Thursday, August 31, 2017

First day of Kindergarten for our Riggy-boy

After a summer of feeling like August was so far away yet knowing it would be here before I knew it, when it arrived I felt the first day of school looming over me like dark cloud. We tried to enjoy Riggs' last days of pre-school life as best we could, while gathering the things he would need for the school year in a way that made it feel like a special thing to Riggs. We picked out some new clothes he needed, ordered a backpack for him and went school supply shopping, looking so like the newbies we were with the list clutched tightly in my hand.

And then before we knew it, the week of school was here. Monday we went to drop off supplies and reacquaint ourselves with the classroom and the school, since it had been months since we had visited potential schools in the spring. 

Carrying his little tub with supplies into the school.
Riggs and his teacher, Kim, writing his name on a tag for his cubby.
 Riggs came home from that visit so very excited to go to school in the morning, and I could barely swallow I was so choked up with the emotion of it all. How could my baby be going to kindergarten? It felt unreal - this odd sensation like I was watching someone else's life instead of my own. That night we laid out all our clothes for the next day (me included), packed most of Riggs' lunch, read stories and then went to bed, right on time at 7:30. We had spent the prior week preparing for the early wake up times (and consequent early bedtimes) required to make it to school on time at 7:45a, and they both went right to sleep like I hoped they would.

6am came before I knew it, and I was glad I had practiced waking up to an alarm the week before. I got right up, wide awake with anticipation for the day ahead of us. The kids woke up on their own right around 6:15 and I could tell Riggs was as excited as I was. I fixed their yogurt and granola and finished packing Riggs lunch while we talked about getting our clothes on and backpack packed. Riggs ate in record time, got dressed and put his hat and backpack on then grabbed his lunchbox and said, "I'm ready to go mom!" It was 6:45 and we didn't really need to leave until 7:30, but that morning I had a special surprise for them. My mom was flying in on the 7am flight from Anchorage to participate in the first day of school fun.

We drove to the airport, thinking the plane would have already landed and mom would be waiting for us, but when we got to the airport a heavy fog was hanging just above us and everyone was still waiting on the airplane, which was circling waiting for the ceiling to lift just enough that they could land. We waited and waited and then had to leave to make it to drop-off in time. I was so disappointed, mostly for my mom that she was stuck up in the air circling instead of being with us to take Riggs to school. She ended up having to go back to Anchorage, but then luckily she made it on the 11:30 flight and was able to pick him up with me and spend the rest of the day until her 8p flight back to Anchorage.

We got to school and Riggs practically ran into the building, putting his stuff in the cubby he had picked out the day before and then turning to me to say, "Bye mom!" easy as you please. I laughed and told him I was staying for a little longer, but then when I did leave it was obviously much harder on me than him. It felt so wrong to leave him there, but I knew he was in good hand and would have fun.

He had to have a picture with Tutka in it too.
The beauty of the morning awed us as we took our 'first day' pictures.
Running to his class.
His little cubby &heart;
Part of Riggs' classroom...
Circle time area...
Free play nook.
Doing his 'work' - what they do every morning during drop off time before gathering for circle time.
When we picked them up from school they were picking carrots last year's kindergarten class had planted in the spring and playing happily on the playground. We let Riggs pick what he wanted for Dinner, any meal at home or out, and he picked Finns Pizza of course. It was a great day. We only wished that Steve could have been there but he's working in Kenai during the week right now and couldn't take a day off. He facetimed Riggs before school and wished him a very happy first day, and we reminded Riggs that daddy would be able to drop him off and pick him up all winter after he was done with linework for the year. I know it was harder on Steve than Riggs, which made me feel bad, but that's just the reality of Steve's job.

After we picked my mom up at the airport we went to the Fresh Sourdough Express for lunch.
So happy to see my little guy again.
He was happy to see grandma &heart;
Dinner at Finns

Friday his school had a back-to-school potluck at Karen Hornaday Park and he rode a bus for the first time to get there. The big Fireweed kids (3rd - 6th grade) got there first and made an arch with their arms to welcome the little Fireweed kids (K-2nd grade) as they arrived, completely impromptu and voluntary, no adults told them to or anything, which was really sweet.

Riggs and his little friends after coming through the arch.

Kim is the best teacher I could imagine for him and he loves everything about school so far, and I couldn't really imagine a better first week of school. Here's to the rest of the year going just as good!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Raina's 3rd birthday!

It's hard to believe that nearly two months have passed since Raina turned three. Her birthday celebration this year was a big improvement over last year - tailgating in a gravel pullout 10 miles down some Big Lake backroad, a cinnamon roll in a to-go box with two candles stuck in it substituting for a proper cake (a story in itself, too long to tell here). This year, most of my family was in Homer for the week, celebrating my parents 40th wedding anniversary, which happens to be July 2, the same day as Raina was born (I don't think I'll ever be able to top that anniversary gift ha).

We hosted the party at our property, right in the garden with a fire in the old wheelbarrow-turned-firepit and foil packet dinners with blueberry cobbler and vanilla ice cream for dessert. I loved having everyone in the space I had worked on so diligently since the snow had melted, it made the special day seem almost enchanted in some way to me. 

Moana for the tired girls who couldn't hang at the campfire ♥

Raina at three is a whirlwind of energy and emotions and pure joy; our girl is a sassy little spitfire to be sure. She's still on the tiny side, but she makes up for it with her big personality. She loves horses and cheese and kombucha, dancing and singing too. She loved to do whatever Riggs is doing, and has really taken off on her strider bike lately. We love her so very much and watch with awe as she blossoms and makes her own way through the world.

We celebrated with Steve's family a few days later at Steve's mom house with grilled salmon and root beer floats, which was really fun for the kids. Dotti wanted to start the tradition for Raina's birthday because her own mother always had root beer floats on her birthday on July 5 (Dotti's mom died along with her dad and little brother of carbon monoxide poisoning during a camping trip when Dotti was 16, so I knew this was an extra special tradition to her).