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We know this. It’s not a secret. One day you’re anxiously awaiting their arrival from the womb and then you blink and then they’re adults – or almost. Almost. How is it that just yesterday I was sending my first-born off to kindergarten, with her brand new glasses and her bangs pulled back off her chubby little face, a backpack as big as she was strung across her back, and a smile that went on for days? There was no fear, no tears. Just a lot of excitement. Last week, I sent that baby of mine off to her senior year of high school, glasses replaced with contacts, bangs dangling and covering her eyes which light up her much more matured face, a messenger bag over her shoulder, and a smile that went on for days. Ok, so some things don’t change that much, they just get bigger. But how can it be that she’s just 2.5 short months from being 18? An adult. *gasp* I always seem to think that I have this under control, I am always internally emotional but can sometimes hold the external together. I take each day in stride. I’m always so proud of my babies and welcome their wing spreading with open arms. But suddenly, almost instantaneously, it hits like a ton of bricks. My baby is almost an adult. Fortunately, I have 4 more babies to raise to adult so I’m still a bit of a ways away from having a full-out heart attack over here. The palpitations are building though.

I’ve now been typing this post for 5 days – seriously. I get THAT distracted by babies and things and OMG the internets. Let me try again while Lucas is distracted by Mickey Mouse and Levi naps, knock on all things that are wood, while I have 2 free hands to type effectively.

My big boys, they have grown like weeds in the past year. I cannot tell you how many pairs of jeans we have gone through and shoes. Shoes now get stinky before they get worn out. yikes! And this summer, the grocery bill, it seriously doubled. And they aren’t even to the stomach-is-a-bottomless-pit stage yet. It’s a good thing there is an 8 year gap between Dillan and Lucas, so we can rebuild the teenager grocery fund again! The physical things are easy to see, but through the summer, I saw a lot of growth in my boys as brothers and friends. They were given some more freedom, allowed to go to the park with friends without mom. It’s only 2 blocks away, but as a trying not to be a helicopter mom, this was a big deal. I send an extra cell phone with them, yep, they also have to be responsible, and they keep me posted about what they’re doing and who they’re with. They were allowed to bike to friends’ houses, too. And while this was hard on mama, it was so good. They argued and fought less, they played together and as a group of friends much more. And by summer’s end, when the soccer teams came out and a mistake was made and they had both been put on the same time, they BOTH asked to be kept on the same team. Yes, my jaw had to be scooped from the floor! This is big. A very BIG step in their brotherly development. The past couple of years surely have had some rough patches. To say that I’m a pleased mama is so underwhelming. I’m elated! But, they should not grow so much. So fast.

7 days – seriously, this blog post is taking far too long to complete. Despite the amount of time I can sit in the computer chair in a day, the typing just doesn’t get done. I need to be more skilled at one handed typing and allowing thoughts to flow while doing a multitude of other things – like nursing a baby, bouncing a baby, cleaning up baby urp from down my back and in my lap, while fetching a toddler off a desk or rescuing him from an annoyed cat or four, and trying to keep enough food and water in myself to sustain me for at least one more day. I will finish this now.

Only after I post some pictures. Because, as per my usual, I paraded them outside to the deck stairs, just like I do every first day of school, so I could take their pictures and “awwwww” and swoon over my precious, once were very tiny, babies. I don’t get teary, not on the outside anyway. I love that they can get out into the big world and spread their wings and discover more about themselves every day. I love that I can get a bit of a mom breather and enjoy a little bit of time each day to be just me, not me the mom, though those days are still so numbered with two little pipsqueeks still at home. I love my babies. So much. My heart is full.

And now, my kids have been back to school for 14 days and I have been trying to write this for 10 days! (enter failing blogger grumbles here). Life is busy, it’s crazy, sometimes overwhelming and frustrating but hey, I love it!)

So, here are the pictures of my kiddos on the first day of school – I adore them all so much!

