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Last year we started the tradition of a Back to School Feast the night before the first day of school.

This year, we kept things simple and kid-friendly with homemade pizza, strawberries, lemonade, and cherry dump cake for dessert.  I was in the thick of a lot of projects so I didn’t go all out but the kids had a splendid time and felt special.

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After dinner we gathered in the family room for our back to school discussion and reminders.  What are your teachers names?  What do you do if you’re feeling shy but need to go to the bathroom?  Look for kids who are alone and be their friends.  How do you make a new friend on the playground?  How are you getting home from school?  Things like that.

Then Ben gave them each a Priesthood Blessing which were so sweet and comforting.

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The next morning came quickly.  The kids lept out of bed with excitement.  Probably the first and only time that will happen this year:)  They were ready in record time.

Sadie has the same teacher for 3rd grade as she did for the second half of 2nd grade, Ms. Jones, who we really like.  Most of the students in her class are new to her, but she makes friends quickly and easily.  She had been telling me the last few weeks of summer that she was excited to go back to school.  She may be my bravest and most emotionally stable child.  Maybe it’s just because she’s older than the boys?  I’m always in awe of her courage.  She was such a timid toddler that it’s amazing to see how much growth she’s made in that area.

Jax started 1st grade and his teacher is Ms. Maroney.  Kindergarten was pretty rough on him.  We requested a sweet and soft spoken teacher for him this year, and the one he was assigned has been wonderful. We expected tears or nervousness from him on the first day, but he was all smiles.

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Sadie and Jax have school from 8AM – 2:15.  McKay has school from 9AM – 12PM.  Hence, McKay is shown in the picture above still in his pajamas as Jax, Sadie, and Ben head out for the day.

We debated long and hard about starting McKay in kindergarten vs. doing another year of preschool since he has an August birthday.  In the end, we chose the more gentler option.  Seeing Jax, who also has a summer birthday, struggle so much in Kindergarten is what really cemented the decision.  He is smart and responsible for his age so I’m sure he would have been fine to start the next grade, but I knew he’d be stressed and exhausted by the end of each day.  So, another year of preschool it is!

He was nervous but composed on his first day.  He had a best friend from last year that he was very sad wouldn’t be in his class anymore.   He was super clingy and sad at “Meet the Teacher” so I was nervous how is first day would go.  In the end, he did perfectly! Unfortunately, I had a little breakdown when it was time to say good bye.  He looked so small and nervous and vulnerable that my heart broke for him.   Luckily, he held it together.

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We’ve had a few speed bumps but I’m hopeful it’s going to be a great year for all the kids!

Sadie came home from school so, so happy the first two days.  By Friday she was tired and grumpy, but this week she’s back to herself.   Perhaps the hardest thing for her has been that she has the last lunch of the day which is at 12:20.  She eats a lot and it’s really hard for her to go 5 hours without food!  Also, she just had her orthodontic expander put in yesterday so that’s not ideal since it’s hard for her to talk, and she, understandably, only wants to eat soft food many of which are hard to pack in a lunchbox.  As with all things, she forges ahead in quiet patience and optimism.

Jax had a phenomenal first week!  He’s been the happiest I’ve been him in a long time.  I wonder if he’s been dreading school starting up, but now that he’s faced the fear and conquered he has a sense of relief.  Unfortunately, Monday morning (Day 4) was rough. We were up late the night before and he was so sleepy Monday morning.  He didn’t want to get out of bed, cried, and begged to stay home.  Which made Sadie and him late for school.  Ugh.  Tuesday was a little better.  Today he was fine again.  Let’s hope it’s smooth sailing from here.

McKay has made a new best friend, Michael, and seems to love school!  Ben asked him last night which teacher he liked more – Ms. Dawn (who was his teacher last year and we loved!) or Ms. Jodi (teacher this year).  He said Ms. Jodi.  I was surprised! I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow so I told him this morning I would need him to stay for lunch bunch at school tomorrow and he yelled, “Yeah!!!  Michael’s been wanting me to stay!”  This school is more hands-on that his previous school – lots of crafts, painting, building, and interactive activities. Each day he’s excited about the next day’s activity.  Today they made applesauce as their snack which he found to be very fun and delicious.  “I had two big scoops, Mommy!  They let me have extra.”  I think he’ll have a wonderful year!

