Summer break is officially over! All four of the kids started back to school today. They were all just beside themselves with excitement but especially Kaida, who basically had to wait a whole extra year to start kindergarten because of when her birthday falls. We could have started her last year but opted to wait, so she has been chomping at the bit for a loooooong time now!
We did a lot of the preparation on Sunday evening so that we could avoid a hectic morning on Monday, and it definitely paid off. The kids packed their lunches Sunday night and laid out clothes for Monday morning. We had family scripture study (which we don't do often enough) and Donny gave each of the kids a father's blessing, which is a tradition both of us grew up with. Father's blessings are for the purpose of giving each child an individualized blessing with special words of guidance, love, strength, and encouragement as they start a new school year. I always get one too because I need it just as much as they do! I'm so thankful to have Donny and that he is able to use his priesthood to bless our family. Once the blessings were done, we had family prayer and sent the kids off to bed. I'm not sure how much any of them slept that night. You'd have thought it was Christmas Eve. :)
This morning went really well except for the part where the gas light was on in my car and we had to stop to put a couple gallons in so we could make it to both schools without running out. That put us in a little bit of a time crunch but we made it. We dropped Raya off first. I hesitate to say that we dropped her off because this school is like a maximum security preschool. There is no "dropping off". You have to park the car, get out, go through the exterior door, pass by a desk where the secretary buzzes you into the atrium area, THEN you can walk your kid to their classroom and sign them in. It's pretty intense but I suppose that's a good thing. It was overcast this morning and the weather was gorgeous (and that says a lot for Arizona in August). The kids were cracking me up that they couldn't smile for a picture without squinting. You'd have thought it was bright & sunny out. Here's Raya in front of her new HUUUUUGE school:
She was too excited to go play once we got in the classroom and ran off before I could take a picture of her. She was not sad for me to leave her there AT ALL, and I don't mean this to sound coldhearted but neither was I. She LOVES preschool and was really excited, so I was excited for her to go. She could hardly hold still long enough for me to turn on her feeding pump and plug her in. I had to drop off all her medical stuff and then hurry back to the car where Donny & the other kids were waiting so we could get them to school on time.
Well, almost on time. Traffic on the first day of school is ridiculous and we were still waiting at the stop sign when 8:05 came. We finally got into the parking lot and there was nowhere to park, so Donny pulled up to the only curb big enough to pull up next to and the kids and I jumped out. I felt bad that he got stuck being the getaway driver at both schools. :/ We went in the gate by the kindergarten classes so that I could take Kaida into her classroom so I took one last picture of the big kids before they headed over to line up.
Lovely squinty faces. Kaida could hardly contain herself as we walked to her classroom. She has been waiting for this day forever and couldn't believe it was finally here. When we walked in, the classroom was totally packed with parents & kids. The desks were really close together and none of them had chairs at them yet so I found her a chair and managed to get it to her desk without whacking anybody. She gave me a hug, we hung her backpack on her chair, I snapped a couple pictures, and then I left. I think I was the only kindergarten parent that didn't stay until the teacher kicked them out. :) I also didn't shed a tear. Not that I'm not sad that my baby is growing up, but there has never been a little girl so excited to go to school, and I am just plain happy for her. I mean, LOOK at this face:
Pure joy! I'm sure she's probably the oldest one in her class, or at least one of the oldest, and I'm glad. There are kids in her class that won't turn 5 until a couple months after school starts and she'll be 6 at the end of the month, but I'd rather have her be the oldest than the youngest.
After we left, Donny and I went to our favorite little hole-in-the-wall restaurant close by and had some delicious French toast for breakfast ALLLLLL BY OURSELVES. WITH NO CHILDREN. ALONE. It was lovely. :) Three hours goes by fast though and before we knew it, it was time to pick Raya up. This time he got to come in with me. Much to our surprise, it turns out that Raya is the only one in her PRESCHOOL class that is only going for half the day. The rest of her class does full day preschool. I thought that was really strange. I guess if it was a choice between paying for daycare and paying for all day preschool, I would probably pick the preschool option too. After getting a taste of being home alone, the thought of 3 full days a week home alone is lovely. :) Anyway, we went in her classroom to get her and she was really excited and happy. This time I got her to stand somewhat still so I could get a picture.
According to her, she learned about toys on her first day and doesn't know any of her new friends' names except Marco. I think she likes to say Marco because she kept saying it all afternoon. :) We snapped a picture with Daddy when we went outside just to prove he was there. Mommy was not fit to be seen in front of the camera this morning.
They get their squinty eyes from him. He was squinting in our wedding pictures too.
As we were leaving, she was talking about how all the other kids got applesauce for their snack and she wanted applesauce. (she had tortilla chips in her miniature Hello Kitty lunchbox. adorbs.) Since she was in the mood for applesauce, I obliged her when we got home and that's what she had for lunch.
I ♥ her and her little facial expressions! I'll probably jinx it by saying so, but she seems to have developed a liking for applesauce and peaches. So far she's only been eating fresh peaches but the last ones I bought were kind of gross so hopefully I can switch her over to canned. And thankfully her body seems to have adjusted to the applesauce and it doesn't do bad things to her anymore when it...passes through. The first day was iffy but she's doing well with it now. HUGE improvement over a year ago when she refused to eat applesauce because of the texture. She really has made some small but significant progress since last summer with eating.
The afternoon went by pretty quickly and even with her respite provider here, it was MUCH quieter than it's been all summer long since the big kids were gone. When it was time for the bus, we walked down to the bus stop to wait for them. It was still a gorgeous day (for Arizona in August) and was only about 95 degrees and still overcast. Raya met a new friend at the bus stop. She lives right across from us and her big brother is in kindergarten this year. She's the same age as Raya and they were friendly to each other right off the bat. I love how easily little kids befriend each other. They started playing and climbed up on the playground structure. Bless Raya's heart, she's had some funny fears and sensory things going on this week and when she got up on the little bridge part of the playground, she couldn't walk across it without clinging to the railing for dear life. She said she felt like she was falling. There are holes in it and some kids with sensory processing disorder have a really hard time with depth perception on surfaces like that. She was having a hard time climbing around on it like she usually does and mostly just watched the other girl play. When she came over to talk to me for a second, I was really disappointed to see how sweaty she was. The other little girl hadn't broken a sweat even though she'd been there longer and was running around a lot more. Raya's face, chest and arms were bright red & splotchy and her entire hairline was soaked with sweat. (of course you can't tell in the picture)
She didn't even have her backpack on. Her little body just doesn't know how to handle the heat sometimes. It didn't seem to bother her other than her pace was a little slower than normal when she was playing.
After about 15 minutes, the bus finally came. It was Kaida's very first bus ride EVER, so I had to take pictures!
So cute!! I love seeing happy children on the first day of school! :)
We walked home so Raya could cool off and get some water. The big kids were rather adorable walking home together. :)
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