August 18

Day three of school. Lily was devastated that she didn't get to go to preschool again today, but she only goes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I cheered her up with the promise of fluffy baby chicks. 
Amber and her crew have had a dwindling flock of chickens, so they just got 8 new chicks to reinvigorate their flock. They are only nine days old, so we went over to play with them today.


I think they liked the chicks!

Then we took them outside to play, and that was even more fun. 

 Thanks for sharing your chicks with us, Amber!

August 17

I registered Lily for preschool at the end of Februrary, and since then she has been continually asking me when it was time for her to go. At least once a week, she would shout, "Thank you for signing me up for preschool!" when we drove past the preschool location.
After months of waiting, it was finally her big day.
Look at how happy this girl is! 

We got to school early because I had my first MOPS meeting today, too. Early to school meant we had time to take some pictures out front.

I seriously could have dropped this girl off on the curb and driven off - she didn't need me at all. She charged ahead of me, into the building, ready to start preschool!

These hand prints represent one of my favorite things about Lily's school. The kiddos in her class are dark brown, light brown, pink, peach, and every shade in between. Many are still learning English, and many speak with strong accents. I love that she will get to be surrounded by such diversity!

I love that Lily got to be the big sister here, because Caleb and Daisy were already at school She got to be brave and in charge, telling Eli what to do.

She didn't know how to find her cubby and hang up her bag, though, and she didn't know what a name tag was or how to put it on. So I suppose she really did need me! And that funny face? See the necklace in her hand? Without any help or inspiration from me, she made it at home to give to Ms. Amy. When we got to school, she pulled it out of her back pack and ran over to Ms. Amy to deliver it. The face above was her, "Should I go give this to her?" face. She did, and then I left.

MOPS was great, too. Against my better judgment, I kept Eli in his underwear in childcare, instead of putting a diaper on him. It felt like toddler roulette - would I find him in different shorts when I picked him up? How many accidents would he have? But he was wearing the same shorts I left him in, and he kept his underwear dry! Hooray!

Then we picked Lily up, and she was just delighted with her whole day. After naps, we got Caleb and Daisy off the bus. Daisy told me the best part of her day was when her teacher hugged her before she got on the bus. Then she showed me this picture she drew in art class:
It's Caleb, Lily, and her in the canoe at Maggie's house. I love it! 
(I confess: I'm a bit sad that I didn't make it into the picture, but that's ok. I still love it.)

I threw together a picnic, then loaded all of the kids into the van for Caleb's soccer practice. Daisy and Lily were looking forward to playing with their friends there, and everyone enjoyed the picnic in the perfect weather. Chris met us when he got home from work, and after practice we redeemed coupons the kids had gotten for free ice cream cones at McDonald's.

(Oh! I haven't mentioned Daisy's necklace yet! Last month, I realized that going to school might be tough for her, so I contacted the artisan who made my necklace and asked her to make a smaller version for Daisy so that she could always have her family with her when she was away from us. I gave it to her a few days ago, and she loves it. Today while we were waiting for the bus, she realized she had forgotten it at home and panicked. I sprinted home at top speed, found it, and returned just in time. It was silly, but I'm glad she has something that makes her feel secure.)

It was a busy, lovely evening.

August 16

After 1.5 years of home schooling, my kids are back in public school. I am mostly ok with this decision, because I feel like it is the right thing for us in this season of life. But when I think about how hard it will be for them to adjust and adapt and meet new people and make new friends, I worry a bit. At first, they were not happy with the change. Today, however, they were all smiles and very excited. I think Daisy's anxiety eased when she toured the school and met her teacher. She went from being nervous to being excited!

I had big plans to take pictures of them on the front porch and at the bus stop, and to pray over them at the bus stop because the bus is always late on the first day. But then Eli's newly potty training self messed up our plans. Right when it was time to go, he had a potty accident and I had to clean him up. We ended up rushing to the bus stop, where - shockingly - the bus was right on time. 

My big third grader and first grader!

Lily was a bundle of emotions: sad to see them go, excited for them, sad that she didn't get to go to preschool yet...

And then the bus was there!

Daisy was so brave! No tears, no fussing, just ready.

Caleb, too. 
And then they were off! I loaded the kids in to the BOB and we walked to a friend's house about a mile away for a morning playdate. Having only the younger two at home felt so light and lovely and easy.

Chris had a work golf event today, so he was able to be home in time to get the kids off the bus. The skies were looking ominous, so he brought umbrellas for everyone. 

We all wanted to wait, but the bus was nearly 30 minutes late and the rain began coming down in earnest, so I took the little two home and left Chris to wait with an umbrella for himself and one for each kid.

Welcome home, darlings!
The kids ate all of their lunches, loved their teachers, and had  great day. What a relief!

