Tag: back to school

Spring and Summer 2013 215It’s summer still. We are not clothes shopping. Or school supply shopping. Or even talking about back to school just yet. We are in the bubble of summer and we like it here.

At the beginning of the summer a few of us made summer bucket lists full of things we wanted to do in the 2.5 months of summer break. There were some simple things on there like try a Stand Up Paddleboard and eat ice cream while floating on a raft. There were some harder things too like learn to do a back flip. There were places to go and people to see. Books to read and games to try. It was fun to create the list at summer’s beginning and it’s fun to glance at it every now and again to gauge our success rate.

Now in the final leg we are checking our lists one last time. We’ve done a lot that we wanted to do and we know that makes us lucky.

What’s on your list as you enter this final phase? If you haven’t made a list yet, there’s still time! Add a few things you’ve already done then cross them off. Add some people you want to see. Or books you want to read.  Add some easy things and maybe a thing that pushes you out of your comfort zone. (like that back flip mentioned above!) And add some down time too.

Don’t let the marketing machine fool us that summer is over. Instead find or create your bucket list, and your bucket while you’re at it, and savor these last few weeks of summer break. According to my calender there’s still 1/3 left to go.


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School started this past week here in Austin. It always feels so abrupt, that transition from summer to school. For three months there are basically no bedtimes, lots of cousins, time with Grandma, swimming, canoeing, lazy afternoons reading and napping and lounging about, and morning after morning spent sleeping in.

Then BAM! School starts back with lunches and homework and early mornings and strict bedtimes and lots of things that just have to be done, right away or at least on a pretty tight schedule. Not that it’s bad, just that it’s different. and by different I mean kind of bad in that it hits us with  a real wallop. ESPECIALLY if we are not prepared.

Which this year, I gotta say, even with 4 kids getting out the door to 3 different schools, we all felt pretty prepared. We had figured out bus schedules and school supplies and lunch boxes and wake up times. We had found scissors and binders and mechanical pencils from last year.  And had even thrown the backpacks in the washer for a fresh clean start to this brand new academic season.

And the other thing I did? I took myown advice from my very own book and I set my alarm for 10 minute earlier than I had set it last year.  I also vowed to myself that I would not hit the snooze. And that I would wake the kids up a few minutes earlier too. Because really, though it SEEMS like the snooze will give me what I want, and though I am not naturally a  morning person, not by any stretch of the imagination, unless I can snooze for another hour, it doesn’t do anything but prolong the agony.

But this ten minutes of extra awake time? It gives me the world. It gives me time to put my coffee on and get dressed and even take a few sips of that coffee paired with a nice deep breath. It gives us all space  – around getting that signature we forgot  last night or finding that shoe that’s got to be around here somewhere or changing the stained shirt or just sitting for a minute while someone picks at the typewriter, without me freaking out that WE NEED TO KEEP IT MOVING OR WE”RE GONNA BE LATE!!!

It’s rather amazing really, the chilled-out-ness that the extra 10 minutes is giving us all. Not to exaggerate or over-emphasize,  but truly? With this extra 10 minutes in the morning, we’re  happier, easier, and surely healthier too, because that feeling of panic that comes from  rushing, whether we feel it in our heads or our bellies or  in our throats as we’re yelling to get a move on, that feeling cannot be good for us.

I know we’re only in week one of school, and I have been known to wane on resolutions in the past, but I think this one’s a keeper. And  I am going on record here as saying that that extra ten minutes is a total game changer at our house. Not that we’re all walking out the door singing Kumbaya or anything, but we might. We just might.

My children love it when I sing.



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Wobbly Wednesday and Back to School

The first week in and we are feeling a little wobbly over here. The kindergartner is perhaps the most surprised by the upheaval of his beautiful world. We went from lazy days to 6:00 alarm clocks. From playing all day with his legos and his siblings to arriving in class to the same spot day after day next to the same kids with the same people who are decidedly NOT his loved ones. From random trips to Barton Springs at 9pm to being in bed, lights out by 8:pm at the latest.

On the home front we are enjoying the first time in nearly 15 years that we are home alone during the day without any children, but still, this schedule is going to take some getting used to. I am a night owl by nature and the idea of being in bed by 11 is positively shocking to my system.

So here’s what we’ve figured out thus far about the things we need to make this all work, for everyone involved…

  •  better lunch making routines – so that we’re not scrambling at bedtime to get lunches made for the next day. Or even worse, making lunches while we’re putting breakfast on the table. Whoever makes dinner will have one of the kids by them making lunches.
  • Get our 6th grader on a different bike – it’s kind of hard to ride the bmx bike with a trumpet in tow. Especially if he also wants to bring his skateboard.
  • Earlier dinner time. We’re still in our summer time mode of 7pm dinner time which is just too late if you need to be in bed by 8.
  • Get a maid. Just kidding. But it sure would be fun to have a full-time maid on hand to clean up , do some laundry, maybe throw a meal together every now and again.
  • Don’t hit the snooze on the alarm. It doesn’t really give me what I need, it just makes it more frantic getting everyone settled.
  • Pause, for just 2 minutes, on the edge of the bed before I jump into high gear. That’s one thing I’ve been doing that is really, really working.
  • Oh, and if you sense your young child might have a rough morning, do not wear a skirt with an elastic waistband.

I’d love to know how others are doing these first weeks of school. What have you learned about your family’s routine?

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Is this working? (for us.)

Though the temperatures here in Austin hover in the high 90s and the calendar still shows a few more weeks of summer remaining, it sort of feels like fall around here. Since school started up nearly 2 weeks ago, the shift into new regimens and routines and rituals has begun.


It’s been sometimes easy and sometimes hard in our house. Two kids that are going to school like their teachers. That’s easy. One that is homeschooling likes her schedule. That’s easy too. The wee one wonders where the kids are going every day and he misses them. That’s hard. Bedtime comes at the time when just 2 weeks ago we were heading to the cold springs for an evening dip. That’s hard to give up. But easy to fall asleep when the day has begun so early. And speaking of the day beginning so early, well, that’ hard and doesn’t really seem to ever get easier. No matter how long we do it. If we had our way, school would begin at 8:45. That would feel natural. But 7:45 never. So that’s hard. We’re biking to school everyday which came about because the van was in the shop. That seemed hard to be without.  But now we;re biking everyday because we like it. It feels easy. Way easier than trying to navigate the sea of anxious cars trying to beat the bell in the morning. And as the days pass, each day we remember something we knew last school year but forgot over the summer. Some are easy. Some are hard. Some we get used to. Some we don’t.

But the thing that keeps us going, the thing that keeps us from feeling out of control, the thing that keeps us connected or at least brings us back to connection when we might otherwise have lost it or when we actually DO lose it, is one simple question: Is this working for us? We’re asking it on many levels right now. And though we don’t have the completely clear answers, just asking the question is the very beginning of bringing us to where we want and need to be.

So, as you return to school schedules or job shifts or money issues or playdates or  parties or chore charts or bedtime schedules or whatever stuff is a part of your family life, ask yourself that one question: Is this working for us? It’ll help get you where you want to be. Seriously.

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