First Day of School 2014

I always love looking at pictures of kiddos, especially on the first day of school!  I saw so many cute ones of children that we’ve known over the years, but I didn’t get to share ours.  We had a very busy day for the kiddos and for mommy.  Here is our collection and day in review:

 

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First Day of Preschool for Little Miss and First Day of Kindergarten for Mr. Man!

 

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 Little Miss’s First Day of 3 year old Preschool

 

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 Mr. Man’s First Day of Kindergarten.  How did we get here?

 

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 Mr. Man Class of 2027.  That seems outrageous.

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 Waiting for brother’s bus to arrive.

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 I asked him to show me the cookie we bought for his bus driver.

He insisted on showing me his new Lego lunchbox too!

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One last picture with Momma before he leaves for his First Day of Kindergarten.

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First one on the bus!  I didn’t have the opportunity to cry or mourn the moment because Little Miss kept me quite busy during this time.  I walked up to the bus to say hello to the bus driver and ask her a question.  Sis took it upon herself to try to get on the bus too and I had to reach up and grab her from the top stair.  She decided it would be a great moment to throw a tantrum which also lead to kicking off her pink cowboy boots.  After I finally got a good grip on her and her boots I turned around to walk away and caught my foot in a broken piece of concrete.  I started to fall almost as if I was going to twist my ankle all while she’s still flailing in my arms.  I look up for Zac’s help and he’s videotaping Reese’s first bus experience.  Thankfully, I am alright and we watched the video and it stopped before catching any of this on tape!

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 Sis and I ended up driving to the school to drop off the large bag of supplies because no little Kindergartner should have to carry that!  The principal hosted a Tissues and Tears event in the Library for Kindergarten parents.  While there she gave us some additional insight, read us a book and answered last minute questions.  Sis snapped this picture and I think she did a great job.

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 Mr. Man’s school is also doing a new thing this year.  This cute little contraption is called a Little Free Library.  The concept is like “need a penny, take a penny, leave a penny.”  This stationary stand will be outside of his school and can be utilized by anyone in the area day or night.  It will soon be filled with books for families to take a book home and read.  Ideally, you should bring a book to leave before taking one but I’m sure not everyone will understand the concept right away.  I plan on filling it with lots and lots of books!

 

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After the Elementary we were off to Little Miss’s First Day of 3 year old Preschool.  This picture reminds me of one we  have of brother’s first day of 3 year old preschool when he was walking down the long hallway of the school with his oversized to him backpack.  I’m sure I’ll look back at this picture in a few years the same way I look at his.

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Little Miss and I went to an hour long Getting to Know You class at the preschool.  Miss Jen created this cute little “photo booth” type poster board for the kids to use for pictures.  That Miss Jen is so crafty!  It took her the WHOLE class but she finally let me take a picture of her before we walked out of the classroom.  I don’t think her smile could be any cuter.

After this we went to an ultrasound for Momma and Little Man.  My midwife wanted to check fluid levels and estimated size of the baby.  Everything checked out fine.  He’s small, but not unusual for our children.  Guessing he’s between 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 pounds right now.  We weren’t able to see his little face or features because he is getting really smushed in there.  I did, however, see lots of spikey hair on his head!  AHHHHH!  Adorable.  Once we saw the midwife, got checked and talked a bit she said she thinks he will be here any day.  Two weeks away but he is welcome to come whenever he decides!

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My girl and I were able to grab a quick lunch together before we had to go wait at the bus stop for brother.  She talked my ear off all afternoon and on our walk from home to the bus stop.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard her talk THAT much.  I wasn’t able to get any photos of Mr. Man getting off the bus because I almost had a panic attack when everyone else got off but him.  Turns out he was in the back and didn’t know it was his stop.  It was his first experience and I would have thought the bus driver would have done a better job about preparing them for stops–especially kindergartners.  I think they should run their buses like my dad’s district does.  Kindergartners in the front rows.  That would help this momma’s heart a lot.

