The process actually started last week. First, with the supply shopping then with the clothes shopping. Now, I do realize they didn't "need" clothes, but I had coupons and well, I always like having something special to wear on big days and thought they would too. It wasn't until last night we decided to organize the school supplies. So there we were at 7:45pm going through stacks of notebooks, folders, pencils, erasers, markers, crayons, glue, etc deciding what was going into which backpack. It concluded with me having two bags of stuff to carry too. Once we finally got through that exercise, which would have gone better had I not thrown out the supply list in the first place, it was time for the bedtime routine. However, much to my chagrin over an hour had passed and the window of opportunity had passed for showers to be had so I made the "wise" decision to let them just take showers in the morning. (Don't parents just LOVE their "wise" decisions?!) I had Audrey set her alarm clock for the bright sunny time of 7am in the morning, thinking I will get up at 5am (this allowed me to sleep in for a bit since I took a vacation day) and get all the clothes, breakfast, etc etc around thus setting the stage for a PERFECT morning. Honestly, I think God enjoys when His children make plans as He gets to show them that life isn't and can't be planned to the letter. Well, we didn't have perfect. What we had was a typical day in the life of a family trying to cram 2 hours worth of work into 45 minutes; essentially it was a comedy of errors. No one could decide what they wanted to wear, the new shoes were now not what they wanted, the hair curling did not get done and the landscaping looked horrible as the backdrop for the pictures. (I found this humorous considering I have had the kids stand in the same spot every year since they started school. My landscaping has changed more than their clothing choices...yes, it is that bad!)
Once the pictures were all done and we could actually start the walk to school, they decided we were going to go s...l...o...w. Of course, this got me riled up because I vividly remember last year when I thought we were going to leave the house at 8:10 and get to school in a timely manner and get pictures of the girls entering their classrooms, setting at their desks, posing in front of their lockers, pretty much just being "that annoying picture taking" family. Oh no, it was almost a HUGE bust last year. So, having learnt my lesson, we were out the door at 8 sharp, with a BRISK walk being the only acceptable mode of transportation. Yet, what occurs when you ask a child to speed up? Exactly, they start running. So, there I was, arms loaded down with the bulk of their school supplies, my wrist wallet and a camera chasing after them all the while *click, click, click-ing* away so as not to miss an opportunity for a "great" backpack shot. (After all, what good is a scrapbooking page on back to school without the infamous "backpack shot"? - Yes, I know!) When I finally got them to stop running and caught up I snapped a few scrap worthy photos and we restarted the journey. (By this time I was thinking - man, I am so glad this day only comes once a year!)
It rained severely last night. As in over an inch of rain. The high school is under construction. One has to pass the high school to get to the elementary school. Are you forming the visual I am making? Exactly! At this time I am thanking myself for insisting neither child wear white to school today. It was a muddy war zone getting to the school. But, alas, we arrived - 20 minutes early! And do you know what they do with the early arrivals? Oh, allow me to inform you - they send them to the gym! THE GYM! Now, seriously, here it is the first day, I'm carrying half of Wal-Mart in two reusable shopping bags, my hair is sticking up all over the place due to the humidity causing me to look like a demented parent and you want to shuttle my kids to another location when I NEED PICTURES?! However, at this time the Holy Spirit must have came over me (I doubt I could have controlled my temper on my own) because I kindly (yes this word can and does find its way into my vocabulary) asked if I could take the supplies to their classrooms for them. Thankfully, they acquiesced. In all honesty, I think the staff was worried I'd go postal or something! (No, really, don't get that impression - I'm a calm, sedate, individual at all times!)
Now that we were in the building we made a bee line for Kelly's classroom. We were dodging staff and little people (aka the other students) like they were asteroids in the old Atari game Galactica, after a couple of power ups we made it to our destination. I can tell you one thing the teacher was NOT expecting to see a student or a parent as we approached the classroom. Here we were, all loaded down and I'm in the hall directing Kelly to stand in front of her locker (It is so helpful when they put the student's name on the lockers) for pictures and out walks a girls that looked herself to not be a day over 18. In my new found kindness I asked if we could come in so that I could take some pictures and again I was granted my wish. I was not prepared for the amount of dots! No, seriously, everything in this classroom was done in polka dots, EVERYTHING! However, it seemed fitting for the room and the personality of the teacher. After the obligatory picture taking I took Kelly to the 2nd grade early-arrival drop off area and proceded to take Audrey to her classroom.
There is a distinct difference between the 2nd and 4th grades; or rather the age and personality of the teachers. Where Kelly's room was fun and lively, Audrey's was bland and like any other classroom. here she was reduced to a number! A number! Like "Hello, sweetheart! You are a number in the eyes of your government i am merely giving you an early introduction to it!" Walking in I walk straight to the lady sitting behind the macbook preparing the power point. I gathered this lady was goign to be all business and secretly felt a little sad for my baby as this was going to be her experience in her last year of elementary school. However, I asked if I could take some pictures and again I was not met with any opposition and the teacher was kind enough to pose for a couple herself! I asked if she wanted me to take Audrey to her early arrival drop off area and she l et her stay in the classroom. I can only imagine the things she was saying as I left!
From there, I took a leisurely walk home - by myself. In reflection I think I could have done a few things differently, but we survived yet another first day. Once home I took Lillian to get signed up for preschool thus beginning a new journey with the last of my offspring. Yes, my dear children, there are going to be many, many, more opportunities for me to embarrass the pooh out of you. Mwahahahahaha....
Oh, that all said, enjoy some of the photos I took today.