blogging about daily life from Griffin, Georgia


Category: Personal | Comments (0) | Valerie @ August 25th, 2008   

I’ve been preparing myself for the day since Brittain was born, really – her first day of school.

When Dan and I found out that our church had a preschool class for 2 year olds, we decided that this was definitely something we wanted Brittain to do. We enrolled Brittain in the 3-day 2 class at First Methodist. (The same place I attended preschool when I was Brittain’s age.)

Before the first day, Dan and I had to attend a parents meeting at the church. I think as soon as we walked in both of us felt like we were having an out of body experience. I couldn’t believe that we were about to be responsible for a child at the beginning of her education. As we sat through the meeting, we were bombarded with tons of information and dates. I’m pretty sure my brain exploded at some point while we were in there. The funniest part happened when one of the teachers stood up to talk about Box Tops. She started talking about these box tops, collecting them, raising money, cutting them out, collecting them in these ziplock baggies, then gluing them on this specific sheet of paper for the kids to bring in and receive a prize. Okay. I think we got “prize” and that was about it. I knew we were both in trouble when we turned to each other after the woman stepped away from the mic and said, “What the hell is a box top?” After the meeting we all walked to the teacher’s classroom. We were quite obviously in a trance because we walked all the way to the end of the hall before realizing that Brittain’s room was the very first one we came to. Brittain’s teacher is Brook Goodman. Come to find out, Dan graduated with her husband, Jamey. We immediately loved her, and even more so when we got home and found that she had included detailed information about Box Tops and a complete list of everything you could find them on. Yay.

The next morning we took Brittain to meet her teacher. I ended up finding that I got more emotional on this day than I did when we took for the first day. Brook came over to her, took her hand and led her to the table to make a “fish” out of a paper plate and different color squares of construction paper. Brittain didn’t miss a beat. She loved her purple glue stick and actually would have sat there all day if we hadn’t finally made her get up to move on to something else. You could tell she was loving it. I was so excited for her.

The night before her first day I spent a couple hours gathering all of her school supplies together. After making sure we had everything on the list (which included water colors, markers, crayons, baby wipes, paper towels, glue sticks, and lots, lots more) and labeling them, I then moved on to pack her backpack and fill out all the necessary forms. I was doing good until I ran across a poem called “The First Day” that the teacher had put in her folder:

I gave you a little wink and a smile
As you entered my room today.
For I know how hard it is to leave
And know your child must stay.
You’ve been with him for two years now
And have been a loving guide,
But now, alas, the time has come
To leave him at my side.
Just know that as you drive away
And tears down your cheeks may flow
I’ll love him as I would my own
And help him learn and grow.
For as a parent, I too know
How quickly the years do pass
And that one day soon it will be my turn
To take my child to class.
So please put your mind at ease
And cry those tears no more
For I will love him and take him in
When you leave him at my door.

It was while I was reading this that I had my first really good cry.

The morning of I woke up extra early in order to make sure we were there on time. Dan and I planned to take her together. We ended up having to wake Brittain up which we always hate to do. As she ate breakfast I fixed her hair. And as soon as she finished her last bite, we threw her clothes on and headed out the door in a rush. We wanted to walk her in which meant we were supposed to be there at 8:50 to do that. Somehow we forgot that the trip to the church only takes 2 minutes and 45 seconds and we ended up arriving at 8:40. So, we hung out in the church parking lot until it was time to go in. Brittain entered the room as if she had been going to school for years already. She went to her specified seat at the table and started coloring. Dan and I hung around for a couple of minutes to make sure she was settled in. Plus, we were used to an emotional child in these kinds of situations. There was one child in there who was obviously missing her mommy and was crying non-stop. I was afraid that the child might upset Brittain and cause Brittain to cry. But instead, Brittain looked up at me and Dan and said, “She is crying. I go see about her.” I thought, “How sweet! I have such a thoughtful child!” She got up out of her chair and headed over to the little girl. But before she got there she spotted the race track and made a beeline for it. Well, it was the initial thought that counted.

Brittain had no problem with us leaving. We gave her hugs (although she wasn’t very interested in them) and said bye. We turned around to leave and suddenly heard, “Wait!” She ran up to both of us for one final hug and kiss. Perfect.

