First Week of School

Well, the first week of school has come and gone already. To tell you the truth, it was a long week. After having so many days of summer fly by, it was a bit draining to endure such a long week. Don't get me wrong, we definitely had many highlights throughout the week, but I will be glad when we get more into a groove of things.

Kyra started out quite nervous for her first day of school. The poor child is becoming more of a nervous nellie as she gets older (between the genes of her dad and mom, she is doomed). So we prayed together shortly before her bus arrived. We prayed that she would like her teacher, that she would make some friends, and that she would enjoy her time back at school. Then after our prayer, she seemed to look refreshed. She gave me one last hug, and when the bus arrived, she quickly found some old friends and rode off with a big smile on her face. I knew that she would have a fabulous day, and headed down my driveway already anticipating her long winded stories that she would tell.

As soon as I opened the door, Katie was waiting for her turn for school. This little girl has been anticipating school for some time. She has been eager to start her time with mom, and repeatedly asks when it's her turn to paint (apparently that's what she wants to do most in school). I had set up a "little classroom" in our basement complete with a big table to do arts and crafts, a fun calendar, and a bucket of supplies (which of course included the paints that she so anxiously wanted to use). So, we got Andrew his breakfast, straightened up a few things, and headed downstairs to begin our first day of school.

Like I had mentioned before, I too was a little nervous for our first day of school (not for Kyra, but for myself). I was mostly concerned for how Andrew would do during our time together, but also concerned for how effective of a teacher I could be to my own daughter. Well, Andrew did great. He played with the many toys in the basement he wasn't too familiar with (since we don't go down there that often), and only managed to tamper with the DVD/sound system one time. Then we broke up for a snack, while I put him down for a nap and continued my lesson with Katie. And Katie did really fabulous too. She did cry once when I tried to show her the correct way to hold scissors, but I kind of anticipated that being a challenge. At first I thought she was crying because she just couldn't do it right. Then I quickly realized, it was because I took the scissors and cut HER paper. Of course she wanted to do it all by herself. But we let it go, and agreed to work on it another day. Otherwise the day went very smoothly. We sang songs, worked on learning a Bible memory verse, focused on learning the number 1 and letter A, and read books.

All in all, our first week couldn't have gone smoother. Kyra really likes her teacher and raves about how nice she is, although she is definitely tired. I think every day all day class is going to take a bigger toll on her then I thought. Yesterday, she said: "Mom...I like school, but does it have to be every day? I don't ever get a's just school, school, school, soccer, and church (repeat)." It will be a big adjustment coming right from summer, but I know she'll get into the groove. Katie enjoyed puzzling ordinary household items together to make the letter A, and spending one on one time with Mom. She has really been an eager beaver, and was even disappointed to find out we weren't "doing" school every day. I was also pleased that our few discouraging moments didn't ruin her anticipation to learn new things. As for me, well I am quite tired from the week as well. I will definitely have to do some altering when it comes to the curriculum I had planned for Katie. And I've had my moments of ambivilence of teaching my own daughter (even going so far as to thinking...there's still time to enroll her in a preschool class!) But we all just need time. We need time for our bodies to get back into a schedule, time for our emotions to fall into balance. And I know we'll have a good year (even if it might be a tough year) because God is in control and will give us the rest we need to take on the new school year.

New Beginnings

Well, tomorrow marks the day that Kyra begins school every day, all day . For some reason I didn't have a hard time letting her go for preschool or kindergarten. I was excited for her and knew that she'd do well. She's such a smart little cookie, and warms up easily to others, so I knew making friends wouldn't be a problem either. However, this year she is leaving her little sister behind. Her little sister, who over the summer, has become her best friend. Her little sister, who adores spending every waking moment with her. Yes, I know Kyra will be missed. But, for me it also marks an end to a 6 year era, where I was free to roam. I was free to take an extended weekend (or sometimes week) to Chicago. Free to sleep in (till 8 a.m. anyway), free to take a day trip where I pleased, and free to spend time with my son while the girls occupied eachother's time. Yes, feeling a little selfish, I realize that I will be a bit more tied down these days. But I know Kyra will enjoy her year at school, and I pray that the 3 of us will too...because she's not the only one with a new beginning.

This year I have decided to homeschool Katie. Again, it started out as a sort of selfish journey (I'm sensing a pattern here...hmmm). I wanted to save the money I would put into a preschool program, and put Katie and Kyra into dance or gymnastic class. Of course it evolved from there. I soon spoke to other homeschooling moms, and realized it was a very great bonding time between their children. I then became very excited to bond with Katie. I know everyone should know their children well, but out of all three of my kids, I feel I know Katie the least. She is very good at playing by herself, which is nice when I need to get things done, but unfortunately I can take advantage of that quality as well. I'm hoping that through the time we spend together I can learn much more of her strengths as a person. I'm hoping that we can begin to build a strong bond, so she doesn't feel afraid to come to me later in life when problems get tougher.

