First Day of School

September 18th, 2017

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Today was Hudson’s first day of school—ever. As I mentioned last week, I was a bit apprehensive about how he would handle this transition. As predicted, there were tears, mostly on his part. But overall it went well and his teachers agree that he will be A-okay in just a few days.

It’s hard to believe that my little boy is almost three and ready to go to real school. He was so adorable with the backpack, smiling in his pictures and holding hands with his sister. Like many parts of life, this is a “fake it until you make it” situation. I can’t say I feel completely ready to say goodbye to my baby. But I know it’s the right thing. So I’m doing it, and I have to believe at some point, I’ll adjust. I’m sure Hudson will adjust sooner than I do!

I think people who haven’t yet sent children to school, or have those days long behind them can lose sight of what a challenge the transition is. For some people, it’s very easy. For others, it’s extremely emotionally wrenching. To turn over your precious child to the real world is no easy task. But to do so with courage is the mark of a great parent. Good luck to all!

Back in the Groove

September 6th, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Jack and Tate have been in school for a month now. They are familiar with their teachers, feeling comfortable with their peers, and are studying hard for their exams. We have established our routine for the school year.

Jack is coping well with increases in homework and assessments this year. I’m doing my best not to hover over Jack’s homework responsibilities. He has plenty of experience doing schoolwork at this point. He knows where to check for his homework assignments and what do. Some days it’s hard for me, but I know he needs to learn those skills for the future.

Tate is adapting well to daily homework. This is his first year he has specific assignments, worksheets, website review, and of course, reading. I’m hoping his positive attitude continues throughout the school year. After school, sometimes he is exhausted and it affects his willingness to get his work done. However, he has more organizational skills this year. That alone makes me a happy mom.

We still have a whole school year ahead of us, but currently I think the boys are doing a great job, even while fighting the colds they keep passing back and forth. I’m looking forward to cooler days where we can get outside after school and play… after all the homework is complete, of course.

Buckle Up

September 5th, 2017

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, not the holidays of December. The first day of school of course! Where we live, school doesn’t start until after Labor Day, and here we are.

I feel like the summer simply flew by. What’s really odd to me is that Haley does, too. I am not sure if I am remembering things correctly, but I recall feeling like the summer was endless when I was a kid. Just a long expanse of time that seemed never-ending. Haley has the opposite feeling. She feels like Kindergarten just ended and wouldn’t you know it—she just didn’t get enough time to relax. I know she’s ready for first grade and she’ll do great. But I don’t know how ready I am to see her move on to a much more challenging grade.

Hudson is starting school this year, too. He’s excited about his new backpack, and his sister has talked to him about it a lot. But I will be honest with you. Once he realizes that school is not a place where Mommy stays with you, there’s going to be a meltdown! And I don’t know who will produce more tears—Hudson or Mommy. There will be an adjustment period for sure, but I’m confident he’ll love his new routine. And in a few hours, it’s back home to Mommy anyway.

Good luck to all students starting this week! Hope things continue to go well for those of you who’ve been in session for a while.

The Mom/Parent Network

September 4th, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
When Jack was a baby, I had a group of moms I could count on to ask questions about parenting. My sisters were my go-to ladies, but my local friends were usually immediately available. It was so nice to have the support when a child got sick and ask questions about the best things to do to make them feel better, tips on how to settle down a screaming baby, play dates, and preferences on items my friends thought were good/safe.

When Jack got a little older, and we had our second child, we lived in a new town. The close-knit support from the military wives group was extremely beneficial during those first few months of exhaustion and stress. We were showered with meals, gifts, play dates for Jack, and long term friendships that I am grateful for. Once I felt I had my life back together, I did my best to help out others and make sure they received the same support I did.

Fast forward to today, another new town, and our first attempt at civilian life. We’ve spent the last year making new friends and neighbors. My boys are developing new friendships that can last even longer, because we don’t have to move every 3 years. We’re finding the same support here, if not better, just like we did ten years ago. We found a car pool, babysitters, and even neighborly gifts on my doorstep to brighten my day. Our neighbors keep watch over our home when we’re gone and check in on us if we are sick or need help. I do my best to reciprocate these acts of kindness. I’m a big believer in karma. It’s truly a blessing to have these special people in my life.

Despite the cliché, it takes a village to keep up with schedules, work, and life. I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by the love and support of family and friends. I try to live my life and treat people the way I would want to be treated. I hope I can be a contributing member of our village.

Eclipse

August 23rd, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Finally, this week was the big eclipse. We all saw totality photos and videos. But if you ask those people who saw it in person, there are simply no words to describe it. We live a few hours away from the path of the totality, but we had a 97% total eclipse here without driving anywhere. Our kids had school, so we stayed home. Fortunately, we checked them out after lunch, in time for the eclipse.

In a rare moment of foresight, my husband purchased certified eclipse glasses weeks before the retailers ran out. He also made a pinhole camera with a pizza box, which projected the solar eclipse on the ground for people to see without glasses. My kids had lessons in science class to prepare them for the event, and my husband gave a great bonus lecture throughout the event.

We went to our neighborhood pool and watched the eclipse with our neighbors and their kids. It was a wonderful experience for our kids, and even the adults were impressed. The temperature dropped, the shadows danced, and the sun faded to only 3% of its regular brightness. It was pretty amazing. My only regret is that we missed the “totality” only a few hours away. Our friends who made the drive were rewarded with an even more spectacular view. If we ever want to see a totality again we are going to have to drive or fly MUCH farther away.

