Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dear Santa...

While it might be a little late for an official letter to Santa, it only seems appropriate to jot down a few of the things on my "wish list" this year.

A Zojirushi Bread Maker—I love homemade bread, and would like to make more of it. My kids will eat homemade whole wheat bread, but don't like the stuff from the store. However, homemade bread takes time, and time is something I don't always have an excess of. With this, I can throw the ingredients in, and walk away, yet still reap all the benefits of doing it myself!

A new case for my iPhone. I got a pink one last year, which I love, and which is now completely thrashed. I want one just like it, but maybe in a less trendy color so it won't show the wear and tear after just a few weeks.

Classy and stylish golf apparel. Our new golf club membership has given me some incentive to get out there and improve my game. Since my score won't win me any awards (at least not yet), my clothing should make up for that.

A pair of silver hoop earrings. Nothing flashy. Just something to wear besides my studs (and by studs, I mean my diamond stud earrings, not hot men)

A pair of polarized sunglasses, that cost more than $10.00 and are comfy both on my eyes, and propped on my head. It's tough to find a pair that are both.

In addition, I would also like my kitchen floor to stay clean for more than one hour.

And I could use more quiet time to focus on my writing, fun sewing projects, scrapbooking, and other creative outlets.

However, as I think about having more time, and a clean kitchen floor, I realize that soon enough the kids will all be grown and I will have all the time in the world and my floor will likely stay clean for weeks at a time. And in the words of my dear 'ol dad, our Christmases will be filled with "ho hums instead of ho ho hos."

For now, I'll settle with sweeping my floor when I can, and bits and pieces of time when I get them. Now I gotta run...the kids are playing outside and I think I should join them.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

All Wrapped Up

My junior year in high school, I was invited to the winter formal. I decide that I wanted to make my dress, and my mom and I spent hours trying to decide on a pattern. I was stubborn and insisted on a strapless style. My mom was not happy with my choice, but in the end, relented.

I spent hours and hours working on the dress. Then the week before the dance, I had to have my wisdom teeth pulled. I was pretty out of commission for a few days as I recovered.

The day of the dance arrived, and my dress wasn't done. I spent the day frantically trying to finish it. I finally got the last stitch in about an hour before my date was set to arrive. I had yet to shower and get ready, so I was in a bit of a panic. I quickly tried the dress on to make sure it fit properly. To my horror, the top of the dress was about 3 inches below where it should be to cover up "the ladies".

My mom could have very easily said "I told you so" or "Too bad, you'll have to wear something else in your closet". But she didn't. Instead, she very calmly told me to go get in the shower and she'd figure something out.

I came out, and discovered my mom had made a gigantic bow to put on the top of the dress.

Not only did it cover me up, but I LOVED it. It made the dress unique and different than what most of my friends were wearing, and it seemed to finish off the dress perfectly! I put the dress on and literally minutes later, my dashing date arrived to pick me up.

For years, I've looked back at this picture and laughed. In hindsight, it's pretty hideous, and I have a hard time believing I loved it so much. But it was 20 years ago...and styles have changed, right along with my taste in clothes.

Imagine my surprise when I recently came across a photo of Rosie Perez on the red carpet of some celebrity event sporting a dress with a humongous bow!

I imagine that Rosie's was placed there intentionally, not as a last ditch effort to provide just a smidge of modesty! While I won't jump to say that the bow is back in style, it did bring back some pretty funny memories.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Just What I Always Wanted

My whole married life, I have been yearning for the perfect Nativity Set to bring the spirit of Christmas into our home. I have searched far and wide, high and low, online and in real stores. Yet none was to be found that fit the mold of what I was looking for.

I have a small collection of kid-friendly sets, ones that I don't mind if the kids play with. In fact, I love them rearranging it, playing with Baby Jesus, and creating scenes of Christ, mixed with the occasional action figure or Hot-Wheels car. But I still wanted the grown up set that I could admire and reflect on and enjoy.

About 3 years ago in a catalog, I saw what I wanted. It was simple, it was beautiful, it was perfect. I waited too long to order it that year, and it was sold out. I told myself I'd buy it next year. The next two years came and went, and no nativity.

This year, over Thanksgiving weekend, I promised myself this was the year. I came home, and began the online search (love modern technology!). I found the set at a great price on ebay. The auction was almost over. I quickly logged on, entered a bid, and a moment later, I had won! I was so excited . . . and waited daily for that UPS truck to show up with my winnings.

