Sunday, June 26, 2016

Zoe is Four!

Here she is. My bright, funny, bold, and sweet PariMatch app download apk four year old. We started off the day with our traditional pancakes and whipped cream, but Zoe, naturally asked for a clementine, too (remember when she got a bag of clementines for christmas and was so excited that she jumped up and down shouting "woohoo!" and from then on she called them "woohoos"?) we put a candle in her clementine and sang "Happy Birthday" again. Leo had to go to school and dad had to work, so we bid them farewell until dinner time.

The first thing Zoe wanted to do was take her new scooter out for a spin, so we scooted down to the playground and back. When PariMatch app we got home she climbed on my lap and started yawning. Uh-oh. 

So we made some time for a birthday nap.

Zoe only slept a few minutes, so when she woke up we still had plenty of time to do her chosen activity - go to the Please Touch Museum. When we checked in she mentioned that it was her birthday and the worker gave her a special birthday download PariMatch kid sticker which ensured that people wished her a happy birthday all day long. She had a great time doing all her favorite things at the museum - and even assisting in the show in the theater.

For lunch I let her get all the overpriced snacky foods I usually say no to. (We can bring these exact same items from home for a quarter of the price and she will still beg to buy them in the cafeteria...but look at that smile.)

After the museum we picked Leo up from (his LAST day of) kindergarten. We stopped at the library to pick up a few hold items and pop in on the music story time. Leo was clearly not in the mood for preschool tambourine music, but he sat through it without complaint for the birthday girl. 

For her birthday dinner Zoe said she wanted, "Bobby's Burgers with a Shake Shack. I mean a milk shack." She meant "milk shake" which was both adorable and evidence of how much she loves quality burger chains.

For dessert dad had baked up just what Zoe had hoped for: mini blueberry cupcakes without icing. We sang one more time, and finally headed back home. 

I think Zoe had a pretty spectacular day. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Leo is Six!!!

If you want Leo to use fingers to show you how old he is, he's gonna need two hands. SIX! A whole hand plus one. This year he was mostly excited and looking forward to turning a year older, but he did still have "butterflies" about whether he would "be a good six year old." Not as extreme as the night before he turned four, though. Phew.

As per tradition, we did the annual birthday interview. Leo takes these strangely seriously. Before and after he was bouncing off the walls and talking a mile a minute...but while the camera was on he was calm with succinct answers.

To celebrate we had a small party in the backyard (ok, it's not really a backyard...more like an empty lot behind our house...but you get the idea). Leo wanted a Lego party and we (loosely) complied. We picked up a Lego banner and table cloth at the store and threw some chips into his lego storage head. It was pretty windy out (and I got bonked in the head with balloons repeatedly) but at least it didn't rain!

We made some Lego-esque pizza.

jb somehow cut the watermelon into a Lego. IDK. jb is magic sometimes.

Then, also according to tradition, jb baked the cake (CAKESSSS - there were 3, count 'em THREE cakes), convinced herself they were ruined and had a minor panic attack in the middle of the night and then I decorated them. It's really just a sheet cake with six oreos for the nubs and then covered in icing. The idea for the Lego figures holding candles was again jb's idea.

Leo requested "marvel" (marble) cake for his birthday this year, so jb made two marble and one with sprinkles bakes in (similar to funfetti). So between snacks, cake and some outdoor toys (bubbles, airplane launchers, balls etc) the kids kind of just ran around for a few hours. It was really nice and low key. 

Happy birthday, Leo, my love. You needn't worry, you are already shining at this six year old thing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sick As A Dog

Our pug Talula isn't doing well.  A few months ago she had some health issues crop up and after a few visits to the vet and many (rather expensive) tests she was diagnosed with diabetes. She's been on insulin for several months now, but it took a while to get her blood sugar under control. Now she seems to be feeling better, but she lost her vision (a complication of the diabetes) and the vet also discovered a mammary tumor. This is on top of recurring hot spots and ear infections which she seems to constantly be fighting. Poor puppy has seen better days.

