Tuesday, November 19, 2019

School 2019!

(I wrote this end of August 2019)

The school year is well underway and the kids are all doing so well. Natalie is in 2nd grade with Ms. Spilker (who we know from church!), Stockton is in Kindergarten with Mrs. Senters (new to Holmes and WONDERFUL), and Jack is in morning preschool again, this time with Ms. Jen (our beloved Miss Kaycee moved).

They all had fun at the Open House before school started, checking out their classrooms and meeting their teachers.

We've been a little worried but mostly curious about how Stockton would handle the transition to Kindergarten. He did well in preschool, but "real" school is longer, more demanding, and more grown up. He is totally rising to the occasion! He loves his desk and coat hanger and knows where to line up and the names of the "friends" in his class. He loves Mrs. Senters. She is calm and kind and no-nonsense without being too firm. We are grateful for her! Stockton is in a normal Kindergarten classroom and receives help during the day from different paras. They help him stay on task and offer a little more classroom support. He is learning and growing already - it is so fun to see! He is calm after school every day. I expected him to be all keyed up but he's actually more regulated at pick-up than any other time of the day. I'm glad he can relax at school and be in a safe, happy learning environment. (Example: instead of being annoyed with Stockton's door fixation, she called him up from the back of the line to come hold the door open for his whole class.)

 He loved seeing his name everywhere

 This is the madness of the first day of school! Parents, students, little siblings, strollers, staff....Stockton handled everything very well.

Natalie is loving her class - she must take after me because she positively lit up when she saw all of her supplies at her desk: textbooks, workbooks, pencils, folders. (LPS doesn't ask parents to provide school supplies - they are all funded through the district - and Natalie was thrilled to place her pile carefully in her designated desk.) 2nd graders get to start using computers in class every day (which I have mixed feelings about) but Natalie is definitely excited about that. She comes home from school and complains vehemently about doing homework (we're talking like level 10 freakout, crying screaming slamming doors, all over a few math problems that she can do easily) and then gets out her self-made binder of "research" where she has carefully tabbed different subjects and written notes on hole-punched papers. She reads national geographic books and jots down fun facts in her "science" section; she has made worksheets for writing and the alphabet; she has practice math problems and coloring pages too. She has been so creative and loves working on her project! She will pile a bunch of reference books on her binder and carry it over to play with the neighbors and she looks really cute with that big stack of books.

She was thrilled to show her classmates her two lost tooth spaces!

Jack enjoys preschool and tells me stories about what happened on the bus that day. We are really enjoying our time together - the other kids go in to school at 8:10, and preschool doesn't start until 8:45, so we run a quick errand or take a walk near the school or go home and feed Claire. Then Jack gets home around 12:45 and we have two hours before the other kids are off, so it has been really fun to plan "secrets" for that time. We like to decide in the morning what secret activity we will do that afternoon and then we pretend to be all sneaky about it. One day we took a picnic to the cemetery (Jack's idea - the cemetery here is beautiful and has war memorials to walk around and look at, so it's not as strange as it sounds to bring a picnic there). We often go to the store and plan dinner or go for a long walk or go to the library. Yesterday our "secret" was to just come home and have chocolate milk together. Jack is such a sweetheart - he can be be fiery, especially when he's tired, but most of the time he is just cute and pleasant. He always asks me, "Mom, how was your morning without me?" and then says he's glad that we are back together again.

I was expecting the school year to mean a halt in the chaos of our schedules/lives, but I actually feel more busy and more frenzied...pickup/dropoff times seem to take up half of my day! Then I have to find the balance of what to do in the 3 or so hours I have in the morning with just Claire....do I do chores and stay on top of the housework? Do I hold her and sit in my chair watching Brooklyn 99 and relax? I schedule doctors' appointments, relief society visits, and other things like that during my mornings because it is easier to handle when I just have Claire and then I don't have to find a babysitter, but when I wake up and think about what's on my schedule and realize I don't have anything, I rejoice. Part of the reason things seem hectic is Austin's school schedule: he has class from 4-6ish three nights a week, so our dinner timing is off...sometimes he can stop home at 3:15 so we eat dinner then, and then the rest of the night seems to dragggg until he gets home. I'm teaching piano lessons still but I added a couple of students so that takes up some time a few evenings a week, plus I work at Tico's most weekends. Add in callings, friends, activities, and family stuff and no wonder we don't feel like we have time for anything!

Claire is 6 months old! She is rolling, babbling, and still stealing all of our hearts. She is a wonderful night sleeper but doesn't take long naps...I try hard not to complain about that because I'm so grateful that she sleeps at night (unlike the previous babies) but that's the next step - working on turning these cat naps into longer stretches. Claire makes it clear that she wants to be with Mom or Dad and not really anyone else, although she gives smiles freely when she isn't in danger of being in someone else's arms. She is delightful - everywhere we go people comment that she is a "Gerber baby" with her round face, soft pinky skin, rosy cheeks, and those sweet little lips. We are all enamored - she has a sweet disposition and seems content to be here with us.

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