In case you missed it last week, I’m launching a new (semi) weekly series (on Thursdays) here called “Coffee Date” (super original, I know). Checkout my plans and purpose for it here if you want, or just read on for the first official edition. 🙂
Let’s pretend we’re just two friends meeting at Starbucks to catch up… I’d order an iced coffee sweetened with cream* and look for a spot by the window where we can see the outdoors but feel the air-conditioning… Here are the things I’d probably chat about…
*Confession: I started ordering this a couple of years ago after I read one of those Buzzfeed articles titled “The Best Kept Secrets of Starbucks” or something. I actually have no idea if it means the drink is sweetened and has cream OR if it means the cream itself is sweetened thus making the entire drink sweet. This distinction only really matters when I go somewhere other than Starbucks (they can never quite get it right), but if anyone has a deeper understanding of this and can help me, I’d really appreciate it. In the meantime, I DO know that it is delicious (and way too sweet and caloric for my own good).
It’s still dark at 6AM. I know because it’s back to the grind around here – and, confession: it had been a while since I’d seen 6AM before this week. 😉
Monday was Nora’s first day at a brand new, full-time preschool and yesterday marked the start of my 11th year of teaching. Next Tuesday, Sam will start Kindergarten. (Where in the world does time go?) Once my students come back and everything officially starts rolling, I’ll have to be at work at 7AM, and Sam will catch the bus at 7:15. Our new morning routine is, for sure, the thing I’m the most nervous about right now… We’ve all been practicing getting to bed earlier, but my kids are not ones to wake up before the sun (which is a good thing most of the time), and being late has always been a *huge* struggle for me. (Though I loved the insight and advice from Laura Vanderkam here – and the articles she links to. I’ll definitely be implementing some of these tips.) My plan right now is to get up about 5AM to get ready and have a little time to myself for reading, blogging, etc. (at least right now, that’s more important to me than the extra sleep, but we’ll see how it goes), then wake the kids up around 6:15 so I can help get them dressed and start breakfast before I leave at 6:45. Jeff will be on official drop-off duty from there. I know millions of families run this ship all around the world, and we will adjust eventually – we have to! – but your prayers and advice are welcome! (Specifically, for my fellow working moms with little kids: How much earlier do you wake up than your kids? Do you set an alarm for them or wake them up yourself? How much time do you usually plan on for getting them dressed, fed, and out the door?)
Speaking of new routines, you may have figured this out by now, but another big change for us this year is that our wonderful babysitter/nanny will not be with us… This was a decision we made together many months ago based on what we truly believe will be best for both of us, and she will *always* be an important part of our lives, but we are still super sad that that little season of our lives has come to an end… I can’t even talk about what a gift she was to our family (and to me as a friend) over the last five years. She saw both of our kids grow up, loved them as her own, and walked right beside me in the mess as I learned how to be a mom. It will definitely be very different without her; but, as I mentioned, Nora started at her new preschool/daycare this week; and I can already see how it will be so good for her! She’s definitely a little social butterfly and will, for sure, benefit from more structured “school” days and time with kids her age. So far, she’s done really well – no tears from any of us at drop off, but we’re still working on getting her to stay on her cot and go to sleep at nap time! (Haha, can you even imagine a room of twelve two year olds all napping at the same time?!?! Oh to be a fly on the wall!) Side Note: We randomly found this cute book at the library a couple weeks ago and read almost every night leading up to her first day. It was perfect, and I really think played a role in helping make the adjustment so smooth this week!
Believe it or not, I’m not super emotional (at least not yet) about Sam starting school next week. Without getting into all the specifics of our decision again, I really think that waiting the extra year to send him off was a great choice for us, and it’s made this next step feel very natural. He is ready. Other than a little bit of anxiety about the logistics of our new schedule etc., my only other big prayer is just that he would fall in love with school this year… Of course I hope he learns to read, improves his math, and makes lots of friends; but, really, I just want his first exposure to school to be a good one. We still don’t know who his teacher is yet (orientation is tomorrow), but I’ve already been praying for her and this little group of kiddos… I don’t think one bad year can make or break a child’s entire education experience, but I do think Kindergarten is especially important as its their “first impression” of school – and we all know first impressions are hard to change… Sam is very excited, but I also get the idea that he has no idea “what’s about to hit him.” He’s the oldest of all of our friends’ kids, so he really doesn’t have much experience being around older kids, etc. I also have some worries that the long day is going to be super hard on him… I’ve been warned to expect a very exhausted kid + breakdowns, etc. the first few weeks, so we’ll see… I guess this time next week we’ll know…
– Here’s the backpack my sister gave Sam for his birthday that he’ll be carrying this year (it looks SO big), the lunch boxes my mom gave both kids (Sam’s and Nora’s), and the labels I ordered to mark everything we own. (P.S. Cool Mom Picks has a great post up right now about how to use these personalized labels AND a 25% off code that I – sadly – didn’t see until two days after I placed my order.)