We had a great, fun and busy day.  Mr. Man survived until bedtime and I was shocked!  I thought for sure he would be down for the count a bit after coming home from school.  Nope.  He came home, finished what was left of his lunch, watched a little Magic School Bus, played, ate dinner, learned about Jesus Feeding the 5,000 and then went to bed.  He had a great day!

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 I also hijacked pictures from Daddy’s phone that he snapped at the bus stop in the morning.  Here are my two handsome boys.

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 TWINS!

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Momma and her two school bound kiddos.

 

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My big guy.  Maybe I’ll go cry now.

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Mommy Wars

I came across a great little article with lots of great visuals that I think is just fantastic.

Today I engaged in a conversation on a Facebook Mom 2 Mom site that was wondering what families in our community thought about our local school system or why people have chosen to remove their children from the school district {a question that was directed because of a decline in enrollment and possibility of closing or repurposing 4 elementary’s}.

I was hesitant to interject my opinion because I hate conflict but I just felt the need to express our choice. We are pretty much set on homeschooling Mr. Man starting this fall but I have yet to hear back from the program we will be utilizing.

What I learned watching this conversation occur is that people view things in different ways, everyone’s reasons for their child’s schooling is unique to their own family or situation and parents will do anything for their kids! Just because it is our choice to homeschool Mr. Man doesn’t mean it’s the same reasons that you should homeschool your little Susie or Bobby.

When I saw this link online I just LOVED the way it portrayed these thoughts. Whether you are a stay at home mom or work out of the home, breastfeed or formula feed, vaccinate or not vaccinate–we all do what we think is best for our family. And none of us are wrong! We may be different but my way isn’t right and your way isn’t wrong. I base my decisions on what works best for my family or even to take that a step further, I make my decisions based on each child and their needs, abilities, or desires.

Please take a minute to look through these pictures and see that each mother is right in her own way. How can you view your friends or family members differently after seeing these images? We’re all in this together!

http://herscoop.com/posts/empowering-photo-series/

First day of school

The day has arrived: the first day of the last year of preschool.  I’m actually going to call it Pre-K because that’s really what it will be for him.  It’s the last session of classes for him before Kindergarten.  How can we be at this point already?  Wasn’t it just a few months ago that we were bringing home that little 7 pound 4 ounce boy who could only wear preemie clothes even though he wasn’t a preemie?  Wasn’t it just a few months ago that we were rushing to Urgent Care an hour before his birthday party because he busted his chin open on the stairs trying to get to the bathroom to go potty?  Wasn’t it just last week that he asked to ‘nuggle mommy and watch Toy Story?  How could we be on a Kindergarten countdown these days?

I guess it’s true.  Time passed so quickly and here we are taking first day of school pictures, bringing the teachers gifts and meeting new friends.  Today was Mr. Man’s first day of school.  It was an abbreviated class that is used to introduce the children to the teachers, the classroom and the activities and routines that will be utilized.  For an hour the kids were able to test out the new toys, decorate a picture frame, enjoy a snack, explore the playground, learn a few songs and meet their new friends.  Parents and siblings were invited to stay and partake in the activities too.  Friday will be the first full day for them–running from 9:00am-11:30am.  We’ve done it before but I now find myself wondering what it is I am supposed to do during that time?  Maybe Little Miss and I will do breakfast dates, walks at the mall or visits to daddy at work.

And now…..without further ado….here are the obligatory “First Day Of School” pictures.  In succession, of course, because they are funnier that way!

 

Watching a neighbor drive by {and waving at him between takes}

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So handsome.  And somehow seems so grown up now.

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Funny faces {his choice}

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Mommy’s choice: A list of current favorites

ImageReese’s Preschool Favorites 2013:

TV Show: Doctor Who
Movie: Toy Story
Song: “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” by Five Iron Frenzy
Color: Pink and green and blue and brown
Food: Egg noodles, gravy and pepper rings
Candy: M&M’s
Toy: Jake and the Neverland Pirate Ship with the alligator
and bird
Activity:  Watch tv and do stuff
Superhero:  Well, I like all the Avengers the most
Shoes:  My tennis shoes, the black and white ones

When I grow up:
I want to be Captain America, Batman and Ironman!

