I have left behind the era of diapers, bottles, nap schedules, massive carseats and cribs.
I have entered the world of managing activity schedules, carpools, homework, sleepovers, and the PTA.
I am of the opinion that the stage you are in with your kids never really gets easier, per se. The difficulties just change. Am I thrilled that I don't have to pack a diaper bag with an endless supply of snacks and multiple outfits in case of a poop explosion? Of course. Do I think comforting my daughter when a friend is mean at school, or becoming basically an Uber driver is a walk in the park? Obviously not. Am I utterly terrified of teenage years? No question. Despite my new, current stage of life, the ends of my days haven't really changed... utterly exhausted and quite often with a glass of wine.
We had a fantastic, busy summer. Between swim team, family vacations, a few camps and lots of pool time, my girls got tanner and blonder than ever. Here are a few of my fav moments:
Despite all the fun of summer, August always brings out the cravings of structure and organization in me. I have discussed in past posts my awkward obsession with the feeling of a new school year (and my hoarder-like pen collection). To me, even more than New Year's, it really represents a fresh start. With Summer going into 2nd grade, Layla starting Kindergarten and Livi in preschool three days a week, I started freaking out about the potential for morning chaos. Summer has one speed, and one speed only: that of a snail. A snail who gets sidetracked by ANYTHING that comes her way. Layla is not a snail, but she is my late sleeper who is no peach when she doesn't want to get up. Then I have Olivia who, on a daily basis, comes up with something she just doesn't know how to do anymore by herself. "Mommy, I just forget how to put underpanties on."
Needless to say, I was concerned. I didn't want every morning to be running around, yelling, complaining, where-are-my-shoes chaos. I implemented a few things that (for these first few weeks) have actually worked gloriously. Like I kind of can't believe it. They do require upkeep on my part, but that is 100 schmillion percent worth it to have the decent mornings we have had.
1. They pick out all of our outfits for the week on Sunday. I check the weather, they choose things, and I make adjustments on the really terrible outfits (no Layla, a purple tutu does not mean you need a purple shirt). It takes 10 minutes and saves me EPIC amounts of time and stress in the mornings. We drape them on hangers next to cute little day of the week labels I made (and laminated... obvi).
2. They pack their own lunches. No, I don't care that they are only almost four, five, and seven years old. They are all perfectly capable of making a sandwich. They know the categories to fill:
-dairy item (yogurt, string cheese, etc)
-snack (goldfish, Pirate's booty, etc)
I try to prepackage the snacks and fruit/veggies in baggies so they just grab them but I haven't even done that 100% and it has been fine. AND no more coming home from school and complaining that I forgot that one of them doesn't like the Apple-Banana Fruit Squishems. And now they use it as a bargaining chip with each other... which is a risky move.
3. Lots of easy breakfast options... but whatever I give them, that is what they eat. No one kid wants a waffle, one wants cereal and one wants peanut butter toast. A frequent phrase in our house is, "You get what you get and you don't get upset." I made a bunch of breakfast burritos (large batch of scrambled eggs slightly loose and whatever else you want--cheese, bacon, sausage, salsa, whatever. Roll up in a flour tortilla, wrap in a paper towel and then plastic wrap. Store in a freezer bag. To reheat, unwrap plastic wrap and put in microwave 1-2 minutes or until warm), batches of pancakes, stocked up on waffles, english muffins, you name it. I also wrote a list of ideas for those mornings that I just can't think.
So. Up to now, we got off to a good start. And an adorable one.