August 15

It starts today.
Today was Meet the Teacher day for Lily's preschool and Caleb and Daisy's school.
(Don't worry; this funny little guy still gets to stay home with me. Until next year, when Lily is in kindergarten and he starts preschool. OH MY GOODNESS WHEN DID MY BABIES GET SO OLD????)

(He even has a mustache! See? He's a grown man. OH MY GOODNESS WHEN DID MY BABIES GET SO OLD????)

(Also, he's wearing underwear, not a diaper. He decided today that he was done with diapers.  OH MY GOODNESS WHEN DID MY BABIES GET SO OLD????)

Lily's Meet the Teacher event was in the morning, and I brought all four kids to visit Ms. Amy's classroom. Since Caleb and Daisy are both former students of hers, it wasn't a big deal. The kids had so much fun, and Lily is so excited! Each kiddo brought their teacher a little jar of caramel M&Ms. The chalkboard lid on the jar said, "Have a SWEET first day!" They were so excited to give their teachers their little gift!

Caleb and Daisy's Meet the Teacher event was from 2:30-3:30. It was a seriously inconvenient time, but thankfully Chris' mom was willing to come stay at home with napping Lily and Eli while I took my big kids to their new school. I brought my big camera, but I was strictly forbidden from taking pictures. Daisy's teacher is a cute blonde who is in her fifth year of teaching, but her first year of teaching first grade. Daisy already adores her.
Caleb's teacher is a man with a grizzled beard and 22 years of teaching experience. I think Caleb will do really well with a teacher like this!
They let me take one picture on the way out:
My sweet little tigers!

I promised them a special treat on our way home, so we stopped at Bread Co. Caleb chose a M&M cookie, Daisy chose a chocolate croissant, and we got an iced latte for Gayle. The worker asked if we wanted to add a flavor to the iced latte, and Caleb suggested lime. 
Unfortunately, they only had vanilla, caramel, and chocolate.

We chose vanilla.

Tomorrow I will send these babies off to school!

August 13

I got a new lens today!
I know. It's reaching the point of ridiculousness. But my little photography business paid for it, so I was thrilled to get a Sigma Art 35mm lens in the mail today. These are my random "playing with the new lens" photos.
35mm means I can get a whole room in one shot. It's a lovely wide angle lens that doesn't look super wide-angle-y.

And look at that dreamy blur! Hi, mermaid on the shelf! 

Hi, Eli on the slide!

Hi, Caleb in his jammies!

Hi, handsome husband looking at the tree that needs to be trimmed!

The wide-angle lens even allows me to take big-camera selfies.


August 12

I had a garage sale this morning. 
I tried to get rid of all of my baby clothes, but no one wanted them, so most of them are getting donated. I did sell over $100 worth of stuff and my basement is now free from a huge pile of castoffs, so I'm going to call it a win.

In the evening it was so lovely that we decided to go up to the track after dinner and let the kids ride bikes. It is a flat, empty surface that is great for kids like Daisy, who need to ditch their training wheels.

I brought my big camera because it was just too gorgeous out to leave it at home.

Eli ran all the way around the 1/4 mile track at least once.

Chris took the training wheels off of Daisy's bike, much to her dismay.

Caleb, meanwhile, zipped around the track! We recently bought him a new secondhand bike, and it was such a tremendous upgrade. His last bike (also secondhand) was a Schwinn that Chris found at a garage sale. But it was heavy and awkward and Caleb preferred to ride his much-too-small Specialized bike over the appropriately-sized Schwinn. Finally I started searching for a better brand of bike for him, and the Trek was a winner.

While Chris took the wheels off her bike, Daisy sprinted.

Caleb is super fast on his bike.

He named the bike "Jet".

And Lily. Oh, Lily. This is the bike that all of the grandparents chipped in to buy for Caleb for his fourth birthday. He passed it on to Lily for her fourth birthday, and he and Daisy decorated it so that Lily would consider it a "girl bike".
It worked.
After one lap around the track, she rode in, beaming, and informed me that she had chosen a name for her bike.
I can't think of anything more appropriate. Goodness, I love this girl.

I don't know how Eli wound up here.

Daisy insisted on knee, elbow, and wrist pads. We forgot them at first, and had to turn around to get them.

She was very angry about riding without training wheels. It was a lot like swimming; we knew she was capable, but she was scared to try.

Happy Lily and her beloved Cherry.

I mean, really. Aren't you glad I brought my camera? I sure am.

This boy's curls kill me.

(His feet are so dirty and gross, but it was worth it for that smile.)

Caleb wanted to make sure I was watching him every time he rode past. 

See that? Chris is barely holding on. (He's also running, for the first time in nearly a month following his hernia surgery.) Daisy was riding well enough that he could let go, as long as she didn't notice he had let go. Once she noticed, she freaked out.

Like that.

Still, it was a great first try!

She was pretty proud of her efforts. 

Caleb and Jet.

Caleb was proud of his sister.

Lily and Cherry.

She loves this bike.