Height: 3’0”   Weight: 29lbs.

And then sister insisted on joining him for pictures too.

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More “funny faces”

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Pictures with his teachers, Ms. Jen and Ms. Michele

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And he wanted to show everyone his BLUE tongue from the Ring Pop they gave him!

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Have a great year, buddy!  We are so proud of who you are and what you do.

Let’s do this thing!

‘Twas the night before Preschool

‘Twas the night before Preschool
When all through the Holmes house
Everyone was sleeping except one very tired spouse.
The clothing was hung on the closet with care
In hopes that the morning soon would be there.

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Reese was all nestled all snug in his bed
While visions of sight words danced in his head
Emery in her jammies and Reese in his too
Had just settled down for a long evening snooze.

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When inside their room there arose such a clatter
We sprang from our bed to see what was the matter.

Away to their room we flew in a flash
Tore open the door and found a bedtime bash.

The moon’s reflection on the window inside
Gave peace to our hearts as we looked on with pride
When what to our wondering eyes should appear
But two siblings sleeping in one bed so dear.

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When the morning had come so fast and so quick
We were all ready but Mommy’s nerves made her sick.
More rapid than ever we gathered our things
And drove down the road as we started to sing.

Yay Pencils!  Yay Paper!  Yay Crayons galore!
And stencils and books and a pretend store!
To the front of the class!  To the Calendar wall!
Mark away days to the beginning of fall!

As Mommy’s and Daddy’s wanted one more hug
They met with their kids on the Circle Time rug.
Then out the door they left with some tears
As they watched their babies face some of their fears.

And it seemed in a twinkling they grew up so fast
And we all reminisced about the time in the past.
As the days of no sleep and food on the floor
Had all been forgotten once they walked through that door.

They are big kids now from their heads to their feet
With new friends and teachers they are ready to meet.
And new tasks and skills to learn all this year
You’ll be so excited about all that is here.

Their eyes how they twinkle!  Their smiles so big!
They’ll learn the difference between a cow and a pig.
With words and numbers and alphabet sounds
Their reading and learning will grow leaps and bounds!

They might even learn how to tie their own shoes
And soon they’ll be trying to teach little siblings too.
Their looks will change and they might lose a tooth
But they’ll always be your baby, that is the truth.

They’ll dream big dreams and imaginations run wild
But through it all you will still see your child.
For they will need your help in school and in life
To show them the way and protect them from strife.

So, God we thank you for your protection this year
Over all the sweet kids around the world we hold dear.
Guide them, love them, and show them your grace
As we leave them in schools and give them their space.

And just like that the year will fly by
And you won’t even remember the moments you cried.
But before it comes to the end of the year ball
Happy start to a new school year, to one and to all!

Written by:
Amy Holmes
September 2013

Mommy Tips: Back to School Part 3

Another aspect of the back to school days is one dreaded by many:

Packing lunches or snacks.

With so many peanut allergies around these days, that limits a lot of “quick and easy” meals or snacks in most people’s minds but I’m here to tell you that I have found some great alternatives! There once was a day when Mr. Man would eat anything we put in front of him. His sister is now the fabulous eater of the family and he’s taken a huge regression. I won’t say that he’s picky…he’s selective. He knows what he likes, he thinks he knows what he doesn’t like and he freaks out about the smallest dash of spice on his piece of chicken or noodle! This makes for some difficult decisions when it comes to meals. I’ve noticed that he isn’t necessarily in a full meal phase these days, but more in a multi-option snack phase.