Dan and I both went to work. I spent the majority of the 3 hours I was there watching the clock. At least 30 minutes of the parent meeting was spent talking about the carpool so there was no way I was going to mess it up. Since I planned on walking in to pick her up instead of driving through the carpool line, I had to pick her up between 11:50 and 12. The hallways were to be cleared of parents before the carpoolers lined up in the hallway. Before I left work I gathered up all the trash to take to the dumpster. I was leaving in plenty of time, so Bradley and I loaded up the trash in my car and drove it over to the dumpster in the other parking lot. As I was also cleaning out the trash in my car, I noticed a crumpled up piece of paper in the passenger’s seat. I looked at it quickly before throwing it away and saw that it was from the preschool. I noticed a very important line that read. “If you’re walking in to pick your child up, you must be there BEFORE 11:50.” OMG! I had this wrong! I shoved Bradley out of the car and drove like a maniac all the way to the church. I wheeled in the parking lot, parked in a handicap space and RAN all the way in. Fortunately I made it just in time and even got to look in the small window of the classroom to see the last few seconds of class. I was so excited to see her! They opened the door and Brittain saw me. She yelled “Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy!” until she jumped in my arms where she gave me a huge hug and didn’t let go. As we walked to the car I asked if she had fun and she said yes. I also asked her if she wanted to go back again and she said yes. After she answered yes when I asked if she had a snack, I asked her what she had. She said “babanas on a plate.” Yes, babanas…on a plate. :-)

I was very fortunate to have been able to work out a new work schedule with Bradley. I love being able to take Brittain and pick her up from school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Then, I’m able to spend the rest of the day with her. It was noon and we were headed home. I was really excited thinking about what was to come next…a nap! We got home, ate lunch and played and then it was time for the nap. But the nap never came. Perhaps it was sensory overload from the first day of school. Who knows. But it became very clear that I wasn’t getting any time to rest. It was raining outside so here we were, bored. At one point I had to run to my car to get something and Brittain saw that it was raining. She decided that she wanted to go outside and I said no. But then I decided, “What the heck. But we have to put on our raingear.” I went to Brittain’s room to get her raincoat. Before I could find it, Brittain walked in with her frog rain boots on…and they were on the correct feet! So, this is the explanation for the last set of pictures. We played in the rain!

A few minutes ago I was cleaning out Brittain’s bookbag and I ran across a note from her teacher. It said, “Brittain is the sweetest little girl. She was smiles all day. She loves to help and gives great hugs.”

It was a GREAT first day!

birthday celebration times 2

Category: Personal | Comments (0) | Valerie @ August 23rd, 2008   

Kate and the kids were in England during Leah’s birthday, so when they returned, they decided to do a joint birthday party at their house for Leah and Robert. Leah turned 4 and Robert turned 2. We all came to celebrate and the kids had a blast. Even Brittain joined in the fun jumping in the choo-choo train with all the balls.

Emma-Kate turns 2!

Category: Personal | Comments (0) | Valerie @ August 16th, 2008   

The kids are finally getting to the age where a simple birthday party at home, opening gifts is just too boring. They want to be running around like crazy children and having FUN. Emma-Kate chose to have her 2nd birthday party at a place in McDonough called Jumparoos. There was no way in the world we were going to miss this party, but I feared the worse about Brittain. I couldn’t imagine a more opposite place for her to have fun. I dreaded the scenario that I pictured – all the other kids playing and having the time of their lives, and Brittain sitting in my lap watching all the other kids have fun.

Fortunately, my mom and Aunt Susan attended the party with us since Dan was working. This helped free me up to be able to take some pictures of the big event. My fears were realized at the beginning of the party. Brittain was glued to Mom and Aunt Susan. The only way she would play in one of the bouncy castle things is if one of us came with her…and then we also had to hold her. That’s my girl!

At some point there was a big turnaround and I’m not quite sure when it happened, but Brittain suddenly turned into a different child and started playing…kind of on her own. I watched in awe and wonderment as she squealed with excitement. You could tell that even she was surprised at herself. It was great! What a fabulous party spent with friends.