Yesterday, just as it was getting dark, there was a knock on the door. I opened it up to find a gigantic box. Inside, carefully packaged in 20 individual boxes, lay my nativity. It took me an hour to unpack and unwrap each piece. As I unwrapped each one, I marveled at its beauty and was nearly giddy with anticipation to get it set up and displayed.

When it was all arranged, I started to cry. Though I must admit it's about twice the size of what I was expecting, it is exactly the nativity of my dreams. It was just what I wanted! For me, Christmas is now complete. Unless Santa is reading this, in which case, I've been a very good girl this year, and don't forget to check my list!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Countdown

Somehow, time seems to have skipped a beat, and all of a sudden it is December 1. I have no idea how this happened, or what has happened to the past several months. I just know it's cold outside, and the radio stations are playing Christmas music 24 hours a day. It feels a little like a time warp. I swear, I just put away all my holiday decorations, so how is it time to pull them out again?

I had grand intentions this year of completing my shopping by Halloween. Didn't happen.

I took a brief online class last month on ways to make the holidays more memorable. The goal is to spend some time each day writing, creating, making, and photographing all the things that make the holiday season special. While I won't pretend to be overly ambitious and commit to making that a reality, I would like to make the time to appreciate the spirit of Christmas a bit more. Make it a little less about spending money, and more about spending time. Less about buying presents, more about being present. And if I do manage to make a few handmade gifts, and bake some yummy goodies to pass on to friends, that will be a bonus.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

For this, I am thankful . . .

Family Photo-web

Desert Adventures

We spent the days leading up to Thanksgiving out in the desert in Southern California. It was a much needed, distraction-free getaway for us all. No cell phones, internet, or television for 4 full days. There were a sporadic moments of withdrawal as we adapted to the lack of stimulation. But we managed to adjust.

Our good friends Patty and Gregg, along with Gregg's parents, and Steve's mom all came along. There were lots of laughs, oddball conversations, games of UNO Attack, way too much food, and WAY too much fun!

We cooked outdoors...and Olivia was a tremendous help!

The campground was virtually empty, giving the kids free reign for learning to ride.

We're working on getting the training wheels off the's a work in progress.

Grant was anxious to be just like Jack, so Steve put him on the bike and gave him his first riding lesson.

To my amazement, it worked!

Then Steve hopped on the back and let Grant steer around camp. Not sure who had more fun . . .

While the nights were chilly, it was in the 80's during the day . . . warm enough for the kids to brave the unheated pool. It didn't last long!

The kids practiced shooting cans with a BB gun. Their aim was pretty good. So was mine.

Jack brushed up on all sorts of trivia, sure to come in handy later in life.

Many rides in the dune buggy were taken, with Jack and Olivia wanting to go fast, and Grant insisting on going "SWOWY"

Grant resembled a pig rolling in the mud pretty much the whole time. Even with showers and dips in the pool, he didn't manage to stay clean for more than about 2 minutes. He loved every minute of it.

This trip is quickly becoming an annual tradition. And while it requires a great deal of planning and preparation, in the end, I had a great time and already look forward to next year!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Parading down Main Street

One of the things I love about our school is that it is in a small town. We still celebrate all the major holidays, and Halloween is no exception.

Tomorrow is a teacher work day (thank heavens, we all need a break!), so today was the day.

After a full day of fun in class, the entire school (250 kids, grades K-8) lined up with their classes to participate in the annual Halloween parade through downtown Sunol.

A fire truck led the pack, with two motorcycle cops bringing up the rear. Seriously? For a school parade? It doesn't get any better than that!

Jack and Grant dressed up as Mario and Luigi from Super Mario Brothers.

Jack held Grant's hand for the first stretch.

Olivia was a "Skull & Crossbones Fairy". She didn't want me to walk anywhere near her, so I tried to be sneaky.

Then she spotted me. . . and tried to make a getaway.

Then, she hogged the frame of a friend's camera . . . go figure.

I love that our kids attend a school that still celebrates the fun stuff. Costumes, parties, games, it all adds to the fun. Academics are important, don't get me wrong. But having a little fun along the way doesn't hurt!

In the nick of time...