Talula has been with us for about 11 years now. She joined our family before we had kids. Before we moved to Philly. Before I thought I was the kind of person that would drop a small fortune on vet bills to keep a pet comfortable and healthy. When Lu was really sick, she lost a lot of weight, was having lots of potty accidents in the house and was lethargic (even for her). It was scary.

We are still figuring out what the tumor means and what our options are, but in the mean time she is feeling much better on her current dose of insulin. She's trying to adapt to the loss of vision...but it's slow going. She's never had a great sense of smell...or hearing...and she's not particularly bright. So she's been banging her noggin on stuff all over the house. She tolerates the insulin shots twice a day pretty well, though she doesn't love the days we have to do a curve - which requires we prick her to draw blood every couple of hours to see how stable her blood sugars are through out the day.

Still, through all of this she has remained her sweet patient self. I can't imagine how frightened she must be, and I'm sure she was often feeling really lousy, but she never reacted with aggression. Not even when Zoe was trying to nurse her back to health in ways that only a three year old would think were helpful. She still follows jb everywhere. She still licks my feet every time I sit down. I don't know how much time we have left with her, but I'm grateful for it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Top Five Before School Breakfasts

The most important meal of the day is a big deal in our house. Before Leo started kindergarten breakfast would stretch until nearly lunch. We'd linger at the table and eat several "courses" in a row. We'd snack on fruit, eggs, and/or pancakes. Now our mornings are much more...compact. We find ourselves rushing around trying to get dressed, pack lunches and make sure homework and library books are ready to go...nevermind when it's cold out and we have to add hats/coats/gloves to the routine. Still, we need to make sure we send the kids off with tummies full of something that will keep them going until lunch. Whipping up something that is nutritious and can be ready in 15 minutes or less is our goal. Here are our go-to breakfasts:

1. Green Smoothie

Smoothies might be the king of quick breakfasts because throwing a few handfuls of fruit and greens into the blender takes about a minute - plus, they are easy to toss into a straw cup to drink on the go. Sometimes we add in some yogurt for extra calcium and a bit of protein. The best part? We pour any unused leftovers into popsicle molds and the kids will devour them as an after school treat.

2. Oatmeal

When we make this in the morning it is ready in under 15 mins, but when we have the foresight to make a batch for the week it cuts the time down to a 30-second microwave wait. This breakfast never gets old since we rotate the mix-ins, though our family favorite is apples and cinnamon. Can't beat it on a cold morning!

3. Bird in a Nest with Brussels Sprout Hash 

This is probably the meal on the list with the longest prep time. A bird in a nest can be ready in just a few minutes (just crack the egg into the cutout in the bread - we use cookie cutters to make the hole, but a cup works, too). The hash can be made by saut矇ing leftover veggies (brussels sprouts are our fave, and the one pictured also has sweet good!) and a strip or two of bacon. Just chop everything up finely and toss around a hot pan with butter. A bit more involved than other meals, but a great foundation for the day.

4. Bake aheads: Quiche or Muffins

Some mornings even 15 minutes is too much to spare...these morning we rely on grab and go options. These require some forethought, but end up being worth it to have something nutritious ready to go on those mornings when we are rushing. We try to have quiche muffins, banana/zucchini muffins, pancakes or hardboiled eggs on hand to pop out of the freezer/fridge and eat on the way to school. Sure beats a toaster pastry.

5.  Parfait

When I make parfaits the kids think they are getting sundaes for breakfast. I layer yogurt, berries (fresh or frozen thawed in the microwave a few seconds), granola, and bit of honey. I do make my own granola, but it's super easy and I like that I can control the ingredients. I usually double up on the nuts to make it extra filling and pump up the protein. You can put it in a bowl, but presentation goes a long way with kids (I guess that's why those ridiculous bento box lunches are so popular on Pintrest) so we fancy it up with a parfait glass.

