Hi friends! How are you? I'm drinking a lot of ice water these days but am reminded that I said I wanted to make vanilla mint iced coffee this summer. I need to check that off the list!
In the past week I noted the closing and opening of momentous chapters. Like the last time we dropped Maeve off and then picked her up from the daycare where we first dropped Dash off exactly 10 years ago. In the weeks and then days leading up to the end, as I counted down the number of times we would make that drive, I felt my deep appreciation of the loving environment where each of my kids spent so many hours. I thought about the phrases we learned along with our kids like "honoring words" and "waking up our courage."
As we walked out for that last time and into the dry heat of summer I was suddenly emotional and crying. But as with so many parenting milestones, time doesn't stop to give you a moment to dwell. The kids were hot and asking what was next, Chris was getting a phone call, and Maeve wanted to climb into her car seat by herself. And just like that a chapter ended, amidst the hubbub of family life carrying on. A chapter that started with round-faced baby Dash, and later included baby and then toddler Cedric, both facing backwards in the Prius. We carried armfuls of bottles and blankets into that building and out again and then lunch boxes and show-and-share items. We left once and thought it was the end but then three years later were back with a very shy, fuzzy-headed toddler. Since then we've watched her bloom into a much more confident girl with long golden hair who loves school.
Then just an hour later that same day we were in the prologue for a new chapter for our family. We joined the procession of families heading into our neighborhood school, pulling our wagon loaded with supplies for three classrooms. The boys walked confidently through the halls of Meet the Teacher Night while Maeve held on to us tightly as we saw her new preschool room. On Tuesday everyone was excited for the first day of school, including Maeve, until it was actually time to say goodbye, which turned out to be very hard for Maeve. Thankfully, two friends were able to report to me that they saw her a short while later and she was happily playing. After school Maeve told us, "I had a great day!" and drop-off improved significantly every day and was tear-free by Friday.
My heart unclenched after I heard that Maeve was doing well that first day, and I felt that I could greet this new chapter properly. All of my kids, all three! of them, now go to full-day school just half a mile from our house. Since quitting my full time job more than five years ago, I've always split my weeks between being on at-home mom duty and my own work of podcasting and writing. And then of course there was that year of the pandemic when it was only mom duty. Having full work days and the freedom to pursue my own work has always been where I've wanted to end up...and now here I am! I don't have any grand plans at this point other than letting myself get used to having more time and to see where that leads. I do hope to work towards earning enough to contribute to our household income. I have some ideas percolating but am not sure what that will look like yet. I was chatting with a good friend recently about her "season of exploration" which resonated with me as well. So percolating and exploring are the intentions I'm carrying into this new chapter and it feels really good.
July goals update:
+ Take photos of kiddo art from last school year and establish a container for pieces to save. Yes! This project is always seem daunting but actually goes pretty fast. I also bought durable folders, one for each kiddo, to hold on to the few pieces that I'm not ready to let go of.
+ Add simple artwork and photo displays to the boys' rooms. In progress...bulletin boards and push pins are purchased and need to be hung. That is Chris's superpower so I'll ask him to do it this week.
+ Declutter and organize Maeve's closet. Kicking this into August but it's been on my mind and I know I'll get it done.
Plus a few other ta-das in July:
+ Completed Maeve's first swim lessons while the boys took dive lessons. Although Maeve is old enough to be in swim lessons without a parent our shy girl is not ready for that. So she floated in my arms and we sang the pancake song about flipping over and practiced blowing bubbles without first breathing water (which she didn't master). Maeve was delighted to be doing swim lessons and on the first day during class she exclaimed, "I'm doing my swim lessons! I'm having so much fun!"
+ Found big kid fun with the boys during the last two weeks of summer. We went to the trampoline park, swam at public pools, saw movies, visited the rec center, and allowed a lot of screen time. The boys had great summers and I feel good about that.
+ Updated our school's PTSO website, which I maintain, with current info.
+ Made a sensory bin for the boys to help them navigate big emotions. I included a big squishy ball, a soft maze, and a water timer. These have helped at times, and other times not so much but I'm glad I did this regardless.
+ Got our roof assessed with the resulting good news that we don't need to replace our roof for another five years or more. We thought this was a big expense we'd need to pay for this year. Hooray!!
+ Bought, organized, and delivered all needed school supplies plus updated other essentials where needed like a backpack for Maeve, and new shorts and shoes for the boys.
+ Organized a fun outing with all the adults in our family for Chris's September birthday to see a play and then go to dinner.
I'll wrap it up there and am off to refill my ice water.
I hope you found good things in July, friends!