Thursday, September 20, 2012

grace and rhythm

I am struggling to find my rhythm.

As a mom of two children in school.  With one child still at home. As a nursing student. With classes at night. After a long day of mothering. With a one-hour drive each way.

Everything is new to me. I've always worked. I've never had two children in school.

But everything is the same too. The same kids. The same dishes and laundry. The same errands and shopping.

Yesterday, even though I started getting ready to leave for school an hour before I needed to leave, I still left 15 minutes late. And of course hit more traffic then I ever have, making me miss the first 20 minutes of class.

This morning I forgot to write checks and fill out the forms for school pictures. I thought getting back to school within an hour with the forms would be sufficient, but both girls had to retake their photos. Not the end of the world. But I don't like being the flakey parent. And I feel like I shouldn't be, since I'm not working right now.

Well, I'm doing some hotel childcare on the weekends, based on demand. And trying to list items on eBay, but even that hasn't been happening, even though I'm at home much of each day.

I'm not one to need a strict schedule. But I like routine. And I've yet to establish a new one for this next phase of life.

Summer's rhythm was pretty easy, and fun to find. Maybe I'd get up early to run, maybe I'd sleep until one of the little girls woke me up (which was around 7am). About half of the week we'd do a fun activity--Sea World, the beach, the Bay, swimming in someone's pool. Which was still work because I was making lunches, packing snacks, and keeping the house in order. A few days a week we'd mostly hang at home, run a few errands. Our swimsuits got a lot of use this summer.

But now school is in. For me and the kids. Gracie is in kindergarten, still figuring it all out. Miss Rose is in third grade, and they have hit the ground running and I know it's going to get more intense. Not to mention all three kids are playing sports, on three different teams.

Mondays I leave right when Bean gets home, and Lily has soccer practice at 5:30pm.

Tuesdays I take Lily to Grammie's house, and they pick the girls up from school and I get home from my class about 6:30pm. Oh, and Miss Rose now has flag football practice from 5-6:30pm.

Wednesdays I leave 15-20 minutes before Bean gets home and the kids hang with my mom. Before I leave, I need to have Gracie and Lily dressed for soccer practice, because their practices are one after the other, at two different parks.

I hope I don't sound like I'm complaining. Because I'm truly not. I am still so excited about pursuing my dream of being a nurse. And I'm so thankful our children are able to play sports. As I sat tonight at Miss Rose's practice, at a park I grew up coming to, there were probably over 100 kids participating in various sports practices. Due to finances and moving a lot, I never played sports growing up. I may whine a bit, but I'm truly grateful and my heart is full watching them be able to participate.

Getting home late two nights a week, and then sometimes babysitting late on the weekends, my internal clock is all messed up. I am accustomed to being home in the evenings, winding down and being in bed at a decent time. But at least half of the week now, that is not the case. It's hard to go straight to bed after getting home from school and a one hour drive.

Poking and prodding two children to be ready for school on time is challenging too. We are finding what works there too. Gracie doesn't really hit the ground with her feet running. She wants to play and dawdle, like she did all summer, and the past 5 years for that matter.

Part of me wanted to get mad at myself this morning. I should have my act together. I should have done their picture forms the night before, or days before when I first got them.

But all I felt was grace. Grace for forgetting. Grace for not being in that rhythm yet. Grace in accepting this is all new to me, to us.

Grace that we are all right where we are supposed to be.

It's not often that I'm able to give myself grace.  But today I was.

Lily is adjusting better to being the only child at home. I'm working on developing new routines and plans for the daily things of life. I'm breathing in and out. And doing the next thing. Loving my family and walking the path laid before me. I feel blessed to be home more during this season and even when the finances are scary, we are trusting.

Rhythm will come.

Friday, September 7, 2012

kinder and 3rd grade: week 1 down

It has been a successful first week of school in our household.

Well except for the three year old who doesn't know what to do with herself.  She asks multiple times each day, "when are we picking up the girls?" or she asks "where's Gracie?" as Gracie has been her constant companion her entire life. It's going to take a few weeks I think for she and I to find some patterns to keep her occupied.

Miss Rose and Gracie were excited to be picked up each day, but they had smiles on their faces.  They are still adjusting to the new schedule. As the week wore on, they were more tired each evening and morning. Especially Gracie!

After having a minimum day on Wednesday (every Wednesday is a minimum day in our district), on Thursday Gracie was complaining about having to go to school all day. Most of last year she only went to preschool for half a day. It is long for a 5-year old! She has been so tired the last few nights. I hope she sleeps in tomorrow, at least a little. Especially since she has a soccer game at 11:30 and it should be pretty toasty by then.

