Friday, September 30, 2016

Hello Autumn! Goodbye September!

The temperatures have cooled and the kids are in pants and long sleeves. The rain has been pretty steady and there is mud everywhere.

Exhibit A:
Yesterday's dirty laundry
September has been a wonderful month of transitions. Not only has the weather transitioned into cooler nights and days, but we also transitioned into sending our FIRST child to ALL DAY school. Reid is loving Kindergarten, more about his first day back here.

Some mornings start pretty early and the kids are able to play a bit before he catches the bus at 7:20. We can all thank Coraline for that.

What do you mean 5am is too early to get out of bed?

Taken Sep 2nd
Having just the two girls during the bulk of the day has been a really pleasant change. We miss Reid, of course. But with him gone Nell has really been able to shine. We've also been able to fall back into some of our pre-4K routines. We've gone to Wiggles and Giggles and Library Storytime twice this month. We also had a couple park playdates with friends. Even though 4K was just half a day, we kind of put all those activities on pause when Reid started going to school last year (and I was watching extra kiddos most days). It's nice to go back to doing those preschool/toddler activities with Nell and Coraline before the baby comes. 

It is also really nice to have a little special time with Nell during Coraline's nap. I'd been craving peanut butter bars (I always crave my childhood foods when I'm pregnant) for months, so one day I decided Nell and I better make them. Her excitement almost broke my heart. She was literally jumping for joy, and her giggles would have been contagious had the moment not struck me with such depth. I realize that sweet little girl has almost never done anything fun like that with just me. She's always been standing next to Reid, hidden in his shadow. This year is really her moment to shine and I'm truly grateful we have this time together before she heads off to 4K.  

Sep 8th
There is also plenty of after school playtime. Reid comes home during the hottest part of the day, and in the beginning of the month we were still having mid to high 70 temps in the afternoons. A few afternoons I loaded the kids up and took them to some of our favorite parks. But most days we just played in our own yard, especially when there were puddles to explore. 

Sep 7th
I'm also very grateful that Reid and Nell have remained such good buddies through this first month of school. That was my biggest fear about sending him to Kindergarten. I was really worried those 7.5 hours apart would put a little damper on their friendship, but it has not. On one particular visit to a local park I gave them their "pick one more thing to do" warning and soon found them sitting on the bank of the river, watching a mom duck lead around her 7 children. The two of them were so peaceful and content -- it made my heart swell a little to know that they just love each other so much and will always remain close friends. 

Sep 15th
For the most part, Reid has transitioned really well. I heard so many horror stories about kids' behaviors totally changing once they started all day school. That was my only other real fear. He had already started turning into a bit of a know-it-all back talker, I wasn't ready for anything worse. Luckily Kindergarten seems to have improved his behavior. He must have needed a more challenging environment than the one I was providing. I'm totally cool admitting that, ha! I'm not even sure I could say I miss all the extra time with him. I'm just so happy for him to be falling in love with school and learning. I do relish all the snuggles and one-on-one time I am able to squeeze in. 

One night Nell and Coraline both went to bed early (about 6pm) and I was so ecstatic that Ben and I could both dote on Reid for an extra half hour. Ben made him some wings for his dragon, and then I turned the cutout into a mask. We played a couple different board games and eventually sent him off to bed as well. It was such an unexpected treat to have all that time with just our little boy. He was soaking it all in, for sure. 

Sep 21st
Nell had a couple of her own special late nights with mom (but not both mom and dad). If she takes a nap during the day (which she occasionally still needs), she has the hardest time falling asleep before about nine (insert eye roll). Sometimes I let her sneak out and do those special grown-up things I do after the kids go to bed. You know, like the dishes. 

Sep 22nd
This is one of my new parenting philosophies. If you want to stay up late or wake up to early, I'm going to put you to work. I'm not sure it will work out in my favor, but at least they are learning to be helpers!

Sep 24th
Other notable events in September: Reid attended a birthday party, I had my warts removed (that was a big deal to my kids), we celebrated Nell's birthday (which I'll post soon, I started the draft days ago), Coraline suffered a mild case of hand-foot-mouth (and I thought she'd escaped it in June), and canned a bunch of pears.

20 quarts, to be exact
There was also plenty of day to day living. I wasn't very good at capturing those moments (or the big ones, like Nell's birthday) this month, but sometimes I enjoy just living life and not fretting about how I might record it for our own personal memories or future family history. I know those moments will eventually fade away and be forgotten -- which always makes me a little sad. But I'm grateful to live in them when they happen. Like tonight, we all sat on the family floor while Reid and I made an Autumn Calendar to hang in the kids' room. It was his idea and he did most of the drawings. Nell was busy coloring in our latest Lego Magazine and Coraline was just scribbling on whatever paper she could find. We were all so happy, and had I not been so pregnant I might have gotten up to grab my phone and snap a picture. But the pictures never perfectly capture the mood in those moments and the posed smile usually brings some sort of interruption. So we just took it all in and enjoyed the last few hours of our September together. 

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