School at Home

by Leslie

Phoebe will begin preschool one week from today.

Phoebe's going to preschool!

(That’s the picture we sent to school to label her mailbox and cubby.)

Once that happens, Jack and I will be on the go a lot, shuttling the bigger kids around. Our day will be fragmented into small chunks of time that are easy to waste if I’m not intentional about how we use it. So, I wrote up a little plan for some “School at Home.”

We’re celebrating a theme each school week. For example, this week’s is Family. We’re reading books, singing songs, playing games and doing activities about the theme.

Family Tree

Yesterday, we made a family tree. We stuck our photos on some apples, labeled the leaves and stuck them on there.

Then we made paper versions of ourselves from this paper doll template from Tim’s Printables. The rest of the family saw them and decided to make theirs, too.

Paper Family

That’s been one of the fun things, so far – the way everyone else adds to it. Last week, the little kids went fishing for letters.

Fishing for letters

(We printed them from Kiz Club.)

We named each letter as they caught the fish. Later, when Lucy came home from school, we used them for her spelling practice. Then, she and Phoebe started a game where the mommy fish (the uppercase letters) were searching for their baby fish (the lowercase letters). Lucy turned out to be an excellent teacher.

Alphabet maze

Today, our alphabet maze (from Hands On As We Grow) became an alphabet town.

Alphabet town

“Jack, your house is on XYZ lane!” Cool, right?

In addition to our theme, we’ll work on a letter, number, and color or shape each week. I wanted our letters to coincide with Phoebe’s letters of the week at school, so we’re starting with a few weeks of general alphabet introduction until she begins.

We’ve played the Alphabet Monster Game from Little Family Fun.

Feeding the alphabet monster

And we did some Magic Letter Learning (again, from Hands On As We Grow).

Finding hidden letters

And we’re building a book for our letters, numbers, and colors/shapes all year, adding a page to each of them every week.

Our color/shape book is a picture book. Last week’s shape was a circle. We went on a circle hunt, taking pictures of all we could find. Our favorite circle was spotted by Jack – the eyelet on his shoe.

Jack found a circle

That’s the one that went in the book.

I’m pretty excited about what we have going on. I think we’re going to have a fun school year.

Summer was sweet.

by Leslie

Jack and the blue popsicle.

Grimmershot kids.

Absolute adorableness.

Total cuteness.

The girls.

Another year of school began for Julia and Lucy on Tuesday. It made headlines!

Our Weekly Family Newspaper

Well, at our house, at least – in our very own newspaper.

Julia and Lucy on the first day of school

Julia is in sixth grade this year. Lucy is in second grade and she lost her first tooth today.

Lucy lost her first tooth!

It had been wiggling for a while, but a fall on the playground at recess may have expedited its removal. (Notice the fat lip and bloody gums?) That was okay by her, though. She had waited long enough to lose that tooth!

We had a lovely summer and I keep saying banal things about it being over too soon, but it was. Boys of Summer by Don Henley came on the radio as I pulled away from the middle school this morning and I’m getting up every day at 5 a.m. That’s about as far as you can get from camping on the beach which I did in July, but still haven’t even told you about!

Geez. I need to get my shit together.

Back to School Bedtime Plan

I’m at my best when I get 7 to 7 1/2 hours of sleep. I’m annoyed by how much it screws me up when I get much more or less than that, lately. If I could live according to my own circadian rhythm, I’d go to bed around 2 a.m. and sleep until 9 a.m. That doesn’t happen much. I don’t really mind, though. I don’t like getting up early, but I like being up early. (That makes sense, right?) And I prefer to be up and at ’em before the kids. The whole family agrees that life is better this way.

The kids need around 10 hours of sleep. This year, Julia is using her own alarm clock to get up. It goes under her pillow and vibrates in addition to making a sound, so she can get up without waking her siblings which she loves. She loves it so much she’s been cutting sleep short for a slice of alone time. Now, Lucy is requesting her own alarm clock so she can get up before Julia. I know getting the sleep they need is important, but I’m just rolling with this. It’s easy to be the early riser when wake up time is 8 a.m. I think it’ll all shake out by the time we’re getting up at 6 a.m.

I had an exceptionally bad day (or two) where I simply could not stand myself. I felt too disgusting and repulsive to show my face in public and I felt anxious when I had to. I clung on the verge of tears and tortured myself with evidence that I am good at and for nothing.

Dave watched me empty my drawers and cry because nothing I put on made me look like anything other than me. He tried to hug me. He said he loved me. I told him I couldn’t understand why. It probably wasn’t his best day (or two) either.

When he left for work, I was certain he felt glad to go and get away from me. Who wouldn’t? But he came home and surprised me by taking the next day off to be with me. I didn’t even want to be with me! And he sent me roses.

Roses from my lover

I wish I could say that flipped my happy switch back on, but I was still a bit moody. Also loved. Very, very loved.

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