Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Kindergarten...woah!

On Monday I registered Mannchen for Kindergarten.  Woah.  Real deal school. 

The night before I mentioned to Hubby that I couldn't believe he was old enough for me to actually take this step.  His response was along the lines of "Seriously?!".  Which got me thinking.

He's right.  Mannchen is five and a half.  He'll turn six right around the time school starts.  He has a great attention span.  He's not hyperactive.  He's eager to learn to read.  He loves puzzles and math.  He's (maybe...on the good days) learning self control and body control when he's with his friends - that translates to "we don't have to touch/hug/wrestle/fall on the floor together everyday coming and going from school".  He's as ready as a kid can possibly be to start school.  And yet, as his mama, it's still hard to believe.

Some of my difficulty with wrapping my mind around something like this stems from wanting to give my kids a Waldorf education at home for so long.  But after digging deeper in Waldorf education principles and Steiner's philosophies on development, reading so many other books, and watching my children grow in preschool this past year, I really think sending them to school is best for them.  It saddens me that they won't get a Waldorf education - there are so many beautiful aspects to it.  But reality is, there's no Waldorf school within hours of us....so yeah, that's not happening.  The public schools in our town are about as good as public schools get.  The elementary school we're zoned for is small and has high parent involvement.  Trust me, I've spent hours analyzing and thinking about what will be best for Mannchen next year.  And there's no way I would send him to the public elementary school if I wasn't comfortable with it.  So while I recognize what we're missing, I'm mostly comfortable with our change of plans.

But as I was running this morning, I kept thinking about this.  And why does this seem like such a shift in our life.  And it hit me.  This has nothing to do with Mannchen.  It has everything to do with my personal realization that we are nearing the end of a era in our house.  Töchterchen is not much younger than Mannchen (14 months ain't much in parenting time).  Before I get a chance to blink, I'll be registering her for Kindergarten also.  Up until this point, my life and days have revolved around meeting their basic needs and finding way to make our family run as smoothly as possible, while managing two babies/toddlers/preschoolers.

And we're nearing the end of that era.  If I've learned anything since the kids were born, it's that time goes fast once you have children.  We're not totally there yet, but we are close enough that I am able to recognize that soon both my children will be in school from 8:30-3:30.  SEVEN hours is a lot of time to fill.  I work part-time.  And I do enough cleaning, errands, running, etc to quickly fill the rest of the time.  It's not that I don't know what to do with myself once they are in school (I already went through that early mid-life crisis when I considered going back to school).  It's just that I'm recognizing the shift in how much time I get with my kids.

They are awesome kids.  All kids will wear you down.  All kids will push your buttons.  But your own kids are always worth it.  We have so much fun working in the yard together.  We love to spend an entire day crafting on a rainy day.  We love to spend a whole morning or afternoon at the park.  We love to snuggle on the couch and read books (or on occasion, watch a movie).  We love to ride bikes at the track.  We love to cook together.  Really, the list goes on and on. 

So, I wouldn't say I feel sadness about sending Mannchen off to Kindergarten next year.  I just feel a huge awareness that our number of hours together each day are growing shorter.  And the year following him, Töchterchen will head off to Kindergarten.  And I don't have any other babies.  And I never will.  And the era of precious, helpless little people, depending on me for most everything ALL DAY LONG will be over.  As will the era of spending day after day, filled with hour upon hour, together.

And so, in the meantime, we are going to LIVE this summer up.  Less work for me.  Hubby will be right here, at home, working in town.  Maybe one camp per kids...maybe no camps for the kids  Time.  Just glorious, glorious time together.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Weekend

Wow, what a beautiful weekend!  Not much going on outside of our home and yard (other than a little soccer and gymnastics).  We have been in need of a weekend at home, filled with sunshine, good food, and family.    Let's do it again in a few days!
 
This boy knows how to make a great breakfast!  Bacon and eggs are his specialty - and I pitched in the cinnamon rolls. 

Working in their fort.

Ok, maybe one is working, the other did a lot of directing and dancing.  Fairly typical stuff around here.