A few pictures of them today during their “decompress” time after school……

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  • August 21, 2016 - 11:55 pm

    Mary Meyers - Awwwww!!! I just want to scoop them all up in my arms and fill them with my love! Sounds like they’re handling things pretty well. Are they not the cutest things ever?!!! I may be a bit prejudiced, but I think I have the cutest grandkids in the world!!!!! How did I ever get to be so lucky??? HOW? You ask??? I guess It’s because I had the cutest kids in the world!!! Being a mom and a grandmother is the best thing EVER!!!ReplyCancel

It’s been a busy few weeks of summer around here!  Full of appointments (12 in one week, that must be a record?!?!), trips, parties, and playdates.  I love the lazy days of summer but the last few weeks have been anything but lazy!  As the mounds of laundry, piles of dirty dishes, and scattered toys collect around the house an eagerness for the routine of school days returns.

Today was the first of school, and it will be so nice to have three hours to myself each day to organize my house, thoughts, and photo work. I’m sad to see summer end, but less so this year than years past.  We’ll definitely miss the slow mornings and carefree days. But, I’m ready for more structure in our schedule, cooler weather, fall holidays, and less housework:)


A few highlight pictures from our summer……



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Jax turned 6.  Seems impossible, yet, here we are.

First let’s address why he’s wearing pink PJs in these present opening pictures.  The night before we were driving home from Karate and McKay fell asleep in the car and he stayed asleep when I carried him up to his bed when we arrived home.  So McKay was sleeping in the boys’ room and I let Jax have a sleepover in Sadie’s room since it was his birthday and I didn’t want Jax to wake McKay.  So, Jax wore Sadie’s PJs to bed instead of us risking waking McKay by getting Jax’s PJs out of his room.  Clear as mud?  I know I could re-write that but I’m feeling lazy.  Sorry.

Anyways, Ben arrived home from YMs and thankfully helped me decorate the house and finish wrapping presents.  When I say helped me….he did it all.  I was feeling sick so I sat and watched. Sadie had already done a lot of the wrapping.  She is so helpful with that! Just like her daddy.

This year he requested karate presents.  Karate presents????  Wasn’t sure what that meant and he didn’t either.  He kindof likes Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, because of their fighting and combat scenes.  He doesn’t watch the shows often (I hate both those shows so I limit) but I bought him a few of those gifts.  He liked them lots.

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Later that morning my mom came over and we all went out to a toy store to let Jax pick out his presents from my parents.  He was so happy!  After some searching we finally found what he was looking for at Target.  He picked out a transformer, lego warrior guy, and a power ranger dinosaur toy of some type.  It brought him so much happiness!  I was feeling really, really sick that morning so my mom coming over was a helpful distraction for all of us.  :)

That afternoon we went to RE Olds park for his family party.  We were worried we’d need to cancel because I had a sore throat, but thankfully, the family  was still okay with meeting!  Seems like we’re always sick on Jax’s birthday.  So happy it didn’t interfere this year, though!

Jax loves, loves, loves his cousins.  They are his best friends and an afternoon running around the park with them and eating sweets is his all time favorite thing!  Unfortunately I forgot my camera but Ben snapped some with his phone.  Mostly we let the kids run free, but Joseph and Ben set up a little obstacle course (thanks for the inspiration Matt) and the kids thoroughly enjoyed that!  They also enjoyed destroying the boys’ homemade pinata.  Though, some unfair candy distribution led to a few disappointed kids, Jax included.  He was exhausted by the end of the party and practically cried himself to sleep that night from emotional exhaustion.  It’s his party and he’ll cry if he wants to, I guess.  Overall, my lovely little six year old had a super fun day!

A few questions I asked Jax:

What was the best part of your birthday?  When we did the obstacle course game and when we had to throw the ball to see who got it the furthest.

Who is your best friend?  Jamsie.

What was your favorite toy?  The Power Ranger dinosaur toy from Mimi.

What made you feel the most loved on your birthday?  Opening the presents at my birthday party.

What else did you like about your birthday?  The pinata and the cake that had my name on it.  Okay that’s enough, Mom.

