In about an hour, my kids and I are going to be meeting one of my friends from work and her kids at Peter Piper Pizza for lunch and playtime. Yay! Last week we took them all to the park, and had such a great time together. Dylan and Caitlyn are so excited to have some new little friends to play with! And it's so nice to sit and visit with my friend outside of work. I'm really, really looking forward to seeing them again in a little while.
After being pretty lazy for most of last week, I'm back into my (still fairly new) routine of getting up early (around 5:30 or so). Since Darren always leaves for work before 6:30, it's nice to have some quiet time with him in the mornings to sip our coffee together while watching the news or just talking about the day ahead. I'm even (usually) able to shower before he goes, spend some time reading a few blogs, and get started on my morning chores before any of the kids are even awake. It is so nice. I've noticed that I greet my kids--and the morning--much more cheerfully when I'm able to quietly ease into the day.
I bought a few calendars and blank planner pages last night while I was out shopping and I can't wait to start filling them in! The calendar we have in our kitchen is one we got from our church at the beginning of the year, and I love that it includes saint days and feast days as well as national holidays. This has been my starting point for filling in our own school calendar, and I've got some tabbed pocket dividers to use in my lesson planning binder that I plan to fill with printouts or other materials to use for special celebrations each month. I really like the Women for Faith and Family website because it offers so many wonderful ideas of how to celebrate our faith with children. (Here, for example, is what I will be printing out to use for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15th.) I also noticed that in a generic teacher's planner I picked up a while back there is a list of fun days for every month, such as the birthdays of Tomie dePaola (September 15), Steven Kellogg (October 26), and Robert Louis Stevenson (November 13). These are just a few of our favorite authors, and I think it will be so fun to plan special little "tea parties" for those days, complete with read-alouds from our collection of their works. I'm just really excited to see how things are coming together, and OH! We've finally set a date for our first day of school: September 4, following Labor Day weekend, which for us will include festivities centered around the things we'll be learning this year. I am so thrilled to finally have a date to be planning towards!
Quickly, now, because I'm running out of time: one small, final detail that brings me great joy... this image of Meghan, which captures the sweetness I see now each time I look into the rear-view mirror in our van. We only just turned her carseat around before leaving on our trip this past weekend, and I can't believe what a difference it makes. She is so happy, and seems now like such a big girl! It's time, in fact, for me to go buckle her into that big girl seat right now!