We started on the fairy/gnome garden.  We cleaned up what was there, edged out the area, and filled it in with mulch.  The kids have BIG plans now.
Gnome home!

Plenty to plant!

More work in the kids' fort area.  Mannchen wanted to add a garden this year.  I tend to refuse to get involved because I want them to feel like this is their space and theirs alone.  Mannchen had bigger plans than he could tackle on his own (think root removal), so Daddy pitched in to help.  I found myself up there after awhile also....it's hard to say no to such excitement.  Hopefully we were able to get things started and the kids can take it from here.

Washing the fairy food and accessories from years past.

All this work wore someone out.

Our family vegetable garden is in now also!  Hubby moved the grill from the far end to the closest end (the grill cover is visible in the bottom right corner).  The closest end of the garden didn't get much sun and it makes more sense to have the grill close to the door.  He then dug up the far end all the way to the corner of the house and we mulched in the area where the grills sit.  We considered pavers under the grills, but mulch was our quick and easy fix.

Starting to fill the pots again.  The large half dead one in the middle is thyme.  I think it's coming back to life...but half of it appears to differ.  I'm hoping it will pull through.  The chives made it through the winter.  We replaced the oregano, lavender, and rosemary.  In Newport News, rosemary always survived and could grow into shrubs.  It's weird to have to replant it each year.

Besides the lily that was here when we moved in (the only plant in a sea of weeds that my brother-in-law cleared), this is ALL spinach.  We love spinach.  I could fill the whole bed with spinach and still want more.

Not sure that she'll stick with gymnastics or that it's really her "thing", but she's so stinkin' cute to watch and enthusiastic about the whole ordeal!  And at this age, it's just about the fun.






U5 soccer is adorable.  Need a smile?  Go watch this age group play.  Major props to Hubby for his patience with them all!
 
Well there you go, a whole weekend in photos.  Lots of photos.  And lots of beautiful moments, filled with loads of love.
 
How was your weekend?  Hope you were able to enjoy the sun and warmth also!

The Kitchen

I've been meaning to take early morning pictures of our kitchen for several weeks now.  But early mornings are not a practical time to take pictures in our house.  I've also been meaning to clear things out of the kitchen to "stage" it for pictures, but we use this room constantly.  So that doesn't work for us either. 

Then I decided, why stage pictures?  Most "idea" kitchens don't look like they are used.  This is a real kitchen.  It's used all day long.  I remember all the things we had to remove when we were selling our old house - nothing on the counters or fridge.  Sure it made for good pictures, but it stopped looking like our kitchen.  And so today, I vacuumed the floors, tidied up a little bit (i.e. removed the crap from the table), and otherwise left everything in place.  Truth be told, I do keep a clean kitchen - seriously, dirty dishes do not pile up in my sink.  I learned long ago that it is easier to wash as you go, rather than let them pile up and have to do a full day's worth (or days' worth) at one time.  I clean houses for a living, so I know all about how important it is to wipe everything down each night.  BUT this is our kitchen, dining room, craft area, and favorite (most used) room of the house.  Stuff can pile up in here.  We don't have a pantry or excess storage space - so there's generally a case or two of beer in the corner next to the microwave.  The table usually has the paper, water bottles, and napkins on it.  And we're almost always cooking/baking something.  And so, I present to you a very tidy, but real, presentation of our real kitchen - complete with loved pictures on the fridge, appliances and such on the counters, and dishes in the drainer. 

 
 
The hallway is not technically part of the kitchen, but it's close enough.  This is a shot of the hallway and the kids' desk/craft area.  Most activities end up spilling over to the table, but when only one is working they do use this area for quiet work.  Additionally, it houses all of the craft supplies they have constant access to - paper, scrap fabric/yarn, pencils, markers, scissors, glue, etc.  Above the desk is another collection of their art and to the side is the beloved white board.


See, five minutes later there's already a cook book out and pizza dough in the mixer. 
 
Happy Monday!  I hope everyone's week gets off to a great start today!