Halloween is nearly upon us, and October nearly escaped without warning. This past Sunday afternoon, in between church and Olivia's play rehearsal, we made a mad dash to the pumpkin patch for our annual pumpkin purchase.

Of course, we had to take advantage of all the cheesy photo opps:

I can't believe how much the kids have grown . . . It seems like yesterday that I was propping up Grant next to the sign as a 3-month old little baby. Where did the time go?

The task of picking out the perfect pumpkins wasn't easy. Most of the good pumpkins were picked over, so we settled for a couple that had at least one good side.

Olivia graciously offered to pull the wagon, which wasn't a light or easy task!

I can tell that interest in this tradition is waning. There wasn't the urge to spend hours running up and down the pyramid made from bales of hay. They weren't dashing through the corn maze, laughing and racing to see who could make it out the fastest.

Instead, they all held hands and enjoyed a warm October day. No rush, no agenda, and after we picked out the pumpkins, they were ready to go. Mission accomplished.

**A funny side note: When I saw Jack's shorts, I thought they looked a little more fitted than his usual attire. Upon closer inspection, I realized they were Grant's shorts! Jack didn't seem to mind, and I find it humorous that my 3 year old and my 6 year old have the same size waist!

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Once in a Lifetime

When Steve was in kindergarten, he invited his teacher over for dinner. When his mom came to pick him up from school, the teacher mentioned the invitation, and how much she was looking forward to it. Joyce was a little surprised, but hid it well and immediately set about planning the evening.

As Jack heard this story shortly after school started this year, he looked at us and asked "Can I invite Ms. Cusenza for dinner?"

"Of course!" was our immediate reply.

And so, he did, and she enthusiastically accepted. This past Saturday was the chosen date. She is young, and not married, but we let her know that her "significant other" was welcome as well, should he choose to join her.

Saturday was spent cleaning the house and yard. There were no complaints from Jack—he worked hard most of the day and kept asking how long until she would arrive. Jack had been dropping hints and asking her questions this whole last month, trying to determine her favorite foods. Mexican food (fish and chicken tacos, spanish rice, and a mexican ceasar salad were on the menu) was for dinner, and apple pie for dessert.

About an hour before her designated arrival time, the phone rang. Ms. Cusenza was on the other line, and indicated that her boyfriend had been in a bicycle accident, and just arrived home from the hospital with a broken collarbone and bruises all over. "I don't think he'll be joining me" she said.

Shocked, I replied "Do you want to reschedule?" Given the circumstances, it would have been completely understandable if she did!

"Oh no" she said, "I know how much Jack has been looking forward to this, and I have too. I'll just come alone."

We spent a delightful evening, with the kids on (mostly) their best behavior. We did have a few humorous moments, largely due to Grant. As he sat down with his plate, he started singing "Beans, beans the magical fruit...the more you eat, the more you toot..." over and over again.

During dinner, Jack had a little toot, and immediately turned bright red and said "Excuse me". Grant piped up and said "It's the beans..." and then started singing his tune all over again.

Jack and Olivia each performed a mini-piano recital, with each song being met with enthusiastic clapping. A house tour was given, they played catch outside, there were fights over who was sitting where, they all wanted to sit by the guest of the evening!

Tomorrow is her birthday, so we sang "Happy Birthday"
and let her blow out the candle on the pie.

She is one of those teachers that most kids never experience. A true once-in-a-lifetime influence. Jack adores her, and more importantly, has grown to love school this year. When it's time to come home, I'm met with "I wish I could stay at school" almost every day. He loves learning, pushes himself to do his very best, and adores this woman with whom he spends his week days.

It was a joy to spend the evening with her socially, and it was clear that she is just as much at ease with adults as she is with the children. Her maturity and wisdom far surpass her young years, and she is a gift to those she teaches. At the end of the night, she gave each of us a hug and thanked us profusely for inviting her into our home and family for the evening. There is little doubt in my mind that she will be in Jack's heart and mind forever. And I couldn't be happier!

Monday, October 19, 2009

From Dream to Reality

I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew, in every aspect of my life. I over-volunteer, over-commit, and just over-do. It's a fact. It's who I am, and I don't expect to change any time soon.

Back in September, I volunteered to assist with the decorating committee for the school Walk-A-Thon, the biggest fundraiser of the year. When I met with the event chairperson, I was the only person who had signed up to assist with decorating. She told me the theme of the event—"Homecoming - Show your School Spirit", and mentioned that she would love to have a balloon arch as the main entrance to the walkers' path. My response? "Sure, that sounds great!" After all, how hard could it be?