I've got nothing against a bowl of cereal or a frozen waffle, but I do prefer to try and get something nutritionally dense and homemade on the table for breakfast when possible. Being able to control the ingredients (i.e. leaving out the junk and sneaking in some extra healthy stuff) in what my kids eat isn't always possible, especially now with birthday parties, snacks at activities, and treats at school. So when I can maximize the nutritive profile of what my family is eating, I do. It makes the treats we do indulge in all the more enjoyable.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

State Of The Young-ins: Spring 2016

A lot has happened/changed since the last time I wrote regularly here...but a lot is really still the same. I've been slow coming to terms with the fact that I no longer have a "baby" - I always pause in the baby section of stores only to realize that none of those products really apply to us anymore. We've got two straight up kids - with all the benefits and challenges that come with them. In many ways parenting has gotten easier in the last year or two. Both kids (mostly) sleep in their own beds, can get themselves dressed, play independently, go to the bathroom without assistance, can eat a meal and tackle chores that are actually helpful (unlike the toddler version of helping which just makes everything take twice as long). Whether they choose to do these things is another issue entirely...but they CAN be quite independent. After the first five years of parenthood that I spent either pregnant, nursing, or both...I've found a lot of freedom in the this stage of parenting. Of course new challenges crop up and we are still figuring out how to navigate this new chapter. We seem to be busy in a different way these days. Maybe busy is the wrong word. Our lives are full. Still, I do feel like we prioritize family time and we are doing a decent job of enjoying this era before it slips by.


Leo has adapted to school really well. He is closer to the end than the beginning of his kindergarten year and our one goal (that his first experience with school be a positive one) has been met. He loves his teacher, his friends and seems to be learning a lot. That said, it also takes a lot out of him. He comes home and just wants to either color, play with Legos or watch a tv show. Usually, we let him, because even though he does have homework, it is not mandatory. So we encourage homework, but equally encourage play...or even just relaxing.

The hardest transition on my end is that I just feel like I don't get enough of him. I miss him. We spent ALL of our time together for five years and now we get rushed mornings, packed evenings and (sometimes busy) weekends. At the end of the day I just want more time with him. He's turning into this incredible kid - singing songs I don't know, sharing jokes I'm not in on, and developing interests that I didn't introduce him to. It's amazing to watch, but bittersweet to loosen my grip on him. Luckily, he still really loves to cuddle, so if I ever do feel like he's growing up too fast, he's happy to slow down for a bit and remind me he's still my baby.

Leo is still his sweet sensitive self, but he has really come out of his shell this year. He was so very shy, especially with new people before, but now he's downright outgoing. He is quick to say hello or strike up conversation...he might even be a bit of a ham. He's reading easy reader books all on his own and loves math and science. He's in his second season at a local soccer league (jb was a coach last season) and loves digging holes outside.

Leo has a typical five-year-old sponge-like brain. He loves learning about animals and especially enjoys shows like Wild Kratts, that help him collect information. He also really enjoys learning things through song. We started with some simple songs - like the days of the week, months of the year, etc. (Well I guess really we began with the ABCs...) and he enjoyed them so much that we moved on to the 50 Nifty United States and now he's trying to master the periodic table song. The capacity for rote memorization at this age is impressive.

Leo is a much pickier eater than he was last year. His intake of fruits and veggies is limited to a short list of acceptable varieties. He is also still very particular about the types of clothes he wears. If it were up to him he would never wear anything that doesn't have an elastic waistband. We have to cut the tags out of his shirts, and the tantrums over socks and shoes each morning are epic. We are also deep in the whining phase of childhood, which I have little patience for...and I'm hoping the end is in sight soon. Other than these few quirks, he is a pretty easy going kid. He's eager to please, thoughtful, cautious and very in tune with other people's emotions. It's really a pleasure to know and parent him.