Hannah – 12th, Connor – 5th, Dillan – 4th.

senior t-shirts are cool

Instagram is serious awesome. Here are a few more of those from the past week.
All my boys before school.

It’s Homecoming Week. Two days ago was “Neon Day” where she wore neon so much cuter than we ever did in the 80’s! Yesterday was “Character Day.” Hannah couldn’t be anything other than adorable Pikachu! Today is “School Spirit Day” and they aren’t allowed to wear their cheer uniforms to school (I know, right?! ridiculousness) so she rocked the tutu again with her cheer jersey. (I’m not too sure about those tights or boots though.)

Have a wonderful year my little, precious, tiny, babies-will-always-be-to-me, children! I love you more than words and pictures can ever express. You all are by far the best things I have ever done in my life and I couldn’t be more proud to be your mama! Now, do your homework without me having to ask eleventytwenty times. 🙂

And for mama, let this be a lesson that blog posts should not take 10 days, with or without pictures.

This is one of those days that I look forward to all year long! I love that my kids enjoy school, and they thrive and they learn, and they have great fun with good friends. But I don’t love schedules and homework and papers and folders and planners and, and, and. The last day of school ends all of that! We can stay up later, sleep in longer (well, the kids can, I seem to wake up early no matter what), have big breakfasts, lounge in jammies all day, get out and enjoy SUMMER, enjoy the chaos that is neighborhood kids ringing the doorbell and jumping on the trampoline and water balloons and skate park and fun! Mostly, it’s time that I REALLY get to spend with my big kids. So much of my day/week/month is consumed by the littlest people in our family because everyone else just isn’t here. I love when we can really settle in and be a family without being pulled 50 different directions. I enjoy (in a weird and crazy kind of way) dirty, smelly kids – they’ve been playing and having fun! When the boys can manage to get along for long periods of time, there is laughter and creativity and imagination. There is a brotherhood – lately it is hard to find – but it is there. I can’t wait to see it more!

But first, they have to get through today – the day where teacher enlist the class to clean and tidy the room so it’s fresh and ready for next year, to have sack lunches, to clean out lockers, to say goodbye to friends for the summer. Hannah finds this harder every year. She watches the seniors graduate and go off to college. She’s always been sensitive about missing teachers and friends, but since starting high school, it’s different. She’s such a sweet and sensitive girl. Connor and Dillan just can’t wait. They’re excited to be done with school and in August, they won’t be excited to start again. We will absorb as much of this summer freedom as we can!

There are no big plans, no exciting vacations – not this year, we need to grow the babies some more – and no boundaries. Hannah will be quite adventurous and visit Spain in just a few weeks. We look forward to a visit from my dad next week. There is baseball every week. But all the other days will be full of play and play dates, local events, swim time, friends, picnics, playgrounds, biking, walking, the zoo, the library, sandboxes, bubbles, and sidewalk chalk. We’ll do it all! And I hope to photograph most of it!

Today, my 3rd grader becomes a 4th grader…

My 4th grader becomes a 5th grader – it will be his last year in elementary school. [please pass the Kleenex!!]…

And my first baby, my only daughter, she finishes her junior year. Next year she will be a senior, and then graduate, and then leave me forever and ever. [please pass the Kleenex factory!]

I love you so much my big kids, I’m so proud of you!

Before school this morning, I handed them each a sheet of paper. Yes, their last bit of WORK to do before summer. I was met with grumbles but I know that someday, they will like it. I only wished I had started it years ago. I gave them an “exit interview” to gather some information about their school year. Also, it samples their handwriting at the time. I can’t wait to see what changes over the years. None of their answers surprise me, I feel pretty connected with my kids. But it really tickles me that Connor’s response to “what you learned” was “too much.” Oh that kiddo! Hannah and Connor both listed art as their favorite subject and Dillan chose gym.  History, music, and math were the least favorites. And I love so much that they all chose to put their last name on their paper also. Like I wouldn’t know who they are!  Good times kiddos, thanks for the giggles!