So over the past 6 weeks, I Googled, Yahoo'd, and asked Jeeves all I could about balloon arches. I printed out dozens of instruction sheets on how to build it. I asked Steve (the resident engineer in our house) for his ideas on how to make sure the arch would stand. I had dreams, nightmares, and visions of how it would look.

Saturday morning, I woke up early (5:45) to shower and get out to school by 6:30 (in the dark) to start building the monstrosity. I had been battling strep throat, so popped some Extra-Strength Excedrin in addition to my antibiotics to get me through the day, and headed out the door. I had 3 amazing helpers, who followed my lead, and did exactly as I told them, and 300 balloons and 3 hours later, we stood back and admired our creation. It was almost perfect, better than I had expected it to turn out. I was thrilled!

(The wind was blowing lightly, so it looks uneven, but in reality, it was perfect!)

It lasted precisely 5 minutes before the kids started popping balloons on the bottom columns. I wanted to beat them. But I held back. I had known it wouldn't last forever.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Miles, and Milestones

For anyone who knows us well, you know that Steve has a passion for all things motorized. Cars, motorcycles, remote control name it, he loves it.

In the 13+ years that we have been together, we have owned a total of 11 cars, 3 Harleys, 4 dirtbikes, and a couple of ATVs. If you take into consideration that we have had his current truck and my minivan for 5 years, that shows what the first few years of our marriage were like.

Shortly after Jack was born, we were content (or at least, I was!) with our Expedition and a VW Passat. One afternoon, while I was home sick with the flu, Steve and Olivia went out for a few hours to give me a much needed break. As I was resting, dozing, and trying to recover, the phone rang. It was Steve.

"Hi honey" he said.

"Hi" was my groggy reply.

"Um, could you come open the garage door?" he asked.

"What? What happened to the garage door opener?" I replied.

"Well, I want to see if this will fit..."

By "this", he meant a new full-size conversion van. Yep, you read that right. He had traded in my Expedition for a mack-daddy van, complete with the drop down tv, captain's chairs, and bench in the back that converted to a queen size bed with the press of a button. I didn't have the strength to fight him on it...what with having the flu and we became the proud owner of something that wouldn't even fit in a standard parking space. I drove it for 6 months, then put my foot down and insisted that I needed something that I wouldn't have to climb on board to buckle my baby. Thus, my minivan was born.

For the past 5 1/2 years, I have driven what I swore I never would, and have loved every minute of it! I love the automatic sliding doors, the automatic rear lift, the roomy cargo space, I love it all! I don't care that it screams "MOMMY ON BOARD", or that it's not the stylish uber-hip mommy-mobile I once dreamed of owning. This baby gets up and goes, gets 20+ mpg, and has never let me down.

This past week, we hit a that hasn't been achieved with any other vehicle until now—we hit 100,000 miles!

I had hoped to get a photo as it rolled over, but we were on the freeway, and it just didn't seem safe to pull out the camera and start snapping.

We've had fancy, luxury cars . . . and enjoyed them. But with three kids who pee, throw up, spill juice, drop french fries, leave crumbs, and wipe their messy fingers on whatever fabric is closest, I am happy to drive my minivan. If I have my way, I'll drive it at least another 100,000 miles. Its stained floor mats are evidence of the life that we are living and the stage of life that we're currently in. And the miles that are clicking away on that odometer are evidence of the memories being made along the way.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Birthday Blues...and smiles

Today was my birthday. I woke up grumpy. I didn't want to face the fact I was getting older.

Steve's mom, Joyce, has been here all week. She made a delicious birthday breakfast. We then took a family bike ride down to the park to play. As we were riding, I was at the back of our little pack. As I watched them ride ahead of me, I was overcome with emotion, and love, for this family of mine.

We had a fun shopping excursion this afternoon. I picked out my own birthday gifts—a new gym wardrobe, some new make-up, and my first perfume in nearly 13 years. I chose a Versace, which I've been sniffing and loving all afternoon.

My mom called me this afternoon to wish me happy birthday. She gushed about how happy she was to be my mom, what a joy it was to have me as a daughter, then said "I just can't believe you're 35!"