 Zoe is going to preschool two mornings a week, but spends most of her time as my sidekick. She did go to school for four day a week for a while, but it was a bit much for her. Zoe prefers to be home/with me, so as long as that's an option, we are trying to maximize our time together. She is still quite the firecracker, but I do think things have slowly begun to chill out now that we are past that tough 2.5-3.5 stage. The silver lining of missing leo while he's in school is that Zoe and I have been having a lot of one on one time and it's been nice to get to see who she is when no one else is around.

Zoe's current obsession is her balance bike. She rides that thing everywhere. To school, to the park, to pick up Leo from school...even from the living room to the kitchen. The first day she got on it, she rode ten blocks to a friend's home...then ten blocks back. Even after that she cried when we told her we had to go back inside and take a break from riding. The next day, the first thing she did was hop back on the bike and the poor thing had bike seat bruise (anyone who has taken a spin class can relate, I'm sure) and it hurt too much to ride. She was devastated. But as soon as her bottom felt better she got back on and has barely gotten off to eat and sleep since.

Her "baby Koh-wah-wah" (Baby Koala is actually a stuffed elephant...I don't know why she named it that) is still very precious to her. So precious, in fact that Baby Koala made it onto our holiday card this year. Zoe is also very fond of two pandas, Max and Pearl, that were a gift from a friend of the family. She has a basket on her bike and brings them with her everywhere.

Zoe has grown out of many of her adorable mispronunciations. Most notably my beloved "farkley" for sparkley.  Though she does still mix up or mis-remember the names of certain things and that is equally cute. For example, she calls sweat pants "sweaty pants." SWEATY PANTS. This is how kids survive. They drive you bonkers, but then they say something like "sweaty pants" and you can't stay mad.

Zoe can be quick to anger and often seems to be yelling. In fact, we thought she might have some hearing loss so we took her to the Doctor, but apparently she's just a loud kid who doesn't like to listen. So, uh, that's a relief? She knows what she wants and may the universe help you if you get in her way. She is confident, brave, funny (SO FUNNY) and sharp. While these traits can sometimes be challenging to parent, she is a hella cool person. Zoe jumps into everything with both feet. I admire her in so many ways...and feel lucky I get to know her and watch her grow into the girl (and eventually woman) she's meant to be.


Zoe still wants to do everything her brother does and imitates him and follows him with every sibling set since the beginning of time...pesters him. There has been quite a bit of bickering in our house and it drives me batty. It's incredible what ridiculous things these two can fight about. Of course, usually, a few minutes later they are BFFs again. It's me that is left with the residual anxiety of several minutes of screaming and crying - about a dozen times a day. Still, I'd say over all they get along really well and clearly love each other dearly.

These two kids are so different, and while they do occasionally butt heads, mostly they compliment each other in really beautiful ways. They learn so much from each other. I'm in awe watching their friendship grow and evolve. Their goodbyes in the mornings and their reunions in the afternoons are enough to melt hearts. When they are able figure out ways to play harmoniously together, it's my favorite thing in the world to observe. They come up with fantastic imaginary worlds complete with headquarters and superpowers.

My own relationships with my siblings are so important to me now as an adult, and I really hope for my kids to have that in each other. So far they seem to be off to a great start.

Monday, February 22, 2016

First 5k Recap

This is so long overdue that I almost didn't post about it since it's been four months since this race, but I've had a couple inquiries as to how it here goes:

I did it! I (slowly) ran the entire Purple Stride 5k without stopping to walk - which was my only goal.  AND - with the generosity of friends and family I was able to raise over $700 to fight Pancreatic Cancer. I am so grateful to everyone who donated to my PanCan fundraising. Thank you. I am genuinely overwhelmed thinking about it. When I signed up for this race, I simply chose it because of the Pancreatic Cancer connection, not realizing that it fell the week between Day of the Dead and what would have been my father's 69th birthday. Working towards this race became something bigger than I anticipated and I felt so supported in this goal. Not just because of the fundraising - but every neighbor who cheered me on when they saw me out training, and every time my family made sure I had time to get out there and run, and all the encouragement I've gotten along the way. 