So, we will see how this journey goes. Katie is a strong willed child, who likes to do things her way and in her own time, so this could be a challenge, but I'm willing to go for the ride. I'm a bit nervous, as I'm not sure how well it work if Andrew doesn't take his scheduled nap. He's been a bit of a pill lately, so it could be a challenge just to keep him occupied while we work one on one (especially if I want our house still standing....did I mention he's been a bit destructive lately?). But, I'm sure in a few weeks we'll fall into a groove. So, we are all at a new beginning...Kyra, a new grade....Katie, preschool with mom...and me, a preschool teacher. Let's pray that kids and teachers everywhere have a wonderful year of growth, learning, and inspiration.

Top Ten of Summer

It's hard to believe it is September 1st already!! Before we know it, we'll be gathering around for Thanksgiving dinner and preparing to bake for Christmas cookies. Of course it's hard to imagine (and who wants to rush it anyway) the holidays when we've been having 90+ degree weather lately. And though the heat has been hard to take on occasion, I have been very pleased with our warm summer. The weather has permitted lots of welcomed trips to the beach and enjoyment in our little plastic pool. The girls have played better than ever, which makes it that much harder to break them up as Kyra prepares to leave for all day, every day school in a few short days. But seeing as I have hardly written all summer, I'd like to reflect on some of the fun things we did this summer.

1. Numerous trips to the beach. Having taken swimming lesson in the beginning of the summer, I wanted to keep their exposure to the water high, so we took advantage of our local beaches and had lots of play time in the water. I even ventured out on my own a few times with the 3 kiddos by myself (a big accomplishment for me, when you consider the 1 year old has to be watched like a hawk because of the love for the water).

2. An over night trip to Traverse City with my hubby. Although I was hesitant to leave the kids on the day first day Kyra got out of school, this trip was absolutely wonderful. The northern part of Michigan is beautiful no matter what time of year you go. And we got to enjoy time alone together while wine sampling and touring the country side. Loved it!

3. Andrew's birthday. It's hard to believe my little guy is one now, but we had a wonderful 1st birthday with family, and I am embracing the steps of progress he is making into becoming an older child (like sleeping through the night, walking, no naps...pretty soon we'll be able to go on more adventures as a family of 5)

4. Trip to Hessel. Although this was not my favorite event of the summer, the kids had a blast playing with cousins they haven't seen in a long time and it was nice to chat with family while lazily sitting at "our" small beach.

5. Visiting relatives for "daycations" while they camped at Pioneer Campground. Although we did not camp here, we still enjoyed the benefits of camping, while being able to sleep in our comfy beds at night. Seriously, it was a wonderful campground, with just a simply beautiful beach.

6. Visiting family in Chicago. While I do go to Chicago a fair amount of time to visit family, this time we went on a few day adventures. We all had a blast going to Splash Country and visiting Blackberry Farms. And although the sprinklers were broken, we enjoyed a picnic at Cantigny with fried mushrooms from Brown's Chicken....mmmm.

7. Raising 3 caterpillars. Never mind that all of the caterpillars passed away and never made it to the chrysalis stage, but the whole family really enjoyed watching how fast they grew. It was fun to watch how involved the girls got into feeding their little friends, and even see their compassionate heart reach out as the caterpillars started to fade. **We later found out that the first caterpillar probably had a virus that spread to the others.

8. Going camping at Gun Lake with my family. Although this trip was uncomfortable at times with the extreme heat and humidity (and mosquitos), we still had fun eating, talking, swimming, and reliving some previous camping trips. It's also amazing to see how resilient kids are, because I don't think the heat bothered them hardly at all...they just enjoyed being outdoors and with each other.

9. Going to the Hudsonville Fair. This has become a yearly tradition of ours, and the girls dared to go on more rides then ever this year. They were brave in going on the tall ferris wheel, and even went on a few new ones that they weren't sure of.

10. Going to a Whitecaps minor league baseball game. Again, it was another hot day, which made it almost to hot to view from our seats, but the kids had fun eating the food and it was nice doing something different. My hubs even broke down and got everyone ice cream (in which the girls got a souvenir baseball cap bowl).

We still have yet to go to the zoo (the one thing on Kyra's summer to do list we haven't done yet), but otherwise it's been a fulfilling summer. So now I am just holding on to the last few days I have to sleep in before we take on schedules, fall sports, and the busyness of the school year. I am excited at the prospects of a new year and what it has in store for us (I am taking on some new challenges), but am also thankful that we have a season like summer to rejuvenate, be lazy, and spend as a family.