There was a moment of silence, after which I replied "Well, that's good. Because I'm actually 37."

Life is good. I am happy. And while I don't necessarily love getting older, I love my life, and those in it. And that is reason to celebrate.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Today was a all senses of the word. Not only was it hard to get out of bed this morning (partly due to the fact that I stayed up way too late because Steve was out of town), but it seemed that nothing went quite right.

Last night at bathtime, the water wasn't getting warm. I had been doing laundry all day, so thought at first that perhaps I'd used up the hot water. Unlikely however, seeing as we have a 75 gallon tank. When Olivia got in the shower this morning, it still wasn't more than lukewarm. I called the company that installed the tank a year ago and scheduled a service call. When the guy showed up, we went to the garage. After looking at the tank for about 2 seconds, he adjusted the temperature knob from "LOW" (don't know how it got there...the only thing I can think of is that someone, perhaps a certain 3-year-old whose name starts with a G and ends with a T, messed with it during the yard sale over the weekend...) to the normal heat range, and said "OK, that'll be $65 for the service call." Seriously??? Why didn't I think of checking the knob first?

I got a call from school right about this same time, saying that Olivia was in the office complaining of an itching eye and it was bright pink, and could I please come pick her up. I wanted to tell her to stick it out for an hour until school was out...but couldn't really do that, in case it was pink eye and contagious. So, I grabbed Grant (naked except for his underwear), my keys, a Diet Coke, and jumped in the car, drove to school and picked her up. I brought her home, she finished her homework, then we turned around and made the same trek out to pick up Jack and the other two kids I bring home on Mondays.

In order to avoid an absence tomorrow (for my sake, not hers), I drove Olivia to Urgent Care to make sure there was no pink eye involved. The doctor said "Looks like an eye allergy. There's some great over-the-counter drops, but they are expensive. It's probably cheaper to get the prescription drops, since your insurance will cover them. They're virtually the same, and will do the exact same thing, but you won't have to pay as much." That sounded good. We left the office, headed to the pharmacy, waited in line at the drive through lane, and when our turn came, was informed that our co-pay on the drops was $75.00. Again, Seriously??? Forget that, we parked the car, unloaded the kids, went inside, and bought the over-the-counter drops for $11.69. Seriously??? Something is gravely wrong with this system, that an insurance company will charge $75.00 for something that I can buy over the counter for $11.69.

My day was not nearly as productive as it should have been. I am fighting off a cold, and I am hoping I win the battle. Tomorrow is a new day. All three kids will go to school. I'll have a new perspective. And new opportunities will arise for me to use good judgement, common sense, and hopefully save a buck or two.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Letting Go

My baby boy started preschool this morning. It is a milestone 10 years in the making. I have no baby in my belly, on my hip or my breast. I will have six hours, two days a week, completely to myself, to do whatever I choose.

As we were dropping him off today, with his little Batman backpack and Superman lunchbox, he was independent and happy. We had visited the classroom last week and met his teachers. He saw where the bathroom was in his classroom . . . and even tried it out (announcing loudly as he was peeing "The bathroom works mommy!")

There were a few kids crying and clinging to their parents this morning. Grant looked at me with this perplexed expression, as if to say "Why on earth are they crying? This is AWESOME!" He walked in, we pinned on his nametag, found his cubby and placed his backpack and lunchbox inside it. He went potty, then found some cool cars to play with. I knelt down next to him and asked if it was okay for Steve and I to go. He said "Yep!" I kissed him, told him I loved him, and to have a great day. Then I turned and walked away.

Letting go is an important part of parenthood. We do our best to raise independent, well-adjusted children. To teach them kindness, compassion and respect. Now that the time is here to begin the letting-go process for the last time, it is bittersweet. There is peace in knowing that he is secure enough in our love for him to know that we'll be back for him, and it's okay to be away from mom. There is joy in knowing that he is well-adjusted and happy.

When we got outside, Steve looked at me, smiled, and said "We did it honey! This is a big does it feel?" At that moment, the tears started rolling, and all I could say was "Lonely."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fact or Fiction?

My dad is a dentist, and my youngest brother is currently in his 4th year of dental school—the same school my father attended 30 years ago.

In a recent alumni newsletter commemorating the graduating class of 1979, graduates were asked to submit their favorite dental school memory.

My dad is Kurt DeLong.