My time was in the same neighborhood as my training runs (41:11 or 13:17 pace) - so slow, but I don't mind. I wasn't really nervous about whether I'd be able to finish since I had done several 5k practice runs in the weeks leading up to the race. Plus, this time I had an adorable purple-clad cheering section that doled out encouragement and high-fives. 

I will say it was a little disheartening in the first 5-10 mins when I was just being passed and passed by an ocean of runners...but once everyone settled into their pace groupings it was rather lovely.  I'm guessing this is avoided at larger races with pace corrals at the starting line, but now I know to start towards the back in the future.

What kept me going was that jb and the kids hopped from one spot to another to be sure to cheer me on throughout the whole race. I spotted them at least once/mile and in the final stretch Zoe joined me to cross the finish line hand in hand.

The weather was great and the autumn leaves were gorgeous. Fairmount Park is always pretty, but it's positively breathtaking in the fall. I thought about my dad a lot as I ran. About how hard it was to run for 30 seconds when I first started. About how amazing it is that I've come so far...but that running still really sucks.

So, yeah, I'm still not one of those people who loves running...but I do love having run. Much like writing. Once it's done, I feel great...but the process of getting it done is usually torture. 

The great thing about the couch 2 5k program is that it emphasizes time vs distance. It doesn't matter how fast or far you just need to make it through 30 seconds of running...then one minute...until you can run 30 minutes straight. That can be challenging when you get to the end of program and are still significantly short on distance, but it really reframes how you think about success.

Slow time is a victory. When I finished I didn't think "Oh man, it took me over 40 minutes to finish a 5k!?!" I thought, "YES! I ran for OVER FORTY MINUTES STRAIGHT!!" 

Despite repeatedly explaining that my only goal was to finish and that I was only competing against myself, the kids disappointed I didn't "win." jb said they let out an audible "Awwwww" when the first runner crossed the finish line and it wasn't me. So, that's adorable.

I've got two upcoming 5ks booked for March and April. My running has been infrequent lately due to illness, cold, ice...and well, life. But I'm doubling down so that I can hopefully beat my time.

Thanks again to everyone for their support and encouragement!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Year in Review: 2015