Summer Memories

August 21st, 2017

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Last week I was thinking about some of the fun times I had as a child in the summer. I think my favorite memory of all is going out on the boat with my family.

My dad’s boat was really nice. I can’t tell you how big it was, as I am oblivious to that kind of information. But it had an interior cabin with a lot of seating, and one of the seats opened up to become a toilet! I always got a big kick out of that.

We’d get up in the morning and my mom would pack lunch and all sorts of drinks and goodies to take along. My dad was big on entertaining on the boat, so we always had another family with us. I can remember riding the boat out away from our town, into the choppy Atlantic, and feeling so adventurous. Once we dropped anchor, we put our life vests on and jumped into the ocean. It was such a fun and free time.

I don’t get to go out on boats so often as a grown-up. But when I do, I always recall those happy, warm weather memories

Have a great week!

Feelings of Frustration

August 16th, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Jack started a new soccer season this week. I signed him up for a skills camp, like he did last year. The players have practice every night this week, and then play a mini tournament on Saturday. They learn all kinds of new skills and techniques during the week and show them off during their tourney.

Jack loves playing soccer. He has improved immensely over the last few years. My husband and I love cheering for him and his team at games. The games get intense and so does Jack. This isn’t the little Jack who used to stop kicking the ball and wave hello to his mommy anymore. With soccer come speed, aggression, and fancy footwork in his age group.

This season, Jack moved up an age group. When I watched him practice the last several nights, I can tell he is frustrated. He told me the other kids are “so much better” than he is. Jack is definitely feeling the pressure to compete with the older kids who have more experience. We discussed the importance of staying positive and practicing his heart out. Jack is the type of kid who feels defeated if he doesn’t get it right the first time. He is a competitive perfectionist who gets deflated when he isn’t. As a parent, I try to be supportive by encouraging him, and helping him realize gradual improvements through practice.

I hope Jack’s enthusiasm for soccer survives this season. I know he will do well with practice and coaching, I just hope Jack feels the same way. Competition is not easy.  Jack’s hard work today, in stifling heat and humidity, will pay off this season. I just want to see a smile back on Jack’s face sooner rather than later.

Ice Cream Madness

August 14th, 2017

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I love ice cream. So it’s not wonder that my kids do, too. However, I have to tell you they take their fondness to an extreme. When they hear the ice cream truck come by, they lose their minds! Of course, it’s not just the fact that they’re getting ice cream that makes them love the truck. It’s the randomness and surprise of the truck appearing, and offering a treat that you can have at home even though you didn’t go to the store. I get it. It’s exciting. But please, stop with the screaming already.

One downside to the ice cream obsession is that I cannot resist a cone or sundae myself! So while the kids could not care less about how much the full fat dairy and sugar are affecting those little bodies, I’m always thinking about my waistline and cholesterol. I have to tell you; when I’m watching my diet, ice cream is so much harder to abstain from than other fattening foods. It’s just too cool, creamy, and delicious!

But like most things, sweet treats are fine in moderation. I think it’s good to show my kids that mommy enjoys dessert, but healthy eating and exercise—which we also get plenty of in the summer—are important, too. Hopefully some of that message syncs in between licks of the cone.

Have a great week!

Back to School

August 9th, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Jack and Tate went back to school this week. Jack is in 5th grade and Tate is in 2nd. The boys didn’t want their summer vacation to end. However, once they saw all their friends on the first day, and met their new teachers, they were excited for the new school year to begin.

Jack and Tate were bummed they had homework on the first day, but I was happy to see them knock it out as soon as they got home from school. They each had a few “All about me” homework activities, which are a fun way to start the year off. Introducing yourself to your new class and learning about others makes it easier to make new friends.

It is always interesting to watch Jack and Tate grow. My first-born is in the top grade of his elementary school, 5th grade. Middle school is right around the corner. I can vividly remember his first day of Kindergarten like it was yesterday. The years are fleeting. Tate is already learning that 2nd grade comes with a lot more responsibility. I’m trying to teach him organizational skills with hopes it will help keep him focused. I think he is up for the challenge of a new grade.

I look forward to another school year. As much as I love spending fun summer days with the boys, it’s nice to be back on a schedule and fall into a new routine. I hope your new school year is a great one.

Trains on the Brain

August 7th, 2017

From Monday Mom  – Neetika:
Haley, blessed girl that she is, has always had a wide array of toys. I never put limits on what she could play with. She’s always had cars alongside her dolls. And balls to throw and kick next to her tea party set. Now that we are lucky enough to have her younger brother in our family, we are getting twice the use out of everything. My kids rarely meet a toy they do not like. But recently I have noticed that there’s something Hudson loves playing with that we just haven’t picked up over the years: trains.

What is it with boys and trains? He is crazy for them! At our town’s library, there’s a toy train set in the play area. However, you have to give the librarians your Driver’s License in order to borrow one! That’s how crazy kids gets for these trains. Grubby little felons are trying to make off with them!

Hudson’s face lights up when he sees a toy train, and now that he’s become a bit more articulate, he’s actually able to say: “I want you to buy me a train toy.” I haven’t made it to the store thus far, but I have a feeling he’s in for a fun purchase very soon. He’s been a good sport with the hand-me-downs thus far. It’s time for something special. Choo choo!