– I focused most of my “back to school shopping” on the kids this year, but I did buy myself these two dresses: from J.Crew Factory, and from Loft. (Which one should I wear for the first day with students next week?!? Jeff says the second one makes me look like I have wings! Haha! Teachers, what are you wearing on the first day?!? You think about these things too, right?!)
– I really want this and this too (both under $40), but I’m practicing self control… For now.
– I waited too long to order this adorable Honey Bee Tees school bus shirt, and it sold out in Sam’s size, but he still has this one from last year, so we’ll probably work that into his first week wardrobe!
– I’ve been singing the praises of audiobooks (for my students, myself, and my kids) for a while, but it was nice to hear some confirmation that they really do “count” on the Read Aloud Revival Podcast recently. This is great guide to get starting with audiobooks if you think you’d like to start listening with your little ones. (P.S. Sam and I are currently listening to the Ramona Quimby series narrated by Stockard Channing from our library’s Overdrive. It’s fantastic!)
– Do you have plans to watch the eclipse on Monday?!? We are set to experience about a 90% eclipse here, so it isn’t the big event it is in some cities, but I’m definitely excited to see it. Glasses were a hot commodity around here, but I finally found some, so we’re all set. The big bummer though: it’s right in the middle of the day so I’ll be at work and not with the kids. I hate that!!! <These two podcast episodes for kids had some great information – I learned a lot too – and helped get Sam excited to watch with his grandparents — Wow in the World Episode 23: Total Solar Eclipse (When the Moon Photobombs the Sun) and Brains On: Everything You Need to Know Before the Solar Eclipse>
– One of my (many) goals for the new school year is to cook dinner and pack lunches more often! I made this last week, and it was delicious, and I ordered this cookbook recently, but I still need help!! I honestly don’t *enjoy* cooking, and I’m not very good, but – obviously – we have to eat so… Please give me all your EASY dinner and lunch ideas!! (Bonus points if they are crockpot, healthy, and/or vegetarian!)
– And, finally, though this is a big tone shift, I’d be remiss not to mention the devastating events of last weekend right down the road from me in Charlottesville… Like the rest of the world, I am heartbroken to see (yet again) how much hate and evil exists in our world. It would be easy to say it doesn’t involve me because “I’m not racist,” but that very attitude is evidence of the privileges I’m granted because of the color of my skin. This is about ALL of us, and *I* am just as much the problem as anyone else… I owe it to my brothers and sister of colors, my sweet innocent children, my students, and myself to NOT turn my back and be silent. I’m working on a special blog post about books in which I’ll share more ; but, for now, I love these words from Jodi Picoult in the author’s note of her novel Small Great Things:
Let’s change the world with hard conversations in love! (P.S. This article is a great read from Picoult until you can get to the book!)
Ok. That’s all for today! I hope you’re enjoying this new format! I’d love to hear what you’re talking/thinking about this week in the comments!
Have a great Thursday!
I wasn’t emotional about my daughter starting kinder either. But what caught me, was how sad I was at the final days of kinder. Like how we were really entering into a full fledged “kid”, and not my baby bird, who still spent much time around her mommas wing.
As far as an easy dinner…..our go to has been nachos. Now, before you scoff/grimace at my suggestion, hear me out. I stumbled upon a fresh salsa. More like a pico d’giyo. I’ve now figures out how to whip up my own copycat. But just like some chips in a bowl, top with a handful of mexi blend cheese, toss in microwave…..then dump all that wonderful fresh salsa topping on.
