Life is sooooooooooooo busy as a working momma of THREE kids... but, life is also full of so many "little" things...you know, those simple pleasures that really bring so much joy... I'm mostly thinking of the dopey things that my kids say and do that make me laugh... but also the little adventures we have or the day trips that we do... you think you will remember them all, but those memories really do fade over time. I am hoping to sit down once a month (ideally, once a week, but being that I hardly manage one decent shower a week, we'll aim for once a month for now! LOL) to detail those quotable quotes or beautiful little actions (or those not so much) as well as our family activities. I hope you enjoy!! :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Back to School Musings of a Mommy

Miss Jaffee and Patrick build a time
machine for their classroom! :)
I was truly anxiety ridden as this year's first day of school approached.  I was not the least bit worried about Patrick--his big transition to a new school (MY school, turned OUR school) was last year, so he had a year under his belt and felt incredibly comfortable heading into this year.  And, although he was worried, Miss Jaffee, his teacher for this year, became a QUICK part of our lives and that certainly helped make him more comfortable.

Watch out world!
How did my bean get so big?!?
My big anxiety was for my #2: Ryan.  While I know that EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE takes to him QUICKLY not only because he is just plain FREAKING hilarious (I know I'm biased, but, seriously, strangers on the street are often left in stitches when he's around--mostly because he thinks out loud and that kid perspective is truly unlike any other!), but also because he really is in tune with and sensitive to the feelings of others, it is that sensitivity that makes me feel like I have to bubble wrap him before I send him off into this cold, cruel world (Wow! That sentence is like a paragraph long!).  Worrying about MY worries is one thing, but knowing full well that Ryan himself is totally timid about starting a new school (too bad we don't have Kindergarten at my school!) ratches it up a bit!  He had been expressing anxiety (even crying!) since July!!  Luckily, his school hosts an orientation program for the Kindergarten students-- the program made us BOTH feel better!  First, on our way in, I ran into a parent of a former student of mine who I knew worked at the school.  She took me right over to Ryan's teacher to introduce me, personally.  I like to have that personal connection (with less than 6 degrees of separation) with my kids' teachers... I had it with Patrick's Kindergarten teacher (at a different school, no less) since her classroom aide was also a parent of one of my former students... I guess that's what happens when you've been teaching in the same county for over a decade!  And, then, I IMMEDIATELY liked the vibe of his teacher during the whole group orientation.  She seemed like the perfect fit for Ryan and my instinct was right!  During the time where the kids leave the parents (sniff, sniff... I was good, though... didn't want my tears to become his tears), Ryan TOTALLY connected with her!  I don't know what she did because it was SUCH a short time, but when I went to pick him up, he not only HUGGED her, but he also BOUNCED out of the school DYING to come back for the first day--a TRUE relief for me to know that on the first day, I'd just be dealing with my own mommy-nostalgia and not having to worry about my little man because he was confident that he would be okay!
So grown up!

We really saw such a HUGE difference in Ryan's confidence in the first couple of weeks of school.  Not only was he a "big boy" now, just like Patrick because he started school, but he also started soccer and religious ed for the first time, too.  I don't think his feet touched the ground for a good two weeks!  Of course, now a month in, he is realizing how EXHAUSTING it is to go to school all day and balance a couple of extra-curricular activities, but he has already learned sooooooooo much and it is truly exciting to see (I have to channel that inner-teacher in me sometimes so that I don't PUSH them when they aren't interested)!!

The Year of the Birds
Patrick has adjusted well, too!  A bit of irony, he went right on to class the first day all confident and eager, but by the time he got there, he wound up in tears--I think since he is so comfortable at our school, he forgot to recognize he was nervous!  But, Miss Jaffee and his BFF Joshua, made things just right again quite quickly!  And while September was a bit of an after school nightmare for him (we swear that he is the type of kid that was built for year-round school--the transition is TOUGH for him!), October is here and the routine is established and all is right with the world (although if I am not standing in just the right place when the bus drops him off in the afternoon, he is still panicked, the big dope!)!

