Saturday, August 25, 2012

Next Chapter

It was a long and peaceful summer. I have to say, I savored as much of it as I could. But school is back and practically in full swing. I still find it hard to believe I now have a Wildcat and a Bluebird. Change is hard, but from my experiences, most often for the best. The kids are doing great. Both are making new friends and seem excited by their new surroundings and opportunities. I feel a little out of sorts being that I have no idea who needs what, when, or how they need it and times that by 2, but we are making due.

I am once again coaching Anna's soccer team this season, but she is on a new team as well. I wasn't sure how that would go, but it has been amazing. Our team is composed of girls from 5 different schools. It can be a struggle to build a team like that from scratch but in the 2 practices I have had, I found the girls are going out of their way to be nice to each other (since they are all practically strangers) and they are focusing on the game. It is so refreshing. Last season I spent as much time trying to extinguish the bickering and cat fights amongst my girls as I did coaching. If I had my vote, I would shuffle the teams every season.

Every year I try new ways of getting us school ready and pick up some new tips and tricks. Here are my nuggets from this year:
  • Hitting Walmart at 10:30 pm on a Friday night for back to school supplies has its pros and cons. Pro, that section was empty and we could pick through and hunt for our needs without dodging carts or climbing over others. Con, they only have 2 checkout lanes open so we spent at least another 30-45 minutes waiting in line.
  • I always suspected that wearing uniforms was saving us a little money and stress by not worrying about what to wear. So far, I would say this is a myth. You still need regular and dress clothes, uniforms are not cheap, I needed a few as I only do laundry on the weekends, and just making sure I got them washed and ready every weekend was a bit of a pain as well. Jury is still out on the what to wear issue. It has only been 3 days. They have plenty of options at this point.
  • Bigger schools offer more opportunities to blend in and find a group you relate to. I realize this also means the pool of kids you may not get along with is bigger as well. But so far this risk is paying off.
  • School/book fees are 1/3 what I have paid in the past and I am enjoying being tuition free although we are considering cell phones for at least Alex, maybe Anna as well, just to keep track of them and after school transportation. That is much more complicated this year.
  • With 2 sets of school activities to track and plan for (and no grandma to remind me of the upcoming events) I need to get a calendar for our kitchen.
  • I completely under-estimated school traffic. My 15 minute commute just turned into 1 hour.
  • If you aren't into football, I recommend Kings Island on a Friday night once school starts. Totally empty and it is darker earlier so the lights were on for more of our visit this time than back in May/June. I forgot how much I enjoy an amusement park lit up at night.
  • I am suffering cupcake baking withdrawal. I am definitely over due. My soccer team and the Big Top Festival will be my sugar outlets.

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