With the fresh veggies on it, I don’t feel too guilty lol
Julie Mulvaney says
Love your new format, E. This has been such an emotional week for me too! I think every minute about Nora in Preschool and Sam going to Kindergarten!! It just isn’t possible!! I wish so badly that I could be there to see him off, but you can believe this… I will be there to see him get off that bus!!!! I cannot wait!
This time of year, I truly miss school. I remember getting so excited about getiing back in my classroom, setting it all up, seeing all my friends, hearing all the silly district new rules, etc. I took it all for granted. So, to you, and all the many many teachers that read this blog, I pray for a wonderful, safe, adventerous new year. I cannot wait to get back to my sub-days.
Charlottesville just broke my heart. Never have I ever in my many years of life seen such horrific things!! I cannot believe that this kind of hate and violence exists in 2017! “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…” Barack Obama
As far as a fun, easy dinner…Jeff has his fancy new grill, so do the foil packets on the grill! Last week, I fixed shrimp, scallops, and veggies (corn on the cob, new potatoes, mushrooms) in foil packs, a little pat of butter, so easy and oh, so DELICIOUS!! Happy new school year!!
I love both of those back to school dresses. I was just thinking about going shopping today. I need to up my game and expand my teacher closet.
My favorite crockpot dinner is salsa chicken. Throw some chicken breasts in with a jar of salsa and a packet of taco mean and voila, salsa chicken. It’s so versatile because you can be more healthy and make salads or lettuce wraps, or make burritos or nachos.
Love the salsa chicken idea. You can do the same thing with chicken and a bottle of Italian dressing!
That’s my drink at Starbucks too! Though I sadly lose the taste for it when I’m pregnant. I miss the caffeine and ritual but my wallet appreciates it ha. It’s sweetened with their classic (simple) syrup and the cream is half & half:)
This is the next best thing to an IRL coffee date w/ you! That second dress is a show-stopper, I say go w/ that one to make a lasting impression on your students. I’m nervous about our morning routine as well. Graham has to be at school at 7:45 and requires time w/ mama in the rocking chair prior to getting dressed and out the door. I love it, but it takes up about 5 minutes of precious morning time. Let me know when you get it all figured out!
I have not given one thought to what I’m wearing on the first day of school! Something cool as possible because there’s no air conditioning. Have you ever tried emeals? They have a bunch of different menu plans (low carb, paleo, kid friendly, budget, etc). You can choose meals from any of the menu plans formhe week. I only choose 4 instead of 7 because we always have leftovers. It makes a grocery list for you based on your choices and then you can send the list to participating grocery stores (mine is Walmart) and pick them up curbside. I haven’t tried that but it is a nice time saving option once the school year starts. The recipes are tasty and not too complicated to make. I also love that they have a slow cooker menu plan. I plan to use one of those recipes once a week to cut down on cooking time after work! It’s $60 for the year but is so worth it to me in the time & effort it saves me!
Emeals. Emeals. Emeals. Seriously. You can choose from a variety of plans (we do Portion Control–it automatically calculates WW points!), make your grocery list from what you choose AND (if you have this option) send the list to a grocery store for pick up. I’ve found we typically like/will eat 3-4 of the 7 recipes and I’m rarely in the kitchen more than 45 min. If we eat at home more, I fill in with our old favorites.
My postpartum brain couldn’t handle one. More. Thing. So this choice has been awesome for us. You can try it out for 2 weeks for free.
I thought I’d chime in on our morning routine incase it helps yourself/ any other readers. I have a 7 yr old daughter and 3 year old son so during the school year our am routine gets split equally. I take my son to daycare before I head into work at 7:30 (breakfast is served there so I don’t have to worry about that step) and my husband is on bus duty with our daughter. Where we live the bus picks up at 8:20 so he just goes into work a little later during the school year (but has to stay a little later which can cut into our dinner routine a bit- but not much we can do about that!) I usually get up around 5:45 so that I can get myself ready/ make a lunch for myself and then I get my son up about a 1/2 hour before I need to head out the door at 6:45 (he usually watches one episode of Mickey so he has time to wake up but not enough time to want to start taking out toys and playing! plus then I’m able to finish getting myself dresses as well as picking out his clothes for the day without him following me around!) As for my husband/daughter their routine is pretty simple in that my daughter sleeps till about 7-7:20 and then she may get one show while still having to make time to eat breakfast, get dressed, etc before having to go to the bus stop. I hope this helps! Best wishes for a smooth transition to your new schedule!