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Note: I wrote this a few months ago but hesitated to share for fear it was too negative.  After some time, I decided to share because it’s the reality of parenthood – ups and downs, love and frustration, happiness and exhaustion.  I think it’s healthy to remember and share all of it so I can have empathy for young mothers when I’m an old woman:)


Sunday afternoon I was upstairs with Ben and Jax when McKay came running up with a big smile declaring he had a present for us.  He delivered a Love Note to us from Sadie.  I read it aloud to the group: “Dear Daddy, I love you.  I love you because you get me water.”

I laughed a painful, sad laugh.  Kids.  They’re so cute yet so cruel, ya know?

Ben was confused.  “It seems so sweet.  What’s wrong with it?” he asks.

Ugh….how can I explain.

Sunday morning I spent getting myself and three kids ready for church.  I always have.  I’m starting to think I always will.  Ben was at ward council.  So I fed, bathed, and dressed the kiddos myself.  No biggie; I’m used to it.  If Ben was home he’d be helping but he has obligations.

At church Ben sat on the stand because the whole ward council spoke.  No biggie.  I’ve sat by myself with the kids for 5 of the last 7 years.  It’s not easy but I’m used to it.

After Sacrament meeting I go to my calling in Primary.  More kids.  I don’t mind, truly.  It’s fun to be down there and I like knowing what’s going on.

After church Ben had meetings so I took the kids home and changed them out of their nice clothes into their comfy clothes.   By then I had three hungry kids begging for lunch. I prepare a gluten-free favorite of chicken panang.  It’s not easy to be limited to gluten-free meals but we make it work for Sadie’s sake.

So I prepare the meal and we sit down to pray and eat.  Still no Ben but he’s doing great things so I’m happy about that.  I’d eaten about 3 bites of food when Sadie asked me to get her a cup of water.  The kids have ONE responsibility at meals: their water.  All they had to get was their water. That’s it.

Our conversation went like this:

Sadie: “Mommy, I’m thristy”

Me: “Sadie, you know you’re supposed to get your own water, Honey.  I just sat down and I want to eat. I haven’t sat down all day.  I asked you several times to get your own water.  I’m not going to. Can you please get it.”

Sadie: “Mommy, pleeeasssee will you get it for me? I’m really tired.”

Me:  “Sadie, I have done 29 things to prepare this meal.  I’ve measured the rice, rinsed the rice, cooked the rice.  I’ve cut up the chicken, onions, mushrooms, peppers, and celery.  I’ve opened cans of coconut milk and bamboo shoots.  I’ve cooked the meal, plated the food, gotten you silverware and napkins.  I asked you to do ONE thing – get yourself water.  I’m tired and I want to eat.  You can get yourself your own water.”

Sadie: Tears up and cries

Me: “Oh Sadie!  You’re not in trouble; I’m just tired. Come on, honey.  Let’s do it together, ok?”

Sadie and I get everyone waters.

So later when she delivered her note to Ben, “….I love you because you get me water” it felt like a slap in the face. It made me wonder if I’ll be remembered for the thousands of daily chores I do and the kind, encouraging words I express throughout the day,  or will I be remembered for the one moment when they felt disappointed because I was tired and choose to be selfish.  Are my kids going to look at their childhood and think of the handful of mistakes I made and overlook the thousands of things I did right?   I’m worried they will.  That’s sad.

I realize parenthood is not a popularity contest but sometimes I feel like the deck is a little unequally stacked against a mother.  It’s so easy to love the dad, especially Ben. He’s fun, extremely involved, and more patient (because he’s not as worn out).

But, ya know, I think I’m a pretty good parent, too.  Even if I don’t get them water!

I’ll just keep doing my best.  I’ll teach them responsibility and hardwork even if it means arguments and grumpiness.  I’ll keep trying to be patient and forgive myself even when I fall short.  Hopefully one day they’ll be parents and understand just how hard I worked and how deeply I loved them.  Because I do.  I love them like I never imagined I could love anything!


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The boys just finished up their spring soccer season.  Jax loved it; McKay liked it.  I think the heat was getting to McKay by the end.  The boys played great all season!  They each got quite a few goals.  Jax was the oldest on his team, so that may be a partial reason he was so successful!

Ben made a cute highlight video of their best moments.  Enjoy!  The audio is his favorite part:)

And, a few pictures…..

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