2015 has been a difficult year. It started with me still reeling from the loss of my cousin in December 2014 and went on to include three more losses that have left me feeling like a grief stricken pinball.
  • My dad passed away after his battle with pancreatic cancer in February. 
  • My (great) Uncle Steve passed away at 90 years old in November. I wasn't able to make it to his funeral. Obviously at 90 years old, it wasn't unexpected, but he was SUCH a cool person and was so pained by the loss of my father...I just wasn't ready to lose him.
  • My brother-in-law Christopher passed away just two weeks ago, right before Christmas. He was so smart and kind - and full of life. And so very loved. There are no words.
Those three (four) losses alone are enough for me to want to say good riddance to 2015. Plus there is the difficulty of spending the holiday season planning and attending a funeral only to be followed by cleaning out Christopher's apartment before the end of the year. We inherited his two cats (adorable, sweet kittens) and our existing cat (also an adorable sweet thing) has not exactly welcomed them with open arms. It's getting better and now they are able be in the same room without hissing and mooing, but our couch was a casualty in the transitional turf war...and if you have any experience with cat urine, then you know that it's not an easy thing to come back from. Jess entered the new year unemployed (nothing dramatic, just the end of her contract and she has several promising leads for new employment, and we will be fine thanks to savings...but still, this employment gap is stress she does not need right now). And just to make sure 2015 kicked us in the ass on the way out the door, our washer leaked and flooded our basement. So. I'm very, very tempted to say a giant "Fuck you" to 2015...but I can't deny that it contained some immense joy and beauty as well. 
  • Outpouring of love and support - Throughout the year people have made a point of letting us know we are not alone. Phone calls, cards, food, texts, and general kindness have reminded us again and again that we are loved. 
  • Pops and Julian moved in - After Uncle Daniel moved out, we only had a few months as a household with only our nuclear family of four. Pops and Uncle Julian moved in in August and with them came their cat, Chica. This marked the beginning of us going from a zero-cat household to kitty city. As I've said before, living with family isn't always easy, but I really like sharing a roof with extended family.
  • Leo started kindergarten - Leo started Kindergarten at a local public school and has really blossomed during his short time there. His teacher has over 35 years experience and he's enjoying every day and cultivating a love of school - which was my only hope for his first year of school.
  • Zoe weaned - This one is bittersweet, but Zoe stopped nursing (with encouragement from me) in August. She still asks about it, but over all the weaning went smoothly. It's nice (and a little strange) to have my body back. Up until that point I was either nursing or pregnant (or both!) for six years!
  • Mexico - The kids and I spent a month at my mother's house in Mexico this summer. We visited my cousin (the twin of the cousin that passed away last year) in Puebla, we climbed pyramids, visited ancient churches, ate delicious food, explored the continent's first public library, climbed a mountain, ate fresh trout, swam in a river, missed jb, got massages, hiked ravines, explored caves, and spent time with family. 
  • Started running - After my dad passed I knew I needed to make a change and I started running - one minute at a time, until I was able to finish my first 5k. (I have like three posts about this in drafts...but the urge to write has really been hard to muster.)
  • Lost 50 lbs - hand in hand with running, I also made some changes to my eating habits after some major weight gain leading up to and following my father's death. The loss wasn't easy, and I'll likely never be thin...but I'm proud that my body feels like mine again and that I have kept it off for a few months despite major emotional rollercoaster-ing.
  • Camping - We managed to pack in two camping trips over the summer including one beach trip.
  • Zoe School - With Leo at kindergarten, Zoe has been at pre-school on her own. She was doing as many as four days/week earlier in the year, but we've taken her down to two days/week. While school has been great for Zoe, I really feel like this is my narrow window to really get some one-on-one time with her in. We've never really had that before this year and it's been great getting to know each other in some new ways. At the same time, she's loving preschool and really coming into her own now that she's not Leo's little sister at school.
  • Teaching - I actually started teaching at the kids' preschool last year, but this year is my first full year as a teacher. I'm only there 1-2 days/week, so my experience is still fairly limited, but I've learned a lot and found some great joy in both the kids and my co-workers.
  • Time to myself/with friends - With Leo in school five full days, and Zoe in school one morning  (two for a couple of months there) without me, I find myself with a bit of time to myself each week. I use this time for running, yoga, coffee, seeing friends, or shopping in stores that are not kid friendly. It's not a ton of time, but it's made a big difference in my psyche. Plus, as always, jb makes herculean efforts so that I get time out with friends fairly regularly - and now that neither kid is nursing, bedtime is not as much of a restraint as it had been in the past.
  • Fun Home - speaking of time to myself, I had the opportunity to go see Fun Home on broadway and it was amazing. Plus, a day in NYC with other adults? Yes please!
  • Hosted Thanksgiving - we hosted a holiday for both sides of our families! It went really well and a good time was had by all. I look forward to doing it again, but this year will forever be special not only because it was the first one in our home, but it was also the first without my dad and the last one we shared with Christopher.
So, life has presented great sorrow and difficult challenges, but we've had our share of joy and beauty...I guess that's what life is. Still, 2016, I wouldn't mind if you could take it a little easy on us, please.

Past years in Review: 200720082009201020112012, 2013 and 2014.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Run, Mama, Run

I'm doing something totally out of character. I'm running a 5k. In the past I've walked 5ks. I've enjoyed other ways of being active; Zumba, yoga, swimming... But until fairly recently, I've never run more than a few steps in a row - and those rare instances were usually an emergency situation, like trying to get the last piece of cake or something.

Recently I gained a whole bunch of weight. Right around when my dad was super sick and right after he passed I gained about 30+ lbs. Now I've always been chubby to fat, but healthy and reasonably active. Well, between grief, and weight gain, and being more sedentary than usual I was feeling really yucky. I knew I needed to make some changes, but that was so much easier said than done.