For Gracie, food is not really a necessary item. She seems to get by on a small amount of food at times. She hasn't eaten much this week it seems, even at home. I am not sure if she's just so tired at night that food isn't appealing or what. Today she didn't eat much of her lunch because she said she couldn't open some of the items. Bento lunches are super popular right now on the interwebs, and perhaps this can be a solution for her. She doesn't eat a ton, but she needs to eat. A bento box with small amounts of food ready to eat may help.

Tomorrow my "soccer mom status" will double with both Lily and Gracie playing! Their games are at 10 and 11:30 tomorrow, so we will be at field for close to 3 hours. I'm thankful we have an EZ-Up to provide shade and we will have ice and drinks on hand as well.

I can't wait though. They are so cute and excited!

Two girls from Gracie's team are in her class at school and a few others are in other classes there.  Gracie never wants her hair up but it's been so hot a ponytail is a must for soccer and I just love how it shows off her face.

And then there's Lily-bug. She is soooo excited to play soccer. My sister-in-law is coaching the team which is fun as well. Her practices are on a night I'm in class, so I haven't been able to see her play in person. I cannot wait for tomorrow. 

But seriously. Can you handle this? I die.

Miss Rose will start flag football soon and then I'll have three children playing sports. Although I struggle a little bit with guilt regarding finances and loans and the demands of nursing school, I feel so blessed to be driving my girls to school and spending the day with Lily and picking them up all but one day. I just wish this mom gig actually paid!  Cause I could rock it full-time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

wordless wednesday: first day of Kindergarten

From yesterday. First day of kindergarten.

Observe with me.

1. Lily must be in all pictures

2. Grace is excited with a smile on her face.

3. Gracie is also nervous, because she's also almost knocking me over she's holding on so tight.

4. Lily isn't too sure about dropping Gracie off either.

5. I'm right where I belong.

purple squares

It's Tuesday morning, the day after Labor Day. We dropped off TWO kids at school this morning. I'm not sure why, but I felt a little more anxious about leaving Gracie at Kindergarten then I did Miss Rose. Miss Rose cried on her first day though, Gracie did not. I guess it's because Gracie is a little more reserved and doesn't show a lot of emotion (kinda like me). She saves it up and it pours out when tipped over. I was never concerned that Miss Rose wouldn't know what to do. She is a rule follower and isn't afraid to ask questions. Gracie goes with the flow and doesn't always pay as close of attention. She likes to be in her own world.

The first words out of her mouth this morning were "I don't want to go to school." But then she became intrigued with the idea of a treat in her lunch and we heard no more complaints. We did laps around the school, finding Miss Rose's new classroom, seeing our next-door neighbor's and finding my nephew who is starting kindergarten as well. Gracie seemed a little overwhelmed, but I had prepared her that parents don't go into the classroom, we just hug and kiss her at the door. She entered the class and a breathed a HUGE sigh of relief that there were purple squares on the carpet. Last night when I explained the routine to her and said there were colored carpet squares to sit on, she said she hoped there was purple. Sure enough, she plopped down on the a purple square without hardly looking at me, although her face a bit drawn.

I know Gracie will have a blast. I'm thankful she'll see her next-door-neighbor-best-friend and cousin at recess and lunch. And Miss Rose is in third grade and she pretty much knows all things about school. She was bummed to not have any of her good friends in her class, but she did get the teacher she wanted, who reportedly lets the kids play dodgeball. This is the third teacher now she's had in common with her big cousin who also attended the elementary school and started high school today.

Bean took the day off to be there this morning and then to pick the girls up from school since I have to leave for class before they are done. I wanted one of us to be there for pick-up their first day. He's off with Lily running errands and shopping at Costco at 10am with all the elderly.

I've been studying and enjoying a little quiet. And taking a blogging break!  Today feels weird. Not just because Gracie is now in school, but every other Tuesday for the last four years, we've done the first day of school routine and then I headed in to my office for our weekly staff meeting.

But this Tuesday, we got a coffee for me, donut holes for Bean and Lily and drove home. I am missing the community of our staff, although I know I will soon have new community in nursing school. The summer was a blast and so much fun. I truly have one of the best tans of my adulthood. I am thankful to have my mornings with Lily, to study and take care of other life things. This semester is an ease-into-nursing-school, but I know it's going to get harder.

I'll find my purple square on the carpet too.