Monday, September 5, 2011

Back to School Checklist

When the kids finished school in the middle of June, I had great intentions of doing a "can you believe it - they finished another year of school" post.  But we jumped right into having way too much fun and I never got around to it.

Today is the last day of summer break and all my sweet kiddos start school tomorrow, except Paige who enters the big bad world of kindergarten on Wednesday.  Grant will be king of the school as he enters his last year of elementary school.  How is he in 5th grade already?  Kaitlin is our quiet and sweet 4th grader.  Alli is our fiesty and social 2nd grader.  Her teacher is a new one to our family, but from everything I've heard, will be a great fit for Alli's personality.  And little Paigey is starting Kindergarten - five mornings a week this year.  I feel okay about kindergarten since it's just an extension of pre-school, but am already dreading her being gone all day for first grade.

We've been slowly chipping away at the Back To School List.

  • Meet the teachers.  We arrived at Mabel Rush Elementary School and ran into old friends before we entered the doors.  It felt like a big party as we slowly worked through the crowds of old friends to the kids' classrooms.  Three years ago, this process was terrifying.  Fresh from Chicago we knew no one, felt like the odd man out, and I sobbed the entire day.   I was struck by God's goodness to give our family a community.  I couldn't stop saying, "Thank you Jesus!" (In my head, not out loud, cause that would be weird.)  
  • Drop off school supplies.  I learned my lesson after last year's Target fiasco of standing in the school supply area with four kids simultaneously talking over each other at me and waving potential supplies in my face. This year our school offered the blissful Tool Box - a pre-purchased box of school supplies that meet each teacher's specific standards. The supplies come in an archival box great for storing the year's treasured homework and even have pre-printed, personalized labels.  Oh joy! 
  • Purge out all clothes that are too small.  WOW!  I had no idea my kids were growing like weeds.  The pile of clothes to pass on is a small mountain.  Grant and Katie are wearing adult-sized shoes, but as Grant confidently said, "You can't build a skyscraper on an outhouse foundation."  He later clarified, "It doesn't really make sense since an outhouse doesn't have a foundation, but you get what I mean, right?"
  • Buy new clothes to replace the too-small stuff.  Armed with a list of "you only need these items" and with Curt as reinforcement, our family invaded H&M and walked out an hour and a half later much poorer, but with some very happy and stylish kids.  I picked out a very urban outfit for Paige and made her model it for the entire family.  While we were drooling over how cute she was, she stuck her hands on her hips and said, "I will NOT wear this."  
  • Haircuts times four.  This year, for the sanity of all involved, I divided the back-to-school haircuts into two outings.  Grant has finally won me over with his long hair.  He took a picture of his favorite rock star (and family friend) to the hair dresser and walked away from the salon looking very much like he could own a career in the music industry.  Paige and Katie did nothing drastic - just trims and a few layers.  Alli, impulsive like her mother, decided that she wanted something different.  Several inches and some very specific directions later, she bounced out of the salon with a super fun, Alli-version of a modified A-line bob.  (I'd post pictures but I dropped my camera at the state fair and I've been suffering without one.)
  • Purge bedrooms.  None of my children inherited my penchant for organization.  They hoard everything from broken crayons to crumpled up artwork and old birthday party invitations.  It drives me crazy!  I made each of them purge their toys and "treasures" while we purged clothes.  Katie and I worked intensely on her room for hours yesterday and she dragged out an entire garbage bag of junk to throw away.  I'm so proud of her (and certain her room will stay clean for maybe another hour).
  • Start two million home improvement projects.  What is it about changing seasons that makes me feel like I need to pretend I'm a host on HGTV and redecorate everything in my house?  The loft and toy room are in the process of getting a makeover (and have been for the last two weeks).  I'm hoping to wrap these projects up this week and have a newly organized space for the kids to hang out in when they're not in school or doing homework or playing football or.... 
On that note, I should get off the computer and start finishing projects.  Here are my sweet babies on the last day of school in June.

graduating from pre-school
finishing 4th, 1st, and 3rd grade
And here are my sweet babies (they will be so mad I'm calling them that) at the end of this summer.  Photos courtesy of Sarah and her sweet camera.
Alli - 7 years

Paige- 5 years

Katie - 9 years

Grant - 10 years
Enjoy your last day of summer break everyone!  

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