Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Ratings Are In...

...and the first day of school got a 2 thumbs up from our Cougars!

When the girls woke up, I could tell immediately that their excitement outweighed their nervousness. Always a good sign! I wasn't sure which way it was going to go after the Open House nervous tummies. But they were up as soon as their alarm went off - focused, excited and ready to go. It was their first day of school together and they were both giddy that it was finally here. They had two solid first day plans: (1) wear matching outfits, and (2) make sure they sat together on the bus ride home.

This was their fantastic school bus exit:

10.0!!!!!! Bonus points for the bouncing ruffles!

They both loved their teachers and are excited about the school year. Excellent.

Teacher Survival Kits

This year, I decided to make teacher gifts for the first day of school. (Yes, I'm that excited). The Teacher Survival Kit.

I'm generally a very unoriginal teacher gift giver; bookstore gift cards for every occasion, every teacher, every year. This year I wanted to thank the kids' teachers ahead of time, because this year, I really, really, really mean it! Teachers amaze me.

I struggled on most summer days just to get something other than cereal on the dinner table. I sometimes counted pool time as a bath. (I also counted swimming in the ocean. Or when the kids spilled water/milk/juice on any portion of their bodies). I knew summer would be a challenge - common activities for ages 3, 5 and 7 - all day, in this heat? I can't even take all three to the grocery store for milk without giving myself a pep talk! I had no idea they would work so well together as a team or that I would be the enemy. But 7 is just old enough to realize that you aren't perfect, to map your weaknesses and plot your downfall. And 3 is just old enough to help execute secret missions yet look too young and cute to be guilty. 5 is smart enough to know she can get away with anything as long as the evidence portrays 7 as the brains and 3 as the foot soldier.

So that brings us back to - TEACHERS! The amazing people who take these summer monsters and turn them back into the wonderful children that we haven't seen since June. I wanted to thank the kids' teachers upfront this year, to start the year by acknowledging how much they give and to express how grateful we are for every bit of it.

The Teacher Survival Kit
. The idea is to fill a container with things that might be useful during the year, especially on crazy days when a teacher might be in a rush and need some extra caffeine, vitamins, headache relief, possibly even breakfast or lunch. Add a few convenience items, and definitely a good lip balm and a good hand lotion.

Large Pencil Case (as container)
Excedrin Tension Headache
Scott Mini Lint Roller
Purell Hand Sanitizer
Vitamin C Drops
Luna Lemon Zest Meal Bar
C.O. Bigelow Lemon Lip Balm
Nail File
True Blue Spa Look Ma, New Hands Lotion
Wisp Disposable Toothbrushes
Tide To Go Pen
2 Lipton Energize To Go Iced Tea Mix packets
2 Propel Cherry-Lime Vitamin Enhanced Drink Mix packets

On the inside lid I tried to be funny...

...but then I read that one of the teachers graduated high school in 1998. Can teachers be too young for Seinfeld references? Yikes.

Monday, August 16, 2010

5 Things That Worked Better In Theory

1. The Boredom Busters Jar

I was hooked when I saw the idea on several Mom blogs as a great way to make summer fun and enjoyable for all! Fill a jar with various kid activities so that when the "Mommy, I'm boooooored" comes along, kids can pick an idea from the jar. I'm sure that this works for some Moms. All it did for me was start "Mommy, I'm boooored" at breakfast and make it last all. day. long. All independent thought, all spontaneity, all free play (a.k.a. summer) was gone. They LOVED this stupid jar so much that I was forced to hide it and pretend it never, ever existed.

2. A Playroom

I can't really stress enough: a playroom is a mistake. Don't do it! If you do it, don't make it the room that is on display when you open your front door. Truth be told, there is nothing good about a playroom. It encourages excess and eventually just becomes a land fill. With the first child, it's cute and clean. By the third child, the kids draw straws on who has to venture through the treacherous piles to find Toy X and bring it back out to play with somewhere else. No organization helps: labels, boxes, shelves, book nooks - all just a waste of time. If I could do it over again, I would say: bedroom or trash can, your choice.

3. Orange Swimsuit

I posted about this on facebook, but I'll say it again. Halle Berry can pull of the orange suit. I'm not exactly sure what compelled me to go orange. I'm not tan and I'm not Halle Berry, and I looked like a gigantor candy corn.

4. Gardening

I must remember the following: I have 3 kids, I can't keep a cactus alive, I have a cat that poops and a dog that digs. Enough said.

5. Downstairs Laundry Room

I remember our downstairs laundry room being a selling point for me! I can't even remember why. Yada, yada, yada, three kids, family of five with closets, dressers, beds, bathrooms and linen closet - all upstairs. Kitchen towels - those are the only items that don't go upstairs. I suppose I thought that the time spent sorting, folding, etc. would be best spent downstairs? Let me say that with 3 kids, folded piles of laundry are asking for trouble, clean laundry must get to their destination asap. I need mad Mary Poppins snapping skills!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Sum of a Beach Vacation

I plan to post more pictures of our wonderful time at the beach with my aunt, my cousin and her twins, but for now I thought this picture was perfect. It seems the amount of beach clutter is directly related to the level of vacation satisfaction. The more wet bathing suits, sandy towels, tiny flip flops and half eaten apples scattered about, the better. I like knowing we spent more time enjoying the beach and less time worrying about the stuff. But with five kids (and three three year olds) the stuff was everywhere! And the vacation was awesome.