Playdate with Nathan
Bon Voyage R & P!
And that little Rose?  The most exciting part of the school year for me is that still working only three days a week makes this "the year of Katy!"  I am SUPER excited.  And, two days is perfect... one in case there are errands to be run and one for JUST FUN!  And, yes, we've already been shopping! ;)  It is strange just having one little friend at home!!  But I am going to enjoy this part-time business for as long as it lasts because I know each year, at this point, I continue part-time is a blessing... And, yes, it is fun and games now, but when I hit 60 and am still working, not qualified for full retirement (these part-time years don't count!), I'm hoping I'm nostalgic enough about my kids all grown that I treasure this time that I have been blessed to have with them as much as I do now and that I'm not old, tired, and cranky!  LOL.

That should do it for now!!  I hope to get the pumpkin patch blog done before the end of the month, but John is on his way home and I'd like to enjoy some QT with him!! :)

Patrick telling Ryan to behave himself!
<3 Kimberly (John, Patrick, Ryan, & Katy)
The Time Machine
Brotherly love... nothin' like it!

Time Machine, Complete

Back to School Musings from a Former Classroom Teacher

Where has September gone??! I swear with each kid, time seems to move quicker and quicker! The fact that my sweet little Rose will be 2 in under four months is astounding... Really?? How did that happen??!

I had every intention of doing a First Day of School blog entry by, at the very least, the second week of school... But, here we are, at the end of September (the 24th as I am writing tonight, but know I will not post tonight as pics are still, I think, on my camera AND I want to get fancy and do some scanning this month). If I do meet this month's deadline, it will have EVERYTHING to do with Yankee baseball and the fact that the Yankees have blown a 10 game division lead and are now being chased for the pennant by, of all teams, the Orioles, a local sleeper team! So, now we are "double fisting" and watching not one,but TWO games...often at the same time. I think my usual love for baseball has been squashed by hubby's OCDism and the sun rising and setting on the Yankees' current rank (can I get an "Amen"? Someone? Anyone???)!

In any event, as I got ready to send The TWO boys off to school this year, I found myself thinking back to my own years as a classroom teacher. I'm not sure if it is because I sent my second kiddo off to that big Kindergarten milestone or because Patrick has a brand new baby as his teacher this year and I can't help but remember back 14 long years ago to when that was me! Or, maybe it is because one of the support teachers at Ryan's school is a parent of a former 1st grader of mine (who is now a senior-ouch!). I was super excited to happen to run into her at orientation and she took me right over to personally introduce me to Ryan's teacher (you know, so this woman can, at least for a small bit of time, think I'm a regular, well-adjusted individual...lol). In any event, I would like to dedicate this entry to ALL of my former students,but most especially those that I am still fortunate enough to be in touch with today.
Kelly and I on one of my
trips back!
Kelly, first day of
first grade...
my first class!
There is Kelly--my one tie to my past life in New York. She is currently halfway through college at SUNY Courtland studying to be, of all things, a teacher! She wrote me a nice letter several years back to let me know that's she's wanted to be a teacher ever since she's been in my class-- there truly is no compliment higher! One of my favorite memories of Kelly is being visited by her at recess time when she was in second grade so that I could braid her hair (if teaching doesn't work out, I've often thought of hair dressing!). I got lots of practice with Kelly for my future, sweet Katy!  I have enjoyed watching Kelly blossom into a young woman over the years!
THAT class (with
my cousin Bethany...
in front of me)!
And, those Martin girls! Kelsey is now a freshman at Harding University. She was part of my first class of first grade down here in Virginia. And, OH! What a year THAT was... I wound up with a class that, well, let's just say the chemistry was out of whack. They were known throughout the building and my teammates felt really badly for me...so much so that every time a new student came to 1st grade, one of them would volunteer to take him/her, even when I then wound up with less students. Finally, in January, as they each were knocking on 30's door, while I still had "only"26, we got word that a new student was coming in.  I stepped up to the plate, held my breath, and took the new student... in walked Kelsey Martin...aaaahhhhh... SUCH a breath of fresh air.. What a true gem (to this day!) of a student, to this day!