 

Here are some ideas that I came up with to take to school as a snack. Many of these can also be used as lunch options:

Graham Crackers
Grapes
Cheese sticks/slices/cubes
Turkey/Ham/Bologna
Cucumbers and Ranch
Watermelon
Strawberries
Blueberries
Mini tortilla roll-up sandwiches or croissant’s
Pudding
Applesauce
Alphabet crackers
Goldfish
Teddy Grahams
Dry cereal
Popcorn
Clementine/Orange
Cheez-its
Pretzels
Fruit snacks
Oatmeal Cream Pie
Dinner roll/Corn Bread/Muffin
Pasta salad
Taco Salad
Any Leftovers
Mini corn dog poppers and ketchup
Cherry Tomatoes
Pickles
Potato Chips
Chips and salsa
Raisins
Buttered noodles

 

A mom from our preschool last year came up with these ideas for class snacks. Thanks Erin Bennett!

String cheese and fruit skewers
Mini Muffins (banana, zucchini, etc.) and fruit
Mini sandwiches with milk
Yogurt and pretzels
Fruit skewers and a yogurt dip
Veggies and dip
Wraps (meat and cheese, Hummus and veggies, cream cheese and veggies, etc.)
Healthy snack mix (popcorn, dried fruit, etc.)
Dried fruit (cranberries, mango, raisins, cherries, etc.) and cheese or whole grain cereal
Whole grain flat bread with cream cheese and jam or fruit
Oatmeal cookies or another “healthier” cookie choice
Granola bars
Rice cakes with cream cheese or jam
Pretzels and cheese
Baked pita chips with hummus or another dip
Graham crackers with apple sauce

 

If you’ve never heard of the Plant Box lunch boxes you will want to go research them right now! Just so you know, I am not getting paid to advertise them. We don’t even own one yet. I’ve just seen them from a photographer I follow, Oh So Posh, and she gracefully makes her daughters lunches in these boxes and makes me droll every time she posts a picture to Instagram or Facebook! The lunch boxes are more costly than one you can run to Target or Walmart to buy but after seeing the durability and versatility of them I personally think the value will outlast the cost in the long run. Here are a few pictures of what Lidia over at Oh So Posh has created. You may go ahead and drool now….

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This last picture was too cute not to post. It is from Another Lunch and I think any little boy would love it!

 

 

***Now…to research where to get all these super cute tools and food holders! I will be on a mission, my friends!

 

Mommy Tips: Back to School Part 2

Now that some of us have come to the realization that school starts back up NEXT WEEK you are all probably wondering what getting back into the routine will look like.  I know I’ve been thinking about it a lot.  Our kids have never taken to a bedtime schedule well so I think this is going to be our biggest battle to come.  I was excited to have Mr. Man in school every afternoon because 1.) MOMMA NEEDS THE BREAK and 2.) We are SO not morning people!  Well, the school schedule is changing a little and that changes things for us too so now we will be doing school Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings {for the time being}.  This REALLY changes things for me mentally.  I was so excited about packing him a snack every day, finding the alphabet letter of the day item from around the house five days a week rather than three, and having every afternoon with my girl.  Now I’m thinking about bedtime routines, morning routines, quick and easy breakfasts and what to do with myself and Little Miss while he’s at school.

Last year we used this flashcard system to help Mr. Man understand what was expected of him every morning.

Free Printable Morning Flash Cards for Kids by LivingLocurto.com{http://www.livinglocurto.com/2009/08/school-morning-routine-free-printable-cards/}

This was awesome for us at the time because he was 3 for most of the school year only turning 4 a month and a half before the end of the year. This was so simple and easy for him because it was broken down into 4 quick steps that he could visualize.  After we moved in the winter and things didn’t make it back on the new walls this system broke down for us and every school morning was a struggle.  A. STRUGGLE.

