends. I think I would love it too, however I loved just watching her and being a proud mama today.

20130818-215800.jpg

20130818-215906.jpg

20130818-220032.jpg
We ate lunch at Woodies on the wharf, and then tried to stay on the beach for awhile, but picked a spot that wasn’t good for swimming and was covered in flies! Jeff had a bit of a cold, so we decided to take off around 2 pm and enjoyed a sandless and flyless drive along the coastline before heading back over the hill.

Of course, I waited until the last minute to get school supplies for the big kids, so we stopped at Target along with the rest of our town. Luckily it wasn’t too painful and we got to catch up with some old friends while scouring the aisles for deals. We spent so much less today than we did in Holland. Things are so much cheaper here and more readily accessible.

The kids got their backpacks and supplies ready and picked out clothes for the first day and laid them out so they would all be ready for the structured morning tomorrow. We shared an early dinner with our family – April and Steve and the girls, and talked about walking to school together in the morning. I can’t wait!

School begins and so does a little bit of quiet time with a few hours to myself! I hope everyone with school aged kids has an easy transition… especially the mamas with college kids beginning!!

Aaaaahhhhh……Namaste!

Preparing for School

In 2 weeks from Monday, the kids return to school. I’m so glad we moved back to the States long before school begins for several reasons. One, it takes longer to resettle than you think and I’m still not there yet. Second, there are lots of doctor, dentist, and school appointments to make and they are spread out and almost done now three weeks into being home. Third, there are several friends and family to visit and reconnect with and relationships take time. I love this part the most and am so thankful for all the visits and hugs and kisses on both cheeks. And finally, well maybe not finally, it’s summer break and kids need to be kids and play and swim and run around the neighborhood without appointments and structured team sports and homework.

Today brought us to the doctor’s office to have the TB test results read and signed off. We then took the results to Christian’s new high school to finish registering him and setting up a counseling appointment. Juliana’s new school wasn’t quite ready for us and told us to come back a week before school starts.

We also went to the DMV, to apply for duplicate driver’s licenses. It took 3 weeks to get an appointment, and you definitely don’t want to go there without an appointment. The line at 9:30 this morning was wrapped around the building! The Netherlands took away our California driver’s license when we applied for a Netherlands license. I don’t quite understand why we couldn’t keep both, but it just wasn’t possible. I’m learning to just go with the flow and jump through hoops.

The rest of the day was more fun. We got new tennis rackets for the kids, baked cookies for the potluck BBq at the swim club, visited with friends, and played some tennis with the kids. We ended the night at the BBQ, chatting with friends and watching the kids swim until after 8 pm. A very full and rewarding day. Thanks to Kris for stopping by for a surprise visit. You made my day!

Life is good.