I saw this while on a recent trip up to Oregon to visit my dad. I asked him about it...I wanted to hear the story behind this! Dad flashed his smile, which I adore, and said "Honestly, I don't remember that."

Dental school is an intense 4 years. Anatomy was not my dad's favorite class. While he excelled at the clinical portion of school, the lecture and lab series were a little more challenging. In a way, I can imagine one of his lab mates handing him the heart to feel, and my dad being grossed out and flipping it off his hands. But out the window? Who knows? Imagine the surprise of the innocent passerby walking below, when "SPLAT", a human heart lands right in front of them.

On the other hand, this is the stuff that legends are made of. Perhaps the heart slipped out of dad's hand, and the rumor mill started and by the time 30 years have gone by, it didn't drop on the floor accidentally, but rather was tossed out the window.

Regardless of how and whether it actually happened, I think it's hilarious to see that that moment was Morley Smith's favorite memory of dental school. Must have been a rough 4 years...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Silver Linings

I am a firm believer in finding the good in every situation. Even those situations that we perhaps wouldn't choose.

Jack has been a finger sucker since birth. Actually, before birth as evidenced in an ultrasound photo. At first it was cute. And original. While thumb-sucking is an everyday, run of the mill habit of children around the world, sucking the index finger is not so common. We thought it was pretty cute...

Once Jack hit preschool, we started realizing that maybe we needed to nip this habit in the bud. For the past 3 years, we've tried all sorts of tactics to discourage the hand in the mouth. Nothing worked. Bandaids, clear nail polish, bribes, threats, prizes, punishments, we tried it all. I even threatened to cut off his finger. I'm not proud of that one - I strive to never use empty threats, ones I won't actually carry through on. But I was desperate.

He went through kindergarten sucking his finger. He went through the summer after kindergarten, sucking his finger. He turned 6. Still sucked his finger. I was growing more and more concerned about him starting first grade with finger in mouth. The germs, potential teasing, the viruses he might pick up . . . I was worried about it all!

The weekend before school started, we went camping at Pismo Beach. We rented an RV trailer. It was heaven. On the second night, about 4:30 in the morning, we were woken with a big "THUD". Then a loud scream. Steve and I jumped out of bed, ran to the other end of the trailer, and found Jack, with a bloody face. Jack had rolled off the top bunk. He had split his lower lip wide open with his teeth, and had knocked his top three teeth way back. They were loose, the gums were swollen and bloody, and he was a mess. I panicked, thinking of his teeth. Would they be okay?

Three days later, Jack had his 6-month check up at the dentist. Through X-rays, it was determined that he had fractured two of the three top teeth, and they would need to come out. But no damage was done to the permanent teeth, big relief! An appointment was scheduled for later in the week to pull the fractured teeth, once the swelling had gone.

That night, I noticed that Jack's finger wasn't in his mouth. As I thought about it, I realized that it hadn't been in his mouth since the fall. I asked him about it, and he said "It hurts my teeth when my finger is in there."

Now, Jack has a new smile.

It will be this way for a while, as the permanent teeth are no where in sight. And my concerns about him starting first grade with a finger in the mouth were unnecessary. So while I wouldn't necessarily have chosen for him to knock out his front teeth, if this is what it took to kick the finger-in-the-mouth habit, so be it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Day of School

Growing up, I remember summer vacation feeling nearly endless. It seemed to drag on forever, and by the time the new school year rolled around, I was itching to get back to school and my friends. Now that I'm a mom, summer vacation seriously feels like a blink. Or maybe a week. In reality, it lasts nearly 2 1/2 months. But this morning, when I walked the kids onto the school campus to start their new year, it felt like I was just here yesterday!

New clothes, new shoes, and new backpacks filled with new school supplies!

We brought in doughnuts for the class for Olivia's birthday, and her best buddy Katelyn brought her a special balloon...making her first school-day birthday a lot of fun!

Through the window of Jack's class, his darling teacher Miss Cusenza isn't much bigger than the students! But she packs a lot of punch...

It's a big year for both kids. Olivia starts 5th grade, meaning real letter grades, honor roll, band, and big growth spurts. For Jack, it is his first year with all-day school, packed lunches, and a full day away from me. I know that it's going to be a great year - with amazing teachers for both Jack & Olivia, I have high hopes to continue the positive school experience that they've had thus far.