This year, he’s a little bit older and I know can be challenged a lot more so we are stepping up our game and doing this.  {And, I am in LOVE with the chevron and super cute wording}  All I need is a frame from the dollar store, a nail, a hammer and a perfect spot to hang it!  {http://www.itsoverflowing.com/2012/08/morning-checkoff-list-for-school/}

I remember a family friend, Missy, had things like this posted in her house for her 4 children except that she was a schoolteacher and hers were all handwritten on large poster board with pictures of the kids doing each activity listed.  I’m a visual learner and I think Mr. Man slightly is too.  I have always remembered those posters from her house almost 8 years later and can’t wait to replicate it someday soon.  I may be a teacher, but I am not an artist.  For now, these cute printable’s will have to work–but watch out hubs…you may be seeing something pop up in our home soon!  {Hi, babe…do you actually read my blogs?}

What are your mommy secrets for routines?  I’m seriously interested in ideas specifically for bedtime.  Even when putting the kids in their room by 8:00pm, on a full tummy, after a bath and a few stories read they both can stay awake for hours and fall asleep even after we’ve gone to bed.  I’d love to have cheerful waker-uper’s every morning.  Any ideas?

Mommy Tips: Back To School Part 1

The new school year is just around the corner for most of us here in Michigan, but some of you have already been in school for a week or more.  As we are getting ready in our household for Mr. Man to go to Pre-K five afternoons a week {plus handling all the behind the scenes work at the school myself}, I thought it was an opportune time to talk about getting back into the school routine.

As I pondered which approach I wanted to take in my posts I thought about my old co-worker, Jill Sadler.  When we worked together we were a dynamic team.  I could always look to her for advice, finishing a task I couldn’t complete, taking the initiative in something that I didn’t have the creative juices for, or even just making sure that I stopped to eat or drink during the day.  Jill is one of those friends that I haven’t seen in a few years because our schedules just don’t match up well, but she is also one of those friends that we can start right back up where we left off and it isn’t weird or anything.  It just works.

Please enjoy our collaborated effort over the next few days with some Back to School advice and tips:

First, meet Jill:

How and why do I know what I do, enough to assure you that what I say is true?

Because I said so. Sound familiar?

I have an early childhood development from Oakland Community College. I used to teach Pre-School with Miss Amy for a few years. Currently I am a household manager for a busy family- and this is where I experience the in’s and out’s of parenting and child development beyond the early years. It may feel like longer, but I am only a couple short years away from finalizing my elementary education degree with a double major in Social Studies and Language Arts.

So I’ve nannied, taught, tutored and mentored kids from the ages of birth to sixteen, and truly believe in the family unit first and foremost. As a teacher in the future I plan to lend my support to families as much as possible, and in the mean time I am grateful to serve the family that adds more to my life than I could ever verbalize.

Now is that time of year that we know we’re scheduled to implement new routines, new rules, and we’re worried about our kids reaction to those new routines and whether or not we can keep them up throughout the year.

Well, let me assure you of two things I know.

1) Kids thrive on routine–they will not resent you for it.

2) If you’re diligent about the routine in the first few months of the year, the rest of the months will follow easier even if some minor tweaks occur.

Whenever you do deviate from the plan, it’ll be easier to pick it up the next day if you’ve truly established your expectations. What do we mean by routine? Well, bedtimes, bath times, study time, lunch making (who does it, who helps, when you do it, etc), rules about tv and computer time, the rules about friend time in regard to homework, and all of these things are even more important when you take into account extracurricular activities.

If there’s been a new healthy idea you’ve been wanting to try with your family, now is the time to do it. Its like Christmas time for the organization and resolution fairy. The good news is; whatever does unwind a little by the middle of the year gives you the opportunity to make family goals when the new year starts, goals about finishing up your year successfully!

Talk about your individual and collective goals at a family meeting. If you have kids that are too small to vote on this, the good news is you can choose for them. It may even be especially helpful to have these goals in a visual format for the family to see and recall upon, sort of like a vision board. Your thoughts become your reality.

So since you have a whole lot of planning to do and a whole bunch to implement, its best if you don’t wait until the day school starts to try. Have a family meeting, and get your bath and bedtime schedules going a week or two before school starts to ensure the best success rate.

Good luck to you all- and another thriving school year!!