Her little sister Kaylen was DEVASTATED when she learned, at the end of that year, that she wouldn't have me for first grade. She learned, two years later, to be careful what you wish for when I moved up to third grade and she was placed in my class! :)  She got me back, though, as I was the one DEVASTATED when the Martins got word that they would be moving before the end of the year... Right before my first round of state testing! Kaylen was a certain guarantee for a high pass rate... And, let's be real, although I'd like to think that's because I am a phenomenal teacher, truth be told, those Martin girls are smart cookies!

Kelsey and Kaylen Martin, shortly before they moved
Lucky for me, the Martin girls came with an AWESOME mom who became an aide for my first grade classes for the next couple of years. She was, truly, the best aide I've had to date... Simply because she not only was great with the kids, but also because we were on the same wavelength about things and, ask anyone who's worked with young kids, it is always more fun to have another adult in the room because those who have never worked as a teacher just wouldn't believe what happens within those four walls sometimes! LOL
There is Bethany DeStefano. She was never a student of mine, but rather one of my many WAY younger cousins (my aunts and uncles were all obviously quite comfortable having kids later in life) who came to visit my first year back here and spent the day with me. She was a first grader at the time (THAT year!). She became one of the many of a long line of kids who WISHED I could be their teacher...ha, ha, ha! I always assure them that I am FAR more fun to pal around with than I am as a teacher... I can be VERY demanding and relentless as a classroom tracher! ;)  Just ask anyone who's been a student! LOL Bethany is now at the University of Richmond, as a freshman. I have been trying to convince her, since she is so close, to come here for a weekend so that I can make her the BEST meatballs in town (our Grandma Rose's recipe)!!

Then, there is Connor Arguin. I am not, personally, in touch with him, but am in touch with him through his mom who was also, at one point, a colleague of mine. They had moved out of the area after Connor's 2nd grade, but came back a few years ago and I was able to go to a baseball game of his as a middle schooler! Connor was one of my first graders during my fourth year of teaching. I will always remember him as the little blond hair, blue eyed little friend who was madly in love with me! And that was the year that I got married... Think Connor was always a little leery of John when he would come for lunch. Kinda makes me laugh now... Patrick was in love with Ms. McCullor, his first grade teacher, last year and was pretty devastated himself when she got engaged! LOL. Connor is in HIGH SCHOOL now and is, with his younger brother, an avid sports player. I have to get back for another game so that when he makes it in the big leagues he remembers his humble first grade teacher!

And, last, but not least, there is sweet Cody Pollard. Cody is forever frozen in my heart as an 8 year old as he was involved in a tragic, fatal, ATV accident the summer after his second grade year. He was also one of my first graders the year that I got married. He was a red-headed freckled-faced little sweetie. He was an exceptionally sweet little boy who had a remarkable ability to put the needs of friends above his own... Not typical first grade behavior! He was best buds with one of my wiggliest little fellows and had an incredible way of holding his attention. I had just found out that I was pregnant with Patrick when I heard of the accident...so, although a tragic accident is a tragic accident, I didn't understand the magnitude of the devastation as I can today, 8 years later, with a child right around the same age. I think of him often as I know the world has truly missed out on seeing Cody grow up!

The most rewarding part of teaching, truly, is becoming a part of the lives of young people and watching them figure out their way through life-- certainly makes up for the little paychecks (with little to know pay raises in these tough economic times) as well as the political BLAH that you deal with on a regular basis!!

I am off now to actually write that OTHER blog... It is October 5th... I missed the September deadline--not because of the Yankees (who came down to the FINAL day of the season with the Orioles, but hung on), but rather because of a book, "Gone Girl," that my bestie gave me for my birthday and I had a hard time putting down once the kids were in bed and John was plugged in!  So, I will be writing that Back to School Blog and then will be doing an entry for our annual trek to the pumpkin patch!  So much to write, so little time-- and date night tonight as John and I celebrate 10 years of married life! :) :)

Lots of Love,
Kimberly (John, two boys, and that sweet lil' Rose!)