Around April I cut out sugar (except for some occasional indulgences) and drastically cut back on processed carbohydrates. I made a list of goals that help me feel more alive and fulfilled - like getting outside every day, cooking food for my family, or adult time with friends.

As I started to feel more like myself I searched for other changes or challenges and I started doing the Couch 2 5K program. This is an interval program that teaches anyone without running experience how to run-ish. I used a phone app that follows the program and prompts you to run for a minute then walk for several minutes and gradually ups your running time. Let me tell you, those first minutes were the longest minutes of my freaking life. I was sure I wasn't cut out for this. But I kept at it and slowly but surely I've worked up to running for 25 minutes straight. Granted I'm VERY slow, but i'm doing it. As my mother so poetically put it: I'm slower than a turtle stampeding through peanut butter, but I run. Or jog. Or walk/jog/wog.

Well, as part of the program and to keep me goal oriented, I signed up for a 5k in November: The PanCan Purple Stride. As you probably know, my dad passed away from pancreatic cancer in February. I thought this was a fitting way to honor him as I work my way out of the hole left by his departure - both physically and emotionally. My goal is to run/jog/wog the whole thing, which I'm still training towards. But I'm proud of myself for getting as far as I have. I'll consider it a success even if it takes me an hour. I'd love your support (monetary or in spirit).

I'm doing this for my dad. For my kids. And of course, for myself. I'm grateful for the support network that has gotten me through and all the wonderful things I have to live for. I know my dad was so grateful for all the blessing in our lives, and that's what I want to carry with me now that his physical presence is gone. Send me good energy on November 7th!

Friday, September 18, 2015

First Day of Kindergarten

Leo survived his first day! The day began with jb, myself, zoe, pops, Uncle Julian and Uncle Daniel (who got on a bus at 6 am so he could be there to cook Leo breakfast on his first day) helping Leo get ready. He was nervous, but still smiling. Uncle Daniel made eggs, bacon and pancakes and everyone assured him he was going to have a great day and that the outfit he chose was looking sharp.

He was excited to have a way to display his button collection.

Not only was it Leo's first day of kindergarten, but it was also Zoe's first day at preschool without her brother.

When Leo picked out his backpack, I couldn't figure out why he had chosen blue when he usually prefers colors in the pink/purple range...then I saw jb's backpack next to Leo's and I figured out his motivation. Just like dad.

Once we got to the school yard Leo's nerves spiked. We found his classroom's spot and let him line up with his classmates. We stepped back with the other parents and that's when the lip quivering began. (These details and pictures shared with Leo's permission) When he broke into tears jb rushed over to give him a hug and a little pep talk. It was heartbreaking to watch and it took all of my self control to not scoop him up and run out of the school yard with a "Maybe next year!" yelled over my shoulder.

Quickly, his teacher noticed he was crying and rushed over. She held his hand while also still instructing the rest of the class on the morning procedures. She did a great job of comforting him without coddling and STILL performing her teacher role for the rest of the students. It was clear he was in capable hands.

With tears streaming down both mine and Zoe's faces we watched as he entered the school with his class...thankfully Leo had stopped crying by the time they reached the door. Zoe said she was too worried about Leo to go to preschool, but managed push through. jb, though the only one who didn't shed a tear that morning, was the one most preoccupied with worry about Leo throughout the day.

Zoe and I had a one-on-one library and coffee date while we counted down the minutes until we could pick up her brother. 

When we all met back up to pick up Leo he was all smiles and gave Kindergarten two thumbs up. He said it was "awesome" and "just like preschool except your mom doesn't come." The details of the days are emerging slowly but surely...and I'm trying to limit the thousands of questions I have for him. It is so wild that I know so little about his day! Deep breath. 

He can't wait to go back on Monday, and I'm so proud of my big kid. I really think it's going to be a great year.