Friday, September 05, 2014

The First Week of School

SIGH... It's that time again.  Insert biggest sad-face emoji I can find, because I am not a lover of my kids leaving me, or the pressures and anxiety of the academic workload, or all of the extra stuff that has to go into our schedule that isn't conducive to family bonding. 

But, I will admit, it was high time for our family to get a little more structure and discipline going - and since that traditionally happens when school starts - I guess it just needs to happen.  Might as well make the best of it. 

This guy's smile helps to make life a little bit better too.  He struggles to start right off with the "appropriate smile" pose.  

Brayden's been quite the source of discussion as of late.  It's been hard for us to have him at Harlow, then home for a few days- absolutely exhausted and spent, and not communicative - and then have him gone again.  Those "few days" filled with self-centeredness, entitlement,  and "bitey" attitude towards his sister (and others) weren't giving John and I a lot to work with.  It all blew up the night before we went out on the lake and we ended up drawing him out a lot in real communication.  Yes, he does love Harlow and his community there.  No, he's not looking forward to Marist.  No, he's not quite ready to jump ship to Sheldon, but acknowledges the people that are his closest friends all attend that school vs. the school that seems to have a lot of kids that care more about their status, image, and power.  (Yes, he's been burned by some of those kids). 

So, starting school again was not something any of us were looking forward to, especially with the whole under-achieving academic demonstration of last year.   We are all praying things go better this year.  It is so helpful that he's chosen not to play football (knee issues and a focus on lacrosse are the main contributors to that...not to mention not really wanting to sit on a bench all season like last year).  This frees up his time.  We were also encouraged by a certain Marist staff member who volunteered to take Brayden under his wing.  Time will tell, but there are sources of hope - and the first week hasn't been all that bad. 

As for this girl, she had one more day left before beginning her 7th grade year at Cal Young.  So, we had lunch at Dickie Jo's together.  

That purple band-aid...well, she got an owie on her leg before we left, but prefers to wear the band-aids she begs for on her finger.   OKAAAAAYYYY =)

These swirly chairs are fun!

Thursday morning - it was this girl's turn.  She's kind of a cutie if I do say so myself.  (As is her brother, but I was too busy talking about other stuff to add that above).  

Regarding Mikayla - not a lot of worries.  We've already "been there, done that".  And, Mikayla is such a conscientious student - her problem is the anxiety that being such an over-achiever entails. 

She's also got a whole "tribe" of people that are definitely her "comfort community".  She's got at least one of these girls in every class - and all of them share the same lunch she does.  They are, of course, not without their occasional drama issues (kind of unavoidable with middle school girls), but they all have good hearts and I'm absolutely thankful for them. 

Left to Right:  Piper, Natalie, Britta, Grace, Harley, Mikayla, Kenady, Meg, Hadley, and Julia
I figured what better way to kick off the first official day of the school year than to take a walk around the river loop. 

And, I asked Alysha to join us.  We had so much to catch up as she's spent the summer studying abroad in Stockholm, has a relationship that's getting more serious, and - well, we hadn't seen each other since June.  

Even though the temps are still telling us we are in the heart of summer, the leaves and foliage are starting to get the message we are in September.  

Here's the scene Thursday night after an expensive field trip to Staples.  I feel like Brayden needs a hand-cart just to get all of his books and binders to and from school and class.  Trying desperately to stay on top of the organization...

On Friday, Whitley and I ventured off solo to Thurston area's "Splash" park and swim center.  We took advantage of all the facilities.  We started off with play in the park...

Then took a nature walk along the short trail behind the covered picnic area -

 Where Whitley blew Dandelions and found sticks...

And finally, ended up in the kiddy pool for "Toddler Swim Time".  It was a hit.  I had to bribe her with a stop for French Fries just to get her out after we'd been there for over 90 minutes.  =)   I suspect we'll be returning on multiple occasions in the future (hopefully with a friend...Chrsti and it does get kind of boring).  Particularly when the weather gets too gross to be outside (which it kind of is now, highs in the 90's do not make for outside playtime in the afternoons...)

When we got home, after all that activity - I thought for sure this girl would be more than ready for her nap.  I took a moment before getting her set to lay down to watch a video about an Oregon Football song going viral - and while I was watching, Whitley was being just too quiet in the other room. 

I went around the corner to discover this scene...

What a rascal!  Thank goodness for rubbing alcohol that totally took care of the damage on our couch (and actually improved their condition as they were getting kind of grimy anyway), but that "Monkey Shirt" might just be a lost cause.  (The rubbing alcohol worked great on her arms...Whitley thought it tickled!).  I continued to find other places she practiced her artistry talent with the blue Sharpie through the weekend - including both of those remotes, a Gladware container, and my glasses.  HA!

I guess Whitley was just trying to demonstrate she's ready for school too... =)

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